Ministry to Motherhood

http://ministrytomotherhood.com

Hi! I'm Becky, a mother who also happens to be a minister. I write about life, motherhood, issues in faith and my constant search for the perfect cupcake recipe. I'm very close, I've been told my cupcakes are quite good! Stop by and stay awhile.

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood is a winner of Top 25 Faith Blogs by Moms

What Inspired Me to Start Blogging

In November 2010, began blogging as a newly ‘retired’ minister. I had recently left my job after a year of maternity leave because I didn’t feel I could give to my congregation in the way that they needed. My son had been born with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia and while he was doing well, he did require some extra care in terms of attention and focus to ensure he kept on doing well. I had to be home. I had to be a Mom. I needed to take care of my family. That decision (made with lots of prayer) was a difficult one. I began to blog as a way to express myself and maintain my identity as a Minister during a time of great change in my life. I’m happy to have a place on the internet to share my faith, my food and my family adventures with friends new and old.

How Faith Inspires How I Raise My Children

I’ve been so blessed in my life in so many ways. I want my son to experience the great love that God gives and to know that so many things are possible in faith, with a little determination and some help from friends. Even at his young age I encourage him to know God by reading and sharing Bible stories, singing songs and expressing my faith daily in our life together. I want him to know that God is there. I want it to be something that is a part of him, growing and organic as he moves through life.

How can families give back during the holidays?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

There are lots of ways that families can give back. This year we've decided to focus on giving in small but meaningful ways. We're collecting our loose change to give to a local charity. We've raided our cupboards and pulled some of our favorite foods to share with others. We've focused on making gifts and time for those we love. Giving doesn't have to be huge, expensive or over the top but it should be meaningful and make an impact. My favorite is our scheduled mall run where we don't shop but instead do random acts of kindness for others {like opening doors, buying their coffees and offering assistance where needed}. We each pick one thing we want to do for others and seeing smiles on peoples faces really makes our day. We wanted to include our Son in the giving so that he could learn what it means to share with others and make a difference in the community. These small ways are a great place to start!
View All Answers

Which movies for kids in the 2-7 age range will parents also enjoy watching?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

In our house we love Curious George, Cars and Kung Fu Panda. There are other not so favorite movies my son enjoys but these are the three we can all get behind. :)
View All Answers

What's your family's favorite recipe for chicken or tofu?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

We marinade tofu in teriyaki sauce for the day and then broil them in the oven very quickly for a nice, easy dinner with some rice and vegetables. Another favorite tofu dish that we eat at all times of the day is baked tofu scramble. We add all kinds of vegetables/salsa/vegetarian sausage to the mix to change things up and enjoy it regularly. Hope this helps!
View All Answers

What's your family's favorite recipe for weekend breakfasts?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

We all love healthy whole grain pancakes. They are fluffy, and allergy friendly (with no eggs or cows milk) and so tasty. We serve them with warmed maple syrup and they fly off the table!
View All Answers

What's a great treat for spring or Easter? (Please include a link!)

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

One of our favorite spring treats are Coconut Lime Cupcakes. They are light, tangy and so delicious! This recipe is great as it has no oil, is made with whole wheat pastry flour and is relatively healthy. No one in my family knows I've lightened them up and they are always the first dessert to go at a party.
View All Answers

What's an affordable and fun family activity?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

One of our favorite things to do as a family is to head out on Saturday morning to our local farmer's market. Finding locally grown vegetables and fruits is fun for us all and it's a chance to get our little guy interested in the food we eat. We enjoy the fresh air and meeting people we know while we're out. Afterwards we always head to our local coffee shop for a grilled cheese or hummus wrap. It makes for a great day!
View All Answers

What is the best place to raise children: city, suburbs, or a rural town?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I think the best place to raise children is where you as a parent are the happiest. Children thrive when their parents are content. It's important that you're in an area where there are activities you like to do that you can share with your children. The most important thing is that children are active and engaged in their communities and wherever you feel most comfortable is where you'll be happiest as a family.
View All Answers

What's your favorite easy recipe for an Easter or Passover meal?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

My favorite Easter Breakfast is also my favorite Christmas breakfast. I love Sugar and Spice muffins with fresh fruit and a great cup of coffee. These muffins taste like donuts and never disappoint. They are great made the night before and will disappear quickly! If you do make these be sure to get up early...you'll be disappointed if you don't!
View All Answers

