Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Do-It-Yourself: Hand Scrub

At the beginning of the year, I set 12 DIY Project goals for 2012.  February's challenge was to make a hand scrub.  I made a Vanilla Scrub back in Dec 2010, but it was time for a change.  I stopped one on Pinterest that I was dying to try.  Peppermint is my absolute favorite scent.  It just relaxes me.  I know it's supposed to be invigorating, but it feels homey.

After a long day of doing dishes and washing bottles, I love opening this up and treating my hands to a relaxing massage.  Plus the ingredients are so easy.  I keep the empty peanut butter jars when we finish them.  They're perfect for projects like this and having a couple on hand means you can make more to share.

Here's how to get started:

Homemade Peppermint Hand Scrub

3 c. white sugar
1 c. oil (I used olive oil, but the original recipe calls for grape seed oil)
Peppermint Oil

Mix sugar and oil to desired consistency.  I added more sugar to reach the consistency I wanted.  Add peppermint oil to your liking.  Include a stir stick to stir before each use.

I kept mine pretty plain 'cause it's just for me.  But go over and check out the original post for some beautiful packaging.  Love the way this blogger dressed it up!

You have to try this one.  Easy way to feel girly and have fun!  Hope you like it!

*Linked to these Parties

Family Values: Pray Constantly

In thinking about the values we pass on to our children, the one that rose right to the top was prayer.  Obvious... but let me ask you this.  How much weight do we really give to our prayers in day to day life?  I'll be the first to admit that what I say sadly doesn't always line up with what I do.  And prayer is one of those areas in life that falls by the wayside.  As moms, we have houses to clean, meals to prepare, kids to chase, diapers to change, appointments to keep.  The needs of the moment press in on us.  Dinner's burning on the stove.  Noah stole Lydia's toy again.  The baby's spit up.

And I have two choices. One is to scream until I turn purple.  The second is to pray.  Some days I win that battle and other days my husband finds me repenting for loosing my temper.  In either case, prayer is so much simpler.

And more effective.

You see, I can't do it all on my own.  Ten years ago, as a newlywed and without kids, I couldn't do it all.  Oh, I could mask it well.  I only had myself and my husband to worry about.  Dinner's were made around our work schedules and without interruptions.  Days were planned out at my leisure.  Sure there were bills and work to account for, but life was relatively simple and I could put on a good face of having it all together.

But over the years, the Lord has taken me into the fire of motherhood which is beyond any thing I've ever experienced.  It's a joy and a refining all at the same time.  As I write this, my youngest is battling with how to nap.  He wants to be swaddled, but still have his hands free, and yet can't figure out why he keeps knocking the paci out of his mouth.  While I revel in his little coos and presence in our home, I battle my own selfish desires of writing and preparing our home while Lydia is at preschool.

Our lives are full and we can't finish all we have on our plates.  Days rush by us in a flurry.  Tasks mount and relationships beckon.  And we wonder how it will all turn out.  Are we shepherding our children well?  Are our marriages be nourished?  Will the bills get paid?  Will our health hold on?  Are our families ok?

And because we can't do it on our own, we, hopefully, find ourselves on our knees pleading for strength from moment to moment.  When we find ourselves in a position beyond ourselves, as parenthood will often bring us to, that's where the Lord's power is able to move in.  But we can't tap into it until we pray. I can't be the wife, mother, daughter, friend I'm called to be until I learn to move prayer into the position of priority.  Prayer allows me to unburden my thoughts, worries, and anxieties and operate from the Lord's wisdom rather than my own.  Until I take the time to communicate with my Heavenly Father, I'm no better than those who know nothing of Jesus.  Because without prayer, I too am walking outside of a relationship with the Lord.

If you are desiring to enter a fuller life of prayer, here are just a few ways to begin:

*Take 5 minutes each morning.  Sit up in bed and pray for your day ahead.  Thank the Lord for the people he's placing in your path today, including your family.  Pray for strength to respond in love whatever the day brings.

*Begin the habit of praying at meals times.  Begin with the meal that the family most often enjoys together.  No one is to touch their food until the Lord has been thanked.  Use this as a time to model prayer for your children.

