RaisingRices Artisan Bread “Jesus Bread”

If you guys have been following RaisingRices on Facebook or Instagram @RaisingRices, you would have seen our “Jesus Bread.” This artisan bread has been a staple in our home. In fact we make this bread at least twice a week (and sometimes more!)

This is our favorite bread to use as communion bread. When Darren leads our family through communion (as well as others that have come into our household), the fresh artisan round loaf been torn in two leaves such a visual reminder to our household of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross.

We use this bread at our sabbath communion we do every Saturday (stay tune in the summer we are going to bake the bread out camping in a dutch oven, can’t wait!) We also do communion together at our in home worship nights, and when we have other biblical community families over throughout the week. Our church family once a month gather during our regular schedule service time to share a meal together; and this last month the theme was soup and our family baked and brought 6 loafs to share. (Not only were they all eaten but it was SUPER simple and such a blessing.)

Lastly, one other of our staples in the Rice family during the week is on Thursday we do homemade soup and fresh made artisan bread. This staple is a life-saver, because on Thursday our three older kids do a Karate Class down the street (it is called KICKS karate school, ran by this amazing Christian couple, we feel so blessed by the class). But, we are all out of the house until past dinner time, so when we get home the family is hungry, and dinner is on the table in 2 seconds flat.

I can’t wait to share with you all these SUPER EASY recipe! Darren and I have mortified this recipe into our own and are so excited to share with you all! We pray that as you make-bake-eat-share this bread that you would also be reminded of the John 6:35

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Here is the RaisingRices Artisan Bread Recipe:

One of the reasons this recipe is SO SUPER EASY is because it is a NO-KNEAD bread!

Ingredients:

3 Cups all-purpose flour (you will also need an additional about 1/4 cups when you transfer into your baking dish)

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups of WARM water (we usually pour 1 1/2 cups of water in and then mix and if we need more of a cement like texture then we add the rest, see picture below)

Directions:

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and say. Then add water and stir until blended. The texture will be super sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 18 hours, at room tempter for best results. (We have done it in less time by resting in our oven on bread proof setting, rested about 10-12 hours there, but waiting the 18hr makes a great texture, so plan ahead the day before).

Dough is read when it is surface has bubble dots on the surface.

Lightly flour your counter (with the addition 1/4 cup of flour), take the dough out of the bowl and on counter, fold dough over 3 to 4 times tucking in the round ball to smooth on top. Then gentle pick up the dough ball and put in cooking container. (You want to find something that has a lid, like a dutch oven for example.) Once you put the dough in let it sit for another 2 hours at room temperature.

Preheat oven for 450 degrees

Bake for 30 minutes covered. Then uncover and bake for 4-6 more minutes (this will allow the top to brown).

Let rest for at least 10 minutes to allow for easier cutting. And ENJOY!

For you visual learners out there, here is a play-by-play below 🙂

(at the very end we have options for variations on the original artisan flavor.)

I priced out how much it would be to buy an organic artisan bread for a local grocery store (New Seasons) and it would cost anywhere from $6.00 to $8:00 dollars! Darren and I even with buying organic flour (we buy it in bulk at costco, along with the yeast and salt) that we can make each loaf for around $1.00 dollar!!!

We like to combine all the dry ingredients in a large glass bowl, this helps to have room to mix when the water gets poured in.

This is the sticky part when we combine the water, make sure to use WARM water! It does make a difference! (remember that too hot of water will kill the yeast though, so just warm.)

We bought this tool just recently, it is a bread mixer, and it is nice! We were using wooden spoons before (which still work great) but the dough doesn’t stick as bad to this tool.

Mix, Mix, Mix 🙂

This is the texture you are looking for, but this recipe is pretty forgiving, however we would lean towards more wet then dry, because you will be adding more flour when you fold it into a ball.

Cover with plastic wrap, OR a towel. Let it rest! I know I am a bit A type personality but we have a bread making schedule that helps me remember to make the artisan bread to rest the day before. 🙂

After resting for 18 hours (we like to do ours overnight) you can see it all rises and has bubbles.

This is when you scoop it out with your hand and place it on the extra flour, give it a few turns to put it into a ball, making the top look smooth; this will give you a smoother surface on top 🙂

Then place into your bake pan with (looking for a baking pan that has a lid).  We have used dutch ovens before but our go to is Bon Cook (used to be called Demarle) glass silicon large round mold withe lid.

