Monthly Archives: June 2012

Lazy Lasagna

 I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.  Jeremiah 31:25 (The Message)

By: Gretchen Speer

A few years ago a friend of mine shared this recipe in our MOPS newsletter.  I was really excited to try it because we love lasagna, but I was all for an easier version!  This recipe is perfect for those days where you’re gone all day swimming, and want to come home to a meal that is already prepared.  Pull some pre-made garlic bread out of the freezer and you are all set!  I like using my crockpot more in the summer because it keeps me from having to turn the stove on-which causes our air conditioner to work even harder.

In my menu planning post we talked about cooking up extra ground beef to pull out of the freezer for later.  Having some already cooked ground beef in the freezer is about the only thing that could make this recipe even easier!

Doesn’t look fancy, but it tastes great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lazy Lasagna-in your crockpot!

Makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients

1lb. Ground Beef

12 0z. Pkg egg noodles

32 oz. Jar spagetti sauce

8 oz. mozzarella cheese-shredded

16 0z. cottage cheese

Directions

1. Brown beef and drain grease

2. Cook noodles according to package directions

3. Stir spagetti sauce into ground beef

4. Layer one-third of the sauce/beef mixture into the bottome of slow cooker  Top with half the noodles, followed by half the cottage cheese and half the mozzarella.

5. Layer in half the remaining sauce followed by all the remaining noodles and cheeses.  Top with rest of sauce.

6. Cover and cook on low 3-4 hours.

Make it Healthier Options:

  • Use whole wheat penne intead of the egg noodles.
  • Use reduced fat or 2% mozzerella cheese.
  • Use 93/7 beef or ground turkey instead of the beef.
  • Use low fat cottage cheese.
  • Instead of using pre made garlic bread, make your own(see recipe below).

 

Healthier Home Made Garlic Bread

Here’s what you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Whole wheat hot dog buns

1 tsp.Italian seasoning

1 tsp. Garlic powder

1 TBS. Parmesean cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 400

2.Open hotdog buns and lay them on the baking sheet with the inside facing up.

3.In a small bowl mix the olive oil, italian seasoning, garlic powder, and parmesean cheese.

4. Brush onto buns.                                     

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Plate it up!

 

 

 

Broken

One of our avid readers, Sarah Smith*, has submitted three articles that we will share with you over the course of the next few weeks on the topic of “perfection”.

Enjoy…

By: Sarah Smith

I have no idea how many posts will come out of my ‘series’ but I have decided to focus on PERFECTION.  In particular, my strive for perfection…perfect kids, perfect house, perfect life.  The definition of perfection is “the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.”  Notice how even the definition itself gives us an out – ‘as free as POSSIBLE’?!

Here’s a spoiler – in my strive for perfection, I found it right where Paul said I would – in God!  His power is made perfect through, in, because of, in spite of, MY weakness!

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10   “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Day 1 – Broken

As I walked along the beach collecting seashells, I was with someone who only wanted to pick up the “perfect” shells.  You know the ones; perfectly whole – curved at the top and maybe even both sides still attached to each other. The broken ones were left on the sand.  I started only picking up the ones that were ‘whole’ as well but then began including the broken pieces too (I was drawn to them, the colors seemed more vibrant and attractive) And then, I had this thought, “What if God only wanted perfect people?” For a moment, that thought scared me. Of course I was immediately comforted by the fact that God sent His son, Jesus, who was the only perfect one, to die for our sins so we don’t have to be perfect. Thank you, God!!

 

 

So, now, I face a world full of imperfect people (my family, my friends, my community, my nation and world), being imperfect myself, and God wants me to guide them to His perfect Son. That’s what being a disciple (parent, wife, friend) is all about. That is what we are all called to do – to show His love to all people, especially when they are feeling broken. They/We are the ones who need Him the most.  We all need God so that we may be made whole again one day when we reside with Him in heaven.

Dear Lord, help me be an example of what your perfect love can do. Help me to show it to all people who I meet each and every day. Thank you for loving me even though I am broken. Thank you for showing me your perfect power!

*Sarah Smith and her husband Brian have been married for almost 19 years. She is joyfully surviving being the mom of two teenage boys (17 year-old Fisher and 15 year-old Carter) and one pre-teen girl (10 year-old Lydia). She chooses to remain in denial that anyone will be leaving the nest anytime in the near future but has noticed that just when she thinks she’s reached the best years – it gets even better! Digital scrapbooking those memories has become her favorite thing to do.

June Giveaway: Thirty-One Thermal Tote

It is about time for another giveaway!  This one is so cool…literally.  It is for a Thirty-One Thermal Tote! These are great to have for packing snacks for a day trip as mentioned in our last post: Let’s Make a Day of It: Jennifer’s Top 5 Day Trips in NWA.

