Friday, June 1, 2018

Friday Favorite-June 1

It's June 1st! My kids are out of school and we've had an great first week of summer. My hubby, Chris, left for a mission trip to Haiti, the day after the boys got out of school. I've tried to plan fun, little things though out our week to break things up and make memories with my boys. We've already made several trips to the pool and summer is in full swing. Here are a few of my favorite things this week.

one. Memorial Day. I took all five boys to Old Navy to get the yearly fun flag shirts they carry. A friend gave them to the boys as a gift last year and it was so fun to have them wear them on Memorial Day and Fourth of July. I know some of you are probably still stuck back at the fact that I took all five boys to Old Navy, by myself. A girl's got to do, what a girl's got to do 🤣.

My goal was to get a picture of all five boys in their shirts and a picture of the boys and I together. As moms we are always behind the camera, and it's important to get in front of it with your kids too. I knew they weren't going to be into it, but I wanted to try it anyway. I set up my camera on a folding chair, set the self timer and was pleasantly surprised to get this gem, that I will treasure for years to come. Sometimes, plans do work out!

Afterward, I loaded the boys up and we headed to our favorite shaved ice stand for a cool treat. It was so hot, and I was so proud of them for cooperating with me. After an hour wait (due to one sweet girl working the stand), I had five extremely hot boys, and the shaved ice could not have tasted better.



two. Nickel and Suede. My hubby and boys gave me some new earrings for Mother's Day and I am in love. These earrings are the best. They are so lightweight, I forget that I even have them on. They are a fun statement piece and make me feel put together. The owner/designer, Kilee, has five boys. We have just a little bit in common. I'm sure we would have a lot to talk about times five 😊.



three. Strawberry picking. We headed to Benny's Berries to pick strawberries. I talked about our berry picking trip last year here.  We love Benny's Berries because it's a manageable size to keep track of your kids, and the berries are fantastic. We had a great time picking perfect, red, juicy strawberries. I love that the boys had some unplugged fun. I was impressed that they followed the directions and only picked the red berries without white tips or tops. We made Homemade Strawberry Shortcake twice this week! We couldn't let those strawberries go to waste.




four. Cranberry Orange muffins from Costo. The little boys and I tried these muffins at Costco at a sampling event during our last shopping trip. They were delicious, and the boys loved them. When I discovered that they are made with fresh zucchini and carrots, I was sold. What mom isn't trying to figure out how to get their kids to eat more veggies? These are great for on the go or at home. If you are a Costco member grab a box!


five. Miss Freddy's Back Up Boot Camp. Anyone else feel completely overwhelmed with their digital images? Over the years, they have piled up. I am worried that I will lose all my images. I need help! I'm so glad that Casey has this free online course to help me know what to do to get those images backed up! This will lift a huge weight off my shoulders! Join me for Miss Freddy's Free Back Up Boot Camp. This is the last time she will be offering the course for free. Click HERE to register. Course starts Monday, June 4th.


six...I'll leave you with my last, but not least, favorite thing this week.  My little man is now walking. I love watching new walkers, they are adorable. The wobble, the hands, the wide stance...so much fun. I am still in disbelief that my baby is not only one, but walking. It goes too fast, but I'm loving every minute. He is such a joy.


Have a wonderful weekend and I would love to hear some of your favorite things from this week!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Caprese Chicken

 This is one of my favorite chicken recipes.  It's easy to make and so fresh and delicious for summer! If you skip the angel hair pasta, it is a low carb recipe!


Caprese Chicken


  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 6 slices of fresh mozzarella
  • fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the chicken breasts in half and then season with salt and pepper.

2. Warm a pan on the burner to medium high heat. Add a little olive oil to evenly coat pan. Add chicken to the pan. Cook on both sides for 2 minutes. Transfer to a sprayed cooking sheet. Repeat this step to cook the remaining chicken.

3. Transfer chicken to the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes. The last two minutes of cooking place a slice of mozzarella cheese on each piece of chicken to melt.

