Saturday, January 28, 2012

Craft Night Successes

Shout out to my Life Group ladies and our AWESOME craft night last night. Crafty juices were flowing. I have the pictures to prove it:

Both the crayon-art hearts and garland were Martha Stewart crafts. See this post for links to the projects on Martha's website. And then I decided to use the leftover cut-out hearts from the garland to spice up this window pane I found in someone's trash a couple of years ago. (I know- who throws this kind of stuff out?!)

It was hard to get a good pic because of the glare, but I used a needle and thread to string the hearts from top to bottom. Now the house is all cutesy and cheerful. As Ben said, "Sure are a lot of hearts around here..." He loves it ;)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Baked Goods

Asher and I baked up some muffins during Millie's nap the other morning. They had good reviews on and used mostly wholesome ingredients that I had on hand. Well, we are making them again today. They were that good. Perfect for snack time! Or any other time really. You can find the recipe here. It makes exactly 12 standard-sized muffins which is kind of nice. We pretty much followed the recipe except we used whole wheat flour. Have fun altering it to your liking!

Now, even though I get really excited about my "healthy" baked goods, I don't think my sweet-toothed husband always has the same appreciation. Which I get. I enjoy a nice buttery cookie every now and then too! Especially hot out of the oven. Mmmmmm. But, I would rather not have 2 dozen buttery cookies hanging around the house for days after I make them. Ya feel me? Well, thanks to the toaster oven, that is no longer an issue. I will occasionally pick up a pack of "break 'n bakes" and the Ben can throw one or two in the toaster oven as he pleases. Typically we'll do this after the kids are in bed and we can actually enjoy them. If you don't have a toaster oven, you might want to think about getting one...

Cranberry walnut cookies.
Baked to perfection in less than 5 mins in the toaster oven.
Hello love.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This Week's Projects

Well, here goes. My first "Project of the Week". And call me feisty, but it will actually be 2, potentially 3 projects. I'm having a lil' craft night with the Life Group gals, so that makes for some extra time :) I'd like to create some V-day decor to spruce up the house a bit. I haven't been huge on Valentine's Day in the past, but I just can resist all the cute pinks and reds! Perfect for the bleakness of winter right now. Two of the projects are Martha Stewart inspired: here and here. The third is just something I saw in a gift shop. A vase filled with some red hots (you know, those tiny little red heart candies). The trick is that the vase still had live flowers in it. There was simply a smaller vase within in vase, and the candies filled in the space between. Something like this:

I just need to decide which candies to use. Conversation hearts, Vday M&M's, jelly benas, the red hots... Lots of possibilities! Hopefully I'll have some good pics of the finished products for you. Anyone else working on a little something this week?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Project of the Week

So I have about a dozen (or more) projects that I really want to do. Some are crafty, some are practical, some are for gifts and others are to beautify my home. I am really GOOD at deciding what I want to do, but really BAD at setting the time aside to do it. I get so caught up in the everyday survival mode. But what I've found is that once you make the time, it doesn't take as long as you imagined it would. Usually. I know there have to be others who feel me on this one. Especially if you're on Pinterest. So, I am setting out to do one project a week, starting next week. Big or small, doesn't matter, but just setting the goal of a specific project to work on in attempts to make these aspirations floating in my head a reality.

Each week I will post what the "Project of the Week" is and if I'm really lucky, I'll even be able to post the finished product. It's an attempt at least. Anyone wanna venture with me???

Monday, January 16, 2012

Oh the cheeks!

Seriously. Is there anything cuter than a little one's face in a hood or hat? Not to mention a snow suit! I'm hard pressed to think of something more adorable at the moment...

Millie and I took a day trip to Cleveland Saturday. Asher stayed behind with Ben and they shoveled after our first good snow. Ben said that a man walked by and Asher (in his normal, extroverted fashion) pronounced, "Hi! I shev-el like Papa". I love to see this little man have pride in helping out and wanting to be like his father. So powerful.

