Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

Family activities to do this fall

19 Fun family activities for autumn with a free fall bucket list printable

As the saying goes, it’s fall, ya’ll! Autumn is my favorite season. I love the colors, weather and flavors. I’m on board with figuring out fun family activities to do throughout the fall season. After a hot Midwestern summer, we’re usually ready to head outside and start enjoying the cooler weather that accompanies fall.

This year, I decided to be more intentional about fall family activities. While my family has made a list of summer activities for a few years, we haven’t done so for fall. So I decided I’d put together a fall bucket list of family family activities this year. Some we have done regularly and some are new to us, which I think makes a perfect fall bucket list list!

Download a FREE Fall Bucket List Printable or visit the Families with Grace Etsy store for an editable PDF version that includes a blank list for you to add your own Fall Bucket List ideas! Use the code FWGFAN to receive an extra 10% off everything in the store!

Family activities to do this fall with a free fall bucket list

Go for a leaf sight-seeing drive.

One of the best aspects of fall is the colors and the leaves. Taking time to drive around and enjoy them is a great fall activity for families, no matter the age of your kiddos. Play some favorite music and just take in the beauty of God’s creation.

Head to a pumpkin patch and get your own pumpkin.

Fall and pumpkins go hand-in-hand. Head to a nearby pumpkin patch and get your own pumpkin(s). Even though I’m far from being a plant person, I still like the pumpkin patch visits. It just feels autumnal. And you get a bonus of supporting a local farmer, which is always a good thing!

Bake pumpkin bread together.

Pumpkin spice is one of the most popular flavors of fall. I enjoy my pumpkin spice most baked into a loaf of pumpkin bread. For me, pair a slice of pumpkin bread with a mug of hot chocolate, and I’m in heaven! While my favorite pumpkin bread recipe is easy enough I’ve made it with 40 kindergarteners at once, if you just don’t want to bake, pick up some pumpkin bread at the grocery store or bakery.

Go on a hike or nature walk.

Fall weather may not cool down everywhere, but for many of us, fall means temperatures start going down. And that’s why hikes or nature walks make for great fall family activities. You get to be outside, enjoying the crisp air and colorful leaves. Find somewhere nearby and make some memories!

Drink apple cider (warm or chilled).

Apple harvest happens in the fall, so it’s a great time to enjoy some apple cider either warm or chilled. My daughter and husband especially love apple cider. They both prefer it cold. Find it at the grocery store or a nearby orchard.

Play board games for at least an hour.

There’s never a bad time for board games when it comes to family activities. My family loves games, but making the time to play them can get tricky. Adding this to your fall bucket list will help remind you to have a game night or afternoon. If your kiddos are young, be sure to check out this list of games for non- and early readers!

Snuggle for a movie night with popcorn and snacks.

Honestly, fall weather can be downright unpleasant. On a chilly, wet evening, snuggle in as a family and enjoy movie night with popcorn and snacks. Our family tends to love this most on Friday nights when everyone is tired from a week of school and work. Do whatever works for you!

Go to the farmers’ market.

Autumn is a great time to visit the farmers’ market. The weather is cooler, which encourages you to stroll through for longer. Lots of produce is still fresh and vendors often have other items like home-baked goodies that would pair well with things like game or movie nights! You may be able to find some apple cider at your local farmers’ market as well.

Do a fall family photo shoot.

The colors in fall are perfect backdrops for family photos. I have paid for family photos in the fall, but these days I usually just take my kids outside and take a bunch of photos with my phone. They’re easy to edit and pick my favorites. My kiddos enjoy getting to come up with poses and usually I end up with more natural photos.

Attend a fall festival.

Fall is a great time for festivals. Find one (or two or three!) near you, and attend. Here in the Midwest we have things like covered bridge festivals and historic area festivals. Then there are harvest festivals. Find something and go just for the fun of it. We recently went to a Native American festival and had a great time.

Pick apples at an orchard.

Apples are fresh and delicious in the fall. If you have an orchard near you that lets you pick your own apples, then go for it! You can try different varieties and see what you and your family like best or stick with one trusty variety. Either way, it can be lots of fun as a family.

Navigate a corn maze.

This is sort of an essential part of the fall season for those of us who live where the corn pops up in rows (Tim McGraw songs, anyone?). If you’ve got a corn maze near you, hit it up and navigate your way to through it. Usually one of our kids leads us. Especially when they were younger, we would then end up suggesting turns they might want to take.

Paint or carve pumpkins.

Pumpkins are everywhere in the fall, and it’s a great time to get creative with them. We carve and paint pumpkins in our family based on each persons’ preferences. My daughter likes to paint pumpkins; my son likes to carve them. I’m the only member in our family who loves cleaning out pumpkins. All in all, it works out and is one of the great fall family activities during autumn.

Play charades.

