All posts by Teri Maxwell

Our Best Resources to Underline and Highlight Bible Passages

Our family loves our individual time of reading the Bible and praying each morning. It has been a valuable habit that we are grateful to the Lord for instilling in our lives. Good habits can be difficult to start and easy to break while bad habits are easy to start and hard to break. Sadly, the flesh resists things that are good.  

We find going to the Word first thing after we get up is important to cementing that discipline. We each have a comfortable and quiet place where we read and pray. We also like to note verses that are important to us. Some prefer to highlight, some underline, and some both. Highlighting was all we knew for years until recently some have come to love underlining. It takes more time to underline, but it looks “cleaner.” 

For highlighting, Sharpie Gel Highlighters are the favorite (Amazon links in this post are Titus2’s Amazon’s Affiliate link, and Titus2 earns from qualifying purchases, see the Privacy Policy). For underlining Pigma Micron 01 (.25mm tip) is wonderful. Black is primary, but they come in an assortment of colors. We have experimented with various items for the straightedge. If the Bible column is three and a half inches or less, old credit cards work well although they are quite stiff. Steve prefers flexible plastic templates because they contour with the page nicely. We haven’t cared for small metal rulers as they are abrasive against the pen’s tip.  

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).  

How to Make Healthy, Simple Soup

Our family enjoys soup year round. For most of my married life, I made soup from a recipe. Then my daughter, Anna, introduced me to making soup with a general plan but not specifics. Isn’t it great when our children become our teachers? I’d like to share today how to make healthy, simple soup.

General Soup Plan

bone broth
chopped onion
diced garlic
diced celery
meat (ham, chicken, beef, ground beef)
chopped or frozen veggies
seasonings—salt, garlic salt, pepper, beef or chicken broth base  (those are our basics but we use basil, thyme, marjoram, and other spices)

Make Broth

Any time I have meat bones, I put them in the instant pot with at least 8 to 12 cups of water and make broth, more if it will fit in the Instant Pot. Generally, I am not making the soup right then so I put the broth in containers, label, and freeze them for a soup-making day.

Onion, Garlic, and Celery

On soup making day, I dice an onion or two and several cloves of garlic depending on the size of the soup batch. Usually I make as big a pot of soup as I can so I will have plenty of leftover soup.

Then I sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes in the soup pot, add the broth and chopped celery (usually 1/2 head of celery) bringing it to a simmer for a couple of hours.

Other Soup Vegetables

For the soup vegetables almost anything goes that you like. 

Here are some of our favorites:

green beans
sweet peppers

I try to keep a big bag of frozen mixed vegetables and another one of corn (we get them from Costco) on hand for when I have less time to chop and dice vegetables. Then all I need to do is dump the vegetables into the soup pot from the bag. If I ever have extra time and extra vegetables I put the vegetables through the food processor, flash freeze them, and then bag them for the freezer and future easy use.

Carrots (for our soup this might be 1-2 lbs) and potatoes (4 or 5 or more) go into the soup an hour or two before serving depending on how big the diced chunks are and how long I think it will take them to soften. The green beans usually take longer than I expect, too, so they go in with the carrots and potatoes. 

Store-bought frozen mixed vegetables only take as long as the bag directs, usually 5-10 minutes.


Whatever kind of broth I am using, that is kind of meat I use. When I initially cook the meat, if there is any extra after that meal, I cube the meat and freeze it for the soup. Sometimes, I will have enough meat for two or even three batches of soup, such as from a ham. Other times, it is just a small amount of meat, and I need to cook more meat to put into the soup.

When I make the bone broth, I pick any meat off the bones that were left on it, put it in a ziplock, and label it for soup use. 

If I don’t have any soup meat stored in the freezer, I can always brown a couple of pounds of ground beef as the meat. 

I generally add the meat near the end. 


We put in at least 1/2 tsp of pepper
2 tsp salt
and several shakes of garlic salt

Then we add more of those and other spices based on taste testing. 

Anna is our best taste tester. She seasons the soup at the end by tasting, adding spices, and tasting again.

Sometimes for variety, we add tomato sauce or paste. 


When we serve our soup, we have rice or pasta to go in it. We add those to individual bowls of soup, allowing each person to choose how much he wants in his serving. By doing it this way, the noodles are not soggy when we have leftover soup like they are if we add the pasta to the soup pot. And the rice doesn’t absorb all the soup broth in the leftover soup like it does when we add the rice right into the soup pot.

Maybe I can do another post on the bean soups that Steve and I eat. I don’t do them for the girls because one of them doesn’t do well eating beans. But if no one in your family has that problem, beans are another great soup addition or simply making beans the main part of the soup rather than meat.

Complicated or Simple?

If that sounds complicated, it really isn’t. Once you have done the process just a few times, it becomes automatic and simple. Often I plan soup based on my supply of vegetables. If I bought a big bag of potatoes for a good price, and still have several left as they are getting older, I will probably make some soup to use them up.

What about your soup making? What tips and tricks can you share with me? I would like to learn more about soup making from you!