What item should moms splurge on?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I think moms should splurge on things that make them feel good or that help make life a little sweeter. I splurge on good coffee and tea, nice bath and body products and an occasional magazine to read. These things help me relax and enjoy small moments throughout the day. Anything you can find that will help you relax and feel good about yourself is a bonus. It doesn't have to be expensive to be enjoyable!
View All Answers

Do you have a recipe for a useful homemade cleaning product (detergent, soap, or other product)?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I use diluted vinegar and a good scrub brush for almost everything! For stains in the kitchen I use baking soda, a soft cloth and a little arm power and it cleans my stove and counters perfectly. I try to keep things as natural as possible!
View All Answers

What's your kids' favorite backyard game?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

My two year old son's favorite thing to do is find a leaf/twig/bunch of berries and then go hunting for it elsewhere in the yard. I teach him about the things he is interested in as he goes and we've discovered a lot of things we didn't know were back there. I like it because generally it's a nice quiet game and he picks what we are going to discover for the day. We also do typical stuff like kick a ball around, dig in the dirt and run around. He loves to run!
View All Answers

What are your tips for throwing a party that both adults and kids will enjoy?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

When I'm having adults and children at a party I tend to gravitate towards finger foods. This way I can have some fancier ones for the adults and some not so fancy ones for the kids. If you're having an outdoor bbq you can plan a few games and outdoor activities for the kids to keep them busy. If it's an indoor affair set up a station with toys, video games, snacks and other entertainment to keep them happy.
View All Answers

What's your advice on setting a food budget?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I like to work with an 80/20 principle. I think that 80% of the food I bring home should be healthy, whole foods and the other 20% can be treats or slightly more processed foods. This keeps our food and family on track when it comes to eating. After I decided on the 80/20 principle I divided it out even further. I start with the money that we have budgeted for food. Then I check the ads to see what's on sale. I look for fruits and vegetables that are in season and local as they tend to cost less. I try keep my purchases balanced and ensure we get enough vegetables and protein for the week. Then I plan my meals and make my list and head out shopping. It takes a bit of time to prepare at home but it makes shopping a breeze and having a meal list planned for the week ahead makes it less likely that I'll head off course and buy something we don't really need.
View All Answers

What's your favorite muffin recipe?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

We love muffins in our home and I have so many different recipes that I rely on. The one that is probably the most popular though are my Chocolate Chip Muffins. My husband and son go mad for them and within two days they are usually gone. I love this recipe because it is so healthy. With whole wheat flour and very little fat in them I feel good about serving them to my family.
View All Answers

Why is the stay-at-home vs. working moms debate so passionate?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I think it's so passionate because of the society we live in. We're always told to be better, thinner, happier, more active, a better parent...the list goes on and on! When we're on either side {working or staying home} we think we have to defend ourselves and our choices to prove we're doing things the right way. The thing is, there is no 'right way'. There's only a right way for each family. Each side makes sacrifices with their choice. When women work, they might miss family time. When women stay home, they might miss the stimulation of challenge at work and other adults. There are pros and cons to both sides and each family needs to decide what's best for them. Ultimately we need to let go of the idea that one is better and begin supporting each other as mothers. This debate should be laid to rest.
View All Answers

What's your favorite salad recipe that's perfect for Spring or Summer?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

We love Muskoka Bean Salad! Last summer while traveling in Muskoka we happened upon a cookbook that introduced us to Marty's World Famous Cafe and his famous bean salad. I was intrigued by the cookbook and the promise of delicious food so we made the trek to Bracebridge to check it out. I liked his version but felt it could be even better so when I came home I developed my own recipe based on his. I dialed the heat back, piled on the flavor and made fresh ingredients a main part of the dish. It's an excellent side at BBQs or picnics and makes a great main for lunch. We love it!
View All Answers

What's your dream gift for Mother's Day? (If it's a product or service that can be found on the web or on your blog, please include a link.)

