Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles

It's been a fun day around here. This morning, a friend came over with her daughter and we all went for a walk and then we had a nice visit while the kids played. After lunch, both kids napped and I got our house cleaned up. It's the story of my life....make messes with kids, clean up and then do it all over again. I'm sure it's the story of your life, too. It's just the name of the game!

After Judah woke up, we made some Strawberry Lemonade Popsicles. These popsicles are slightly sour, totally refreshing and super easy to make. The Jell-o mix gives them a beautiful color and since they're made with real strawberries, I feel like they're just a tiny bit healthy.
Mix together in a blender:
•1/2 package of Strawberry Jell-o mix
•A large handful of fresh strawberries
•A few heaping tablespoons of Frozen Lemonade Concentrate
•About a cup of water
So, what's my favorite thing about this whole Popsicle kick that I'm on? Well really, it's a win/win situation for all of us. I love experimenting with different flavors and my kids think I'm making them a super yummy treat, when all I'm doing is throwing a few things into a blender!

So, what is YOUR favorite Popsicle flavor? Are there any recipes that I should try?

Linking up here!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Me|At this Moment

•At this moment.....I'm creating a huge crafty mess in my dining room.
•At this moment......I'm listening to Newsboys "Revelation Song", "Forever Reign", "God's Not Dead" and "Your Love Never Fails", on repeat as loud as possible without waking the kids.
•At this moment....I'm missing being in a powerful worship service, where hardly a hand isn't raised.
•At this moment....I'm thankful and excited that God always has big plans.
•At this moment.....My house smells like spray paint and glue guns.
•At this moment.....I'm planning on digging up one of my raised beds tomorrow, working the soil up really well and then re-planting it. My plants haven't hardly grown since they sprouted and I need to start over on that bed.
•At this moment....I'm alright with the fact that I can't commit to blogging about one certain topic. I guess I'm like a mixed bag of salad, some of it you love, some of it you might avoid and some of it you just sort of like....but, it's all in the bag. I think I'm okay with that, it's just who I am.
•At this moment....I'm going to wrap up my experimental crafty mess and get ready to spend time with my love.

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Girl and I.... We Visit the Cemetery

On the way to the grocery store this evening, I noticed that the cemetery was filled with beautiful flags. These flags, put in place for Memorial Day, were waving proudly in the wind and sparkling in the sun. After our trip to the store, we ran home, grabbed the camera and then headed back to the cemetery. 

Sometimes your heart calls you to do something unplanned, like walk hand in hand with your girl through the cemetery. These spontaneous moments are often the most beautiful.
While we walked through the cemetery, we saw many people pull in, quickly pay their respects to someone that obviously touched their life and then leave, with a smile on their face. 
Paisley ran barefoot, without a care in the world. Her freedom and delight for the world reminded me of how much has been sacrificed for our freedom. Our freedom is not to be taken for granted.  Each one of these small flags is next to a gravestone of someone who served our country. 
I cried as we walked through the cemetery. Honestly, I've never really thought a whole lot about Memorial Day. I know this sounds bad but to me, it's always just seemed like a 3 great day weekend...with BBQ's! But, walking through the cemetery this evening and seeing Paisley's free spirit, next to all of those flags that sit at Veteran's graves....Well, it was extremely symbolic and it helped me remember what this day is really all about.

 Next year, we will be going to the cemetery as a family on Memorial Day. I want my kids to understand that amazing men and women have gone before them and paid a huge price for our freedom.
 As I came home and looked through my photos, the Newboys song "I Am Free", popped into my head.
I am free to run and I am free to dance 
I am free to live for You 
I am free 
yes, I am free 
I am free!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Look into our Saturday and Homemade Chocolate-Banana Puddin' Pops

Our Saturday morning has been spent running around. As a family, we hit a few thrift stores and then went to a couple garage sales. I think I have my Dad's treasure hunting gene. I'm always on the look out for things that I can paint, restore or just plain old great deals on stuff that we need. I've almost been considering getting a space at one of those vintage flea market places. I mean, how cool would it be to find deals, fix, paint, re-upholster or whatever is needed and then be able to sell the items? To me, it sounds like great fun!

