Thursday, April 29, 2010

Early Bird Gets the Worm

I have read a few posts lately about the benefits of rising early. I was really good for about a while, going to bed early and rising in the wee hours of the morning and then the Winter Olympics came and I was up late watching them. The next time was working like a charm too but then traveling and getting sucked into Law and Order (I love that show!) next thing I know I am waking up at 7:30, huh? Well this great gal, Ruth over at GraceLaced just posted about the 5:45 Club. I was again encouraged to make an effort. She asked a simple question. I responded and now I feel held accountable. Even though I know she is not going to call me at 5:46 to make sure I am up, but rather it is the fact of keeping your word, even if it is out there in cyber space.

So why wake up early you ask? You are already exhausted from being a full time mom with a full time job (so actually you have two full time jobs), you are a college student cramming late at night, you are a newly married wife with all sorts of commitments, or you are someone who just LOVES their sleep. I can only tell you the benefits that I have received.

Reason #1
It is almost guaranteed that no one else is going to be up. Yes, there are mornings that one or both rugrats is up early but 95% of the time it is just me and my refrigerator humming.
                                                                                                photo by Latente
Reason #2
Okay, so I am still in love with my coffee and I do go back and forth about drinking this delicious elixir. For me it is not about caffeine but rather the ritual. The smell, the warmth, the cup, the first sip, that is what I love about coffee.

Reason #3
If you plan it out right you are able to make this time in the morning so sweet and useful, it is wonderful.
I wake up to not only the alarm but the beeping of my coffee maker telling me to come hither, it is ready. I have my devotion and prayer time. I then get on the computer, checking emails, blogs and write a post or prep for a post. Look at what needs to be accomplished during the day; laundry, cleaning, dinner etc.

Reason #4
By far the best reason ever! I find that I am way more useful and pleasant if I start the day with my best friend. Getting to know Him, reading about Him, learning His ways, listening for His voice. I wish I could spend hours in the quiet with Him but it is not going to happen. So I embrace the quiet time I have and cling to it all day or as long as I can. As you know I am no way perfect, I have issues, I am sinful, I grumble to myself, and I miss the mark daily if not every minute or so. However, if I start out my day on the right foot, I tend to not go down that path as quickly.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path
Psalm 119:105

I hope to encourage not frustrate. If 5:45 does not work for you just try fifteen minutes earlier than normal. Try it for a week and then slowly try fifteen minutes earlier than that. Rome was not built in a day and you are not going to magically wake up at 5:45 when you have always woke up at 8:00. Give yourself grace and know that whatever time you commit to Him, He will bless you richly.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Banner It Up!

Aunt B gave Kira this banner kit for Christmas.
We worked on some of the banners before we moved and I packed it away
While looking for a craft yesterday I found it!
ALEX Toys "It's a party" Banner
They had a blast decorating the flags

Kira liked this one the best out of all she made

Enzo and I made this one,
He picked everything out and helped me place it

The best part is that all of the colors match their room.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Wonderful Miracle

I was working on my cookbook,
the kids were listening to a audio book and playing quietly,
I look over and see Enzo actually using his left hand to pick up a Magna-Tile
and was using "Lefty" to actively holding the tile and placing it next to another one that "Righty" had.
I started tearing up
God is so good!
He is answering our prayers that Enzo would use his left side without any persuasion.

Enzo playing with Magna-Tiles
Notice his left hand is holding the triangle up!

Here he is working midline!

Just being shy now because he saw the camera but still using both hands

God is mighty and wonderful
He is healing our little bub
It is amazing to watch Him work.
Thank you Jesus!

No TV and Computer Discussed

Okay so on last Monday I came to the realization that I spend too much time on the computer, who doesn't now a days right? But I thought that is my kids were not going to watch tv for a week then I should give up something relatively similar. I do not watch tv all that much so it was not too much of a hassle or adjustment to me. So I decided to turn off the computer too. I checked email and I did search a couple things on google but I spent 1/100 of the time that I normally spend on the computer easily.

