Grab a free phone or watch for your kid or young teen!!

 

I love when Gabb Wireless offers promotions, which they do quite often. However, I’ve never seen them offer one like they have available right now. A free phone or watch for new lines!!

  • When: July 27th at 12:01AM – July 29th at 11:59PM
  • What: Free Gabb Phones and Gabb Watches (excludes Gabb Phone Plus)
  • For Who: Every kid K-12 in need of a safe device this school year
  • Details:
    • $30 new line activation fee
    • Monthly service plan
    • Can only be used for new lines, no upgrades
    • Excludes the Gabb Phone Plus

Do you have a child or young teen you want to have the peace of mind a “smart” watch or a phone provides, but you aren’t ready to put a smart device in their hands and open them up to a world they aren’t quite ready for?

If so, Gabb Wireless is your company. They are the only company I’ve found to deliver what they promise in the quest to keep kids safely connected.

What I’ve found with my own kids is that offering them a device like Gabb prepares them well to transition to the smartphone world. If I had my choice, I’d keep smartphones forever away. However, we all know that isn’t possible today or in the future. So, we decided training devices are a great option.

Gabb Wireless offers GPS tracking, a smartphone look with zero internet, no social media or apps/games. I can rest knowing my son can text and call while being protected from the online world.

We’ve had both the watch and phone and highly recommend both!

Ends Friday so grab your device now!

www.gabbwireless.com/promo/RENEEROBINSON

PROMOCODE: RENEEROBINSON

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Should Stop Rescuing Our Kids & Let Them Fail Instead

A Good Parent Won’t Parent Like the Majority

What if good parenting isn’t exactly what we think it is?

What if good parenting means:

  • we step back and let our kids make choices we know aren’t the very best for them?
  • we see potential failure ahead and we allow room to fall without swooping in for the rescue?
  • we don’t race ahead of our kids and remove each stone from their path so they never stub their toes?
  • we don’t clean up their messes, rather we hug and love them through the cleanup phase?

What does good parenting look like today? There is a term I despise: “adulting.” I’d like to eliminate its usage forever. I’d love to see our generation of kids transition from kids to adults little by little without this chasm of kid today, adult tomorrow.

I believe how we parent in the arena of failure can help us raise adults who understand being an adult is a privilege and a gift rather than a curse of “adulting.”

Childish Choices

I’m the mom who let her first grader forget his lunch at home and didn’t race back to the school to bring him one. I received a phone call from the teacher to see if I’d like to bring him lunch. We lived 30 minutes from the school. I’d already been in the car an hour. That would be another hour. Then another for pickup. He wouldn’t starve. He had begun developing a habit of forgetting, and food was important to this kiddo. He survived the day and never forgot his lunch again. To this day he does an incredible job of remembering his responsibilities.

I’m the mom who let her 3rd grader leave the house without a coat when it was 35 degrees because he insisted he wasn’t cold and he didn’t need one. I received a call from the teacher that he wouldn’t be allowed to play outside without a coat, and I gave my permission for him to be cold. He knows how to grab a coat with his backpack. This wasn’t a forgetfulness or a failure. He simply made a choice and was happy to live with the consequences of being cold. I decided I would be ok with that.

As our children are growing, they will make many childish decisions. This is normal and more than ok. When we allow them to make a wrong choice, we help them learn how to make better choices in the future.

When we jump in and tell them how to choose or what to do, we are sending a message that they are incapable of making good choices. We also send a message of fearing failure. By not allowing them to fail, we tell them failure is bad and should never happen, which can lead them in the future to fear making wrong choices to the point they always need others to help them.

Permission to Fail

My first boss would tell me in each review the area of growth to focus on was my decision making. I was so terrified of messing up that I would simply not make a decision and would go to others to find the answers. He told me he’d rather me make a wrong decision than become stuck in indecision. It was so freeing to know I had permission to mess up.

Likewise, we can tell our kids they have permission to fail. Free them up to fall and know that we will be there to help them back to their feet. Failure is often the best teacher.

Failure should not be something our kids fear. Instead it should be something they learn to learn from. Failure is normal and they should understand it is part of being a human.

We tell our kids over and over that we expect them to fail, to make poor choices, to mess up because they are human and are not perfect. We explain our hope for them is to learn to make good choices and learn to take advice in the process. A teachable spirit is of great value.