Trusting in Jesus,

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust,
so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the
flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

Window Cleaning for Gigi

Spring means we like to clean Gigi’s windows. Generally that happens the same day, or near it, that the family pitches in to do spring mulching and yard work at her house. However, as the mulching work was done in the spring of 2019, it was evident that Gigi needed her deteriorated back patio removed, a new roof, and gutters. She didn’t want her windows washed knowing how all that work would mess up her clean windows. The projects weren’t completed until fall, and by then we decided to wait for window cleaning until spring.

With Spring 2020 came Covid restrictions and concerns, so the windows weren’t done then either. However this fall as Sarah neared her book completion, she volunteered to help me wash Gigi’s windows, not wanting to let another whole year pass for Gigi without clean windows.

So on a beautiful Tuesday morning, we collected our supplies and headed over for our project. The job took Sarah and me an hour and 15 minutes. Gigi was delighted to have clean windows after 2.5 years!

Ellie was out back with some of the little kids, and she wished she could be in with Sarah.
Happy little kids

“For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light” (Psalms 36:9).

Our Costco Master List

We had a request to share items we purchase from Costco. I looked at our master Costco list, and it has 100 items on it so summarizing it didn’t seem feasible.

On our Costco list are items we buy every time, and others things we purchase occasionally.

Before I shop, I copy the master list into another file and then mark the items I want to buy. I like to do this by looking in my pantry, freezer, refrigerator, and cupboards rather than relying on my memory. Then I will delete the items from the list that I won’t be purchasing this trip and print my list.

Before, we leave for Costco shopping, I put my list on a clipboard that sits nicely in the child seat of the shopping cart. That allows me to easily view my shopping list to see where I am headed next and to mark off what I just put in the cart. I tried shopping from a list on my phone, but it was frustrating having to keep pulling my phone out, and even more now that face recognition doesn’t work in the store because of mask-wearing. I set my list up based on the order of the store.

You’ll find our Master Costco list at this link. We hope you find it useful!

Trusting in Jesus,

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye
obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you
this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD
your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to
go after other gods, which ye have not known” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).

Scheduling with Adult Children

I wrote this post earlier this year, but Sarah is just now using it. So Jesse is included in the pictures since it was pertinent to when I wrote it.

Here is another part of our series with questions you have asked for blog posts.

I would love to see a post about how you all schedule your time as a family with adult children still living at home. I know you’ve done a day in the life, but I’m more curious how you all use the Managers of Their Homes’ ideas now without little ones at home. For example, do you create your schedules separately? Do you work on scheduling together? How do you prioritize chores/tasks as a family when working around work schedules?

Scheduling has changed in our household now that our children still at home are all adults. We have some family basics in the schedule such as lunchtime, dinner time, and Bible time after dinner. Those basics are determined by what best fits with the whole family’s needs and work schedules. From there, each person schedules their own days, including bedtime, wake-up time, Bible time, exercise time, and work time. 

As far as chores, we look at the work schedules and figure out who can do what. I have picked up more of the kitchen responsibilities since the girls are working more hours and have ministry responsibilities when not working. But they each have one meal a week that they take responsibility for. We eat lunch together, but each person heats up what they want. We have continued with our long-time plan of housecleaning on Fridays and have kept the same chores for that for many years now. But we help each other when one isn’t able to do what they would normally do. For example, one week I was helping a lot at Christopher and Anna Marie’s. Anna was home with a mild cold. She volunteered to do my Friday chores for me. 

What about you? What are you doing in your homes with adult children? What works for you? What doesn’t work?

Trusting in Jesus,

“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world”
(Titus 2:12). 

Very Bad News

This was not what we wanted to have to deal with! Saturday night Anna was upstairs in our guest room comfortably reading on the bed when she saw a small bug crawling toward her. Normally, she would just squash the bug, but she was speculative of this one. She grabbed a tissue, and with some effort, killed it, and put it in a zippered plastic bag so it could be identified. Google soon answered the question, identifying it as a bed bug! Oh no!

When Steve went to his desk early Sunday morning for his Bible time, this is what he saw:

The music room is what we also call our guest room. We used to practice music there.

On Monday, Steve sent an enlarged photo of it to the local county extension office for confirmation. BED BUG. Our research reveals they are harder to eliminate than fleas, ants, or cockroaches. We are in this for the long haul, and we won’t be having guests for a very long time. 

The good news we are praising God for is that there has been no other evidence of these insects anywhere else in the house. 

For now the guest room is sealed off. Steve’s careful inspection of the mattress, box springs, and frame didn’t reveal any signs of bed bugs or bed bug infestation. He sealed the decorative pillows in black plastic bags, which will be in the attic waiting for the blazing Kansas summer heat which kills them. Would you believe they can live up to 400 days without feeding? He also sealed the bedding in black plastic trash bags waiting to be laundered. Thirty minutes in a hot dryer kills the nasty pests.

We will soon be putting some products down in there which should arrive by Saturday. Once they arrive, Steve will continue inspecting the rest of the furniture in the room and other places bed bugs hide. Not sure what he has planned after that.

Hopefully, none of you have any experience with them. However, if you have, share with us what worked for you and what didn’t. 

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).