Here is after we have place the ball into our baking dish and waited another 2 hours, you can see it rises again to make it fluffy and ready to bake.

Remember to take off the lid after 30 mins and bake for another 4-6 to get nice and brown on top 🙂

Eat and Enjoy! Share with Others! Invite them into your home! Share Communion with others, “do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:24)

Variations 🙂

(these are to your personal taste, so try and have fun)

  • Cinnamon and Raisin (Darren loves to make this one for the kids for breakfast, with peanut butter on it 🙂 about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/3 cup of raisins)
  • Rosemary and Garlic (Great for dinner bread, about 1/2 teaspoon of Rosemary and 1/4 Garlic.)
  • Cheese and Herb (herb blend about 1/2 teaspoon, about 1/4 garlic, and add about 1 cup shredded cheese on top of bread. Just before baking brush on beaten egg to glaze and then add cheese.
  • Other ideas: Kalamata Olives, Roasted Garlic, Sun-dried Tomatoes or Nuts and Dried Fruit)
  • Also experiment with flavored butters YUM!!
  • This is our favorite bread for crunch grilled cheese sandwiches and soup, double YUM!
  • Darren and I love this bread with a yummy bruschetta on top!!! I am getting hungry just talking about it!

POST ANY PICTURES IN THE COMMENTS WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOUR CREATIONS!!!

Remember to follow us on Pinterest, Facebook and on Instagram @RaisingRices

Discernment and Brownies

Discernment and Brownies

The word discernment has been on my mind, heart, and lips a lot recently as I have been encouraging those around me and are teaching my kids about this KEY element to our daily lives. I used to believe that discernment meant just being wise and not letting others persuade me with things that are obviously not of God. The Dictionary simply states, “the ability to judge well.” HOWEVER, there is nothing simple about discernment.

One thing I think we forget (and is imperative to teach our kids about), is that when is comes to the need for discernment usually it is because something seems like it could be right.

Let’s think back to the Garden Eden way back in Genesis. What did satan say to tempt Eve? Lets look:

Genesis 3:1-6

The Fall of Man

      Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Did satan just come straight out and say to Eve, “Go on, eat it!”? NO! Why? Because that would be obvious, and Eve would have sniffed that temptation right out with ease. The first step in her deception was the DISTORTING of God’s word. See instead of saying, “Go on, just eat it,” his first step was to have her question the truthfulness of God’s word, to question HIS authority! God is the SOLE AUTHORITY for our lives, but how often is the are we encouraged to disregard Him as the one TRUE God all in the name of moral relativism (what is true for you, is not true for me). Instead of Satan saying, “Go on, eat it,” he says, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” A question to Eve, a question to make her discredit the Authority of GOD! Questioning truth! 

How did Eve respond? She said, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” You know what comes next right? Satan says, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Is this statement true? Well contains a degree of truth, but is NOT all true.

This is half truth because it is a COMPLETE MISREPRESENTATION of what God had said. The truth part was that by eating the apple in temptation their eyes would be “opened,” in Genesis 3:22

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”

But there eyes were not opened to what they had thought, and they didn’t “die” in the human sense but in the spiritual sense, to say the died is an understatement, for the were separated from the presence of God. What they decided in the temptation of satan is that they want to be their own God, they want to make their own rules, basically we can see the first of beginning of idolatry.

Jumping back to where satan says, “You will not surely die” we can see a direct rejection of consequences. This reminds me of a common statement that is so frequently used in our current age that seems like truth but is a misrepresentation (aka a FALSE statement), “My god wouldn’t send people to hell.” We don’t live in a merit system: if we do good then we will we go to Heaven , if we are a bad person we will go to hell. And praise God because we are all sinful people, born that way, in need of a Savior! Jesus Christ! Furthermore, if we didn’t have a God who gives a consequence of judgement due to absolute truth found in the Bible, then whose standard do we “pick” for what is right and wrong? Do you see how without law, judgement, consequences it could get REALLY messy REALLY fast! In addition without our acknowledgment of our sin, and need for sacrifice Jesus would have never needed to die for our salvation, and if he never came and died for us out of the God’s love then we would never get to enjoy the relationship. AND without that relationship we would be left to deal with satan’s temptations without: the Holy Spirit, the WORD of GOD and prayer!

So what does this have to do with discernment? Everything! WE NEED DISCERNMENT so we do not fall temptation to satan’s schemes.