*Pray with your child at bedtime.  Model for them how to think through prayer.  Thanking God for their day, their life, their opportunities, and their family is a great place to start.  Then allow your children time and freedom to mention somethings or people they would like to pray for as well.  You may be surprised by what they come up with.

*Post Scriptures reminding you to pray in prominent places in your home.  For me, I always find myself in the kitchen.  I have several 3x5 cards posted with Scriptures that remind me of the power of prayer.

*Build in times of day where the children will catch you praying.  Maybe at the chaos of making dinner before Daddy arrives home.  Maybe in the rush of getting out the door in the mornings.  Allow them to see that you rely on the Lord as much as you talk about relying on the Lord.

Begin making prayer a priority in your life.  Even if the steps are small at first, the rewards will become evident in your family life.

How do you build prayer into your day to day activities?

God Gave Us Love {Review}

Earlier this month, I was given the chance to review this delightful little book by Lisa Tawn Bergren.  We own Bergren's God gave us you, so I was excited to review this one as well.  

The story follows as one day Grampa and Little Bear's fishing trip is interrupted by some playful otters.  Grumbling, Little Bear tries to chase the otters away before they scare off all the fish.  Grampa goes on to show Little Bear how we were created to love.  By loving others, we show God to the world.  Grampa tells Little Bear about the different types of love in the world: love between a Mommy and a Daddy, sibling love, even love between friends.  Little Bear continues questioning: "Grampa, can we ever do something to make God not love us?"  Grampa helps Little Bear see that God showed the ultimate form of love by sending Christ to earth.

This book, although small, is richly packed.  Little Bear's journey is one of learning to love even when we don't necessarily feel like it.  Because we were created in the image of God and filled with His love.  The age recommendation is 0-3 years.  And while it's a great format to begin introducing these concepts, it would be better enjoyed by a more mature 4 year old.  Although the content is very mature, it's important that we continue to challenge our children's concepts of the world and our place in it.  In which case, this book would make a wonderful gift for any parent that is willing to explore these ideas with their child.

*Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title from Blogging for books.  All opinions are my own. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Just a Reminder...

As of March 1st, Google will be eliminating Google Friend Connect (GFC).  If you currently follow Creative2xmom this way, you'll need to choose a new way to follow along.  You can find Creative2xmom via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and brand new Google+.  Google+ is very new so hang with me.

March 1st is going to bring a lot of change.  I'm curious to see what happens when that day comes around.  In the mean time, I love interacting with all of you so don't let me loose you.  March 1st is coming up soon and hoping to see you all.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Monday Muddle

Hey Everyone,

As you can see we had a visit from the queen this past week.  When Grandma was here a few weeks ago, the kids got crowns from Burger King and they just keep resurfacing.  Pretty funny actually.  In the past week, Lydia's been a queen, a bounty hunter, and a pig.  We're really seeing her come out of her shell.  Some days that's great.  Other days... Mommy just needs a nap.  :-)

We had a fun weekend.  Noah had a friend spend the night on Friday and we did Family Movie Night with an old Disney movie.  We love the movies we're able to get from our local library: clean, age appropriate, and so much fun.  And we spent some time working on Noah's research project for next month.  This absolutely plays to my English major's heart.  I've had so much fun teaching him how to work through this one.  Now if he just hadn't picked corn snakes as the topic.  :-)

Lydia went to get groceries with me on Sunday night.  She is a crack up.  We had a ton of fun, just hearing her little voice sing-songing through the store.  And to be able to talk with her about nutrition and budgeting and balance.  She loves it.  Honestly the more we spend time together, I see how she's trying to imitate me and just reminds me to watch my movements.

All in all, we had a fun week.  The baby's growing very day and absolutely adores his big brother and sister.  Three kids is busy, but we're jelling.    

How was your week?

Here's our menu for the week:

Oatmeal and banana
Cereal and fruit
Pumpkin Pancakes
Triple Chocolate Scones

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Veggie Wraps
Homemade Spaghetti O's
String cheese, carrots, peas, fruit

Monday: Slow Cooker Potato Soup
Tuesday: Spinach Calazone
Wednesday: Corn and Chicken Chowder
Thursday: Spaghetti, Pesto Cheese Bread
Friday: Salmon Patties, zucchini boats
Saturday: Pork tenderloin, cabbage salad
Sunday: Leftovers

Chocolate Chip PB pretzel cookies
Hm Almond Milk Ice Cream

Projects I'm working on this week:
Scrap 2-3 pages
Easter project
Change up Entertainment Center
Garden project
Finish That's My Son
Reading Shepherding a Child's Heart

What's going on in your world?

