Monday, September 30, 2013

Herb Preservation

Autumn has arrived and my outdoor plants are in danger of freezing. Which means I have a massive amount of work to do! I'm getting especially worried about my precious basil plants. I have entirely too many to bring inside for the winter, but I don't want to just throw them out, either. So, what do I do?

Well, I just found this article on Super Healthy Kids that shows how to dry basil. And the fact that my kiddos can help me with this project has me sold! I'll let you know how it turns out.

Have any of you home-dried your garden herbs? If so, how? (I've heard of people drying them in the microwave, in dehydrators, the oven...) Or do you freeze them? How do you involve your kids? Let's get some conversation going! Leave your ideas as comments.


Friday, September 27, 2013

More Messy Moments

A couple of weeks ago we had “one of those days.” You know, the ones where you wonder if it is possible to send everyone back to bed and just have a do-over? It started with 2 glasses of spilled milk. 2. Really. Milk is my least favorite food item to clean up because it is 1. stickier than you ever really think it should be, 2. requires several rags, and 3. stinks to high heaven if you don’t stick all those rags into the washing machine immediately. (And I dislike laundry more than any other Mommy-task on the planet!) Anyway, by lunchtime we had added 2 glasses of spilled juice to the list. And – here comes the messiest part – I headed downstairs around 3 PM to check on the laundry only to discover a leak. Juice drips falling from the ceiling in 3 places. Seriously. Out of the vents. Apparently, my son had spilled his juice DOWN THE HEAT VENT in the kitchen and I hadn’t noticed. Later, we ended the night with another glass of spilled milk. Truly. We have since gone back to sippy cups for everyone. – Bethany Tippin

My messiest moment was Halloween 8 years ago.  I had dressed my 4 and 2 year-old daughters up in these cute cat and mouse costumes that my cousin had made and sent to us as hand-me-downs.  Our baby was dressed up like a piece of cheese (think “Farmer in the Dell” song).  Megan, my oldest, had said she wasn’t feeling well, but I decided to pack them up and take them trick-or-treating at my sister’s house since she lived here at the time.  No sooner had I gotten Megan and Annie out of the car, but Megan threw up on the front lawn.  We made it into the house, and she threw up in the garbage can.  My sister’s single, beautiful, fashion-diva college roommate looked on in horror.  We exited as quickly as we could and got home in time for each of my two oldest girls to throw up too many times to count that night.  I slept on the floor of their room because someone was throwing up about every half hour.  The next day we had a movie marathon as I tried to get the girls to keep even a teaspoon of liquid down at a time.  Now I tell people that the Hoffmann Halloween of 2007 will go down in history! - Robin Hoffmann

Thursday, September 26, 2013


our Fearless Leader: Robin Hoffmann

Robin is our MOPS Coordinator this year. (That means, she organizes all those who are on the steering committee and heads up all our meetings and extra activities. She shows wonderfully gentle and loving administrative skills while keeping the rest of us on track and organized. Our meetings would not happen without all the love and preparation she’s provided.)

Here are a few things about Robin, to help us get to know one another.

Robin and her family have lived in Sheridan for 10 years. She is married to Sam and has 4 girls ages 10, 9, 7 and 4. Her favorite time of day is the evening.

Robin’s favorite things about MOPS are watching growth in the women around her and learning new “mom” things. The aspect of MOPS she is most excited about this year is our upcoming speakers!

Robin’s favorite Bible verse is Psalm 103:8“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” She says it reminds her that God is not up in heaven, removed from us here on earth, just waiting to punish us when we screw up. Quite the contrary, He is here, cheering us on in this journey of life and wanting to shower His love upon us and our children. The closer we walk with Him, the better able we are to receive that love. It also reminds her of how she can imitate Him to her children – by being slow to anger and abounding in love.

Robin’s favorite dessert is chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. (Good to know, right!?)

When asked if she likes to be messy, she answered, “NO!”

