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Month: August 2015

My Favorite Pinterest Pins So Far this Year

My Favorite Pinterest Pins So Far this Year

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If you follow me on Pinterest you might already know that I am on there a lot. I really love that website. Some times when I am really hungry and waiting for supper to finish I will go on there and drool over the pictures of delicious meals. Or I will look at desserts and almost taste them! When I am feeling inspired I will go through crochet patterns and when I need motivation to work out I go on there, too. Did I mention I love Pinterest? I thought today I would give you a quick list of some of my favorite Pinterest pins from this year. There are a few that I really loved but didn’t add on my list because I have recently posted links to them.

1.Preschool Worksheets I have used this site a lot of times. They have a lot of great basic worksheets that are fun and easy to do for a preschooler. And, unlike a lot of websites, this one was easy to print off of.

2. This Penguin Craft is super cute and super easy to do. It doesn’t take a lot of prep and the kids can put it together, for the most part, by themselves.

3. These frozen yogurt drops are amazing. The kids LOVE them. They take about 5 minutes to make plus an hour or two in the freezer. It makes one yogurt spread out to a snack for all the kids, too, which is nice.

4. I know I said I wasn’t going to mention anything I recently linked to, but this one is worth repeating. My No-Sew baby wrap is seriously amazing. Every mother should own one.

5. Here’s a video for you. I really love this workout from Popsugar. I actually haven’t come across a workout of theirs that I don’t like. I even have their workout app on my iPad. They  make great videos and I love the woman who leads them. I highly suggest browsing their website or look for their channel on YouTube. They have something for everyone.

6. I LOVE this mittens pattern. This is a beginner’s crochet pattern. Just pay attention and follow the pattern. It isn’t hard. I can make one pair of child’s mittens in under two hours. I have made at least ten pairs of these.

7. YUM. Seriously, YUM. You will have a hard time going back to regular alfredo sauce after you make this Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce. I did add some parmesan and extra garlic powder to mine but you wouldn’t have to if you didn’t want to. It is so good.

8. Okay, last one. This recipe for baked sweet and sour chicken is amazing. Don’t change a thing. I am slightly sad thinking about this recipe. I used to make it at least twice a month until William became allergic to eggs. I have tried making it egg free but it never comes out the same 🙁 I am now on the hunt for a equally yummy egg free version of this dish.

Do you follow me on Pinterest yet? Do you have a favorite, must-share Pinterest pin? Share with me 🙂

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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Fall is here. Really, I don’t think summer ever came. But that’s okay, because fall is beautiful. The leaves are changing color. The sun is setting earlier (starts setting around 11 PM.) You can smell wood smoke when you take a walk. We are starting to pull out mittens again (and making some new ones) and practicing patterns for leg warmers. I love fall.

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My brother in law took this photo along the Dempster Highway last weekend

And what do we do in the fall? Bake, of course! Shane loves cookies and I am slowly but surely making them tasty. That started out as just edible cookies. Then they were good cookies. Then they were “we are having guests let’s make cookies” cookies.

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I used to dread making them because I was never pleased with how they came out but now that I know the secret to baking cookies I really enjoy making them! Do you know the secret? I am usually really late to information like that, so I am sure you do.

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But, for those of you that don’t, the secret is to take them out of the oven when they just start to brown but are still very soft. Then let them sit on the baking sheet for five minutes outside of the oven. They come out perfect every time.

This week I made Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies from Two Peas & Their Pod. They were very much enjoyed. I admit, though, I made them with gluten so I wasn’t able to taste them for myself. I am going purely by my husband’s opinion. And he says they are very good 🙂

Got any secret cookie tips for me? Maybe you have a better oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe for me? Share with me!

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Making a Great To Do List

Making a Great To Do List

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With only 3 weeks left until the kids and I travel I really need to start cracking down on all the things that need done before I leave. It is so hard to get motivated some days, though. I know what all needs done but I get distracted so easily by the kids or the daily chores. If you were to visit me in the morning you’d see me running around like a crazy person in the middle of at least three chores while I listen to Piano Guys on spotify. And then a child will run by claiming to be half starved so all the chores go on pause while I get them a snack. By that point I have completely forgotten about those other chores I was working on and pick up the broom to start sweeping. Some days a To Do List is just needed.