Lee's To Do List

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bookmarks for February 2012

*Bookmarks is an online book club hosted at Creative2xmom.  Here we discuss the books we've read in the past month as well as the suggested reading.  Our suggested reading for February was Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.

These are the books I read this month:

I started the month with The Sisters of the Quilt Triology.  You can find my review here.
One Thousand Gifts is a book I return to on several occasions.  Its one of those books that I could read again and again and still find myself challenged.  Voskamp has a way of tapping into the simplicities of life and exposing the depth of God's blessing.  The language is intricate.  One Thousand Gifts is not a light read, nor a quick read.  It has to be savor, allowing the words to play in your mind.  However, the message is deep, personal, and well-worth the effort.
Our monthly reading for February was Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.
  Made to Crave focuses not so much on developing a diet as much as it focuses on learning self-control. TerKeurst seeks to show how we're made with a craving that can only be satisfied by God.  In a fallen world, we have used food to fill that craving.  However, like all behaviors, eating and food can be taken to an extreme in which it's never going to be satisfying.  In fact, food can be perverted to the point of being sinful if not in line with the will of God.  Basically the premise of this book can be summed up in this statement:

"So I'm not on a diet.  I'm on a journey with Jesus to learn the fine art of self-discipline for the purpose of holiness" (pg 158).

For those looking for specific dietary guidelines, this isn't the book.  But if you're looking for a book that explain our need to glory God in all things, Made to Crave hits the mark.  TerKeurst also includes specific scriptures both in the text and as reference to memorize in our fight against excess.

Books we read with the kids:
Tale of Despauraux
Runaway Ralph
Charlotte's Web

So what are your bookmarks this month?

Tell us in the comments about the books you're chewing on.  Or link up a review from your own blog.  Let's share the books we're finding, good and bad.  And give us your thoughts if you've had a chance to read TerKeurst's Made to Crave.

And come back Friday March 30 as we discuss Shepherding a Child's Heart and others that you're reading.

*Linked to these Parties

Meal Planning 101: Mom, Can I Have A Snack?

Snacks... I always forget about snacks.  Dinners are important; lunches and breakfasts are general.  But snacks?  It's such a gray area for me.  With shopping on Sunday or Monday, I often find myself staring into a bare cupboard come Friday afternoon wondering what I'm going to give the kids when they get home from school.

And my son... MY SON CAN EAT!

Just as an example, he came home from school today and before dinner, he had:
2 graham crackers with peanut butter,
2 homemade popsicles,
1 carrot,
1 apple,
and some juice.

And snacks don't have to be all that complicated.  They just have to be plentiful.  In our house, we like to keep the snacks healthy.  And of course, filling.  Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:

Carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, and celery with hummus or dip
Sugar snap peas or cherry tomatoes
Any fresh fruit (we go through a ton of apples)
Fruits with dip
Homemade popsicles/ fruit pops
Wheat thins and dip
Graham crackers and peanut butter
Granola bars
Cheese sticks
Yogurt or Applesauce
Trail mix or nuts/Pumpkin seeds
Snack breads or leftover muffins

I'm working on a couple of new popsicle ideas to bring you as the months warm up as well.  I have a yummy one in the freezer right now, but the kids haven't tasted them yet.  Maybe I'll keep them all to myself.

What are some of your best snack ideas?

*Linked to these Parties

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mediterranean Grilled Cheese

So I don't know if you would really call these Mediterranean or not, but that's what we call them.  And they are yummy.  For so long, I just stuck to basic grilled cheese sandwiches.  And while they're ok, I'm finding your just can't go wrong with a grilled cheese sandwiches.  My kids thought I was a little crazy at first, adding things to their dinner, but I changed their minds.  This is what we came up with.

