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Family Matters: Sand, Shells & Sunrise


As we began planning a family vacation it was unanimous that we go to the beach. The beach has always been a favorite place for our family – strolling for hours enjoying the sunshine and sounds of the waves, picking up seashells and sitting on the deck at night playing games and enjoying family time. Our days are spent playing horseshoes, Frisbee, building sand castles, swimming, going crabbing for supper and just doing nothing but being beach bums. What a joy to sit on the beach and watch your kids laughing and enjoying each other with no worries in the world. These days, that alone is a blessing, even if just for a moment.

When most people think “vacation,” they think sleeping late is a must, but for us, we wake up at dawn to see the sunrise over the ocean and take in the beautiful site from a deck view. We only go a few hours from home, so there is no white sand or seashores without seaweed (in Texas), but there is everything we need to make memories that will last our family a lifetime. 

This year we are taking three additional kids and grandma with us which will make for a house full of fun with seven teenagers…I did say “fun” right?  They have all been talking and planning for months – who sleeps where, what we will do and what we will eat…food is always important to teenagers! We share the responsibility of the kitchen during the week and eat a lot of sandwiches, pop tarts, cereal, frozen pizzas, etc., but we never get complaints, because it is not about eating out or eating hot meals three times a day, it is about the time we spend together that is important. Every day from sunrise to bedtime seems like an eternity. At the beach, time seems to stand still, and when we can enjoy life and put our everyday worries behind us for a week it is something to be thankful for.

My husband and kids joke with me about “leaving a shell for someone else to treasure” and that it costs more coming home than going because of the weight of the seashells we are hauling back. I tell them my plan is to one day build my own beach around my above ground pool in the back yard, spread out my seashells and remember the wonderful family vacations and the special times we spent together at the beach.

Vacations are a time relax, laugh (a lot) and just delight in your family, and for every family that special place is different. Take time to “find your beach,” count your blessings daily and give thanks to the Lord for the time you have to share with your family! 

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Family Matters: Giving and Receiving


Christmas is a beautiful time of year with the bright colorful lights, festive music, snuggly weather, and holiday gatherings full of laughter and cheer.  From hanging the lights, decorating the tree, shopping for hours and dancing with glee, sounds like a fairy tale, right?  This is a special time of year for many but a really hard time for others due to circumstances surrounding them. 

As we anticipate the holiday season and the true meaning of Christmas let us not forget to remember those less fortunate.  A lesson we learned young, is a lesson worth teaching our children – it is better to give than receive. Giving of our time to help where needed, our talents to bless others, our cooking to fill hunger, a hug to bring comfort, giving is not always monetary. What does it cost to offer hope to someone who has lost a job, lost a loved one, lost direction?  What is the cost of generosity, compassion and humility?  You don’t have to look far to find someone that needs to be blessed by you this Christmas.  Giving a toy, providing a meal, giving a coat or blanket, providing assistance wherever needed, this is important.  

Let us focus on others instead of ourselves this holiday.  Let us show mercy and love, and extend a hand that makes the difference in the life of someone you may or may not know.  We were given the “ultimate gift” of mercy and grace at no cost. We can’t afford not to extend it to others.  Let us set an example for those around us and show the love of Christ in all we do. 

Giving instead of receiving, the cost is small, the return is priceless.  Let us be a reflection of the true joy of giving and share the true meaning of Christmas.  May your family be a blessing to someone this holiday season.  Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you share with your family! 

 

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Family Matters: Family Road Trip


We all hear people reminisce about family trips they have taken over the years and what a great time it was for their family to bond.  It is funny to hear someone talk about it and then to sit and recall some of your own family road trips – or adventures, we call them.  There are a lot of fun times that come out of a road trip, but for some reason we seem to always forget (or block out) the rest of the road trip.  

As a mother of four teenage daughters I can tell you first hand that a seven hour road trip is an adventure.  Oh, it was fun and we laughed a lot but what about having to stop every hour (or more) because they can’t all seem to need to make a bathroom stop at the same time.  Or, everyone seems to have lost or broke their charger for the electronic devices they are glued to, so you have six people sharing one or two chargers…you can hear the laughter right…  

I was really surprised our air conditioner did not burn up from the multiple times I heard it was too cold or too hot and had to adjust it.  Finally after a few hours of that, the cold natured girls were given blankets to cover up with…that took care of that.  What about the four things of snacks you open up and pass back and forth (sharing, that is nice) and then someone ends up spilling the box or bag of goodies all over the car…laughing again?  After eating the snacks they are all thirsty…and yes, time for another pit stop.  You would be amazed at the great souvenirs you find in truck stops. 

