Saturday, October 30, 2010

day 288: apple dip

This dip is simple to whip up and has a caramely-cream cheese taste. I like it better than caramel with apples. It is also good with other fruits.

I always just “wing” it with this dip, but I estimate the following measurements.

2 bars cream cheese

1 to 2 cups brown sugar

1 to 2 tsp vanilla


Friday, October 29, 2010

day 287: make a fall goodie tray for the family or other fall get-together

I have a divided basket that has eight wells around the outside and two in the middle of it. I love to do seasonal type of things in this basket for our family as well as for get-togethers.

This weekend I did a fall one. Here is what I put in mine:

Middle: apple dip (recipe to follow)

Middle: chocolate chip “cheese ball” (recipe to follow)

Outside: apples, grapes, mixed nuts, peanuts, candy pumpkins, candy corn, Teddy grahams, mini vanilla wafers

I put the apples, grapes, mixed nuts, and peanuts on the side (end) with the apple dip.

I put the candy pumpkins, candy corn, Teddy grahams, and mini vanilla wafers on the side (end) with the chocolate chip cheese ball.

This is a great carry-in for finger food get-togethers, and there is something for kids of all ages if taken to a youth or gathering with children.

I’ll give you some ideas for a Christmas one later. If you do not have divided basket with plastic liner, any type of veggie tray will also work (though might have fewer “wells”).

Have a fun fall!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

day 286: character quality links

I have been talking about praising your children with character names and terms. Yesterday I shared 100 Character Qualities and Defintitions. Below you will find links to some character training sites--many with qualities, definitions, Scriptures, etc. and some with action steps to help you teach character.


49 Character Qualities with Definitions and Action Steps:

Character That Counts--100 qualities, definitions, character ministry and materials---

Character Qualities for Leaders--with questions and verses:

Dozens of character qualities with links to dictionary defintitions--cool site~!

Teaching character in the home:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

day 285: 100 character qualities

There are many good sites listing character qualities and their defintitions. Today I will give you one hundred character qualities from "Character That Counts." More links (with definitions and action steps!) will follow tomorrow. The site that has these listed as given below is

If you are not in the habit of praising your children for good character (or calling them "character names"--see yesterday), I encourage you to do so. Having good character is something that is within our children's control--and something that we want to challenge them in. They will be better siblings, friends, spouses, parents, workers, ministers--everything--if they build positive character into their lives. Yep, character training--just another of the many jobs we parents have! :)


ALERTNESS: Being keenly aware of the events taking place around me so that I can have the right responses to them.

ATTENTIVENESS: Showing the worth of a person or task by giving my undivided concentration.

AVAILABILITY: Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I serve.

BENEVOLENCE: Giving to others’ basic needs without expectations of personal reward.

BOLDNESS: Demonstrating the confidence and courage that doing what is right will bring ultimate victory regardless of present opposition.

BREADTH: Having depth and broadness, in words and deeds, within the heart and mind.

BROTHERLINESS: Exhibiting a kinship and disposition to render help because of a relationship.

CANDOR: Speaking the truth at the time when the truth should be spoken. This is done through openness, fairness and sincerity.

CAUTION: Knowing to be alert and prudent in a hazardous or dangerous situation.

CHEERFUL: Expressing encouragement, approval and/or congratulations at the proper time.

CHIVALRY: Protecting the weak, the suffering and the neglected by maintaining justice and rightness.

COMMITMENT: Devoting myself to following up on my words (promises, pledges or vows) with action.

COMPASSION: Investing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others by the willingness to bear their pain.

CONFIDENCE: Placing full trust and belief in the reliability of a person or thing.

CONSISTENCY: Following constantly the same principles, course or form in all circumstances; holding together.

CONTENTMENT: Accepting myself as God created me with my gifts, talents, abilities and opportunities.

COURAGE: Fulfilling my responsibilities and standing up for convictions in spite of being afraid.

CREATIVITY: Approaching a need, a task or an idea from a new perspective.

DECISIVENESS: Learning to finalize difficult decisions on the basis of what is right, not popular or tempting.

DEFERENCE: Limiting my freedom to speak and act in order to not offend the tastes of others.

DEPENDABILITY: Fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice.

DETERMINATION: Working intently to accomplish goals regardless of the opposition.