One of our avid readers and and independent Thirty-One consultant, Laura Foust, has donated this super cute item for our giveaway!  It is a Thirty-One Thermal Tote in Newport Bloom, the perfect lunch bag! Great for the office, school or a day at the pool:) She is also including a key fob in Newport Stripe and a coin purse in Green Ditzy.

 

For more information on this product and more contact::

Laura Foust
479.531.8474
laura31881@gmail.com
www.mythirtyone.com/laurafoust 

How to enter:

  • Mandatory Entry: We ask that you participate in an “Invite Your Friend Party!” Simply post on your Facebook status something like this:  “I am a huge fan of the blog Mosaic of Moms.  If you have not already, go to their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mosaicofmoms and like them.  Tell them I sent you!”  Be sure come back here or post something on our Facebook page to let us know that you did it .
  • To Increase Your Odds:  For each of your friends that “likes” us and tells us you sent them, both you and your friend will be entered to win.  

A Few Quick Rules:

  • This giveaway will run until Friday, June 15, 2012 until 11:59 PM CST.
  • The winner will be chosen via random.org and be notified by e-mail. If we do not hear back from the winner within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.

 

Eureka-224x300

Let’s Make a Day of It: Jennifer’s Top 5 Day Trips in NWA

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

By: Jennifer Mullen

When my husband and I decided to I would stay-at-home, we knew extravagant vacations would not be an option.  However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money and travel miles away to go on an adventure.  Almost every weekend we choose an activity and make a day of it.  You just need to have a mindset that “Life is Good” and you should “Enjoy the Little Things”.  We have found that no matter what you do together, your children will love it.  My 4-year-old wakes up saying, “It’s the weekend! What are we going to do?” And my 19 month old says, “Shoes? Go, go, go?”

Of course we enjoy the seasonal activities like strawberry picking, going to the splash pad, farmers markets, going to the pumpkin patch or corn maze, and looking at Christmas lights.  And there are the obvious destinations like Crystal Bridges and Arvest Ballpark.  I wanted to highlight my family’s favorite activities that you might not have thought of yet.

I know that not all of our readers are from Northwest Arkansas, but don’t let the title turn you off.  You can find fun activities wherever you live.  I encourage you to explore your local area.

1) Visit Nearby Towns : Eureka Springs is our family’s number one favorite!  It is not for everyone as the sidewalks are not stroller friendly and there aren’t any playgrounds for the kids to let their energy out.  My husband and I fell in love in Eureka and got married there as well.  Our kids have grown to love it too, because they have been going since they were babies as pictured to the left.

About every two months we will pack a cooler and head to Eureka for the day.  We eat at a little pizzeria called Geraldi’s or Casa Colina’s Mexican Grill and get dessert at Peace, Love, and Cheesecake.  What we don’t eat, we put in our cooler for the trip home.  Every time we go, we learn something new about this mysterious town.

One of our favorite activities in Eureka is to ride the train.  We buy tickets for the passenger train and get popcorn for the kids to enjoy while they walk up and down the aisle.  Click here to see schedule and prices.

 

2) Go to the Zoo or in Our Area-Wild Wilderness Drive-Through Safari:  This is one of my least favorites, but my husband LOVES it.  He grew up going to this safari with his Grandparents.  I don’t enjoy it because I am a germ-a-phobe.  When we went a few weeks ago, I finally went into the petting zoo.  I must say, unlike most zoos, I have been able to make my dream come true and I got to pet some baby tigers there a few years ago!  Last time we went, I also rode a camel.  That was a first for me.  The things you do for your kids!  I told my husband that if something ever happens to me, that he does not have permission to buy the Gentry Safari (for all you fans of We Bought A Zoo)!  Click here for schedule and prices.  If you want a more sterile experience, the Tulsa Zoo is only a two-hour drive and makes for a great day trip as well. 🙂

3) State Parks: Our family has two state parks that we enjoy.

Picture Source: http://www.arkansasstateparks.com

First is Devil’s Den, which is about 20 miles south of Fayetteville.  When we visited a few weeks ago, we packed a picnic and extra clothes.  When we got there we enjoyed lunch and then waded in the stream.  Our 19 month old boy LOVED throwing rocks into the water.  Then we changed into our hiking shoes, strapped our baby in a carrier, and went on a mile and a half self guided tour.  Our four-year old is a huge fan of the TV series Franklin and has seen lots of episodes about hiking in the woods.  She LOVED this adventure!

Source: Wikipedia

The second state park we enjoy is Hobbs State Park.  You must stop in at the brand new 17,000 sq ft. visitor’s center with interactive kiosks, kid’s reading area, classroom space, and a retail sales area.  There are some great walking trails in this park as well. On our way out to the park we stop at the War Eagle Mill to feed the geese, to learn about the mill, and to have lunch.

