Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Stuff and Waiting

I've been sitting here, eating the best Taco Salad leftovers ever, and happy stuff has been flooding my mind. It was just a few days ago, when I was walking out of MOPS, that my Mentor Mom stopped me and told me that she wanted to bring us dinner the next night. For no reason, just because. The next day, I had an appointment with my midwife. When I came home, I found our fridge stalked with all of the best Taco fixings that a girl could want. Her little act of generosity totally made my day. It was such a simple way to make our evening easier and for heaven's sake, after being gone all afternoon, I most likely would've fed my family something like oatmeal for dinner.
The appointment with my midwife went really well. Baby is super low and in a great position to meet us soon! Yesterday I went in again, and Natalie (the midwife), did what she could to "get things going" soon. Gosh, I don't know who reads this thing so, I'm not going into details. Anyway- after I hopped pulled myself up onto the exam table,  she prayed over the baby and I. Seriously- she just started praying out over us! What an absolute blessing she is. I am beyond thankful for her!
There's a reason I never buy these. Darn Jellybeans....they're way too addicting!

I've had a few people ask me today how I'm doing and the answer just isn't simple. I'm excited, thankful for a full term baby, ready to have her out, emotional, tired, achy, thankful for the sunshine and a little nervous. Last night I couldn't fall asleep for over 3 hours. I never have problems sleeping, but for some reason, last night was terrible. For hours, I laid there tossing and turning. I started wondering if I've been spending enough time playing with J&P lately and how they'll adjust to the new baby. And then I started crying. Crying felt ridiculous so, I cut that out and decided that I'm just a tad emotional and I told myself it's normal. Middle of the night pep talks....sometimes you do, what you've gotta do!
Cherry blossoms I picked (from a strangers yard), while Paisley and I walked last night. Bad I know, but I've been eyeing these for awhile. Don't worry, I only picked this tiny handful. 

Our kitchen remodel is still in the works. Although I'm super excited, the whole construction process mid-nesting is a bit weird for me and that's just putting it lightly. Today Construction Man came and installed the new cabinets. Well from the photo, you can see that he partially installed them. My hubby gets to finish working on those as soon as he gets home from work (thanks, love!). On Monday, Counter Top Man will come and measure for the new counters. All of this is super good but like I said, it's weird timing, especially with the serious nesting that's been going on.
While the counters were installed, we visited over at my sister's. The weather has been so perfect and playing outside with them was super fun. Picnicing is hands down one of our favorite things lately.
It's Good Friday and I'm feeling so thankful for what Jesus did for us! I read a great post this morning by Farmgirl Paints, a new favorite blog of mine. She writes real and from her heart. Take a few moments to read her post here.

I hope your Easter weekend is beautiful and full of special times. Slow down, enjoy your family and take the rush out of celebration. I plan on sneaking in extra snuggles with my big kids and counting my blessings while I wait on this baby.
Happy {Good} Friday, friends!
Angela

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Green Giant Sponsor and Mom Talents


I haven't been a Mom for that long, compared to some. Constantly, I feel like I have so much to learn and like I'm such an amateur compared to many. Maybe that's one of the reasons that I love hanging out with Moms who've been doing this longer than I have. I want their skills, their knowledge and their calm "I've been there" to rub off on me.

One thing I've noticed over the last few years is that Moms have hidden talents...tricks up their sleeves, that you might not see unless you catch them in one of those tough moments. No one has more "interesting" items in her purse than a Mom and no one knows how to multitask quite like the Mother of young children. These secret, hidden talents are beautiful because they're unique to each person. To this day, I'm learning that I can never underestimate a women or judge her before I really know her. Each woman is fascinating, with her own story, her own struggles and her own hidden skills.
Looking at ourselves and trying to pick out our own hidden talents can be super hard. Even as I write, I'm not sure what mine are. As women, that's one of the reasons that it's so important to call out the good that we see in each other. When we recognize one of those hidden skills in a friend, we need to bring it to light!

One thing I'm comfortable to admit is the love for being outside I've developed in my children. I'm so thankful to see how much they love each other and love playing together. No, it's not always perfect and if you saw us on a bad day you might not believe me, but the love is there and I see it often.