DILIGENCE: Visualizing each task as a special assignment and using all my energies to accomplish it.

DISCERNMENT: Seeking to use intuitive ability to judge situations and people; understanding why things happen to me and others.

DISCIPLINE: Receiving instruction and correction in a positive way; maintaining and enforcing proper conduct in accordance with the guidelines and rules.

DISCRETION: Recognizing and avoiding words, actions and attitudes which could result in undesirable consequences.

ENDURANCE: Exercising inward strength to withstand stress and do my best in managing what occurs in my life.

ENTHUSIASM: Expressing lively, absorbing interest in each task as I give it my best effort.

FAIRNESS (EQUITY): Looking at a decision from the viewpoint of each person involved.

FAITH: Developing an unshakable confidence in God and acting upon it.

FAITHFULNESS: Being thorough in the performance of my duties; being true to my words, promises and vows.

FEAR OF THE LORD: Having a sense of awe and respect for Almighty God which goes above and beyond anyone else or anything.

FIRMNESS: Exerting a tenacity of will with strength and resoluteness. A willingness to run counter to the traditions and fashions of the world.

FLEXIBILITY: Learning how to cheerfully change plans when unexpected conditions require it.

FORGIVENESS: Clearing the record of those who have wronged me and not holding their past offenses against them.

FRIENDSHIP: Coming alongside another person for mutual support and encouragement.

GENEROSITY: Realizing that all I have (time, talents and treasures) belongs to God and freely giving of these to benefit others.

GENTLENESS: Learning to respond to needs with kindness, personal care and love.

GLADNESS: Abounding in joy, jubilation and cheerfulness.

GOAL-ORIENTED: Achieving maximum results toward the area where my effort is directed.

GOODNESS: Having moral excellence and a virtuous lifestyle; a general quality of proper conduct.

GRATEFULNESS: Making known to others by my words and actions how they have benefited my life.

GREATNESS: Demonstrating an extraordinary capacity for achievement.

HOLINESS: Having no blemish or stain. Being whole with no trace of regret or remorse.

HONESTY: Proclaiming the truth with sincerity and frankness in all situations.

HONOR: Respecting those in leadership because of the higher authorities they represent.

HOPE: Feeling that my deepest desire will be realized and that events will turn out for the best.

HOSPITALITY: Sharing cheerfully food, shelter and my life with those whom I come in contact.

HUMILITY: Seeing the contrast between what is perfect and my inability to achieve that perfection.

INDIGNATION: Channeling the driving passion of righteous anger without sinning.

INITIATIVE: Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it.

INTEGRITY: Being whole and complete in moral and ethical principles.

JOYFULNESS: Knowing how to be pleasant regardless of the outside circumstances which ultimately lifts the spirits of others.

JUSTICE: Taking personal responsibility to uphold what is pure, right and true.

KINDNESS: Demonstrating a gentle, sympathetic attitude towards others.

KNOWLEDGE: Becoming acquainted with facts, truths or principles through study and investigation.

LEADERSHIP: Guiding others toward a positive conclusion.

LOVE: Having a deep personal attachment and affection for another person.

LOYALTY: Using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to others or to what is right.

MEEKNESS: Yielding my power, personal rights and expectations humbly with a desire to serve.

NARROWNESS: Staying within established boundaries and limits.

OBEDIENCE: Fulfilling instructions so that the one I am serving will be fully satisfied and pleased.

OPTIMISM: Endeavoring to see all the possibilities and capacities of the human heart; confident, hopeful and never doubtful.

ORDERLINESS: Learning to organize and care for personal possessions to achieve greater efficiency.

ORIGINALITY: Creating “new” thinking, ideas and expanding truths from an independent viewpoint.

PASSIONATE: Having an intense, powerful or compelling emotion and feelings towards others or something.

PATIENCE: Accepting difficult situations and without demanding a deadline to remove it.

PEACEFULNESS: Being at rest with myself and others.

PERSUASIVENESS: Guiding another’s mental roadblocks by using words which cause the listener’s spirit to confirm the spoken truth.

POISE: Being totally balanced in mind, body and spirit.

PRAYERFUL: Communing with God spiritually through adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.

PROSPERITY: Flourishing or being successful, especially pertaining to financial issues.

