Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Maple Glazed Pecans (& other random things)

So, this week, I am kind of all over place as our household is coming back from the land of stomach bugs and I am preparing for a super hero birthday party (for one super boy of mine) while also preparing to start our new school year next week too!
*because I know you are wondering- we homeschool and have chosen to follow a different schedule. We school through the summer and take a month off in Fall and Spring and then a couple of weeks total for the holidays. This schedule allows us to enjoy the really great weather! (thanks Annie!)

Alrighty, now that I have set the stage, I will continue with a very random posting of things today.

First on the list- Maple Glazed Pecans!
I was wanting something just a little bit sweet so badly tonight! There is not a shred of dark chocolate in the house anywhere (trust me, I tore the cabinets apart). The jar of pecans on the counter caught my eye and I was suddenly remembering these amazing candied pecans that a friend of mine made for me a long time ago. She showed me how to make them and so they became a sort of tradition for this time of year.
However, they had LOTS of sugar on them and this gal no longer eats sugar.

So....I got out my computer and googled maple glazed pecans and this is what I found.
I altered the recipe a bit to suit our lifestyle and they were A-MAZING!

Here is my version of the Maple Glazed Pecans:

-pound of pecans
-3 TBSP coconut oil
-4 TBSP pure maple syrup-melted
-1 tsp sea salt
-1 tsp cinnamon
-a pinch of pure stevia powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt your coconut oil in a small saucepan.
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Spread nut mixture in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake, until browned, stir once or twice, 12 to 15 minutes; let cool.

*make yourself a cup of good strong coffee, grab your pecans, a blanket and a book and enjoy a cool, fall evening. :)

We are going to celebrate Christmas a bit different around our house this year by doing Advent. So, the next several evenings will be spent with my laptop, scouring the web and reading up on different ways to do this, activities for the kids and as a family, etc.
I plan on making something very similar to this....
....but with my own spin on it, of course. (Photo is from little house blog-check out their post on this project here)
Anyone else out there celebrate Advent? Would you please share your resources and ideas with me?

Other things I am working on...
1.Super Hero Birthday party planning (which I will be sharing with you in a couple of weeks)
I am pretty excited about his party. I love celebrating my children and surprising them with fun parties! They help pick out their theme and such, but I always make and put the decor together and decorate while they are sleeping so that it is a surprise.
I tried a few new things for this party and I can't wait to share with you!

2.Check out this super fun gift! Love it so much!
Check out the full post here. Thank you Pinterest- you scored again!

3. Re-organizing our guest room/family room/school room/craft room/workout room......sigh. Trying to switch out all of our school books with our new curriculum and get everything ready.

4. Planning some fun things to go along with our school lessons

5.Chore chart for the kids.
There are lots of great ideas out there but I really want simple. I really like this one and plan to make something similar.
check out the full post here. Pinterest, you're on a roll!

6.planning the next Dames of DiY class-it's going to be extra fun this time- festive holiday style with extra goodies for everyone to take home!

7.tackling the's been a mess!

8. And one of these days, I will get my sweet baby boy's first year scrapbook started (he is almost 2yrs old now), get our new family photos hung, hang more photos of baby boy, hang the chalkboards we made at our last class.....etc, etc, etc)

But for now, I will leave you with this....

"God gave us memories so that we may have roses in December."

Go enjoy this beautiful season with the people you love. Go make more precious memories.
The dishes, laundry and your want/to do list will always be there....but time with the people you love may not.

God is gracious and I am always learning.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Little Girl 1st Birthday

Well, November is almost upon us. And with it comes Thanksgiving and Christmas, but before we get there my sweet Keylee will be turning 2! Last year I went a little crazy and handmade so much of her birthday stuff and loved it. Of course I’m on that same track this year but I’ll share all that fun after her party. For now, I’m going to share the fun stuff we did last year.

Her party didn’t really have much of a theme, more just a color scheme. Also, I was not blogging at the time so I do not have pictures of making most of the things I made but do not fear, I have links to others like them for you.

As you can see we did purples, greens, yellows, and blues.  This was my first attempt at yarn balloons, cake pops, a handmade banner, party hats, treats bags and just about most everything I did for the party. So, for it being my first go with so many new projects I think it all turned out pretty well.  

The yarn balloons turned out to be so cute but they were a lot of work. Tips for this project:

*do it in phases, add a layer, let it dry a bit and come back later to add the next. You can get the look you like by adding layers until it is as full as you want it to be.