Now, this doesn’t mean we give children the ability to make decisions that we know could/will bring danger, harm, or life-altering circumstances. They can’t choose to not wear a seatbelt. They shouldn’t choose to become a boy when God created them a girl. They can’t choose to run in the street or with scissors. I’m simply referencing the simple choices that would only bring discomfort without changing their life.

Stubborn Choices

Recently, I was the mom who let her son go to a pool party with no sunblock because he insisted he didn’t need any. This child rarely needs sunblock because he spends a great deal of time outdoors. I tried to warn him that swimming with a shirt off would invite a stinging burn. He was adamant. I made a decision to back off and let the natural consequence become his teacher.

He came home in pain. In fact, so much pain that he was unable to go to baseball practice or play golf with his dad and brothers the next evening. Initially, he refused to admit I had been right in instructing him to wear sunblock on skin that never sees the sun. But as the pain wore on throughout the day, his pride lost its footing and he admitted he should have taken my advice.

The last thing I wanted was an “I told you so” experience. But sometimes it’s the only way for a person to truly learn what is best for them. I explained that I only want the very best for him so when I give advice or loving instruction, it is just that…..loving and kind. It’s never meant to keep him from fun. It’s nearly always for his protection and good. Because of my age and experience with painful burns, I can see what he is unable to see.

I am reminded how God in His loving protection of us desires only our good. He instructs us with guidelines to follow in order to keep us safe and well. He sees what is impossible for us to see. When He warns us to stay away from something, it’s not to prohibit fun and enjoyment, it’s to keep us safe and well. But how often do we put our hands up to Him telling Him we know what is best and go our own way?

“So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own plans.” Psalm 81:12

Natural Consequences

Natural consequences are the very best teachers.

  • They come with zero nagging.
  • The lessons stick for a lifetime.
  • It protects the relationship.
  • It opens the doorway to meaningful conversations.
  • It removes emotionalism.
  • They learn to make their own choices and deal with the consequences.

No good and loving parent enjoys watching their child suffer. However, suffering is a part of life. Often suffering comes at the hands of our own choices and decisions.

What prevents parents from allowing kids to fail?

Many parents in our current parenting culture refuse to allow their kids to fail for many reasons.

  • Sometimes it’s out of our own pride we won’t let them fail. What will other parents think of us?
  • Sometimes it’s out of our deep love and compassion. We simply can’t bear watching them hurt.
  • Sometimes it’s out of our own busyness. We don’t have the time to deal with the fallout.
  • Sometimes it is out of passivity or laziness. We don’t want to take the time to deal with the mess left from their failures.

Regardless what the reasons are, it is for the good of our children to allow them to fail, to suffer, and to experience the consequences of their actions and choices without swooping in and saving them. It is part of our civic duty to raise responsible adults. And it is part of our God-given role to love them through their entire journey.

 

For more on the power of failure, read Dear Son, Why I Want You To Fail and Dear Boys, Why I Can’t Rescue You From Your Problems

Also, in case you missed my announcement, I’m closing my shop! All items on clearance while supplies last. Shop now and stock up for later when they are gone for good! Shop here.

 

 

The End of a Season Means the Beginning of Another

Six years ago I wrote a post titled The Tension Between the Beginning of the End and the Beginning of the Beginning. At that point we were saying goodbye to six years of private full time classical school to embark on a homeschool journey. We didn’t know if the journey would last one year or six more. Turns out, we homeschooled through graduation with our oldest. Our middle son will graduate in two short years from our homeschool.

We are again at the beginning of an end and the beginning of a beginning.

I believe it’s fairly typical to look back on an experience and realize the worry and fretting were useless. That is my experience at least. I have falsely led myself to believe that enough worry on the front end can lead me to preventing failure and regret. It’s a lie.

What worry really does is steal the joy of the journey. It clouds our vision from seeing the magnitude of an awesome God at work in the details of our days. It significantly limits my ability to trust God by turning my trust toward myself and my worry. It takes my mustard seed of faith and crushes it to nothing.

My one regret through homeschooling….allowing worry and fear to have any voice. I wish I’d rested more. I wish I’d trusted God more. But! I’m thankful for the opportunity to choose differently today.

Jacob finished his last day of high school in February. Between February and May, when we’ve celebrated his graduation officially, I’ve had quite some time to reflect. Initially, I played the what-if game. What if we’d chosen a different path? Did we choose the right path?