In our area, it rains....a lot. Even in the rain, we go outside because I'm a firm believer in fresh air and play. Lately however, the sun has been shining and we've been practically living outside. One of the best tips that I could give a Mom with young children is to picnic with your kids as often as possible. Do it for them, do it for you.
The kids have picnics together all the time and honestly, it's not just for them- it's also for me. The kitchen stays clean and the crumbs stay outside. This red and white checkered table cloth was my Grandma's. It sits on a chair in our dining room and when snack time or lunch time comes, the kids spread it outside, sit down and eat. They feel special because they're having a "picnic" and I'm happy because for once, the crumbs aren't inside. Everyone smiles, everyone wins.
A new sponsor that I'm excited to be working with is Green Giant. Their giant surprise is the new Veggie Snack Chips and we've been loving them during our picnics. My kids go crazy for these chips and they're a snack that I feel good about.

A few, fun Green Giant facts:

  • The Green Giant™ Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips – Zesty Cheddar Flavor are made with real vegetables, 17 grams of whole grain per serving (48g are recommended daily), and are naturally flavored.
  • The Green Giant™ Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips – Sea Salt Flavor are made with real sweet potatoes and made with 14 grams of whole grain. Plus, they contains 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips*!
  • *Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips (6g per 28g serving) have 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips (10g per 28g serving).


Green Giant has shared a printable coupon for 85 cents off Veggie Snack Chips! Click here for the coupon!
To learn more about Green Giant's Veggie Snack Chips, visit Green Giant's Facebook page or YouTube channel.

So, what about you....what's YOUR hidden Mom talent? Or your hidden Grandma talent?  I know you have one so, let's hear it! What talents have you seen in other Moms that you'd like them to see in themselves?
Thank you to The Green Giant™ for being a sponsor. Show the Giant your surprise talent atwww.facebook.com/greengiant

Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend: It was darn near perfect

I sit with my coffee as the sun streams in the windows and a basket of laundry is on my table.  The house is quiet. Naptime is easy these days because bedtime has been a bit of a pain. Those two precious ones....well, they're adjusting to sharing a room, but they enjoy each other's company a little too much to simply lay down and fall asleep. They sing, giggle, bounce around, share stuffed animals and hugs until one of us pops in there and breaks up the fun. The last few nights have required a few more reminders and taking away of favorite stuffed animals. It's not awful, but it's not perfect either. I'd say it's about what I expected it to be like, when we moved her into his room.

The weekend was the best that we've had in awhile. As I write, I feel hesitant to say that it was perfect, but honestly it was darn close. The combination of family time, outside time, yard work and play was perfectly balanced. Saturday my husband encouraged me to come outside with him and the kids. I resisted for some unknown reason and then went out, because I knew it would make him happy. Well, I'm horrible about sitting still so, I weeded two flower beds, while the kids played and he stained the cabinets for our kitchen. Yes, the kitchen remodel is still in progress. It's going well, but there's nothing exciting to report so, that's why I haven't mentioned it lately.

Anyway....weeding in the sunshine was glorious and then I headed to a baby shower, complete with my dirty toes from weeding. After the baby shower, we piled into the car, went for a drive, saw the most perfect fields of daffodils and stopped at our favorite ice cream spot.

I didn't take many photos this weekend, but I feel like when we're so busy living, it's okay to forget the camera once in awhile. Yes, I'd love to have all of the special moments, like Paisley and Judah eating their first ice cream cones of the year documented perfectly, but sometimes that just doesn't happen. And so I write and I'm so grateful for this little online journal of special, ordinary life.
Sunday was filled with church, more time outside and more time with my family. Church was so good, especially the music. I actually think the music was the best it's ever been. I'm so thankful for God bringing us there- He is so good! Going to a new church is always scary, but when you step out, God meets you there and I've really seen that with our experience.
The first marshmallow roast of the season and the kids have skills! As Daddy got the fire ready, Paisley wandered around the yard in search of the perfect stick. Girlfriend loves marshmallows.

I hope your weekend was wonderful as well. What did you do? What was your absolute favorite? I'd love to know!

