Families With Grace

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

Mastering the work and family balancing act

Working from home with children

Balancing work and family can be difficult. Even for those of us who work from home (like me!), the balance is still precarious. Colleen Stewart, a mom of two, has some ideas for how to make that balance a bit easier when you work from home. Stewart, creator of Playdate Fitness, shares some of her best tips with us in this special guest post.

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Working from home can be the ideal way to balance your family and career. No more long hours commuting, after-hours meetings or missing work on those days when school is out of session.

But that doesn’t mean your at-home work office is an easy-peasy alternative, either. Small children don’t always make the easiest coworkers. However, working from home is still the better of the two circumstances. So let’s look at how to make it a more ideal work situation for you. 

Getting some help

Getting some help with your children in-house is probably the most ideal solution to help with balancing work and family. A spouse who works different hours or has a job with more time flexibility time-wise is one solution, though not the most doable. Hiring a sitter who can stay with your child for some or all of the hours you’re working can be the best answer to your situation. Sites like Care.com can make it easier to find help near you. Most of the candidates have gone through background checks and are open to working flexible hours and days. 

Creating a safe space for your child

If your child is an infant, then you at least have the luxury of long nap times. And baby monitors are getting more revolutionary every year. They’re available at every price point and offer a wide array of features, including night vision, two-way audio or wearable baby monitors that monitor baby’s heartrate, oxygen, sleep patterns and more. 

Pack-and-play yards can give your little one a safe place to play near you. Pack-and-plays are also easy to move from room to room. If your little one needs a larger crawling space, consider using a baby gate in a room that has been thoroughly baby-proofed. It’s critical, of course, to ensure all hazards have been moved out of harm’s way, like electrical cords and wires, trash cans and sharp edges. 

Recycle toys every few days to keep your child interested. And although you don’t want to keep the television on all day, for those times you need your child to be engaged and quiet while you’re busy on a call, if you do some research you can find some really good programs for children of all ages.

Other ways to keep your toddler occupied include learning toys that captivate a child’s attention for a while. When looking at toys like play kitchens or building blocks, look at online reviews to check for safety recommendations, types of materials and price to ensure you purchase safe, nontoxic toys your toddler will enjoy.

Using your time wisely

You don’t have to necessarily dress for success, but you don’t want to spend your workday in sweat clothes either. For instance, since you’re not pressured into having a different outfit every day, you can take that blouse, blazer and pant combo and mix and match them. And although you don’t have to wear heels to your home office, having nice ballet flats instead of house shoes can make you feel more professional. 

Prepare meals ahead of time on your weekends and thaw them for dinner or lunches. You’ll find yourself eating healthier that way, too. Even breakfast can be healthy and quick by preparing fruit and veggie smoothies. Oatmeal is quick, easy and, as long as it’s not loaded with sugar, healthy. It’s lots faster to prepare than bacon, eggs and biscuits. 

Considering a career boost

This time when you’re home and raising your child can also be the ideal time for you to make a career change. Whatever career move you’re considering, having a business degree can let you hit the ground running by learning key business concepts and skills. Online degrees allow you to choose a bachelor’s business degree in accounting, business, communications or management. And you can also receive a certificate to match your particular career goal. Some online programs can be completed in as little as five weeks.

Making time for family time 

Make a childcare schedule just as you do for any of your business tasks, too. Harvard Business Review suggests keeping a calendar for your childcare time, like the hours after they first wake up and before they go to bed for the evening. Write in the activity you’ll do together, like feeding the ducks at the park, baking cookies or reading bedtime stories. You and they will both find the rhythm of the day that way, and your child will be more patient when you’re busy with work, knowing they have their own special time with you, too. 

You can make this work-from-home opportunity both productive for your career and an ideal way to spend more time with your children as long as you make a plan, get help when possible, have the right home environment and even use the time to create your future with online classes. Balancing work and family really can be a way for you to have it all. 

About the guest author:

Colleen Stewart loves giving her two kids a healthy example to live by. Her passion for community and wellness inspired her and her husband to team up with their neighbors and create a playgroup that allows the adults and their kiddos to squeeze in a workout a few times a week. She created Playdate Fitness to help inspire other mamas and papas to prioritize their well-being and set a healthy foundation for their little ones in the process.

Connecting with other moms who are balancing work and family is also helpful. Be sure to check out the Moms with Grace private Facebook group to connect with moms like you!

Moms with Grace private Facebook group

Moms with Grace: Linda Mendible

Tips for Christian moms with a good dose of encouragement

The “Moms with Grace” series takes a look at modern Christian moms and how they handle daily life with raising children. You’ll find monthly posts from moms with older kids, younger kids and all those in between. Let real-life moms encourage and uplift you!

I’m excited to bring you another mom with grace. Recently, I connected with Linda Mendible when I was chosen to be a speaker at her Monetizing Mompreneurs Summit taking place throughout 2023. Linda is a web designer and podcaster with a passion for mompreneurs. She also works with momprenuers to grow both their businesses and their communities.

Linda is also a mom to three kids who are 4, 6 and 9. This year, she and her husband, Franklin, will happily celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary. With three young children, a husband and a successful business, Linda is in the thick of parenthood, marriage and life in general!

Linda has great advice and encouragement for Christian moms.

How have you changed from the beginning of your mom journey until now?

I’m learning so much from being a mom. My kids definitely make me a better person. I’ve learned that we must always keep God first.

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a mother? How have you worked to overcome them?

Andy has been one of my kids that God has definitely tested me with. Aside from a very difficult birth, he was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and they had to call in other nurses to get him to breath. He was also born with a hole in his heart, which by God’s grace, is now completely healed.

When he was just a few months old, he had RSV and was admitted to NICU. At times he gets so sick that it makes it difficult for him to breath. During those times, I see him struggling and have to go through the process of helping him breathe and get some rest. Those days are tough. I do everything I can in those moments but they are the toughest moments when my little ones are sick. I’ve learned to say to myself, “I’ve been here before.”

I cast my cares on Jesus. My children aren’t mine, they are God’s children. I pray God gives me the strength to take care of them, love them and raise them in the way they should go, keeping God first and knowing the truth in Christ.

One of my go-to verses is Psalm 27:25 which says, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” (NIV)

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Jeremiah 29:11 reminds me of God’s promises to us. And I remember God’s Word and what He said to Abraham. God told Abraham that his faith was accounted to him as righteousness. My faith is God and in Christ and I know I’m covered by His blood. I remind myself nothing is by my strength, and God does not see my flaws — just as when God told His people to take the lamb’s blood and put it over their door post. God didn’t see the people He saw the blood. It is by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that allows me to have life and live it more abundantly. God’s Word is the living Word.

In what ways have you and do you share your faith with your children?

My kids know the Lord’s prayer, and we pray at night with them when things are not to hectic. At first I was the one praying the Lord’s prayer and they would repeat what I would say; now they lead the prayers with it. It’s been amazing to see. Sometimes life can give us surprises. They know Jesus loves them, and when things don’t go their way I ask them to pray to God about it. I tell them to ask God for what they want and thank God for all that they have. It really calms them down.

