Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Summer Time Delights

What a beautiful weekend we just had! The weather was near perfect and we got to enjoy a lot of time together as a family and with dear friends.
 YUM-MY, grilled veggies!
I threw in some pineapple chunks with the veggies (red onion, bell pepper, zuchini, & squash) and it was delicious.
I am kind of on a kick with adding pineapples to unexpected dishes!
Some good friends of ours have gotten us hooked on fresh pico. Seriously, I crave this A LOT these days, especially with the warm weather upon us now.
And it is so simple to make; bell pepper, tomatoes, jalepeno (with no seeds), red onion, cilantro, sea salt, garlic powder and some fresh lime juice.
Serve it with chips, top your grilled chicken/steak with a spoonful, toss some in your salad.....so many ways to enjoy this!
And what would a summer cook out be without SMORES?!  Um...dare I say lame...
Such a fun and blessed time.
Good food, good friends.....good times.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Delicious Veggie Burgers

This is truly the best veggie burger recipe I have ever tried, not just made, but tried! I posted about it here but they are so good that I thought they needed sharing with you again....in case you missed it!
They hold together perfectly and have such a wonderful flavor. I served mine on a bed of fresh Romaine lettuce and topped with fresh homemade pico, a side of avocado slices and corn on the cob.
Check out the recipe here and ENJOY!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Pancakes Taste Sweeter-Perspective

As  I was making pancakes this morning, the same recipe we have made for the past year and a half now, the same recipe that we had started to tire of; they looked so very good to me. Even different. I found myself noticing the details; the things that I noticed the first couple of times that I made them.

Their golden color. Their hearty thickness. The slight smell of toasted almonds from the almond meal.
 I know, I know. They are just pancakes, one might say.
But for me, this morning, they were a healthy, delicious breakfast that I was given the opportunity to prepare and enjoy with my four children. My heart was filled with thankfulness and delight over these pancakes this morning.
How easily and quickly we take things for granted sometimes.
So many are without this morning; without food to eat, without a table to eat their food upon, without a home, without their loved ones, and without the comfort and hope that rests only by resting in the Lord.
Why is it that I get to enjoy this meal with all of my children seated at the table with me? Is it because I am any better?
Absolutely not.
And sometimes I have to fight the urge to feel guilty about this.
But today, I am simply filled with thanksgiving and joy for right now. This day. And all that I have been blessed with this day.

"Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all of the rushing...Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away." (One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp)

We are not promised tomorrow; another day or even another minute. This is not meant to make us sad or anxious but to make us more aware of the things and people right in front of us. It is meant to stir thankfulness within our hearts.
I pray for the many who are hurting and without today. I pray that these tragedies would not be in vain; that people would come to know the infinite love, saving grace, and hope of Jesus Christ. I pray that eyes would be opened and that thankfulness would fill the hearts of many; that less time would be wasted hurrying about this life.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us." -J.R.R. Tolkien

What will you do with your time today?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Heavy Heart Of Thanksgiving & Prayer-Oklahoma

My heart is heavy today thinking about the loss in Oklahoma; the lives that were lost and the homes that were destroyed.

It is hard to find words when something like this happens. It is hard to fathom what that must be like; to wrap my mind around the whole of it. It seems so surreal.  But it is so very real to so many right now at this very moment.

My heart is heavy for the parents that sent their children to school that morning, never to have the opportunity to pick them up from school again; for the brother or sister that lost their sibling; for the children that have to bear the unspeakable loss of a parent; and for so many that must start all over rebuilding their lives.

When things like this happen, people around the world seem to pull together and rally and give on behalf of those that lost. 
People also either run towards the Lord God, seeking refuge and hope or they run further away with bitterness and anger in their hearts.

It is hard to grasp; to understand.

I, myself, am a believer and follower of Jesus Christ; a child of God. I cannot understand why things happen sometimes. I don't always understand the purpose in everything. But I do know the deep love that my God has for me and those that are His.  
He experienced great loss when His very own Son died a horrific death on the cross...and He did it for me and for those that call upon Him.
I do know that He is ALWAYS good and that ALL that happens is for the good of His children and His glory, even when we cannot see it with our physical eyes or understand it.