*make sure you have the correct consistency of glue, you want it to be pretty thick. I used a combination of regular white glue and water but mod podge works well (it is just more expensive especially if you are making a lot).

*hang them to add some layers and turn them upside down on a cup to add others. This allows you to see them from both angles and really get the best look.

*instructions here

I made party hats so each child could decorate one and be creative. Tips for this project:

*use the template but skip the flap and slit part. Just cut them straight edge and glue them end to end. Soooo much faster!

 *have lots of goodies to add to them. Make sure you have a volunteer to oversee this project with the kids while you are running around tending to everything else for the party.

We enjoyed cake pops and cupcakes also. Tips for cake pops:

*make sure you find a good set of instructions and follow them. I really liked the ones I found here.

*I used candy melts for the outside but I actually used regular icing with gel food coloring for the swirls and it hardened up nicely for packaging.

I made Keylee a little bib and hat to wear also. I just took a bib she already had and traced the pattern on felt. I used the method described below for the stitching.

And as each of our little guests left they got a fun treat bag on their way out the door. I filled them with felt flowers for the girls and elastic felt mustaches for the little boys. I threw a few other little treats in there as well. I made these bags from felt and craft thread. They were really easy but as everything else took some time. So start in advance and you can stitch a few here and there as your time is free during the days or evenings. I didn’t find a tutorial for these but I didn’t need one. All you have to do is:

1.       Take some cardstock and decide what size bag you would like. Cut out a pattern which is basically a rectangle. Fold it in half and cut a semicircle in both sides, these will be your handles.

2.       Unfold it and lay it flat on your felt and trace around it. Don’t forget the handles.

3.        Cut out the traced pattern.

4.       If you are going to do any designs like I did or initials make sure you do these now before you stitch the rest of it together. I cut little circles out and stitched them on then added initials for each of our little friends.

5.       Whip stitch around the handles and then fold it together to form your bag and whip stitch the outside. And done!

Her party was a success and we had a lot of fun. Happy party planning to you!


Monday, October 29, 2012

OH BABY! (DiY Baby Gifts)

Monday is here and so is Fall weather! Can I get a WOOT WOOT!
I love, love, love this weather and it is finally here to stay! The evenings are cold enough to curl up in a warm blanket. In the morning, there is a chill in the air and I can wrap up in a hoodie or a sweater and cuddle up to the kiddos with a hot cup of coffee in hand. The daytime is still sunny with an incredible cool breeze and fresh smelling air to breathe.  Ahhhh, I love it.
The Fall weather makes our Sunday morning breakfast even more enjoyable too!
Almond Flour Pancakes, Banana Nut style! YUM-MY! You can get the recipe here.

 Now that I have shared my love for Fall with you, I can move onto the DiY portion of today's post, baby gifts!
It seems that there is always someone in my life that is expecting a sweet baby. The stores are full of essentials and lots of cute stuff, but there is just something so special about a handmade baby gift and the time that someone takes to make that special something for you and your little one.
So, let's look at some fun and easy DiY baby gifts!
Baby Cakes!
I love these sweet little cupcakes made from baby socks. I mean, what is sweeter than precious, tiny little socks rolled up into cupcakes!
Add cute cupcake liners and some fun scrapbook embellishments.
A cute handmade label on top.
And of course, a list of the ingredients on the bottom!
Here is what you need:
six pack of baby socks- sz 3-6 mo
cupcake liners
ribbons (optional)
container from the bakery dept of your local grocery store (i actually bought some clearance cookies for my kids and washed the box)

Click here for a great tutorial on these.
Next on the list is a personal favorite, Daddy's Dootie Belt!
My mom made one for my husband upon the anticipated arrival of our first and I thought it was so fun that I have since made many for other friends too. The dad's get a little left out sometimes and this is right up their alley!
What you need: 
-cotton "tool belt" (got mine from Hobby Lobby)
-work goggles
-travel wipes
-2 newborn diapers (I bought a package-used two for the belt and then tied ribbon around the rest as part of their gift too)
-diaper cream
-disposable gloves
-clothes pins
-travel disposable diaper baggies
-fabric markers
Add some fun text to your clothes pins, "hold your nose" and "the backup".
Not your average bib!
I took a plain cotton bib from Target and used some stitch witchery to adhere this fun patch. I did also add a square of thick cotton brown material to the back of the patch (using my sewing machine) to make it a little more durable and also to make it pop. Smooth Operator baby!
And last but not least, a keepsake box.
I get really excited when I come across old cigar boxes or even newer ones for that matter. They are great wooden boxes to embellish with some creativity.
With a little paint, scrapbook paper, fine tip sharpie, stamp pad, and Mod Podge; I turned this cigar box into a rather cute keepsake box for a friend's baby boy.

