Wednesday, January 30

Eat: Meal Plan Monday...err Wednesday?

There we have it.
It is Wednesday and I forgot about Meal Plan Monday. I am just going to play it safe and blame it on the move and not the fact that I am unorganized and lack discipline in committing to things long term.
Is three weeks long term?
Better late then never I suppose.

Monday I didn't cook. We celebrated a sweet friends Birthday that night and we enjoyed some Carinos. It was delicious.

Tuesday I got back in the kitchen. It felt so great to cook a yummy plant based meal again. Something I knew my body wouldn't try to reject an hour after eating it. That is no fun. We had a yummy whole food breakfast. The kids had a yummy almond butter-banana-honey sandwich for lunch and for dinner I made Eggplant Parmesan. It is one of our favorite meals. I found the recipe here.
Wednesday (Today) the kids had Sweet Potato Pancakes. They love these. I find them in the freezer section of a Natural food store here. For lunch we had Wraps and Sandwiches from an Organic/Natural restaurant and for dinner we will be going out. It is my sweet husbands birthday so we will be going out to celebrate him. I cant wait.

Thursday night we have been invited over to a friends house for dinner. I am so excited to see what she prepares. She and her husband are also on a plant based diets and her husband praises her cooking every time I see him. I so excited.

Friday night I am making Taco Soup. It is my little Beckham's favorite soup. He could eat his weight in this stuff. Here are is my recipe.

Taco Soup
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can red kidney beans
28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1 can of mild rotel
4 oz. can of diced green chiles
1 package of taco seasoning
1 package of dry ranch dressing mix (it contains milk)

I drain most of the juice from each can of beans and combine all the ingredients in a big pot and let it simmer until hot and ready to serve. I usually serve it with some crushed up multi-grain chips on top and a spoon full of guacamole. Its delicious and feeds many.

Saturday my mom is cooking dinner for Phillip to celebrate his birthday. Her cooking is always amazing. Saturday morning I will be making Vegan Pancakes for the family. Its a favorite. When I dig up that recipe I will post it. It is simple and delicious.

And as of right now I have no plans for Sunday.
What does your menu look like for the week?

Friday, January 25

Our New Home

Do I even have to say it? I will anyway. One more time.
Moving is so much work. It is overwhelming and leaves you sore and achey and unable to find anything.

Ain't nobody got time for that.

We finally got to close of the pretty house I talked about here in this post. And...we closed on our old house the same day! Whew!
We have been in a box and trash and shuffle haze for the last 3 days. It is a little anticlimactic though. We won't actually move in for another 3 weeks.
My garage at my new house is packed full of our belongings. While our new house was beautiful, we wanted to make it our own. Ya know, change the flooring, paint all the rooms, paint the cabinets and change out the counter tops. We figured it would be really stressful doing all of that while LIVING in the house so we are camping out at my Father-in-laws house for the next 3 weeks. During the Casa de Noche remodel. (Knight House for you non Spanish speaking folks).

So pray for us for the next 3 weeks. For our sanity and for my Father-in-laws sanity.
Pray for our contractors and their health and energy.
Pray that all of our supplies arrive on time and that everything runs smoothly.
Pray that we will in fact be in our pretty new house in 3 weeks and that can get all settled in.
I cant wait to fluff my new nest and make it our HOME.

Tuesday, January 22

I was thinking

I was thinking yesterday.
Marting Luther King Jr. Day.
About our life with our 3 littles.
2 vanillas and 1 chocolate.
What a wonderful life we have. A blessed life. A life that only God himself could orchestrate. We live a life that only a few short years ago, would have been completely unacceptable and unheard of.

Praise God for restoration and redemption in the broken. In the ugly. In the shameful.
Praise God for equality. For justice. For making things right. The way they are supposed to be.
Praise God for people who Dream. For people who are bold. Bold enough to say No! This is not ok! Praise God for people who are not afraid to render over their safety and name sake for the restoration of others. Praise God for people who rise up and fight for truth. Fight for peace and fight for God to intervene.

Martin Luther King Jr. He was one of those people. A person who fought for a broken dark world to be made right. He wasn't afraid of his dream. He wasn't afraid to stand his ground and fight for what his heart knew was right. This man had a dream. And today, we get to live that dream.