I would like to tell you a story that has been a GREAT way to teach kids (and myself) about the need for discernment and how satan operates.

Discernment Brownies!

One day my neighbor said she had some brownies she wanted to share with me. When she stopped by I saw the brownies, and MAN OH MAN they looks so good!!!! Plus, I have heard of my neighbors FAMOUS BROWNIES, everyone was making them and sharing them with others and now it was MY TURN! They looked to die for! She brought them over all displayed beautifully on a colorful plate, cut in perfect square bite size pieces, I began to just imagine their taste, texture and sweetness! We sat down at the table to enjoy the brownies. But before I took I bite I thought to myself I should ask what is in the brownies. I asked my friend, “I must know, what is in your famous brownies?” She replied, “Oh just the normal ingredients like: sugar, coco powder, butter, chocolate chips, eggs, pure vanilla extract, and poop.” I said, “WAIT WHAT!? Poop!?” She calmly responded, “it is only a spoonful, not a big deal, everyone is eating them, they love them!”

  • This is where I stop my story and turn to my kids and ask, would you eat the brownies? Thankfully every time they have said, “NOOOOOOOO!!!!” (sorry ahead of time if your kids say yes, I don’t know what I would say in response hahah, maybe something to do with GROSS!!!!!)
  • I love the follow up questions, WHY? Why do you choose not to eat the brownies? “Because mom that is gross, they have poop in it!” I gently remind them it is only a spoonful, a small amount. At this point I am able to go into a deeper conversation where we get to go over how temptation is most the time wrapped in “good” things. And discernment is needed because a lie usually has the truth wrapped in it too.
  • Lastly, I we talk about how if someone was trying to get you to do something wrong, do you think they would come out and just hand you poop to eat or do you think it would be baked into something good like brownies?

ACTUALLY “SINLESS” BROWNIES

One of my favorite things about this life lesson that I get to teach my kids to then ACTUALLY make brownies and enjoy the poop-free “sinless” ones! Recipe below:

Ingredients:

1 cup of Butter

1 cup of Unsweetened Chocolate

1/4 cup of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 cups of Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Vanialla

4 Eggs

1-1/4 Flour

3/4 cups Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions:

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    • In saucepan, Melt butter with unsweetened choclate over low heat, until smooth and melted. whisk in cocoa powder. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
    • Stir in sugar and vanilla until combined
    • Stir in one egg at a time
    • Stir in flour until halfway incorporated. Add milk chocolate chips and stir just until combined. IT WILL BE THICK!
    • Pour Batter into greased 9 x 13 pan
    • Bake for 40 minutes
    • Allow to cool completely, this is when the brownie sets up best
    • Optional: Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream

This receipe is “sinless” but not sugar-less, calorie-less, or fat-less, Enjoy!

Motivational Monday! – Fighting Ageism

Darren and I feel so strongly that we are called to love and disciple ALL ages. Join us today while we talk about the importance of the fight against ageism.

Listen here:

Make sure to stop back by on Wednesday for our Wisdom Wednesday podcast where we talk about tips and ideas to help “level-up” you families!

Mission: Raising households that Serve the LORD!!

Fighting Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

Hey guys! We are heading out of a week of having Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. This isn’t our first encounter with the illness but it can be a scary thing when you don’t know what to do and feel helpless. So I wanted to provide you all with a few things I have learned in the process. (Something I WISH I had when I found out about this common childhood illness!)

Here is some background on our experience first: when my oldest was about one we had our first awareness of this disease. We saw a few red small dots around her hands and feet, we had no idea what it was. Soon we learned it was HFM (Hand Food and Mouth Disease). It was super mild (HFMD can appear in different levels). It went away quickly with some supports mentioned below.

The second experience was with a group of young kids we were doing school activities with. It was amazing to me how long the disease could remain contagious before systems show. Unfortunately to share this was the time I saw first hand how FAST this disease can spread.

Here is a few answered questions on HFMD:

What is Hand Foot and Mouth Disease? it is a common children’s virus causing sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. (BUT ALSO you can find it in the back of the throat, and in the diaper area).

How long does it last? It is “short-term” and can resolve within days to weeks.