I did not miss Facebook or reading and searching blogs all that much. We in fact a had a very busy week so it was not too bad. I did have withdrawals a little but soon got over it. The kids were fantastic!! We even drove down to OC and did not bring the DVD player at all! The way down was fine because the slept and it was nightime. However on the way back it was a little harder. Enzo slept the first two hours and Kira played nicely with her doll. But as we stopped for dinner and the drive dragged on a little bit they started to annoy me get antsy. We were all running on very little sleep and exhausted from the whirl wind of the trip but all and all they were great and did not even ask about watching a movie. Praise God!

I feel really good and want to stick with it. All of the reasons that I thought I needed them to watch a video- making dinner or getting a shower, ended up not necessary. We survived the week and it felt good. They played nicer than they ever had. We did watch a movie on Wednesday when there was craziness with the preparation for the reception, the front door had to be open and people were going in and out and it was too much and I needed containment for their safety. They also had a slumber party with cousins at Grandma and Grandpa's house on Saturday and watched a movie there too. It was a spur of the moment and I could not say no, who could.
What I am planning on doing is keep the week free from movies for the kids and then on Friday night have family movie night. Then Saturday morning cartoons and keep it at that. Just two days of movies is way better than what we used to do. If there is the extra one or less I am okay with it.

As for the computer........
Well I have decided that I can check email in the morning and post a blog but I need to do it before 9:00. Or I can post a blog, FB, read my blogs, email and such after the kids are asleep. I am going to try to write a post the night before like I am doing right now and post the next morning. This way I will plan a little more my posts and try to get a pattern or routine in writing.
I know Mondays tend to be "Make it Monday" by Skip to My Lou and I want to keep posting on those days all things crafty.
Tuesdays:  Recipes.
Wednesdays: Rugrats, crafts, school etc.
Thursdays: Thrifty Thursdays and post about my reuse/recycle items.
Fridays: Devotion or Encouraging.
Then take the weekend off. I know a lot of blogs that do weekend links and that might be a good idea. I would love to get my blog to have a little more structure but it is always fun having random posts too.

What do you think? Would you tune in to a specific topic?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Eric!

My Sweet Eric and I at my brother's Reception

Today is my sweetheart's birthday.

When we met he thought I was 18 and thought "Okay little girl, run along"
(I was 25 years old at the time)
I asked him what his name was and for some interesting about him.
I was new to the church and was trying to make friends.
He told me his name was Eric and he worked at a deli.
I was not satisfied.
"No, that is not good enough, tell me something else about yourself"

"I just want to love God!"

I was floored.
I thought to myself, wouldn't it be funny if this was our story I told after being married, on how we met?
Little did I know that was the case.

I am so blessed to have him as my best friend,
my husband,
the father of our rugrats
the leader of our home.

I am so thankful God paired us together.
He could not have made a better match for me.
He makes me laugh
He laughs with me
He laughs at me
 and he loves me.

I love being his personal assistant ;)

Happy Birthday Ed!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Turn Off the Boob Tube and The Computer

Okay, it is in my best intentions to turn off the boob tube this week. We did all day yesterday and it was so nice. We listened to audio books and music instead. It was not as hard as I thought it would be. The kids played beautifully all day and I hope today goes as smoothly too. I plan to stay off the computer too. I know for me the computer is more energy sucking than the tv since we do not have cable. Okay people here we go and this should be interesting.

I have also decided to not be on the computer except for emails. I am not going to blog, google, facebook, imdb etc. It won't be too bad I just have to relive my dial up days and no phone connection ;) I think it will be good and I will be more productive and I am sure I will share all about it on next Monday.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Diet and Exercise

Okay it is official, I am finally down to pre-baby weight before Kira. I can say it is official because I have maintained this weight for about a month now. Since going off all animal product mid-February, I have lost about eight pounds. I feel great. I am eating all day long yummy fruit and veggies. I do not count calories, points, fat or any of that. I eat about every two to three hours. It is easy and fun with the kids. I know what is going into my body and my family's. I spend less time in the kitchen cooking and more time with my family. I have reduced my grocery bill too!

Now with that being said, to be totally honest I have not "exercised" at all. What I mean is I have not done an actual exercise program. There are the normal day to day exercises, walking to the park, downtown and daily stuff, but no real routine. These results are all based off my diet! I felt I was pretty healthy to begin with. Also I have not completely cut out all oils either. I am slowly working on that. I cooked a whole meal without adding any oil and Eric loved it and did not even notice the difference. I am curious about salad dressings though and making a good one without oil.

