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Sunday, June 30, 2013

SOP, weeks 3-5

A couple weeks ago I tried a recipe...

http://www.self.com/fooddiet/recipes/2011/05/no-fry-fries

Mine did not end up looking like these. They still looked like raw potatoes, but they were cooked (soft), so we did eat them still. I will not be making these again.

I also tried making these: 

http://moneysavingmom.com/2013/06/best-ever-chocolate-oatmeal-no-bake-bars-clean-eating.html#_a5y_p=659255

 Yum!!!

 These are very similar to the no-bake stovetop cookies I've been making for year, only they are much healthier (the first ingredient is not 2 cups of sugar, for instance)!! I will DEFINITELY be making these again (and again...). :-)

I also tried this today:

http://www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2012/02/homemade-whipped-coconut-oil-body

 Mine did not "whip up" like this. I'm not sure if it is my mixer, or the fit of the whip inside the mixer. The coconut oil just seemed to get pushed up the side of the bowl and stayed there. I kept scraping it off the sides and back down and it eventually did soften up, but never looked like the picture. I even read some of the comments and took their advice (many said that it will not work unless the oil is cold), put the mixture and bowl in the refrigerator for a while and tried again. It still just softened it. 

HOWEVER!!!!!! I have used coconut oil before as a moisturizer (straight from the jar) and it is DIVINE. I might try using a hand held mixer next time to see if I can get better control of the mixing and see if that will get it to whip up better.

Bottom line...coconut oil is a fantastic moisturizer (especially in the dry climate here in Colorado in the winter -torturous on skin, let me tell you!). I'm going to try a couple other times to see if I can get the oil to whip up better. Even if I can't, I will still use the oil as a moisturizer. I very highly recommend it!!! :-)

So, these are the latest Pinterest experiments. I hope you are trying some of your pins out, too!!

Happy experimenting!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer of Pinterest (SOP), weeks 1&2

Our summer technically started the week after Memorial Day, so we are a couple weeks in already.

Here are some of things I have tried so far...

This link takes you to a blog where I got one of my first ideas.

http://www.littlebrickranch.com/2011/04/what-is-wet-pink-and-gross-all-over.html

In the middle of the page, you will see a section that talks about how to add citrus peels to vinegar. This is what I did. I've actually done it before and I LOVE it. I am really trying to go more natural in my cleaning and I have been quite amazed at what vinegar can do!! However, the smell ain't great. I've added lemon peel to mine and it really does help cut the stink of the vinegar down. PLUS, lemon is also another great cleaner, so you are adding more cleaning power to the vinegar which is like a double bonus!!

It does work best if you let it soak for a good two weeks (I might even try it longer this time with one of my jars (I had enough peels to fill two jars this time)). An additional bonus to this "project" is that I make homemade lemonade with the juice from the lemons (Yum!!). I bet you can also do fresh-squeezed orange juice if you'd rather have orange-scented vinegar spray.

If you're interested in the deliciously awesome lemonade recipe I use, check it out here:

http://www.marthastewart.com/267239/classic-lemonade

So, project #1 comes VERY highly recommended.

Another "pinspiration" I have put together is a weekly cleaning list. I don't know about you, but I find it very easy to get overwhelmed with thinking about cleaning my whole house and found that all to often I just give up and nothing actually gets cleaned. This has been especially true since our move and I was pregnant and already taking care of two other kids. Let's just say our house has been a bit under cleaned.

So, I decided to look around for cleaning schedules to try and get me cleaning again. I was hoping to find a template where I could tweak a list and personalize it to my home/family, but that doesn't seem to exist. Instead, I looked at some of the templates that are out there and then created my own specifically for our house and have started working off it.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I am no where near perfect in following it (yet, or maybe ever! lol), but it has definitely been a great help in reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed by the volume of cleaning that needs to get done. With this schedule, all the major things will get done once a week, which is frankly way better than what it has been!!

Here are some links to some weekly house-cleaning templates: 

http://time-warp-wife.blogspot.com/2010/09/home-maintenance-schedule.html

http://askannamoseley.com/2012/01/day-14-get-on-a-cleaning-schedule-free-printable/

http://time-warp-wife.blogspot.com/search/label/Printables (you have to scroll down a bit to get to this list)

So, even though this particular item is still a work in progress, I still highly recommend making a weekly cleaning schedule to help stay on top of your household chores.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summer of Pinterest

Do you Pinterest?

I do, and I'm quite happily addicted (a bit).

However, one of the things I've noticed with Pinterest is that it's really easy to just keep pinning things and then never get around to actually doing anything with them.

