Monday, February 25, 2013

Do-It-Yourself: Pretzel Bites

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I love soft pretzels.  The mall, baseball games, the roller skating rink... the smell of a soft pretzel will get me EVERY TIME.  And the cheese dip... Oh, the cheese dip.  My husband laughs at me.  I'm a pretty decent eater, but when it comes to that cheap cheese dip... I'm sunk.

So when my son started asking if we could make our own pretzels, he had me hooked.  I've been collecting recipes for the past 6 months and finally decided that we had to try one.  Rather than roll out several pieces and twist, I was looking for something that would be a little easier to accomplish with two little ones.

This Soft Pretzel Bites recipe was the one we finally settled on.  We waited for the youngest to go down for a nap and then Lydia and I hit the kitchen.  These were pretty easy to put together and the kids were actually able to do a lot of the work.

We all agreed that they were fantastic.  My only word of advice is to watch the temperature in your oven.  These came out just a little darker than I would have liked.  But still they were oh, so good.  We didn't have cheddar cheese to do the dip, but we'd love to try it in the future and add some jalapenos.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: Some pretzel bites that I'll share with you guys tomorrow.

What I'm Reading:  Four Moms of 35+Kids Answer Your Questions... I can't say I agree with everything, but it's interesting to see so many different perspectives.

What I'm Doing: Watching the Amazing Race with my Kiddos.  It's our Sunday tradition.

What I'm Watching: See above.  :-)

What I'm Enjoying: Spin class.  I'm loving my spin class.  Never thought I would, but it's been fun.

Friday, February 22, 2013

2013 February Bookmarks

*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 Prayer Starts with a Relationship by Cynthia Bezekw.

These are the books I read this month:

Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool by Karen DeBeus--  This book was exactly what I needed at this point in my home school journey.  We're in our first year and hitting that mid-semester slump.  I'm at the point now where I still feel unsure of myself and it's enrollment time for next year.  Do I wait and see how we finish out this year?  Do I enroll both kids ('cause there will be two next year)?  What do I do?  And while I can't say that this book gave me all the answers I was looking for, it did remind me that I'm just being faithful.  If I've been called to home school, then I have to take it seriously, but the results are up to the Lord.  None of us have it all figured out, whether it's parenting, marriage, or homeschooling.  Our plans have to be daily laid before the Lord as we listen to His voice.  This was a great remind and a book  I can see myself returning to again and again.

Bringing up Girls by Dr. James Dobson--This was a re-read for me.  Lydia's in a funny stage and I'm always looking for all the help I can get.  :-)  Dobson does a great job of laying out the physical and psychological changes that our girls go through as they grow up.  It's a great reminder that our little girls are changing, the world is challenging, and we have the duty to be the protectors of our daughters.  Worth the read, especially if you can pick it up at the library like I did.

Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst--See my review here.

Our suggested reading for Prayer Starts with a Relationship by Cynthia Bezekw-- So, maybe I didn't read the book description before purchasing this book.  And obviously I didn't read it before putting it on the reading list.  I goofed and didn't realize it was a 6 week study before I started.  Having said that, I'm glad I hadn't or I might not have picked this book up.  I'm only about half way through, but I'm loving this week.  Unlike some studies these days, this one is actually turning out to be life changing.  So often I find that books like these are filled with just fluff.  Nice and soothing for the soul, but not much substance.  Bezekw's format and questions are thought provoking and deep.  They keep the reader looking for a deeper answer and really opening up to hear the Lord's voice.  I love it so far and hope you're enjoying it as well.

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 on 

Don't forget to come back March 29th and we discuss Hope for the Weary Mom by Brooke McGlothlin.

*Linked to these Parties

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Valentine's Day Heart Barrettes

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I was a planning the other day and decided I wanted to do something little for the kids for Valentine's Day.  I've been putting up decorations around the house and I'm planning on making Heart Cinnamon Rolls on Valentine's Day.  But I also wanted to have a little something for them that day as well.

My daughter is all about jewelry and hair bows.  Pink, fluffy, girliness and what day of the year is better suited for girliness than Valentine's Day?

These hair barrettes are easy and inexpensive.  In fact, I found all the materials either in my sewing closet or at that Dollar Tree.

What you'll need:

*Pink, red, and white felt
*Needle and thread
*Hair barrettes
*Hot glue gun

I just cut the size hearts I wanted from the felt and double layered them.

Then I stitched them together with some colored thread in a fun pattern.

Finally, I just glued a little button on each and added the hair barrette.

How easy is that?  The whole project only took about a half hour and they look so cute in her hair.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Unglued Devotional {Review}

Unglued... how often does that describe us as moms?  Me?  Well, that describes how I feel about 5-1 billion times a day.  :-)  Do I ever come Unglued?  Absolutely!

So when I had a chance to review Lysa TerKeurst's Unglued Devotional, I was extremely excited.  I have not had a chance to read her Unglued book so this devotional was a little insight into that as well.

Like most pocket devotionals, this book is divided into quick little nuggets that can easily be digested in  a short amount of time.  Even if it means picking it up and locking yourself in the bathroom.

Each short devotional includes a Scriptural basis, real-life stories from TerKeurst's life, and a short prayer asking the Lord for help in implementing the truths taught.  Many of these short devotionals resonated with where I am at in my parenting journey.  Children asking for more than I think I can give, life pulling at me in so many directions, and my own need for space whether justified or selfish colliding at any moment in the day.

As the subtitle of the devotional states, "60 Days of Imperfect Progress," TerKeurst book is about progress, not perfection.  She reminds us all that we're human and progress relies on the Lord.  This devotional is uplighting and encouraging.  It brings us back to the fact that we're moving forward.  And slow progress is still progress.

*Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from Booksneeze.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

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These were a tradition growing up.  My Great-Grandma came up with these cookies and my Grandma always made them for Christmas.  In our house, they've moved to Valentine's Day and make a wonderful treat with the chocolate and red cherry.

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Cookie Dough:
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Chocolate Frosting:
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp salt
Marischino Cherry Juice

1. Preparing the dough: Cream butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add remaining ingredients and blend at low speed until your dough forms.

2. Shape into 1 in balls and place 2 in apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Push 1/2 maraschino cherry into each ball.

4. Prepare your frosting.  Frost all your cookies.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 min or until done.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: A batch of nut granola last night.  I'm working on a new recipe to duplicate some granola I had in Napa a few weeks ago.  It was incredible.

What I'm Reading: A new devotional and a the monthly book club reading.

What I'm Doing:  Listening to the sounds of my two oldest as they're having a "slumber party" in Noah's room.

What I'm Watching: Adoption documentaries and movies on Netflix.  Hoping to have a couple of reviews up for you soon.

What I'm Enjoying: Caramel Apple Hot Tea in the mornings.  Starts my day off right.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

26 Intentional Acts of Kindness #3: Dinner Delivery

How are you being intentional in your day to day life?  Well, we're on a journey of being more intentional with others this year.  And in the process, I'm bringing my kids along with me.  In the last two weeks, we've written letters of love and encouragement to our family.  The kids' enthusiasm and excitement for the project was actually a little overwhelming as it ended in an afternoon of construction paper, ribbon, markers, and all the trimmings.

But their energy for the project was inspiring.  In fact, I found myself sitting down and writing my own letters to some dear friends.  Funny thing is, what was meant to bless someone else made me feel so blessed in remembering our friendship and all that we've been through.

Our Intentional Act of Kindness for these next two weeks is to fix a little extra dinner and deliver it to a friend or neighbor.  This can be as big or as small as fits your time and budget.  Maybe you know of a family who could use a break for the evening.  Or maybe you have a neighbor who just needs to know they're being thought of.

Don't have dinner in your budget?  Cookies, banana bread, a mix of fresh fruit... whatever it maybe... food goes a long way in opening relationships.  There's something homey about food and it reaches deep into people's souls.  This is one Intentional Act of Kindness that's sure to be a hit.

So get your kitchen ready...

Who will you bless with something yummy?

Won't you join us in Intentionally Acting in Kindness?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls

I love the holidays.  Even the little ones like Valentine's Day.  It just reminds me that in the day to day craziness of parenthood, I need to slow down and celebrate.  Even if it's something little.  

And kids love to celebrate.  Just ask my three. If there's even the slightest excuse to do some out of the ordinary, they're all in!

These Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls are an easy way to celebrate Valentine's Day or just celebrate your kids any day.  No kids in the house?  Hubbies like them too.

You can make these with storebought or homemade cinnamon rolls.  But since Valentine's Day falls on a school morning this year, I'm going for storebought.  

Separate the cinnamon rolls out of the package.  Start by unrolling them on their sides.  Find the middle of the dough and roll each side back in to create the rounded tops.  Stop just short of the middle and pinch to create the point.  Bake as directed and add your favorite frosting.

Just a fun easy way to create a little celebration in your life.

How are you celebrating Valentine's Day?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: Valentines for our family.  Can't wait to share the goodies with the kiddos too. 

What I'm Reading: An encouraging book about homeschooling and giving it to the Lord.

What I'm Doing: Relaxing after a busy day of celebrating Great-Grandma's birthday.

What I'm Watching: Vegan and Detox videos from BexLife.  Might need those Detox videos after Valentine's Day.

What I'm Enjoying:  The sunshine coming through our front window.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Orzo Stuffed Peppers {Pinterest Inspired}

I've been making one variation or another of Stuffed Peppers since my husband and I have been married.  They're a great way to stretch a meal and extremely nutritious.  Not to mention incredibly tasty.  So when I found this Orzo Stuffed Pepper recipe on Pinterest, I had to try them.

Completely vegetarian, the chickpeas give these peppers depth and the sun dried tomatoes and feta provide tons of flavor.  Served with broccoli slaw, this dinner was almost too much food for me.  Who would have thought?

They're quick, easy, and good for you too.  Plus my kids loved them and have been begging for me to make them again.  You have to try them.  You'll love it!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Candy Cane Hearts

At the end of the holiday season, I picked up a package of these miniature candy canes for stirring into hot chocolate.  Yum!  Can't get much more cozy than a cup of peppermint cocoa on a winter day.

So we decided to do some experimenting with Valentine's candy too.  It's so easy to make hearts with two candy canes.  These candy hearts took so little to make and the kids loved having them as an extra special treat.

Miniature Candy Canes
Red/white melting chocolate
Colorful sanding sugar

*Line your cookie sheet with wax paper.  Unwrap two candy canes and place in a heart shape on tray.

*Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Melt candy canes in oven till they form a heart.  Watch them carefully so they don't burn.

*Melt your chocolate in a candy bag or ziploc and pip chocolate in the middle of the hearts.  Dust with sanding sugar or sprinkles.

*Allow to cool and remove from baking sheet.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Weekend Links

This Week:

What I Made: Lots of little Valentine surprise for the kids.  Including a fun Valentine banner I shared on Friday.

What I'm Reading: I'm finishing up Bringing up Girls for the second time.  I'm learning so much and hoping to continue pouring into my daughter.

What I'm Doing: Recovering from a crazy day of running kids around with errands, birthday parties, and karate tournaments.

What I'm Watching: Say Yes to the Dress... so cheesy!  But I love it.

What I'm Enjoying:  Being a Mama and showering my kiddos with extra love and fun things during this Valentine season.
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