What are some of your favorite parts of motherhood?

That’s a tough question. All moments are my favorite, especially the times we create core memories from. One of my favorite times are when we go to the beach. I just love seeing them play and enjoy themselves; we collect seashells. We have a whole glass vase full of the shells we collected over the years. I can’t wait for summer again.

But then, I also love it when they help me with the garden. We have a small garden we started in our small apartment, and now that we have a house and a bigger yard it’s so much fun. They love it. Then there’s the everyday small moments that make me laugh. Or I see their little hands and hear their little voices, and I’m so thankful for them.

God is so gracious and good to us. Thank you, Lord, for all that you have done for us!

How does grace play a role in your daily life?

It’s a necessity. More of Him, less of me. I’m not perfect — far from it — and I need Jesus daily just for me to get up in the morning and pour a cup of coffee. So you can imagine how I need Him in all areas of my life! I just cast my cares to Him and pray daily, because I need Him all the time. But I’m so thankful I can just cast it all on Him. I do my best, God does the rest.

Do you have any tips or advice for how moms can show more grace to their families?

Motherhood is one of the most fulfilling things you can ever do in your life, and it’s one of the toughest and hardest things. From mom guilt to moments you just need the pause button. From play dates to baseball, classes and karate. To teacher conferences, bullies and amazing times. Find peace in the everyday. What do I mean? Try to sit still and just be thankful for the moment. Whenever life gets too hectic, I know it’s the most important times for me to sit still, slow down and listen. To be grateful.

Have you ever had your kids running around and you just know someone is going to end up crying? So you tell them to slow down, calm down or stop? And when they don’t listen, what happens? Someone ends up crying. Imagine if that’s what God does with us. So, if you’re ever feeling the rush, slow down, calm down and sit at His feet. He’s waiting for you.

What are you most proud of as a mom?

Oh gosh, what a question! I think I’m most proud of is my kids knowing Jesus.

Do you have any resources that help you be a mom with grace?

As a mompreneur I like listening to Terri Savelle Foy. As a mom who needs more grace I like listening to Joyce Myers. And as a family woman I like listening to Jentezen Franklin from Free Chapel. Resources will always be God’s Word. There’s nothing better in life than reading God’s Word daily. Remembering His promises and casting our cares to Jesus. I’m very blessed to know just how real God and Jesus is.

I also have a free 30 Days of Grace Challenge moms can take to help them grow in grace. It’s a Bible study, devotional and visibility challenge all rolled into one.

Do you have anything else to add that we haven’t talked about?

Live your life with the knowledge and reality that God is truly real and Jesus truly saves. God bless!

Connect with other Christian moms for support and encouragement in the private Facebook group, Moms with Grace!

Looking for more resources to start a new business as a mom? Join me this year at the Monetizing Mompreneurs Summit!

Monetizing Mompreneurs Summit information for 2023

Read more in the series:

Mandy Farmer, a blogger, children’s book author, pastor’s wife, mom and grandma shares encouragement for Christian moms, including those with blended families.

Deviled eggs recipe

An easy and delicious recipe for deviled eggs

One of the simplest recipes I make is deviled eggs. In fact, it’s one of the only recipes I never measure ingredients for. I’m generally big on measuring ingredients! I first learned the recipe from my mom and then tweaked it slightly through the years. And now I just feel it in my soul.

OK, that’s probably a bit too dramatic. But, I am pretty good at telling when I have the amounts just right. So I set out and figured out the correct measurements for ingredients in order to put together this recipe. I’ve put it off for a while because I knew I’d have to do that.

However, with all that said, sometimes I make mistakes. And when I do, I continue to do a bit of tweaking to get the deviled eggs just right. I like my deviled eggs pretty basic without fancy extra ingredients. When I was making them for this post, my 13-year-old daughter wanted to make them instead. I guided her through the recipe, but when it was time to add the honey mustard, she added in double the amount I usually use.

If these eggs look like they have a looser filling than usual, that’s why. We ended up having to add some extra mayo, extra mustard and even some sour cream to get them right this time. But they weren’t ruined. And they were still gobbled down by my daughter, my father-in-law and myself!

How to boil eggs

One of the first things I had to learn in making good deviled eggs was to boil them correctly. I didn’t want them to be over-boiled and get that dark tint to the yolk. Having them be soft boiled also wouldn’t work. Like Goldilocks, I want boiled eggs that are just right. So, here’s what I’ve found that works best.

First, start with older eggs. I’m not saying expired eggs, but the fresher your eggs are, the more difficult they are to peel so they’re smooth. Next, fill a pot about 2/3 full with warm water and add a dash or two of salt. (The salt will help the shells come off a bit easier.)

Put the pot on your cold stovetop. Carefully place the number of eggs you want into the pot. I used seven eggs for this batch, but this works for any amount of eggs you’re using as long as you have a big enough pot and enough water!

Put a lid on the pot, and turn the stove on high heat. Leave them be. When the water begins boiling, turn off the heat. Leave the eggs on the warm stovetop for 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl and fill it with cool water. Add in ice cubes and let the eggs sit until they are completely cool.

Prep the eggs

Once your eggs are cooled, you’re ready to start prepping them. I usually tap them on the countertop to crack the shells and then peel them over a paper towel. When I’m finished, I rinse the egg to be sure I have gotten off all bits of shell, and then I place them onto a clean paper towel to dry.

Boiled and peeled eggs drying on a paper towel to be used in this deviled eggs recipe

Next, you want to cut the eggs in half lengthwise to make two large ovals. I use a sharp knife or even a butter knife for this.

A sliced boiled egg to use for deviled eggs
Look at that beautiful yolk!

Gently “pop” the yolk out into a large mixing bowl. I put it in the mixing bowl of my stand mixer. You can use any bowl you’d like that works with a mixer. I’ve found using a mixer makes the deviled egg filling creamier and smoother.

The egg yolks in a mixing bowl
The empty egg white ready to be filled for this deviled eggs recipe

Use a fork to mash the egg yolk up into smaller pieces.

Mashing the yolks with a fork
The mashed egg yolk ready for this deviled eggs recipe

Making the deviled eggs

Once the yolks are mashed pretty well, add in the mayonnaise, yellow mustard and honey mustard. This photo shows about twice as much honey mustard as you actually need to use.

The mashed egg yolks and other ingredients ready to be mixed for this deviled egg recipe

Using a stand or handheld mixer, mix the ingredients together until they are creamy and relatively smooth.

The finished yolk mixture for the deviled eggs

Next, you just need to fill the eggs. You can do this with a spoon or, if you want to be fancier, use a piping bag. Since I was making these for Easter dinner and for this post, I went with the piping bag. I use a tall drinking class to hold my piping bag while I fill it — whether for icing or for deviled egg filling!