I know that many question this in times like these when precious little one's lives have been taken so quickly. I cannot give you an answer as to why. 
But I trust Him.
And I mourn with those parents and I pray for them to have peace and to be comforted. I pray for their hearts. I pray that they run into the arms of the Lord and rest in Him. Without the Lord, we have no hope.

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalm 73:26

Times like this make me even more thankful for all that God has given me and allows me to enjoy everyday. It makes me want to squeeze my husband and children extra tight.

I am thankful for those little ones in Oklahoma; thankful for the time they spent on earth and the time that so many were given to love and enjoy them.

I pray that through this tragic time, that many hearts would be turned to the Lord and that, in that way, their lives would be forever changed.

My heart goes out to the people of Oklahoma and my prayer is for them to experience the love and hope that is in Jesus Christ.

 May God be with you,

Monday, May 20, 2013

A little Song & Dance

"...His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me."

  1. Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
    Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
    When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
    • I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
      For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
  2. “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
    And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
    Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
  3. Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
    When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
    I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
He is my portion. He has set me free. He watches over me.
This alone should make me happy and should make me sing.
But even in this, I need His help.
I am so thankful for His love that so graciously reminds me of my great need for Him, in ALL things. I am thankful for the days that I can let go of ALL else, trusting Him with it ALL, and happily resting in that while I do a little dance.

I pray that those days come more frequently and that the sweet eyes that watch me daily would see their mommy happily and freely dancing before the Lord.

He is more than enough. He is everything.
Look to Him. Trust Him.
Be happy. Be free.

Friday, May 17, 2013

DiY Baby Boy Onesie Gift

I absolutely love making baby gifts, for the mama to be and the baby! It is such a beautiful time to celebrate. Not to mention, all of the tiny things that you get to buy are SO precious!

I have been making these onesies for a long time now. They have kind of become an expected gift amongst my friends when they are pregnant. Everyone seems to like them. I really enjoy making them and having the opportunity to get creative with them. And I really love any chance to make something unique for people.

 I love digging through fabric and pairing colors and patterns until I find what I like. Sometimes I begin with a vision and other times, I simply let the colors and patterns inspire and see what happens.
 This time I knew I wanted an arrow somehow, somewhere. I ended up creating one myself with a needle and some black embroidery thread.

These are really pretty simple to make. You simply choose your fabric, cut it according to your design, and run it through your sewing machine to finish off your edges and give the piece more character with the added stitches.
Depending on the fabric, sometimes I add a bit of fray-check.
I actually really like allowing the fabric to fray a little when it is washed. However, some fabric fray's a bit too much and can eventually ruin your design.
Once everything is cut out and sewn, grab your iron, any iron-on letters or numbers you might have and a roll of stitch witchery.
 Do you recognize this little fabric pouch? Bought any pillow cases from Walmart lately?
This is the little fabric pouch that they come in! I bought some a while back and couldn't bring myself to get rid of these because I knew I could use them for something.
Two onesies folded and rolled up fit perfectly in it!
Of course I couldn't leave it alone. 
I added a square of fabric and cut out an "e" from some red wool felt. I stitched around them and ironed them on.
I was super happy with the way it turned out and my friend (& mama to be to her 3rd child) seemed to love it too....which is all that really matters. :)

Happy Friday friends!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Arrow Mobile-DiY

When my children were babies, I always had the hardest time finding mobiles that I liked. Most of the mobiles I saw were made up of very cutesy things like plush teddy bears, butterflies, etc. Those are fine but just not my style.
So, I ended up making mobiles for my children. I could make it exactly what I wanted and it made it more special because I made it for them. Not to mention, those little plush mobiles are expensive!

When planning the recent baby shower that a few of my friends and I put together, one of my friends had the wonderful idea to make a mobile to hang over the gift table and send home with our mom-to-be. I loved that idea!
I LOVE LOVE how this mobile turned out!

