"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:3-6

Monday, June 30, 2014

My Mommy Minute: June 30

Hi friends,
I hope you are being blessed and encouraged by what you read.  Spur on and fight the good fight.  Our home is a battlefield of spiritual warfare and if we don't fight for joy, everyone in our homes suffer.  But in Christ we have all we need and the joy of the Lord is our strength. 

Good Days by Nancy Wilson at Femina
"He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.  Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it." 1 Peter 3:10-12

On Everyday Joy by Rachel Jankovich
A short list on finding everyday joy as we live in the mundane of motherhood.

Motherhood Was Created By and For the Son of Man by Gloria Furman
"Every­thing we lack is found in him. And when we’re exhausted, when we feel the dusty earth of the Calvary road, we can remember that it’s especially then that the life of Jesus is manifested in us (2 Corinthians 4:10). It’s then that Jesus gives us more of himself, proving over and over that he is enough, that he is good, that there is more joy in him than in the grain and wine that abound (Psalm 4:7)—or in the kids who never make messes and the dinner that prepares itself and the schedules that operate seamlessly. He is better."

Never Let Her Grieve or Rejoice Alone by Jessalyn Hutto at Desiring Virtue
"We must battle our natural tendencies of isolation, self-preservation, and self-focus, instead seeking to live in the unity of spirit Christ has made possible through the cross. We must seek to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep."

Friday, June 27, 2014

Recipe: Sloppy Joe

I love sloppy joes! I grew up on my mom's recipe that I have always loved--ketchup, mustard and brown sugar.
Sorry mom, but I think I have switched:)  While in Fargo, my friend Ally shared with me her sloppy joe recipe.  They are a little more hearty than the others and oooh so tasty!
I made these last night on the stove while prepping our dinner.  Now tonight we can just reheat and enjoy!  They do freeze well too!!
Here is the recipe--give it a try!  They do take longer than expected to make because of the simmering to get rid of the liquid. 
1 lb. ground beef
1 can chicken gumbo soup
1/4 cup water (pour into can and swirl around first)
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1 heaping Tablespoon mustard
minced onion and green pepper
1.brown the beef (I always do this as soon as I get home from the store and then store the plain meat in zip locks in the freezer and pull out when I'm ready to prep a meal like this)
2. Add green pepper and onion

3. Add all other ingredients

4. Bring to boil then simmer until liquid is gone.  This shows you how much liquid there is at first--so it takes a bit to thicken it up.
Get out the napkins, serve and enjoy!! :)
Thanks, Ally for the delicious recipe!! It's become one of our favorites.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Project 52: week fifty one

 June 8-14, 2014
We have started to attend something fun offered through the town called Wiggle Worms.  It's held in a gymnasium with a bunch of play toys, balls, hoops, tunnels, etc. for the kids to run around with.  We like it a lot!

This boy is officially a sitter!! Doing so well and sitting up big before he is six months old.
Love his expression here:)
He LOVES the chewbeads I have.  I wear them as a necklace, but it's also his favorite teether to play with at home.

Oh the craziness.....

Colt also likes the jumper! We have had to move it to the upstairs doorway that is much wider than the downstairs closet.
Love it when they are playing together:) (Yes, my son is dressing up a doll...but it's Anna, so it's ok right?)

Good thing she is a cutie:) caught red-handed on the table with the napkins everywhere.  While I was cleaning them up she got one and ripped it...it was entertaining her so I didn't mind.  Then she tried making me laugh by doing this.  And of course her brother was copying her!

This big boy turned six months on the 10th!  He is getting up on his knees once in a while and will rock.

The twins of my heart...always making me smile. I hope they will always have this special bond.

I walked into the kitchen and found them like this. And usually if there is a pile, one is usually screaming...but they were just cracking up!

And soon there will be a forth on there!
Saturday we gave Colt oatmeal for the first time.  He surprised us by being our best eater so far! He opened wide and ate it all...no spitting out!  We have had him on the table with us since he could sit in the bumbo, so we think it may be that.  He sits each meal and watches five other people eating.  He was excited to finally have a turn!
Friday swim and din at Grandma and Tank's house...keeping warm after pool time!

My Mommy Minute: June 22

I haven't posted a Mommy Minute in a while because I haven't seen a lot of blog posts worth sharing--partly because I haven't had the time to read them myself. Also partly because the ones I have read I didn't want to share here, because as I have said before our time is precious and I don't want to waste yours.

The posts below marked with ** are definitely worth your time!!  The others are good and may or may not apply to you, but are short and have some good thoughts.

And please, if you have a post you think should be shared, put it in the comments!! :)

**Quiet Works (or Trees Falling) by Jessalyn Hutto at Desiring Virtue
**An Outburst is an Opportunity by Nicole Whitacre at GirlTalk

The Quiet Child and His Emotions by Carolyn Mahaney at GirlTalk

Raising a Generation of Wimpy and Selfish Women at Teaching Good Things

Put On That Swimsuit by Jessica Turner at The Mom Creative


BFIAR: Blueberries for Sal (and tot school: blue and circles)

Book: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Ages: 19 months, 23 months, 40 months
Blueberries for Sal.jpg
This was one of my favorites! Not because the book is all that great (in my opinion) but because the kids loved it so much and there were a lot of fun things to do--all involving blueberries of course:)
This was the second week I tried to focus on a color and shape as well as other concepts and involve all three kiddos in the activities.  It went very well!
Each morning we would read the book during or after breakfast.  They asked for it every day, which always makes me happy (it was probably because I usually gave them blueberries during or after!)
A few days we did different activites and rotated around the table.  I definitely feel like I have a little tot school happening here!
I honestly didn't even look in the BFIAR manual this week.  I forgot to because I didn't need any extra ideas.  We didn't get through all the ideas that I had, but it was still a very fun week.