There are many benefits to making a to do list. Some days it feels like nothing got done but then I look at my list and see that I did do a lot. They help me organize my chores so that I see exact things that need done. Sometimes in my mind there are a billion things that I need to right now! I will share what I have learned in the past week about To Do Lists.

First, and most importantly, make it look good. I am way more likely to continue to pick up a list throughout the day if it is bright and colorful (can you tell I spend most my time with toddlers?) Last week I used this free printable. I really like it because it has three columns which I use for three different lists. This website also has some really neat free to do lists. If you don’t want to print one off get creative with some crayons (if you don’t have any you can come here and check under the couch cushions for some. There are usually a couple there). Whatever you choose, make sure it looks attractive to you.

Next, don’t go overboard with your list. Make it realistic. When I make lists I like to write down a handful of “freebies” like get dressed, devotions, make list, eat breakfast, etc. Things that will definitely get crossed off the list. Then I add a couple things that happen everyday like dishes, sweep, 1 load of laundry, exercise. Then I will put on some hard stuff like mopping, cleaning the bathtub, etc. But only put on one or two really time consuming tasks. There’s no point in feeling like a failure at the end of the day.

Lastly, prioritize. What needs done this morning? What needs done today? What needs done this week? I like to organize my lists like this: To Do Today, To Do this Week, To Do this Month. I always work hardest on the things that I need to do today. That’s the list with priority. But if I get something crossed off the To Do this Month list then Hey! High Five! Here’s a cool list for when you are prioritizing that way.

Here’s my pinterest board with all my favorite free printables.

Ok, I am off to make my to do list now! What are some of your favorite To Do List techniques or tips?

Pray ye therefore…

Pray ye therefore…

prayer intiative

Our church was given an initiative.

Matthew 9:38 says, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

We set our alarms for 9:38 AM and 9:38 PM and when the alarm goes off, pray for God to send a man to be our Pastor. I cannot express what a blessing this has been to our family.

The first few mornings it was me explaining to the kids why we are praying and what we are praying for then I would lead in prayer. The evenings were usually Shane and I pausing the TV and taking a few moments to pray together for God to send us a Pastor.

But then the alarm went off when we had guests over. We stopped what we were doing and all prayed together. What a blessing to pray with other Christians! We have been praying with people we haven’t prayed with for a long time. Some of them we have never prayed with before. And now at 9:38 we are all bowing our heads for a common cause.

And in the mornings now the kids come running to me when they hear the alarm and they each want a turn to pray for our future Pastor. And it has grown to be more than just praying for our pastor. We pray for our families and our community.

What are you praying for? I encourage you to do a prayer initiative. Set an alarm. Pray for it everyday. You will receive a blessing.

Don’t Let Go

Don’t Let Go

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I won’t pretend to fully understand the Song of Solomon. I have read it through several times and even with study helps I find it a difficult book to understand. As I read it through, I try to grab whatever I can to apply to my life.

As a love letter, I find ways to apply it both to my relationship with my husband as well as my relationship with my Lord. As I came across chapter three verse four I had to stop and jot some things down in my notebook.

The verse says, “It was but a little that passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go…”

What am I willing to let go of Christ for?

I am NOT speaking of my salvation. I have mentioned before that my salvation is about what Christ has done for me on the cross. I cannot lose my salvation. God gave me my salvation when I asked forgiveness of my sins and He will not take it back.

Now, I can ask again, what am I willing to let go of Christ for? For that time I am at the restaurant and don’t want everyone to see me pray? How about for that football game that is on during church? Am I willing to let go of Christ for that music that appeals to my flesh but I know doesn’t honor the Lord?

Christ is more important than any of those things. Why are we willing to let our standards go (even just for an evening) for them? Christ gave Himself for us and yet we choose things that do not please Him.

