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!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rediscovering God's Word

Yesterday I received the sweetest blessing.

A knock on the door in the afternoon and the UPS lady handed me a box. Inside...the new NIV devotional bible I have wanted so bad. Several of my favorite authors from Proverbs 31 Ministries wrote the daily devotions, and I love how each one speaks right to my heart. When this bible was released, I knew I wanted it. When I saw a friend have it in Sunday School, I wanted it even more! But, my stay at home/do not contribute financially to the home anymore status kept me from feeling like I could buy yet another bible (I own several already). Just for clarification, my sweet husband DOES NOT think this's just the silly voices in my own head that said that, not him! My heart was overwhelmed with gratitude that someone would purchase this for me. Thank you, Julie, you blessed me more than you will ever know :)

Of course I couldn't wait to dive right in last night! I made the mistake of jumping the gun and thinking I could sit down & read before my boys went to bed. Since it was a Monday night we had a little bit of Monday Night Raw in my living room floor with a 38,7 & 2 year old...I can't say I got much reading done then! But as soon as they were down I couldn't wait to crack it back open. Isn't there something so awesome about opening a new bible? I just feel like I have to start right back at Genesis 1 and relive all the awe of those first 7 days of creation. I *may* have also read 3 days of devotions as I excitedly flipped through those pages :)

I love that I'm at a place in my life now where I feel God's Word come alive when reading the bible. It wasn't always that way for me....well, really it still isn't always that way. Sometimes it feels so analytical & confusing, other times it a hard truth to hear...but more than not I'm encouraged these days at His promises. If you have not yet gotten to that place in your bible reading...don't stop! It will come. Try other versions of the bible, sometimes it's simply not the right reading style for you. Even though I'm a big fan of the NIV, I often find myself referencing a scripture in The Message or even KJV to help me understand it better. Read books that use God's Word to drive home the point. 99% of what I read is Christian books geared toward Marriage & Parenting - they all use scripture to support ideas. This was probably one of the best ways for me to get interested in getting into The Word when I was struggling.

Now, I want to know about your preferences!

Do you own this bible yet? Do you have another favorite?

Do you have a translation or paraphrase of the Bible that is your "go-to" reference?

Are you a rebel (like me!) and write or highlight in your bible?

Love & Hugs

Monday, May 6, 2013

Year 3...and still here!

On April 22, 2013 I celebrated my 3 year anniversary as a stay at home Mommy. YAY! The children are alive, I am not in the loony bin & Jason still enjoys coming home at night (I think?!).
Break out the champagne!

In all seriousness, the past two years that was a really big day for me...a chance for me to celebrate the victories, rejoice in all the ways I had seen God work in our lives, and plan for the future. This year however, was a little different. The past 9 months have been a bit more challenging for me...and I really don't know why. I have "mourned" the loss of my old life a little bit, not too much, but a bit. We have also lived in 8 months of almost solid transition...which is HARD, especially when your the one at home trying to just "roll with the punches". So to be honest, I just didn't feel like blogging on 4/22...much like many of the past 8 months. Maybe because I wasn't "feeling" the joy of it, maybe because I was being stubborn when God reminded me that he never promised an easy journey, maybe because I didn't want to admit that I wasn't enjoying every last minute of raising my children.

I think I'm ready to slowly reenter the blogisphere. I enjoy writing (even though I know it's not a strength of mine...that's OK, I'm not looking to publish anything, just a way to express "keep your day job" comments needed! he he) And as I look back at the 3rd year, I realize that even through the gunk & funk I've been in, I can still see the blessings. I can still feel God standing over my shoulder whispering "I'm not done yet, this isn't the end of this story, stick with me". So, I'm going to rejoice each time I see the blessings (like Jason being home everyday!) and I'm going to keep looking up when I feel the funk.

{glass raised}
Here's to another year of blessings, trials, prayers & love :)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

It's been awhile....

So, it's been awhile since I've actually blogged anything. I'm not totally sure why that is, outside of the fact that I've kinda been in a little funk. I've been so wrapped up in the day to day stuff, I just haven't been able to even fathom being creative enough to put my thoughts together. I'm hoping to change that...hoping to get back to a semi-regular posting schedule. Mainly because it's therapeutic for me, but also because it's how I chronicle my kids lives! And they are going to wonder what these big gaps are! ha! (sorry bud...we just slept through 1st grade?!)

Quick updates...

  • Jason is very much enjoying the new job. He's been there for 8 months and has gotten pretty comfortable with his new assignments. He's been on a 3-11 shift for the past 3 months and has Mon/Tues off. That's hard because he & Cole are never home an entire day together. I'm hoping once summer comes that we will feel better about the schedule :) He usually works 2-3 16 hour shifts a week which is nice, easy extra money for us. I'm excited to be paying off some of the bills we've had for the past year. 
  • Cole is so close to being done with first grade, he just can barely stand it :) He has progressed father than we could have ever much so he's going into 2nd grade with no additional supports at all. YAY!!! I'm also excited because my girlfriend is moving grades next year and will be his teacher. I think he will love her & it will be fun to see what new excitement she brings to school for him. Cole is also playing baseball this year, after 2 years of TBall he was sure he wanted to move on. This is the first year of the pitching machine, Mom's nervous. We will see how it goes. It's fun that Jason gets to help out, he's never had a schedule that allowed him to be involved before. 
  • Jacob is my 2.5 year old, full of energy, always climbing something, happy boy! He's that child that secured in my mind "yes, we are done having babies" :) Bless his heart, he is sweet as can be - but he is exhausting too. While we were nervous a little before his first birthday about speech, he has since blown away all age appropriate milestones and has left us with no concerns about his development. (his ability to tear the house down, that's another story!) Because he is not behind in any developmental area, and he has a late birthday, he won't be eligible for our public preschool program until Fall 2014! While it excites me to have all that time left with him before he goes off to school, I also know he needs to get acquainted with outside adult influences as well. ie..he's stuck to Mom's leg like glue 99% of the time :) So we are exploring options for after he turns 3. 
  • And I'm still plugging along at home :) I just experienced my 3 year anniversary being a stay at home Mommy, and I definitely wouldn't change my decision to stay home. I will say that the last 9 months have been more challenging than I would have liked...but I know it's just a season and it these times will come & go. I have had the pleasure of being involved in a large book launch this year, as well as several events at church. I am so blessed to still be able to use my skill set in ministry. 
If there is something specifically you want to hear more about, please let me know. 

Soon you will see our Teacher Appreciation & Mother's Day projects, along with some home renovation we have going on. 

And recipes...of course I'll be back to recipes soon :) 

Love & Hugs,