PRUDENCE: Exhibiting caution, humbleness and wisdom in regards to practical matters.

PUNCTUALITY: Showing respect for other people by respectfully using the limited time they have.

PURE SPEECH: Speaking words that are clean, spotless and without blemish.

PURITY: Freeing yourself from anything that contaminates or adulterates.

PURPOSEFUL: Exercising determination to stay on track until the goal is achieved.

REASONABLENESS: Having a sound mind by being level headed, sane and demonstrating common sense.

RESOURCEFULNESS: Using wisely that which others would normally overlook or discard.

RESPECT: Honoring and esteeming another person due to deep admiration.

RESPONSIBILITY: Knowing and doing what is expected from me.

REVERENCE: Learning to give honor where it is due and to respect the possessions and property of others.

RIGHTEOUSNESS: Acting in a moral and upright way that honors God, regardless of who is watching.

SECURITY: Structuring my life around what is eternal and cannot be destroyed or taken away.

SELF-CONTROL: Bringing my thoughts, words, actions and attitudes into constant obedience in order to benefit others.

SENSITIVITY: Being aware and attentive to the true attitudes and emotional needs of those around me.

SERVANTHOOD: Caring for and meeting the needs of others before caring for myself.

SINCERITY: Endeavoring to do what is right, without ulterior motives.

STEWARDSHIP: Administering and managing personal and financial affairs effectively.

TEACHABILITY: Demonstrating a willingness to learn or be trained without any reservations or hindrances.

THANKFULNESS: Expressing deep gratitude and appreciation to people and to God.

THOROUGHNESS: Executing something perfectly with the realization that each of my tasks will be reviewed.

THOUGHTFULNESS: Showing consideration for others through acts of kindness and/or words.

THRIFTINESS: Preventing not letting myself or others spend that which is not necessary.

TOLERANCE: Learning to accept others as valuable individuals regardless of their maturity.

TRANSPARENCY: Allowing others to shine a light on my life for the purpose of being accountable.

TRUTHFULNESS: Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts.

TRUST or TRUSTWORTHY: Believing completely and totally in someone or something.

UNDERSTANDING: Exhibiting strong intelligence and a sound mind in comprehending and discerning matters.

VIRTUE: Learning to build personal moral standards which will cause others to desire a greater moral life.

VISIONARY: Dreaming not inhibited by the unknown. Looking beyond problems by creating successful solutions.

VULNERABILITY: Being open to receive constructive criticism and guidance.

WISDOM: Learning to see and respond correctly to life situations with keen judgment; the application of knowledge.

WORSHIP: Honoring God reverently.

Adapted from several sources including “Institute in Basic Conflicts” by Bruce Bickel; Character First! program and “The Character of Jesus” by Charles Edward Jefferson.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

day 283: affirming your kids with character “names” and a thousand watt smile

“Words have set whole nations in motion…Give me the right word….and I will move the world.” Joseph Conrad

Over twenty years ago I had a friend who would call her kids whatever character quality they were working on---Miss Responsible, Mr. Helpful, etc. I remember thinking that it was corny at the time—but after several more years of parenting/character training, I found myself doing the same thing—plus!

My normal greeting to my kids often involves something about them—Sweet Girl, Awesome Son, Princess of the Twenty-Year Olds, etc. My daughter even put her phone number in my phone with her pic and the words Kara, Your Amazing Daughter. One of our sons followed suit with Josiah, Your Awesome Son. Yeah…I think my kids are pretty neato!

Additionally, I picked up the habit of calling or affirming my kids with character qualities. Some days it took some work to come up with a quality (“Umm, how’s my Little Mr. ….um…um…Resourceful?”). Other times it was easy…”You are so helpful and diligent today. Thank-you so much!”

Years ago I learned about the 1000 watt smile that will warm our kids’ hearts—the smile that we give them when they walk into the room; the smile that tells them we are so happy they are there; the smile that communicates how glad we are to be their mom or dad; the smile that shows them that we are thrilled that they are in the same room we are in!

Combine the 1000 watt smile with affirming greetings (character based or just “sweet kid” based)—and you have the makings of a loved child with a warm heart who feels his emotions and thoughts are safe with Mom and Dad.