Charades is one of my kids’ favorite games and has been for years. You can use themed charades games, like Halloween charades, general charades games or just let everyone come up with their own ideas. In my family, we play charades by having one person act out the clue and the rest of us guess. We don’t keep score and just have fun.

Donate to a local food bank.

Autumn is a great time to donate to local food banks who are preparing for the upcoming holiday season. We often contact the food bank and ask what sort of items they’re most in need of before buying things. Our kids usually use their “giving” money from their allowance to contribute to food banks. They take on the challenge of finding groceries or toiletries for cheaper prices to get the most for their money.

Eat a caramel apple.

Whether you make them yourself or buy them at the store, caramel apples are the quintessential fall treat. I like mine covered with chopped peanuts, while my husband prefers them plain. And if you just can’t get on board with caramel apples, buy some or make some caramel dip for apple slices or other favorite fruit.

Go on a hayride.

Hay rides can be a great family activity. We usually work in a hayride on a visit to the pumpkin patch. Beware that some hayrides have a scare factor with people “surprising” you. Definitely know what you’re getting into with younger children along.

Roast smores

Bonfires and firepits are great for chilly autumn evenings. And they’re a great excuse to roast some marshmallows as well. Add some chocolate and graham crackers. Smores aren’t just a summertime campfire treat!

Make a leaf collection

This is a great activity especially for younger kids who delight in all the various types of leaves they can find. But when it comes to autumn family activities, collecting leaves can also be fun. See who can find the biggest leaf, the most colorful leaf and so on.

Download a FREE Fall Bucket List Printable or visit the Families with Grace Etsy store for an editable PDF version that includes a blank list for you to add your own Fall Bucket List ideas! Use the code FWGFAN to receive an extra 10% off everything in the store!

4-Ingredient Oreo ice cream cake recipe

Your family will go crazy for this Oreo ice cream cake!

Affiliate links are used in this post, if you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

This Oreo ice cream cake recipe has been a family favorite since I was child. The recipe has evolved a bit through the years and now is a heck of a lot easier to make with only four ingredients. We still love this recipe. In fact, my daughter asks for this each year as her birthday dessert. It’s delicious, easy and is made ahead of time!

4-Ingredient Oreo ice cream cake

And, in the spirit of complete honesty, I’ve never made this Oreo ice cream cake recipe myself. My mom is who usually makes it these days. In spite of her moving a few states away, she ended up being in town to make it for my daughter’s birthday this week, so I had her walk me through it and took some photos. I no longer live in the land of sweet oblivion when it comes to making this dessert, but I don’t mind a bit. Because I knew I had to share this recipe with you guys and make sure I can re-create it myself in a pinch since my family loves it so much.

My mom actually made two of these this week so my daughter had one for her family birthday party last night and will have one for her friend birthday party this weekend. Her friends look forward to it every year as much as my daughter does.

Cookies and cream

This is an ice cream cake recipe, so you don’t need to preheat the oven, but you do need to let your ingredients thaw a bit. Thaw your whipped topping. Your ice cream needs to be softened. You can leave the ice cream sitting on the counter for 10-15 minutes or pop it in the microwave. We usually go for the countertop method because some of my family members think microwaving the ice cream gives it a different taste.

Once your ingredients are thawing, pull out a 9×13-inch or 3-quart baking dish. I love my glass 3-quart baking dish with a lid for this Oreo ice cream cake recipe because it’s easy to store in the freezer. And when we are finished, I can stick it in the dishwasher!

Fill the bottom of the pan with Oreo cookies. We use Double Stuf Oreos for this to have some extra cream in the mix. But regular Oreos work also! I buy the family size pack of Oreos that is 20 ounces. We usually end up with about 10 to 15 cookies left and happily eat them. But, you can get a smaller pack if you don’t want any leftover Oreos.

Oreo layer

We added three more cookies after taking this photo. Mostly, you just want the bottom covered and then you’re ready to start smashing the cookies. Like I said, my mom is the pro of this Oreo ice cream cake recipe. Through the years, she’s found the easiest way to crush the cookies is with the bottom of a drinking glass. Then she uses a butter knife to remove the excess from the bottom of the glass. Easy as that!

Oreo layer being crushed

You want the cookies to be crushed but still chunky. Move them around in your pan to so the bottom is completely covered. (If not, add more Oreos!)

Crushed Oreo layer

Add the layers

Next up, you layer on the ice cream. The original recipe for this used butter pecan ice cream. We now use vanilla. But you could use chocolate, cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip or whatever sounds best to you!

Either way, make sure your ice cream is softened. Then dollop it in mounds over the top of the cookie layer.

Oreo ice cream cake ice cream layer

Carefully smooth the ice cream over the cookie layer.

