Friday, January 31, 2014

Project 365: #4

Here are some sweet pictures of some sweet girls :)

Day 24:

Hot chocolate and peppermint marshmallows.  Note all of the chairs set up in a line on the right.  That was their tightrope :)

Day 25:

I made cupcakes for a friend's baby shower, and Leah was my chatty helper!

Day 26:

My friend, Nancy, got the girls these super cute hair flowers!  The middles say Big Sis, Middle Sis, and Little Sis!  They LOVE them!

Day 27:

Just talking about what to do after our Ramona Toothpaste Activity.

Day 28:

We made some puppy chow, so Mags was dustbustering up some residual powdered sugar.

Day 29:

A girl and her chinchilla making some bracelets.

Day 30:

This was my view as I was putting supper in the crockpot.  I love the view :)

Have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Things I Like

Here are some lovely things I've seen online lately!

Leah and Gracie are going to be switching rooms one of these days (hopefully sooner than later), and I'd love to get this print for what will be Leah's new room!

The print is from Naptime Diaries Shop.  Most of the prints in my kitchen are from this shop.  I think her designs are beautiful!

Do you need a good laugh?  Check out the reviews for this 5 pound bag of sugar free gummi bears!

My favorite is the one titled "Do not bring to sporting events!"  I laughed until I cried!  I'm sure a vast, vast amount of these are fiction, but they are seriously, seriously funny!

I read this great blog post about how our love for God should motivate us, and praying to have that be true in our hearts.

This is a great devotional site!

She Reads Truth has just started a devotional series on the Gospel and I've really been enjoying it!  Check it out!

This blog post has a great tip about developing special, one-on-one time with each of your children.

And, last but certainly not least, this cheesecake from Mel's Kitchen Cafe is going to be the first dessert I make (to enjoy in moderation, of course :)) when I'm done with The Whole 30.


I'd say that's a worthy indulgence!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Whole 30 Menu and Update: Week 4!!!

I'M ON THE HOME STRETCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I might be a little excited.

I don't ever want my little blog to present my life as anything that it's not, so in the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that making this menu was really hard.  I was almost crying trying to figure out food I could make that everyone in my family wouldn't hate.

Notice that I'm not even shooting for food that everyone would like.  I'm just shooting for not hating at this point.  

I feel good about this menu, though.

In more full disclosure, I was almost pushed over the edge when I made a salad for lunch yesterday and the lettuce was bitter.

In the last bit of full disclosure, I might go off plan on the Superbowl.  

And, you know what?

That's OK!

I'm the mom and I make the rules and I've eaten freaking paleo for 21 stinking days and that's good.  

So, IF I decide to add a little honey to the salad dressing I make, the world won't end.

Whole 30 Paleo Menu with Links

Wednesday, January 29  Balsamic Garlic Pork Tenderloin potatoes or rice for my family, sweet potatoes for me with salad and veggies (we didn't end up having it on Monday)

Thursday, January 30  Chicken in Crockpot (ghee instead of butter, no sugar)

Friday, January 31  Pizza for my people Soup for me

Saturday, February 1  Chicken Soup (I'm making it up)  Crockpot Mocha Rubbed Pot Roast

Sunday, February 2  leftovers and A Very Paleo Superbowl (not sure what that'll involve yet, but there may be some of these)

Monday, February 3  Chicken Salad (using homemade mayo and chicken from Thursday)

Tuesday, February 4  Lasagna Soup (I won't add cheese or noodles to mine) 

Wednesday, February 5  Crockpot Thai Chicken (use this recipe for peanut vinaigrette, subbing unsweetened applesauce for sugar, light olive oil for canola oil, and sun butter for peanut butter, and coconut aminos for soy sauce)

Thursday, February 6  Chimichurri Steak Kabobs (even if we have them on Sunday, they'd be worth having again!)

Then I'm done!

Menus from Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ramona Toothpaste Activity

It's been cold...reeeeeeally cold.

I'm one of those people who actually likes winter, and even I think it's cold.

It was so cold I didn't want to take the girls out on Monday to go grocery shopping which is totally a Monday activity in my life.

I ran out to pick up a few things on Sunday and swung by the dollar store to get what I needed for a fun activity on Monday.

We started out the morning by watching Ramona and Beezus.  It's actually the first movie that Leah saw in the movie theater.  I genuinely like it, too!