Okay you are probably wondering how everyone has dealt with all of the change. It took about a week to de-program my kids from asking for things. I really tried to rely on the positive instead of what they could not have. If they asked for foods that we were not eating, I would say "Oh, look you can have a yummy banana, apple or big raisins" I would point out how delicious the food is, the colors, the tastes, the smell and how good they feel eating this way.

Yes, it is hard work! It was so hard going gluten free. It was so hard going dairy free. It was kind of hard going animal free. Was it hard work delivering an almost nine pound baby sunny side up naturally? Heck yeah, but I would not change that experience for the world! I love my kids and I want to ensure the best health possible. I know by putting in the effort I have reaped the benefits a hundred fold. Nothing is easy and there are no magic pills.

Is it hard now? No, I think it is easier now than ever. Meals are easy, menu planning is a breeze and meal time is a joy. I do not fight my kids at dinnertime. What? Really? Unheard of with preschoolers. I know what they will eat and what they will not. I make sure to have at least one thing that they love in our meals. For instance, Kira is my salad eater, so I make sure I have salad at lunch and dinner for her. Enzo will eat all of the components of the salad just not tossed together, that's easy, I make a plate of all the salad goodies and a dollop of hummus to dip. If she just eats huge salad full of spinach, avocados, tomatoes and cucumber for dinner I am fine with that. You have to remember we are eating every two to three hours, so a huge dinner is not really needed.

I know my kids are happy, healthy and thriving. I feel great. I am so appreciative that Eric is supportive and honest. If I cook something and he does not like it, he tells me and I make a note of it. I have an amazing family and I am thankful that they are who they are. I would not trade all of the allergies for anything. I am glad I was forced into some of the changes and so glad I stumbled on the other reasons for change. It was not an overnight revelation but rather a journey, a lifestyle.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It Is Just a Season

It is just a season, you may have heard this before. It is my mantra on somedays. Somehow it gives me peace during certain times with my kids. It helps me appreciate the season I am in with them. If I look at the "problems or issues" that I am experiencing in parenthood with this outlook it does not seems so bad. It puts things into perspective. I see the glass as half full or all the way full instead of glooming and grumbling about.

I LOVE....

Enzo coming to my room in the middle of the night to snuggle,

hearing his sweet voice sing "I have to go to the bathroom",

Kira wanting me to "paint" her face or make a garden on her back at bedtime to relax her,

Kira asking me about when I was little,

cutting their nails and remembering when they were newborns and being afraid to cut them,

making EVERY meal and hearing them say "Thank you mama for delicious food",

hearing "Mama, please HHHelp me with this",

reading bedtime stories and Enzo flopping around on the bed trying to get comfortable,

asking Enzo why he is so cute and him replying "Because yes",

and I absolutely love when they say out of no where

"Mama, I love you"

It is all just a season and if I do not pay attention it will be over.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Strawberry Lemonade

On Easter Sunday our church had a fabulous lunch catered after the service. This sweet gal from church made Strawberry Lemonade to drink. OH MY! It was so good, not to sweet, not too much pulp, just right. I had two cups and Enzo had one too. Saturday afternoon some guys were selling strawberries door to door and how could I resist!. I told them to come back every week if they could. Plus our neighbor has a huge lemon tree and Eric picked a bag and a half. So I was inspired to make Strawberry Lemonade. It was so easy.

Strawberry Lemonade
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 1/3 c fresh strawberries
3/4 c sugar
9 c water

Juice your lemons. Add strawberries in the blender and part of the lemon juice. Blend until completely pureed. If you do not like pulp then strain it or strain half of it for a little pulp. Now you have your lemon-strawberry mixture. Add 9 cups of water with the mixture and I made one large glass pitcher full.
Makes about 12 cups.

You can add sparkling water instead of regular for a fizzy drink. So refreshing and not too sweet that your teeth hurt. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mr Polka Dotted Dinosaur Pinata

We had the kid's birthday party on Sunday and they really wanted a pinata,
so we (I) made one
Mr Polka Dotted Dinosaur
Not bad for not making a Pinata since grade school
I got the kit at Tuesday Morning on Friday.
Party was Sunday
It barely dried in time
Kids decided they did not want to break it
They want to keep it as decoration

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tomato Soup and Star Muffins

Star Cornbread Muffins

I got a star muffin pan forever ago and have been waiting for some good reason to use it, dur. Then I thought why not make dinner a little fun tonight and I busted it out!