While we were out, we didn't find hardly anything but, it was still fun as a family. We stumbled upon a truck that Judah fell in love with and since it was a super price, we got it for him and made a deal him. Judah agreed that he will give away a few of his big trucks, since he now has a new truck and when we got home, he eagerly ran to his room and picked out a couple of trucks to giveaway. I'm so proud of him!

Now my guys are out doing yard work and I'm getting ready to join them. It's a beautiful sunny day around here and I can't wait to get out and enjoy it. My garden has been growing well and I think I'll be eating the first Snap Peas from it this weekend. The other night while I was out there, I noticed that a hatched Robin's egg was sitting in my garden. Those eggs are the perfect shade of blue and since I was little, I've always felt like finding a Robin's egg is good luck. Well, I actually don't believe in luck but, you know what I mean.

To wrap this up, I wanted to share a recipe for some super easy Banana Chocolate Puddin' Pops that I made yesterday. I'm declaring this summer as "The Summer of the Popsicle" so, I'm trying to make all sorts of homemade Popsicles and if they turn out, I'll share my adventure on here.

In a blender mix:
•1 ripe banana
•1 package of chocolate pudding mix
•1 1/2 cups of milk
 Freeze the Puddin' Pops until they are frozen solid.
Run warm water over the plastic Popsicle container, until the Popsicle comes out easily. To make them extra fun, sprinkle on a whole bunch of colorful sprinkles before serving.
 As you can see, Paisley loved her Puddin' Pop.
 ♥ Angela

Friday, May 25, 2012

Are you really listening?

Us Mothers, we've got a lot going on, don't we? Our strengths are always changing, our skills are growing and evolving and unfortunately, our weaknesses.....Well, we've got a few of them (at least I do). 

Lately, we've been working with Judah (3) on giving us good eye contact when we're talking to him and also giving us eye contact when he's talking to us. Eye contact shows confidence, it shows understanding and it's respectful, important stuff, in my opinion.

As we've been reminding him of this important thing, called eye contact, God pointed something out to me. He didn't just say "Hey Angela, I think maybe you aren't a very good listener lately. Just maybe, you should try to do better in that area." No, it was more like "You need to work on listening to your kids better, to give better eye contact and to really pay attention to what they're saying. You have a lot of growing to do in this area."

And, that was that. I've realized that while I'm trying to teach my three year old son to really listen to mommy, I'm not always practicing what I preach. I do the dishes while he talks, talks, and talks....nodding away and agreeing sometimes to things I don't even know I'm agreeing to. My mind runs out into la-la land and I don't always listen to him with full, honest attention.

See, when you have a three year old who's obsessed with all things motorized, sometimes it's hard to listen to the 5 minute long stories about the tractor in the field or the train ride that we'll someday take. But, it's become clear to me that, even the things that are sometimes hard to listen to (especially the long, drawn out stories), aren't any less important. 

God listens to everything that we have to say, right? The good, the interesting, the ugly, the boring. It's all equal to Him and He never just smiles and nods, while day dreaming about His next task. Ouch, right?

Just because I've been called out to my weakness in this area, doesn't mean that my problem is going to instantly be fixed. I have to be intentional and work on showing my kids how much I truly care about what they're saying.

I will work on:
•Listening with my EYES. Looking at them, holding their eye contact, showing general interest on my face.
•Listening by KNEELING down to their level. 
•Listening with my HEART and remembering that everything they say is important.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

S'mores in a Jar-An easy and useful summer gift idea!

The other day, we had our last MOPS meeting for the season. It was definitely bittersweet because I sure do love the ladies at my table and I'm going to miss being at a table with them next year. On the other hand, I'm so excited to see what God has in store for MOPS next year! Changes are coming and change can be a good thing! My role in MOPS will be different next year and while I might not share a table with all of the same amazing women, it will be alright because they are all returning to MOPS in the fall.

To give my girls just a glimpse of how awesome I think they are, I decided to make them a simple and useful gift that hopefully they can enjoy with their families over the summer.

The inspiration for this idea simply came from the fact that I personally, hope to enjoy our new fire pit a lot this summer and I wanted to give these ladies something that would be useful. My imagination is often drawn to mason jars and chocolate so, I just went with it and I think they turned out cute!

