Friday, November 15, 2013

Five for Friday

Five things from around the web that I'm loving right now...

Photo Credit
Male or female, married or single, if you read one thing this weekend...make it this

Photo Credit: Ramin Talaie, Getty Images
And have you read about how Batkid saved San Francisco today?

winter minestrone& garlic bruschetta
Photo Credit
This soup is on the stove for tonight and it is delicious 

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Stepping back...yes, this is good

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And finally, last weeks yourself a favor and listen

Have a blessed weekend!

In Him,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy (almost) Fall...Y'all

While autumn's official first day isn't until the 22nd, today is the first day that feels like fall. It's cool, crisp and over cast. With a high of 59 and mid day rain showers, I believe today is the day to welcome back all things autumn...riding boots, down vests and cozy plaid flannel...warm soups, stews, chili and mugs of steaming cider. I am ready.

In honor of fall's unofficial welcome back I thought I'd share some of our autumnal decor. I have very few fall decorations, mostly because I like to keep the storage of such things to a minimum. What I do have is not overly "Halloween-y" but rather simply fall decor that can easily transition from Halloween to need to do separate decorating for both holidays. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Most of my decorations come from the produce department at the grocery store. You can find so many gourds in beautiful shapes and colors that will look beautiful on your mantle now and taste delicious in a soup later. The good Lord certainly makes the best seasonal decorations and they are so practical and frugal. Yay.

I also like to shop the house. Metal containers with a pretty patina, mason jars, baskets and wooden crates all make great additions to fall vignettes. If you need to add height to a table scape try a book or a whole stack of them. Cover books with brown craft paper (or simply an old brown grocery sack) to make them blend with your decor.

While there will certainly be more pretty pumpkins and gorgeous gourds to grace our mantle and tables in the weeks to come, here's what we've got so far...

I just love this quote. What would the world be with out Octobers?

Our "mantle"
Note the patinaed silver bucket...snagged for $2.99 at the Goodwill and it actually hides tiny doll house pieces for the doll house that sits on the trunk below (see previous picture)...score one for form and function!
Isn't that green squash so pretty?
Simple table-scape (minus the mini pumpkins that have become a new favorite toy around here)
That Indian corn (Native American corn?) has held up for four years now
And this goofy guy. My mom painted him years ago. After Halloween I'll turn the face to the back.
Well, happy fall...y'all! What are your favorite fall decorating tips and tricks?

In Him,

Thursday, May 23, 2013

{Book Review} Simplicity Parenting

It feels rare these days to say that I've finished a book, cover to cover. At least a book that doesn't rhyme or have pictures on every page.

Just last week I finished reading the book Simplicity Parenting by by Kim John Payne. The subtitle really sums up the premiss of the book well, "using the extraordinary power of less to raise calmer, happier, and more secure kids." It is chalk full of wonderful insight on how simplifying life, our material possessions and schedules, as well as creating routine and filtering out the "voice" of the outside world (i.e. via TV, computers etc.) will aid us as parents in raising our children.
He writes from 20+ years as both a school and family counselor and has a strong back ground in the Waldorf education movement. His first hand examples of changed families are compelling and he offers up much practical advice that can be implemented immediately.

Now, before I go ahead and recommend this book I must first say that Kim John Payne is NOT writing from a Christian world view. His book is heavy with a secular, humanist world view and, as a Christian, I had to be careful to read with a scrutinizing eye and a Biblical lens.  At times his views and opinions need to be disregarded but on a whole I feel that there is much to take away and apply.

As I read I felt that this is not so much a book about developing our parenting philosophy but rather a book about creating an environment in which our parenting philosophy can be more easily and intentionally implemented. Or, as he puts it, "As clutter and overwhelm find their way out the door and a less frenetic pace takes hold, your parenting will become less inflamed, too...The family center that is built with consistency...helps parents become more centered in their discipline. It builds a trust that makes a child a willing "disciple"..." (emphasis mine) It's funny how this reference to disciple is in now way meant in the Biblical context but it is exactly what I had been thinking as I read. I want to disciple my children in the Lord and this book has shown me (and Nick) some great practical steps to take to create a calm and uncluttered environment to do just that.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:4-7

In Him,

*All links are Amazon Affiliate links*

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Road Trip

UPDATE: This was posted in October 2012...not quite sure what I did to make it repost at the top...or how to get it back to where it was. Ohh, technology! Looking at it, it kinda feels like forever ago since we live here now. Enjoy it anyway!