Oreo ice cream cake smoothed ice cream layer

Put the pan into the freezer to chill and harden for about 10 minutes. While the ice cream is freezing, get out the hot fudge sauce. I got a store-brand hot fudge sauce that was 11.5 ounces in the jar. My mom usually gets Hershey brand, which is 12.8 ounces per jar. Both worked well.

In order for it to spread over the ice cream layer, the hot fudge sauce needs to be warmed up. It doesn’t need to be as hot as if you were making a hot fudge sundae. The sauce just needs to be hot enough to be pourable.

My mom says the best option she’s found is removing the lid and heating the hot fudge sauce in the microwave for 30 seconds. However you heat it, once it is nice and warm, pull your Oreo ice cream cake out of the freezer. Drizzle the hot fudge sauce all over the top. It doesn’t need to cover every inch, but should coat well.

Hot fudge sundae layer
Oreo ice cream cake hot fudge sauce layer

The final layer

The warm fudge layer softens the ice cream again. So, put the cake back in the freezer for about 10 minutes to let it refreeze some more. Then carefully spread the whipped topping over the top of the fudge layer.

Oreo ice cream cake top layer

And that’s it for this Oreo ice cream cake recipe. Simple, easy and delicious! For birthdays, we often sprinkle some miniature M&Ms on top of the cake before serving. You can also used crushed Oreo cookies on top just before serving (any sooner and the cookies will get mushy) or chocolate chips.

Store the Oreo ice cream cake in the freezer and remove it 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Oreo Ice cream cake recipe

Oreo Ice Cream Cake

With just four ingredients, this Oreo ice cream cake recipe easily comes together and makes a delectable dessert your family will love!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 people


  • 1 package Oreos, regular or Double Stuf
  • 1 1.5 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 1 11.5 – 12.8 oz. jar hot fudge sundae sauce
  • 1 8 oz. container whipped topping


  • Thaw the whipped topping and soften the ice cream by setting it on the counter or using the microwave.
  • Cover the bottom of a 9×13 or 3-quart oblong baking dish with Oreo cookies.
  • Use the bottom of a glass to press on the cookies and break them into large chunks. Make sure the bottom of the pan is fully covered with cookie pieces.
  • Dollop the softened ice cream in large globs over the top of the cookies. Use a spoon or spatula to spread the ice cream out evenly.
  • Put the ice cream cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes to harden a bit.
  • In the meantime, heat the hot fudge sundae sauce. It doesn't need to be as hot as for a sundae, but it does need to be hot enough to be pourable. I suggest removing the lid and heating it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Pour the hot fudge sauce evenly over the top of the ice cream layer. It won't cover the ice cream completely,
  • Return the Oreo ice cream cake to the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Dollop the whipped topping to make the top layer. Spread it gently and evenly over the fudge layer.
  • Serve immediately or place in the freezer. Let the cake thaw 10 to 15 minutes before cutting to serve.
Keyword 4 ingredient dessert, Birthday cake, easy dessert, easy recipe, Ice cream, Ice cream cake, no bake dessert, Oreo

Bad moments don’t make you a bad mom

Encouragement for moms

Affiliate links are used in this post, if you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

I wrote this post as encouragement for moms back in 2012 before my youngest child was even born. It may be 10 years later, but I still need this reminder just as much!

Encouragement for moms: Bad moments don't make you a bad mom

I’d guess that ever since Eve, moms have been questioning themselves and feeling like bad mothers when things go awry. My daughter was less than a couple of days old before I felt like a bad mom. It was so intense that my husband even suggested I talk with my own mother about whether it got better. My baby was crying all the time and nothing I did seemed to help. I cried. She cried. We saw a different pediatrician when ours was out who further laid the blame on me. I climbed into the backseat with my baby on the way home and cried some more. It was awful feeling so much love and so much helplessness. I felt like the world’s worst mom and I had barely even been a mom.

The end of the first week, my husband figured out the problem. The kiddo didn’t know what to do with her tongue to suck milk effectively. She was constantly hungry as a result. Once we knew the problem and were able to work on it by having me exclusively pump and then negotiate the bottle just so in her mouth, things got a lot better. I didn’t immediately feel like a great mom. I did at least feel better that my baby was happier.

Every mom has a different story, but we’ve all had those moments where we feel just awful. I’ve had many more moments since then like when my baby rolled off my bed, found a pair of scissors to play with, skinned her knee to pieces when she fell WHILE I was holding her hand and so much more. I have often said to my husband, “I’m such a bad mom,” and then lurched into a story about why.

Words of encouragement

Yesterday, though, a friend shared a quote on Pinterest that stopped me in my tracks a minute and got me thinking. It’s from “Unglued” by Lysa Terkeurst: “Bad moments don’t make bad mamas.” I like that way of thinking. Aside from needing to cut myself some slack (I have a lifetime of practice of being too hard on myself), I also need to change my way of thinking.

