Thursday, October 6, 2016

A letter to my Firstborn, on his 11th Birthday...

Eleven years ago today I sat in a hospital room nervous & completely unsure we were ready for this ride as parents. You were prayed for & planned (down to the day you were born, literally), and loved before you ever entered this big world. At 5:55pm you made me a Mommy & opened my eyes to a whole new way to love. You gave your Dad the greatest gift he has ever received. You were the first Grandchild, Great-Grandchild & Great-Great were so very loved from the moment we saw your sweet face. 

No one ever really knows what parenting will be like until you step into that role. I never knew I could love so much it physically hurt. I never knew I could fight as hard as I did for someone else's life. I never imagined that one day I would trade in all my dreams for much bigger one, the dreams for my Son. (and I never knew this Mama had so much crazy in her until it came to protecting her boy!) For now, all of this is just words...bigger words than you will be able to understand. But one day, one day you will have a child of your own and it will all make sense. I'm already praying about that day for you...about the man you will be & the husband & father you will become. Because it will be here before we know it. Yesterday you were jumping in my arms & calling me Pea Pie....and then I blinked and you were in 5th Grade, and independent and strong boy, with a heart for humanity. And all too soon I'm going to open my eyes again, and you will be standing in front of me a man, ready to leave my nest and head out into that great big world. 

Yes I know...I hear you....I know you think I'm over the top about birthdays (and likely a few more things, but that's for a different post, at a different time! ha!). Your Dad & brother think I'm a little crazy too ;) But let's face it child...this is what you've got to live with for the rest of my life, so buckle up and enjoy your Mom's crazy ride. I will always be over the top for you. I will always celebrate your accomplishments and your milestones. I will always be grateful the God chose me to be your Mom, and gave me the opportunity to experience this ride with you. 

Today you celebrate all the fun milestones that are part of entering that "tween" stage in life. You have a little more freedom than you once did, you've earned it with how responsible and respectful you've become. You have more responsibilities than you've ever had before....and you handle them well. It's a privilege and a joy for me to celebrate YOU. All you are today. All that I know you will be. God has amazing plans for your life, Cole. My prayer is that you embrace that. In your life, be like your hard and then play hard. Try to remember a few of your Mom's lessons about how to love & respect those special people in your life. When you are overwhelmed or stressed, think about how you are your little brother's absolute Hero...his day starts & stops with you. And always, always remember to enjoy something about ever day of your life. It's a gift. 

All my love (and my crazy), 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Your invited...First Sunday!

This week I have been tired! Coming back from a quick trip with the kids, taking down Christmas deco and trying to just get my house reorganized has been exhausting....but I know rest is coming :) I love when I get to turn the calendar to January & see the first Sunday of the new year.

November & December are always hard months for us with church attendance. There is so much going on with school, work, holiday & family that by the time Sunday morning rolls around we find ourselves sleeping rather than rising. Every Saturday we vow to do better, and every Sunday we beat ourselves up for turning off the alarm...again. We feel the toll the distance from our church family takes on our spiritual & emotional life. And by the end of December it's always one of our families biggest get back on track! 

Even though I've been at church a lot over the past two months serving in various ministries, I miss being in that pew for service, I miss being in Sunday school with my friends, I miss having those dedicated moments of fellowship together. 

One of the most popular verses in the bible is Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." My interpretation of this verse..."Jenny, come back to me, come back to Sunday fellowship, and I will release you of the guilt you feel". See even though there may be a few people in those pews who are judgmental about where you've been these last weeks...God will embrace you with open arms and welcome you back to His church. And he doesn't care if it's the first Sunday, or the fifth Thursday...any day, any time, you are always welcome. I always see the first Sunday of the new year as God's big invitation to a wonderful happens every single week, and your never on the black list!

No matter what you've had come up, how long it's been since you've been to church, or how far away you feel from God...know you can always come back. And in my opinion, there's no better time to start than this week :)

And if this "snowpacolypse" hits this week and we don't make it to church on Sunday morning...God will be waiting for me again the next Sunday....but I really hope it doesn't :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Has it really been 8 months?

Blogging is always on my mind. I love to write, and especially love to write about my family...but boy have I been slacking!

I'm not sure why, but 2013 seemed to be especially hard on me creatively. I had so many things I wanted to do...but very little I actually accomplished. I spent most of the year feeling behind in every part of my life, and like I was failing in the big parts (ie...being a Mom!). I struggled to get into a good groove with my daily chores because Jason was home everyday until 2pm, and our evenings felt busy, tense & not so enjoyable.

One of my biggest priorities for 2014 is FAMILY FIRST! I'm even hashtagging #familyfirst2014 on Facebook & Instagram to track my progress :) Feel free to join me if your a hashtagger too!

Speaking of Family...Seriously, how adorable are my 3 boys?!
Good grief,  I could just eat them up :D

My goals this year are pretty simple...
1) Work on getting myself & my family healthier
2) Spend less time focusing on things outside my family, and more time on the people I'm called to care for
3) Carve out regular time for Date Nights & Me Time ... so that the time I'm pouring into my family is happy...not crabby!