Note: Tomorrow I will give a list of character qualities AND links to definitions for them to get you started in character-calling!

Monday, October 25, 2010

day 282: be sure you are punishing for the most important things—character vs willfulness example

The scene was a familiar one. The people in the booth next to us had an undisciplined three-year-old—and the parents spent the entire evening focusing on the least important thing while ignoring the most important things.

Here is the scenario:

Child and parents sit down. Child yells to parent, “Move over, Bucko!” in a harsh, disrespectful, and loud tone.

Dad: “Are we inside or outside?”

Child, again in harsh, disrespectful tone: “Inside!”

Dad: “That’s right. So we need to use our inside voice.”

Child: “Okay, Bucko” in softer voice but still with disrespectful tone.

The entire meal was filled with a wild three year old telling his parents what to do and what he wanted in a rude, disrespectful INSIDE voice (with the parents occasionally reminding the child that they were inside and needed to use the inside voice).

The problem: Going back to our childishness vs willfulness posts from earlier this year ( ), we see that there was a “surface” problem going on—the child speaking too loudly for inside (which is something that needs corrected and trained, but definitely not the most important thing)—the “inside voice.” And we see the big problem—disrespect and disobedience.

We call the inside voice a character issue—children are children and do childish things. They run, they jump, they shout, they giggle, they spill, they forget…and we work day in and day out to “train” them in godly character to grow out of those behaviors (some of them—many of them are, after all, cute, so we don’t want to eliminate all of them…just the unsavory ones! ).

The disobedience and disrespect are the real culprits in this scenario. They are the things that are from the heart. Calling Dad “Bucko” and answering him like he was the family dog are signs of darkness in a heart—signs that the child has not learned how important it is to respect and honor his dad, signs that he is putting himself in the position of number one (and “I will do whatever I want to do!!!”), signs that his heart has not been trained in obedience, respect, honor, and more.

The moral of this story? Train the character issues in your children as they grow up. Teach them to use an inside voice inside. Teach them not to run in church. Teach them to share with others.

But don’t let the “childishness” issues cloud the heart issues! Do not overlook the training and punishment that are needed to teach a young child to obey and honor his authorities.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

day 281: another favorite freezer recipe—sloppy joes

I have been trying to post recipes, especially freezer recipes, on the weekends—anything that will help our families run more smoothly and have more time for training and relationships is a go here at PP 365!!!

One of my long-term, simply-Simon recipes is my sloppy joes. “Sloppies,” as we call them, are simple to make in bulk, freeze well (and easily in quart sized zip locks—though we used to use gallon ones!), are liked by many, and are excellent for large group gatherings. As a matter of fact, Ray and Josiah just made twenty pounds of it yesterday—half for our freezer and half for a surprise birthday party for four kids in our field trip group (about sixty total people were fed). That's another beauty of having your recipes organized like you see here---when I have to work, someone else can cook if the instructions are clearly laid out for them.

I will post it doubled, tripled, and then ten-timed—that is what Josiah and Ray used. We almost always use minced onion nowadays, but the fresh onion measurement is in the recipe (convert on the back of your minced onion can). We like to cook this long and slow and cook it down well. For the ten times recipe, it works better in two HUGE pans, so you have room to stir and cook off the juice. This is a sweet sloppy—which is how we like ours. You could reduce the sugars, if desired.

Happy cooking!

Sloppy Joes -- Double serves 16


4 Pound Ground Beef

1 1/2 Each Onion finely chopped

4 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar

4 Tablespoon Mustard

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder

16 Ounce Tomato Sauce

4 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

4 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

4 Tablespoon Sugar May use Splenda

2 Teaspoon Salt

4 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 Cup Water May use more as needed



1. Brown meat and drain. (If browning large amounts of meat together for

several dishes, remember that 2 1/2 cups fried and drained meat is

equivalent to 1 lb raw meat.)

2. Combine all ingredients and simmer for one to two hours on medium heat

until liquid is absorbed and flavors are well mixed--stir often.

3. Cool until able to be handled before freezing.

4. Freeze in 1 quart or 1 gallon sized bag.

5. Prepare labels:

Sloppy Joes Date:

To use: Thaw. Heat and serve. (Fully cooked.)

2+ lbs or nearly 3 cups cooked

Serves 8.