Instead of thinking, “I’m such a bad mom for losing my patience with her when she wanted to play,” I need to think, “That was a bad moment.” And then assess how I can fix it the next time that situation arises. We all have bad moments whether it’s in parenthood, at work, at home, wherever. They just happen. Life is far from perfect all the time. Life is far from happy all the time. But, bad moments really don’t make us bad people.

I suppose bad mothers exist, but the majority of us are doing the best with what we have. My own mom wasn’t perfect, but she was perfect for me. I have to believe the same is true for my children. I’m not a perfect person. I’m not a perfect mother. We’re going to have bad moments. But, I’m not a bad mother. Bad mothers don’t try. They don’t care. I try very much and care about being a mom above almost everything else. I’m hopeful that one day my children will be able to look back and know that I did my very best for them and, above all, loved them unconditionally with my whole heart.

I’m hopeful that one day my children will be able to look back and know that I did my very best for them and, above all, loved them unconditionally with my whole heart.

And one of these days, I hope we can sit around together and laugh at some of the bad moments. Sometimes in hindsight things are much more humorous than they feel at the time they happen. I still haven’t been able to always employ a college professor’s theory of, “If you’re going to laugh at it later, you might as well laugh at it now.” But, I do see humor in some things now that weren’t one bit funny at the time they happened.

Maybe one day I’ll sit and joke with my daughter about how she had to figure out eating from the start. Or maybe we’ll joke about the time she rolled off the bed and survived to tell the tale. I’m guessing, though, that there are lots more bad moments that will happen between now and her adulthood that we’ll have to joke about. That’s a part of life, I suppose. And it will be all right. We’ll survive together. As long as I keep trying and keep loving her (and soon her brother), I’m pretty sure I can’t go all that wrong.

5-Minute breakfast ideas for families

16+ Breakfast ideas you can make in 5 minutes or less!

Affiliate links are used in this post, if you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

I love breakfast food. If I had to pick one type of meal that I’d have all day every day, I’d go for breakfast food. There are so many options, and they’re all so yummy! But, making them in the morning is not as much my thing. The typical weekday morning has too much to do for me to want to cook a big breakfast that nobody has time to eat anyway! For more than a decade now, I’ve been making breakfast for my kiddos and have come up with all sorts of yummy, healthy and EASY 5-minute breakfast ideas.

5-Minute breakfast ideas for families

These are things that make it into our lives all the time. They’re not all made from scratch; in fact, most of them aren’t. But they are ideas to get food in bellies to get the day started off on the right foot, and you can’t go wrong with that!

Continental 5-minute breakfast ideas

One of the things I enjoy about staying at hotels (aside from not having to wash the towels we use!) is the continental breakfasts. Most of them are so simple, but getting to choose from a variety of things that are premade is just special to me. (Again, I love all breakfast food, so this may not be too surprising!)

You can imitate continental breakfast at home. I’m not saying set out lots of choices for your family to pick from (though if that works for you, go for it!). But, I like having items on hand that are similar to what I’d find at a continental breakfast. Then I can mix and match them together for a healthy, 5-minute breakfast for the kiddos. Pick two or three choices from this list, and you’re set!


My kids love yogurt. So, we always have at least one kind of yogurt in the fridge. Strawberry, peach, vanilla and strawberry banana are their favorites. I used to buy it in individual cups, but I realized the big 32-ounce container makes way more sense. I love that yogurt adds a healthy, easy way to get some protein in their bellies before heading out the door to school.

We usually keep yogurt tubes as well both in the fridge and in the freezer. While they do eat the tubes at breakfast sometimes, they also work for lunchboxes and after-school snacks.

Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Peanut granola bars

Granola bars

Granola bars are a staple in my pantry. Along with breakfast, they also work for lunchboxes and after-school snacks. There are a few different varieties we have liked through the years, but my kids’ all-time favorite is sweet-and-salty peanut bars.

Recently, my son has been enjoying the same types of granola bars in the cashew variety. My favorite is chocolate chip granola bars. And then we can’t forget fruit and grain bars. Berry flavors are my kids’ favorite.

When I am working ahead of time, we also love homemade oat and honey granola. It’s super easy to make; I often make it for us to snack on throughout the week. And when that happens, I almost always include it for breakfast, too!

Easy oat and honey granola recipe

Fresh fruit

The best fresh fruit for 5-minute breakfast ideas is fruit that doesn’t take much work. Think bananas and apples or precleaned and prepped berries or grapes. We also go for fresh peaches in season that I clean and slice up in just a couple of minutes for the kiddos. I usually pair flavors together. If I have strawberry yogurt, then I serve it with berries.

Dried and canned fruit

Fresh fruit is always good, but don’t overlook dried and canned fruits. My kids love raisins, unsweetened applesauce (Pouches and single-serving cups are super easy!) and fruit packed in its own juice for additional breakfast options. Dried and canned fruits last much longer and are easily accessible year-round no matter where you live.