The labels that I made say "This summer, live life fully, one S'more (or two!), at a time." My hope is that each one of those ladies really will live fully this summer. Taking time to picnic with their children, time to read (outside), time to listen to music (loudly!), time to light candles for even the most casual of dinners, and time to drive with the windows down and the music up. 

S'mores in a jar would be great for party favors, an easy gift idea for a teacher, a rustic and sweet favor for a small wedding or even a fun idea for a backyard BBQ party.

All you need for S'mores in a Jar:
•Wide Mouth Mason jars with lids
•Chocolate Bars
•Graham Crackers
•Cute labels for the jars
•Ribbon to tie around the top of the jars
•Paper, fabric or a cute cupcake liners to cover the jar lids

Put the marshmallows and graham crackers into individual zip lock baggies and stick them inside of the jar with the chocolate bar. Decorate the jar lid, add some ribbon, a label and you're all done!
So, how do YOU plan to live fully this summer? 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Maple & Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins

This afternoon, it all started with this:

Me, texting my sister: Have you seen any amazing recipes that use rhubarb? Looking for a good one!
Sister: How ironic! I just made some super yummy rhubarb muffins yesterday. :) I can send you a link.
Me: No way!! (I tend to get exclamation mark happy) I was even hoping for a muffin recipe! That's way too cool. So glad you're my sister!!
Sister: I know, right? :)
Me: So awesome. Thanks!

And then I baked, ate and then ate some more....Dang it. I considered eating them all and baking another batch to bring to MOPS (really, who would know!) but, then I decided that wasn't a good idea. 

These are by far my new favorite Rhubarb Muffins so, I thought I'd share the recipe here, just in case you have neighbors, parents or everyone around you trying to pass their extra Rhubarb on to you.

Maple & Cinnamon Rhubarb Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
2 cups finely chopped rhubarb

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Combine egg, buttermilk, oil and maple flavoring; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in rhubarb. Fill greased or paper-lined muffins cups about half full. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over each muffin. Bake at 375 degrees F for 16-18 minutes or until muffins test done.
Linking up here. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I did it....I FINALLY created a Facebook page for my blog

Hey Friends!
Over the last few months, it's become more and more clear to me that people like to follow blogs and stay updated......via Facebook. I probably should have created a Facebook page for this little creative outlet of mine a long time ago but, I've been so hesitant to do this!
You ask "why would you be hesitant to create a Facebook page???". Well, let me explain................
See, I never want it to seem like I'm promoting myself or that I think I'm some big hot shot blogging mamma. I'm actually totally the opposite of those things!
So then, why DID I create a Facebook page??? Let me tell you!
Basically, I hope that my Facebook page will be a place that I will:
•Post links to my blog posts so, that if you are interested in following along, it'll be an easy way to stay updated.
•Post links to other inspiring/funny/awesome/creative sites that I think you ladies would like to know about.
•Post pictures or inspiring stories from other bloggers.
•And whatever else I feel like doing!

I hope that you'll follow along! You can find my new Facebook page HERE.

P.S I'm learning all the technical mumbo-jumbo as I go so, have a little grace and try not to judge if things change often or don't look so pretty at first. Thanks.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Our Saturday in a Nutshell and Up-Cycling the Boring Old Hand Towel

Today has been a fun day, filled with lots of living and playing. When I woke up this morning, the sun was shining and I was eager to head out with the kids to garage sales. My sister and her oldest boy joined us and we all had a great time! I was so proud of how well the big boys behaved themselves. We had them hold one of our hands the entire time we were at each sale and they really did awesome!
During the afternoon, the kids napped and I attempted to sew flowers onto a cheap hand towel, that I recently picked up for our bathroom. I really wanted to sew ruffles onto the towel but, I tried that last night and ended up almost crying because, I really don't know how to sew very well at all. So, the ribbon flowers on this towel will have to do until I find myself a sewing mentor. 
Later in the evening, my mom came over to watch the kids while my sister and I went to the cutest and super fun party. I guess you'd call it a Pinterest party because there was a ton of amazing food to try, straight from Pinterest, amazing decorating ideas and a sweet girl shared her story about how she and her family are moving to Africa. They're up and leaving their cozy and well established life to go into full time Missionary work and her story was so inspiring! Actually, everything tonight was super inspiring. I think I have enough project ideas right now to keep me busy for at least the entire summer! 