Mediterranean Grilled Cheese
2 slices hearty whole wheat bread
Mozzarella cheese
Green onions
Butter for grilling

1. Butter the outside of your bread and start grilling on a hot stove

2.  Add mozzarella slices and begin melting.

3. Add chopped olives, onion, and tomato.  Cover with second slice.

4. Finish toasting and melting cheese.  Serve with green salad, fruit or tomato soup.

What new flavors are you finding in the kitchen?

*Linked to these Parties

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Monday Muddle

Hey Everyone,
How are y'all doing?  How are your families, your creative life, and your communities?  What's new in your world?

We're doing good.  Last week was certainly a blur.  My mom and grandma were here on Monday and took the two older kids to a movie so Mama and baby took a nap.  Oh, what a nap!  The rest of the week was crazy with school, volunteering, trying to get back into workouts, drs. appointments.  And then company.  We were so blessed to have my family visit last weekend and then my husband's parents were here this weekend.  My kids have been loving all the grandparent attention.

Little Man and I stayed home from church on Sunday.  It was nice to give him that little bit of extra attention that he doesn't always get when Lydia and Noah are around.  And it was a nice chance for me to catch some extra snuggles and love.

So what's going on in your world?

Cereal and fruit
Homemade muffins
Homemade granola

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
To Go Salads
Veggie Wraps
Cucumber and Tomato Salad
String cheese, carrots and dip, fruit

Monday: Pea soup
Tuesday: Waffles, bacon, eggs
Wednesday: Shrimp with Mango Couscous
Thursday: Crockpot Mac and Cheese, green salad
Friday: Veggie Personal pizzas
Saturday: dinner @ friends' house
Sunday: Tenderloin, cabbage salad

Italian Dressing
Hm Wheat Thins
Triple Chocolate Quick Bread

Projects I'm working on this week:
2 Body Scrubs
Scrap 2 pages
Finish Made to Crave
Finish Family Values project

What's on your plate this week?

Lee's To Do List

Friday, February 17, 2012

While You're Waiting: Invest in Your Community

(Image Credit: Jomphong)

*Recently I was thinking about all I would want my daughters to know before they get married.  Instead of wishing the days away until they walk down the aisle, how would I encourage them to live?  Living in the joy of who God created.  The practicalities and the dreaming.  What would I want to encourage... While they're waiting?  These are some of those thoughts.

You are surrounded by an awesome community.  There's your neighbors, the school down the street, your church, and your city.  There are so many opportunities for you to jump in and be a part.  You have so many gifts to offer and your community is just waiting for you to participate.

As I look at you, I know that God has given you gifts to bless others.  I see in you a multitude of blessings, character, and ideas.  But this isn't just for you.  All these gifts are yours so that you may be the hands and feet of Jesus in other people's lives.  So be encouraged.  Invest in your community!

Here are just a few ideas to consider:

*Do you like working with kids?  What about volunteering at a local school?  Work in the library, work the after school program, or volunteer to help with a special class once a week. 

*Is there a community group you can be a part of?  How do your neighbors interact?  Volunteer to start a community watch, organize a block party, or offer to do odd jobs.

*Do you have a passion for healthy lifestyle?  There are plenty of opportunities working with organizations who educate on nutrition and exercise.  Whether you enjoy working with children, families, or the elderly, you can put that passion to great use.

*Books get you excited?  What about volunteering at the public library?  What a great way to get into the community and enter into conversation.

*Is there a place in your heart for the sick?  Volunteer at the hospital.  So many families walk in and out of there every day waiting for their loved ones to recover.  You can be a tender heart of understanding and listening.

*Volunteer for an organization like the YMCA or Big Brothers, Big Sisters.  There are thousands of youth out there waiting for a mentor to look up to.  You may not be perfect, but the life experience you've had and the Lord you know is enough to speak into theses children's lives.

Whatever you choose to do, get involved.  There of thousands of people waiting for what you have to offer.  Pray and seek guidance, rely on the Lord's strength, and look for others to serve.  And know that I support you wherever the Lord leads you!

*Linked to these Parties

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Bark

Are you looking for a quick and easy last minute Valentine's Day treat?
I have it right here:


Need I say more?

Oh, yeah...

Valentine's Day Bark

Almond Bark
Mini pretzels
Valentine's M&M's

Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper.

