Friday, June 29, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Dance

Today I am doing another fun link-up!

I am linking up with Lisa Jo at Lisa Jo Baker (formerly the gypsy mama) for  Five-Minute Friday

Here are the rules: 
I have to write for 5 minutes flat about the prompt that Lisa gives. 
No back tracking, no editing,  no over thinking

This weeks prompt:


Ok, here goes, timer set and write...

I watch her dance
This sweet baby of mine
arms flailing
legs up and down
A smile with enough innocence and joy to set the whole world aglow

she doesn't care
she thinks shes great
she isn't worried how she looks
she just enjoys the moment
all she knows is she hears a sound that makes her happy

so she wants to dance
she moves to it
she is full of joy
so proud of herself at her great accomplishment

in her eyes she looks beautiful
she doesn't even care how she looks, but if she were to care, she would think she was beautiful

The doubt hasn't set in yet
The world has not yet told her that she looks silly,
that she is off beat
or that the song is not beautiful it is dorky

she is free! 

I want to be free like that 
and the mommy heart inside of me wants her to be free like that forever 
I don't want anyone to stop her
I don't want the world to come at her with its harsh words, criticism and judgement
I know I can't but I want to protect her forever
I want her to always believe that she is as beautiful and talented as she does in this moment
I want her to always be as proud of herself as she is right now

I don't want the harsh words to come at her and stop her dance

My sweet baby,

I can not always protect you

but I will always be here for you

I will always champion your dance

I will always light up when I see you smile and flail your arms

I will always melt when your eyes light up the way they do when you dance. 

I will always be proud of you

and to me you will always be the most beautiful dancer in the world

You are my inspiration, my love, my joy, my heart

You are God's perfect creation

He loves your dancing more than I

He and I, will always be admiring

He and I will always dance with you

I love you

Thank you for the joy of your dance


...ok, this no editing stuff is driving me CRAZY!  Ahhhh! 

But...we are playing by the there you have it, my five minutes uncut on 

If you want to join the fun, click the button below and it will take you straight to Lisa Jo's prompt where  you can get the skinny and link-up with us.

Happy Friday!

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vloggin' in it up with The Girl Behind The Blog

Welcome to my first ever video blog!

Today I am linking up with Ashley from 5ohwifey for her Girl Behind The Blog Link-Up!  

I have to make the disclaimer that today has been a total circus for me! So I look pretty atrocious! I went swimming the night before so my hair looks amazing (not) and I don't have a stitch of makeup on.

 But hey if it the girl behind the blog you wanna see, that's who you're gonna get!

 So, without further a I am, the girl behind the blog...

You will be happy to know that I did make it out of my sweatpants and even found a moment to take a shower. 

I also have to say that I have moved 8 times in 8 years but they have not all been in different places, I wanted to clear that up so there's no confusion.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about me, and I REALLY hope that I look cuter next time!

Keep it real ladies!


PS: Sorry Ashley I went over my time limit! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

DIY: Creative Ways to Display Pictures

Being on tight budget has been a blessing in disguise for our family in many ways.  

One way is that it has forced me to be creative in decorating our home. 

With a little inspiration from Pinterest and blogs like The Inspired Room and Our Vintage Home Love I have learned how to make the most of craft stores, clearance racks and materials lying around the house to beautify my home.

 Ironically, had limited finances not forced me to dig into my creativity, I probably would never have discovered that DIY decorating is something that I absolutely LOVE to do!

Today I want to share with you a  couple of easy and very inexpensive projects that I have done around my house. 

They didn't take any extraordinary skill, and were not overly time consuming.  I finished them up within a few hours spread over some naps and after bed times.

(I have learned that if the project can't be finished up fairly quickly, I won't finish it, so I have to stick to things that are not excessively time consuming.)

When we moved into our house last summer,  I wanted to display lots of our family photos in the living room but didn't just want to use boring old picture frames; nor did I have the extra money to spend on them.

Here is what I came up with instead:

Project 1

I copied this from Pinterest.

I used a large poster frame that I had lying around but didn't really have a use for.

Painted it using some of the paint that that we had bought to paint our kitchen cabinets with.

 Used some twine and clothespins that were in my craft box.

Printed some pictures at costco for 13 cents a piece.

A little hot glue via my neighbor and voila!