After the movie, we got out our Ramona and Her Mother book and read the chapter (chapter 2 or 3, I can't remember!) where Ramona is mad and to release some anger, she squeezes out an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink.  

Who doesn't want to squeeze out an entire tube of toothpaste?

Ramona Toothpaste Activity

I'll let you guess what I picked up at the dollar store :)

I grabbed 1 tube of toothpaste for each girl. 

I chose to get a dark colored tablecloth so that there would be a lot of contrast between the tablecloth and the white toothpaste.  

I also dug into our closet and got some "tools."

Obviously sponge brushes and Qtips aren't actually tools, but they sure are fun to use on toothpaste!

I made sure to tape the tablecloth to the table so it wouldn't slide around and make a mess.

I had the girls push up their sleeves, pull back their hair, and dive right in!

They did lots of different things with the toothpaste!

There were some hand prints

and drawing and writing!

They had a lot of fun! 

Doesn't Maggie just adorably ooze happiness and excitement!?!

They sure left their mark!

I'd say this kept them busy for a good 45 minutes.  

I liked that I could just un-tape the tablecloth and throw the mess away...easy peasy!

You might be wondering what I would do differently the next time we play with toothpaste...

I'd get an extra tube of toothpaste so I could do it, too!  

I mean, seriously, doesn't that look like so much fun?!

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Firstborn Oldest

Yes, the title is redundant.  I did it for emphasis :)

One of the things I love about Leah are her contrasts.

She is ridiculously creative and imaginative and is equally committed to accuracy and rules and a literal take on all the things.

That whole accuracy thing?  She gets it from her firstborn accurate mom :)

For example, I've mentioned Leah's love for all things The Sound of Music.

She loves it with the precision and accuracy of a German Austrian engineer...all the way down to the hair style :)

Did you notice how she's standing with her hands behind her back?  Yep, that's how the Von Trapp children case you were wondering!

So, you can imagine my delight when she brought this paper home from school a few weeks ago.  It totally exemplifies the way she sees things through the lens of a firstborn child committed to literal accuracy!

Yep, she's comparing herself to the main character in the book.

My very favorite is the one on the bottom...

Yes...Heidi Heckelbuck is in a book.  


Not in a book :)

Have a literally awesome day!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Project 365: #3

Here are some more!

Day 17:

The book section at Walmart is the best part!  I hardly ever take them by the toys.  Why?  Because I am not a crazy person ;)

Day 18:

All of us in one place while I am folding the laundry that Aaron washed and dried!

Day 19:

Leah is doing a report on chinchillas for school, so we got her this stuffed animal.  She loves it, and leaves him with a clementine every day when she goes to school so he can eat :)

Nobody likes a negligent chinchilla owner..

Day 20:

Steph helped me organize the hall closet the night before this picture was taken; I just like to admire it!  Now nothing falls on me when I open it!  I feel like someone could take a nap on that bottom shelf if they felt like it.

Day 21:

Small group supper time!  And, yes, I still have Maggie's birthday decorations up from December 2.  I should really get on that.

Day 22:

I made a meal for someone and they sent me flowers to say thank you!  I was so surprised and happy.

Day 23:

Baby, it's cold outside!

Have a great weekend, and try not to turn into an icicle or anything like that :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Comparing Yourself = Disaster

There are some women who can't spend time on pinterest because seeing all of the fun projects, yummy foods, stylish outfits, and beautifully decorated homes reminds them of all of the things they aren't doing and all of the ways they don't measure up.

I'm not one of those women.  Generally speaking, I don't look at other people and see all of the ways I'm not measuring up to them.  I prefer to compare myself to the perfect version of myself that exists in my brain.  Also unhealthy.  

Also not what I'm talking about :)

I tend to compare my difficulties to the difficulties of others and end up feeling ridiculous for having a hard time.

For example, Aaron worked all day Sunday and Monday, and the big girls had off school on Monday.  Plus, they've all been coughing nonstop.  

About the coughing: primarily I feel bad for them, because nobody wants to be coughing that much.  Very secondarily, I'm tired of listening to coughing.  

I am under no illusions that the second sentiment qualifies me for a mother of the year award.

It also bears mentioning that Gracie has been pestering her sisters

And if it was her job, she would be getting a raise, because she's so darn good at it.  

That girl is effective.

I feel like I should tell you that they are nice to each other, too, and that Gracie mostly keeps her pestering to between the hours of 3 pm and 5 know, when I'm making dinner.