In the Lord’s patience with me, He allows me to wander about my thoughts, wrestling them down until I come to a clear place of understanding. I thought back to a podcast I heard on Focus on the Family years ago where a pastor talked about how we can know which path to take. He said often we pray and ask God for His will regarding which job to take, which house to buy, which school to choose, etc. But often our choices are equally in line with God’s will, so He gives us the choice and what He cares most about is who we become in Him as we walk that path. Hearing that opened up my understanding to the goodness of God and the beauty of this life. It also allowed me to feel free.

Our life path is filled with opportunity. Most importantly, we are to simply abide. As we abide, He will grow us wherever we are.

When Jacob was in sixth grade, he encountered some unexplained health issues. The doctors had no real answers, but felt reducing as much stress as possible would be crucial in his body healing. Interestingly, that is one of the very things God used to confirm our homeschool path. I sought a friend’s advice as we prayed through our next steps. I remember saying to her how life is filled with extreme stress and removing it may not be the best for our kids. Her response I’ll never forget. “Yes, but limiting it in middle school may be what God uses to prepare him for what he will carry in his future.” In other words removing school anxiety isn’t setting them up for life failure.

On this side of the path, I’m speechless at all God has done. Jacob is an incredible human being. I’m highly biased and feel incredibly blessed by all three of our children. Jacob is so highly motivated and driven. He is wise. He is discerning.

After Jacob’s graduation party, God took me back through the years and all I could do was cry. I’m so incredibly grateful we homeschooled. I’m so thankful I didn’t let fear push me down an alternate path (and it nearly did every single year).

So here we are. Jacob is working full time gaining incredible experience in the business world. He has plans in the future with real estate investing and financial trading.

I posted this on Instagram the day before his graduation party:

“Last week God gave me a verse for Jacob. Today, the eve of the day we celebrate his graduation, I’m sitting on the sofa and My Utmost for His Highest is centered around the very verse God showed me for Jacob last week.

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

This is my prayer for Jacob who is already walking in his future having jumped into the full time workforce in February. He is so highly motivated, so driven, such incredible grit and work ethic.

Of all things to pursue in this life, pursue God with everything you have. Seek His Kingdom. It’s the ONLY thing that matters. The true picture of success is the one who is so firmly rooted in who God says they are that they can abide in Him, seek Him, and watch the Kingdom grow.

The world tells graduates to go do great things and change the world and chase your dreams and live your best life. God says, Seek Him. Everything else will take care of itself.”

Are you facing the end of a current season? Sometimes the end of a season sneaks up on us, but what I hope to remember is that a new season is ready to dawn. God is doing a new thing. Do you see it? Do you believe it?

When God delivered rebellious Israel, He said to them in Isaiah 43:19 “Look, I am about to do something new, even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

God is a Creator, He is in the business of doing something new. As we journey through our seasons, we can trust that God is at work, always ready to do something new. Lord, give us eyes to see you!


Do you have a graduate in your life? Send them into the world with what they really need. God’s Word.

 

 

Let Your Kids Be Disappointed – It’s Real Life

How do any of us grow? By walking through circumstances that require it. As a young mom, I lacked patience with my kids. I was quick to snap. After praying for patience, God called me to homeschool. Years of day in and day out trying my patience, and I see growth in that area. It’s been H.A.R.D.

Growth is a process filled with growing pains. As parents we have a role to help our kids grow. This is the opposite of setting them up for an amazing, success-filled, perfect, Disney World like life. I fear many parents in today’s culture are trying to create an amazing life for their kids rather than prepare kids who can function in a harsh and often cruel world.

Raising strong kids

As parents we want to raise strong kids. We want them to be able to withstand the storms life will bring them. We’ve heard the saying, “Prepare your child for the road, not the road for your child.” Are we doing that?

There’s a trend in parenting of cleaning the road of all obstacles so the child doesn’t trip, and when they do, mom and dad swoop in to make it all right.

When we hear of a kid being mean to our kid, we jump in and work out the problem for them. When a teacher gives a low grade on a paper, mom and dad email the teacher wanting answers. When the teen didn’t get the job, mom and dad call the employer. When our kid is cut from the team, we demand answers and work to fix it.

Yes, we should advocate for our kids, but at the same time, there are times we need to step back and see how they move forward. We can advise and guide them. We don’t want to raise victims who look at life as always being against them. We want to raise adults who realize life is hard, but with the grace of God we can manage hard things well.

As a parent, when our child faces disappointment, we have an opportunity to empathize, while pointing them to Jesus.