Melt the almond bark in the microwave, stirring every 30 sec to prevent burning.

Stir in pretzels and spread on wax paper.

Allow to cool slightly.

Sprinkle with M&M's and sprinkles.

Cool completely and break into snack size pieces.


*Linked to these Parties

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Monday Muddle

Hey Everyone,
How was your week?  Life keeping you busy?

We had a normally full week.  Gymnastics, school, preschool, and the like.  Noah lost another tooth and I wonder when all his teeth got together and decided to fall out at once.  He's starting to look like a Jack O'Lantern.  Lydia flipped her chair over backwards in Sunday School last week and nearly bit a hole in her tongue.  She's one tough lady.  I've never seen a tongue turn black and blue before, but there it was.

We had lots of family in town this weekend.  My Grandma turned 85 years old last week and we celebrated with a special lunch here.  Lots of cousins and family spent most of the weekend, in and out of each others lives.  We had lunch at the restaurant, bowling, and then a bunch of went to dinner together too.  It's times like this weekend I really miss living closer to my family.

It was a rainy drizzly Sunday.  Most of our family left.  Mom and Grandma stayed for another day.  All my kids want to do is be with their Grandma when she's here so we spent most of the day after church just visiting.  The kids have the day off school today so I'm keeping them busy while it rains.  Hoping to get Noah in for a haircut as he's starting to look like Cousin It.

What does your week hold?

Our menu this week:

Oatmeal and bananas
Cereal and fruit
Overnight Chai Banana Oatmeal

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
California sandwiches
Strawberry Cucumber Smoothies
String Cheese, fruit, carrots

Monday: Salsa Black Bean Soup
Tuesday: Tomato Soup
Wednesday: Taco Salad
Thursday: Pizza Night, green salad
Friday: Chili and cornbread
Saturday: Out with family
Sunday: Potato Bar

Ranch Dip and chips
Pina Colada Popsicles

Projects I'm working on:
Scrapping 2-3 pages
Valentine's cookies with the kids
Family Values project
Reading Made to Crave and That's My Son

Lee's To Do List

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nutella Cupcakes {Pinterest Inspired}

I'm been sucked into this Pinterest craze.  I knew this was going to be a slippery slope, but it's worse than I thought.

Worse still... I think Pinterest is trying to make me fat.

Think I'm kidding?

Why else would I be able to so easily find this Nutella Cupcake recipe.  



Nutella Cupcakes
*Recipe originally from Chef in Training

2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c flour
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 c. boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and mix on med speed.  Add boiling water last.

3. Pour into cupcake pan and bake for 17-20 min until done.  Cool for 10 min.

1 stick softened butter
1/2 jar Nutella
1/2 lb powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp heavy cream or milk

1. Cream butter and Nutella until combined.

2. Add powdered sugar and continue creaming.

3. Add vanilla and cream.  Blend until moist.  Add more milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.  Beat until smooth.

4. Frost cupcakes and try not to eat the entire pan by yourself.


*Linked to these Parties

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spinach Calazone Hearts

One of my daughter's favorite meals is my Spinach Calazone.  She requests it all the time and often will have 2 or 3 helpings.  So as a special treat, I decided to make Calazone Hearts.  They took a little more work, but the finished products was so worth it.
We took our regular pizza crust, cut out hearts and filled them.  Then I just brushed the top with an egg wash and sprinkled some Parmesan cheese.  Plus the spaghetti sauce is a fun red twist.  So if you're looking for a special Valentine's dinner, don't forget to give these a try.  A new idea for an old favorite.

*Linked to these Parties

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sister of the Quilt Trilogy {Review}

Sisters of the Quilt follows the heart wrenching journey of Hannah Lapp.  Secretly engaged to a Mennonite, attacked by a stranger, and finding herself suddenly pregnant, Hannah struggles to find God in an Old Order Amish community.  What unfolds is a series of unfortunate events, some resulting from her own mistakes and some a consequence of the world beyond her control.  Along the way, she finds friendship in those who dare defy the bishop: a childhood friend, a midwife, and her ex-financee's grandmother to name a few.