(The F was on sale for a dollar at JoAnne Fabrics.  I painted it with some paint we had leftover from the dorm room that we lived in our first year of marriage. )

Project 2

 Pinterest was my muse for this one also, but I tweaked it and made it my own.

 I found some shutters at a Habitat for Humanity re-store for $3.

Used the same paint, twine and clothespins as with the first project.

Printed a few more pics at Costco.

Added a couple more touches to personalize it.


(The sign I placed above it was a wedding gift.)

sidenote - I used to have the clothespins going in more uniform directions...I'm not really sure what happened but I haven't bothered to fix them. Ha ha-welcome to my life!

There are so many more projects that I am excited to show you, but they will have to wait for now because I have not one but TWO poopy diapers that need my immediate atttention!

~ Remember ~
limited finances = limitless creativity!
Don't be afraid to embrace your inner DIY Diva :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Memory Lane Library: The Second Edition

Welcome to the next edition of Memory Lane Library

Today's addition to our collection is probably my favorite childrens book of all time,

 Here is a hint:

Did you guess it?...

need another hint...

It is a classic by Shel Silverstein...

That's right, it's 

The Giving Tree

A beautiful story of selfless love and loyalty

If you have not read it, then please, I beg you to get a copy of this book! 

When I was a little girl I read this book over and over again, I loved it so much.

 I don't want to spoil it for you but if you are a cryer, have a hanky near by.  

Love Love Love this book! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did and still do.

Happy Reading and Reminiscing!

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents"
~Emilie Buchwald

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ella & Mommy's No-Fail Banana Bread

This simple old-fashioned banana bread recipe is fool-proof and delicious!  You truly can't mess it up!  It is crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.  It is so easy, even I can manage to find the time to whip it up.  It's  a great one to do with kids too!  My 22 month old helped me make this last week and we had a blast :) 

Here is Ella: so proud of herself, enjoying the bread that she helped to make :)

unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 large eggs beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 large very ripe bananas mashed
confectioners sugar for dusting

preheat the oven to 350 degrees

butter and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan

in a medium bowl whisk the 1 1/4 cups flour with baking soda and salt

in another bowl, whisk the eggs with the canola oil, sugar and mashed bananas

stir the banana mixture into the dry ingredients until combined

scrape the batter into prepared loaf pan

bake in center of oven for about 50 minutes, until the banana bread is golden and a toothpick comes out clean

transfer the pan to a rack and let cool for about 15 minutes, then turn bread out onto rack and let cool completely 

dust with confectioners sugar if you choose

cut and serve warm - I like a little butter on my slice


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fathers Day

Today I am reflecting on all of the amazing "fathers" that God has placed in my life over the years.  Some of them have gone on to be with Jesus and others are all still with me. Today I am thankful for every one of them who have invested in my life and helped to shape me. I am missing the ones who are no longer with me, but cherishing the times we had together.

Isn't my daddy handsome! 

Paul- I miss you so much!

Brad- thanks for all the kindness you have shown to my family and me

my sweet grandpa who's in heaven 

so grateful for my father-in-law

Justin- you are the most incredible father! Our girls are blessed!

Not pictured- my grandpa Beck - I will never forget him!

Such remarkable men and I love them all!

"I Love my father as the stars- he's a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart."
 -Terri Guillemets

Happy Fathers Day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Best Parenting Advice Ever!

I am very fortunate in my life to have been surrounded by many amazing mothers who have poured their love and encouragement into me during my short journey as a mother.  I have had talks with moms who are in every stage of motherhood from newborns to empty nesters and been given heaps of amazing advice (and some not so amazing) that has helped me through my challenges as a mom thus far.  What I am about to share with you is in my opinion the best advice I have ever been given and I think the best advice that you can ever give any mom, anywhere, at any stage in her life.  It is something that I remind myself of every day.  Are you ready?  Drum roll please.....

"Love Covers a Multitude of sins"

Ahhhh....the sigh of relief ensues.  The tensed up shoulders suddenly relaxed and I am reminded again that everything is ok.  My kids are going to be ok because I love them and that fact will be a greater driving force in their lives than any area where I am lacking as a mother will be.  I have and will continue to make many mistakes with my children, every mother does, but I can take confidence in the fact that above all they will know that are are loved well.  This love will linger in their little hearts and minds longer than anything else that I do or don't do exactly right.