We are raising adults

We have a job to raise adults. As adults we face losses, unfair circumstances, disappointments, and failures. This is life. What’s important is how we handle them when they come. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

In 2010 Steve and I vacationed in Hawaii to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Awakened at 5:00am by the report of an earthquake in Chile, which would result in a Tsunami in Hawaii, I went into full melt down mode. The message I received was one of imminent death by drowning. I’ll never forget the words of the news anchor, “It’s not a matter of if, but one of when and how bad.” I’m embarrassed to say, I did not handle our situation well at all.

As a mom, I want my kids to grow into adults who understand that life brings hard moments. It’s not a matter of if, but when and how bad. I want them prepared to handle it by the grace of God.

We are not their Savior

A few weeks ago Andrew texted me from school. He was having some difficult interactions, which led to him feeling sad and wanting to leave school. We’d talked through these issues before. As the texts increased I realized he was looking to me to be his rescuer.

Our role is not to be our child’s Rescuer or Savior, but to point them to the One who is.

My mama instinct was to swoop in, bring him home, comfort him, and make it all right. But this would only help him in the short term. One day mama won’t be there to make it all better. However, there is One who will always be with us and will never ever leave or forsake us.

I responded to his text, “You can’t leave school. Pray. God will help you. I will pray too.” And I did. I prayed and prayed. His text later let me know he felt much better.

Our children need God more than they need a mom and dad to solve all their problems. Yes, we have a high calling to comfort, protect, nurture, advocate, and help. But we are not their end all answer, or at least we shouldn’t be.

Children and teens need to learn to have their own faith, not an extension of our faith. My faith can’t hold my kids up. It has to be their own. It has to be real and genuine. Real faith usually develops out of necessity. I’ve decided I’m ok with my kids experiencing hard times so they can learn to grow in their faith.

When Disappointment Comes

I took a trip to Florida recently. I wanted to take Andrew with me, but he had his first baseball game. The day of the game the weather called for rain. I began praying it wouldn’t rain. I mean PRAYING. The thought of Andrew’s disappointment over not going to Florida with me because of a game that wasn’t played bothered me more than it should have.

I took a step back. I didn’t want him to be disappointed. Plain and simple. I wanted him to have everything go the way it “should” go. But that is not reality. That is not real life.

Rather than praying away possible disappointments, I should pray my child has a strong enough faith to turn those disappointments over to Jesus, the one who cares about every hurt we face and comforts us when no one else is there.

The real role of parents

The pressure of culture today in our see all social media world is to present a picture perfect picture of our kids and our family. If our kids fail, what does it say about me as a mom? Did I fail too? If they make bad grades, does it mean I am a failure because I didn’t support them enough? If they don’t make the team, did I fail to get them the help they needed?

I believe one of the reasons we try so hard to create a smooth road for our kids is because we fear what it reflects on us. What will people think of us?

One of my more embarrassing parenting moments happened when my kids made their own volcano for a science project. It felt as if my kids were the only ones who brought in a project that looked like a kid made it. I was embarrassed wondering if all the parents thought I was a slack mom who doesn’t spend enough time helping her kids out.

But I got over it. I realized it was ok if my kids were embarrassed because they didn’t put in more effort. If they care enough, then next time they will. And if they don’t care enough, well that is ok too. It’s ok to not be amazing at everything. It’s ok to do the best we can without pushing ourselves to be the absolute best.

Our role as parents is to love, support, nurture, guide, discipline, and more than anything point them to Jesus.

Our role is not to make sure they have a smooth road to travel. It’s to be there when they fall, tell them we love them. It’s to be there when they are disappointed and empathize while reminding them there is only One who doesn’t disappoint. It’s to support them on their journey without pressuring them to be more than God created them to be, which is simply a human loved by Him.


If you want to read more on this topic, I wrote a post years ago about letting our kids fail. Dear Son, Why I Want You To Fail


Looking for a special gift for Easter? Add Scripture pillowcases to their Easter basket to remind them of the One who never fails!

 

Your Silent Competitor

Here’s what I know about me, in the face of competition I know I can’t win, I draw back. I’m not the competitive type who digs deep and goes all in if I don’t think I have a chance to win. Now, I will push hard until the moment I realize there is no winning chance. At that point, I tend to wonder why I’d exert so much energy for 2nd place or worse. I’m not saying this is a good thing or the right thing. It’s just how I operate.