So, maybe you're like me and you're getting sick of the plain old hand towels in your bathroom. Maybe you don't want to go out and buy the towel that's $10, just because it has some ruffles or a flower.
Here's how you can make your own. 
•Grab some ribbon or fabric and sew a long running stitch. Next, pull your stitch tight, pulling the ribbon into a circle. Sew the ends together and then sew the flowers onto a towel. See??? It's super easy!

If these hold up well in the washing machine, I just might start buying lots of cheap and colorful hand towels, and then dressing them up. 
Hope you've had a great Saturday as well!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Target finds and Raspberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Popsicles

 The kids and I had a great time out and about this morning. We've been home a lot this week which I totally love but, getting out and running around today was perfect. We hit Costco, the grocery store and Target. While we were at Target, I could hardly contain myself because there are so many new and cute things out for summer. Seriously, I'm like in love with how everything right now is colorful and vintage inspired. It seems like everywhere I look bright jewelry, textured fabrics and upcycled furniture are the trends and I think that's super cool. It just inspires me to want to garage sale more and not be afraid of wearing bold colors that I love.

There are a lot of super cute and stylish Momma's out there and I definitely wouldn't say that I'm one of them but, I do feel like I'm starting to get over worrying so much about what other people think. I really believe that we should all feel free to be who we are and be excited to wear things that we like, even if they are a little out of our normal comfort zone. I mean, you only live once, right? So, on that note....I bought the yellow sunglasses and I really, really, really want some cowboy boots to wear with skirts and summer dresses but, I need to keep shopping around and find some that won't break the bank. 

Before we headed out for our morning adventure, I whipped up some quick and easy Raspberry Banana Frozen Yogurt Popsicles. These were so easy to make and they turned out totally delicious so, I thought I'd share the recipe. Here in the PW, the sun has finally been shining and I want to celebrate summer with my kids, as much as possible! Part of being a kid and celebrating summertime, is eating a homemade Popsicle, as often as possible. 

In a blender mix:
•2 ripe bananas
•1 cup of Raspberry yogurt
•1/4 package of Raspberry Jell-o Mix
•A few tablespoons of water
The small amount of raspberry jello mix gives an amazing color and a delicious, sweet flavor. 

Use an ice cube tray to freeze the left overs for adding to water or whatever!

Happy Summer!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jesus and Chuck E. Cheese's

During snack time, Judah and I started having a fun little conversation about where Jesus is. I'm happy I had our camera near by because, I just love this boy. He cracks me up!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Weekend to Remember | In Review Part 3

Whew! I don't know about you but, this last week has been jam packed busy for us. My sister and I threw a baby shower, then we had a super fun Mother's Day and then it was my birthday. Honestly, I love it when it's my birthday (I just don't like the getting older part!). Birthday's are super fun though and this year my hubby totally blew me away and planned a little surprise party for me. Just when we were finishing dinner, I heard some knocks at the door and Bam! Surprise! I loved it! The entire day was full of blessings and I went to bed feeling totally thankful for all the little details of the day, even the colored picture and flowers from the neighbor kids.
Last week I wrote a couple of posts about our amazing time at "A Weekend To Remeber"; the marriage conference put on by Family Life Today. In Part 1 I shared a picture of me jumping on the bed and then talked about why marriages fail and the communication toolbox. Part 2 was all about mirroring God's image, completing one another, multiplying a Godly legacy and going from "How to Wow!".

Today I'm going to cover the rest of Saturday. As I sat down to write this post, I started thinking about how glad I am that I'm slowly going through my notes and posting about our time. It's been a little over a week since we went away and we're back to normal life now. Normal demands of having children, normal chores, normal responsibilities and the little vacation that we were on is over. However, now is the time that's most important to put what we learned into practice. It reminds me of being in a worship service where the music is powerful and the teaching is really great. You can feel the presence of God all around you and when you step out of the church, you've got a spring in your step and you're ready to face the world. Well, a few days later, that emotional feeling might wear off but, that's when it's most important to dig down deep and pull out the truths that you learned. 

So here we go..........................
We Fight Too-
Where does conflict come from?
-Our "rights" have been violated.
-Our expectations have not been met. 
-We have been hurt.
-Unfulfilled desires may result in anger. 
* For conflict to be resolved, both husband and wife must be committed to oneness.