Happy Monday! Go enjoy this wonderful Fall season and put your creativity to work!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Father's Love

Happy Friday friends! I am guest posting over at Beautifully Rooted today. Please take a minute and visit their lovely blog!

Many thanks to the gals behind B-Rooted for allowing me to share my heart.

DiY Material on Canvas

So, I am not really a painter. I’ve done a few pieces here and there but most things I do are abstract and not really based on anything specific. But when I was decorating Keylee’s room I wanted a couple wall hangings to match in her bathroom (also the guest bathroom). I wanted the pieces to look like her bedspread which was made by a dear friend based on one I had found online at quite a high price.

This is the set my friend made in Keylee's room before she was born, isn't it amazing!

I didn’t have enough leftover to just put the material in the frames and I also wanted to pick some specific flowers from the pattern. So, I cheated and made something myself with canvas paper, trace paper, a permanent marker, and some acrylic paint.

Take the material you want to copy. Trace it with pencil onto trace paper (I borrowed this trace paper from a kids meal trace book I picked up somewhere along the way). Then lay it on your canvas and draw over the pencil with permanent marker. I used canvas paper so I could frame it but this would work on any canvas or paper really. Make sure you hold the paper in place tightly so your trace is straight. The marker will bleed through the trace paper and give you a nice outline for painting. From that point it is just painting over it with whatever medium you choose.
Have fun!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gluten Free Grain Free Pumpkin Bread

 Gluten Free Grain Free Pumpkin Bread....Dairy free, sugar free, gluten free pumpkin bread....either way you say it, it's a mouth full!
But what do you get when you make this bread? Also a mouth full!
(sorry, I just couldn't resist)

But seriously, this pumpkin bread is amazing and I am one happy gal.  I LOVE pumpkin, well, everything!
So far, I really have not missed anything with the way I have been eating. I haven't craved sugar or even wanted those things anymore.

However, once the weather began getting a little cooler and Starbucks started introducing their yummy, infamous Pumpkin Latte.....I got a little sad. It is not the craving of sugar or something sweet but more so, a craving for the whole Fall experience that I love so much.

So, when my friend Amy dropped by one day with this little treat, I was so excited! I loved it at first bite and then I found out that it came from my favorite raw/whole food website too! Go check out the original posting of this recipe here.

This morning, I enjoyed my pumpkin bread with some homemade pumpkin spice latte too. Too much pumpkin? Never!

Gluten Free, Grain Free Pumpkin Bread
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
2tsp pumpkin pie spice
1tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Grease an 8x8 pan generously (i use coconut oil)
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

*I added some pecans to the top. 
*I have also used 1/2 peanut butter and 1/2 almond butter because I really wanted some pumpkin bread and 
didn't have enough almond butter one day to make it. It still turned out really good but you could taste a bit of the peanut butter so if you are not a fan of peanut butter, then I would not suggest it. But we loved it!
 * You can also make this vegan free by using 2 flax eggs

Pumpkin Spice Latte
strong coffee ( i prefer espresso roast)
cup of almond milk 
tsp vanilla
tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1-2 tbsp maple syrup

I do not have an espresso machine and many times, have wanted to enjoy a latte at home or make a guest a special drink. 
So, I improvised!
Grab a sauce pan and pour your milk and other ingredients in. 
Turn up the heat- medium high.
Grab a whisk and start mixing and frothing!
Once it is nice and hot and you have a pretty foam on top, you are ready to pour this goodness into your coffee cup (on top of your strong coffee, of course)
Hold the foam back with a spoon while you pour and then scoop the foam up and top of your drink.
I like to sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top too!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

DiY Stretchy Bracelets

Hello all! Hope you made it through your Monday and the week ahead is looking great for you. For this Try-It Tuesday I’m going to show you how to make simple stretchy bracelets. This is one of the very first things I learned to make when I started out with jewelry. My sister-in-law Ashley showed me this fun trick and I made a ton. It took off from there and I learned to work with wire and chain and all kinds of beads but this is still a fun go-to when I want to make something quick. These are also great for kiddos so they can pull them off and on easily. Just make sure they are “of-age.”