This isn't just good advice from the heart of a wiser mom who has gone before me.  It is scripture. Which means that it is advice straight from the heart of God!

 "Above all love each other deeply because love covers a multitude of sins." 
1 Peter 4:8

If you are like me, and second guess your abilities as a mom about every other minute, remind yourself often of this important truth .  Let your shortcomings be all the more reason to love on those babies.  Give it all you got!  I mean mush it up!  Even if you are not a mushy person.  Whatever way that your kids feel loved and you show them love DO IT right now!  Go love them and then remind yourself that if you are loving them the best you can, then you are doing the best that you can, and that is all that anyone can ask of you.
Now whatever sin or mistake or character flaw you are struggling with that made you believe you were failing your kids, go take that to Jesus right now!  Confess it to him.  Tell him how you are feeling and leave whatever that thing is at the cross where it belongs.  There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ! (Romans 8:1) Remember that his love displayed on the cross didn't just cover your sins, it did away with them. 

Your kids don't need a perfect mama, they need a loving one.  As your love fills in the cracks in their lives, God's love will fill in the cracks in yours.  Love it up Mama!

( Let's apply this in our marriages too)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Grilled Tilapia and Mango Salsa

Hey Good Lookin' What's Cookin?!

I really enjoy cooking. however at this stage in my life, I am so busy with the girls that most days  its a great accomplishment if I manage to even get hamburger helper on the table! :)

So my husband has graciously stepped in and we have made dinner into a team effort. 

 The following is one of a handful of recipes that have become staples in our house.  Mostly because they are delicious, easy and call for ingredients that we usually have in our pantry/fridge anyway - so they can be done without much planning in advance.

The one I am sharing with you today is a perfect dinner dish for the summertime!  It is colorful, light, healthy and is great for those warm eat  "let's cook outside"  kinda' nights.  I discovered it on a couple of years ago and we have been making it ever since.

I apologize that I don't have a lovely picture of the finished product to entice your taste buds. Unfortunately,  I have never been one of those people who takes beautiful pictures of food.  Photography is not a talent I possess.  Besides, these days I am fortunate if I get to eat my food while it is hot, let alone take a photograph of it!  So please excuse the lack of visual inspiration, you will have to use your imagination.

Grilled Tilapia and Mango Salsa
You will need 4 tilapia fillets

Ingredients for the marinade
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt

Ingredients for the salsa 
 (disclaimer - I have never actually made the salsa because we usually have the mango salsa from Costco on hand so we use that.  I may try the homemade salsa next time.  I  personally would probably add some cilantro to it though and sub some of the jalapenos for fresh tomatoes - I am not the biggest fan of jalapenos) 

2/3 cup chopped mango
2 tbs lime juice
4 tbs minced jalapeno pepper
4 tsp minced red onion
2 tsp minced red bell pepper
2 tsp minced green bell pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp ground black pepper

combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl - stir

put the fish fillets in a resealable plastic bag

pour the marinade mixture over the fish and let it marinate in the fridge for one hour.

while the fish is marinading, make the salsa by mixing all the salsa ingredients together in a bowl

 Let salsa mixture sit in the fridge for one hour to allow flavors to blend.

preheat grill to medium

remove fish fillets from the marinade and wrap them individually in tin foil

cook on the grill until the flesh flakes off easily with a fork (3-4 minutes on each side)

We have also broiled the fish instead of grill it and it is very tasty that way too. 
To Broil:
set oven to broil
place fish on pan
cook for 3-4 minutes
turn over cook for another 2-3 minutes
fish is done when the skin flakes off easily with a fork

we spoon the salsa over the fish and serve it on top of rice

that's it! easy peasy, and sooooo delish!

it also presents beautifully so it is great for entertaining!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Overcoming Entitlement

They are called rights

Those ugly little things that creep into my heart

and make it so easy to be proud, selfish, distracted from my kids, and overwhelmed with life.

The lies say,

"I have a RIGHT to sleep!"

"I have a RIGHT to have my hands free, to do what I want with my time, have a clean house, eat a hot meal..." and the list goes on.

Somewhere last week I began allowing the rights to penetrate my mind, one by one until bitterness, shame, and narcissism took over.  My heart was becoming ugly and misaligned to the heart of my Father in Heaven.  When I loose touch with Him, I seem to loose touch with my kids, my husband, my calling and the whole thing will start to unravel inside of me.

