Category Archives: Homemaking

Answering a Reader’s Question: How the Maxwells Handle Groceries

“How do you handle groceries with all your children now grown. Does everyone put in an amount? Does everyone buy their own, or do the parents pay for it all?” Blog Reader Question 

First, thank you to all those who left comments with blog content suggestions. We’re excited about your ideas.

Steve and I pay for the basic groceries for our family, even now that they are adults. If they want extras that wouldn’t be part of our normal meals, they buy their own. They buy their coffee and coffee supplies and snacks they prefer. Sometimes when they are at the store, they will pick something up that we need. 

We are grateful that the Lord has provided the finances for us to be able to manage our food this way. We know that each one would pitch in with food expenses if that was necessary. We would also likely have a different approach if they weren’t wise in what they did with their money.

For those of you who have adult children living with you, how have you chosen to deal with covering the cost of groceries?

Trusting in Jesus,

“I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall
continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). 

When Dreams Fall Apart

Thursday morning update: Thank you all so very much for your love and concern. Vet sat with her last night before going home, and she was calm. Ellie’s surgery will happen about 9am Central.

I’m going to be really raw with you all tonight and share what’s going on. There’s not always a good way to share hurts and disappointments, because sometimes they involve other people.

Ellie, my English Cream Golden Retriever, has been a sweet buddy to me since I got her three and a half years ago. She’s such a loyal friend and super smart too.

A dream of mine has also been to raise puppies, so I pursued that route once she turned two. Ellie went through extensive testing and turned out beautifully. Even the vet said breeding her would only improve her line. Her hips, which can be a weak link on goldens, scored in the top 5%. Excellent.

Last month, I bred Ellie to a gorgeous male. We all were excited about puppies in August, and it seemed my dream was coming true. Two weeks ago, Ellie had a concerning issue, so I took her to the vet. He checked her progesterone and even ran a blood panel, and she seemed okay, so we scheduled an ultrasound for the 10th. In dogs, gestation is very short. About halfway through, you can check for pregnancy via ultrasound.

Giving Ellie some love when she wasn’t feeling well

Ellie hasn’t been herself since, but some of that could be attributed to being pregnant. This afternoon with anticipation, I brought her in for an ultrasound. I watched the screen as the vet moved the wand over her stomach, and instead of seeing little puppy sacs with beating hearts, we discovered infection. This wasn’t a small infection either. After drawing blood and testing it, we found her white blood cells are dangerously high. Because of that, Ellie needed to stay so they could start her on an IV and antibiotics, keep her overnight, and do surgery in the morning.

That was hard. Really hard. Yes, the loss of dreams, but to leave my sweet girl and to know she is so sick. She’s the kind of dog who doesn’t even like to go to a vet, and here she would have to stay. I took off her collar and leash and said good-bye with tears. The vet and his staff have been incredible and super helpful through this whole process. They assured me they will take good care of her, and I know they will. They hope I can bring her home Thursday night yet.

Life doesn’t always go as planned, but the Lord uses disappointments to draw us closer to Him. While I don’t understand, I know this is minor in the grand scheme of things. I trust, and I rest. Yes, I do shed tears and pray that Ellie’s infection will go down overnight and the surgery goes well so I can bring her home.


One of her favorite places is to be on the porch in the morning while I have my Bible time.

“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast …” Proverbs 12:10

Grandma’s Bookbag

Follow the Trail Trucks is a Dorling Kindersley book. This book has lines to be finger traced, taking a truck from one destination to another. I wasn’t sure that the children would find this book interesting enough, but they usually choose it from the book bag and greatly enjoy following the trails. My grandchildren observe with me how the two-year-olds take short cuts with the trails, while the three-year-olds want to follow the loops in the trails backward, and the four-year-olds have it all down perfectly.

Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. This is one of my favorite picture books, and I am delighted the children like it and pick it often. In the story, Bear has a cold, and all the animals are doing what they can to help him feel better. We enjoy reading and saying together the phrase repeated through the book, “And the bear feels sick!” In the end, bear feels good and is ready to play, but then all his friends are getting sick. Bear tells them he will take care of them like they took care of him.

All the links in this post are Titus2’s Amazon affiliate links and bless the ministry. See our privacy policy here.

Trusting in Jesus,

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget
not all his benefits.” Psalm 103:2

How to Make a Pour Over Mocha

Happy Monday! I hope your week has started off well. I love mochas, and the question has been posed on how I make mine. I tried to be quite detailed for your sake, but it’s not hard at all. Feel free to leave me a question in the comments below if you need clarification on something.

At the end of the post, I’ll include links where each of the items can be purchased, but you don’t need the exact products to make something similar. For your reference, this makes about a 16 ounce mocha.

To begin with, add some hot water to your cup (several inches’ worth). I’ll explain why in a moment.

Next, heat water to 190 degrees. We have a handy Cuisinart that does that.

Grind coffee beans. Dump out the water in your cup, and add about 2 TB. chocolate syrup (more or less depending on how sweet you like your drink). The hot water warmed up your cup so the syrup will be more room temperature if it’s been refrigerated. You can use my recipe here, or any kind of syrup. I’m a fan of peppermint mochas and often use some peppermint syrup in mine (so in that case, I would do about half chocolate and half peppermint for flavoring).

