Learning to Love the Kitchen: Menu Planning

I think each beautiful Keeper of the Home has her favorite (and least favorite) tasks. I’m certain the Proverbs 31 woman occasionally thought, “Boy, this buying of land and rising up to feed my maidens early can be exhausting. Do we have any goat milk cream for my hot herbal tea? Make it strong, it’s a Jonah-of-a-Day.” 😉

Regardless of our preferences, good women who love their Lord and love their families press on and choose to take delight in serving and beautifying their home. We conquer Mt. Laundry, scrub away grimy dishes and change dirty diapers. The most unpleasant tasks take on new meaning as we work and the labor of our hands is a home filled with love, tough hands and happy faces.

For me, I struggle loving my kitchen and the work that happens in it’s walls. Cooking has been my least favorite. Effort is the key ingredient for our meals and all to often the Darling Man eats the same meals week after week. So … There’s very little effort happening in our diner.

We’ve been married for 18 months and it was only last month when he mentioned that he would like me to introduce variety to our palate. At first I was tempted to defend myself and accuse the sweet guy of ungratefulness but I felt a check in my spirit which said something like, “Easy, Frannie. This is a simple request and one you can meet sweetly. Cook something different.” (So thankful for God’s good, guiding Spirit.)

Thus, the Monthly Menu is born. Out of an effort to cook new, tasty meals and keep myself accountable and inspired I shall share my monthly meal plan. Since we grocery shop week by week I’ll be updating the menu throughout the month and plan to document the success stories and write weepy posts on recipe flops. After all, this is a blog documenting the adventures of a house-keeping, husband-loving wife. Occasional food selfies should fit in here somewhere. 😉

Menu Planning with Authentic Virtue

How do you keep inspired in the kitchen? What’s your favorite and least favorite aspect of keeping your home? Do you have any fall-ish recipes to share with me?

With love, blessings and coffee,


When Friendship is Hard + Introductions Harder // Coffee Series

Coffee with friends requires a few things.
First, coffee. (And I’ve got some yummy hazelnut brew in the pantry and almond milk if your game 😉
Second, some place to rest your rump and sit face-to-face in heartfelt conversation.
Finally, it requires friends. You know, those people who manage to hop into their cars, set life aside and take the time to really hear what you’re trying to say.
But if you’re anything like me (a darling homebody who has a thing for Netflix, oven-baked pizza, a handsome husband and Dutch Blitz) then you might hate the process of making friends .
Because it is a process.
First, you must suffer through the introductions.
“Hi, I’m Frannie. What do I do? Well, I’m a stay-at-home wife who washes dishes and vacuums for happiness, substitutes occasionally and blogs; nerdy, right? Oh, what else do I like to do ? Well … have you ever heard of Pinterest?”
I hate introductions.
Hopefully, you’ll be bewildered (and blessed) by that precious person who manages to find you interesting and you’ll get a text or Facebook message asking you to meet for coffee.
You say yes because you really do like this gal and can’t wait to be friends but then immediately regret your decision because you’ll spend every moment beforehand stressing out. You’ll change your outfit at least four times, drive your husband nuts in the process and arrive early but sit in your car because you don’t want to appear too eager for friendship.
Of course the next step is the weird dance of the do I hug this person or shake hands or awkwardly wave … I’ll settle for a wave … oh, wait, she just went in for the hug … eh. Naturally, you’re sweating profusely and you haven’t even ordered your coffee yet.
Darlings, making friends is a process and, for you precious introverts, I know it can be a difficult one.  
But friendship, forged over time, laughter and cups of coffee, is worth every ounce of gold in King Midas’ palace. (Did you catch that reference, fangirls?)
I know because there are some lovely women who decided to befriend me. Women who have been there when I was single, lonely, pushing through college exams, preparing for overseas schooling, working in a kitchen, dating, engaged, married, thought I was pregnant, homesick.
Some have cried with me; many have laughed.
And through these forges of love we have grown closer into the image of Christ.
So, darling, this is the spring of making/pursuing/rejoicing in friendships. I know it can be hard but I want to encourage you to be brave + vulnerable.
(in)courage has been sharing a lot on friendship lately and I think you’d love what their saying. My favorite post, Friendship: A Piece of Cake, by Ann Swindell has me smiling and thinking about those special people in my life who could be reminded how amazing they really are.
With lots of love, sunshine and hazelnut coffee,

Love Letters + Other Manly Forms of Showing Love

Loving a woman can be a tedious, hard job. But a man who loves his woman — and shows it — will be rewarded in bountiful ways.