Here is what you need:

wooden dowels (from the wood craft section at Hobby Lobby)
acrylic paints
2 different sizes of embroidery hoops
light colored thread
glue gun

We started out by cutting part of our arrows down to make smaller arrows for the bottom hoop of the mobile. Then we went to painting part of the wooden dowels. You can paint them one solid color or add stripes. We left some of the dowels unpainted and wrapped them with yarn. You simply wrap and then tie off with a knot at the end.

*For our mobile, we used 10 large arrows (5 yarn wrapped, 5 painted) and 7 smaller arrows (4 painted, 3 yarn wrapped). 

Now, onto your felt pieces. Choose your colors and then grab your scissors.
You can draw your first arrow head and feather pieces, cut them out and then use them as your template for the rest. You will need two pieces for each arrowhead and each set of feathers.

Once you have all of your pieces painted, wrapped, and cut out, you'll need to grab your glue gun.  Take your two arrowhead pieces and place your dowel between them, adding a few lines of hot glue.  Press them together.

Next, take your two feather pieces, place the dowel in the middle of them, slightly overlapping the inner edges of the feather pieces with a line of hot glue.

Now that your arrows are done, it is time to assemble the mobile.
First, tie a piece of thread to the end of each arrow- the feathers will hold it in place when it is hanging.

Now, set your arrows aside for a moment and attach the two hoops together.
For this next part, you will need a partner to hold the embroidery hoop while you attach the two hoops. This part takes a little bit of patience as you will need to adjust the thread/length so that your hoops hang evenly.
You will just slightly pull apart the two rings of the large hoop, just enough to string the end of your thread between the two pieces of the large hoop, once you have it in place, slide the ring back into place and tie your string. You will do this 4-5 times. Once all strings are in place on the large hoop, you will then attach them to the small hoop below, in the same way.

Once you have your hoops in place, then you will tighten the screw on your embroidery hoop, keeping the threads secure and in place.

Now, that the base of our mobile is made, let's add some arrows!
Start by attaching your long arrows to the big hoop. This part is much easier. Choose how long you want them to hang down, then simply tie the thread over the hoop and knot. 

And then, attach your smaller arrows to the small hoop.

And lastly, grab your twine, cut into 5 long pieces and tie each piece onto the large hoop, spacing them out as you go. Once they are all tied off, bring them together and tie in a knot, leaving a loop to hang the mobile by.

Viola! You are done!
And look what you have to show for it! :)

Feel free to ask questions if you have any! I will do a better job taking photos during the making process next time. This time, it was just GO time and we had to get it done!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

DiY Arrow Baby Shower Decor

I shared the Arrow Baby Boy Shower with you a couple of days ago and now I would like to share a few of the handmade decor items and the "how to" with you today!
You can check out all of the photos from the shower here.

You see this little number hanging on our coffee table? Well, it is super easy to make and really fun to decorate with. I have actually started seeing banners made just like this popping up in stores lately.

You simply choose your paper, cut them into strips, and lay them out in the order you want them.

I used scrapbook paper.

There is not certain length or width for these. Simply cut to your liking.

I lined mine up in stacks, in the order I wanted them.

Next, you simply run them, one by one, through your sewing machine. That's it! Seriously, it's that easy. It takes just a few minutes to sew them.

And the felt arrows! I love working with felt for two reasons. I love the look of felt for various projects and it is SO super EASY to work with!
I used wool felt for these because it is thicker and I had the option of more colors to choose from. I simply cut my arrows out and then ran through my sewing machine. Sewing them is actually not even necessary but I love the look of the stitching. It just adds more character and interest.
Then, we used double stick tape pieces to arrange them on the wall.

We had fruit and vegetable skewers on the menu for this shower and I had the idea to turn our skewers into arrows as well.