If you are holding onto things of the world you are not holding onto Christ. You can’t have both. Stop trying. Let go of the things of the world. Hold onto Christ and don’t let Him go.

Week 4 of Finding our Homes

Week 4 of Finding our Homes

Well, we are in the last week of finding our homes. How are you doing? I am pleased with how much stuff I have gotten rid of. Some of it went in the trash but a lot of it is sitting on my porch to be donated. Some went in the yard sale, too. As I gain extra space I have been reorganizing and moving stuff around. I like the progress.

If you are just jumping in, here is what we have already done:

Introduction

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Okay, let’s jump into the final week. It will be the most time consuming list for me. But this is definitely a must do before traveling to the States and doing all that shopping! I need to know exactly what I already have and what I will need.

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Week 4

Day 1- Go through kids’ clothes

Day 2- Go through my clothes

Day 3- Go through shoes

Day 4- Go through winter gear

Day 5- Go through coffee mugs, find your favorite and have a cup of coffee-  you’re done!

If/Then Chart

If/Then Chart

The idea was given to me about a month ago to make an If/Then Chart for the kids. Have you ever heard of these? I hadn’t. What it is is a chart you make for the kids. If they _____ then _____happens. Get it? This is meant to be a training tool. It teaches consequences. It teaches that when we do something it causes something else to happen. This can be used for discipline or for praise. The one I made is meant for discipline.

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On the left is my “If” column. I wrote the things my kids most struggle with: Whining/complaining, disobeying, talking mean, pushing/hitting, lying, and not trying hard enough (don’t my kids sound like dolls).

The next column is the verse they are to memorize when they do an “If”. Memorizing this verse IS NOT the punishment. You need to remember that and make sure your child understands that. Memorizing the verse is part of the learning process and helps us and our kids to remember it’s God that we have disobeyed. It’s not just because Mom and Dad say so, it’s because God says so. I will share my list but my verses won’t suit every family. Choose what verses you want to use.

Here is my list:

  1. Whine/complain- In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  2. Disobey- Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Ephesians 6:1
  3. Talking Mean- A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
  4. Pushing/hitting- And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
  5. Lying- Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29
  6. Lazy/not trying hard enough- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Colossians 3:23

 The last column is the “Then.” You will notice it is chopped off of the photo. That was on purpose. I don’t intend to share here my “thens” because they are things Shane and I decided based on God’s Word. You search the Scripture and decide what your “thens” should be.

I have already seen the benefits of using this chart. More Scripture is getting memorized. I am more consistent with consequences. The kids are behaving better. It has been a real blessing to our home and maybe it can be to yours, too!

Chocolate Lover’s Gift Basket

Chocolate Lover’s Gift Basket

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I am in love with this gift basket I made for my mother in law’s birthday this week. I spent weeks scanning pinterest and reading recipes for a chocolate lover’s gift basket. I finally decided on these four things to make:

Chocolate Raspberry Jam

I divided this recipe into thirds to make a smaller batch. I did this because I didn’t know if I would like it or not and raspberries are too expensive here to risk wasting that many. But I wish I would have made the whole batch now because I really love this jam. This doesn’t call for any pectin and I would highly recommend this recipe to someone who has never made jam before. It’s very very easy to make and is easy to work with if it doesn’t come out just perfect the first time (but I bet it will).

Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

I have never had these before. But they seemed like something worth making. Really, I don’t even know if my mother in law likes them. But again, they seemed worth making. Shane thought these were gross. I thought they tasted good but I don’t like the texture of the espresso bean. So I asked my friend (who actually likes chocolate covered espresso beans) to taste them for me. She said they were good and tasted like most other kinds she has had. I am warming up to them slowly.

Chocolate Lip Scrub

A-MA-ZING. Seriously. Go make this (it takes less than 5 minutes to make and I bet you have all the ingredients in your cupboard) and you will be in love. I still can’t get over how easy it was to make and how amazing it feels on my lips. Okay, stop reading this and go make it. Come back when you’re done.