 I appreciate that Dalton isn’t afraid of showing his love in tangible, real life, awesome ways. He knows what makes my heart tick —> mainly, spending quality time together and receiving gifts (throw in some words of praise and I’m really one happy little woman).

Dalton has nailed the manly art of showing love. I know I am one blessed gal because of it! I have been repeatedly surprised by his purposeful efforts to show love and appreciation.

One way Dalton loves me is through letter writing. Handwritten notes were very important to us while we dated; more often than not, we wrote our personal, soft sentiments onto journal paper. Sometimes, words are better read than spoken. I am very thankful Dalton has kept up the practice. Occasionally, he’ll give me a letter he wrote during the day; sometimes their funny, full of doodles and good humor. They are always encouraging and genuine.

Because I am a gift person, Dalton finds little ways to remember me. An occasional breakfast in bed, basket of candy or gift-card to Hobby Lobby has come my way … you can be sure he gets lots of happy grins and kisses in payment. ;]

Last night Dalton purposefully turned off the tv so we could talk and catch up — he knew the long work week had caught up with me and understood that I simply needed to curl into his chest and talk.

The world may say that real men are rough, gruff and hard.

But I’ll never believe it.

Real men are like Jesus. They love others where they are; they give of themselves … even when it hurts.

Of course, every man is different. Your darling may never kiss you on the forehead but he probably works long hours and then comes home to fix the plumbing. He may never buy you flowers but he remembers to hear your heart. Darling woman, however your man shows his love, accept it. Rejoice in the love your given and bask in the kindness showered on you.

And remember to bless you man for being manly enough to show his love.

It really is quite rare.

With love, hot chocolate and smiles!

// p.s. //
Some David Ramirez for your listening pleasure … I wish upon you love, light and a brave heart. xo

How to Get Your Husband To Eat His Vegetables + Other Fables

I’m a lot of things to my husband — a friend, comrade, keeper, lover, helpmate, playmate, encourager. 

But I’m not his mother.

I’m a first-born, mother-hen, protector personality — the kind of woman who will ask you if your feeling alright 20 times in a minute, iron your shirt, make your favorite cookies, ask you if the temperature of the room is suitable and hover over you ensuring that your water is filled and your heart content.

I’ve been told it’s stifling. 

I am not my husband’s mother — somehow he managed to live without someone reminding him to brush his teeth, eat his vegetables and put his shoes away before I came into his life. (He keeps assuring me that he can still do those things without oversight.) Somehow he figured out how to apply for jobs, adjust the thermostat and greet people without my tutelage … and to be honest, I was kind of shocked.

I’ve  always had someone to remind how to behave; I’ve always had some amount of control and involvement with those younger then me. So, when my husband ordered me to stop mothering him reminded me that he was perfectly capable, I was confused, hurt and put out. I had only meant to be a helpmeet. Didn’t he prefer a helpful wife over a lazy one?

I think I puffed and huffed and declared that he couldn’t change me; that he should be thankful for such a helpful, sweet, willing wife.

(Hahaha, I hope Debi Pearl doesn’t come after me with a spanking stick and a copy of Created to Be His Helpmeet for that statement … actually, I do. Mine is wearing out.)

There really isn’t a conclusion to this silly post other then to say that I am still learning.

I am learning to be the kind of woman my husband wants and not the kind of woman I thinks he needs. I’m finding he has no problem asking for aid when he needs it and that I need not hover over him. I’m discovering freedom in not having to be involved in his every movement and I am enjoying not being in control. It’s fun watching him be himself without me critiquing and advising his every decision. Above all, I am learning to respect my husband enough to trust him. He is capable, he is wise and he is able.

Of course, I do remind him to eat his salad greens because that’s simply good fun and it gets us laughing. ;]

Question: Are you a mother-hen? Or, are you one who despises mothering? Whoever you are leave a comment … I love learning more from you!!

With lots of love, blessings and sunshine,

Strawberrys, Boats and JJ Heller // Favorite Things Series

I am a *big* fan of JJ Heller.
Her music is as fun as wildflowers in a clean, clear jar and as sweet as strawberry shortcake. And her work is my favorite thing of the week.
“When I’m with You”
“The Boat Song”
“Meant to Be”
“Your Hands”
“If You Fall”
If you listen closely enough, you’ll learn a lot about love, faith and life.
Who have you been listening to lately?
With love, hugs and coffee!