4. While chicken is baking mix up the balsamic vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, and olive oil. Set aside.

5. After chicken is cooked remove from oven and top with thinly sliced tomato, fresh chopped basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Enjoy!

The fresh basil is what makes this dish so fresh and delicious. It was very satisfying to know that the basil was fresh and came from my garden.

If you have any leftover chicken it makes a delicious sandwich for lunch the next day. I simply broiled a bun, warmed up the chicken, topped with tomato and fresh basil, and added a thin layer of mayo to the bun. It was delicious and just as fresh as it was the first meal!


Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday Favorites



It's Friday. Here are a few of my favorites from this week!

one. Our 2017 Family Yearbook will be arriving at my door TODAY! I'm so excited. I have talked about how I make my Family Yearbooks here and how I print them here. I am more excited to receive this book than any in the past because I've done double the work. I had to take my phone in for repair back in December and they told me it was backed up. When I picked it back up, they couldn't get it to restore so I lost all the completed pages on my Project Life App. To start over and recreate a book that was almost ready to be printed was very frustrating. So, I have completed this book twice and cannot wait to get it in my hands!

two. AWANA. I am so proud of my boys. They have worked so hard this year in AWANA, a scripture memory program that meets on Wednesday nights during the school year. Four of my boys were able to participate this year, Judson (Puggles), Jack (Cubbies), Cooper (Sparks), and Max (T&T). Jack completed Cubbies which is 49 unique verses memorized in the last two years. Cooper completed Sparks and has memorized over 150 verses in the last 3 years. Max completed year three of T & T and, and has one more year left in the entire program and has memorized 360 verses in the past three years (in T & T alone). All this to say, these boys are hiding God's Word in their heart and inspiring me to challenge myself to do the same. I'm beyond proud of their hard work!





three. Summer. The countdown to summer is on, 9.5 days to be exact. I cannot wait for school to be out. The last couple weeks, it seems like everyone has been dragging just a bit. It has been harder to get everyone motivated to get ready and out the door.  One morning we had to pull back in the driveway because teeth weren't brushed, hair hadn't been done, and various items were missing from back packs. I think they are ready for a break, and so am I. I'm ready for the lazy, carefree days of summer! I'm ready to spend my days with these five making memories. #bringonsummer


four. Hello Joy Co. I love Hello Joy Co's Encouraging Wednesdays. Each Wednesday they share a new scripture. You can either download a free 4x6 image or purchase larger prints. This verse was from a few weeks ago, and still available for free download. 

What a verse to be inspired by, and a great one as Mother's Day is Sunday. Our children are constant witnesses of our life and conduct. They see us when we fall and make mistakes, and how we handle ourselves in these situations. They also see us at our best, how we train them up, and many life moments in-between. Few people will ever truly know us as deeply as our husband and children. If those who see us in all facets of life can "rise up and called her blessed" then we are succeeding at living a Spirit filled life. This verse encourages me, and I pray that someday my boys will feel this way about me.

There's my doorbell, I hope that it's my Family Yearbook arriving!  Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday Favorites

It's Friday and the weather is beautiful. I'm sharing a few of my favorite things from this week!
one.
She Reads Truth Proverbs The Way of Wisdom study.
This study has been amazing! Each day has several different verses, on a common theme, from the book of Proverbs. You end the day with a couple interactive questions with blank journaling space that help you to apply and reflect on what you just read. I have enjoyed this approach as it is so different from most fill in the blank studies. I have challenged myself to just sit and really think about each question. It has caused me to examine my own heart as I read and study these passages. I come away from the study each day not only challenged, but uplifted and encouraged. I will be so sad when I finish this study. On the bright side, She Reads Truth has many more studies that I can pick from to do next!