Angela

Friday, March 22, 2013

39 Weeks: Photos and Thoughts

39 Weeks. 
This sure has gone by quickly. While I'm so ready to have her in my arms, I'm also so ready to embrace every last moment of this pregnancy. It sounds strange, but I know that someday I'm going to miss this.
In honor of baby being ready to come out any day, my sister took a few pictures of me this evening. It's been really rainy here lately, but this evening the sun came out just for us. Getting your picture taken when you're this gigantic feels a little strange- okay, totally awkward. I had to keep reminding myself that someday I'll be really glad to have these photos and hopefully this little baby will be happy to see what Mommy looked like when she was still in me. Pregnancy is beautiful, no matter how big you are!
As I've been sitting here going through the pictures, I'm struck with what a gift life is. Motherhood is the biggest blessing I've ever received and also the most challenging. I think that us Moms, whether by adoption, foster, or birth sometimes forget what an HONOR it is to be given the gift of these little people. This gift is one that I pray I'll never take for granted, even on the most challenging of days.
My mind has been shifting to thoughts of birth and labor a lot lately. Thankfully, she's stayed head down since we had her turned. At this point, it's highly doubtful that she'll turn back so, I'm just praying for the most beautiful and healthy birth experience. I'm excited, nervous and so ready to see what her story will be.
Physically, I'm semi comfortable all day and in the evening I hurt. She moves a lot between about 9-11pm and when she moves around, it's terribly uncomfortable. But, even though I'm not that comfy, I'd still be happy for her to stay in for another few days. I'm a firm believer in 40 week babies. My other two were late, fat and happy. 
 As we walked along and spotted this bouy, my sister and I both cracked up. Yep, it's pretty much the same size as my stomach, which brings me to another point......Getting dressed these days is um, interesting! Even maternity shirts are starting to be too short! I've decided that wearing "regular" clothes is highly overrated. I'd rather have "at home" yoga pants, "go to the store" yoga pants, "dress up" yoga pants and that's about it. The other day, I saw a photo on Instagram of a full term pregnant women wearing stilettos. No thank you, I don't think it's even good for me to look at pictures like that.
Until it's baby time, I'd like to intentionally hold Paisley more and enjoy her being my baby. When I sit in the rocking chair with her, she fits perfectly on the side of my big tummy. She nestles her head into my shoulder and tells me which songs to sing. I know she's going to adjust to the new baby just fine but, I want to fully enjoy her being my youngest as long as I can. 
Judah is beyond excited to have another little sister. Everyday he talks about the new baby and wants it to be "baby day". Lately he's become such a big helper and watching how he looks after Paisley and loves her, makes my heart so happy. He has such a kind, tender spirit.
Thank you, sister for taking all of these photos and for saving me from the seal! Haha! Love you!
Enjoy your weekend, friends!
Angela

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Single Serving Microwave Brownie

Happy 1st Day of Spring!
This week has been weird. My game has totally been off. Actually, I have no game. I've been walking around, keeping up with regular life, but my head feels like it's in a fog. Washing laundry, doing dishes, printing off Easter coloring pages for the kids, giving them dried macaroni and beans to play with and maintaining. In my mind, I know that another week or so would be just fine for this baby to grow, but physically I'm feeling ready. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love being pregnant, but my body hurts. When I stand up, it feels like a baby almost falls out of me. It's not comfy.

It's been a string of days where I feel like I'm basically not good at anything besides growing a baby. Writing isn't flowing and I'm trying to remind myself that it won't always be this way. I was thinking that today seemed like a fun day to have a baby, but it doesn't look like that's going to be happening. Instead, it's Wednesday and I already have "Working For the Weekend" running through my head. I'm actually listening to it as I type....Does that mean that I'm ready or what?

Although I'm pretty sure that I could go into hibernation until this baby comes out, I did discover something really fun, and too delicious to not share. Friends share chocolate recipes, especially single serving ones. This recipe was created at 9pm, after I'd tucked the kids in for the bizillionth time. When you're tired, full term pregnant and it's late, sometimes magic happens in the kitchen. Especially easy, chocolatey magic, that's created in minutes and only dirties one dish.

To print the recipe, just click on it and then print!


Angela

Linking up here. 