And lastly, when asked what part of mommy-ing is the most beautiful to her, she replied, “Seeing how God teaches me about Himself and His love as I strive to show my kids my love and how to live life.”

Thank you, Robin, for all you do and have done already for this 2013-1014 MOPS year!!! We love you.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Organizing Our Mess

We just had an amazing first meeting! Thank you to all who attended and made our time joyous.

For those of you who missed us, here's a quick recap of the morning: we mingled & got to know each other through a fun game involving lots of pink yarn J, we found out our table assignments for the year, enjoyed a lovely hot breakfast and caught up with one another (it’s been a long summer!).

One of the elements of our meeting this year will be something we’re calling “Messy Moments.” These are short stories we can share with one another regarding the literal messiness of our lives as mothers. Today, our steering committee members shared quick “Messy Moments.” Here are a couple put down in writing:

About a month ago, I was preparing a meal for some of our friends as they were coming over.  I had the baby with me, and my 3 boys were in the backyard playing.  They are ages 6, 3, and 1.  our youngest boy Lincoln had decided to pull his diaper off on the back deck and actually had diarrhea and pooped on the back deck, down the steps, and into the rocks!  I was so frazzled because I was trying to cook dinner, and now I had to give him a bath while the baby was already crabby.  So after I finally got him all bathed and was ready to go outside to clean up the poop, I found my oldest son being a really "good" helper.  He had decided to help me, by taking the hose and spraying off the I'm not exactly sure where all the poop went, but it's probably somewhere in the rocks haha! – Heather Erickson

I wrote this as I was tending to sick kiddos and trying to manage all of the extra work involved with that. It reminded me of a very literal “messy moment” in my parental career that involved my oldest who was then 4 ½ years old and my then 3 year old.  My youngest slept through the whole thing, he was the lucky one. 

My oldest, Luke had never experienced throwing up before and one evening as I was tucking he and his sister in bed (they share a room), he complained about his tummy hurting.  I blew it off as a stall tactic and told him he would feel better after he got some rest.  About 15 mins later as I was finishing up the last few chores I hadn’t gotten to earlier I heard a really horrible noise coming from their room.  I say horrible because I knew exactly what it was and how NOT GOOD this was going to be.  I ran into their room and froze, should I grab a trash can or should I just drag him down from the top bunk and get him to the bathroom where he can finish there??  My indecision cost me precious time and probably more cleanup (I should have grabbed a trash can), but alas it was done. 

His sister, who was on the bottom bunk was soundly asleep, oblivious to the fact that less than 6 inches from her head was something very unpleasant dripping down.  The enormity of this “mess” was beginning to hit me and I just didn’t know where to begin!  Daddy was working late, so I had to start somewhere on my own. 

First thing: get sick kid into bathtub, stripped down, hosed off and jammies quarantined.  I stuck him on the couch in the living room and turned on a movie for him after instructing him on the use of a trash can. Next, got sister out of bed and transferred to my bed, safely out of the way of anymore icky stuff.  Next, I assessed the room.  Quite a lot of damage had ensued!  I decided to start at the top bunk and work my way down when suddenly I heard my son having issues again!  I ran out to check on him and he had gotten it in the trash can!  That was good news because about 2 mins later I heard my daughter crying from my room and when I went back there she was complaining about her tummy hurting.  Great.

Sure enough, soon after I got her set up on the other couch with a trash can, up it all comes.  After comforting and soothing both of them I got back to work stripping beds, checking on kids, cleaning and disinfecting bunk beds, checking on kids, whoops, cleaning trash cans out…  Will this ever end?!?  When, oh when was husband coming home?  I had called him by the way but got no answer, most frustrating thing ever!!

Okay I had to get back to work; the worst damage was the carpet.  Almost a five foot diameter faced me and I barely held it together…. All in all it took a good couple of hours cleaning all the while running and checking on kids who were getting sick every ½ an hour to hour intermittently.  Finally daddy comes home, after the worst is over of course, so I am not exactly thrilled. 