two. The Small Things Blog. My favorite blog right now is The Small Things Blog. Kate shares the best hair (former stylist) and makeup tips. I love that she tries so many products (for both hair and makeup) and shares the ones she loves. I have purchased a few things that she has recommend on her blog and every single item has become a favorite! I now consider Kate my personal go-to beauty expert. She is a fellow boy mom, so we have more than just our names in common!

three. 15 Day Mommy Fit Challenge. I love these free workouts available on YouTube. There are a couple different versions, Trainer Nicole is my favorite. I have found a new routine that has been working for me. I drop the boys off at school and head home and do one of these workouts. The 25-28 minute workout is different each day, so you never get bored! If time allows, I like to combine them with a 2-3 mile run and boom, you have yourself a great workout! Nicole also gives modifications for pregnant women, so it's great for any of you expecting mommas out there.

four. T-Ball. Jack started t-ball and has had two practices. He is my second child to play t-ball and it just may be the cutest thing to watch.
They are not only adorable in their uniforms, but they say and do the cutest things. I love watching my oldest play baseball too, but it will be a sad day when I no longer have a t-ball playing kiddo!
I can't wait to sport my new Baseball Mom shirt that I purchased from my neighbor, fellow boy mom, and etsy seller, Kim. You can find her on Facebook or Instagram at Kim's Heart Strings. She will be taking orders for these baseball shirts through next week.
That's a wrap! Happy Friday. I'm so excited that the weekend is here. I'm going to get outside and enjoy the beautiful spring weather.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

DIY Tissue Paper Tassel Garland Party Decor

My youngest son turned one last week! I wanted to make a tissue paper tassel garland to hang on the wall behind his high chair for a festive look at his birthday party.  If you are looking for a fun way to make an impact at your party, that is budget friendly, this DIY garland is for you. I found my tissue paper for $1 a package at Hobby Lobby. This project cost me less than $4 and I had tissue paper left over to add to my gift wrapping stash. Make sure to allow yourself enough time to complete the garland before your event. It does take some time to get enough tassels to fill your strand. I enjoy a good project, I find it relaxing (some will think that is crazy). Find yourself a good show to watch while you are working and time will fly by. I completed my garland while watching the Men's NCAA tournament, it took some of the stress away from watching the nail biting game!


DIY Tissue Paper Garland Tutorial

Step 1. Take your tissue paper and fold in half (fold is at the top). 


Step 2: Take the left edge and fold over to meet the right edge.


Step 3: Repeat step 2 to fold over again (and take left edge and fold over to meet right edge).


Step 4: Begin cutting at the right hand side. Cut strips in desired width, stop cutting at least 2 inches from the top.



Step 5: Finish cutting strips across tissue paper.


Step 6: Unfold tissue paper, and cut down the center to create two separate pieces.


Step 7: Unfold each section and roll in the center from one edge to the other edge.



Step 8: Twist the center together and fold over.


Step 9: Fold the tissue tassel piece over the ribbon or cording you are using to hang your garland on.


Step 10: Create desired spacing (take into account how full you would like the garland to be) and hot glue each tassel in place. Repeat until you reach desired fullness and length.

Step 11: Enjoy the party! Don't forget to document your little one in front of the festive decor!


Monday, April 23, 2018

All Things New

Six years ago, this week, I lost a baby to miscarriage. I was eleven weeks along and had already bonded with the new life growing inside me. Our two little boys (5 and 2 at the time) had already been talking about the baby in Mommy's tummy. Chris and I had been throwing around names and our days were filled with a new found excitement. We spent time hoping and dreaming about what having three kids might be like, when our world, suddenly came crashing down.