Sloppy Joes -- Triple serves 24


6 Pound Ground Beef

2 1/4 Each Onion finely chopped

6 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar

6 Tablespoon Mustard

1 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder

24 Ounce Tomato Sauce

6 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

6 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

6 Tablespoon Sugar May use Splenda

3 Teaspoon Salt

6 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

3/4 Cup Water May use more as needed



1. Brown meat and drain. (If browning large amounts of meat together for

several dishes, remember that 2 1/2 cups fried and drained meat is

equivalent to 1 lb raw meat.)

2. Combine all ingredients and simmer for one to two hours on medium heat

until liquid is absorbed and flavors are well mixed--stir often.

3. Cool until able to be handled before freezing.

4. Freeze in 1 quart or 1 gallon sized bag.

5. Prepare labels:

Sloppy Joes Date:

To use: Thaw. Heat and serve. (Fully cooked.)

2+ lbs or nearly 3 cups cooked

Serves 8.

Sloppy Joes -- X 10 serves 80


20 Pound Ground Beef

7 1/2 Each Onion finely chopped

20 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar

20 Tablespoon Mustard

5 Teaspoon Chili Powder

80 Ounce Tomato Sauce

20 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

20 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

20 Tablespoon Sugar May use Splenda

10 Teaspoon Salt

20 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

2 1/2 Cup Water May use more as needed



1. Brown meat and drain. (If browning large amounts of meat together for

several dishes, remember that 2 1/2 cups fried and drained meat is

equivalent to 1 lb raw meat.)

2. Combine all ingredients and simmer for one to two hours on medium heat

until liquid is absorbed and flavors are well mixed--stir often.

3. Cool until able to be handled before freezing.

4. Freeze in 1 quart or 1 gallon sized bag.

5. Prepare labels:

Sloppy Joes Date:

To use: Thaw. Heat and serve. (Fully cooked.)

2+ lbs or nearly 3 cups cooked

Serves 8.



* Needed on Serving Day Appliance ........ Skillet

Recipe Category .. Beef Entrees

Printed by Advantage Cooking! 30 Day Gourmet Edition www.30DayGourmet.Com

day 280: educational dvd’s

One of the things that I have utilized more and more for my children in the past five years or so is educational dvd’s. I used to be extremely strict about kids “watching” things during the day. And I still am when it comes to entertainment videos. We have always taught our children that the day is for work and learning; and evenings (if our work is finished and we have time) can be used for relaxation. However, I have been using a huge library system in a nearby city (Fort Wayne, Indiana) and have been loving all of the educational videos they have.

I use them in different ways—assign two per week for Jakie for school; assign the boys to watch one any day that I am going to be gone much; let them choose to watch one during the day if their work is finished; etc.

I will share some that we have enjoyed below:

Elementary or younger kids—I have three favorites here, though there are many others such as Reading Rainbow, historical animated ones, etc.:

1. Magic Schoolbus—these are pure genius, in my opinion (as are the books). Kids are entertained while learning a ton. They are recommended for ages four to eight, but it is rare for my eleven year old to be watching one that one of us “olders” doesn’t stop to watch a bit too! Check them out at

2. Answers in Genesis creation science dvds for kids—I have reviewed Answers in Genesis materials earlier this year, but in addition to their outstanding books, they have awesome children’s dvds and lectures for older students. (What child doesn’t love to learn about dinosaurs??) I have reviewed these earlier this year as well. This is my number one educational video choice for three to ten year olds—Bible, history, etc. Extremely well done. I especially recommend the “Children’s DVD Pack.”,188.aspxNEST

3. NEST videos--see older post about this:

Middlers and older:

1. Answers in Genesis lectures and dvd’s—Your older kids will love Ken Ham’s accent—but it’s the content that you will be thrilled that they are getting. Answers in Genesis dvds can help you counteract all of the “evolution” teaching and references that abound. All dvds for this age:,190.aspx Ken Ham lectures:,4722,229.aspx

2. Drive Through History--- Extremely interesting way to learn more about US history!

3. Modern Marvels—the boys have recently gotten hooked on these programs (which I think are on television as well). Our library has a lot of these, and since they are educational, they are available for the same length of time as a book, so we always have several on our shelves for the boys to choose from when they want to watch something educational.