Honey Nut Cheerios


I LOVE cereal. In fact, that’s my personal go-to breakfast. Almost every single morning I enjoy a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with a small glass of milk to get my day underway.

However, you can get creative with cereal, too. My kids don’t like milk on their cereal. They eat it dry. So, I will often include a small amount of cereal as a side for them. They can add it into their yogurt as they eat it for an extra crunch or eat it solo. My daughter tends to go for Honey Nut Cheerios like I do, while my son really loves plain Cap’n Crunch.

Another way we get creative with cereal is making peanut butter honey nut cereal clusters. just like with the homemade oat and honey granola, this takes longer than five minutes. But just like with the granola, I make these clusters for us to snack on throughout the week and they end up being a breakfast option, too!

3-ingredient peanut butter honey nut cereal clusters


Because they aren’t necessarily the healthiest option, muffins aren’t in rotation all the time at my house. But every couple of months or so, I’ll either make some muffins or buy mini muffins.

Carb-y 5-minute breakfast ideas

Some of these more carb-y breakfast ideas can pair well with some of the continental breakfast options above and some stand well on their own.


Bagels are a staple in my freezer. Yep. I buy refrigerated bagels (Lender’s is our favorite brand) and stick them in the freezer. My son will eat bagels for breakfast, lunch or dinner. But they really are a great, filling and fast breakfast food. I wrap the bagel in a paper towel and thaw it in the microwave for 25 to 30 seconds, then put it in the toaster. The go-to bagel for my son is a plain bagel with peanut butter. I prefer cream cheese and sometimes another flavor like cinnamon raisin or blueberry.

Cinnamon toast

This breakfast is a throwback to my own childhood and more in the every couple of months breakfast rotation. All you do is toast bread and spread it with some butter while it’s still hot. Then top it with cinnamon and sugar. If you don’t have a cinnamon sugar blend, just use some sugar, a bit of cinnamon and mix together on the top of the toast. It’s so easy and so yummy!

Peanut butter toast

Toasted bread with peanut butter smeared on it makes another tasty 5-minute breakfast that packs a protein punch. I serve this to my daughter as toast and to my son as a sandwich. Either way, it’s a great breakfast option that pairs well with fruit or a yogurt tube.

Avocado toast

Avocado toast has become one of my daughter’s favorite treats. Sometimes she’ll add some egg with it, but she cuts the avocado and puts it on toast, usually with a drizzle of agave syrup as well.

Hot 5-minute breakfast ideas

Just because you are going for a fast breakfast doesn’t mean it can’t be a hot one. These hot breakfasts really are ready in 5 minutes or less!


Frozen waffles have come a long way since I was a kiddo. You can get basic ones or Belgian waffles. Either way, pop them in the toaster and within minutes they’re ready to devour. My son loves his with a bit of butter and some sugar-free syrup. My daughter prefers to dip her waffles into unsweetened applesauce. In fact, I started them both on waffles and pancakes with applesauce as toddlers to be healthier and less messy. They both still eat them that way, though my son ultimately prefers syrup these days.


Confession of sorts: my kids prefer frozen pancakes to homemade most of the time. It sort of flabbergasts me, but then again they have frozen pancakes more often. I stick a stack of three pancakes in the microwave for 1 minute and 11 seconds. (Notice I don’t have to touch any other number besides one!) Then they’re ready to go. Just like with waffles, you can serve them with unsweetened applesauce as a syrup alternative.


This comes with another confession: I only like instant oatmeal. It’s what I had most often growing up, and I just prefer it! Much to my husband’s disdain, I make instant oatmeal with hot water, not even hot milk. But make it however you like. My mom uses quick cooking oats in the microwave to make hers in minutes nowadays, but I still go for instant oatmeal. I like sugar free maple and brown sugar. My kids both like cinnamon apple (but only the store brand, as I discovered a few months ago when they were out of store brand and we got name brand!).

Scrambled eggs

I can’t talk about 5-minute breakfast ideas without mentioning microwave scrambled eggs. This has been a game changer for me. Game. Changer! Make them plain, buttered, Italian flavored, cheesy or omelette. Add in some toast or fruit on the side and you’ve got a hearty, filling breakfast in less than five minutes!

Microwave egg recipes

Bible verses about trusting God

10 Bible verses to help you remember to trust God

10 Bible verses about trusting God

I’ve been a Christian officially since I was 10. That means, I’ve had more than three decades of living with God in my life. I have seen and know His faithfulness. Trusting Him should be second nature right now. Often it is, but other times, I need reminders when life starts going haywire that God is on His throne and I can trust Him completely. That’s where Bible verses about trusting God help. His Word reminds more than anything about Who God is and how much I can trust Him.