Now put your paper filter in the pour-over cup, and add 2 TB. freshly ground coffee.

To make the most of your time, pour milk into the frother. I love using whole milk, and I pour to the max line which is 8 ounces.

Next, pour hot water over the coffee, ensuring all the grounds get a nice amount of liquid. As the liquid drains into the cup, add more water. Lift up the white pour-over cup and check the liquid level. I aim for about half full. I let the water-coffee mixture not quite drain out of the pour-over and then set it in the sink. I read somewhere that if you let it all drain into your cup, it’s kind of bitter.

Stir the coffee and chocolate.

The frother should be done, so simply pour the frothed milk into the coffee-chocolate mixture. Top with whipped cream for an even sweeter experience.


Equipment I use to make my pour over mocha. These are all Titus2 affiliate links, and the earnings bless our ministry. (See our Privacy Policy for more information.)

  • Tanors Ceramic Coffee Dripper
  • Paper filters for dripper
  • Cafe Don Pablo Coffee Beans
  • Hamilton Beach Coffee Grinder (the one we have is no longer sold, but this looks close to it)
  • Kuissential Milk Frother (important note: I’m sharing this because it’s what I use, but to me, it’s not an outstanding product. You have to make sure to clean it really well, as milk sticks to the bottom, I guess due to the heat. Even if it’s cleaned, the milk will build up. Last fall, when I went to purchase a frother, this seemed middle of the line price wise, and I didn’t want to spend a lot. The price has gone up about 20% since I bought!).
  • Simple Modern 20 oz. Tumbler: this is a favorite for me, and it comes in tons of colors. Some of the colors are $2 or more off, and the price extremely reasonable. The lid it comes with has an opening, so I recently purchased a closeable lid, and I like it.


Again, the items I use are not necessary. You can figure out substitutes if you want, even using brewed coffee instead of the pour over method. The grinder and the frother would be the two biggest expenses. You could simply heat your milk if you prefer or use already ground coffee.


“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty;
he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy;
he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

Multitasking and Multi-Multitasking

Recently I read that when we multitask, we don’t do either job well. The take away was: don’t multitask. As a homeschooling mom, I needed to multitask and accept whatever standard I accomplished rather than not doing it at all. For busy moms, we benefit ourselves and our families when we develop the ability to think about what we can easily and effectively multitask and then practice it.

For example, Monday, I was prepping chicken noodle soup, which involved quite a bit of kitchen time. First I chopped the onion to simmer in the soup broth. Because the onion was huge, I used 1/2 of it. Rather than saving the other 1/2 for another day, I opted to multitask. I pulled 4 pounds of ground beef from the freezer to brown and sauté with the onion. We had no meal planned for that ground beef, but having frozen, prepped ingredients to pull for a quick meal is a timesaver for the future.

Since I was going to be in the kitchen peeling, washing, and chopping vegetables anyway, I multitasked by browning and sautéing the beef too.

When I homeschooled, I often multitasked by including a child in what I did. The child learned beside me, and we fellowshipped through it all—multi-multitasking. Often that is the case in the kitchen now, although my girls and I are currently peers in the kitchen. If there is no one else working with me, I listen to Scripture or something educational on my phone. 

What do you do well multitasking?

Trusting in Jesus,

“I will therefore that the younger women marry,
bear children, guide the house, give none occasion
to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
(1 Timothy 5:14)

What Could be a Homeschool Mom’s Greatest Distraction

I’m excited to share with you a special post from Melanie. I’ve long admired how she manages technology through her day. So I asked if she could share how she does that with you all!

Melanie and her baby, Benjamin

School days are full of interruptions, but one of the slyest is cell phones. I remember as a kid when my parents got an answering machine so Mom could screen incoming calls and only answer during school hours if it was my dad. Now, we have cell phones and communication interruptions have become even easier to get caught up inbecause it just takes a second to send a text, or read a post, or read an email, or just send a quick question. Of course once the phone is in our hands, we notice one more thing we need to look at or answer.  

Nathan had been working on increasing his skill set and disciplines for greater success in his work. As I’ve watched him do this, I am inspired to have a similar drive to build my skills and disciplines to be the best homeschool mom and wife I can be. It’s not hard for me to find things I can work on, so obviously I am a work in progress!

One thing that I know helps me be a better homeschool mom is to remove distractions when I am teaching! A big thing for me is my phone. My goal is to keep my phone on the kitchen counter and do a quick check between subjects to see if Nathan has texted. I work to ignore other communication from family and friends until lunch, and the same for the afternoonignore texts until school is done for the day. Though I’m sure this can be a frustration for those working to communicate with me, people quickly learn my texting style and accept it. For most communication with friends, I use email. That doesn’t have the same expectation of immediate response as texting currently holds.  

A good way to remove a distraction is to place your phone away from you

My connection with my kids is so much better (and precious) when my phone is not my companion and focus. Our daily routine includes one-on-one teaching time with each kid. They look forward to this time and are very sad when it is skipped or excessively interrupted (there are always some interruptions—diaper changes, redirecting of other kids, etc.). How special it is when my eyes, mind, and heart are in tune to them. The time spent is so much more productive and enjoyable with that focus and lines up with the goal I have in front of me of being the best teacher I can be!

In Jesus,

Melanie and Christina doing school

“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt
talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou
walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).