Was this a “messy moment”?  Oh yes, my worst thus far. But on the other side of it I see that we survived, just as I will survive this bout of sickness and it only took a professional carpet cleaner to get that horrible smelly reminder out of that room.  I love my family “messy” and all. - Brandy Patceg

On a less messy note, we had so much fun giving out our fabulous door prizes! Thank you again to all our generous donors!

It was, truly, fantastic to see all you lovely ladies today. We’re looking forward to an awesome year with some great events. Remember to invite your friends!

1st Meeting of the Year!

Good morning y'all.

If you're reading this, you probably need the reminder: our 1st meeting of the year is TODAY. Come meet us this morning from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at First Baptist Church. It's gonna be good!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tuesday's Treasure

       1 Peter 3:3-4 (The Voice)
    Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what’s inside—the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights.

P.S. Remember - our first meeting is TOMORROW. Don't miss out & please invite your friends. Let's have a full house!!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Great Kids Books

I don't know about you, but I love reading to my kids. One of my very favorite times of day is just before bed - you know, when they are sweet-smelling and warm, freshly from the bath, dressed in cozy pajamas and snuggled up on the couch. (Okay, this only happens sometimes, there are many nights when tempers and exhaustion make for a completely different story... but we still try to snuggle up on the couch for a few minutes and a few good books.) We try to read 3 books each night - if they are short - so each child plus us parents get to pick something.

In order to make this work, we have to have lots of good books around and they must be easily accessible. We tend to head to the library once every couple of weeks and load up (I mean it - 30 titles anyone?) so I don't end up reading the same story over and over into oblivion. But, even with the wonderful world of the library available to us, I still find us occasionally stuck in a reading rut.

So, where do you find ideas for good kids books? Seriously, let me know! Where do you look?

Here's one great resource I was pointed toward by another awesome MOPS mom (thanks Aimee!): On this site they have a list of the Top 60 Best Picture Books. Amazing! Here's the link:

Bethany Tippin

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Am...

My daughter came home from Kindergarten last week excited because she just learned how to write "I am..." sentences. While she sat at the kitchen table and practiced writing things like, "I am girl," and "I am happy," I opened a card from my mother-in-law. Just imagine how far my jaw dropped when the front of the card read, "I am Woman. I am Invincible. I am Tired."

It got me thinking about all the things we are as mothers, all the ways we identify ourselves. And perhaps, more importantly, the way my self-identification says something to my children. If I dwell upon the "I am Tired," then it quickly turns to "I am Cranky." Know what I mean? But if I keep "I am Tired," linked with "I am Invincible," or (more honestly) "I am Happy," then I'm buoyed.

Today I'd say, "I am Mother. I am Busy. I am Amused. I am Beloved."

What are you?

Bethany Tippin - Publicity Coordinator

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Daring Dress Up

So here's another conversation spin-off from the good ol' MOPS International website...

Here's the original article:

This blog post talks about parents who allow their kiddos to wear costumes outside their homes. You know, to the grocery store, in restaurants, to church. Do y'all allow that?

Here's my take. My kids do get to wear costumes out and about. Because, like Gabby - the MOPS blogger mom, I realize my kiddos are only going to be preschoolers for a little while. They will only want to wear costumes for a tiny little bit longer. Soon will come peer pressure and the desire to look and act like everyone else in order to fit in. I'll take this little bit of joy while I get it.

Personally, I love the fact that my kids are excited about their imaginary worlds. I smile with wonder every time my son tells us a goofy story straight from his newly emergent creative brain. I'm happy they are so proud of the flimsy paper crowns we've just made that they want to wear them all day long. I giggle with glee as the "dinosaur" in my shopping cart "roars" out greetings to everyone we meet.