Tootsie Rolls

Did you notice the little wrapped candies surrounding the jars? These don’t really taste like tootsie rolls but they are equally as yummy. This was a very easy recipe to make that the kids were able to be part of every step of the way. They even loved wrapping them up in the parchment paper. I will definitely be making these again. I just love the fact that I can make a candy and know exactly what ingredients are in it. Especially when we have so many allergies in the family, it’s just nice to have such a short list of ingredients in something so yummy 🙂 These are adaptable, too. You can decide how chewy or sweet you want them. This is a great recipe. And it only took about 5 minutes to make, 10 minutes to set, then a half hour or so to wrap all the candies. It looks like a small batch but it made about 40 candies. It all depends on the size you want them. One thing I noticed after I made these was that a lot of people said they ran the powdered milk through a food processor first to make it less “grainy”. I didn’t do this. I think I might the next time just to see if I like that consistency better but it tastes good even without doing that.

Got any more chocolate lover’s recipes that make great gifts? I’d love to hear them! I love making gifts especially when they’re edible. Let me know if you make any of these recipes and what you think of them!

Week 3 of Finding our Homes

Week 3 of Finding our Homes

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How are you doing? I admit, last week‘s list was way harder than the first week. I really don’t like going through papers. I have a really hard time knowing what to keep and what to get rid of. But I do know that the best way to keep down on that clutter is to take the mail right out of the envelope as soon as it comes home then put the mail in the proper folder. Last week I was searching frantically for a paper that I knew I had but didn’t know where it was. I found it but it would have been so much easier if it had been in the proper folder in the first place.

Ok, are we ready to tackle this week’s list? Here it is!

Week 3

Day 1: Get rid of movies you don’t like or won’t watch again

Day 2: Get rid of unneeded cords, chargers, wires, etc

Day 3: Get rid of knick knacks you don’t like/display

Day 4: Get rid of unwanted jewelry

Day 5: Go through gift wrap, bags, bows, etc

You can do it! I feel like this week’s list is a little easier than last week’s. Let me know how you are doing with your own decluttering projects!

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Cheesy Quesadillas

Cheesy Quesadillas

I noticed something the other day. Shane was home for lunch hour and after eating his lunch he sat back and closed his eyes. He looked…sick. He didn’t look like that before he ate lunch. And on his plate…grease smears leftover from his lunch. Gross. He came in feeling good then I fed him something that left him feeling gross, heavy, tired, and even sick.

I have been spending so much time lately focusing on healthy snacks and healthy suppers but I had never even thought about healthy lunches for Shane. He loves fries, chicken fingers, wings, etc (don’t we all?) so I assumed these would make good lunches. Quick, easy for me to make, too. Mistake.

Since then I have been actively searching and experimenting with healthy lunches that can still hold a man over until supper time. Something that will leave him feeling energized and ready for the last half of his day. The Cheesy Quesadilla is by far his favorite. And guess what…it’s still quick and easy 🙂

Cheesy Quesadilla

3 boneless skinless chicken breast 

shredded cheese (type and amount is up to you!)

tortillas

jalapeno lime sauce (aka magic sauce…optional but highly recommended. This makes it taste just like Taco Bell’s chicken quesadilla)

Cut chicken into cubes and either fry them or boil them(I boil them in the beginning of the week and have them in the frig on hand for any lunch). Heat up frying pan (cast iron works best but use what you have!) and lightly spray it with oil. Once it is heated but not too hot put the tortilla in the pan and sprinkle the cheese and chicken on one half of the tortilla.

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If you are using magic sauce, put it on also. Once you start to see the cheese melting grab your favorite spatula

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and flip the empty side of the tortilla onto the chicken and cheese.

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Let that sit for a minute…just long enough for the melted cheese to stick to both sides then flip it over. One minute on that side and it is ready!DSCF5632

I have made this with regular flour tortillas and also gluten free corn tortillas. It worked great with both. I would like to fill my recipe box with a lot of healthy lunch ideas. Share your favorites with me!