When I start acting like I am entitled to things in my life like sleep, order and free time, my attitude quickly spirals down a treacherous slope of  frustration, self pity and impatience.

I have to admit last week was hard!  Bennet was fussy.  She wanted to be held constantly and was not sleeping.  Ella was testing her boundaries in every direction. The house was a disaster.  There were moments when I was almost convinced that my kids were staging a coup! 

But you know what?...That isn't what made it hard.  Sure at the time it seemed like it was the kids' fault, or somehow my husband's fault that things were difficult (Our poor hubbies, they get blamed for everything don't they?)

The fault was mine.  I was resisting my calling.  I was resisting my responsibility to God, and my family.  They were all doing exactly what they were supposed to do.  I was not.

Bennet is a baby she is suppossed to cry!  She is supposed to want to be held!  It is her job to need me!  Ella is a toddler!  She is supposed to be pushing her limits.  That is part of her process of growing up.  She is just doing her job!  Why am I acting like they are somehow interrupting my life?  This is my life - I am a mom!  Moms are meant to hold their babies, comfort them, correct them, play with them and even wake up with them every thirty minutes throughout the night if need be!  There is nothing that I could possibly have on my own selfish agenda (even sleep) that is more important than to care for my children.  Why am I angry at my kids for doing what they are suppossed to - by expecting me, their mom, to do what I am supposed to do?!  The week was hard because I decided to believe the lie that I am entitled to something that requires less than all of me.

Jesus himself said this,
"Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one's life for one's friends. 
-John 15:13

I am not entitled to selfishness.  I don't have a right to make my own comfort the number one priority in my life.  I am obligated rather to a calling to lay down my life for my children and for a God who first lay his own life down for me.

I give up my right to sleeping!  I give up my right to sitting down!  I give up my right to a clean house! To having my hands free!  Those so-called rights were never mine in the first place.

In  those moments when the selfishness creeps in, I have to decided to silence the falsehood that there is something better to do than hold my sweet five month old baby who looks up at me with her big blue eyes and cheesy grin, wanting nothing more in the world than to be close to me.  There is no greater privilege than that and I will choose nothing more in the world than to want to be close to her!  I am deafening the lie that fulfilling my own desires is more important than taking the time to train my beautiful amazing spirited toddler (who is just as strong-willed as her mamma.)  What could be a better investment of my time?!  Nothing! When I keep the right perspective then I am reminded that there is no greater blessing in my life, than the call to lay down my life for my children!  Selfishness returns to gratefulness; bitterness to joy. Once again I am beautifully wrecked by the vastness of Gods love, the limitlessness of his patience and the power of his revelation.  I am overcome with love and gratitude for these precious little people whom God has entrusted to me to love and care for.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Wardrobe Reboot

I am swooning over this watch from Anthropologie

Are you in love with it yet?

I've heard that the easiest and most inexpensive way to update your wardrobe is to update your accessories. 

I've never been a huge jewelry person, and was skeptical at first

but have now been made a believer.

Accessory updating is a great idea for busy moms who don't have time and energy for long shopping trips, or dragging kids into dressing rooms

but still want to get out of a fashion slump.

Nothing adds life to a tired outfit,

distracts from a little left over baby weight,

or the fact that you didn't have time for makeup

 like a great accessory.

So take a few seconds and throw on that fabulous watch, cute pair of earrings, or chunky bracelet.

You may not look perfect,

 as you are rushing out the door

 with a toddler attached to your leg

and a baby spitting up on your -5 minutes ago - clean sweater.

But you at least look like you still care

like you tried...

and you look beautiful!

(ps) this is coming from a girl who usually doesn't get out of her sweatpants until the afternoon, so, you know, do the best you can. ;-)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

{The Art} of Packing a Sun Hat

Just because we are moms, does not mean that we can't take the time to enjoy some fun stuff  just for us once in a while...

Which is why I wanted to share this fun and smart little tutorial with you. I stumbled upon it during a 2 am feeding with my five month old: 
Guess where I found it?... 


 Also, Anthro now has a Pinterest page which duh, I'm following.

I am so happy that sun hats have made a comeback over the last couple of years because I LOVE them and never gave up hope that they would return in all their stylish, Grace Kelly-esque  Glory!

So if you're taking a trip this summer

Pack that sun hat!

Now you have no excuse not to.

Whoever said we can't vacay with our kids in style?