The deviled egg filling in a piping bag in a tall drinking glass

I use the star tip and then pipe the filling into the eggs. This time around, the shape didn’t hold quite as well as usual since we ended up having to add extra ingredients to counteract the too much honey mustard my kiddo added. So, the filling was looser than it should be. But, they still tasted delicious!

The completed deviled eggs ready to be served or refrigerated

Serve the deviled eggs immediately, or store them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them. You can easily make deviled eggs a day ahead of your event and save yourself time by working ahead!

Deviled eggs Pinterest image 5

Deviled eggs

This simple, straightforward deviled eggs recipe doesn't take lots of ingredients or expertise. But you end up with a crowd pleaser!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American


  • 7 eggs
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • salt


  • Start with boiling the eggs. Place warm water into a large pot, and put the pot onto a cold stove. Salt the water and then carefully add the eggs. Turn the heat on high and cover the pot.
  • When the water begins to boil, turn off the heat and leave the pot on the still-warm burner with the lid on for 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove the eggs from the hot water and rinse with cold water for a minute. Then add ice cubes and let the eggs sit until cooled.
  • Once the eggs are cooled, cut them apart lengthwise. Gently "pop" or scoop the yolks out into a large mixing bowl. Place the egg whites onto a plate.
  • Use a fork to mash the egg yolks a bit. Then add the mayonnaise, yellow mustard and honey mustard.
  • Mix a mixer on medium to medium/high for a couple of minutes until creamy and smoother.
  • Fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture by using a spoon or a piping bag with a star tip.
  • Serve the deviled eggs immediately, or refrigerate them.
Keyword carry-in, carry-in recipe, cold appetizer, deviled eggs, easy recipe, pitch-in, pitch-in recipe

Find other family friendly recipes like this one in the FREE “Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace” cookbook!

Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace cookbook

How to have a happy married life in the midst of hard times

10 ways to keep your marriage strong when life gets hard

When my husband and I got married back in 1999, we were young at 20 and 22 and excited for the life ahead of us. We looked forward to years of having a happy married life. We didn’t, however, think about the challenges of life.

You never know the hard times that are coming. Hard times usually arrive without much warning and — bam! — your life changes. In the more than two decades we’ve been married, we’ve been through a lot of challenges in life from chronic health issues to death to job loss and more.

Through all of our struggles, we’ve learned how to continue having a happy married life in spite of the problems we face. Life certainly isn’t always easy, but my husband and I have found our way through so many challenges.

Maintain a team mentality.

We weren’t far into our marriage when we learned that maintaining a teamwork mentality is important for having a happy married life. (In fact, we’ve continued the teamwork mentality in family life with our kiddos now.) When hard times come, we need to be more united than ever.

Life stressors can either drive a wedge in your relationship or draw you closer to each other. Having a team mentality leads to a closer relationship. It becomes you and your spouse against the world, so to speak. And it also helps you avoid casting blame. Whether the difficult situation is the result of something one of you did, the reality is, you still have to navigate through the situation together. Approaching that as a team is vital. Our motto is: “I’d rather go through hard times with you than good times without you.”

Find ways to laugh together.

While it’s always important to keep a sense of humor in marriage, you need to even when life is difficult. My husband can make me laugh more than anyone else in the world. There are definitely times laughter isn’t appropriate, but when you get a chance to laugh together take it. You can even utilize gallows humor.

My husband and I have shared chuckles in hospital rooms. We’ve joked as one of us is recovery from an injury or surgery. Sometimes just a bit of humor can help you bond together even as you face challenges.

Show grace to each other.

You know I’ve got to include grace. Part of a happy married life means having a grace-filled marriage. When you’re going through something difficult, you need even more grace than usual. Some situations have impacted my husband and me equally. But many situations impact one of us more. When that happens, then the person most impacted needs the most grace.

In our humanness, we have moments of being jerks. We don’t always use the right words or have the patience we need when we are stressed. While that’s definitely something to continue working on (and we have both gotten much better at), it’s also something that deserves grace sometimes. I know when my husband is struggling that he may get shorter with me than usual. And vice versa. Instead of lashing back at each other, we give grace.

Use compassion just like when your spouse is ill.

When my husband is ill, I have extra compassion for him. He does the same for me. So, if one of you is going through a difficult time, then the other can treat them in much the same way as if they are physically ill. Give them a pass or way out on family activities if needed. Do some of their chores for them. Make their favorite food.

We most need to be cared for when our hearts our broken. Feeling love and care through small acts of service make a hard time just a bit easier for our spouse.

Pray together and/or separately.

During challenging times, you probably are already praying about the situation itself. But be sure to also pray for your spouse and yourself. Ask God to give you both strength, wisdom, peace, compassion, patience and grace as you navigate the situation. Many times I have prayed and asked God to help me be the wife my husband needs in the midst of a difficult moment. You can try a prayer like this:

Heavenly Father, I ask that You continue to be with us as we deal with this challenge. Lord, draw us closer to one another. Give us grace and compassion for each other. Show us what Your will is for us as we go through this. Open and close the right doors, according to Your will. Father, wrap us in Your arms to give us peace and comfort as we deal with this. Thank You that we are able to face this together. Thank You for never leaving us and always remaining faithful. Continue to cover us with your protection, love and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Know when to just listen.

Sometimes we just need to vent or talk through something without getting advice. Usually you can tell when your spouse is feeling this way, but it’s also OK to communicate that. I have started conversations with my husband like this: “I don’t want advice. I just need to talk about this.”

Of course, sometimes there aren’t solutions to give. Sometimes there’s just broken hearts that need to be heard. Just listening can be the greatest gift we can give our spouse when they’re going through a difficult time.

Distract yourselves.

We need breaks from hard times. Unfortunately we can’t wave a magic wand and make everything disappear for a few hours or days. But, we can find ways to distract ourselves. One of the things my husband and I do together is watch a movie. For a couple of hours, we are immersed in another world.

In fact, a few years ago on the day he got down-sized from his job, we went to a movie. We still had problems waiting for us after the movie, but for two hours we were able to forget about what was happening. Our brains and hearts need that!

We also enjoy playing games together. When we’re gaming, we’re focusing on the game nothing else, which is refreshing.

Communicate with each other.

Communication is certainly the key to a happy married life, and this is even more true when you’re going through a hard time together. My husband is an awesome guy who can do many things, but one thing he can’t do is read my mind. So, unless I share what I’m thinking, needing or struggling with, he’s not going to really know.

A few years ago, for instance, we had to put our beloved dog, Buckles, to sleep quite suddenly thanks to aggressive cancer. I remember a couple of nights later that my husband asked what I most needed that evening. Was it OK for him to play a video game or did I need him to just sit with me? He was sincere in asking, and I was sincere in answering. We had to work together to move on, and communicating made that much easier.

Go to church together.

Keeping God in the midst of your hard time is important. Going to church together is a great way to do that. Not only do you get spiritually fed, but you get to do so together. In fact, it can even serve as a distraction from reality for a little bit. Don’t stop attending church when life gets hard. That’s when you need to be there most.