Grief came in waves, crashing against my soul, tearing at my heart with the power of a tsunami. I remember during that time wanting to do something to give my baby weight in this world. To ensure this little gift from God was remembered. Life goes on and others quickly forgot the sweet life that had so impacted mine in his/her short 11 weeks. It wasn't until I lost our second baby two years ago that I made my initial plan of remembrance a reality. I wanted a physical reminder of the two sweet lives that I carried for 11 weeks on this earth. They are as much my babies as the five beautiful boys that I have the privilege of mothering, loving on, and raising day in and day out. I knew I wanted to find and plant two flowering trees so that each Spring the new life and beautiful blooms would remind us that we have two babies very much alive in heaven. Because of the new life I have in Christ, I will see my babies again someday. Oh what a glorious day that will be.
Each spring, I wait with great anticipation to behold the beautiful flowering blooms. They do not disappoint. What I did not anticipate was, when I take in the beautiful blooms each spring, I am reminded of more than just the two babies that I cannot wait to meet someday. I cannot help but pause and look each time I walk by the window, or stroll past them in the yard. I  am reminded that great beauty can come from great pain. In my case, in the form of a depth of compassion I had never known. Compassion that can only come through trial by fire, and through experience. I can now look back with a thankful heart, not that I would choose to go through the pain, but that the Lord was able to bring about good in my life through it.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 


As I take in the beauty of the blooms I cannot help but think that I am just a stranger passing through, this world is not my home. After learning the news of my loss at my doctor's appointment, my brand new cell phone suddenly did not work, and I was not able to call my husband to tell him the news. I had a long quiet drive home with just my thoughts, and as tears streamed down my face I remember vividly the moment I realized I had a baby in heaven. Somehow, heaven seemed more real to me that day than it ever had before. For the first time I looked at heaven with great anticipation rather than with trepidation.
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." Philippians 3:20
I think it's easy to get comfortable here in this world; in our lives, our homes, our striving, and our material things, that we forget this is not the end all. The good news is if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, your life on this earth is as bad as it will ever get. The best is yet to come. When I see these blooms, I think of heaven. That is my home.
 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials." 1 Peter 1:3-6
I am so thankful for these beautiful reminders each spring. There is beauty all around and though trials may come, I can face them because I know Christ is with me. He has proven Himself faithful to me through great loss. I am thankful that He can make all things new!

In what ways or area of life has He made all things new for you?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Special Moments

Planning special moments or occasions does not have to take lots of time, energy, or money. I planned this special breakfast the day before Valentine's Day with things I had on hand at home.

It's easy to get wrapped up in the Pinterest/Instagram culture and to let all the beautiful images of table presentations and decorations leave you feeling that you cannot measure up. But the only one putting that pressure on you, is yourself. Kids find the most simple things fun and exciting. Keep the who and the why in mind. Who are you trying to impress and why are you trying to make this a special occasion? For me, I wanted to make a special breakfast that was out of the ordinary to show my little loves how much I love and adore them.
As my boys came downstairs Valentine's Day morning, the delight on their faces was so rewarding for me. It didn't take much to make a special day even more magical with a fun breakfast. I prepared our favorite pancake recipe, this one which is a copycat of the delicious IHOP pancakes. A little tip for you, you don't even have to buy the buttermilk. You can use 1 tablespoon of lemon juice combined with 1 cup milk as a substitute for 1 cup of buttermilk. To make the pancakes a little extra special, I cut up some strawberries and had whip cream available as toppings. Strawberry milk rounded out our special Valentine's Day breakfast and was a huge hit with my milk loving boys, and fit in perfectly in the red/pink theme I was going for.
I cut a long sheet of butcher paper off a big roll and taped it down under the table as a table runner. I wrote each of my loves a special note, and spread some heart sequins I had on hand from a project last year (this is where being a saver comes in handy)! I was excited to use cloth napkins in hues of red to dress up the table. My four year old, Jack, exclaimed, "This is the best dinner ever!" So while it would never earn many hearts on Instagram or pins on Pinterest, the accolades of my four year old son is all the praise I need.
Making things special and fun for our kids doesn't have to take much time, money, or planning! I am thankful for that. Kids love when we do anything fun and different to make things special. See how creative you can be with things you already have on hand at home and get out there and make some memories.

How about you? Do you have any quick and easy tips for creating special moments?