I’ve put together a list of Bible verses about trusting God to help myself and others when times get tough and we need reminding.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” — Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)

My own understanding of things is paltry at best. I don’t know what the future holds or how things are going to work out. This verse reminds me that regardless of what I know or understand, I have a God I can trust in with all my heart because He knows it all and will be there with me every single step of the way.

"Be still and know that I am God." -- Psalm 46:10a (NIV)

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.'” — Psalm 46:10a (NIV)

When it comes to Bible verses about trusting God, this is one of my favorites. I have trouble being still in my head. I can easily get carried away, ruminate and stress out. But this verse reminds me that I can just be still, rest and trust in God. Sometimes repeating “Be still” in my head can help calm my anxiety as I trust in the One Who is truly in control.

“Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.” — Isaiah 12:2 (NIV)

The definition for the word salvation is to save or protect from harm, destruction and loss. This verse reminds us that God is saving and protecting us. We can trust in Him and not be afraid. When God is our strength, defense and ultimate protector, we can relax and rest in Him.

"Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal." -- Isaiah 26:4 (NIV)

“Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” — Isaiah 26:4 (NIV)

Two things stick out to me in this verse. First, the use of the words “forever” and “eternal.” Knowing that God is Someone in Whom I can trust forever and throughout eternity is comforting to me. My brain has trouble even fathoming how long eternity is, but even just having been able to trust Him for my meager amount of years on earth is significant.

The second thing that jumps out at me is the concept of the Lord being the Rock. He’s not dirt or sand. He’s not water. God is a solid rock and firm foundation. In life, so many things can shift and change in the blink of an eye, but God remains the same — solid and true.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

God is speaking these words to Joshua, but they apply to us just as much. As we trust in God, we can rest assured that He will be with us everywhere we go. Just remembering that gives me strength and courage. It helps me not be as afraid or discouraged. Bible verses about trusting in God can also remind us that we are never alone, which is something we need to hear when life is difficult.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

When I was a child, I trusted my parents to meet my needs. I was blessed to never worry about what I’d have to eat or whether I’d have clean clothes to wear. That’s the same sort of trust I strive to have in God. I want to trust Him so completely that when something goes sideways, I don’t have to worry and can relax in knowing that He’s got it covered.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." — Romans 15:13 (NIV)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” — Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Trusting in God can fill us with joy and peace. It can give us hope beyond what even makes sense. God has given us His Holy Spirit to fill us and dwell in us. During times that we are struggling to trust in God, we can ask for help and the Holy Spirit can fill us up with strength and peace not our own. I’m so thankful for that!

“‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.'” — John 14:1 (NIV)

Jesus is speaking here. He’s just told His followers of trouble to come and that He will soon be leaving them. They’re distressed and worried. They’re afraid. I’ve felt that way. I’ve gotten news that left me shaken and unsure. I didn’t know what the future would look like. But these words from Jesus remind me that I don’t need to have a troubled heart. I just need to believe.

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.” — Psalm 118:8 (NIV)

In my humanity, I can often be tempted to trust in other people when things go wrong. For example, dealing with various health struggles through the years have led me down a path of beginning to trust in doctors or treatments. I had to learn to make sure I was trusting in God instead.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." -- Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” — Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

Things change. People change. Life changes. But, Jesus remains steadfast and true. He is the same and we can trust in Him always because He never changes. I will never forget one of the lowest points in my life. I questioned God’s plan and purpose. Nothing made sense. My world was completely upside down, and I truly didn’t know how I’d ever endure and make it through to the other side. I spent that Sunday morning at church too overwhelmed to even sing the praise and worship songs. My mind wandered throughout much of the sermon. But my eyes saw the cross at the front of the church. And God gently reminded me that I didn’t need all the answers. I just needed to trust that He is ever faithful and true. The only thing I needed to know is that Jesus loved me so much He died for me. I could cling to that when all else failed me. That is the God we serve — One who is steadfast, true, unchanging and full of love for each of us.

21 Quick and easy family dinner ideas

Dinner ideas to feed your family on busy nights without hitting a drive-thru

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My husband and I purposefully strive to keep our children’s schedules from being too jam-packed. But, even with that, family life is just plain busy. Yet every single night, we need to eat. Coming up with quick and easy family dinner ideas keeps us from hitting up the drive-thru or ordering pizza.

So, I’m sharing some of my best quick and easy family dinner ideas today. Give these a try!

Sandwich selections

Not much says easy meal more than a sandwich. There are so many options besides just putting some lunchmeat on bread and calling it a day. You can make hot sandwiches or “fancy” cold ones.

When it comes to hot sandwiches, subs and sliders are long-time favorites of my family. Check out these recipes for some quick and easy family dinner ideas for your crew.

These pizza subs are a recipe of my mom’s from when I was a kiddo that I took and morphed into what my family loves most. The subs are super easy to make and can be customized per person for individual preferences, which I love!