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

My ideal Mother's day would take place here at my home. It would start with my favorite whole wheat pancake recipe {which I admit I'd have to make but they're so easy it's not big deal}. Then we'd walk along the lake, play with toys, enjoy the sunshine and have a delicious meal cooked {or bought - I'm not picky} by my husband. This may sound boring but we do so much running around that is seems like we never have a day all together. I'd love for Mother's day to just be a day of family, relaxation and seriously good food.
View All Answers

What are the best ways to keep kids entertained & well-behaved at a formal event or luncheon such as wedding?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

If we are going to a formal event or wedding and we know it will be a long day, I pack a little bag for my son. I fill it with a new coloring book, some crayons, a couple of cars, a few favorite books, and some snacks. I then bring things out a little at a time to keep him occupied and entertained. Having a variety of things to offer throughout the day usually keeps him happy and this in turn lets us relax and enjoy!
View All Answers

What are some creative ways for a couple to incorporate their own children from previous marriages into their wedding day?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

One of the nicest ways I've seen to incorporate children from a previous marriage into a wedding involved sand art. The family had a different color of sand to represent each person. All family members came forward and each placed their sand in the container individually. The end result was a beautiful multi-colored piece that the family could display in their home symbolizing their coming together as one. It was rather touching and quite memorable.
View All Answers

What are some creative ways that a bride can involve children in her wedding day?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

If there is a children's table at the reception a great thing to do is include age appropriate activities {like crayons, coloring books, small puzzles, games, etc} to help keep them occupied during the reception. If the children are sitting with their parents having a favor that is specifically for them {as opposed to the adult ones} is quite nice as well.
View All Answers

What's a great source to buy formal clothing for children?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

We get a lot of my sons formal wear from Kohl's. The price is right {there's always a sale!} and since he grows so fast it's not something that needs to last forever. I love the selection there. We can find various styles ranging from a nice sweater vest and khakis to a suit. I always head there when we need an outfit for a special occasion.
View All Answers

At what age should children learn to swim?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

Children should learn about water safety as soon as possible. Teaching them to respect the water and manage themselves around it should begin at an early age. Taking babies and toddlers into water and modeling and talking about good behavior around the pool/ocean is important. Lesson should begin as soon as the children are comfortable and excited about learning. The sooner children learn, the more capable they will become.
View All Answers

What are your best tips for easy DIY nursery decor? (If there's an image or post on your blog, please link to it.)

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

We decorated my sons room with rub on decals, some colorful puzzles and happy stuffed animals. These things along with nice crib bedding made for a very pretty room. It was by no means extravagant but definitely served it's purpose. We're able to transition from a nursery to a toddler room with little to no fuss and have just changed the accent pieces as he ages. He loves his room as it's completely his. I think that's a good thing. :)
View All Answers

What's your family's favorite board game, and why? (Please mention the best ages for the game)

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

We like a little known Canadian game called Ruck Shuck. You build figures shown on cards out of the rocks they give you and you score points based on difficulty. It sounds crazy {and believe me when we got it as a gift I questioned it} but it's great! You can get a junior version so children as young as five play and there is an adult one. It was a huge hit last Christmas. When my siblings came to visit they got into it and had a great time. It was hilarious!
View All Answers

What's an easy recipe a babysitter can make?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

Pita Pizzas are a great recipe for babysitters to make. Everyone can get involved in making dinner and it turns into a fun activity instead of a chore. If you prepare all of the toppings in advance in the fridge in small containers the babysitter can pull them out and set up an assembly line. I like to have pre-shredded cheese and a squeeze container of pizza sauce available to keep things as simple as possible for everyone. It's fun, it's fast and everyone likes dinner because they made it themselves. Who could ask for anything more? The link to my blog contains a basic recipe and instructions to get your started. Enjoy!
View All Answers

What are your tips for organizing a child's closet so that you can stay ahead of growth spurts and seasonal changes?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

We use space bags. I know what you're thinking. I thought it too. I did not believe that the 'as seen on tv' space bag would work but my husband wanted to try them for our winter clothes and we found a box on sale at the store so I picked them up and tried them. The really work. I now use them to keep my sons clothes organized by season and I label them with masking tape and a marker so I can read them easily. This system has allowed us to buy early as well and store them with minimal space used. We all love it and it's cleaned out everyone's closet!
View All Answers

What can I do for a reflux baby?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

Our son had severe reflux. He was on medication but there were other things that helped him as well. Holding him in an elevated position after feeding was essential. Having him on an angle while lying down helped. We also had an elevated baby seat that he loved to sit in. While I was making dinner he would sit propped beside me, comfortable and that was wonderful. The best tricks I'd have to say was my Ergo baby carrier. I had him in is all the time. It was comfy for both of us, kept him upright and close and I could still get stuff done. It was fantastic!
View All Answers

Can you share an easy, crowd-pleasing birthday party cake or cupcake recipe? (please include a link to a photo!)