Learning stations that we rotated:
1. Putting "blueberries" in a container (blue puff balls)
2. Placing blue poker chips in a container
3. Feeding Little Bear

We did a lot of cooking and baking with blueberries!!!



Blueberry Jam:


We also made blue rice! It was my first time dying rice and turned out to be VERY easy!
In a plastic dish, we mixed about 2.5 cups of rice and 2 T vinegar with the food coloring.  Shake it around and laid it on cookie sheet to dry.  It was ready by the time they were up from nap. 

My kids have been doing rice sensory bins for a long long time.  It's amazing how colored rice captures their attention so much more! 

Declan had learned the color blue by the time he was done playing.  He LOVED it!

I love when they have something they can all do together:) They played with this every single day this week.




For snack one day I quickly drew this "blueberry bush" and they had fun putting their blueberries in their "bucket" like Sal.

Another learning station rotation day:

1. Gluing blue circles on the bush

2. Stamping blue thumbprints on the bush

3. Using the dot marker (Raelynn actually is gluing here, but you can see her dots!) as blueberries on the bush.

Another idea that is currently in the freezer is having the kids break the bears and blueberries out of ice! I put them in a plastic dish and filled with water.  I plan to give them some "tools" and they have to break free the bear.  I figure if they don't have much interest in breaking free the plastic bear, they will definitly want the blueberries! :)

Recipe: Eggless Banana Bread

When life gives you over ripe bananas, make banana bread, right?!

We had some bananas that were going bad and I was out of eggs.  I did a search online for "eggless banana bread" and found this recipe.  Many of the ones I found called for applesauce or other ingredients I didn't have.  I wanted easy and eggless. 

I gave it a try.  Loved it.  Best banana bread ever.

My wonderful husband stops at the fruit market for me each week on the way home from work.  Last week he brought home a 40--yes, four-zero--pound box of bananas! They weren't all going bad, so that was about all the kids ate for snacks for a few days.  Then I decided to make some more of this delicious bread...even though I did have eggs on hand.

I have made 8 mini loaves, 6 muffins, and 4 large loaves of this bread.  It is so good and comes out great each time (though some of them I have frozen so I can't vouch for those).
I even have the recipe memorized and it is now my new banana bread recipe:)

So of course I can't keep it to myself!  Here it is:

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
3 ripe bananas (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1 t vanilla


Mix dry (first five) ingredients in one bowl.  Mix wet in another.  Fold in dry to the wet with a spatula.  (I added chocolate chips in mine too!)
Bake 375 for 45-50 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then move to cooling rack.

Made: Quiet Book

I have had a quiet book on my to-do and to-make list for three years now-since raelynn was born! Then I realized she really wasn't into those kinds of activities so I wasn't ready to put in the effort yet.  Then Declan came along and is totally the type that likes the quiet book type of stuff and raelynn is to the age where she does too. We had a five hour car ride to California and have an airplane ride to michigan coming up, so I thought it was the perfect time to start! 

Here is what I have so far. This is a NO SEW quiet book!! (Ok, I did sew something, but you could totally use marker or pen instead. Or just do shapes instead of the balloons)

I was a little overwhelmed at the idea of cuttings felt into letters and numbers, but I knew I wanted to have those in the book. So finding these at Wal-Mart is really what motivated me to get started on this!
I think these letters is what makes it look neat and a clean finish. 
I used full white sheets of felt for the pages. I plan to put them in a three ring hard bound notebook. This is what works for our family because we have multiple toddlers who will want access to the book and this way when we are using it, the pages pop right out and in.  I decided to use one page per sheet and not put anything on the backside.

Counting Beads Page:

I glued the numbers on, counted out beads from my stash, glued one side of the ribbon down, strung on the beads, then sealed it with glue on the other side.

Ladybug Button Page:
After cutting out my pieces, I hand stitched the black buttons to the big peice of red. 
Next I glued the big red piece down on the white page, along with the legs and head. I later added eyes and the word "buttons" at the top.

I lined up the wing pieces and cut slits to match buttons. I glued the wings on--the right side is MUCH better than the left! I wasn't thinking ahead and I glued too much of the wing on the left side. It works fine, but is a tad harder to do.
All buttoned up:

Shape Puzzle Page:

Cut shapes from my felt scraps and added Velcro. The rough side of Velcro sticks to felt, so I didn't add the soft side at all.
I just traced the shape with a pen.

Balloon Color Match Page: (used sewing machine)

I cut out balloon shapes in a variety of colors. Cut out circles to match. Lined up carefully so it wouldn't interfere with the binder ring.

After deciding on my layout I glued top row of balloons down then straight stitched the strings with my sewing machine. This could be done with a pen, marker, or hand stitching. Or just alter this page to be circles only and no string needed!
Then I glued down my next row of balloons and continued...
I continued this until all my balloons were glued down and strings were sewn on.

I added the rough side only of the Velcro to the circle pieces so the kids can match the circles into the same colored balloon.

I'm hoping to get more pages done soon! For these I just did a quick search on Pinterest and altered what I found. I didn't copy any exactly the same, but made it to fit our needs and an easy new sew book.
I will post more photos as I get the pages completed, but I know some of you may want to make one so I didn't want to wait until I was done--because who knows how long it will take! 
The nice thing about the three ring binder is I can always be adding more as I have time.

So far the book has been a hit!! They like all the pages and even ask to play with it. I'm keeping it put away until our flight in August, then I plan to use it only at church! If it's only available to them at special times I think it will keep their interest better:)

If you have come across any no sew quiet book ideas, please link it in the comments or just explain it! I have a couple more ideas to do but would love some more:-)

I would suggest getting fabric scissors to cut. It gives the felt a nice clean edge.