We just recently got back from a wonderful long weekend road trip to Bend, Oregon. We survived the drive (it really wasn't as bad as I let my imagination tell me it would be) and our time in Bend was so refreshing. Here, in pictures, is our little vacation...

Running off some late night energy at the rest stop

Tennis shoes over jammies...the latest look in fall fashion

Pit stop near Mount Shasta for lunch...beautiful
Trying out big sister's snow hat, car seat and snack trap
Lunch time!
Our little squirrel gathering acorns
The beautiful Deschutes River runs right through Bend
Downtown near our vacation quaint
Playing on the lawn
Collecting (and eating) leaves
Evidence that I was there
Ready for the 14 hour trip home!
Family vacations are fun!!

The trip was delightfully low key. We visited with family, took some walks, went to church and took the girls to the local pool. We really didn't get too many more pictures than this. I guess we were too wrapped up in having fun and enjoying the sweet family time.

In Him,

Stuff Charlie Says, Vol. 2

On forgiveness:
Charlie: "Mommy, I forgive you."
Me: "Why do you forgive me."
Charlie: "Because I kicked Annie, but I forgive you."

On hair accessories:
"I'm getting too hot in my headband."

On witnessing:
Charlie: "We are going to the comp store."
Me: "Comp store? What's at the comp store?"
Charlie: "People who don't beleive Jesus."
Me: "Oh no! What can we do?"
Charlie: "Nothing except God."
Me: "Well, could we tell them about Jesus?"
Charlie: "No."

On other things Moses may have said:
"Let my people wear sweatpants!"

On noodles:
"I like 'em chewy. They tickle my teeth when they are chewy."

In Him,

Photo by the incredible Lisa Armstrong at Tumbleweed Studios. I highly recomend her to any locals!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Five for Friday

It's Friday friends! Here's a bloggy high five for making it through the week...

It's hard to believe that today is the first day of March. Where did the first two months of the year go? Easter is on the 31st and it's so important to start thinking and planing now if we don't want this special season to pass us by in the business. So here is a round up of ideas to prepare you're family for Holy Week and look past the eggs and bunnies to see...He is risen indeed!

1. I made this felt Holy Week banner for Charlie last year and I look forward to doing it again with her now that she is able to comprehend more of the story. It is really so inexpensive and easy to sewing required! And, if you really don't want to craft it, you're in luck...pop on over to Etsy and purchase one! You should get it in time if you order soon!
2. This blog is full of great ideas to point children toward Christ this Easter. Charlie and I made the water color cross the other day (a very simple but pretty project).  But the best take away from this blog post was the wise insight into teaching our young ones about the events on Calvary..."One of the most important things at this age is to NEVER leave Jesus on the cross..." Click over to read more!
3. How about some great ideas for each day of Holy Week? Search "Easter" on this blog for some other great ideas too!

4. How about egging the homes of friends and neighbors this Easter season? It's a simple and fun way to spread the message of the gospel. Get the free printable and consider adding a tract.
5. This last one, while for adults only, would be a great Good Friday tradition to begin.

Have a blessed weekend friend!

In Him,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stuff Charlie Says, Vol. 1

In prayer:
"...and thank you God for Annie's birthday, and thank you for her being soooo one. Amen."
On nature:
"I just want to hug a tree! I just want to play with a tree!"
On growing up:
"When I am a mommy I can wear earring and eat gum."
On interior decorating:
Charlie - "We need more furniture? Maybe they have ballerina furniture!"
Mommy - "What does ballerina furniture look like?"
Charlie - whispers "Pink! And flower starlight!"
On self image:
"Can I play my ballerina puzzle before bed, because I'm sweet and lovely and cute and a ballerina?"

Hope you're day is full of flower starlight!

In Him,

Friday, February 15, 2013

{Five Minute Friday} Beloved

Five Minute Friday
Today I am linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. So I'm writing for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. The topic this week is Beloved...

The pictures started popping up at the beginning of the week...Facebook photos of roses on her desk at work, a beautiful mixed bouquet on her dinning room table. Each time a picture showed up in my news feed I would wonder...will I get a bouquet this year from my beloved?