Dreaming of Baby Birth Announcements

  As we get closer to Baby Time, I'm starting to dream about what her face will look like, what color her hair will be, her tiny nose, her tiny fingers and even her little elbows. What can I say---I'm ready to sniff that sweet baby scent and to show our older kids just how precious and tiny a newborn is. At this point, I feel like I might not put her down for at least the first month. I'm just so in love already.

  While washing newborn sized onesies and putting the infant car seat in the car, I've also been thinking about Baby Birth Announcements. With our other kids, we never sent out Birth Announcements, but I wish we had. I think they are so nice, especially for family members that we don't see often who aren't on Facebook. In the past, I've received Birth Announcements even from local friends that I frequently see and I've loved it. Everyone loves getting something special in the mail, especially a photo of a sweet new baby.

  Around Christmas time, I had the best time teaming up with Tiny Prints. Going through their Holiday cards and showing you all some of my favorites was so much fun! Plus, there was a giveaway and one of my favorite bloggy friends, Emily at 52 Mantels won....I loved that! Tiny Prints has always been one of my favorite companies for announcements, cards, thank you notes and even matching labels. I'm so excited to be partnering with them again and showing you all some of my favorite Baby Birth Announcements






   Recently Tiny Prints launched the new Vera Bradley collection. This collection is so perfect and comes complete with matching address labels and Thank you cards.

 The matching labels and Thank you notes get me excited because when you have a newborn, any little thing that makes you feel like you "have it together" totally helps. When you're sleep deprived, you haven't showered in two days and your house is a mess, little things like matching cards and labels make life easier. Little things like this bring joy!


 
  After we have our baby, I'll be sure to post about which announcement we decided to go with. Also, there will be a Tiny Prints giveaway that I know you'll love. It'll be for more than Baby Birth Announcements so, those of you who aren't expecting can still get excited!














  In the mean time, which of these announcements do you like best? Did you do Birth Announcements with your babies? How soon after the baby is born should they be sent out?

Angela

Monday, March 18, 2013

Simplifying, Even with my Beauty Routine

  As my due date approaches, the crazy nester in me has been coming out. Last weekend, my sweet hubby was shampooing carpets for me and a few days ago, I spent some time organizing under the sink in our bathroom. It was crazy how much stuff I was able to throw away....crazy good! Throwing old stuff away is like loosing weight, it makes you feel lighter. It makes you smile. It makes me do a little happy dance. Please tell me you can relate!

  While preparing to be a busy Mamma of 3 little ones, the word simplify seems to be my new mantra. In all areas of our life, I'm feeling the need to be intentional and for what we choose to do, to be what counts. Simple is beautiful and while I simplify, I'm breathing in and hoping that what remains, is worth while and that it counts.

  Most of you that read my blog are "younger'ish" Moms like myself. You can agree that taking a shower is necessary, but they don't always come easy. Same goes with our beauty routines. Goodness, my routine is nothing like it was before I had kids. I laugh when I think about how I used to be able to spend an hour each day getting ready. And then I get a little worried when I realize that soon, I'll be trying to take care of myself, while juggling a newborn, a two year old and a four year old. It's possible, I know it is, but it needs to be done intentionally. Even busy Moms need to take care of themselves. Right? Right.
  Recently I teamed up with Seventh Generation to try their new line of Natural Personal Care Products. I've worked with Seventh Generation in the past and I absolutely love all of their products. On this blog, I'm always trying to be careful and only share about products that I truly really love. These products fit- I love them.  The Natural Beauty line of Seventh Generation products are made from plant and mineral based materials and not harsh chemicals and additives like other brands, which helps bring out your healthiest and most beautiful skin. With a new baby on the way and little ones that are always hanging on me, using less chemicals feels like a great way to simplify and make choices that count.

  Personally, my favorite thing about these products is the smell. Smells affect me a lot and specifically the Lavender Soothing Facial Cloths smell amazing. I have these two sweet little bags in my bedroom, all ready for taking to the hospital when it's baby time. Because of how relaxing these smells are and how they're safer to have around my new baby, these products are going with me. Confession: I keep on taking the products out of my hospital bag, using them and then putting them back. 
  How have you simplified your beauty routine since becoming a Mom? How would you encourage other Moms to make the most of those moments that they get for taking care of themselves? 
♥ Angela

Seventh Generation wants to get you started on your journey to natural beauty.

