Thursday, September 27, 2012

Free Shipping Weeks!

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Roy Disney

Teens everywhere are back to school.  Because they are spending much of their day with peers, it is important that your children (and t(w)eens you love) be armed with information to make healthy choices for sexual purity and safe social media use.
So, until October 12th, my co-author, Pam Stenzel, and I are offering FREE SHIPPING on both of our books with the code BACKTOSCHOOL. 

NOBODY TOLD ME (Regal Press, 2011) empowers students to choose abstinence until marriage.  Dealing with media influence, peer pressure, abuse, pregnancy, STDs, emotional heartache, AND recycled virginity,
this book - endorsed by Josh McDowell and Rebecca St. James - helps everyone choose God’s best from this day forward.

WHO’S IN YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK (Regal Press, 2012) encourages positive use of media, including social networking sites (Facebook, twitter, etc), television, music, movies, pornography, and gaming.
Since today's teens consume an average of 7.5 hours of media per day, media holds a lot of influence on their thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. This book provides students with the information and tools they need to effectively think through their media choices and glorify God in their use of it!
Both books are written in a fun social networking style (because that is how today’s teens like to communicate) with actual teens stories, questions, and comments.  The successes and failures of their own peers combined with our words will help them choose wisely so that they can experience God’s protection today and His very best after saying, “I do.” 

After all, all of these choices influence their character and as Pam always says, "Opposites may attract when it comes to personality, but opposites NEVER attract when it comes to character."  They need to know how to walk with God as a person of integrity now in order to attract a Godly spouse later. 
Take advantage of the free shipping deal and order Nobody Told Me and Who's In Your Social Network for the children 12 and up you love.  Read it with them and have great conversation... or think early for Christmas :)

And, while you’re at it, you can bring my awesome co-author to speak LIVE at your school or church event.  Take a listen in to part of her intro at faith-based events before getting into the "meaty stuff"…

PAM STENZEL: God Let's You Choose from thepamstenzel on GodTube.

(She has a public school talk as well)
Pam’s obviously an amazing full time speaker so her schedule is filling quickly.  There is no one like her so candidly sharing the physical, emotional, and spiritual risks with such a fun blend of humor mixed in. Call Colin at 303-888-6876 for booking information.  Your kids will love her.  I promise :)

When the student your love knows right from wrong and believes God’s boundaries are for their benefit, standing strong is made not only possible, but desirable.

Help them stand firm with our fun-to-read, informative books!

*The Free Shipping code is good through Oct 12, 2012.  It is applicable for anyone in the continental United States*

Shared at The Better Mom, She Shares, SUYL, Titus 2sdays, Wise Woman

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marriage Shouldn't Be About Taking Each Other For Granted, But Making Each Other's Presence Sweeter

It caught me by surprise. 

“Look what dad has in his wallet, mommy.”
My junior year class photo. {Don’t judge! Styles have changed!}

On the back I’d written, “I’m glad I got to know you.  You’re a great friend.”
Quite honestly, I couldn’t believe he still had it.  That was literally half our life ago. 

When those pictures were taken, we'd recently met inside the big red doors of Mr. Swanson's ad room.
Towards the end of the year that handsome brown eyed boy would ask me to be his girlfriend.  Obviously, I said “yes."

During those days, we sought to impress one another.  Individually, we prayed and focused on developing personal character.  Together, we practiced good manners, honored healthy boundaries, encouraged each other in achieving life goals, and grew closer to the Lord in communal worship.
The summer before our senior year of college that amazing young man would ask me to be his bride and one year later I said “I do” to the man of my dreams.

Now that we’ve celebrated 11 years of marriage
(we took an over night getaway to the Twins game)
I look back at this school picture that my hubby still carries and God has reminded me never to take each other for granted.
You see, after saying those two tiny words you’ve committed.  You know that the other has covenanted to be present with you through thick and thin.  You know that the other will wake up next to you in the morning and snuggle next to you at night.  You will be there together.  Always.

And sometimes the person that you worked to be your best for in your dating years becomes the easiest person to take for granted.  They are the “safest” person to release your verbal frustration to and unload your lesser attractive side with.
While it is right to be able to be real and honest with your spouse, it is wrong to sacrifice being your best person for them.

A chord of three strands requires loving, honoring, and showing one another praise. 
Particularly in a tough world where bills can be stressors, kids can push you to your wits end, and the demands of life can spread us thin.

So when my husband said, “Thank you for checking with my mom to watch the girls that day.  It really helped with my work schedule” yesterday and “I’m going in late today since you were up with the baby all night.  I wanted to make things easier on you” this morning, I was almost teary.
It is simple praise that breathes life into us, is it not?  Knowing that we are seen, our feelings are known, and that we are valued by the other.

And I strive to do the same for him.
As the head of the household, he strives to meet personal goals in the workplace.  I know you can do it,” I tell him as we prepare supper.  I love you in a whole new way when I watch you with the kids,” I say as he dances with our girls who excitedly proclaim, “Be my prince.”  You’re an amazing husband,” I whisper in heartfelt thanks for adjusting his life so that I can get a little sleep today, with an added, “I appreciate your hard work for our family” on his way out the door.

Simple words that make a world of difference. 
Praise words like we intentionally gifted each other with when we handed each other those school pictures are the very same words we should still fill each other with now in God’s beautiful gift of marriage.


Encouraging one another just like the Lord does for us.
We aren't perfect and we will miss opportunities and have less-than-flattering moments, but we can be purposeful in showing our appreciation for each another.
Because marriage shouldn't be about taking each other's presence for granted, but making each other’s presence sweeter. 

