Potpourri:  any mixture, especially of unrelated objects, subjects

This entry is a different one … a combination of lots of things that don’t quite connect, other than they have to do with MOPS.

First of all … here is the book list from Danelle, our wonderful mentor who spoke at the first January meeting.

1) Favorite Bible Stories, Ken Taylor – excellent illustrations.
2) The One Year Everyday Devotions, Stephen Arterburn & Jesse Florea.
3) 3 in 1 (A Picture of God) – Joanne Marxhausen – about the Trinity.
4) The Holy Spirit in Me (Carolyn Nystrom).
5) The Pineapple Story (Institute in Basic Youth Conflics).
6) The True Story of Noah’s Ark (Tom Dooley) – excellent illustrations.
Next, some thoughts from Lucas Megrue (in case you missed them at the meeting)
Middle School (it’s all about change)
They want to be accepted for who they are and be heard.  They need to learn that their identity come from God and learn about His character.
How does knowing that someday you will have a middle schooler affect you NOW as a preschool mom?
What you can do now …
1) Be intentional.  Also relate everything back to God.  Talk to them about accepting Christ.
2) Discipline your child.  Your kids will have enough friends – be the parent.  Make sure to discipline them for sinning, not for being kids.
3) Slow down (activities).
4) Give age appropriate responsibilities.  Follow through.
5) Promote open communication by listening without judgement.  Show them unconditional love.
6) Know their friends.  Also teach them to interact positively with adults.
7) Parenting involves strategic planning and conversations.
Two challenging questions:
1) What is one thing you can do this week to encourage your child’s spiritual development?
2) What kind of person do you want to send out into the world?  That is how to focus your parenting.
One of Lucas’ volunteer youth leaders compiled this additional list.
the little list of parenting reminders
the do’s

• fill them up with God
• make them work hard
• let them make mistakes (and learn from them)
• talk up their character qualities (not just their achievements)
• give them opportunities to serve others
• teach them how to manage, save & give their money
• expect them to treat others with respect (especially the opposite sex)
• listen (more than you talk)
• welcome their friends into your home
• pray for them & with them about everything

the dont’s
• rescue them
• expect them to be perfect
• compare them to other students (or siblings)
• let their activities crowd out their quiet time with God
• fix all their problems (let them learn from them)
• make every conversation a lecture
• spoil them (make them wait on things or earn them)
• encourage them to “go out” with someone in middle school
• be a helicopter parent
• be afraid to say no to them
Recipes from “The Souper Bowl”
Our 2nd place winner: Jodi Hosier’s Chili

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

½ cup chopped celery

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 lbs lean ground beef(we use venison a lot)

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp hot pepper sauce

5 tbsp chili powder

2 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 – 15 ½ oz cans dark red kidney beans

2 – 1 qt jars of home canned tomatoes.  This would equal about 64 oz of stewed/canned tomatoes.


Saute onion, green pepper, celery and garlic until onion and celery are tender.  Set aside.

Saute ground beef until brown. Drain.

Put all ingredients in a large pot and simmer for 30 minutes.  Refrigerate overnight to let flavors mellow.  To serve, reheat!

Most of the time we just put it in crock pot to simmer for about 6 hours or so to eat that same day.


The new dessert recipe that I tried that night (from Gooseberry Patch)

Buckeye Brownies

19 1/2 oz. pkg. brownie mix

2 c. powdered sugar

1/2 c. + 6 T. butter

8 oz. jar creamy peanut butter (1 c.)

6 oz. pkg. chocolate chips (about 1 c.)

Prepare and bake brownie mix in a greased 13″x9″ baking pan according to package directions. Let cool. Mix powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter and peanut butter. Mix well and spread over cooled brownies. Chill for one hour. Melt together chocolate chips and remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Spread over brownies. Let cool; cut into squares.

Note from Gretchen: this is the original recipe.  When I make this next time, I plan on not using as much butter with the chocolate chips – I think 2-3 T. is plenty.  I also melted the chips in the microwave, rather than on the stovetop.   You could also use your favorite homemade brownie recipe for the base instead of a boxed mix.


Literacy (yesterday’s topic that was brought to us by Emily from the Lincoln Children’s Museum)

I thought that she had a lot of great ideas, but I was definitely wishing that she would have had more time to develop the practical points, rather than just the theoretical ones.  Here is what I came away with …

Literacy involves communication.  If you want your child to learn to use words, you need to be the one teaching them the words to say.  Even if you are not personally a reader, your child can learn to be one.  Surround your child with a wide variety of books including wordless ones (where they tell the story) and ones that become favorites (such as a book that tells the story of someone with your child’s name).  She showed us several books that were in her library – the one she highly recommended  is Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing by Judi (and Ronald) Barrett.

Personal notes from Gretchen:  Not much of a storyteller?  Take your kids to library story time or one of the free times at Barnes & Noble bookstore.  Indigo Bridge Books also has a special storytime and sometimes they read a book that corresponds with an animal from the zoo (who visits storytime).  You have probably noticed that I highly value books.  There are great books at the library, but some are just average or even poor.  She talked about the importance of good illustrations yesterday – I definitely agree.  Not sure what books to check out?  Ask your neighborhood librarian.  He/she can also point you the direction of some actual books that are full of recommended books for kids (such as Jim Trelease’s The Read Aloud Handbook).  I even started reading chapter books (such as Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and The Motorcycle series) when my kids were older preschoolers.  I definitely loved Emily’s point that the more your child is surrounded by books, the better they will have the tools to communicate later on.


Denise Savage sent on a great website with ideas on being an encouragement to moms with new babies.  Since we seem to have new babies fairly often at MOPS, I thought we could all benefit from some fresh ideas.  Note:  I have not looked at the rest of this mom’s site – I can only vouch for this entry.



And one last thing … my friend, Jodi, who graciously contributed ideas for every newsletter, also writes a blog.  She and her friend Faith traded off entries, and they did two excellent articles on marriage with some great insights.  I wanted to pass the link on to you to check these out as well.  Note: again, while I can vouch for Jodi, I have not read all of Faith’s entries.  I believe they are okay, but I am only able to recommend these 2: 13 Practical Tips for Sexual Love in Marriage, by Jodi Stilp and Faith’s “Forsaking All Others.”  She has a new entry on “Carnival” – the 2 entries I am recommending are the 2nd and 3rd blog entries.



Blessings on your week-end!  We enjoyed one family wedding last week-end and the other one isn’t for 3 weeks, so we may have a bit of breather this week-end (other than I do have one of two more showers to go to on Sunday) 🙂


2 thoughts on “Potpourri

  1. Faith Walter says:

    Hi! Thanks for the shout-out for Jodi and my blog posts on marriage. Jodi did an amazing job writing about sex in marriage, and I’m honored to be mentioned in the same breath as her here on your blog. All God’s best to the Lincoln MOPS group – may the Lord use you all to encourage and edify each other, for His glory! Take care.

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