My sweet boy on his fourth bowl and third star.

I looked to see if I ever posted my tomato soup recipe and did not see it, so here it is. By the way, the cookbook is still in the works. I forgot this last month was going to be Enzo and Kira's birthdays but I am making headway.

Tomato Soup


2 cans of diced tomatoes- 28 oz

2-3 small yams or sweet potatoes thick slices

2 carrots thick slices

1 medium shallot sliced

3 c water

1-2 tsp Mary-Ann's herb salt

1/2 c Raw Cashews


In a large pot over medium-high heat cook shallots with 1 tsp of herb salt for about 1-2 minutes lightly browning. Then add the yams/sweet potatoes and carrots. Stirring and cooking for about 5 minutes or until lightly brown. Add tomatoes and one cup of water and bring to a boil.

Simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes, until carrots and yams are tender. Blend one to two batches depending on the size of your blender. *Please be careful to make sure your lid is on tight. This soup is hot and if the lid is not on tight you may get burned.* Blend one batch with the cashews until completely blended. Once pureed put back in pot and add the two cups and simmer on low until ready to serve.

I use the cashews instead of milk or cream to give the creamy texture, more like cream of tomato soup. I you don't like cream of tomato soup then do not add the cashews.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Proverbs 31- Uprightness

I have always loved the Proverbs 31 woman. I have read books on her and felt inspired to take a deeper look on my own. I know a lot of women feel intimitaded by her and feel that they could never live up to the standard she left. I do not not think God wants us to feel that way. He obviously wants us to learn from her and not feel daunted by her. To be encouraged by her and strive to have her characteristics. I know quite a few women who strive to be like her and by no means are they her. No one could on their own accord, however with the grace of God we can aspire to be our own version of her. Hopefully this series will bless you and encourage you as it has encouraged me. I plan to take it verse by verse and give a modern look to it.

Proverbs 31:10
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies

Virtuous is such a fabulous word and here are some Strong's Concordance Hebrew references.

When looking at the specific word "virtuous" for this particular verse I found these:

1. Virtue
2. Uprightness
3. Integrity
4. Fitness

Without writing down all the dictionary definitions, I want to explore how we as women can be the virtuous women God wants us to be. Taking one word at a time.

Honesty is an important character. I think honesty is something so many people lack in the day and age. Right now with Kira and Enzo, I am having a difficult time teaching them the importance of honesty. They are more concerned with not disappointing me or having consequences then telling me the truth. I think we are the same no matter what age we are. We are afraid to disappoint others. We tell a little "white lie" that seems to not hurt anyone directly but it does in the end. I have been trying to teach them about the trust that is broken when the kids lie. It makes me sad when they lie. How much more does it make Our Father in Heaven sad when we lie. It is in our nature and I understand that but we can train ourselves to be truthful. We will see consequences when we are honest. Maybe initally it will be unwanted consequences but as we get in the habit of being truthful we will enforce our ability to be trusted. Trusted with matters we would never imagine to be trusted with.

Now I am not talking about being brutally honest here people. Like when your girlfriend asks if the jeans make her look fat and you reply " Of course!" I am talking about being as the word says upright. Stand tall and vertical in what you say and do.

How can you be more upright in your life as a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend and woman?

Do you struggle with honesty?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Dress and Pants Done!

I finished Kira's Easter dress.
I added a cross stitch at the bottom of the bodice late last night.
I got her and I matching red flip flops for $2.50 each,
first time we have ever had matching anything :)

I used the same pattern for Kira's dress as mine
but I did a tie in the back instead of a zipper.

I made Enzo a pair of linen pants using the serger.

It took about an hour to cut, sew and do the waistband with kids around.

Yee Haw! I love this serger!

Enzo is growling and trying to show off muscles

Here he is showing off his backside too

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday Kira!

Five years ago starting at 6:00 a.m.
a labor of love begin.

My water broke at 3:00 p.m.
I pushed for two and a half hours

At 6:00p.m. on the dot my life changed
8lbs 15oz
23 1/4 inches

My sweet Kira came into the world.

She is
the list goes on and on.

Happy 5th Birthday Sister Sue!