Even if you do have cheerios stuck to your butt, who cares? You are rockin' the hat!

You are a mammalicious beauty, embrace it from the inside out! 

Happy Sunning!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dancing in the Minefields

A friend of mine shared this beautiful song with me the other day in response to my recent post The Journey Begins.  I thought you might enjoy it.  It speaks such true and powerful sentiments about God's wonderful plan for marriage.  Its called Dancing in the Minefields, by Andrew Peterson.

What did you think?  Totally made me cry (in a good way.)

I hope it touches your heart the way it did mine...

Have a lovely and (hopefully) restful Sunday!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Homemaker's Confessional

Welcome to the homemaker's confessional!

I love caring for my home.  But I am quickly learning that I have a few quirks in this area of my life.  So I thought it might be kind of funny to let you in on some of them.

confession #1

Laundry is my greatest weakness.  Often times I will put a load in the washing machine, then get busy with my kids, or other chores (or daydreaming) and completely forget it's in there untill the next day.  By then I have to wash it again because the clothes have been sitting in a wet heap for 12 hours and are starting to stink.  The worst part is sometimes I will do this two or three times before the load makes it into the dryer!  I know its crazy right?!  Someone please tell me I am not the only one who does this?

I can so easily get frustrated with myself over these kinds of things, but I am learning that being a homemaker isn't necessarily defined  by whether or not I measure up to Martha Stewart.  A wise friend recently said to me  "The woman is the heart of the home.  Its a hard reality but it's true.  You set the tone for your home."  What she said really stuck with me.  If this is true (and I believe it is) then what is the tone that am I setting for my home?  In her book, Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches. authoress Rachel Jankovic says this,

"If there is anything I have learned in the course of  my fast and furious mothering journey, it is that there is only one thing in my entire life that must be organized.  The kids can be running around like a bunch of hooligans through a house that appears to be at the bottom of a toaster, and yet,  if organization and order can be found in my attitude we are doing well.  But if my attitude alters even in the midst of external order so does everything else."

The job of a "homemaker"  is not simply to be a housekeeper but it is to make a home.  Whether we like it or not, we are the ones who cultivate our home environment.  We make the heart of our home.  This implies that my home environment is directly linked to the state of my own heart and my behavior.  I want the climate of my home to be one that seems to say,  "God's love dwells here."  I want it to be a place that is filled with grace, peacefulness of heart, and the ability to feel that you can be completely you and still be completely ok.  I wish that every time someone came over I had an immaculately clean  house, a vanilla scented candle burning and cookies baking in the oven.  But that is just not always the reality for me at this stage of my life.  Some days my house looks beautiful and others, it looks just how Rachel describes  "like the bottom of a toaster."  What I am trying to learn is that this doesn't make me a bad homemaker.  I can still make a lovely home, regardless of how crazy the things that are outside of my control get.  I have to remember that God's grace is present with me in those moments when things get super intense and the kids are cranky and I am exhausted and the laundry needs to go through the wash cycle for the THIRD time in a row.  I am a home maker and I want to make a home where we let the grace of God transcend our imperfections and the reality of His mercy leads us every day.

Some days I feel so overwhelmed by my imperfections.  In those moments I need to check my own heart so that I can be aware of the tone I am setting?  If I let my feeling of being overwhelmed become the dictator of my behavior, then my home quickly becomes an overwhelming place for everyone in it.  Being out of control, overcome mommy doesn't change my external circumstances but it can completely shift the internal circumstances of the people in my home.

Colossians 3 is a good reminder to me of the kind of home I want to cultivate.  I try to meditate on it often.

The whole chapter is good, but here is a snippet (verses 12-17)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility,gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do,whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

That is the kind of home I want to make.  I so often fall short of it (like pretty much every day) but it is what I am striving for and I know that God can help me get here.  There may be days when the house is organized  and I am doing so well with the whole Colossians Three thing.  Then there are days where everything seem to be falling apart at the seams.  But if I am seeking Gods grace for myself every day, then the home  I am making is a beautiful one because nothing speaks more loudly of true beauty than the mercy of  God.  If I am prostrated towards the Lord, regardless of the chaos going on around or even inside me, I can have faith that my home will take on that posture as well. 

Confession # 2

Think I'd give it away that easily?  No way!  You will have to stay tuned for the next time I step inside the Homemaker's Confessional...

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