So, have you ever taken your kids to Walmart wearing a crown? Or dressed as a dinosaur? Or wielding an axe while wearing a fire helmet? Seriously. Do it! And then, watch all the reactions they get. It will be the most entertaining grocery trip you've ever experienced. There is something about children's creativity and joy that opens people - it brings them out of their shells and helps us all interact. And once interaction starts, community emerges. This simple stuff - it brings us together. Plus, there is something about wheeling a princess and a race car driver down the aisles that keeps me from taking my life too seriously. And I need every reminder of that little truth I can possibly get!

Bethany Tippin - Publicity Coordinator

  • Do you let your kids dress themselves before going into public?
  • Do you allow costumes outside your home?
  • Do your kids want to dress up?
  • Once you do take a "character" into a public space, what kind of reactions do you get?
  • Any other thoughts on how to keep our kiddos from being self-conscious for as long as possible?
  • Any other creativity-boosting, imagination-strengthening activities your family allows that might be a bit outside-the-box?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Getting Closer

Our first meeting is exactly ONE WEEK from today. Please join us on Wednesday, September 25th from 9:00 to 11:00 AM at First Baptist Church for an awesome morning of laughter, door prizes, fellowship and connection. Remember, bring a friend and earn an extra entry into our morning raffle. There are some great prizes - don't miss out!

September 25, 2013: "Organizing our Mess"

At this meeting we will get to know one another a bit, find out our table assignments (smaller groups of moms you will get to know really well), introduce this year's leadership, and dive into the MOPS theme of the year: "A Beautiful Mess."

Please consider a few things about this first meeting. 1. If you have not yet registered, please come a few minutes early to fill out paperwork regarding your child and his/her needs for our childcare workers. 2. If your children are not used to the FBC facility and/or take a little coaxing before they are comfortable being left in their classes, please arrive a few minutes early. 3. Remember, breakfast will be served - so come hungry! 4. Door prizes will begin promptly at 9:00 AM.

We really, truly, can't wait to see you there!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday's Treasure

      Psalm 139:14 (The Message)
      Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. 

    Monday, September 16, 2013

    Messy Hospitality?

    I was just checking out the MOPS website ( during the 5 minutes of quiet I have right now. I ran into this: It's a "reality" piece on their blog dealing with the idea that hospitality is important, needs to be modeled, seems to be exhausting and might just look a whole lot different than we women usually think.

    My husband and I met each other in college, amidst a group of students committed to modeling Christian community. Part of that community modeling took place in the form of hospitality: a standing open invitation for anyone to come have dinner at our "house" on Sunday evenings. There was no time-frame, no formal invitations, nothing fancy to eat, no formal table settings or themed decorations. We just got together. And it was lovely.

    Since that time, my husband and I have talked and talked about re-opening the Sunday night dinner open house... and have never quite gotten around to it. We have so many good reasons not to: the house is a mess, what would I cook?, could anyone come on short notice?, the kids are fussy, everyone should get to bed early, I have so many other things I need to do, who would we invite?, what if it's a strange mix of people...

    And so, we miss out. And we're not doing a great job of modeling hospitality to our kids. (Not that it has to be modeled in exactly this way!)

    So, here are my questions to you all: How do you model hospitality in your homes? Are you brave enough to invite friends over even if your house isn't perfectly clean? Have you ever invited people over on short notice? Does it go better (are you more relaxed) if you haven't obsessed about every tiny little detail in advance? Is it possible for all of us to accept the mess a little more and choose to be hospitable in spite of our imperfections?

    Bethany Tippin - Publicity Coordinator

    Friday, September 13, 2013

    A Typical Meeting

    “What is MOPS?”        “What do you do at MOPS?”  “What are MOPS meetings like?”

    For all you curious, new moms to MOPS, here are a few more details regarding our meetings:

    We begin promptly at 9 AM. This is important because we start with door prizes – and you don’t want to miss them! This year we have donations from dozens of local business and some of them are REALLY good. Such as: a $50 spa pedicure. Don’t we all want a little Momma-pampering time!? We’re giving that one away to a lucky mom at our first meeting. So, remember: 9 AM sharp!