Finally pushed to the brink, Hannah leaves her community in search of an aunt she never knew.  Her life takes several twists, each leading her further and further into the Englisher world.  She learns to drive, finds work at a local clinic, and even continues her education.  But when tragedy strikes, she finds herself alone once again and forging a new path.

Just when her place in the world seems certain, a mysterious phone call from her sister calls her home.  Caught between two very different worlds, Hannah feels pulled.  As she struggles to help her family, an old flame is ignited while old rumors threaten to her identity.  Hannah must decide where her life is: back  with the Old Order Amish or living the life of an Englisher.

Cindy Woodsmall does it again, delving deep into her characters.  Although these books center around Hannah Lapp, Woodsmall creates a full community of well-rounded characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.  The story pulls you in until you find yourself struggling alongside these individuals.  I found myself swinging from anger and frustration one minute to resolution the next, and back to empathy quickly thereafter.  

The author also steers clear of defined "good guys" and "bad guys."  Instead the entire community of both the Old Order Amish and the modern world displays both admirable qualities and character flaws.  Even Hannah's father who turns his back on her for an attack she couldn't prevent reveals himself to be very human and struggling with his own limitations.

I reviewed this book as a complete trilogy and couldn't put it down.  The three books read more like a whole and held my attention to the very end.  A story of fighting back from life, falling into the arms of grace, and realizing the Lord is with us through it all.  If you enjoy reading in the Amish genre, you'll love this one.  A great addition to any library!

*I was supplied with a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2012 Goals: January Check-In

So every year I make goals and usually by this point in the year I've forgotten them.  But I really want to make lasting changes this year.  I want these goals to stick, far beyond January.  So each month, we're going to do a linky check-in of our progress.  We'll list our goals for the year and how we're doing.  I'm hoping that by keeping track of my progress, I'll be more likely to stick with real change.

These were my 2012 Goals and how I did in January:

*Keep a consistent devotional time, memorizing verses through my discipleship group.--I'm getting there.  But consistency is still new.  Maybe within the last week or so.

*Memorize 12 verses with the kids.--Not yet.

*Read 24 books.--I've read 4 so far

*Tackle 12 DIY projects.--Tackled Homemade Dishwasher Detergent in Jan.

My Marriage:
*Plan a bi-weekly time of being together.--We're working on it, but how do you plan a time when you're chasing three kids, working, volunteering at schools, volunteering in the community?  We did have a date night in Jan though.

*Read 2-3 books together.--not yet

*Plan a yearly getaway.--Planning for this summer

My Kids:
*Plan a once a month date with each of the kids.--Took Lydia for ice cream, took Noah shopping

*Homeschool/supplement preschool for Lydia and 1st/2nd grade for Noah.--Trying to get a better routine with Lydia

*Read through the Magic Treehouse series with them.--Not yet

*Go on a field trip once a month.--We took a trip to a local museum.  They love that place.

Health and Wellness:
*Convert 4-5 items on our grocery list to organic, as budget allows.--Not yet

*Develop a gym routine of 4-5 days a week.--Bonding with Baby, will go back to gym this week.  Will probably start out just 2 days a week so see how he does in childcare and work up from there.

*Eat more seafood.--Bi-monthly so far

*Learn to make an incredible loaf of sourdough.--Not yet

*Plan posts one month in advance and write posts one week in advance.--Got it, so far!

*Spend 2 hrs a week writing on something other than the blog.--Ooops for Jan

*Budget my blogging time more appropriately.  Do less work when the kids are around.--Getting into a better routine.  But it's so hard as we all know.

Link up below and just know how you're doing.  Let's work toward real change in 2012!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Monday Muddle

Hey Everyone,
How's your life out there in blog land?  What did you do this weekend?

Three kids.... wow!  I'll say it again.  Love, kisses, dirty dishes,... and chaos!  That pretty much sums up my life right now.  I have to keep reminding myself that we're in very new territory and still need time to adjust.  And yet, with each day that passes, the to-do list gets a little longer.  :-)  Such is life.

I rounded up the kids and took them to a bi-monthly library sale.  I'd love to take my camera some time and show you how crazy they are.  There had to have been over 100 people waiting for the doors to open on Saturday.  So I strapped baby in a carrier and hung tight to my two older kids until we weaved our way to the children's section.  I picked out several books, a few for homeschooling, and let the kids pick out several for themselves.  Noah got his first comic book, a vintage Mickey Mouse Adventures.  I've hardly seen his nose out of it all weekend.