So many times I’ve gone when I didn’t feel like it and then felt the sermon was just for me. My husband and I have talked after church and shared how we were impacted, which can be in different ways. God has used church to encourage and strengthen us when we are going through a struggle.

Show kindness in small ways.

Small acts of kindness are some of my favorites. They can be the most impactful. Buy your spouse their favorite candy bar. Fill up their car with gas so they won’t have to deal with it in the morning. Take their dishes to the sink. Give them a hug at a random time. Send a text in the middle of a workday just to say “I love you and am praying for you.”

One of the most memorable small act of kindness my husband has done for me is leaving a note on our son’s changing table when our son was a newborn. I was having a really hard time, because our baby boy didn’t sleep at night. Our daughter was 3 and needed me during the day. I told my husband about a particularly rough night and how I had a breakdown while he was asleep. That night, I found a note he left for me telling me to wake him up, and he would help any time. (He had a 60-mile commute at the time, so I tried to avoid waking him unless necessary.) He reminded me that I wasn’t in this alone. I felt seen, heard, understood and supported with just the one simple note.

Hard times are going to come regardless. We can choose to go through them together and grow stronger in our relationship as we come out on the other side. Because even in the midst of strife and challenges, we can still have a happy married life. And then will be the difficult times just a bit more bearable.

How to keep your family organized

8 tips for busy parents to stay organized

This blog post about how to keep your family organized comes from Charlotte Walker of HomeSafetyHub.com. Charlotte has some great insights for busy parents who feel overwhelmed. She has been passionate about safety her whole life and enjoys writing about topics related to homes and home life.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 93% of fathers and 71% of mothers have jobs. These working parents must find spare minutes to complete household chores while carving out time for their families. This balancing act isn’t easy, but keeping an organized home may help. If you’re unsure where to start, here are a few tips.

Hire a professional organizer

If you don’t have time to overhaul your home or the project is too overwhelming to do alone, hire a professional organizer to help. These experts can help you with decluttering, consolidating and storing. The assistance of a team also means a quicker, easier process.

Create a routine

Routine is vital for everyone, but children experience the benefits more intensely. Not only does a familiar routine provide a sense of security, but it can also help kids stay organized without prompting. Sticking with a routine can be difficult if you have a large, active family, but small efforts, such as having dinner together at the same time every day, are a great place to start.

(For even more ideas, check out 5 Successful Ways to Create Routines.)

Declutter regularly

Decluttering can vastly improve your home’s organization. When you get rid of everything you don’t need, you discover you have a lot more room and don’t have to clean as often. You don’t have to declutter your entire house if you don’t have time; instead, concentrate on the biggest sources of clutter such as:

  • Bathrooms
  • Junk drawers
  • Closets

Paper is a common clutter culprit, so try moving to a digital filing system. There are many apps and inexpensive scanners you can use to digitize documents that you can’t get electronically. And if you find there are files you have questions about, then you can try using this free editing tool to add questions and notes before forwarding the file onto your partner or even the sending party (like a doctor’s office or utility company). The tool is easy to use and allows you to keep track of comments without adding to your paper clutter.

(For even more ideas, check out How to Organize Your Kids School Papers.)

Try meal planning

Grocery shopping and cooking are time-consuming, but you can minimize inconvenience with meal planning. This approach to cooking reduces kitchen waste and meal preparation time, making it an excellent option for environmentally conscious and busy parents. The following tips can help you get started:

  • Freeze leftovers for future meals.
  • Utilize store-bought frozen vegetables.
  • Plan several meals with the same ingredients.

(For an easy-to-use, editable PDF meal planner, check out the Families with Grace Etsy store.)

Make a family calendar

A family calendar ensures everyone knows what’s going on each day. Ideally, the calendar should be in an accessible space, such as the kitchen or living room. You can use a paper calendar or a whiteboard — the latter may be a better option if you need to make changes frequently.

If your kids are a little older, you can also consider a calendar app. For example, Google allows you to share an online calendar with multiple people. That way, your family can consult their schedules anytime, anywhere.

(For an easy-to-use, editable PDF meal and weekly planner, check out the Families with Grace Etsy store.)

Install storage solutions

One of the best ways to prevent clutter is to have a place for every belonging. Installing storage solutions ensures you have enough space to do so. Examples include:

  • Hooks
  • Cube organizers
  • Baskets
  • Under-the-bed storage
  • Drawer organizers

Prepare the night before

Preparing for school the night before can make mornings less hectic. For example, you can pack your kids’ lunchboxes and keep them in the fridge until it’s time to leave. Kids can also help by laying out their outfits and packing their backpacks.

Create good organizational habits

Once you’ve organized your home, keep it neat with good habits. For example, carefully consider furniture purchases to determine if you have enough room. You can help your kids develop these habits by asking them to think of a designated space for a toy before buying it.

Finding ways to keep your family organized as a parent takes a massive effort, but a few tricks can make the process easier. Once your home is tidy, you can relax and enjoy time with your loved ones.

A sloppy joe recipe your family will love

This sloppy joe recipe is both easy and delicious!

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.

When it comes to recipes that are tried and true in my family, this sloppy joe recipe is one of them. This is one of the very first recipes I developed on my own many years ago. And for some reason I haven’t shared it, yet. This week is the time to do so!

My guys are particular eaters. But, both of them will eat this sloppy joe recipe. My son won’t eat even thin hamburger patties, but he will eat my sloppy joes. That makes me feel good!

When I first came up with this recipe, I did some experimenting. I was trying to get away from using canned sloppy joe sauce because it contained vinegar, which sent me into an interstitial cystitis flare. I’ve refined it and, even though I can now eat barbeque sauce without flaring, I still prefer this sloppy joe recipe to any other.

Commissary BBQ seasoning that is available on Amazon

In terms of economics, making homemade sloppy joes is also cheaper than buying a can of sloppy joe sauce, especially since you probably have the ingredients in your house. The one caveat to that is the barbeque seasoning I use. I highly recommend this Commissary BBQ Seasoning. It costs more than I usually pay for seasonings, but the stuff is soooooo good. Like sooooo good. However, you can use barbeque sauce instead. I have tried other BBQ seasonings for this recipe and not liked them, so go with sauce if you don’t want to order this rub. (It’s also so, so, so good on grilled burgers!)

In fact, I used the very last of my seasoning when I made the sloppy joes for this post. I’ve got to order some more for myself! (I also have no affiliation with Commissary BBQ Seasoning of any sort. It just makes my taste buds happy!)

The meat for sloppy joes

I use 1 pound of ground chuck (80/20) for making sloppy joes. This more than feeds my family of four. In fact, last time I had enough left for two sloppy joes as leftovers. However, we don’t pile on the meat in my family. My husband and son, in particular, use probably about 1/3 of the sloppy joe meat you’ll get at a restaurant. So, use your best judgement for how much meat to use.