 I used natural card stock and cut out my triangle shapes.
Then, I simply added a dab from my glue gun, and with the skewer sandwiched between, pressed them together.
I left the pointed end alone so we could easily add our fruits and veggies.

 We have done the "prayer/blessings" cards at many of the showers that I have helped throw now. They are truly a special touch that is becoming apart of the necessity for throwing baby showers around here.
I took some of the felt arrows I made and glued them on top of this little box.
Then, I added some cute polka-dot washi tape to the rim of the lid and filled the box with stamped strips of card stock.

Food labels.
I know they are not always needed and that sometimes what is sitting on the plate is really obvious, but I LOVE them!
I found these adorable arrow clips in the dollar bins at Target.
You could use plain clips and draw or paint on your own arrows as well.
I turned them upside down and they stood up to their task quite well!

And the banners. Also, something I love for celebrations!
I use this natural card stock a lot when making banners. It is durable and I love the look.

I cut out my pieces, cut out some cute paper, and then another smaller square of the card stock.
Got my alphabet stamps out, my photo mounting squares (I love using these...double stick and fast and easy!) and then ran them through my sewing machine to add some fun stitching in random places.

I made this banner much bigger, using almost the whole piece of card stock for each piece.
I only did three with initials on this one.
I wrote the letters because I wanted them big and then I stamped the arrow on in different places on each piece and added a bit of color to the ends of each arrow.
I also added stitching to these as well and a bit of washi tape.

Any excuse to use washi tape!!!

There you have it!
Come back later this week to learn how we made the cute arrow mobile!

Hope you are inspired!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mediterranean Rice with Swai

I made a yummy new dish last night and it was a hit with the fam so I thought I'd share the recipe. Of course I wasn't thinking and didn't take any pictures while cooking. Next time I'll have to take pics and add them. Hopefully you can follow the recipe as it was more of a dump and taste than this but the amounts are roughly accurate.

2 cups dry brown rice (cooked makes approximately 4 servings)
2 - 4 fish fillets depending on size (I used Swai which is a mild fish much like Tilapia)
1 large bag of fresh or frozen spinach
1/2 jar sun dried tomatos
Vinegar/oil dressing
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Italian Seasoning
Sea Salt
Olive Oil or cooking spray

1. Prepare rice.
2. Preheat oven to 350-400 depending on how hot your oven cooks. (I cooked mine on 400 in my toaster oven for about 30 mins)
3. Place thawed fish fillets on baking sheet. Coat in cooking spray or olive oil sprinkle garlic powder and onion powder. Flip to other side and repeat.
4. Cook fish for 30 mins or until white and flaky.
5. Cook spinach in wok or pan until tender/thawed. 
6. Cut sun dried tomatos into small pieces and add to spinach.
7. Add rice to spinach and tomatos.
8. Mix in 3-4 tablespoons vinegar and oil dressing. 1-2 tablespoons garlic powder, 1-2 tablespoons onion powder, 1-2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, and sea salt to taste.
9. Cook until flavors are combined.
10. Place rice on plate and top with fillet.

We had corn as our veggie side!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Quiver Full-Arrow Baby Shower

I was so blessed to be apart of planning this baby shower for such a sweet and dear friend of mine. My friends and I have spent the last month brainstorming, planning, and creating fun things for this celebration. We got to see it all come together over the weekend and celebrate a sweet baby boy and this growing family.

We started out with a different theme entirely! I loved the idea, but for some reason, I wasn't completely sold on it for this friend and this shower. But, it was really cute and everyone seemed on board so we were going forward with it.......until, I saw this! As soon as I read this blog post, I immediately fell in love and knew that this was the direction we needed to head in. The super cool thing about it is that this was a verse that this family had been meditating on and praying over for some time as they waited for the Lord to bless them with another baby.
It was meant to be. :)

So, without further ado, here is our take on the arrow baby shower theme!
 I designed these and we printed them ourselves on natural card stock. Easy, affordable and fun!
The food table boasted fruit and vegetable skewers with arrow heads, mini hot ham and cheese sandwiches, and individual servings of trail mix in cute little brown paper sacks complete with an arrow stamped on the front.