I resolved that no, I would not, since my beloved is such a practical man. Cut flowers are a waste it's better to buy a live potted plant that we can put in the yard. And I agree and it is true, bouquets are simply not practical. And I've loved the beautiful flowering hydrangias and graceful maiden hair ferns I've received (he knows my favorites.) But a boquet of flowers. There's something about the waste, the frivolity, the impracticality of them that says, "I love you."

And then he comes home from work, the day before the day. And my beloved, he presents me with roses. Not potted up in dirt but cut, with beautiful long stems, a bouquet of cream colored roses. I tear up. Silly, that these dozen blooms do that. But my beloved knows me. He knows I love these sweet smelling stems and he puts aside his practical side to bless his beloved.

In Him,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

And the the baby turned one...

 Well, she did it. Annalise went and turned one! No longer a baby, she's now a silly sweet little bundle of toddler. To celebrate the big one, we had a little party with both sets of grandparents in town. While her dinner party lasted only a few hours she partied hard for about a week straight with so much love from Grammy, Grandpa, Nanny and Papa during their visit.
 We decked the house in pink and white. Charlie helped make the circle garland and stamped some snowflake cookie cutters for our table center piece. Isn't she crafty? :)
 We put out some clear jars and bowls of pink and white candies: Good and Plenty (am I the only one who loves these?) and M&Ms and Hershey's Kisses (I bought Valentine's day packs of the M&Ms and Kisses and picked out all the red ones.)
For dinner we had every toddler's favorite meal...Macaroni and Cheese! A very delicious and grown up version with Gruyere and Cheddar. It. Is. The. Best. (Find the recipe at the bottom of the post) And there was salad, and such a great (and affordable) bottle of red wine from here.
 There were presents of course...plenty of noisy, glitters, wonderful presents.
 And of course the cake! I wanted a pink cake so I made the Smitten Kitchen pink lady cake. I substituted raspberries for strawberries, it was delicious but the raspberries made for a purple cake...oops! Also, rather than make it three layers I made it two and used the rest to make Ann her own little heart shaped smash cake and some cupcakes.
Clearly, she is so excited to be one...and we are excited too! We love you Anna-wiggles!

And, as promised, here's the crowd pleasing Mac and Cheese recipe...

Barefoot Contessa's Mac &Cheese

Vegetable Oil
1 Pound elbow macaroni
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
½ cup all purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (3 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (3 cups)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ cups fresh sourdough bread crumbs (use food processor to make bread crumbs)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add macaroni and cook
according to directions on the package. Better to be a little al dente. Drain

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6
tablespoons of butter in a large (4 quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over
low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot
milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off
the heat, add the Gruyere, cheddar, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked
macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh
bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 25 minutes, or until
the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni/bread crumbs are browned on the top.

To make ahead, put the macaroni & cheese in the baking dish, cover, and
refrigerate until ready to bake. About ½ hr. to 45 minutes prior to baking,
remove from fridge and let macaroni & cheese come to room temperature.
Put the bread crumbs on top and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes. Enjoy!

In Him,

Friday, January 11, 2013 much to be thankful for

Taking a moment to recount the many blessings of 2012...
Excited anticipation...
now a family of four.
Sweet little hands learning to help in the kitchen
A toddler's treasures
Time remembering the cross...our brokenness redeemed
Learning to help mommy...folding
First experiences...toes in the sand
Special meals for special people
Father's Day surprises
Carefree summer fun...concerts in the park
Exploring our big backyard
Glorious, creative, playful...messes
A garden's abundant bounty
Diaper clad garden helpers
Our own rose garden much reading
More helping hands...and and extra helping of cinnamon
Surprises in the garden...unexpected gourds
A bushel Gravensteins...and the comfort of homemade apple sauce
Sister giggles in homemade tents
Dancing holes into favorite pajamas
Exploring God's oceanic handiwork
A backyard birthday bash
Collections...special treasures
More art...and sun streaming warm through the kitchen window
Carving out family memories
Giving much to be thankful for
Lively girls...too quick for the camera
The story of Christ come down (and princesses)
Ballerina bakers...Christmas cookies
Sick days with Little Bear
Gingerbread and time with church family
New ballet slippers, so much dancing
A new home...Bend, Or
In Him,