(I will add that this recipe freezes really well. My mom often doubles her batch to put some in the freezer.)

In a large skillet, cook the 1 pound of ground beef over medium-high heat, chopping it into small pieces. (I chop mine really small, but you can do the size your family likes.) Once the pink is mostly out of the meat, drain off the excess grease. Add in 1/3 cup of diced onion and cook for about three more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to turn translucent.

The mostly cooked ground beef with the diced onion added in
The fully cooked ground beef with the cooked onion that is starting to get translucent

Time to get saucy

Next, pour 1 can (15 ounce) can of tomato sauce into the skillet right over the beef and onion. If you are making more than 1 pound, you may need to use more tomato sauce. The ratio of 15 ounces of sauce per 1 pound of ground beef works best.

Adding the tomato sauce for the sloppy joe sauce to the skillet with the ground beef and onions

Stir the sauce into the meat, leaving the temperature on medium-high. Now it’s time to add in the seasoning. I use 2 tablespoons of BBQ seasoning (preferably the Commissary BBQ Seasoning) and 3 to 4 tablespoons of brown sugar. If you like it sweeter, add more brown sugar; if you like it less sweet, add less. I tend to be in the sweet sauce camp!

If you are using BBQ sauce instead of BBQ seasoning, add in two tablespoons of sauce. If you have sweeter sauce, you may not need as much brown sugar. Or if you have spicier barbeque sauce, you may need more brown sugar. It really is to taste!

The sloppy joe recipe with the seasoning on top before being stirred in

Stir it all together to combine. Let it bubble for about 2 minutes and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer on the stove for 5 to 10 minutes and it’s ready to serve.

The finished sloppy joe recipe ready to go onto a bun and be eaten

Serving a crowd

You can make this sloppy joe recipe and keep it warm in a slow cooker to serve a crowd. In that instance, use 15 ounces of tomato sauce per 1-1/2 pound of ground beef. The slow cooker will get condensation on the lid and add liquid to the sloppy joes.

Because of the added condensation, you also need to add an extra tablespoon of the BBQ seasoning or sauce as well as the brown sugar for every 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of meat.

A finished sloppy joe on a bun, ready to eat
Sloppy joe recipe Pinterest image 3

Homemade sloppy joes

This easy sloppy joe recipe is homemade and so much better than canned sauce. It's a great weeknight family dinner and can serve a crowd!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people


  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 can tomato sauce 15 ounces
  • 1/3 cup onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ seasoning or BBQ sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar


  • Cook and crumble the ground beef over medium-high heat in a large skillet. When the meat is mostly cooked, drain the grease.
  • Return the meat to the stovetop and add in the diced onion. Cook for 3 to 5 more minutes to let the meat finish cooking and until the onions soften and become more translucent.
  • Add the tomato sauce to the skillet. Stir.
  • Add the BBQ seasoning or sauce and brown sugar. Stir together and continue cooking over medium-high heat until bubbly (about 3 minutes).
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve on buns and enjoy!
Keyword dinner ideas, easy dinner, family dinner, ground beef, ground beef recipe, picky eaters, sloppy joe, sloppy joes, weeknight dinner

Find more delicious family recipes like this one in the “Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace” cookbook. Download your FREE copy today!

Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace cookbook

Ideas to teach kids about Easter

Ways you can teach little ones the real Easter story

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.

As a Christian mom teaching my children the real Easter story has always been important to me. But, it’s not always easy to teach kids about Easter when they are young. The story is quite disheartening and even gruesome for young minds. However, the message is the same, no matter how many details we share or don’t.

Easter is about celebrating how much God loves us.

That’s the message I most want my children to know. And that’s the message I shared with them most when they were toddlers and preschoolers. Between having my own two children and teaching a Sunday School class for children ages 4 through 2nd grade, I’ve thought about this a lot and figured out some good, age appropriate ways to share the story of Jesus’ Crucifixion with little ones.

The right words to teach kids about Easter

Easter is about celebrating how much God loves us.

Before we get into any specific ideas, we need to figure out the general words we’re going to use as we teach our kids about Easter. Deciding what words to use to talk about Jesus’ death and resurrection with your children really does depend on their ages. Here is what works best for my family.


Keep your language very simple. The biggest message to convey when children are 1 to 3 is that Easter is about celebrating how much God loves us. This is the main point of the events and the simplest way to state it for toddlers.

Preschool through early elementary:

Children ages 4 to 7 are able to start grasping what happened during the Easter story. The best way I’ve found to describe Jesus’ sacrifice is to put it in their terms. So to talk about how Jesus took on and died for our sins, I compare it to someone taking all their timeouts and punishments. That’s more relatable for little ones.

I do share more details about the Easter story at these ages without getting too graphic.

Upper elementary and beyond:

This is the phase I’m currently in with children who are 10 and 13. Now we do talk about a few more details about Jesus’ death and how nail pierced through His skin. We talk about how Jesus was willing to sacrifice Himself to save everyone — even those who were killing Him! As kids get older and know the facts of the Easter story, it’s a great time to delve into what that means for our lives now.

Resurrection eggs to teach kids about Easter

Resurrection eggs are a great tool to teach kids about Easter. However, I found that using 12 eggs was a bit too much when my children were little. Instead, I opted for six eggs. So, starting six days before Easter, your children open one egg each day. Inside is a Bible verse about the Easter story along with something tangible to go with the verse: bread, rocks, etc.

This is an incredibly simple way to focus on the real Easter story in shorts amount of time for busy families or young minds. You can download a free version here or find a more detailed paid version here.

An image of the 6-day resurrection eggs that are good to teach kids about Easter

Use books to teach kids about Easter

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Obviously the Bible is the best source to find the Easter story, but when kids are younger, they won’t understand more adult translations of the Bible so well. There are a few versions of the Bible that Christian moms and dads can use to teach their children about God. These work well for the Easter story. My all-time favorite is The Jesus Storybook Bible from Sally Lloyd-Jones.

Not only is this Bible great overall, it also tells the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection in a straightforward, simple way that focuses on God’s love. It is perfect for preschool through early elementary. Honestly, it’s even perfect beyond that. As an adult I am moved each time I read this version.

Another great book for teaching your kiddos about the Easter story is “God Gave Us Easter” by Lisa Tawn Bergren. Bergren has a whole series of “God Gave Us” books that are incredibly great. We started with “God Gave Us You” with our daughter and then “God Gave Us Two” when we were expecting my son. We got more after that. These are great picture books for sharing about God with our children.

Easter story activity and color pages

You can find a variety of activity and color pages about the Easter story. These can be a great way to teach kids about Easter. Not only can they learn from the pages themselves, but while they are coloring or doing the activities, you have the opportunity to talk with them about the pages and the Easter story.

Having something to do with their hands — like coloring — can help children settle in and actually listen for longer. This printable activity pack comes with eight pages you print at home and can use right away.