When planning the decor for a shower, I always try and make things that can be sent home with the mom-to-be and can possibly be used in the nursery.

The two frames on either side of the chalkboard are prints that I designed on the computer, had printed at Staples, and framed them. I painted and distressed two of the frames to go with our color scheme.

My friend, Sarah, made the adorable fabric scrap banner hanging on the front of the table.
Can you see the craft paper arrow heads on the skewers? Eek! I love the little touches!
Another friend of mine, Kerri, made the stunning yarn wrapped "E". I am loving these yarn wrapped letters!

More arrow skewers! And yes, that is a slice of wood that they are lying on. Do you see the cute little arrow clips that are holding the food cards? Those were scored at the Target dollar bins (thanks for the tip Amy!) Turned upside down, they made perfect holders for these cards.
Some of the skewers have little colored flags made from washi tape on the ends...just to mix it up a little and add some color.
And there are the cute little bags of trail mix. These were actually a big hit!
 "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them." Psalm 127:4-5

This is the verse that the whole shower is based upon. So, a quiver full of arrows was out centerpiece! The quiver is simply a large clear glass vase wrapped in twine. And the arrows, a few of us painted, a few of us cut pieces of felt and a few of us applied the glue that brought them together (and also burned a few fingers in the process)!

hmmmm.....can you guess who was using the glue gun? Hint: it was someone who writes on this blog and it wasn't Daspri.

The arrows are arranged within the quiver using blocks of floral foam.
 This table featured the cake, Strawberry lemonade, and  gifts. Not to mention, the super fun arrow mobile hanging overhead.
Rather than having fresh flowers for this shower, we chose fresh herbs because we knew our friend and mom-to-be would love them!
 And the mobile....I think this is possibly my favorite piece of decor from this shower. Our little team worked on this together; making the arrows and then fitting them with these embroidery hoops. I really love how it turned out.

Let's take a closer look at this cake. My friend, Rachel, is always the "go-to" for the shower cakes. She does such a great job, with ALL of it. The cakes always look great AND taste great!

This was a lemonade cake and it was SO yummy! I even took a bite to taste it. I had to see what all of the fuss was about and....I LOVE lemon!

We told her we wanted an arrow-chevron type pattern around the bottom border and we gave her colors and she worked the magic.
We had a little coffee station. We don't throw baby showers without coffee around here.
The little arrows on the wall are made from wool felt. So easy and fun to make.
 Another print for our mom-to-be to take home.
Mason jars and paper straws for the Strawberry Lemonade.
This little box sat on the gift table with little pieces of natural card stock and a note beside it that read "prayers and blessings for Elias".
Each guest wrote a little something and placed the paper in the box.
A little sketch for the door.
And last, but certainly not least, are these sweet little arrows that my friend Sarah made. Aren't they adorable?!
I believe our friend and mom-to-be already has ideas of a blanket with these.

It was such an honor to shower sweet Kim and celebrate their growing family and more specifically, number 3,a sweet baby boy!
We had an incredible team of ladies that helped make this shower possible and it was so fun working with them all! I love seeing how God uses each one of us.

Come back for tomorrow's post to see how some of these shower decorations were made!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day - Toddler DiY Gift for Granny

It's not too late to do a little mother's day project from your kiddos to their grandmas. Keylee's Meme and Nana will be getting these on Sunday...shhh, don't tell them yet.  

1. Grab some canvases and stickers. Spell out your word or name.

2. Give the little one some paints and brushes (protect as necessary) and let them paint away (you may have to help them with the first few strokes over the stickers to keep them in place.

3. Let them dry a few minutes but not completely and peal off the stickers. We had a little bleed through. So, I grabbed a little white paint and a brush and filled in a bit.

4. Let everything dry well. Flip them over and staple some ribbon, rope, etc to the back to hold them together and hang them. 

Ta-DA! Sweet and fun hand made art for Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommas out there,