You will need:
~Stretchy Bead String
~ Beads of choice

1.       Cut a length of stretchy bead string the size of your desired bracelet + about 2 inches extra (more if you have trouble working with small string). So for a 7.5 inch bracelet (pretty standard) but about 9.5 inches.

2.       If you have a Bead Stopper slide it on the end, if not just tie a knot.

3.       Begin stringing your beads. Sliding them on the stretchy string in a very specific pattern or a  non-pattern pattern ;)

4.       String them for the length desired (ex: 7.5 inches)

5.       Once you have the beads on tie the ends together. I usually tie them off about three times. Pull as tight as you can to make sure the knot holds. Pull the string away from the knot to see if it grabbed (this is where having extra string can come in handy if you have trouble holding on. I usually use two sets of my jewelry pliers to really pull it tight but fingers are fine too).

6.       Cut off the excess string and off you go.

You can use any beads you like, any shape or size or color. Now go on and give it a try!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Waters Of Rest

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Psalm 23

He is my Shepherd. He guides me, directs my path, watches over and cares for me. He provides lush, green pasture for me to lie down in, rest and enjoy.
In the Hebrew, "beside still waters" means "beside waters of rest."  How wonderful that is!
He leads me beside waters of rest.
He restores my soul.

Sometimes, I get so busy with life; with the blessings and the trials, that I lose my way, my focus. I become weary, discouraged, and  frustrated.  I pile too much on my plate and then I long for the day when I have nothing to do and I can just rest.
This is not the way God intended this to be.
Life is busy. I personally am wife to a man whom I adore, mommy to four wonderful children, teacher to those same children, manager of our home, daughter, friend and sister, blogger, handmade artist, photographer, and most important, child of God to be used however the Lord God chooses.
There are those rare and precious moments in which the Lord gives me time to just sit and do nothing, but those are rare.
The times that are even more precious than those, are the rest of my days when I am physically and even mentally busy, but am still and peaceful within. "He restores my soul."

Part of having that peace within is following Him, where He leads.
I am still learning in this area and suppose I always will be, to some extent. I pile things on my plate and say "yes" to many because my heart wants to do it all. However, I am learning to follow where He leads and to say "no" otherwise. There is wisdom in this place and there is peace.
And in those seasons where He leads and uses me in many areas, saying "yes" to many people and things.....there is still peace, because He is leading me.

Another part of having this peace is communing with Him daily.
My days are busy and many times, very hectic. So, many times, I do not have this "quiet time" that we so often hear about. Taking time out of your day to sit quietly with and before the Lord is wonderful and we should do our best to carve out this time in our day. However, He should be apart of our day.....always. He should be the very reason we are living, breathing, and doing every thing that we do; big things, little things, mundane things....all of it is for His glory.
If we acknowledge Him in all that we do; praise Him in all that we do; give Him thanks in ALL things, then we will find ourselves beside those waters of rest.
"He restores my soul."

Our family had the wonderful privilege of visiting some dear friends this past week. We have taken our family trip to see them every year since they moved away. They are that special to us.
While there, my friend and I got to steal a bit of time alone together with a cup of coffee. I cherish these times with her. I am not sure that she will ever know how much the Lord has used her to restore my soul over these cups of coffee.
She reminded me of this verse and the peace that the Lord brings.  He is Lord God, Creator, my Savior! I am His child; His creation. He is my maker. He will do with my life what He chooses and because I know who He is and His love for me....this alone brings me great peace.
She reminded me that He is always good, whether He chooses to make me lie down in green pastures or walk through the fire. He is still good.
All He does is for my good and even more than that, His glory.

God is good. If our lives are super busy with lots of different things, and if this is where He has led us for this time, then He will give us all that we need for this season. Even amidst the craziness, if God has led you there, you will have peace.
If you have no peace and are stressed out and anxious within about everything you have going on in life, then maybe you have allowed things in that God has not led you to do.
Pray, seek and know when to say "no."
God is good. He is God! He has it covered.
It is not all about us. There is wisdom in saying "no" when God leads. Maybe He has plans for someone else to be used, blessed, taught, etc.

Oh, Lord, you are so good. You are my strength, my comfort, my peace. My cup overflows.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
-Psalm 23

Rest, peace, & blessings,

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rays of Sunshine ~ Meet Ashley

Hey Friends and Welcome to our Friday series, Rays of Sunshine. This series is meant to feature different women from different walks of life; giving us a small glimpse into their lives with the hope of leaving you encouraged.