This 8-page Easter Activity Bundle takes kids through the story of Easter from Jesus’ Triumphant Entry to His Resurrection. It’s designed for preschool through early elementary ages and includes 2 unique mazes, 2 color, cut & glue pages, 1 matching picture page, 1 Who Am I page, and 2 coloring & drawing pages. All pages are in black and white for easy printing and copying. This Religious Easter Activity Bundle makes a great – and easy – activity for Sunday School or home!

You can also find activity and coloring books to order and have shipped to you within a couple of days.

Our Daily Bread for Kids Easter Coloring and Activity Book
The Beginner's Bible: Come Celebrate Easter Sticker and Activity Book

Crafts to teach kids about Easter

Just like with coloring and activity pages, crafts can also be a good way to reinforce the true meaning of Easter with your children in a fun way. And also like with coloring and activity pages, you can find options to download and use immediately.

Easy and simple Easter cross craft for children
Jesus died for us surprise folding craft
Reusable sticker sheets with the Easter story
Foam cross craft

Easter snacks

What kiddo doesn’t love snacks? (Um, what adult doesn’t love snacks either?!) There are some fun and simple Easter-themed snacks that can help teach kids about Easter. One of my favorite is the Resurrection rolls. Not only are the cinnamon-y goodness, but they’re also easy. And, even better, the kids can help make them and see that the roll is empty after it bakes — just like Jesus’ tomb!

I also really like this clever Easter snack mix. It would be very easy to make and each item included in the mix represents part of the Easter story.

Summing it all up

No matter their ages, you can teach kids about Easter. Before the Easter season begins, think about how you’re going to approach the topic with your kids — especially if they are new to the story. Pray and ask God for His guidance as you go.

I’m good at messing up, but God is good at having my back through it all. I’ve learned many times through the years that sometimes I just have to trust that He’ll help me when I need it, because He always does. He wants your kiddos to know the real Easter story even more than you do. He will help guide you as you teach them.

Join in discussion with other moms about teaching your kids about Easter and Christian mom life in general in the Moms with Grace private Facebook group!

A gratitude and prayer journal for Christian women

“The Christian Woman’s Gratitude Journal” helps you manage anxiety and grow closer to God!

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.

In the past, I’ve had so much luck using a gratitude journal and using a prayer journal. I also love devotionals. And I enjoy inspirational quotes. But I’ve never had them all together in one place — until now. “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude Journal” is my latest book release that combines a gratitude and prayer journal into one. You’re going to love it as much as I do!

Through the years, I’ve used prompted and blank journals to help manage my anxiety and grow in my walk with God. So, I’ve included both in one journal, because it just makes sense to me. Somedays even I as a writer need prompts to get my going. Other days, I have thoughts waiting to pour out of my head and onto paper.

The benefits of a gratitude and prayer journal

Throughout my lifetime I have struggled with anxiety. If I’m being completely honest, I know depression and anxiety have gone together at different times in my life. I have never stopped trusting in or believing in God. In fact, I’ve found anxiety and faith can co-exist and that doesn’t make me a bad Christian or mean I don’t trust God.

However, I don’t want to get stuck in those places. I have been stuck before and had my faith shaken. Healing after some of the most difficult times in my life has best been done at least in part by focusing on the things for which I’m grateful. Not only did that give me an attitude shift in general, but doing so also helped me to see God’s goodness and blessings in the midst of the struggle.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) And, quite frankly, that’s easier said than done in some circumstances. Keeping a gratitude journal helps us remember to truly give thanks, even on the difficult days when we are struggling to see any good.

What is a prompted gratitude journal?

When I think of writing prompts, I tend to think of language arts classes. Maybe you do, too. But, when it comes to journals, writing prompts aren’t designed to elicit long essays or short stories. Instead, they are often just simple.

In “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude Journal,” the prompts are designed to take no more than 5 minutes a day total per page. You’ll find three different types of prompts in this gratitude and prayer journal.

“List Three” prompts

Throughout the journal are 30 different “List Three” writing prompts. These are lines for you to list three of something for which you’re grateful. So, the first time I did a gratitude journal, I didn’t use a prompted version and really struggled some days to think of three new or different thinks for which I was thankful.

The “List Three” prompts are themed to make it easier for you. Here are some examples from “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude and Prayer Journal:”

  • List three ways you’ve felt God’s love this week.
  • List three of your favorite beverages.
  • List three of your biggest blessings.
  • List three of your favorite movies.
  • List three happy moments from the day.

“Question” prompts

The gratitude and prayer journal also includes one “Question” prompt. Thirty questions total are included. These are questions you can answer usually in just one or two sentences. But, if you need more writing space, 10 lined pages with inspirational quotes at the top are included after three pages of prompts.

The “Question” prompts also help you focus on something in particular that is positive or for which you are thankful in your life. Here are some examples:

  • How did you feel love from someone else today?
  • What made you laugh today?
  • What is your favorite Bible verse and why?
  • Where and when were you able to spend time with God today?
  • What did you accomplish today that makes you feel proud?

“Today’s Mood” checklist

Also on the prompted pages of “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude Journal,” you’ll find a checklist to mark off your mood for the day. It’s straightforward and easy. The following moods are included: happy, sad, angry, anxious, excited, afraid, lonely, jealous, calm and disgusted.

What is a prayer journal?

Along with the three writing prompts on 30 of the pages, the gratitude and prayer journal also include a box simply labeled “Prayers.” This space is designed for you to use however you’d like and can change from one entry to the next.

You can use the space to do any of the following (or whatever works best for you!):

  • List prayer requests for the day.
  • List praises for the day.
  • Write a prayer for the day.
  • Track prayers God has answered.

What else is included in the gratitude and prayer journal?

Along with 60 different writing prompts over 30 pages that have mood and prayer boxes as well, “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude Journal” also includes 10 lined pages that have inspirational quotes at the top. All of the quotes are original ones. For example:

  • Find something in each day that makes you happy.
  • You are important. You are special. You are smart.
  • Doing the best you can doesn’t mean you have to be perfect.

You’ll also find 10 devotionals throughout the gratitude and prayer journal as well. These are paired next to the blank journal pages to give you space to write about them if you would like. The devotionals are uplifting and helpful in both spiritual and practical ways. You’ll find topics such as:

  • Three ways to be kinder to yourself
  • Understanding God’s love for us
  • Prayers for women

Get your own copy here:

"The Christian Woman's Gratitude Journal" cover image
A gratitude and prayer journal can be a great way for Christian women to manage anxiety and grow in their relationship with God. #GratitudeJournal #PrayerJournal #ChristianWomen #ChristianMoms #Anxiety #MentalHealth

Join me for a Gratitude Journey!

While you definitely will get a lot out of using this gratitude and prayer journal on your own, I am also running a weekly discussion group about gratitude that starts April 4, 2023 and will be based on “The Christian Woman’s Gratitude and Prayer Journal.”