Don't forget to praise your best friend today.

Shared at Revive Your Marriage, Wise Woman

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice No-Bake Cheesecake

This week the temperatures have dropped. The windows have been opened.  And, the fall drinks have returned to Starbucks.  These are three very positive things in my world, which has been filled with controlled chaos lately.  Between Hannah starting school, dance and Sunday School resuming, two birthday parties, two class school treats to prepare, volunteering, and having my first rummage all in the last two weeks I’ve simply focused on what needs to happen next.  I’m anxious to get you another spirit filled post and God is working a message in my heart, but in the meantime I HAD to share with you this fall recipe because in true Melissa fashion I volunteered to bring dessert to bible study tonight.

What’s one more thing? J

I’m a sucker for cheesecake and this recipe is quick, simple, and all things good.

Modified from Gina's skinny recipes
I found the original pumpkin spice recipe on pinterest and switched the crust style (to chocolate crust) and added mini chocolate chips on the top, hence the chocolate chip pumpkin spice no-bake cheesecake name.  Life is just better with chocolate, amen?!

To make it you will need:
7oz 1/3 less fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup brown sugar, unpacked
8 oz Cool Whip Free, thawed
9 inch Chocolate Pie Crust
Mini chocolate chips

Cooking Instructions:
Whip the cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar in an electric mixer for a few minutes until fluffy. Then, add in the Cool Whip and whip once again until the mixture is smooth.  Spoon the mixture into the chocolate pie crust and put it in the fridge until it’s firm.

Now, lick off all the remaining mixture from your beaters and the bowl because it’s too good throw in the sink. J
I’m sure modifying the recipe with the addition of chocolate took away from some of the original recipe’s health value, but when it comes to cheesecake, I say “go big or stay home.”

I hope this makes your taste buds as happy as it made mine!  Welcome, fall!

Shared at Six Sisters Stuff, Wise Woman

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's A Pajama Party

The nice thing about having girls, particularly girls that are planners, is that I never have to figure out birthday party themes.  They always have ideas and for nearly a year they've been telling me they wanted a pajama themed birthday. 

So, I made some invites


And on Saturday the big day arrived.

When they did, we started off with a game of telephone

Because who doesn't like whispering to friends in their jammies. :)

It was also a great way to break the ice and get friends from different schools and activities talking with one another.

Once everyone was here, we had a donut chomp.  The object was to be the fastest person to eat your suspended donut

(Yes, those are my hubby's Mario PJ pants & Homer slippers.  The kids thought he was uber cool!)

Without using your hands.

Grace won in 18 seconds time.

After that they at cake and ice cream.  The girls wanted me to make cupcakes so I molded starbursts into pillow shapes and put the guests initials on them.

Once their bellies were full, we played musical pillows.

And then burned off a little more energy with sleeping bag races.

Before their friends left, they gifted them with fun pajama themed party favors.


The kids had a great time

And the birthday girls were all smiles.

It turns out a pajama theme is lots of fun PLUS it gives everyone an excuse for a pajama day. :)  What a great way to celebrate!

Shared at Raising Homemakers, Six Sisters Stuff

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

And She's Off

Dear sweet Hannah,

Today you strapped on your backpack and were off without a hint of hesitation
for your first ever day of school.
I anticipated that you'd be this way.  In your mind, you're just as old as Grace is so each time she's headed out the door you've asked when you will have your own school.
The day is here and you're ready to take on the world.
I love that about you. 

You’re a smart girl, Hannah banana, with confident spunk and a fun flare for life.  We can’t wait to watch you discover your God-given gifts in your own class with your own projects and your own successes.  And, because we've seen firsthand the creativity and excitement experienced in the classroom today truly brings us as much joy as it does you. 

You will thrive!
Know that even when you are apart from us, our heart is with you.  We love you so much. 

Our earnest prayer is that you will always be a spunky God girl. When new friends quickly find way into your self-assured, joy-filled world, radiate Whose you are.
Because your electric personality has the potential to be a huge witness in the Kingdom.

Have fun, sweetheart!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries

If your life has been anything like mine, adjusting back into the fall/school routine has seemingly left you with less time than you are used to in your day.  And, if you have to prepare something for a Labor Day gathering tomorrow maybe you are wondering what you can possibly make on the fly. 

My new favorite bite-sized healthy treat to the rescue!

Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries

Slightly adapted from WeightWatchers

Yep, they're even healthy!

1 Weight Watchers point to be exact.

You only need four ingredients and a few minutes to whip this heavenly treat together and you will love every bite.

1 lb large strawberries
4oz low fat cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make them simply:
*wash your strawberries and cut the "green side" flat, making it easy to stand them up.  Cut a V-shape into the pointed end.
*Use an electric mixer to mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
*Fill each strawberry

Hint: I put the filling in a bag & cut the corner tip off.  This makes it easy to load the strawberries. :)

And eat!

The Weight Watchers site leaves the greens on rather than cutting them but I didn't think they would stand as well, plus it would require an extra "cut the green off" step before you could eat the dessert.  WW also suggests putting the chopped strawberry tips back into the cream cheese filling, but I prefer to let the cheesecake taste stand on its own.

Now you have something that all your loved ones - young to old, health conscious to just likes good food - can enjoy in only a few minutes time! 

Enjoy your holiday!

Shared at Titus 2sDays, Raising Homemakers, Craftionary, Six Sisters Stuff
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