  • Here is the general break down: 3-5 days after viral invasion the first symptoms may appear (you are contagious during this time, some symptoms can include: fever, poor appetite, runny nose and sore throat.) Also you are most contagious during the first week of the illness, however, you can remain contagious for weeks after the symptoms go away. Some people, especially adults, may not develop any symptoms, but they can still pass the viruses to others. 
  • It usually takes 3 to 6 days for symptoms to appear. The first symptom is usually fever, followed by sore throat and lack of appetite. Then, painful mouth sores develop, followed by a rash on the hands and feet.
  • Recovery typically takes 7 to 10 days, but the virus can remain in the body for weeks after symptoms are gone.

What age range is this common childhood illness? It is most common in children under the age of 5. Yet, some adults do get it.

What are the Symptoms to look for?

    • Fever
    • Poor Appetite
    • Sore Throat
    • Headache
    • Irritability
    • Red blisters in the Mouth
    • Red Rash on the Hands and Soles of the Feet

A fever and sore throat are usually the first symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease. The characteristic blisters and rashes show up later, usually one or two days after the fever begins

How can I get it? It’s most often spread through contact with an infected person‘s saliva, throat discharge, stool, blister fluid, or nasal secretions. It can also be transmitted through contact with contaminated objects such as doorknobs, toys, and toilet handles. Here is a crazy fact: children with hand, foot, and mouth disease may shed the virus from the respiratory tract (nose, mouth and lungs) for 1-3 weeks and in the stool for weeks to months after the infection starts.

If my child gets it what can I do? Even though there is no “treatment” for HFM but below there are a lot of ways to support your child and your family through this time:

HELP WHAT CAN I DO!?

  • Change clothes as soon as you get home, and throw in the wash. (This is most helpful if you know you have been where there is HFMD)
  • Dehydration is something that presents a problem due to the sores makes it difficult and painful to swallow so more liquids the better. Warm tea can be helpful. Also some recommend sucking on ice or popsicles. Eating ice cream helpful in soothing along with the cream base, you want to avoid citrus, spicy and salty (also fruit drinks and soda).
  • Good Hygiene, it is the best prevention and defense against HFMD. WASH HANDS, all the time! Not just after using the restroom, it can help greatly reduce your risk of contracting this virus. SOAP SOAP SOAP 😉 Side Note: work hard at not touching your eyes, nose or mouth during this time.
  • Keep socks on infected kiddos to help not spread illness on floor (You can use Salve Recipe below before putting socks on. Another sock tip, if there is a fever, put Salve on the bottom of feet then wet socks on, then another pair of dry socks on over before nap or bed times.
  • Cleaning surfaces with soap and water,then with diluted solution of bleach and water. Also disinfect toys, pacifiers (binkys), and other items that come in contact with the virus. Clean door handles and high traffic places clean regularly.
  • Stay home! It helps your family get well and not spread to others. Even if you have come in contact and no symptoms yet you could still have the virus.
  • Rest is super important, so while you are stay home work hard to rest all members of the family.
  • For infants who are breast feed: Studies show that exclusive breastfeeding (only feeding breast milk) can shield your infant from getting HFMD as well as other viral infections.
  • Taking Probiotics can be helpful during HFMD, try to take DAILY
  • Echinacea is good to take after coming in contact or showing symptoms
  •  VITAMIN D! through sun or vitamins. (good for prevention and if you have HFMD)
  • ELDERBERRY! It is amazing to help prevent and treat HFMD! We buy ours here: (https://wildrootspantry.com)
  • Eat Nutrient-dense food and foods high in antioxidants
  • Drink Bone Broth Daily
  • Eat garlic
  • ESSENTIAL OILS:
      • I make my own salve for kids Recipe blow (I wish I learned this earlier in the process but better late then never)

        Recipe for HFMD Kids Salve**

      • 4 Tbsp fractionated coconut oil
      • 5 Drops Tea Tree Oil
      • 5 Drops Lavender
      • 4 Drops Lemon
      • 4 Drops Frankincense
        • Swirl gently together, best in an amber container if you can.
        • Application: put a thin layer on feet, hands or other EXTERNAL effected areas (NOT for sores in mouth). Apply a few times a day. Side note: I would use a spray bottle to avoid contamination.
        • This Salve can help sooth blisters and help dry them up quicker.
        • IF you need a place to buy your oils I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Young Living, so many reasons why but, this is not the blog for that hahah, anywhoo click HERE!!!