So... I had an idea that I would take advantage of the summer and actually try some of my pins. Novel idea, I know!!

My goal is to try one new pin every week during the summer. And, I might even up the anty and also try one new recipe, too, each week (but, I must not make it only sweets, cause I don't need to gain 20 pounds!! LOL).

Let's give it a try, shall we??

Here we go!!

Another Year, Another Baby

So, apparently, it's been about a year since I last posted anything one here.

Oops!!

Needless to say, the past year has not been boring. ..

Last September we found out that we were expecting another baby (when we still had a 10-month old). Surprise!!

We also (FINALLY!!!) sold our town-home and moved into a single-family house (with a yard!!) at the end of September. We LOVE our new house (especially the FOUR bedrooms - double what we had in the town-home). We are really pleased with the extra space, both inside and outside. We're also really enjoying the garage (especially in the winter - no more clearing off snow, yay!!).

We sold my car and got a new vehicle (a fully-loaded minivan) that would fit three kids and have room for a couple guests, as needed. Though I am still not a favor of being a mini-van mom, it has been a great car with three young children and has been exactly what we need right now. We even took the new car to TX for a test drive and it was a champ (and so were the kids, which was great).

Nathan changed schools and started going to the elementary school our new neighborhood filters into. He was a bit apprehensive at first, but warmed up to it really quickly (thank goodness). He has come so far in his schooling this year, and I am so proud of our big boy. He has caught up with his reading and no longer needs assistance and also no longer needs to have any more speech therapy. Yay!!

Our second baby girl, Abigail Grace, was born May 1 of this year. She was super comfortable inside Mommy and decided that she wasn't ready to join the rest of us by April 18 (her due date). She also decided that she did not want to share a birth month with me and waited until May to come (little stinker, lol!!). We (I) actually decided to give her an eviction notice on the 1st. Things were a bit crazy, but we won't get into that just now. Suffice it to say, she's here safe and sound.

We are all doing well and adjusting to the chaos and joy of life as a family of five. Nathan is done with school, so we are now officially on summer break. I suspect it will be a quiet one, but we will still have fun, no doubt! So, that about sums it up for the past year here. Never a dull moment, right?! :-)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Here's to a great summer

So, I have learned quite a few lessons here in the last five months.

One is: making any kind of resolution with a new baby on board is pretty much hogwash. Ha ha ha!!! Things here have been quite the roller coaster, and I would like to share more about that at a later date. For now, I will just give a quick update for where things are at the moment.

Nathan is officially in 1st Grade now!! Oh my goodness, how did that happen so quickly!? He finished Kindergarden a couple weeks ago and has been enjoying spending lots of time outside playing with the other kids in the neighborhood. Reminds me a lot of how I spent my summers: outdoors!! Love this!!! 

Rachel is now 6 months old!! She has done a ton of growing (90th percentile for height; 80th for weight!!). She is such a social little creature, talks your head off already if you will let her. :-) She is gonna have a lot to say, when she is able!! She is very curious about everything around her and HATES to be left alone anywhere. She's sitting up on her own and turning over. She has started showing signs that crawling is not too far off. Mercy me!!

We are still in our little town home, but we are finally getting around to doing some much-needed upgrades. As I write, the workers are pounding in the new hardwood floor on the main level. It looks awesome!! We are trying to see if we can find renters, but if we can't we will stick it out until next spring.

We have no big plans for the summer. Maybe some camping, going to Crested Butte a couple times. I'd love to try and get to TX sometime, but I don't know if that will happen this year. We'll see!!

Well, the kids are hungry, so I gotta go.

Happy Summer, Y'all!!! :-)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Daughter's Value

Last night, I found myself sitting on the couch having just put my son and husband (he had a terrible migraine) to bed. I was sitting there nursing my 7-week old daughter and turned on the television. The channel that came on was ABC and the show Celebrity Wife Swap was on. Don't judge. I was about to change the channel when I saw that it was the Ted Haggard episode. I was curious, so I watched a little bit of it. Again, don't judge. It was interesting, but in a way I think they did not intend.

In one of the scenes, they had the Haggard family (Ted and a few kids) sitting in their living room listening to the new rules set by the visiting wife. One of them was that Ted spend some one-on-one time getting tea/coffee with his (only) daughter. The visiting wife made this a "rule" based on a conversation she'd had with the daughter earlier in the week (didn't see that part of the show). Apparently, the daughter made a comment on how she didn't get to see or spend much time with her dad and she wished that was different.