While the goals themselves are simple...I fear execution is going to be harder than I think! I've never really been one to make (or stick too!) resolutions, but I know that I would really like to make some head way on these.

Stay tuned :)

Love & Hugs,

Monday, May 13, 2013

Special Mother's Day Gift

Goodness I love a sweet, homemade gift! Cole brought me home this book on Friday. He was so excited he could not wait until Sunday to give it to me.

Just last week I saw this, and it melted my heart. Then Cole brought this home & it made me smile. Pizza & Green are his favorites for sure...which I guess means they are mine :) he he

Special thanks to the Teachers for making this a priority. I appreciate it so much!

What awesome homemade goodies did your kiddos bring home?

Love & Hugs, 

Homemade Fruit Snacks

My kids love fruit snacks, but I hate them! So I searched Pinterest for a few days looking for options to make homemade ones, after making a few changes & adjustments I settled on this one.

  • 2/3 Cup Fresh Orange Juice (lemon juice if you like sour gummies)
  • 2/3 Cup Fresh or Frozen Berries (I like the triple berry blend, strawberries, raspberries & blueberries - but a plain berry would work just fine!)
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 4TBSP (or 4 small packets out of the Knox brand) Original Gelatin - unflavored
Pour juice and berries into a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until berries become tender & begin to soften. 
Add honey & stir until completely incorporated. You will want the fruit to dissolve quite a bit until you have a compote - but it will still be thin. I like to smash the berries a little during this step to really let the flavors infuse. 
Puree in blender (Vitamix is THE BEST!) until it's a smooth liquid. 
Allow to set for 5-10 minutes, with the lid off the blender. 
Add in gelatin, 1tbsp at a time, mixing in between each tbsp added. You want your gelatin to be completely dissolved. 
Immediately pour into a pan. I used a smaller 7x11 pan I have and it worked great. 
Put into refrigerator for 30 minutes (I didn't even cover mine) then remove & cut. For the size pan I used I got 66 squares...6x11 cuts. I wanted them to be small squares to just hand to the kids. 

Nutritional Info (based on 7x11 pan), 1 small square
  • 6 Calories
  • 1 Carb
  • 0 Fat
  • 0 Protein
  • >1g Sugar!!
So even if you let your kids have 10 squares
  • 60 Calories
  • 10 Carbs
  • 0 Protein
  • >10g Sugar
and compared to Kellogg's...

Kellogg's - Fruit Snacks

Calories70Sodium5 mg
Total Fat0 gPotassium0 mg
Saturated0 gTotal Carbs17 g
Polyunsaturated0 gDietary Fiber0 g
Monounsaturated0 gSugars13 g
Trans0 gProtein1 g
Cholesterol0 mg  
Here's the ingredient list copied directly from Kellogg's website...

I'm not even sure I know what half of those ingredients are?! And, these are a whole lot cheaper! 

Here's what mine looked like after 30 min in the fridge...

As you can see, they are really good size!

You could totally get cute & do these in silicone molds, but for me squares work just fine :) 

Do you make homemade fruit snacks? Share your recipe if you do! And if you try these, I would LOVE to know what you think of them!

Love & Hugs, 

Friday, May 10, 2013

What I'm reading

It's no secret that I love to read....especially anything that I think will give me new, fresh ideas. You won't often find me wrapped up in a romance novel...but a self-help book, yep I could curl up all day with that one :)

Here's what I've recently read....

All three are excellent books & I highly recommend them!

Next up is....

I'm super excited to dive into this one. Dr. Leman is one of my all time favorite authors & speakers. He offers real life, practical advice with a seasoning of humor needed to deal with tough situations. Some of his best books (I think) involve a retired man talking about keeping your sex life alive. Seriously hilarious!

What are you reading?

Love & Hugs,

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. I hope you have wrote a note, purchased a gift or baked a goodie to send in to your child's teacher. If you haven't...don't fret! You still have tomorrow :)

Anyone who knows me, knows how important my son's education is. We have had countless teachers, support staff, therapists & administrators impact our lives in the short 6 years we have been a part of the public school system, and it's important to me to honor them during this special week!

Beacuase we are part of a very small school (in a larger district) I like to do something special for ALL the teachers & support staff in the school. With the amount of lower income families in our area, many teachers don't always get that special little token during this week to say "thank you", so I work hard every year to find something for everyone. It usually has to be inexpensive because we don't have unlimited funds to buy 40 gifts, but with the help of Pinterest, I have succeeded two years in a row with great little gifts!

Last year I made these adorable water bottles. They were a huge hit :)

This year I decided to try some type of snack, and who doesn't love a donut!

I've seen some adorable posts on Facebook of what some of my friends have done for Teacher Appreciation Gifts. I would love to know what YOU did too!