This week's guest blogger is our very talented sister-in-law Ashley. So take a read and get to know her.

A Day in Our Life:


My name is Ashley Keylor. I am a lover of Jesus first and foremost; truly thankful for every blessing He has so undeservingly laid out before me.  I am daily reminded of my many faults and failures and usually have many opportunities to apologize to my kiddos and husband for my shortcomings. I say those things to make sure that you start out knowing that we DON’T have it all together by any means. I am a very normal mom, well, a little crazy, but normal. J  I have two sweet, hilarious, spunky girls (Kennedy-6 and Adelynn-3) that keep me on my toes. I am a Kindergarten teacher at a private school.  I also have a painting business called The Busy Brush, which I randomly began a few years ago at the prodding of my friends. I truly thought that only my friends and family would order from me, but the Lord blessed it and it soon turned into a way for me to support one of the ministries dearest to my heart, Amazima. If you have not read about this ministry, here’s a link to the first post I ever read. It will be well worth the read (get our some Kleenexes though).
If there’s a word you can use to describe me, it’s probably random (or schizophrenic -ha!). We don’t ever have a set plan for our day. I am a strange bird in that way. On one hand, I am extremely type A.  I LOVE organization and structure. Tupperware and clean closets set my pulse racing...nerdy but true. On the other hand, my brain is very artsy. It loves creativity and rebels against a schedule. See what I mean about the schizophrenia? With that said, however, we do have a few things that we try to do everyday together, so I will do my best to sum those up for you.
Let me first back up a little bit and tell you about where I work…

I teach Kindergarten at a University Model School, which is a really unique program. It is basically set up in the same way a university is, in that students go to school 2 or 3 days a week for a particular class and then work on projects, review, and study on their off days. It began with parents that desired more time at home with their children and more involvement in their education, but who also saw a lot of strengths in the school system like social development through having classmates and a certified teacher created curriculum to make sure all of the bases are being covered academically. The other bonus, of course, is the huge support through the teachers and other parents that are all involved in the same model that you are. I began teaching here when I had my first daughter. I wasn’t really sure what it was going to be like, but loved the administration, their heart for the Lord, and the fact that I would be able to teach only 2 days a week and be home with my daughter the rest of the time. As I moved throughout the year, I was so impressed. I saw children that wouldn’t have necessarily been at the top of their class, excelling because of the amazing parental aspect. I also saw a school that wasn’t just Christian in name, but that was full of people that truly loved Jesus. People that truly loved each other, served each other, and prayed over each other. It was a blessing to be a part of it and my passion for teaching was reignited.  As Kennedy got older, we became more convinced that this was a place that we wanted our kiddos to be a part of.
Kennedy is now 6, and is in 1st grade. She goes to school on Monday and Wednesday while I am teaching. Adelynn stays with one of my sweet friends on Monday and Wednesday. I wish she could be with me every day, but to be honest, I feel like having a couple of days apart, makes me super thankful for the days I do get to be home with her. I feel like I am more grateful and intentional with them both (at least more so than I am during the summer months when I have no breaks).  Our Mondays and Wednesdays are a little crazy. We get up, get ready, have a quick breakfast, are off to school (have a little prayer time in the car on the way), come home, hang with daddy and wrestle, bath and bed. Not much to write home about. : ) Our “at-home days,” which is what they are referred to at my school, are a little more interesting.

We typically get up around 8.  Being a night owl, I am very blessed to have girls that don’t get up super early. We usually eat breakfast and get to watch a little cartoon before we get our day started. While they are watching their cartoon, I respond to parent e-mails/ questions and get things all ready for our home school time. For Adelynn, I get out some puzzles, coloring books, or little games that she can play individually while I am helping Kennedy with her harder work. I save these things specifically for our school time so that it’s better at keeping her attention.  I also get out some things I can go over with her during the parts of Kennedy’s work that can be done independently, so that I can stagger them and feel like they are both getting my attention, and not lose my mind in the process. Ha!
BEFORE we start the day, we gather up together on the couch and have a little quiet time together, have some prayer, and then we have a little 20-30 minute work out session. This is more for me than for them. They love it, but the part of me that doesn’t like structure, needs their accountability to get this in during the day. Kids are notorious for loving schedules and following rules, so that’s very handy. We just turn up the praise music (I like anything with a good fast beat) and start moving. We dance, we run in place, we do push ups, sit-ups, planks, dance a little more, rinse and repeat until our playlist runs out of songs. Not only do we start the day having already crossed working out off of my to do list, but we also had fun together and got wiggles out so that we are ready to sit still and do our work. We try to do about 3 assignments and if we get through those with hard work and happy hearts, they earn a play break. After we finish all of our school, we end our school day with some fun reading time. I think this is such a sweet time with my girls. Reading is so important for them. When we do this, we are simultaneously making memories, developing their love for reading, spurring on creativity, and getting some much needed cuddle time. 