 

Source: www.rogersarkansas.com 

4) Explore Your Historical Museums and Downtown: I have been a part of the Rogers community for 10 years now and just within the past two months visited the Rogers Historical Museum for the first time.  I was thoroughly impressed!  Whether you have lived here your whole life or are new to the area there is something there for you.  The curators did a fabulous job telling the history of Rogers through pictures, artifacts, and replicas.  There are so many hands-on activities for the kids.  They even have a home that is open for tours that has been preserved in the turn of the century style so that one might could imagine what life would have been like in the early 1900’s. They have age appropriate scavenger hunts to keep the children focused.  As you leave you can pick up another scavenger hunt to use while walking around downtown to learn about the architecture of the city.  We love downtown Rogers!  Between Chicago Dogs, The Rail, and Kirby’s Kupcakes we NEVER go hungry.  It is great to support these local businesses.

5) The Drive-In: This has become a Mullen Family tradition as well.  This is more of an evening trip, but it lasts for several hours.  The 112 Drive-In is located in Fayetteville.  We stop on our way to get a pizza or two and take a cooler of drinks and snacks.  The kids take their pj’s and fall asleep in the back of the car during the double feature. As you can see from the picture, we like to get there PLENTY early!  There is a playground that the kids can play on before the movie starts.  We like to get them worn out so that we can enjoy the second movie.

Hope you try some of these activities with your family, and when you do let me know what you think.  If you have any great day trip ideas, please share!  I would love to add them into our rotation!

Proverbs 31 Woman with a Martha Mentality

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

By: Jennifer Mullen

I have felt so torn lately.  So many plates to spin.  I have various areas of ministry I am involved in along with responsibility of being a homemaker, daughter, mother, and wife.  I see other women who accomplish so much and think, “When do they have time to surf Pinterest too?”  Anytime I stop focusing on one aspect, another falls apart; hence the pile of clothes in the laundry room.  Sometimes I get caught up in trying to be a Proverbs 31 Woman with a Martha Mentality. 

When reading the Proverbs 31 Woman’s to-do-list, I feel exhausted, but by some supernatural power she is able to accomplish it!  Then when I read the story of Mary and Martha I honestly feel for Martha. No matter how hard she tries, she feels that her work is never going to be done.  What’s more, it seems to me that Mary gets off easy and the other two women are doing all the work!

Haven’t you felt that way before?   You clean your one room and move to the next, then you turn around to see that the first room is destroyed? When this happens to me, it’s like a scene from a horror film.  I am shocked that everything has been destroyed in the blink of an eye.

So what is the difference between Martha and the Proverbs 31 Woman?  Here are some of my observations:

1) Martha had her eyes on everyone else.  You will NEVER have peace when you are worried about what others think. Martha started comparing herself to Mary.  She saw that Mary was just sitting around doing “nothing”.  When reading Proverbs 31, I see a woman who knows the task at hand and makes a plan.  She doesn’t have time to focus on others and seems so confident in herself that she doesn’t have the need to.  The only time she is compared to other women is when her husband and children praise her saying, “Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!” (Proverbs 31:29 MSG)  Isn’t that what matters?… Not what you think about yourself compared to other women, but what your family thinks about you. 

2) Martha’s focus was on duty instead of devotion:  When reading Martha’s demand, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”(Luke 10:40) I see that Martha’s motives may not have been for the glory of the her Master, but for the sake of duty.  When I read Proverbs 31, it comes across to me as if the Woman had been given a task and she had joyfully accepted it.  You can tell that she took pride in her life’s work and did not begrudge it.  Her sense of hospitality is a stark contrast to Martha’s.  Instead of getting flustered when people show up at her door, “she opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” (Proverbs 31:20)  (I have so much to learn!)

3)  Martha’s goal was affirmation: We all like to be affirmed.  Don’t you wish that someone would give you applause after changing each diaper or emptying the dishwasher?  The truth is, the daily grind of being a housewife is, for the most part, a thankless job.  That is what Martha struggled with, and I don’t blame her!    In contrast, after a lifetime of not seeking affirmation, the Proverbs 31 Woman receives it, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” (Proverbs 31: 30-31)

The key in both stories is that the “woman who fears the LORD will be praised”.  Both the Proverbs 31 Woman and Mary were praised!  It is not about all the work that you do for your family or for a ministry,  it is about your heart.  If your heart is not right, you quit being the Proverbs 31 Woman and become Martha! Do not be so busy that you forget to be still! 

  • When you have your eyes on everyone else…seek the LORD to confirm your task and give you strength. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
  • When you begin to focus on duty instead of devotion…seek the LORD and recommit the works of your hands to Him. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”Colosians 3:23
  • When you seek affirmation from others…seek the favor of the LORD. “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck,write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3: 3-4

When you seek the LORD, you will be like the Proverbs 31 Woman and have the supernatural power able to accomplish your to-do-list!  Or you may be called to be Mary, and let some things go because as the Jesus said, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.”  It is in these quiet times that we can decipher between the two.

Related Article: I am a Work in Progress