I love recipes that are easy to make and please my whole family; this pizza sub recipe does just that. You'll want to add it into your regular rotation! #Pizza #PizzaSubs #Recipe #EasyRecipe #KidFriendlyFood #PickyEaters

Another great hot sub you bake in the oven is these hot ham and cheese subs with honey mustard. The oven gets the edges of the ham a bit crispy and the honey mustard kicks the flavor up a notch. So yummy!

It’s not a secret that pizza flavors are popular in my family — and I’d bet they are in yours, too. Hawaiian rolls and an onion garlic topping make these pizza sliders a great family dinner idea!

The sweet pineapple mixed with the salty ham on a Hawaiian roll that’s topped with an onion garlic butter spread make these ham and pineapple sliders a super tasty family dinner!

But if you don’t have time for baking out some hot sandwiches in the oven, consider using your toaster! One my family’s favorites is toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The hot bread from the toaster makes the peanut butter all melty and delicious. There are all sorts of options for this one: peanut butter alone, peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and honey, peanut butter and banana — whatever you like!

Another super easy hot sandwich option is refrigerated (or frozen) pulled pork barbeque. My daughter and I love the pulled pork BBQ on hamburger buns. It’s easy to heat in the microwave (or on the stovetop if you really want) and serve up.

We also enjoy fancy cold sandwiches for dinner and pretend like we are at a sub shop. Buy sub bread, pretzel rolls or a loaf of bakery bread. Pair it with a variety of toppings like shredded lettuce, onion, green peppers, cheese and lunchmeat. Let your family build their own fancy cold sandwich. My guys both like sandwich size pepperoni or salami.

My favorite fancy cold sandwich is shaved turkey on a pretzel bun with Swiss cheese and garlic aioli. It’s so good!

You can pair any of the sandwiches with chips, pretzels or veggies and dip. Add in some fresh fruit on the side and you’ve got a great family dinner idea!

Easy pizza

My family loves pizza. My son would eat it daily and never tire of it. So easy pizza recipes make for great family dinner ideas around my house. I’ve made pizza dough from scratch, but there are so many easier options available that are ideal for busy nights. You’ll want to give these recipes a try!

With a crescent roll crust, this BLT pizza is a quick and easy recipe, especially if you make it with precooked bacon like I do. It’s a favorite around my house!

Starting with a canned pizza crust, these pepperoni pinwheels are a great way to get pizza flavors in a different way that’s also quick and easy for busy nights.

And then there’s premade pizza crust. While I have bought canned pizza dough or pizza crust mixes before, our favorite is the premade pizza crusts. The best thing about making your own pizza is that you can get as creative — or not — as you want with the toppings. My guys like pepperoni with pizza sauce. My daughter and I get a bit more risky.

Chicken, barbeque and onion pizza: This is my daughter’s favorite. I stir a bit of brown sugar into barbeque sauce, then spread it on the crust. I top it with cheese (Italian blend or mozzarella), diced white or red onion and precooked chicken from the refrigerated section. It’s so incredibly yummy!

Barbeque pulled pork pizza: We got this idea from a restaurant we went to while on vacation. Spread some barbeque sauce (sweetened with a bit of brown sugar if you want) onto the crust. Add the cheese and then top with barbeque pulled pork from the refrigerated section. It’s delicious!

Mashed potato pizza: My daughter was very unsure of this one, but once she tried it with me, she liked it. I had it once at a restaurant years ago and liked it. Spread a bit of ranch salad dressing on the crust, top it with refrigerated mashed potatoes that have been heated and top with shredded cheese (I usually use cheddar or colby jack) and crispy pieces of precooked bacon. Add some green onion when it comes out. You can dip it in ranch dressing when you eat it for extra flavor.

Mexican meals

Along with pizza, I know anything with Mexican flavors I make is going to be a hit. So I’ve found a few quick and easy dinner ideas that don’t have me cooking long. I do usually make extra taco-seasoned meat when I make tacos so I can make some Mexican food quickly, like nachos with jarred queso or even taco cornbread bake.

Making quesadillas in a skillet is not quick and easy when you are feeding your whole family. But, you can still get a crispy, yummy taste in the oven. These easy baked quesadillas are easy to customize for what your family likes.

Another quick Mexican meal we love is fajitas. I’ve found frozen chicken fajita mix at my grocery store. I put it on a baking sheet (covered in parchment paper for fast clean-up) and heat it up in the oven. Add in some flour tortillas, sour cream and shredded cheese and it’s a quick and easy family dinner!

Breakfast for dinner

I will eat breakfast food for any meal of the day. From cold cereal to full, hot breakfasts, I’m happy with breakfast food. So breakfast foods are definitely part of my family dinner ideas.