The group will meet in the private Facebook group, “Moms with Grace,” which is a part of the Families with Grace ministry. Each week, I will list five questions related to five pages from the journal as we work our way through it to end on June 6. Along with listing the questions, though, later in the week I will host a Zoom call to discuss our answers and how our Gratitude Journeys are going. (These will be recorded and shared in the “Moms with Grace” private Facebook group only.)

I’d love to have you join us and really grow in your relationship with God. We weren’t meant to “do life” alone!

Moms with Grace private Facebook group

Moms with Grace: Mandy Farmer

Tips for Christian moms with a good dose of encouragement

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.

The “Moms with Grace” series takes a look at modern Christian moms and how they handle daily life with raising children. You’ll find monthly posts from moms with older kids, younger kids and all those in between. Let real-life moms encourage and uplift you!

Today is the kick-off for the “Moms with Grace” series. Mandy Farmer is the featured Mom with Grace this month. Mandy has a blog, “Mandy and Michele,” for which I have shared guests posts a few times. I am thrilled to share her story with you.

Mandy is a 62-year-old mom to four children ranging from 26 to 48. The oldest two belong to her husband from a previous marriage, but Mandy has raised them completely since they were 9 and 14 and lost both their mom and sister in a car accident.

Her experiences as a mom and stepmom (though she says they never use the term “step”) are uplifting to those of us still in the thick of everyday life with kids. Mandy has survived the young years and is now reaping the benefits in her relationship with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren!

Please share a little bit about your background. Are you married? If so, for how long? What is your occupation? 

I was born near Canton, Ohio, and raised on the family dairy farm. At the age of 13, we moved, cows and all, to Wisconsin where I graduated from a small high school. I acquired a B.A. in computer science at Asbury University outside of Lexington, KY and went to work in Columbia South Carolina for about five years.  

At that point, my pastor’s wife introduced me to Michael Farmer, a pastor in her hometown of Barnesville, Ga. Michael had recently lost his wife and daughter in a fatal car accident. He had two boys, 9 and 14 at the time. She had been after me for months to go to Georgia with her and meet Michael. I didn’t think I was interested in a pastor with two boys but I finally went…just to get her to quit bothering me about it. 

Four months later, we were married! Now 32 years married!  

Fun note: I said I didn’t want to be a farmer’s wife or a pastor’s wife…I married Pastor Farmer! 

We added another boy and girl to the mix and continue pastoring around Georgia and for six years in Milwaukee, Wis. – my home state. 

I never worked outside the home or church after marriage and my degree quickly became obsolete, but my education was well worth it. 

I jumped full-time into my love of children’s ministry. Homeschooled our two youngest and founded a homeschool co-op. In between that, sometimes I served as Michael’s secretary. 

In 2011, I was struck with chronic pain. This changed a lot. Our daughter was 15. She became chief cook and bottle washer, making most meals, doing the laundry, keeping the house. She also, became my chauffeur! In 2016, we retired and moved to Savannah, Ga., and I began writing.

At first, I wrote about chronic pain and then I moved into writing Bible Studies for our denomination and an online group called Gracefully Truthful. Last year I decided to try to publish a book of devotions. That is still in the works, but in the learning process I wrote a children’s picture book about milk cows: Holly the Holstein Talks About Milk Cows.  I will publish another picture book about a family whose mommy has Fibromyalgia. You can follow me at my writing website to keep abreast of my publishing. 

How have you changed from the beginning of your mom journey until now? 

Another piece of my backstory is that I was number three of six children growing up. My youngest brother was 12 years behind me. My mom had a bookstore, so I did a lot of caring for him. This gave me a great deal of knowledge about childcare. I loved being a mom, and I can hardly wait to have grandchildren. (Our oldest has children and grands, but they have always lived far away.) 

Our children are all grown now. We live in the same city. Two kids are married. They all pop in all the time to check on us. Our oldest has two grown sons and a daughter. And we have six great-grandchildren! 

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a mother? How have you worked to overcome them? 

My initiation into motherhood started right off with a preteen and teenager. One got the chicken pox while Michael and I were on our honeymoon, and the other got them when we arrived home!  

My husband and I sat down with them before we married and talked about things. They wanted me to adopt them but because of moving several times it never happened. Michael told them that I would end up being their mother longer than their biological mother. And we decided they would call me “Mom.”  

Michael said he would always back me up when it came to discipline, and they were not to try to play us against one another. What I said would be “law” and if I dealt out a punishment, only I could change it. We had some of the typical teenager-mom issues. But really not many big issues that all moms don’t have.  

I love them like my own, and they love me the same. As a matter of fact, one of them sends me flowers every year on the anniversary of their mother’s death. The card always reads, “Thanks for being my mom.”

In what ways have you and do you share your faith with your children?

It’s a lifestyle. Everything seems to have something to do with faith in our lives. We have had many discussions around the dinner table. (Dinner table: what an important routine for the family!) 

Being a pastoral family, our kids were saturated in our faith. I wanted to have a family devotion time, but my husband felt that they got so much from being at the church A LOT that he didn’t want to do it. I did get them to have Advent devotions with me most years. We also homeschooled our children, and they received Bible training through that. Our church had children’s and teen’s Bible quizzing, and we were deeply involved in quizzing. 

Once they were old enough, they were involved in any special programs we had at church. They enjoyed every minute…well, maybe not every minute. 😊 

Pray for and with your children. After the car accident, going to school was very traumatic for Brian. He was dropped to his school that day and the accident happened on the way to the high school. We ALWAYS prayed with him before he got out of the car. ALWAYS.  

What are some of your favorite parts of motherhood? 

I loved it all. From as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a mom. I was involved in their lives and they in mine. I loved cooking and baking with them from an early age. Also, I taught them music, and we played and sang together often. Homeschooling was wonderful. I was nervous about it at first. But my sister was doing it, and so I tried kindergarten (which wasn’t required) and we enjoyed it. That was the year my daughter was born and it gave Brett and me bonding time. If Mikaela was fussy, she was in a snuggly around me which left my hands free to teach. I think she learned a lot that way, school came easier for her. We considered every year what we would like to do the next year. Every year the kids chose to homeschool. 

How does grace play a role in your daily life? Do you have any tips or advice for how moms can show more grace to their families? 

3 John 1:4 image

Oh, goodness! Grace. Grace is the central theme. There are always mistakes made. On my side and theirs. Apologies and forgiveness are vital in a good family relationship. 

When discipline is necessary, it’s a good time to talk about the forgiveness of God. Be sure to tell your child how much you love them and that discipline is for teaching. Never discipline when you are angry. Always pray with your child after discipline. 

 What are you most proud of as a mom? 

 ”I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” – 3 John 1:4 (NIV)

All four of my children are serving the Lord in some capacity. Daniel is on the church board and serves in so many basic ways. He does a lot of those things that no one notices – lawn care, general checking on the building, usher. Brian served as a pastor in a small church for about 10 years until his health failed. Brett is the tech guy. He runs the sound and live stream at church. Mikaela and her husband serve as youth ministers and are both on the worship team. 