  • Here is another WEBSITE that has some AMAZING recipes for HFMD
    • Herbal Healing Popsicles for HFMD
    • Healing Herbal Fever-Fighter Tea for HFMD
    • Herbal Mouthwash for HFMD
  • And Most IMPORTANTLY PRAYER I am purposely posting this step last because I want it to be last on your mind so it can be first in your steps to do. This time can be very trying, mentally, physical, emotionally and spiritually. We must rely on God to give us the strength to make it through this time when our kids are hurting and we might be in physically poor shape along with them. May I pray for you now, after going through this myself I believe in the power of prayer and community supporting each other through this time.

“Dear Lord, we thank You for Your healing power! We pray that Your Will would be done in this time of need. We cry out for comfort and peace for our children and family during this time. May we lean on You for your strength . Thank you for Your gift of grace to us and we pray in all we do (even during this trying time) that it will bring Glory to You Father God! In Your powerful name we pray, AMEN!

Dear friend I know this time can be confusing and nerve-wracking, my hope is to provide knowledge to you from what I have learn to support you during this time! I will be praying for you!

Additional Random Information about HFMD:

  • DO NOT POP THE BLISTERS! They are not a zit, they will heal on their own.
  • You can return to school or other community places after the fever is gone, and blisters have dried up.
  • You can contract HFMD through swimming pools etc if you swallow the water that has been infected.
  • You can get HFMD through close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing cups and eating utensils
  • There is no cure or vaccine for HFMD

Here are a few photos of my kiddos when they got HFMD, we had a milder case then other of my sweet friends who have had it before. However, since it was mild the pictures online were hard for me to connect to my experience so here are some photos that may or may not help you:

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/hand-foot-mouth-disease#symptoms

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease – Symptoms, Prevention and Home Treatment

*FDA disclaimer: “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.”

**I am not a medical professional, just a momma who through the Grace of God tries my very best to help my kiddos through prayer, vitamins and essential oils. Please consult your doctor before using essential oils!

PODCAST – Week #1 Catechism

Motivation Monday!

Join us as Darren and I talk through 52 Catechisms of the Christian faith, and how we can encourage families to be talking about and living out the truths of the WORD of GOD!

LISTEN HERE:

Make sure to join us on Wisdom Wednesday as we give tips and tricks to LEVEL up your family!

Podcast #10 – Keeping your house clean WHILE living in it!

Marissa Rice-2

RaisingRices Podcast Episode #10: Keeping your house clean WHILE living in it!

10 Helpful Tips and Tricks

Marissa Rice #10-2

 

LISTEN HERE:

 

Can’t listen right now? No worries log in any time to RaisingRices.com/podcast  OR head over and subscribe iTunes

Or feel free to read long if you can listen below:

KEEPING THE HOUSE CLEAN WHILE LIVING IN IT!

Currently living in my blessed home is my husband and I, our 4 kiddos, and 2 dogs.  I have always had a passion for clean homes but never a desire to clean them myself haha.

During this season of life called motherhood, I have realized and learned a lot of things about myself. I have come to discover, in regards to cleaning, what can make or break a day for me. To put it simply I have come to learn that when chaos ensues have a manageable home provides me with the resources to overcome.

Let me tell you a story: our church family does a church campout every summer that my in laws have been in charge of for years. Our family goes every year, well expect the year I was literally in labor during campout with my daughter. This past year we had just delivered our fourth sweetie, he was born 3 weeks prior to campout.  And yes, as you may have guessed we still attended campout. With of course permission from my midwife and our pediatrician.  We are blessed to be able to use my in laws tent trailer which is so nice. However, with 4 kiddos and a newborn at that, camping can become interesting. I do not have a high tolerance for chaos, which might sound funny since I have so many kids. But while we were there for 5 days camping, most of the time went very smoothly, my husband is amazing and loves being super active with the kids. Before we went we had decided my main attention would go to the baby and his to the olders. This was as I mentioned a church campout so lots of friends and family around as well. Ok have a painted the setting, now the conflict came when there was a adult volleyball game and Darren was asked to go play. I said of course, since he provided me with breaks for activities he needed some activities as well. During this time however the chaos began, you know the perfect storm, filled with poopy diapers, hungry baby, scraps and boo-boos, and dirt just dirt everywhere! I remember the moment Darren got back all I wanted him to do was to manage the chaos by picking up all the toys scattered around the campsite and putting order to our things. A funny response perhaps but after he created order I was calmed and settled.

The same results I find at home, if my home is in a manageable order I feel calmed, centered and successful. Did you hear I didn’t say spotless, deep cleaned, and without dog hair, (although that would be nice, it is not reasonable to expect that).