After we finish school, we do any chores that need to be done. They help me clean up our school things, make sure our rooms are picked up, empty the dishwasher, help me get dinner started, etc… Anything they can help with, I try to let them. It’s so important for them to learn how to do these things and to feel like an important part of our family. They TRULY love to help and even ask me if they can please mop. Ha!

Then it’s time for nap time, sweet nap time. This is a required event in our day. Kennedy is 6 and she still goes in to lay down for nap time. Sometimes she sleeps and sometimes she reads, but it’s never been a question of whether we are going to do it. We all need a quiet break during the day (especially me), so it’s good for all of us. This is the time when I get all of my lesson planning done, finish dinner, and start on any painting projects I have going on, so that the backgrounds will be ready to go after the girls go to bed. Now, when I mentioned being random, plenty of this goes on as well. I usually have a to do list, but sometimes I throw it out the window and do something fun. The other day, I randomly decided I wanted to sew a yellow and white chevron curtain for our kitchen. I called around to see if anyone had any yellow and white chevron fabric, but it all had to be ordered. I have no patience, so I scrounged through my fabric piles, got some yellow paint and painters tape and began to make my own. I quickly realized I was in for a big job.  I threw some stuff in my crock pot to make some easy black bean and lentil soup, so I didn’t have to worry about dinner.  I am loving my crock pot these days. We are trying to eat more healthy and it’s so easy to just put things in and let them cook while I am at work or while I am doing school with the girls. By the time my girls got up from nap, I was almost done painting the fabric. We ate dinner and I asked my husband to please play with the girls outside for a few minutes while I finished the curtain up.  He is a great dad and a sweet husband and was glad to help out (I’ll mention that I try to spread out my crazy ideas and projects so I don’t wear him out though). Now, because I did this project, I accomplished nothing on my to do list. This bites me in the tail sometimes and causes me to have to stay up way too late finishing things later that night, but for some odd reason. It’s totally worth it to me. I look up as I am working that night and see a fun new curtain in the window and it makes me beam. I also feel like I got to break away from the mundane and do something spontaneous and fun, which is good for the soul. To do lists are necessary, but you can’t be a slave to them either. A little schizophrenia never hurt anyone, right??? : )

As far as our nights go, Dasun coaches and life is busy, so it’s important to us to try and protect as many family nights as we can. We love to play outside, have a little dance party in the kitchen, play board games, wrestle, anything silly and fun. Even if you can only squeeze in 20 minutes of these types of things before bed, they are so great at building families and making little memories with your children. I think it’s so important for your children to see you delighting in them…truly having fun with and enjoying them. They need to know that they are loved beyond measure.  After we play, we do bath time, sing songs, pray, have hugs and kisses and put the girls to bed. Dasun and I are trying to be really intentional with our time after they go to bed. It’s so easy to go off to your own corners and get cracking on your separate to do lists or even just watch TV. When you do this, you usually do fine for a while, but then eventually start to feel distant…like a roommate…a business partner to help you manage the kids. No one that I know, got married in order to have a roommate or a business partner. In order to avoid this, you HAVE to be intentional.  You have to purposefully schedule time to be with one another. Money can’t be an excuse. We don’t have any extra money, so getting a babysitter isn’t really a feasible option most of the time.  Instead, we trade off with friends or do things at home (once in a while we try to do one actual date out, but it’s rare).  We get games that can be played 2 player, we rent a movie and cuddle, we get something to snack on and sit and catch up on what the Lord’s been teaching us or how work is going…anything to make an effort. It doesn’t have to be for the whole night. It can just be for 30 minutes to an hour, but you have to invest the time. Relationships don’t grow otherwise. The last thing we do in our day is spend time with the Lord. We are both night owls, so we discovered long ago, that we are more consistent in our quiet times when we have them at night. It also takes away my excuses. By golly, if I can stay up late to look at pinterest or answer emails, I can sure as heck stay up late to make time for the Lord.  I make sure that I am sitting up, alert, and giving Him the time He deserves. This is another relationship that doesn’t grow by itself.  We need time with our precious Savior. It’s the life source though which all other things flow.  As moms, we are constantly pouring out. If you are not plugged in to Him, you will most definitely run out of what you need. You will start operating in the flesh and you will fail. It happens to me constantly, anytime I go back to trying my self-sufficient ways. We have to cut that out, humble ourselves, repent, and say out loud, “Lord, I can do nothing good apart from You.” Let Him fill you up. Let Him be the center of your thoughts through the day. This mom thing seems like it’s full of a lot of little things that don’t add up to much throughout the day, but that isn’t truth. It is an honorable assignment from the King and you need to get your armor on in order to accomplish the task.
Thanks for letting me share my day and a bit about our lives.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Until the Whole World Hears