Lydia went to a friend's house that afternoon so it was just the boys and I.  We played games and read new books.  It was fun to focus on Noah for awhile and just spend some one on one time while the baby napped.  Chores took up the bulk of our weekend.  Lydia tripped on a chair in Sunday School and came home with a busted tongue.  Poor baby was just ruined for the rest of the day.  So we stuck close to home and just relaxed.  Caught up on the laundry... or attempted to.  Made some Valentine's candy.  Normal family events.

OH, hey, and this little thing called the Super Bowl.  Did you watch?
Our Menu this Week:

Oatmeal and bananas
Frozen pancakes
Blueberry baked oatmeal

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Yummy salads
Cucumber Wraps
Cucumber/Tomato Salad
Carrots/peas/string cheese/fruit

Monday: Pasta E Fagoili
Tuesday; Salmon Patties, zucchini boats
Wednesday: Coconut Chicken
Thursday: Tacos, cilantro lime rice
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: Out with Family
Sunday: ???

Strawberry Limeades
Carmel apple cheesecake bars

Projects I'm working on this week:
Finish 1000 gifts book
V-day fun
Scrapbook t-ball page
Work on Family Values project
Refine chore cards

Don't forget to check back tomorrow.
We'll have a link up for checking in on our 2012 Goals.

Lee's To Do List

Friday, February 3, 2012

Meal Planning 101: Keep Breakfasts and Lunches Simple

Most weeks when I post my menu, I hesitate to post breakfasts and lunches.  'Cause really those two meals in our house are simple, easy, and repeatable.  I tend to buy many of the same items for breakfast and lunch, making the planning and cooking of those meals very routine.

I've found that having a little variety, but keeping things simple is really what works for the earlier part of the day.  Everyone is busy with projects and we just want something that will satisfy.  So these are some of the items that repeat in our weeks:

Easy muffin recipes (make a double batch and freeze some)
Cream of Wheat
Frozen Waffles (make extras on the weekend and freeze for weekday morning breakfasts)

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Veggie Wraps
Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Bacon Avocado on a Bagel
Mini Pizzas

Easy Additions to Lunches:
Cheese sticks
Wheat things
Trail Mix or Nuts
Any kind of fruit
Cherry tomatoes
Carrot sticks
Side Salad
Sliced Bell Peppers
Hummus and Ranch Dips

What do you feed your family for breakfasts and lunches?

*Linked to these Parties

Thursday, February 2, 2012

While You're Waiting: Build Strong Relationships

(Image Credit: Jomphong)

*Recently I was thinking about all I would want my daughters to know before they get married.  Instead of wishing the days away until they walk down the aisle, how would I encourage them to live?  Living in the joy of who God created.  The practicalities and the dreaming.  What would I want to encourage... While they're waiting?  These are some of those thoughts.

During my college years, I built some of the strongest relationships of my life.  I was on my own, meeting new people, and deciding what I truly believed about God and the world.  I purposefully chose a Christian college so that I could be surrounded with professors of moral character who would challenge me in my beliefs.  And it was during this time that the Lord brought some of my dearest friends into my life to strengthen, encourage, and teach me more that I was even learning in the classroom.

Use your single years to build strong relationships.  Spend time with a variety of people: singles, married couples, the elderly.  Dig deep into their lives.  Gather all you can from the lessons they've learned over the years.  Ask the Lord to use your time together so that you both can grow closer to him.

Build these strong relationships 'cause some day, when you're a wife and a mother, you'll need those who can stand with you, encourage you, and help you to see where the Lord is working.  Don't forsake these relationships when you fall in love.  Your single years will be your best opportunity to nurture them, but don't drop them all together when you find yourself with the one the Lord has prepared for you.

These strong friendships will provide a foundation for many years to come.  They will be a part of your community, the community that will uphold your marriage and speak life into your walk with the Lord.  Use the bountiful time in your single years.  You won't ever regret investing in others and allowing them to invest in you.

*Linked to these Parties
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