So here are my TOP TEN TIPS for how to keep the house clean WHILE living in it:

1: Do the Dishes before bed!

Sometimes it is hard to find the motivation to do the dishes before you go to bed, but I promise you that when you wake up in the morning you WONT be sad you did it! When I wake up to a cleaned kitchen I feel more refreshed, I have more motivation to make breakfast, and here is the kicker I have MORE motivation to make sure the kitchen STAYS clean after breakfast! Rhythms I have gotten into are putting all the dishes in the dishwasher before bed and unload them in the morning WHILE the breakfast is being made, and this is important because if you dishwasher is clear and ready to be filled AFTER breakfast then you have again more motivation to put the dirty dishes away.

2: Clear off the table before bed!

I don’t know about you guys but in my house the table is the place where everything gets collected. My daughters coloring sheets she wanted to daddy, my sons train set he sets up there so the baby doesn’t get it, all the papers that are important from the day,  or anything we don’t want to run the risk of the dogs getting.

3: Have the kids clean up the toys multiple times a day.

I operate in this controlled chaos mentally, and one of the ways I like to control the chaos that is TOYS in my house is by have the kids have certain times everyday where ALL the toys are cleaned up and put away. For our household the times are before every meal, bed time and quiet time. This is how it plays out: while I am preparing the meal the kids get to have free reign of playing with the toys in our living room.  When  I estimate I am about ten minutes until finished, I will get them the we have 2 more minutes of play time then it will be clean up time. (And yes I sing the clean up song, yes to encourage me not to get frustrated but to be light at reminding it is clean up time and because my 3 year old son sings along and it just makes me so happy to hear him sing.) During the last 8 minutes of cook time, I let the kids know it is time to clean up. They normally start to clean up the toys, excited about eating and then when finished come and sit at the table OR the older kiddos come and help me bring items to the table such as the food, silverware, napkins, etc. They also check their cups are full of water because once momma sits down to eat they can not ask for more things until they see an adult getting up and then at that time they can ask. I have gotten smarter and now place a pitcher of water on the table too for refills.

As a reminder my kids are YOUNG, in fact the oldest is 4! SO when I provide 8 minutes of clean time you may have guessed that is not always a successful clean up time, due to their age. I wanted to briefly touch on some strategies of things we have implemented to help support their clean up time. When we are first training the youngest of the littles we do it when both mom and dad are present, usually at dinner time where mom is finishing the meal and dad is coaching, guiding and encouraging what it looks like to help clean up. This begins very young, and the older siblings love to “help” teach their sibling as well. Which is great when there is only one adult around. We also have 2 LARGE bins in our living room that have lids, and basically ALL the toys in the living room live IN the bins.  This is great for a number of reasons, the 2 most important is, it is easy to throw the toys in and HAS A LID, yes we close that lid at the end and I can no longer see any of the toys! That is my favorite part. The last strategy I would like to mention that can help my kids clean up is when on occasion I play a clean up game with them. (Please note I don’t and truly can not play a clean up game every time, which in hindsight has made the game time more motivating and exciting.  I incorporate I SPY into the game, by saying I spy something blue and everyone picks up something blue, or at the end of clean up time if they have missed some toys under the chairs or hidden from the obvious toddler eyesight, I will use I spy to help them find it.  I spy has been our most successful clean up game, but we have do red light/green light, simon says, and counting game: giving a number and having them pick up that mean in their hand then putting it away and giving a new number.

Will this work for everyone, probably not, and how do I know? Because it doesn’t work for us 100% of the time either, BUT I have to tell you there is something about sitting down to a meal and looking out from the dinning room into the living room and seeing: CLEAN. Just saying that out loud makes me breath in and out and feel … peace.

4: Don’t get out all the toys at once.

Number 4 and number 3 really work well together! Not getting out ALL the toys in our entire house at once provides so much more ease cleaning up when it is time, AND it actually allows the kids to actually feel like they are not playing with the same toys all day, which in turn brings more creativity and excitement to the “new” toys. Our house has three stories, now don’t get too excited for me thinking I have a large home, it is a beautiful God gifted home to us, but it is Tri-Leveled home, a small family room and laundry room on the bottom, the middle level has the front door, living room, kitchen and dinning room, and up stairs the 3 bedrooms, and bathroom. I really do love my house BUT on every level of the home we have TOYS, TOYS, TOYS! So I created a rule that we don’t get all the toys out at once, in fact we only play on one level at a time. And yes that will probably change when they get bigger but for now it helps me manage ALL the TOYS!