Don’t get me wrong, after you return these things are really funny when you look back but at the time you feel like you want to pull your hair out or take a vacation by yourself.  You love your children but honestly there are times they make you want to trade them in or tie them to the top of the car for a little peace and quiet.  This does not mean you don’t love your kids it just means that you are human and that things do seem to overwhelm us sometimes, but in the end what great memories we do make and what funny stories about family road trips we will have to share with our grandchildren. 

Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you have to share with your family…on and off the road! 



Family Matters: Man’s Best Friend as Your Walking Buddy


Just like humans, dogs need exercise too. When dogs exercise, their bone, joint and emotional health improves. Dogs make great walking and jogging buddies. Next time there is a sunny day, put a leash on your dog and take it on a walk or jog. This way both you and your dog are improving your health. Do not forget to bring water for you and your pet.



Shop the Sale: Ground Turkey


Ground turkey meat is a healthy alternative to beef; you can use it in almost anything you use beef for. With ground turkey you can make delicious turkey burgers as well as turkey meat balls.

It is getting warmer outside so you could heat up the grill, grab some ground turkey on sale at Brookshire’s, and make a delicious turkey burger.  



Healthy Living: Mayo


Most mayonnaise is gluten-free, but it always pays to read the label to be sure. When in doubt, check the mayo products from Kraft Foods. Kraft is good about providing clear labels about gluten content.

 



Product Talk: Mini Rice Cakes


You can jazz up the snacks in your child’s life by switching them up—just a little. Have you ever tried mini rice cakes? They come in a range of flavors from plain to ranch to caramel. All you need to do is spread a mini rice cake with a teaspoon of cream cheese (try the flavored whipped cream cheese!) and you have a healthy, tasty treat! And of course, it’s easy to go from there and add all sorts of toppings: a slice of cucumber or banana fits perfectly, and you can smear on a bit of peanut butter and/or jelly, a bit of leftover chicken or cheese….you get the idea!

Mini rice cakes—the perfect way to eat a bit healthier and have fun while you’re at it!



Dine In: Bring the Restaurant to Your Home!


Cooking for someone you love is the ultimate gift. After all, nobody can duplicate it, and you created it with your own hands. As the weekend rolls around, how about  setting aside less than an hour to produce a gift of love from your kitchen? This chicken and white wine (the French call it coq au vin) is savory good, and surprisingly quick and easy! But that can be our little secret.
Use your favorite white wine. Suggestions include Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

Chicken with White Wine Sauce
Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium shallot, chopped (or use 2 Tbs chopped onion)
1 Tsp dried basil, crushed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs olive oil
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 small bone-in chicken breast halves

Directions:
In a large skillet, cook the mushrooms, shallot, basil and garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes—until the shallot is tender.
Stir in the broth, wine, salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken over top of everything. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.
Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter and spoon the pan juices over the chicken.

Nutritional Information:
Calories per serving:  215. Fat: 6 g ( 1 gr. Saturated fat), Cholesterol: 82 mg, Sodium:  285 mg, Carbohydrates:  2 g, Fiber:  0 g, Protein:  34 g.



Family Matters: A Wave Bottle!


Some days—often it’s a Saturday—you just need something different to do. That’s all there is to it—you’re bored.

Here’s a fun craft idea kids will enjoy and it’s easy to keep the supplies on hand so that you’ll be ready the next time boredom strikes your house!

 

 

Wave Bottle

Materials needed:
Cooking Oil
Water
Blue Food Coloring (or any other color)
Empty bottle from soda (2 liter, 1 liter or 3 liter)
Super glue

Directions:
Have your child fill a bottle halfway with cooking oil, and then add some water that has been dyed with food coloring (hint: use a funnel!) to fill it 3/4 of the way full. Replace the cap and glue it on with super glue.  As you place the bottle on its side, the waves will roll gently.

Kids will have so much fun watching the surf….and adults will find it strangely relaxing, too!



Shop the Sale: Strawberries


Does anything say SPRING more than a bowl full of fresh strawberries? When I see berries in the store—like they are at Brookshire’s this week—I know the beautiful days of spring are upon us—at least some of the time. So while the weather may be unreliable, at least you can count on some things—like strawberries!

Ever made macerated strawberries? Macerated is a fancy-schmancy food term that means you cut them up, and let them sit so they get really juicy. So…slice up berries, sprinkle with just a tablespoon of sugar or Splenda, and let them stand 20 minutes. They’re the perfect dessert, just the way they are!

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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

Product Talk

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