Do you have any resources that help you be a mom with grace?

You have to have a strong marriage to have a strong family. 

These are some of the parenting books I highly recommend:

Do you have anything else to add that we haven’t talked about? 

Prayer is a big key. Pray for guidance and wisdom. Pray for your children and their future spouses. Be specific as much as you can. Pray more than “Be with my child today.” Ask for wisdom and knowledge and protection. If they are attending public school, pray even harder. 

Make sure your children know that their parents love each other. Yeah, they might get disgusted, but let them see you hugging and kissing occasionally. This makes your child feel safe.  

Tell them you love them every day! Hug them even when your teenager doesn’t want you too. 

Have rules and abide by them. Children need boundaries. Back each other up. 

Connect with other Christian moms for support and encouragement in the private Facebook group, Moms with Grace!

Fudgy chocolate cake recipe

The best chocolate cake recipe you’ll ever make!

I love all things chocolate, but I’ve struggle with chocolate cake. So many times, I get bakery chocolate cake that is dry. Ugh. While I’ve tweaked a chocolate cake mix with great results, this fudgy chocolate cake recipe tops them all hands down. It’s a mic drop sort of cake.

My parents don’t even eat chocolate cake and they love this cake. Same for my husband. It’s just its own level of yum! It’s somehow airy yet moist. And it just plain works. So, when I made it most recently for my son’s birthday, I knew I had to share it on the blog.

Usually I only make this chocolate cake recipe for birthdays, because we don’t have cake too often at home. Unfortunately, my daughter opts for Oreo ice cream cake for her birthday in October. But my son asks for this chocolate cake for his January birthday, and I always make it for my own birthday in May. I can hardly wait the two more months until my birthday!

And, I also encourage you to try this recipe even if you haven’t made a cake from scratch before. This is literally the only cake I make from scratch. Usually I do just tweak a box cake mix with awesome results, but this one is worth making from scratch. I promise you can do it — and you don’t even need special cake flour or other uncommon ingredients. In fact, I’d guess you have everything you need to make this cake in your kitchen right now!

Making the fudgy chocolate cake recipe

Like any baking recipe, start by preheating the oven. Turn the oven to 350-degrees and then prepare your baking pan(s). I usually bake this cake in a 9×13-inch pan, but this time I used to 9-inch cake pans to make a layer cake for my son. He wanted the cake to look like the one in a video game he likes.

Grease the pans or spray them with non-stick cooking spray, and then dust them lightly with flour. I use non-stick cooking spray because it’s easiest — and at least a bit healthier!

Sprayed and lightly floured cake pans ready for this fudgy chocolate cake recipe

Next, stir together 2 cups of white sugar and 2 cups of all-purpose flour in a large mixing bowl. I use the bowl of my stand mixer, because this is the bowl you’ll be mixing the batter in later.

The flour and sugar mixed together in the bowl of my stand mixer for this fudgy chocolate cake recipe

Let the flour and sugar hang out while you get out a medium saucepan. Put 2 sticks of butter, 1 cup of water and 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder into the saucepan over medium heat.

The butter, cocoa powder and water in a medium saucepan of medium heat
Part way through cooking the butter, cocoa powder and water in a medium saucepan of medium heat

You want to bring it to a boil so that the liquid is bubbly and moving around. While I wait for it to boil, I move on to the next step of whisking 1/2 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 eggs together. I measure the milk into my 2-cup measuring cup and then add in the rest of the ingredients. It’s easier to pour that way and I don’t end up with a dirty measuring cup and a dirty bowl!

The milk, vanilla, baking soda and eggs mixed together in a 2-cup measuring cup for this fudgy chocolate cake recipe

When the butter, water and cocoa powder reaches a boil, then it’s ready to remove from the stove.

The boiling cocoa powder mixture

Pour the boiling mixture into the bowl with the flour and sugar mixture.

The boiling cocoa mixture poured over the flour and sugar mixture

Stir the flour mixture and cocoa powder mixture together by hand or using a mixer. I use my stand mixer to make life easier. If you are using a mixer, start out on low speed until the ingredients have combined a bit before moving to medium speed to mix completely. If you start out too fast, then the boiling cocoa powder mixture will splash out. When it’s all combined the mixture will be loose.

The flour mixture and cocoa powder mixture all combined for this fudgy chocolate cake recipe

Add in the egg mixture and keep stirring or mixing until it’s incorporated. I usually add this in slowly while the mixer is running.

Once the egg mixture is incorporated, the cake batter is ready. It is going to be a thinner consistency than you might expect for cake batter, but that’s exactly correct!

The chocolate cake batter ready to be poured into the prepared cake pan(s)

Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan(s), and place them in the oven.

The filled cake pans ready to go into the oven.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for two 9-inch pans or 30 to 35 minutes for a 9×13-inch pan. You’ll know the cake is finished when it begins to shrink away from the sides.

The baked fudgy chocolate cake shrinking away from the sides of the pan.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.

The finished cake out of the pan

Let it cool completely before topping it with icing. This time around, I used my favorite quick, easy and oh-so-delicious homemade buttercream icing. I tinted it for the color to match the cake in the video game and did the swirl design in white like the same video game cake.

The completed and decorated fudgy chocolate cake

Look at the airy, yet moist inside of this fudgy chocolate cake recipe!

The inside of the completed fudgy chocolate cake recipe is both airy and moist!
Chocolate cake recipe Pinterest image 3

Fudgy chocolate cake

This is the all-time best fudgy chocolate cake recipe. It's both airy and moist. And this chocolate cake is way better than a bakery one!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs


  • Preheat the oven to 350-degrees (F). Prepare on 9×13 or two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with non-sticking cooking spray or coating with grease and then lightly sprinkling with flour.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar, then set it aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, water and cocoa powder. Stir occasionally and cook until it comes to a boil.
  • While you're waiting for the cocoa powder mixture to boil, whisk together the milk, vanilla, baking soda and egg. Set aside.
  • Remove the boiling cocoa powder mixture from the stove and pour into the large mixing bowl with the flour and sugar. Stir together by hand or use a mixer to combine them thoroughly. (If you're using a mixer, be sure to start on low until the liquid has combined a bit before turning the mixer to medium.)
  • Once it is combined, pour in the egg mixture and mix until that is completely incorporated.
  • Pour the prepared batter (which will be relatively runny) into the prepared baking pan(s).
  • Bake in the oven for 35 to 30 minutes for 9-inch pans or 30 to 35 minutes for a 9×13-inch pan. You'll know the cake is finished when it starts to pull away from the edges of the pan.
  • Cool for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. Cool completely before icing the cake.
Keyword Birthday cake, chocolate cake, fudgy chocolate cake, holiday baking, homemade cake, layer cake, scratch made

Find more delicious family recipes like this one in the “Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace” cookbook. Download your FREE copy today!

Favorite Recipes from Families with Grace cookbook
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