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

Everyone loves Red Velvet Cake. It's one of those classic cakes that adults and children love. It's delicious and looks so decadent that no one has any idea how easy it is to make! My recipe is really easy and pretty much foolproof. If you've never made a cake from scratch, don't be afraid. You're family will love it and you'll look like a hero. That's always a win in my book!
View All Answers

Please share a link to a photo of a great birthday cake you made or bought.

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

This Red Velvet Cake was seriously delicious. It's simple, elegant and always a crowd pleaser! http://ministrytomotherhood.com/2011/05/27/red-velvet-cake/
View All Answers

What's a great spring or summer recipe that uses corn?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I recognize that this isn't a traditional corn recipe but it's one of our favorites! My spicy peanut noodle recipe originally called for peas and carrots but one day I threw in some fresh corn instead of the peas as a variation. On that day in our house a new favorite dish was born. If corn is in season I just take it straight off the cob, if it's not I pull some frozen corn from the freezer. Either way this recipe is a hit and my boys love it! You can find the recipe here: http://ministrytomotherhood.com/2012/02/08/spicy-peanut-noodles/
View All Answers

Can you recommend a great summer snack to feed kids on break or to pack for days at camp? (Please include a link to the recipe.)

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

One of our favorite summer snacks is a homemade trail mix I make before every adventure. It's great when you hit the trail, are touring a museum or just need a snack during an afternoon at the park. Easy to put together and customize according to your preferences, this snack is sure to become a staple in your kitchen! http://ministrytomotherhood.com/2011/06/13/homemade-trail-mix/
View All Answers

What's your favorite stylish but practical beach- or pool-wear item for a mom? Please include a link to the product (cover-up, hat, sandals, etc.)

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I bought this Hemp Hat by Tilley last year to take on vacation and found myself wearing it all the time even while home. It's comfortable on, stylish and it provides great sun coverage {which a fair girl like myself really needs!}. http://www.tilley.com/The-TH9-Hemp-Hat.aspx
View All Answers

From peach pies and berry cobbler to lemon shortcake and watermelon popsicles, fruity desserts are perfect for summer. Please share your favorite fruit-based dessert, and include a link to the recipe and photo.

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I'm a huge fan of 'the crisp'. The base of the crisp depends on the season. Whatever fruit is local and fresh is bound to be featured and it's a relatively healthy option {compared with pies or cookies}. A mixed summer fruit crisp is constantly featured on my table throughout the summer. My recipe calls for apples {as I originally shared it in autumn} but it really is incredibly versatile. Incorporate your local flavors, mix in your favorite liquors {or leave it out} and enjoy the praise you receive as you serve up a winning dessert. No one has to know how easy it was except you and me!
View All Answers

What's a family-friendly recipe that would be perfect for a summer or Fourth of July gathering -- whether it's a grilled dish, a simple side or festive treat? (Please share a link to a photo)

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

My family goes crazy for the Tomato Basil Cucumber Salad I make during the summer months. It's ridiculously simple, very light and fresh so it's a great addition to any menu. It is our favorite side for a summer BBQ or a celebration. On nights when I'm too tired to make much or we've run out of time I often serve this salad with a fresh loaf of bread and a fruit salad for dessert. It's constantly on the table at our house!
View All Answers

What's a great finger food that your kids love? Please include a link.

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

My son was always an excellent eater who enjoyed vegetables until he hit the middle of his second year. At that point he went on a veggie strike and I needed to come up with new ways to get him to eat them. These Kale Chips were one of our favorite solutions as a family. They are crunchy, flavorful and slightly addictive. Make sure you prepare a large bowl as they'll go quickly. Everyone who tries them loves them! http://ministrytomotherhood.com/2012/04/16/i-heart-kale/
View All Answers

Can you recommend a great toy that costs less than $10? Please share a link to a photo.