Growing up I knew who Martin Luther King Jr was. I knew what he fought for and I knew he "had a dream." But it wasn't until Emme entered our lives that I fully grasped and KNEW what his dream meant. I honestly didn't put a lot of thought into what all this amazing man taught us. What he was really about.

Now, I cant hear/read his speech without getting weepy. It stirs something deep in my soul. Something tender. Raw. Emotional. It brings deep emotions of regret. Hurt. Pain. Shame. But at the same time a spirit of victory. Joy. And Excitement.

Facebook yesterday was consumed with Dr. Kings quotes. Most I had read but never let my thoughts ponder on them. Do you grasp the power in his words? Do you feel his passion? Let me share some of my thoughts inspired by Dr. King.

"We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."
Friends, we may not be fighting a war for race equality and for human rights but, we are indeed fighting a war. Everyday we fight a war that is unseen. If you believe and have professed Jesus as your Lord and savior you better believe that you are fighting a war. An unseen war but none the less real and painful. The enemy attacks those who fear the Lord. He will use clever tactics. He will use even friends/family/co-workers or whoever to tear you down. Fight this battle with dignity and discipline. Rise to the majestic heights where physical force meets soul force.

"We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead."
No matter where you are in your walk of life, surround yourself with those who are fighting the same battles as you. Who have overcome the ones you face.  And those who edify you and sharpen you. Link arms. Stand together. Do not walk this walk of life alone. March ahead. In adoption it is said that it "takes a village" to raise these kids. It does. In marriage, in parenting, in relationship, in ministry, I believe that in every walk, you need a village to fight the good fight. Find your village, make your pledge to march ahead. We can take on the world together.

"I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.""Faith is taking the first step, even if you don't see the first staircase."
What are you living for? What would you die for? What is your purpose? It doesn't have to be grand or big it can be something small. What ever it is, live it and live it big. I want my children to be passionate. It is important. Passion is what brings change. What bring things to life. I to love and I want my children to learn to love. Not a fairytale love. But love that brings cause. Love that brings hope. Love that brings on something bigger then themselves. Love and Passion with no boundaries. That have no fear of missing their dream. Whatever it may be. We were created for purpose. I want to encourage you to lay your fears down. And find it. Live it and fulfill it. Even if you are the only one. Trust me...when you start living out those dreams, those things you fight for and would die for, you find people in the strangest ways that are just like you. You just have to take the first bold step to do it.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others."
It is easy to be brave when no courage is required. It is easy to talk about being bold and standing up for what it right. How many of us have actually been in a place where real courage was required and being brave was the only choice?
It is so easy to talk about giving when your bucket is overflowing but what about giving when the bucket is dry and you only have crumbs to give? How many times has the Lord told you to give when you had none to give and you were obedient. When was the last time you helped someone despite what others around you including the ones you love most thought about you?

I could go on an on but I cant close without sharing his dream...
"I have a dream that one day my four children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream that one day little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today."
For the first time in my life, I read this quote yesterday and nearly wept. What a powerful dream. One we watch come to fruition day after day. In our home, our friends homes and in the homes of so many others across the nation. We live in a nation that once had a thick cloud of darkness that covered us called hatred. Today, we join hands in our daily interactions with one another.

The other night we sat over frozen yogurt while Parker asked Phillip and I who Martin Luther King Jr was. As we told him, his eyes filled with little tears. I watched as my almost 7 year olds face dropped with sadness. We explained the brokenness that our country once suffered from. We explained to him, in a very 7 yr old way, the disease of hatred our nation once carried. As he bit his bottom lip and pondered what we were saying I knew he was struggling to wrap his mind around such a thing. He was quite for awhile and later that night at bedtime told me "Mom, I would have stood with Dr. King and I would have told those people to Love each other because that it what Jesus tells us to do." He has the purest heart.