•Resolving conflict requires loving confrontation. 
-Confront the patterns, not the isolated events. Does the "problem" happen all the time or was it just a one time thing? Determine if you really need to talk about it or not.
-Examine your heart. Are you trying to retaliate? Restore? Punish? Pursue peace?
-Lovingly confront.
-Speak the truth in love.
-Focus on one issue, rather than many.
-Always remember that the goal is to restore oneness in your marriage.

Resolving conflict requires forgiveness. 
-Begin by admitting to God and to yourself that you were wrong. 
-Humbly seek forgiveness.
-Grant forgiveness.

•We minimize conflict when we actively choose to bless one another in marriage. 
-Blessing your spouse begins by cultivating a new attitude.
-It involves choosing to give a blessing instead of an insult.
-You choose to respond kindly when offended.
-You focus on God and the promises of His word.
-This choice can only be done in the power God provides.
The next session was called "Marriage After Dark" and since I pretty much blush at the thought of even typing about "you know what" ha!, I think I'll share about our date night instead!
Saturday evening we got dressed up and walked through Redmond to this charming little Italian restaurant called Tropea. My husband was in charge of picking out the place for us to eat and I'm sure glad that he picked this place because it was perfect!
Lorenzo, the owner of this delicious little restaurant, grew up in Italy and then moved to the Seattle area in 1983. While we were there, he visited with us and made us feel very welcome. Our food was also amazing. Jeremiah had homemade ravioli, stuffed with lobster and I had an amazing salad.
 As we were getting ready to leave, our waiter brought out a homemade Tiramisu, courtesy of Lorenzo. Although we were already stuffed, the fact that they were treating us to dessert totally made us smile. And let me tell you, it was amazing!
Even though we live far away from Redmond, I would totally go back there sometime, just to go eat at Tropea. It was the perfect spot for our date night.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Look Inside of our Mother's Day

My day started at 7am when my alarm went off. I set it last night because I wanted to get up and have time to get ready for church. Well, when I woke up, I noticed that my sweet husband wasn't in bed next to me. Turns out, he got up at 6:30am, just to make me breakfast.

Before I could even get out of bed, he came in with a yummy breakfast and coffee for me. It was so sweet and breakfast in bed was a great way to start the day.
Church was great and afterwards, we headed over to my sister's house to have brunch with my mom.
I love these ladies so much. They are both perfect examples of what a mother should be. I'm so thankful that they are such a huge part of my life and also my kids lives.

After brunch we came home and I spent probably a good hour or two outside planting and working in my garden.....alone. It was wonderfully relaxing and exactly what I wanted to be doing on this special day. I had seeds that I wanted to plant, some weeding that needed to be done and being outside in the sunshine is one of my favorite things.

Later in the afternoon my husband's parents stopped by and we had a nice little visit. After they left, we spent the rest of the evening outside, using the NEW fire pit that Jeremiah built for me for Mother's Day!
I had no clue that he was going to be making a fire pit for us! He did it last night after the kids were in bed and then totally surprised me with it this morning. I love having friends and family over for hot dogs and s'mores on summer nights so, I'm really happy about this.

While we were cooking our hot dogs, Judah was being so sweet with Paisley. Whenever she would get too close to the fire pit, Judah would gently take her hand and lead her away. They don't always get along very well but, when they do, it blesses me so much.

One of the highlights of my day was watching Jeremiah teach Judah how to roast a marshmallow and then watch Judah glow with pride while he did it all by himself. As a mom, there's hardly anything more wonderful than watching your kids learn new things and feel good about themselves.

Thanks to my husband, it really was a perfect Mother's Day. I feel so incredibly blessed.

And, Happy Mother's Day to you, if you are a Momma. 
You are making a difference and the small things that you do everyday matter. Your home is your mission field and every little thing that you do, is building your legacy and your story. Lately, I'm constantly reminding myself that I need to strive to be the kind of person that I want my kids to be when they are grown. 

Who can find a virtuous woman? She is far more precious than jewels... 

Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. 
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue. 
She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. 
Her sons rise up and call her blessed. 
He husband also praises her: 
Many women are capable, but you surpass them all! 
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised. 
~Proverbs 31:10, 25-30



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