In Honor of the Academy Awards, Movies I Will Never, Ever See.

‘Tis the season. Critics and movie-lovers everywhere are talking about the movies they want to see winning a coveted Oscar at the 2014 Academy Awards. They’ve rolled out the red carpet, and the TV audience is cheering on favorites, critiquing the ball gowns, and hoping for handful of interesting acceptance speeches.

Rhonda Franz, movies, coffeehouse mom

I’m a sucker for awards shows, but I rarely get out to one these days, so I have yet to see the best movies from last year. Thank you, Netflix.

Rather than go on about nominations and actors, I’ve presented a list of movies I won’t be sitting down for. And after reviewing my won’t-watch-movie list, I’m confident about remaining strict about what my children watch.


1. “Deliverance” I’d heard enough from a relative to this movie wasn’t for me. I like to canoe, I love to hike, and I live in the woods. Arkansas is the the butt of jokes about rednecks and inbreeding. So, no.

2. “Silence of the Lambs” I wasn’t allowed to watch R-rated movies as a teenager. When I was staying the night at a friend’s house, and she pulled this out, I called home to ask permission. (Don’t laugh. I would have gotten caught). “Um, no,” my dad said. “You may not.” I’m forever grateful.

3. “Poltergeist” Because my kids are transfixed by the television screen in real life, and that is scary enough.

4. “The Shining” I don’t deny his talent, but the only thing by Stephen King I wish to see is the book he wrote about writing. Make that into a movie, and I just might go see it.

5. “Tron” I’ve kind of seen this movie. It’s my earliest memory of being bored so much I just couldn’t watch it anymore. Huge apologies to science fiction fans and geeks everywhere; I know it’s kind of a cult classic for you. If it helps, you won’t find a bigger Bruce Boxleitner or Jeff Bridges fan anywhere.

What movies have you sworn off? And what movies do you wish you had never seen?

Thanks to djnorway, co-founder of, who shared the beautiful stock.xchng photo of the (empty) pink movie seats. 

Sweating the Small Stuff

Coffee House Mom

It’s listening to my son make super hero noises in the bathroom while he is brushing his teeth, the 6.2 minutes when all three children are reading one book together (in peace), watching my sons become the cutest boy band ever with their perfect rhythm, and air guitars, swaying and singing in front of the fireplace.

It’s also the spilled supper plate, the dropped (and broken) pitcher, the kid who breaks free from your hand and runs into the parking lot.

The big things, the tragedies, the successes may, in part, define us and our character in big ways. But we live those out in the minutes and hours of the day and the days of the week. Our choices, our habits, our work for His glory.

The daily grind is how we live our lives.

It’s the encouragement and advice and instructions of the Proverbs: sometimes, seemingly small stuff. All added up, though, the sum is great, but the sum hasn’t come yet. While we’re alive, we are still working on the parts: our attitude, how we love our families, how we raise our children.

Perhaps not-so-small stuff after all. Don’t sweat too much. Don’t take every moment too seriously, Laugh at yourself.

But a little perspiration is in order. Live obediently. Give weaknesses to Him. Seek joy in the little, and heed His words to work hard and plan well and build up a house and extend kind hands to others.

That will get you sweating, just enough.

Small is the word todayJoin Lisa-Jo Baker and Five Minute Friday.

Win a Trip to Disney World with American Home Shield and Kidstructions: How Does it Work? Video Contest

Children love to watch while parents and repair technicians fix household appliances. And moms and dads know how much kids are willing to grab their own tools and hammer away while imitating fix-it projects. These kinds of experiences are perfect real-life opportunities for children to learn new skills.

Now, you can showcase your child’s curiosity and creativity by letting them explain how things work around the house.

rhonda franz American Home Shield Kidstructions video contest

American Home Shield, the nation’s largest provider of home warranties, invites families to participate in the Kidstructions: How Does it Work? video contest for a chance to win a trip to Disney World.

Here’s how it works:

1. Take a 30 to 60-second video of your child explaining in their own words how major appliances or systems in work in the home (refrigerator, heater, washer, dryer, oven).

2. Upload the video to your own YouTube account.

3. Visit the American Home Shield Facebook page and complete the required entry form.

* There are two age divisions for entries

– 18 months to 5 years old as of January 1, 2014

– 6 to 12 years old as of January 1, 2014

One prize each will be awarded:

  • Grand Prize: Family Trip for Four to Walt Disney World and a one-year home warranty.
  • Second place: $2500 U.S. Savings bond and a one-year home warranty from American Home Shield
  • Third place: a one-year home warranty from American Home Shield

Check out American Home Shield’s video about the contest:

For official rules and guidelines, please visit

I received compensation for the “Kidstructions: How does it work?” contest blog post. American Home Shield partnered with several bloggers like me to raise awareness about this contest. All purchases and content are on my own accord and reflect my personal opinion and style. For official Company contest rules, visit

Choosing to See the Goodness of the Lord

Rhonda Franz, coffee house mom

Psalm 27:13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (NIV)

Such a glorious statement, but have you read the whole chapter? David has been fearful. His enemies are surrounding him.