I believe this explains why I have a strong dislike for Monopoly. I can try so hard and play so long and still end up never finding the strategy that wins the game.

Smartphones, screens, and devices are playing silently against us. They have been for many years, and they’ve decided they are in for the long game.

I want to win this game.

Try this experiment

Next time you are in a checkout line, decide ahead of time you will not pull out your phone to pass the time. Look around and count how many people have their heads up. Chances are, you won’t count many. Watch how the clerk interacts with you compared to someone who comes through with their eyes fixed on their phone. I’ve watched this play out, and it’s fascinating. To the ones who are available and ready to engage in conversation, the clerk usually converses. But to the ones who are so engrossed in the world of their screen, the world not right there in front of them, the clerk will often only engage to the extent of, “Hi, how are you today.”

Knowing the competition

The smart phone is a feisty competitor; it nearly always wins. What exactly is it trying to win? Ultimately, our heart, but it starts with our attention. Once it has our attention enough, it will hook us in with its fake offerings of laughter, entertainment, escape, information, newest trends, and world happenings that ding throughout the day and night.

If it keeps our attention long enough, it’s winning. And then it only takes the slightest ding to bring us back to it. The body reacts with hits of dopamine. We feel we need it more and more. All the while, real life, real entertainment, real laughter, real people are wanting our attention.

Who wins this game against the smartphone?

How Can We Compete

It’s the most silent competitor vying for the attention of people. Often it’s not worth the effort to compete against it. So, we go silent rather than try to win against our silent competitor.

When I’m in the company of someone captivated by their phone, I tend to draw inward. It’s hard to compete against the stream of constant entertainment of a phone. While screens feed us news reports 24/7, I have only a few new happenings to offer. Screens provide us a hit of dopamine hundreds of times a day. That’s a hard competitor.

Which Side Are We On?

If we are honest we’ve played on both sides of this game. We’ve been the one held prisoner by our phone. And we’ve been the one on the other side hoping the other person would look up eventually.

While we can’t make people around us put down their phones, we can make a personal choice to be the ones who live free of our devices.

What Winning Looks Like

First, we need to form a picture of what winning looks like.

I love watching Steve and Andrew wrestle. Steve will have total control over Andrew’s arms and legs and pin him firmly. Andrew will call out, “Look, Mom, I’m winning. I’m dominating Dad!” Clearly, he is not winning. Steve has total control over all his possible moves, yet Andrew believes he’s winning. Likely, he knows the truth and doesn’t want to admit it.

This is a picture of our relationship with our phones if we don’t decide to win this game. We can think it doesn’t control us, but our actions tell a different story.

Signs our phone dominates us:

  • We pick up our phone at every ding.
  • Sitting in a room with someone, we find ourselves scrolling or reading online rather than engaging in conversation
  • We pick up our phone without having an actual reason. We feel compelled to check.
  • We check our phones at red lights, in checkout lines, and in any spaces of downtime.
  • Boredom is uncomfortable, and we pick up our phone to solve the boredom.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” 2 Corinthians 6:12

This World Needs More Winners

Our world needs more winners. We need more people to decide they want to live the most abundantly alive, full, and vibrant lives imaginable. This world needs people captivated by simple wonders and able to handle boredom. Some of the greatest inventions known to man came when a human was bored. Ideas are given space to develop when the brain isn’t overstimulated.

Empathy grows when we are connecting with real humans. Screens decrease our capacity for empathy and compassion. They attempt to grow cynicism where God desires empathy.

We must decide to win.

Let’s Call It What It Really Is

Let’s be real. It’s not a game. It’s war. We are in a spiritual battle. Choose to stand and fight. Win against the smart devices that is after your attention, your heart, and your real life. Come back to the place where simple pleasures brought delight, where we paused to take in the beautiful landscape, where we didn’t want to rush away from a conversation, and where a child’s joke brings a genuine chuckle.

Life is good. Real life is worth fighting for. The enemy knows if he gets your attention, he can capture your affections and heart. And because he’s so deceptive, he will let you think you are winning. He will whisper to you that you are dominating, you are in control. The way to overpower him starts with recognizing the enemy and turning his tactics back on him. The name of Jesus is a strong tower. We pray for power and we make choices that over time replace our habits.

It’ll be a fight, but this world needs more winners. We have a Kingdom to run. We can’t run it distracted.

Be Ready So You Don’t Have To Get Ready

I heard a story last year on a podcast that made a lasting impact on me. Not only have I shared it with my boys, but I find I continue to apply the overall lesson to my own life.