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

Most of our favorite toys are less than 10$. We often make shakers out of used paper towel rolls with some dry rice or beans, masking tape and construction paper. We love crayons and sidewalk chalk. There are bubble wands and dollar store balls that get used more than the fancy toy sets my son has. The greatest toy is one that brings out your child's imagination! One of my favorite childhood memories is building my barbies bedrooms out of my mom's empty shoeboxes. It was great fun. :)
View All Answers

What's an affordable family summer vacation destination? (please include a link)

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario Canada is my destination of choice. It has everything. Camping, lakes, rivers, programs, dining, museums, art galleries, ice cream and more. Honestly I've never been disappointed in a trip and have loved every moment spent there. I used to go when I was a kid with my own parents and have wonderful memories of warm lake swimming, learning to canoe and quiet moments around a campfire. I'm now making new memories with my husband and son. It's absolutely beautiful. http://www.ontarioparks.com/english/index.html
View All Answers

What's a great item to include in a birthday goodie bag? Please include a link to a photo if you have one.

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I love to go to the dollar store and see what kind of goodies I can find. I have included decks of cards {decorated with favorite cartoon characters}, little books, pencils, stickers and erasers. Anything small and fun that the kids can bust out at the tail end of the party when you're starting to lose steam is a great thing!
View All Answers

What's one of your favorite one-pot recipes? (Soup, casseroles, etc.)

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

My favorite standby soup recipe is Warm Spicy Carrot Soup. With two ingredients from the supermarket and some pantry staples you can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. As the soup cooks the smell of warm spices makes everyone's mouth water and no one is late to the table once you announce that dinner is done! I often serve this with a fresh loaf of bread or fresh naan to round out the meal.
View All Answers

What's your children's favorite lullaby?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

My son's favorite lullaby is Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral. Four generations of my family have been sung this to their children. Now as I sing my almost 3 year old son tries to sing along with me while he drifts off to sleep. Watching him doze and miss words and then wake up to keep going is one of the best parts of my day. It's a lovely night time ritual and I'm so glad he enjoys it as much as I do. Here's a link to Bing Crosby's rendition. It's an old song but a good one!
View All Answers

What's your favorite muffin, scone, or bread recipe? Please share a link to the recipe and a photo if you have one.

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I love a good Gingerbread Breakfast Muffin on a crisp fall morning. As things get busier and the summer fades away I find myself longing for a little more spice and substance as I leave the house each day. My three year old son devours them and he doesn't know they are packed whole grains and carrots. Healthy food that's enjoyed by toddlers is always a win in my book! This is also a great recipe to have around during the holidays. They are excellent at breakfast when you have company served with preserves and some scrambled eggs/tofu {depending on your preference of course!}.
View All Answers

What's a great recipe that uses cranberries?

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

My favorite granola recipe uses dried cranberries {along with other fruit} to create a slightly sweet delicious breakfast. We love it because it's not too crunchy and it has the perfect balance of flavors. I've played around with the recipe in the past omitting the oil and adding other ingredients but this is the one we seem to come back to regularly. Be warned - it makes a ton! If you've got a smaller family cut the recipe in half to keep things fresh. A little goes a long way and makes for an excellent start to the day!
View All Answers

Nothing says fall like the flavor of cinnamon! What's one of your favoritie recipes that has cinnamon in it? Please share a link with a photo.

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I think I've shared this on Circle of Moms before but this is hands down the best cinnamon recipe I've got. My Cinnamon Rum Apple Crisp is devoured weekly each fall by many happy family members. You control amount of cinnamon you use so it's completely customized to your preference. We have a tendency to go a little heavier on the cinnamon because all of us love the rich addition of the spice to our desserts. This is the perfect, easy dessert when you have company coming and it's delicious. I think I might go make some right now!
View All Answers

What's a great, freezable dish to bring to a new mom? Please share a link to your recipe.

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

Before I had my son I baked quite a bit and bundled muffins in snack size portions to freeze so I would have a convenient snack without the temptation of a whole plate right in front of me after the baby arrived. It was perfect! Everyday I'd pull a muffin out and warm it in the microwave mid-morning. It was as though they were freshly made and it was a very nice treat. Because it worked so well for me I now do this for others. I take them over pre-packaged and ready to go. One of my favorite muffin recipes for this is Banana Muffins. They freeze well, are healthy and delicious.
View All Answers

What's your favorite guilty pleasure snack? Please share a link to the item or, if homemade, to your recipe and photo.

Becky @ From Ministry to Motherhood

I love a good chocolate mug cake. It takes minutes to throw together and after three minutes in the microwave you have a lovely cake to enjoy. Over the years I've made it a little healthier by using whole wheat pastry flour in place of all purpose but you really can't tell the difference. It really is the perfect quick treat!
View All Answers