And as for Ben, I am so thankful to have a husband that I can leave one or both kids with for the entire day. That I don't have to worry or think twice, or even write down their schedules and what they should eat because he knows. He's involved. He's engaged. I'm thankful that when he walks in through the door after a long day of work, he jumps right in to play, or get the kids ready for dinner, or whatever needs to happen. And the best part is bedtime. Papa is that bath-man, the story-time guy and the one who leads them into the word and prayer as each day ends. Where would we be without our faithful Papa?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Words for Mothers

I was just writing out a card to another friend who is about to have a baby. In it, I included a poem that I put in a blog post a while back. When I did a Google search for the author, I came across another poem of the same nature. May I heed its warning.

My hands were busy through the day.
I didn’t have much time to play.
The little games you asked to do,
I didn’t have much time for you.
I’d wash your clothes. I’d sew and cook.
You’d ask and I’d read from your book.
I’d tuck you in all safe at night,
And hear your prayers; turn out the light.

Then tiptoe softly by your door,
I wish I’d stayed a minute more.
For life was short, the years rushed past,
A little boy grows up so fast.
No longer is he at my side,
His precious secrets to confide.
The picture books are put away.
There are no longer games to play.

No Teddy Bears or misplaced toys
No sleepovers with lots of boys.
No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear.
That all belongs to yesteryear.
My hands, once busy, now are still.
The days are long and hard to fill.
I wish I could go back and do
The little things you asked me to do.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Greek Yogurt: 2 Ways to Mix-Up Mundane Munchies

I hate to admit it. I'm disappointed. Even slightly embarrassed to say: my child is a picky eater. At least one of them is anyway. Was it something I did, or did not do? Am I responsible for this? Or, is it just the very nature of a 2 year-old? Probably a combination of both... Regardless, I want to get more variety in my little guy's diet. I feel like I serve the same thing over and over! Dinner is an exception because the kids get whatever it is we eat, with a side of applesauce or the like. But breakfast and lunch have become mundane.

To get out of the oatmeal/pb toast/Cheerios rut that we are in for breakfast, I started investigating smoothies. I wanted to find a way to incorporate Greek yogurt since it's packed with protein. Here's what I came up with:

1 cup of plain Greek yogurt and 1 cup of
Bolthouse Farm's Berry Boost Friut Smoothie.
Combine both ingredients until smooth.

I found both items at Aldi. And because the berries are already pureed, you can simply mix with a hand mixer or whisk. It has a really great, smooth texture. And no cleaning the blender required :)

1 cup of this Greek yogurt has 23 grams of protein and the Berry Boost is simply pureed berries (and some apple and banana). There is no added sugar or preservatives. I was surprised that I didn't need to add honey or banana or anything to sweeten the smoothie since plain yogurt can be a touch bitter, but it was really good tasting as it was. And the kids loved it! I make it in advance and store it in a jar or even right in their cups with a lid. So now we've got smoothies and some dry cereal in the bfast rotation 2 mornings a week. Usually the mornings we need to get out the door to the sitter's. (Don't know about your kids, but mine can make a piece of toast last for 20 minutes!) Now the down-side to this smoothie- the ingredients are not organic, which I tend to buy for our fruit and yogurt. And because the berries are already pureed and bottled, we're missing out on the full nutritional value of the fruit. But, for the price and time, it's working for me right now.

For lunch time, I've taken to the ever-loved muffin tin. It's funny to see people blog and post this idea on Pintrest because my mom did this very same thing when I was a kid! Nevertheless, I love to use a 6 cup muffin tin because you can use yogurt or other "spoonable" foods as well finger foods, all-in-one! In efforts to get my guy to consume more veg, I wanted to use some sort of dip, but I also wanted it to pack a healthy punch. Insert: Hummus Yogurt Dipping Sauce.

1 can garbanzo beans, 1-2 cloves of garlic (crushed), 1 Tbs lemon juice,
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp cumin.
Drain and rinse beans and then combine all ingredients in a food processor.

I would recommend buying organic beans. Most canned beans are loaded with all kinds of extra crap from preservatives to high fructose corn syrup. Especially kidney beans, for whatever reason. Read the label and be appalled. Anyway, this hummus was easy, came out fabulous and Asher ate it right up, veggies and all :) Ahhh.... the small successes in the day of the life of a mother.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 at at Glance

Happy 2012 everyone! Sounds kind of futuristic, doesn't it?

Anywho, Ben and I composed a year-in-review on the blog we made for the kiddos. Check it out here if you wish. Enjoy your New Year's Day!