Eggs are the quintessential breakfast food, in my opinion. Try whipping them up in the microwave on busy nights to eat as is or add to a sandwich. (I love a scrambled egg with a bit of mayo on bread as a sandwich!)

Not only can you make scrambled eggs in the microwave, but there are a variety of flavor options you can do with them, including basic scrambled eggs, cheesy eggs, Italian flavored eggs, buttery eggs and mini omelettes.

Bagels maybe considered a breakfast food, but they make for a filling, easy family dinner idea! Peanut butter is super popular in my family. My son, especially loves bagels with peanut butter. But you could also toast a bagel and use cream cheese, which is what I do.

Another easy and quick breakfast food we have for dinner sometimes is frozen waffles. You can get regular frozen waffles or go for fancier Belgian waffles. All you need is your toaster! Add in some precooked bacon or sausage links that you heat in the microwave, and you’ve got a good family dinner. If you are worried about mess from syrup, try serving the waffles with applesauce for dipping instead! (Plus you get the bonus of added fruit.) Or if you have about 15 extra minutes, whip up this easy caramel sauce on the stove for a scrumptious topping!

And I have to include cold cereal. We totally have it for dinner sometimes. I make it fancier by adding toast alongside it.

Finally, don’t forget about instant oatmeal when it comes to breakfast for dinner. Go for a flavor or make it plain and add your own flavors. My kids like apple and cinnamon. I like maple and brown sugar. We add toast on the side to make that dinner a bit heartier as well.

Slow cooker

You can’t forget the slow cooker when it comes to quick and easy family dinner ideas. Slow cookers let you make dinner early in the day and then forget it. I’ve got two soups we eat from the slow cooker that you’ve got to try!

This slow cooker potato soup is a regular in my household. And since it uses frozen hashbrowns for the potatoes, you don’t even have to take time peeling potatoes. I can get it in the slow cooker in 5 minutes! It’s cheap, easy and filling.

I’d not had potatoes in chili until recently when we tried this slow cooker potato chili. But, I love potatoes prepared any way I can get them! While you can dice up your own potatoes to put in here, you could also use frozen hashbrowns to make this an even faster family dinner.

Pizza sliders

A pizza sliders recipe for family dinner or any time!

Last week I told you about ham and pineapple sliders my daughter and I love. However, the guys in my house don’t like either ham or pineapple. So when I make ham and pineapple sliders for dinner, I make these pizza sliders for them. They’re just as easy to make and don’t add time to dinner prep.

Pepperoni is the pizza topping of choice for my husband and son, so I use just pepperoni on these pizza sliders, but you could use any favorite pizza toppings, much like with the pizza subs recipe. The sliders are a bit different in size (obviously) and flavor with their sweet roll base and onion garlic butter topping.

Putting together the sliders

]Get started by preheating your oven to 350-degrees and spraying a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Next up, you need to prepare your slider buns. You can totally buy slider buns, but I prefer Hawaiian dinner rolls since they are a bit sweeter. I just slice them in half to make them into buns. Place the bottom half of the buns into the baking pan. I used one package of 12 rolls and divided them into two sides when I was making this recipe this time because I was using half of the rolls for these pizza sliders and the other half for the ham and pineapple sliders.

Once your bun bottoms on in the pan, you want to cover them with pizza sauce. I don’t usually measure it out and just dollop it on. It’s about 1 tablespoon per bun.

Use a spoon or butter knife to spread the pizza sauce evenly over the bun bottoms.

Next, top the sauced buns with about 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese to cover the buns. You can add more or less depending on your family’s preference.

Top the cheese with the pizza toppings your family most likes. My guys love pepperoni, so I used pepperoni. I ended up using a bit of extra pepperoni this time around because I was at the end of a package and wanted to use it up. For pepperoni, go for one to two slices per bun.

Add the top bun and then melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Mix in 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/2 tablespoon of onion salt. Stir until combined. (Mine usually ends up kind of like wet sand.)

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Brush the garlic butter over the top of the buns.

Bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the cheese is melted.

Cut them apart and serve warm. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Pizza sliders

These easy pizza sliders are great for family dinners or carry-ins and can easily feed a crowd!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • 12 Hawaiian rolls
  • 3/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
  • 1.5 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/4 garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion salt dried, minced onion also works


  • Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Cut the Hawaiian rolls in half through the middle to turn them into slider buns. Put the bottom half of the rolls into the baking dish; set aside the tops for now.
  • Spread the pizza sauce evenly over the bun bottoms in the pan. Top with shredded cheese and pepperoni. (Add other pizza toppings as desired.)
  • Put on the tops of the rolls.
  • Melt the butter and then add in the garlic powder and onion salt. Mix it well and then brush the butter mixture over the top of the sliders.
  • Bake the sliders for 20 minutes until the tops are browned and the cheese is melted.