5: Include the kids with daily responsibilities. 

In the Rice family we have created daily responsibilities for each of the kids. Currently they have as many responsibilities as their age. What are responsibilities? They are like chores, I just liked the word responsibilities better. I like the idea of the kids growing up in a teamwork environment where we are all responsible for where we live. Now it is super exciting to think about the different things older kids can to as part of the team but can be a little harder for younger age kids so let me throw out a few responsibilities my kiddos do with their current ages:

My 4 year old: Helps unload the dishes, feed the dogs, help fold laundry, put her own clothes away.

My 3 year old: Puts away the cleaned silverware, match socks,  help with the recycling.

My almost 2 year old: is the partner to the 3 or 4 year old on their responsibilities to help and learn. He also does a few things on his own like, checking under the couch or ottoman for toys, bring pile boxes to their correct locations. If I may quickly tell you about this pile boxes they have become a great helping tool to decluttering, what we do is when we are doing a quick declutter of a room, like the living room we put piles in containers (could be anything from boxes, bags, laundry baskets etc.)  and it removes things that just collect in our main living spaces and return them to the rooms they belong in. When we do the piles or boxes it removes so much, returns it to its home, and creates a ease to future clean ups.

We have different responsibilities on different days, it keeps it interesting and allows them to learn different skills.

6: Set up a weekly schedule to help with weekly, monthly, and daily cleaning

This can seem like a daunting task to start especially laying out all the cleaning projects that need to be done on the daily, weekly, and monthly. But the question remains true: “How do you eat an elephant?” yes, “one bite at a time.” It may feel like an elephant size task to accomplish all the cleaning projects that a home requires but when it is in bite size manageable pieces it becomes do-able.  Words of wisdom I tell myself when it comes to the schedule: MAKE IT MANAGBALE!!! And Split it up! For my daily task I consider things like: dishes, make bed, wipe down counters and table, and a 15 minute clean up, then once a week I try to do things like: Vacuum, mop, bathrooms (not including the shower), wipe down hand rails. Then looking at monthly cleaning projects like: going through toys and books, cobwebs, wipe down cabinets etc.

Again don’t be intimidated or exasperate at the to do list and remember one bite at a time. While I am reminding myself this as well!

7: Have a 15 minute clean up PARTY!

I try to do a 15 minute family clean up PARTY each day! Hear the word PARTY! And dwell on that theme. We want to make this 15 minutes worthwhile in that things get done but also something not to be dreaded, because it is amazing what 15 minutes can do with everyone working hard and invested. This can even work with young kids and I am going to explain how: we try in our Rice household to hold a 15 minute clean up party daily, (it doesn’t always happen but you got to have goals right.) During this party we literally turn on super up beat music, give every kid a wipe or a goal, just a few days ago I have all the kids a wet rag and we turned the music up and dance/cleaned the dinning room wooden chairs. While I will admit that young kids have toddler eyes and don’t see all the mess on the chair but when we are establishing a culture of the family unit having responsibility for the home, then the family unit in a team spirit should do it together. It reminds me of a story I heard of a mom letting her daughter make her bed from an early age. The mom would let the daughter make the bed to her ability level, giving an occasional guidance or suggestions but ultimately it was up to the daughter. She showed a picture of the bed at age 4 and then again at age 5, it was night a day. The first bed, blankets were thrown on, you could see the attempt made, fast forward a year, the bed blankets where tucked in, the dolls arranged, and a complete 180 of the year before. There is something to be said for know the starting line is not the finish line, and we all have to start somewhere.

Have fun with this PARTY time, whether that includes some dancing, or aprons, give the kids supplies they don’t normally get to use, like new dusting mitts, or little brooms. My kids LOVE using the mop, because I tend the be the one who mops, because I am faster and lets be honest we all including myself just want the mop job to go fast and be done. But during the party time they get to take turns at mopping, boy oh boy they get excited. Here is a silly one we did: I got socks lightly wet and put some lemon essential oils on them and let them dance/skate around the room, my house never smelled better J

8: Figure out what clean looks like to you and your partner. Figure out the feelings that clean and unclean bring out in you. This will help establish the importance, not just for you but for your husband too.