So I was thinking...
What if we all had the compassion for people that my 7 yr old has?
What if we all were brave and had real courage to stand up for what it right and to stand up and fight for others?
What if we all had the courage to live with purpose and be the change the world so desperately needs?
What if we fought with dignity and with discipline and not harshness and cruelty?
What if we opened our eyes to the "invisible" people and laid our privileged lives down for them? To fight for their redemption and restoration?
What if we all had a dream and would die to see it be fulfilled?
What if we all fought for the dream of our Father to make his Son known so that those made in His image could be restored to Him as rightful heirs? As son's and daughters?

I was thinking...What if......???

Monday, January 21

Eat: Meal Plan Monday

Ok. Here's the deal this week. We are moving and I am not cooking.
At all.
I can't even think about it. I have decided we will be eating out every dinner. Which I am sure is going to get old by tomorrow but cooking in chaos sounds even worse.

I don't have a menu plan for this week because  our menu will consist of...

Jason's Deli
Smiling Moose
Pizza Hut (YES!! We eat pizza!!! Ha!)

You get the picture...
Convenience foods!
I need a whole lotta convenience this week. And grace.  At least with convenience foods you CAN make smart choices. Know what you are eating and how many calories you are putting in your body.

Here is my usual order from each of these places:

8 Count Grilled CHICKEN Nuggets
160ish calories
Side of Fruit (medium = 70 calories)
Diet Lemonade
Their fries are amazing but I can't justify taking in 390 calories (for a small fry) so a side of fruit it is. Now I am a sauce person! I LOVE sauce. I could eat most sauces with a spoon especially the Chick-fil-a Sauce mixed with a little Buffalo Sauce. To. Die. For. But that Chick-fil-a sauce will get cha. Its 140 Calories PER package!!! I used to eat 3! Now if I do a sauce I just have the Buffalo Sauce. Its spicy and delicious.

Jason's Deli
Spinach Wrap with a Side of Fruit.
I usually pass on the Blue Corn Chip. To many calories and to much fat.
Occasionally I will have the Salad Bar and a cup of their Chili. Their Chili is a beef Chili but it really good. And a healthier option.

6 inch Wheat bread with every veggie on it. No meat. No cheese. With Honey Mustard as the dressing. No chips.
About 185 Calories.

Smiling Moose
Smiling Moose is one of our favorite little deli's here. We go every Sunday after church. I usually build my own Sandwich on their Multi grain bread and get Lettuce, Tomato, Purple Onion, Jalapeños, Avocado and a Buffalo sauce for the topping. Its yummy.

Pizza Hut
I dont know the exact calorie count on this meal but I think it is roughly 150 calories a slice. We always order a veggie lover's pizza sans the cheese. Surprisingly without the cheese is sooo delicious. I love it! You should try it.

So there you have it. My super gourmet, fancy menu line up for the week.

Hopefully next Monday will hold a better Menu. Something healthier and homemade. We will see what this weekend holds.

Is this real? Please someone tell me No!!! It isn't so!!!

Link Here for source and other weird "foods". 

Friday, January 18

Gotcha Day: Celebration

Emme had a fun filled "Gotcha Day" celebration. It was a fun day/evening of celebrating God's faithfulness and goodness. We celebrated last night with family and our friends who also have children from Ethiopia. I love that she has friends who are now family that share her roots. That relate to her. That have also found their forever family. The two little girls in the picture below with Emme are from the SAME village she was born in. And now they live a mile away from each other again. What a gift. And what a blessing it was to celebrate with them tonight.
It was such a great night. The kids played, ate yummy food, danced and ate cake! It was fun and memorable.

Before we let Emme open her gift I sat down in front of her and held her little hands while I told her how special she was to not only me but everyone in the room. She is so loved.
I'm not sure if she cared that I said that or if she really understands but I can't not say these truths to her. I pray that those words sit forever on her heart and that she knows she is loved.

We got Emme a little charm bracelet as her gift. I wanted to get her something that she will cherish and love when she gets older. I have a friend who gets her daughter a charm on every birthday and I thought "Yes!" That is a wonderful keepsake! So we got her a sweet little charm bracelet from James Avery and got the 4 seasons charm as her first charm to represent the 1st year of being in her forever family! We also made her a Shutterfly book filled with pictures and memories of her 1st year home. She is in love with the gifts! I can't wait to add charms to her sweet bracelet.

Here are some fun photos from her little celebration:

I hope our sweet girl knows how loved she is! 