Aaaaaaanyway, I was feeling slightly overwhelmed with the thought of Aaron being gone that extra time (which really isn't even that much; I just like being around him).

So, I think to myself, it's not that bad.  Single moms do this day in and day out.  Military wives deal with their husbands being gone and in harms way.  My husband is training college students how to talk to their friends about Jesus.  Pull yourself together!

There's an element of truth in there.  I'm huge on choosing my attitude and choosing thankfulness, so that's a good thing.

I am thankful that Aaron is at church and not in combat.  

But, when I decide to just Mom UP (you know, like Man Up, except I'm a Mom and not a man...I made that up myself :)) and put on a happy face, put my head down and push through the hard time, I'm not relying on Jesus.

Just like the times when I think to myself, how dare I internally complain about my girls talking nonstop when they've never needed speech therapy.  

How dare I become irritated by them saying my name over and over and over and over and over again when there are mommies who have never heard their 4 year old child say "mama" even once.

Dealing with a (dramatic) child with a lingering cough is nothing compared to loving a son or daughter who is going through chemotherapy or facing multiple (or even one) surgeries.

I have no business being frustrated by their little sibling spats because they have siblings. I've never dealt with infant loss, miscarriage, or infertility.  I've had all of the blessing and none of the heartache in that department.

Really?  Is it reasonable to be so very annoyed by hitting my head on the cupboard door that I left open?  I should just be thankful that we have a nice, warm, safe house.

Being irritated by them constantly asking for snacks after school is so silly when we have all of the food we need.

I could go on and on about all of the ways I rationalize with myself.  

Here's the problem though: Just Momming Up Doesn't Work.

When I parent or rationalize or, you know, just live life in my own strength, I fail every single time.

And while Jesus wants me to have a good attitude and He wants me to be thankful, He really wants me to be depending on Him to do it.

Just because other people have more difficult difficulties than I do, doesn't mean that I need to shoulder the burden alone.

Instead of rationalizing myself with a heavy dose of guilt, what I really need to do is see Jesus in the mix.

Instead of making myself feel guilty because I'm impatient over something little compared to someone else, I need to invite Jesus in. are patient with me when I am stubborn.  Please forgive my impatience and fill me with the patience that You have.

Jesus...I'm sorry that I want to give up and not be consistent when disciplining my daughter.  You persevered through unfathomable agony up to and through being on the cross.  I need You to carry me as I persevere.  I can't do this on my own.

Jesus...I worry about things with and for my girls.  Please remind me that my daughters are worth more than the tiny little birds that You care for and that you have a good plan for them.

Or, what it lacks in being articulate, it makes up for in heartfelt sincerity:  Help!  I need You!

Obligatory cute picture that has nothing to do with the content :)
And about Aaron being gone on Sunday and Monday:  we were fine!  I may have been begging God for help when I was in the shower on Sunday morning :)  

Steph came over on Sunday afternoon and hung out with us until Aaron came home.  I was grateful to have her help and company!  Plus, we even organized a messy closet!  

Bri came running errands out of town with me and the girls on Monday.  She did all of the reaching and behavior managing in the car, and lots of hand holding in the parking lots and stores.  I was so thankful to have her help and company, too!

Additionally, I thought Aaron wasn't going to be home on Monday until after the girls went to bed, but he was home at 6:15.

Today instead of rationalizing, I say we Jesus.

Instead of Momming Up, I vote we look up and keep our eyes on Jesus.

Instead of living in guilt, let's remember that we're infinitely better walking in grace

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Whole 30 Menu and Update: Week 3

I just finished week 2 of The Whole 30, and I'm happy to report that what they say is true! The first 2 weeks really are the hardest.  I definitely had headaches and irritability the first week, but those are gone now.  I think we can all agree that that's good :)

I feel like Monday was kind of a turning point for me; it was the first day that I had significantly fewer cravings!  I even went to Starbucks and got some really great tea (vanilla and roobios, I think) and didn't feel like I was missing out by not being able to get a chai latte.

One of my friends asked what the hardest part of this has been, and it was kind of hard to narrow it down.  I think not having sweetened coffee drinks has been hard, because I really like them.  There's a ton of prep work involved which has been just...a lot.  And that's coming from someone who likes being in the kitchen and already cooks from scratch.  I feel like I'm getting the hang of preparing better, though.  I do think that I often reward myself with food (and not the healthy kind) at the end of the day or during the girls' nap time, and that's something I haven't been able to do anymore.  I'm hoping to break that habit, so I'm happy that I'm being forced to do so on The Whole 30.