I found it terribly sad that Ted's initial reaction to this suggestion was to get defensive, as did one of his younger sons, too. The poor daughter sat there for five minutes defending herself and trying to explain why she wanted to spend time with her dad. She said she felt like he was investing a lot of his time/energy into the church congregation and she felt like it was somewhat to the detriment of his relationships with his children. She was literally on the verge of tears because her dad and brother were trying to tell her that if she wanted to spend time with him she needed to "speak up more and just tell him." That really rubbed me the wrong way.

Well, they did go out for coffee and the daughter (sorry, I don't remember her name) was better able to express what she meant/needed from her dad, Ted. He again tried to put the blame on her by stating that he wasn't all that busy and she was the one who was working full-time and going to school full-time, also (oh yeah, did I mention that his daughter is 30?). In her defense (and the point of this blog), she explained that she needed her dad to pursue her and want to spend time with her. That there was not another man in her life that could help her feel valued by wanting to spend time with her. To his credit, Ted agreed with her at this point and said it would be an honor for him to do that for her.

Fathers and daughters.

This relationship has taken on a whole new dimension for me, now that I have a daughter. What Ted's daughter had to say really resonated with me. Fathers are so important to daughters and I don't know how many of them understand just exactly how vital their opinions/thoughts are to their little girls.

As I think about my relationship with my dad growing up, I realize that I want more for my daughter Rachel with her dad. I never spent much intentional one-on-one time with my dad growing up (there were 5 of us, and things were generally just nuts!), but I do remember when I did get the rare opportunity to be alone with him, it was special.

There has been loads of research done that has shown the value of a strong male role-model in the life of a little girl. It can impact her self-esteem and help her make better decisions when it comes to her value (especially around boys). It can also help guide her in determining the values/characteristics she wants in her future husband (if that is her desire).

I have seen the impact a lack of a father can have firsthand in some of my friends and the decisions they have made in their lives. It has made me so sad to see them settle for a guy who doesn't really seem to care for them but they feel they can do no better.

Again, I want better for my daughter. I want her to have a close relationship with her dad. To be able to talk to him about boys and anything else that is on her heart/mind. To get a better understanding of how she should be treated by other men (boys). I want her to settle for nothing less than the best. To know her worth and truly understand how valuable she is.

Oh, and I'm not just talking about her being daddy's little girl. I don't want her to be raised to be a spoiled little princess who always gets her way and has daddy wrapped around her finger. This goes WAY deeper than that. What I am talking about is having her realize she is truly, deeply loved and has a value that should not be wasted on the unworthy (don't throw your pearls before swine).

Now, I know that this cannot all be placed at the feet of my husband. That is entirely unfair. I know that I also have a large role in shaping her to be a Godly woman. I will also need to help her understand what it means to be a woman, to know her value and believe it. And I know that a lot of it will have to come from her own heart, too.

Rachel's belief in her value and worth must ultimately come from her relationship with Jesus. However, I do believe that her relationship with her parents will be critical in forming her values/beliefs about herself and her worth. This goes for my son, too.

As parents, we have a tremendous impact on the hearts and minds of our children. I think we need to start taking it more seriously and really open our eyes to see what we are showing them about their value by the way we act and speak towards them.

I have no idea if this blog even makes any sense. All I know is that when I watched that part of the show last night it made me sad. I do not want to see my daughter (at 30 years old) having to beg her dad to pursue her. To want to spend time with her. I hope that we will all want to see and spend time with each other as mush as we possibly can, because family is so important.

Simply put: I want my children to feel valued in my home and by their parents. May we all strive to do our best, by the grace of God, with His help!!

2012: A Resolution

So, we are a few days into 2012 already (can you believe that?!?!) and I have been thinking long and hard about what (if anything) I wanted to have as a resolution for this year.

Most years, I resolve to lose weight, or eat healthier or something like that. This year, since I just had a baby mere weeks ago and I will be nursing her most (or even all) of this year, I decided to take a break from the deprivation that often comes with a resolution like this. Granted, I will still focus on healthy eating, as it will be very beneficial for me and Rachel, but I will not put pressure around it by making it my resolution.

I did still want to have a goal for this year, so I had to think about what it was that I wanted to get better at/do more/get focused on. And you are looking at/reading it.

I want to blog more. It's something I've played around with for a while, but never been too serious/consistent with. This year, I resolve to change that. I want to make this blog more personal. More fun/creative. Document our fun family activities. Write down more of my thoughts on things.

Here we go!!

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I am married to an amazing man, who is also the love of my life. We have three kids who constantly keep me on my toes! God has richly blessed me and I am grateful for all He does for me.