Visit 7 Day Journey to natural beauty for tips and information on their new line of USDA approved biobased products ranging from facial wipes to body lotion!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Seventh Generation. The opinions and text are all mine.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

When Messy Gets Old

I sit down to write in a chair that's slightly sticky, at a table that's also slightly sticky. I pull myself back up and out of the sticky chair, grab a wipe, quickly wipe away what might be causing the "sticky" and then I sit back down again. It seems like I should be able to write better if I'm not sticking to my chair.

It's only 2pm and I've cleaned up an entire bowl of spilled cereal, multiple yogurt spills, a cup of spilled hot cocoa, cheese smeared across the table and crumbled crackers. 85% of those messes were from my 2 year old. In the big picture, I know these messes are completely insignificant but sometimes, they almost make me cry.

She doesn't do it on purpose, or else there would be consequences. The messes are accidents, not out of rebellion. Since she started moving in my tummy, she's never stopped. She's a go-getter, an artistic personality and she's extreme in every way. She's perfectly created by her maker and she's messy- it's just who she is. She's a free spirit and even though that challenges me daily, I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

At 38 weeks pregnant, every time I get down on the floor to wipe up spilled yogurt, cereal or milk, I feel like I might just get stuck down here. It feels like the baby might just pop out, if I have to bend over one more time, to wipe up one more mess. 

I want to have grace. In my heart, I know what's right. I know they're watching me, these precious little people that I'm privileged to be raising. I want to react to the constant messes, in the same way that I'd wish for them to react, if they were the parent. 

After the last spill- the full hot cocoa cup, Judah looked at me and said "Mommy, maybe you should go pray about this." How does a 4 year old pack so much wisdom? And so, I have been praying and I'm taking the time to write. Sometimes, when we're in the middle of the mess, we can't see anything except for what's in front of us and that's why it's important to find the time to step back and take a moment to see the big picture. We need to refocus our vision and be able to see beyond the current circumstance.

This job called Motherhood is the greatest on earth, I'm convinced. But, that doesn't mean that it's easy. Moms, let's encourage each other to step back, see the big picture and then react in a way that's an example to our little ones, because they're watching. They're learning about life, even by the way we react to spilled cereal and sometimes that feels like too much responsibility for me to carry, but that doesn't make it change.  

Today we went on a family hike, in between my husband's jobs for the day. Being out in the fresh air with my family always hits my "reset" button. Mud puddles? Let's find some big ones. Dirty rubber boots? No biggie. We walked, found sticks, hit branches, puddle jumped and spotted the first signs of spring. It was great.







This "toadstool" is for you, Mom. I didn't spot the fairy.... I'm sure she was just hiding. ;)
Angela

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread


When we bought our first house, a rosemary plant was one of the first things that I planted. It was a gift from my husband, that meant so much to me. When life is full and busy, we need to celebrate the little things like being able to step out the front door, pick Rosemary and then later fill the house with that amazing smell of homemade bread.
(Yes, he's wearing his Santa Claus jammies and it's March. What can I say? They're a favorite.)

The other day, Judah helped me make some Rosemary Olive Oil bread. He helped me pick it, washed it for us, and then he carefully plucked the green deliciousness off of the branches. This bread made our house smell amazing! I hope you'll give it a try and let me know what you think!

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
1 cup warm water (100-110 F)
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread flour + extra for kneading
1 egg, whisked + 1 Tbsp. water, for egg wash
dried rosemary, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit 10 minutes.

Stir in the salt, rosemary, pepper, olive oil, and whole wheat flour. Add the bread flour and stir until the dough forms a ball. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover. Rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and form it into a round loaf. Place it on a greased cookie sheet, cover and rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Once the dough has risen, gently brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with rosemary.

Bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Makes 1 round loaf.

I hope you've had a wonderful Friday. Ours has been "interesting" to say the least. The day started with a trip to the walk-in clinic before we could even get out of our jammies. Let's just say- jumping on the bed really isn't a good idea and my sweet boy is now on a liquid diet for 3 days.

Anyway, happy weekend!
Angela

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