Thursday, January 17

Gotcha Day: 1 Year

Has it really been one year? One year since we pulled through those gates to bring our daughter home forever?
Has it really been one year since I stepped out of that car and bent down to kiss and scoop up the most terrified little girl I had ever laid eyes on?
Has it really been one year since I grabbed those tiny, frail little hands and said "Mommy is here! I have come for you!"?

It is hard to believe that it has in fact been one year since we pulled through those white gates that held my tiny one.
It has been one year since I scooped her up into my arms as we took one last tour of the place she once called home.
It has been one year since she said farewell to the only people she knew as family.
Oh how I wished I had savored those moments. For her.
She was scared.
We had torn her from the only security she had known. She was the most terrified little thing I had ever seen.
Heart-broken and afraid.
Not knowing what lay before her.
January 17th 2012 we drove away from that orphanage forever.
It was such a surreal day. As she cried, while snuggled in my lap on the drive to the guest house, I whispered sweet reassurances to her.
That she would never be alone again.
That she is loved.
My heart was full.
I was holding a tangible testimony of Gods faithfulness. He says he sets the lonely in homes.
This day.
I saw and experienced that promise from God fulfilled.
He promises that he restores and redeems. This last year, I have seen restoration and redemption.
I have seen a broken, scared little girl blossom into a fun, joyful, loving and precious child. She is a testimony. A testimony of how faithful and good God is. A reminder that He is faithful and that He sees us.
Emerson is a gift from The Lord. I don't know why God has allowed us to be the parents of this amazing child but he has and I am forever thankful.
You will never find a sweeter child then my sweet Emerson. She is sweet, tender and kind. She has a servants heart and really cares for people. Emme is also funny and has the most contagious smile and laugh. She captivates everyone she is around. We are in love, head over heels with our sweet one. And I can't believe it has been a year since she stepped out of that orphanage into our arms forever.
I can't wait to celebrate her tonight with our family and with her little Ethiopian friends. God has been good to us and I can't wait to live all the memories to come.

Wednesday, January 16

Battered? Hold on.

Do you ever feel battered by the storms of life? Just beaten down by decisions being made by you or others?
I think that at times we all feel a bit battered in this life that we live.
Beat down.
Ready to throw in the towel.

Do you ever feel like it is hard to stand up? Like your ground is shaky? So shaky that you cannot hang on?
Do you ever find yourself stumbling on things that you don't know? Wether its what's to come or how to fix things?
Do you ever struggle to find the truth in your life that you know is there lying deep in your soul but for some reason it is so hard to see, feel or hear?

Yeah I feel that way too some times. More times then I would like.

It doesn't matter who you are or where you are in life. I am sure you have felt this way or you are feeling this way. Wether you are the stay at home momma whose kids cannot get over sickness that this crisp air welcomes. Or the momma who is hanging to the minutes the day brings with only a few hours of sleep and kids who rebuke sleep. Or maybe you are the businessman/woman who is facing difficulty in your business, lay offs, or pay cuts. Maybe you are the single momma who cant catch a break. Or that single girl longing for her love to be near. Or maybe even, the high school student who is facing the pressure of falling for the enticing elements society flashes as acceptable. Maybe you are the adoptive momma who is tired. Worn down by the hard parts of adoption. Connection, waiting, bonding, attacking. Ya know, the parts people don't talk about. At least publicly they don't.

Whoever you are and wherever you are, I just want to tell you (and myself) to hold on. Hold on with all that you have. Hold on and know that God has a plan. He always does. Even when the world seems dark. It is always the darkest before the dawn.
Know that these horrible parts, these storms, they will be woven into a wonderful beautiful tapestry of life.
If all you can do is breath, then just breathe. Catch your breath, breathe out and pray. Sit at his feet. Lean against the father. Feel His heartbeat.
He knows you. He knows where you are. Jesus is there. He is that sturdy wall to lean against when you world seems to be crumbling and this storm of life leaves you battered.
He is there with His hands up supporting you.
Catching you when you fall.
Carrying you when you are weary.
You may be struck down, but you are not destroyed.
Christ has overcome.
He is for you.