After pleading and lamenting, he is now calling out to the Lord, speaking about his head being lifted up and staying confident and claiming the Lord as the stronghold of his life.

No army is after me (except for those who prowl with The Enemy), but this I am reminded of in battles and circumstances  – those things that sap my energy, wear on my spirit, feed my weaknesses of anxiety and discontent, and add to the pit in my stomach.

  • Land of the living:  My battery dies in the car ride line at school
  • Goodness of the Lord: the man behind me gave me a jump start, my dad taught me to keep jumper cables in my car, my battery was still under warranty and our mechanic replaced it.
  • Land of the living: I lock my keys in the car at soccer practice while my husband is out of town.
  • Goodness of the Lord: I have the $$ to pay the locksmith, there is such a thing as a locksmith.
  • Land of the living: My child has had a day of meltdowns, and it is all I can do not to have one myself. Eventually, I fail.
  • Goodness of the Lord: There is time in the day left to love on him, choose to see him for the blessing he is, forgiveness is real and immediate from the Lord.
  • Land of the living: Circumstances weigh heavy, emotions run rampant, shame is present, disappointments are overwhelming, and relationships are in peril.
  • Goodness of the Lord: The sun is shining, His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), He is in control, even when I’m not, especially when I’m not.

In these moments, I am reminded to stop and remember the Stronghold. Find that to be thankful for. Choose to see the goodness of the Lord.

Maybe an army is after you. It could be fear or anger or shame or just rotten things going on. It could be a lousy marriage relationship or the loss of a job.

What are your Land of the Living moments? How do you choose to remember and meditate God’s goodness?

The beautiful picture of Scripture courtesy of Billy Alexander on stock.xchng

Stuck-in-the-House Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup


Rhonda Franz, slow cooker chicken noodle soup recipe

Here is the end product (we like it thick).

This recipe would be regular old Slow Cooker Chicken Soup on any other day. But not today. Mid America is having another snow day, (not that we’re counting), and we’re cookin’ up chicken at our house.

Or to be more specific, I let the deli at the grocery store cook up a chicken. Because the cost of these isn’t much and it’s worth skipping the whole cooking the whole thing and bleaching the kitchen counters afterwards and son on. So I buy the chicken already done. The flavor this chicken meat and skin adds to the soup is superb.


  • 1 cooked rotisserie chicken
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped (This is kind of a lot of parsley, and results in quite the robust flavor. If it’s too much, maybe just use 1/8 c. or so. Of course, you can use dried parsley as well, which in my experience isn’t as potent).
  • 1/2 c. diced onion, sautéed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (See below for how I mince my garlic on most days)
  • 1 lb. package egg noodles
  • 2 – 2 1/2 qts chicken broth (2 if you like your soup thick like stew, 3 if you like your soup with a good deal of broth)
  • 1 Tbsp. seasoning salt
  • salt and pepper to taste


Pull meat and skin off the bone and tear into bite size chunks. Place in slow cooker along with all the other ingredients except noodles. Mix well. Cook on high 4 hours or low 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally. Add egg noodles to slow cooker 20 minutes before serving and stir.

* Note: Adding egg noodles is where the broth really gets soaked up. You might add your noodles, stir and wait a bit, and take stock of how the soup looks. Even after serving, you can always add broth to the leftover soup for refrigerating or freezing. We like ours kind of thick, almost like a bowl full of noodles.


rhonda franz, slow cooker chicken noodle soup

I use a garlic press like this to mince my garlic. I don’t regret buying this at a kitchen store in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I do regret that it went in the dishwasher, where it collected a nasty tarnish. I do not regret that people in this house are putting things directly into the dishwasher, rather than on the counter right above it. But I digress.

Rhonda Franz, snow day slow cooker chicken noodle soup

I sauté my onions before adding. It brings out the sweetness, and I can add lots more flavor to the soup without the bitterish taste of uncooked onions.














This is what the broth looks like pre-noodles. If, by chance, you’ve gone paleo, or you’re just cutting down on your carbs, reserve some of this before adding noodles. It’s all good.

Rhonda Franz, slow cooker chicken soup recipe


Now, while my kids are eating Shirley Temple Snow Cones for dessert, I ladle this soup into quart-size jars for refrigerating or freezing (if you freeze the soup, leave an inch or so at the top of the jar to allow for the food to expand). If you’re into canning, so much the better. But the soup doesn’t last long in the refrigerator at our house, and I bet it won’t at yours, either.

This recipe was first published in Our Daily Bread, the Springdale, Arkansas Spring Creek Fellowship cookbook. If you’re in a cooking slump, nothing will heal your soul (and ultimately feed your family) like searching through the recipes of a church cookbook. Gems in those, I tell you. Gems.