They usually say opposites attract and it is quite entertaining to see what clean means to your partner and what clean means to you. See my husband and I both like the house to be clean. But clean looks different to him then it does to me. And yet there are things we agree on too. But, if you can spend a few minutes to be open and honest without personalizing their opinion of clean, you can learn a lot about each other. Maybe go out to dinner, have a date night and chat about what helps create a home of peace. It could be clean, it could have something to do with clutter, or decorating, or maybe they might describe an atmosphere they envision. This is always a conversation that can be had through out the years as well. For example: my decorating style has changed a lot in our 8 years of marriage and while Darren has been supportive and happy with my choices, I have been de-cluttering our walls and counters lately and he has never have heard complements from him in that regard.

9: Spend a little money.

Spend a little money IF you need to get new toy box, or new cleaning supplies consider spending a little bit of money, to make cleaning as less stress a possibility. When we were first beginning our family we even went to the local dollar tree to buy bins that would help us organize all the toys and things that collect when having a family. Slowly we have been replacing those bins due to cracks and better sizing, so here is an example of spending a little bit of money to help put some organization systems in place. My sweet friend is a Direct consultant for this cleaning product called Norwex. There products have been something that has made cleaning, 15 minute cleaning PARTY, other projects like cleaning windows, moping and dusting much easier in our household.

Last thing in the spend a little money category, there has been times where my husband and I have decided to hirer someone to come in and support us by doing the deep cleaning responsibilities. Especially when I was HUGE-O pregnant or having a newborn, cleaning the bathtub feels almost impossible. But, you don’t need just to be pregnant or have a newborn to find someone to help, perhaps it would create some self-care opportunities, increase family time when the time in the day is limited,  or give you that little bit of boost you need through a season in your life.

10: Don’t let the mess get in the way of having fun.

Under number ten to me comes in two different ways: first I think about not letting the mess get in the way of having fun as in letting kids be kids. A few weeks ago my kids wanted to pretend make soup and asked if they could have pots and spoons. I thought oh man I will have to wash them pots and spoons afterwards which is more work, but then I immediately threw that thought from my head and grab the pots and spoons it was a great time of creative play that could have not happened if I let the mess get in the way of having fun.

The second part reminds me: there has been so many times I have unfortunately put cleaning before my kids, or have let a mess make a messout of me. I know having a system and a cleaned chaos makes me more at peace, but regardless I can not make an idol of having a clean house. I am saying idol because I view it as something I can put more priority on then my God given responsibility of raising my kiddos. And on the flip side I can not forget my need for peace and training within my family. So my advice to myself and to you is: Don’t let the mess get in the way of having fun.

11:  BONUS: Live in the moment and have GRACE on yourself !

Even though this is the BONUS tip, it is the most important and shouldn’t be a tip but a way of life. We should ALL strive to live in the moment with our families and have tons and tons and tons of GRACE on ourselves. No matter who I talk to that have grown up kids, they all WITHOUT FAIL say: “IT GOES SO FAST!” And I can see that, even though my oldest is only 4, I think WHAT WAIT she is 4?!?! NO WAY I JUST HAD HER, I was just rocking her to sleep, giving baby kisses and singing her lullabies!!!  Equally, they tell me they miss seeing the hand-prints on the windows, matching the little socks, and finding Legos in the couch. So may this provide us all with a little encouragement to not miss the moments, all the little moments!

I hope you have been encouraged, and inspired, if you have share this with others. Thank you for listening in today on RaisingRices, make sure to check back next Monday with Marissa

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April 11th – Daily Prayer

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Focus: Adventure

Verse: Hebrews 11:32-40

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[a] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in cavesand in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Prayer:

Lord God, I pray my kids greatest adventure in life, would be found in YOU! I pray as they path and purpose unfolds that they would be set on a pursuit of righteous faith. May they see the power and glory that is found in doing your will! May their life be a God centered Adventure! 

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April 7th – Daily Prayer

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Focus: Humility

Verse: Matthew 18:5-6, 10

And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, I pray that my children will learn humility by seeing me as an example to them. I pray that they will know how treasured they are by God. May they see how to approach life with humility and strength at the same time. They are so precious to You LORD, and to me!

 

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April 6th – Daily Prayer

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Focus: Affirm

Verse: Psalm 139:14

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord, I pray my children would be strong in their sonship with you LORD. I pray they will know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are the master creator and Your work is beautiful and purposeful!

 

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