Who Are You Becoming?

A mom shared how her daughter left for college, and as many do, began turning to wilder ways. She enjoyed the partying life college offered, the freedom, and the boys. Even though she was raised in a christian home and knew right from wrong, she continued choosing wrong. It was a season of her life marked by heavy alcohol use and multiple sexual partners.

Then one day she called her mom from college, “Mom! I met a boy who is everything I would want in a man. He is the kind of man I want to marry.” She went on to describe this dream guy. He was attractive, heavily involved in the campus ministry, served in the local church, and he was an incredibly nice and genuine guy.

After she shared all about him with her mom, her mom responded, “Honey, that kind of guy is not looking for a girl like you.”

Truth in Love

Ouch. The stinging truth struck her daughter’s heart. She’d been living for the present, satisfying the cravings of her sin nature. The words of her mom felt like the icy bucket of water to the face awakening her to the reality of her life, choices, and who she was becoming. Who she was in that season isn’t who she wanted to be forever, and it certainly wasn’t who the man of her dreams would be searching for.

She decided that day to turn her life back to Christ and follow Him.

Practice Being Today Who You Want to be Tomorrow

I shared this story with my boys recently in the context of looking towards what they wanted for their future and practicing toward those ends.

If they envision themselves in their dream job, what disciplines are they putting into place today to prepare for that?

One day they will have an apartment or home of their own, practice today for how they will care and manage their own home. Start in the small areas the Lord has entrusted. Manage your own bedroom and bathroom well. Complete chores fully. Become faithful with the small.

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’” Matthew 25:23

What kind of husband do you want to be? Do you want to be thoughtful, gentle, considerate, selfless? Practice today for the kind of man you want to be. Pray, ask the Lord for help.

Be Ready So You Don’t Have to Get Ready.

Do you dream of that big break, that dream opportunity? Do everything today to build the skills necessary. That way when the opportunity comes, you will already be ready.

One of my son’s has aspirations of building his own business. He has particular areas of focus. I advised him to prepare today by learning the skills, reading the books, listening to the podcasts. In a sense we are preparing our fields for the rain. We are planting the seeds and doing all the work we can in the time of waiting.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

I heard another story of a college football player who didn’t have much chance of seeing any playing time. He made a decision to practice and prepare as if he were in the starting lineup. When several injuries took out the 1st and 2nd strings, he didn’t have to get ready. He was already ready to step out onto the field. He prepared ahead of time for his opportunity.

God’s Timing

God’s timing is perfect in every way. We have no control over when our opportunities arrive, but we do have control over who we become and what we build as we wait.

Let’s decide today what dreams we have for our future in order that we can wisely decide today what action steps to take to prepare.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Favorite Lasagna

Cooking is not my favorite thing. I often find myself procrastinating starting dinner so it takes me much longer than it should to make a meal. I get tired of the same meals, yet I have little time to scour the internet or cookbooks.

Lasagna is a meal I rarely make because in my mind it takes way too long to prepare and far too many ingredients. However, several nights ago I found myself craving lasagna and decided to simply go for it without a recipe, combining what I’ve used in various recipes we’ve enjoyed.

Pioneer Woman and Joanna Gaines make amazing lasagna recipes, which I’ve used for the last several years. But when I made lasagna recently my family requested that I never make any other lasagna than this one.

When I realized how much they enjoyed it, I quickly wrote down a recipe because I knew I’d never remember what I did.

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1 TBS Italian seasoning

1 TBS garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp pepper

4-5 garlic cloves minced

3 cans Italian diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 block cream cheese

8 oz cottage cheese

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 eggs

Fresh mozzerella cut into small pieces

lasagna noodles

Brown meat, add spices, garlic, tomatoes.

In a large bowl mix cream cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, and 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese.

In a cast iron dutch oven (I’m convinced this makes the best lasagna) layer meat, noodles, cheese mixture, fresh mozzarella cheese. Repeat for 3 layers. Top with 2 cups shredded cheese.

Cover and bake 350 for 1 and 1/2 hours. Uncover 10-15 minutes until browned. Let sit to firm up at least 30 minutes.

Even better as leftovers. Cast iron is the only way to cook. And did you know you don’t need to boil lasagna noodles? Simply throw those babies in and they will cook up perfectly!! I wish I had known this the last 20 years I’ve made lasagna. You don’t even need to buy “no bake” noodles.