I want to share something with you that has been quite amazing in our lives. My husband has been working in jail ministry for years. He has a heart for men that have gotten into the system and can’t seem to find their way out, returning time after time because they cannot seem to get things straight. He has been going into our local jail for approximately 3 years once a week to meet and talk with the guys. He has a different approach to the way he handles these sessions. He doesn’t walk in with a set of scriptures or even anything necessarily specific he wants to discuss. He opens the floor to the men there and allows God to completely lead the direction of the gathering. He loves going there every week and feels he learns as much as they do. But a while back after speaking with the men he realized they had difficulty getting bibles they could easily understand and he felt led to work on getting them bibles. He got a PO Box and each time he goes into the jail tells them the address and lets them know that if they send a letter requesting a bible they will receive one. Because of jail policies the bibles have to be certain size and meet certain requirements before they will even be let into the jail. They also cannot be handed directly to the men but have to go through a process to get to them. So, he started sending them via mail because this followed policy. He would stock up on bibles at the house and boxes or envelopes and go to the post office every couple days to send off a group of bibles. But then he found a website that he could do individual addressing and sending directly to the prison plus free shipping and the bibles met the requirements and were given directly to the men they were addressed to. This was an awesome find, saving time and money and allowing bibles to be sent immediately. But the amazing part has come along over the last 6 months or so. The word has spread and he is now sending bibles to 6 different jails in 6 different areas, 5 of which he has never even been to. God has blessed his faithfulness and obedience and is opening doors for him to share the Bible all over our state and now one state over. Some of the men even request a bible for their spouse outside of jail. He also has been able to reach out to a local recovery house and spend some time with the men there and get some bibles into their hands as well. We are so excited about what God is doing and would love for you to pray with us that each one of these bibles touches a life in a special way. If this speaks to your heart please pray, if you would like to get involved you can read more here.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Apples, Life & Crisp!

We recently took a little trip with some friends to a nearby orchard to pick apples. The kids and I have had this trip on our Fall Fun List for the past 2 years and inevitably, someone gets sick and we are out of pocket just long enough to miss the apple picking season. Not this year baby!
We had such a great time picking apples. It was a first for the kids and the first time since I was a little girl for me. The kids thought it was the greatest thing ever that they could pick apples from a tree to take home and eat/sample them while there too!
It was so precious to watch them in awe over the apple trees and running from tree to tree, calling their friends and siblings to come look.
It also brought back a lot of special memories for me as well.  My grandparents had a farm with hundreds of fruit trees when I was a little girl and I have wonderful memories from that farm.

Man, I love these little boots on her little feet!
She had to wear her boots because mommy was wearing hers....precious.
Apples! Apples! And more apples!!!
On the way home, Baby Girl was very concerned about all of the apples that were left lying on the ground. She was asking questions about what would happen to them. Then A.Vox began telling her that they would die and get yucky because they had fallen from the tree.
This led into a wonderful conversation.
I love that everything in creation speaks of the Lord God and glorifies Him. And I am super thankful for moments like this within our day where the Lord opens my eyes to see Him and allows me to seize that moment with my children and what He is teaching us. thankful. :)

Now, what to do with all of these apples...PLENTY!
Check out some great recipes:

Apple Crisp (I used apples instead of the blueberries & left out the walnuts-YUMMY!)
Apple Chips

Also- bake the apples in the oven, slice them and dip them in peanut butter or caramel, juice them, or take a big ole' bite out of them the old fashion way!

Enjoy the day and don't miss the beautiful moments happening around you!