    After door prizes we might announce upcoming events or celebrate new babies or new pregnancy news. We also try to recognize mom birthdays (you know you want a little attention!), and whoop and cheer over anniversary celebrations. The anniversaries are especially fun because we have mentor moms (ladies who have been through this mommying-small-children thing & know just how to love and support us through our wearying days) who often have big-number anniversaries they are celebrating. It is simply joyful. J

    Then (drum roll, please!), it is time for breakfast. Yes, HOT breakfast without children around, so YOU get to eat it! Plus, you get to enjoy it with other women around so we get to gab. Again, pure joy. The spread usually includes egg casseroles, yogurt & granola, fruit, muffins, sweet breads, coffee cake, juice and coffee. Every meeting the food is a bit different, however, because we take turns preparing and bringing the food. Anyway, COME HUNGRY.

    After breakfast, each meeting is a little different. This year’s theme is “A Beautiful Mess: Embrace Your Story,” so we will have various activities, service projects and speakers that help us explore the idea  that Mom’s live in messes – but that our jobs and existence are BEAUTIFUL. Sometimes we do simple crafts. They are not particularly fancy, but you will have time to actually FINISH a project! Sometimes we listen to speakers and then have discussion afterward within small groups. Sometimes we just get to relax and talk with other gals who are going through just the same things we are right now. And doesn’t it feel good to know you are not alone and that someone else knows exactly what you’re talking about!?

    Our time is scheduled. We do have activities and plans and speakers. But, we always keep you, MOM, in mind. Some gals come dressed up, some come relaxed, some just roll in right out of bed – it’s up to you. You are welcome into our group just the way you are and we can’t wait to get to know you!

    Thursday, September 12, 2013

    Because it made us smile...

    "If You Give Mom a Muffin"
    Author: Beth Brubaker

    If you give a mom a muffin,
    She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
    She'll pour herself some.
    Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
    She'll wipe it up.
    Wiping the floor, she'll find dirty socks.
    She'll remember she has to do laundry.
    When she puts the laundry in the washer,
    She'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
    Bumping into the freezer will remind her
    she has to plan for supper.
    She will get out a pound of hamburger.
    She'll look for her cookbook
    ("101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger").
    The cookbook is setting under a pile of mail.
    She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
    She will look for her checkbook.
    The checkbook is in her purse
    that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
    She'll smell something funny.
    She'll change the two-year-old's diaper.
    While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.
    Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
    She'll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
    Thinking of coffee will remind her
    that she was going to have a cup.
    And chances are...If she has a cup of coffee,
    Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013


    At our first meeting (Wednesday, September 25th) we will have some great door prizes!

    Everyone who comes will get a FREE fruit smoothie card, compliments of McDonalds.

    Also, everyone who attends will be entered into a raffle drawing. All you have to do is show up! Receive an extra ticket for each friend you bring. Our prizes include: a spa pedicure, a coffee gift certificate, gift certificates to Qdoba and gift cards toward a massage and hair service.

    Thanks again to generous donations from local businesses! We are looking forward to fabulous gifts for every meeting this year. Please come and join us!

    And remember, every meeting includes a hot breakfast, childcare through our MOPPETS program, time for adult conversation, speakers on Mom-relevant topics and time to connect (or re-connect) with other moms.

    We can't wait to see you. Remember: Mom, who you are and what do you MATTER!


    the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it! - Psalm118:24

    Registration day has arrived.

    Meet us THIS MORNING from 10 to 11 AM @ Marshall Park for play, re-connection, coffee & muffins and to register for this year's events. We look forward to seeing you!

    We are excited that so many great businesses in Sheridan have sponsored our refreshments. A great big "thank you" to Starbucks, Cupcakes by Design, Perkins, Fremont Motors, Warehouse Market and Albertson's!