Anyway, I think I'm done hoping that I get sick so I have a legitimate reason to quit.  I'll count that as a victory :)

Whole 30 Paleo Menu

Wednesday, January 22  Ginger Lime Shrimp (recipe from my friend, Kendra, who is doing this, too!)

Thursday, January 23  Hotdogs for my people (they've been begging!) and approved sausage for me, plus I made ketchup for myself which I think is weird.  I'm making roasted veggies!

Friday, January 24  Pizza for my people Paleo Pad Thai for me

Saturday, January 25  Tacos (Taco Salad for me, made with this seasoning mix)  Pecan Crusted Salmon (I'm making it up!)

Sunday, January 26  Sandwiches  SCS (leftovers for me)

Monday, January 27  Balsamic-Garlic Crusted Pork Tenderloin potatoes or rice for my family, sweet potatoes for me with salad and veggies.

Tuesday, January 28  Copycat Chipotle Burrito Bowls I'll just have the parts that are Whole 30 approved, which is a lot of it...especially the guacamole!

I'm making egg muffins for breakfast again and when I'm not having leftovers for lunch, I have this amazing Coconut Lime Chicken Soup!

Onward and Upward to Week 3!

Here are the menus for Week 1 and Week 2.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Morning Tea Party

Leah and Maggie put together a lovely tea party for us this morning before breakfast!

Complete with a sign, of course!

We each had a special place setting.  Aaron's cup was more of a shot :)  He had to go to work, so he got the little one.

The girls were welcome to invite a friend.

Gracie wasn't up for bringing a friend...or for having her picture taken.

Leah was accompanied by Chewy, her chinchilla stuffed animal.

Maggie brought Big Doll.

Yeah, Big Doll could use a little work.

And perhaps a different name, because Big Doll probably isn't the most self-esteem boosting name ever.

Maggie was a great hostess, pouring the tea...

and Leah was also a great hostess, adding sugar and milk to our pleasure!

Of course someone had to spill.

aaaaaaaaand that was me :)

We had a lovely time with the hostesses with the mostesses.

Gracie did, too, and she even forgot that she didn't want her picture taken for a second!

Chewy had an awesome time, too :)

Clementine oranges for the win!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Something I Don't Want to Forget: Maggie

Our girls do the cutest things, and I'm afraid if I don't write it down, I'll forget!

Well, Little Maggie Joy is stinkin' adorable when she plays with her little dolls.

She narrates everything the whole thing!

Maggie says, "'Hello Stuffy!" exclaims Doc McStuffins. 'What seems to be the problem today?'  'I feel miserable,' Stuffy moaned, starting to cry.  'Don't worry, Stuffy.  I'll take good care of you,' Doc assured her."

She uses really great vocabulary and varies her talking verbs (what are those called?); nobody just says things when Maggie plays...they exclaim, cry, wonder, and shout.

She even does it with the Lalaloopsy clothes magnets we have!

It's so sweet to hear her making her little dollies be so kind to each other, and I especially like that I know what she's thinking.  I feel like a lot of the time I want to know what's going on in the brains of the girls, and this gives me a little peek!

On a ridiculous note, we were driving to church on Sunday morning, and Maggie looked out the minivan window and noticed our neighbor's dog, Romo, pooping in their front yard.  

"There goes Romo...pooping away!"  she said gleefully.

Oh, this silly girl of mine!

She's a keeper!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Project 365: #2

It's been a week!  The girls have colds, and Maggie and Gracie think that coughing up phlegm is the same thing as, yeah, that's interesting!

Here are some more happy bits from our week!


Playing on the floor in the middle of the kitchen while I'm making dinner :)


Getting ready to play Chef Cuckoo!


Gracie is pretending to be Little Gretel from The Sound of Music in my Sunday School room, of course!


Curious George is mesmerizing!


Playing with Lalaloopsy girls on a broom...don't forget Star kitty on the right!


Playing Chef Cuckoo with Nana and Papa!  Have I mentioned that we really like that game? It's super fun!


Poor, sick Gracie :(  I had just painted her finger and toenails after her bath. I do love the universal way of holding her hands out while her fingernails are drying, though!

Have a great weekend!