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. - John 16:33

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefor we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountain slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. - Psalm 46:1-3,7

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. - Isaiah 41:10

Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be moved.
 - Psalm 55:22

Rest assured sweet battered ones. Collect your courage. Breathe deep. Pray hard and know that you are not alone. Rest in the Lord. Be encouraged. Submerge yourself in the presence of Jesus. You will never find a better source of love and encouragement then in His word. Dive in today. Let Him shower His grace on you today.

And because I hate a post without pictures, I am missing this girl today. Cannot wait to get my feet back on Ethiopian soil again.

Monday, January 14

Eat: Meal Plan Monday

This week and next week are going to be crazy. We have to be out of our house by January 27th so I am trying to force myself to get into full on packing mode. It hasn't happened yet. I am struggling to feel motivated to move. Let alone cook during this move! Ugh.

This week we are going to do some of our favorites easy go to meals. Simply because these meals make a lot and we will have leftovers just incase I don't feel up to making what is actually on the Menu for that day.
So here goes this weeks meal line up:

My kids love these recipes. These are easy to make. Really easy. And healthy and low-cal.

Lentil Tacos:
Lentil Tacos are so simple and so basic. They are great for those rushed evening and for those evenings when you don't want to stand in the kitchen over a stove prepping and stirring and slaving over a meal.
I buy these canned lentils:

I use 2 cans. I open them and drain most of the juice out (not all but almost) and then I put them in a skillet to heat up on Medium heat. I then open a package of Organic Taco Seasoning and sprinkle it in the skillet with the lentils. Sometimes I will add some diced onion to the pan but not always.
Once your lentils are warm just slap them on some healthy tortillas. You can find some good ones at Natural Grocery stores or major super markets. This is where some of the other 5% of our Vegan diet lies. We LOVE the fresh homemade tortillas from HEB. I am sure they have dairy but they are warm and yummy and pretty low cal considering other brands you can buy and they don't have all the preservatives in them. We like to top our Lentil Tacos (or burritos however you want to say it) with Guacamole, Lettuce and Onion. It's so yummy and so fast and easy.

Creamy Cauliflower Potato Soup:
Recipe found HERE.

Tofu Stir Fry:
Ok I kind of made this one up. Its one of my experimental concoctions that just worked and is now one of our favorites.
You need:
Firm Tofu - 1 package
Package of Broccoli
Package of Mushrooms
Onion diced up
1 1/2 fresh or frozen Green Beans
1 Cup frozen Corn Kernels
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
2 TBLSP of Olive Oil
About 1/3 - 1/2 Cup of low sodium Soy Sauce
2 TBLSP Worcestershire sauce
2 TBLSP Stir Fry Sauce
2 TBLSP Sesame Oil
1 1/2 Cups Quinoa
2 1/2 Cups Veggie Broth
While you are making the veggie part of the Stir Fry prepare your Quinoa. If you aren't using instant and you are using raw you need to wash your quinoa in a sieve and then toast your quinoa in a skillet with some olive oil just until it gets golden brown and pops a little. This rids it of the fill you find on quinoa and cleanse it. It also enhances its natural nutty flavor. After that you need to boil your Veggie broth and add your prepared Quinoa to it. Cover and simmer until the Veggie Broth has been absorbed. About 20 minutes-ish.
When I am in a rush and don't feel like fussing with the quinoa preparation, I just find a yummy flavored quinoa at the store. It's ok to cheat from time to time.
Now for the Veggies...In a large skillet add Olive Oil. Heat on Medium High heat. Add firm Tofu. Chop the tofu and scramble like you would eggs. Into very small pieces (I am wishing I had pictures...gotta work on that!) Once the tofu starts turning colors (yellowish like eggs) add in your frozen corn and green beans. Stir together and add in your sauces and seams oil. Stir together and add in the onion, mushrooms and broccoli. Cover your skillet and and simmer until all the veggies are soft. This is when I usually bend down and smell the yumminess cooking and start adding things like garlic powder, more chili powder, cayenne...just whatever smells good that day! Ha! Once the veggies are done and the quinoa is done uncover both and mix together in a large bowl or dish! And there you have it!
I hope you try this dish!! My kids LOVE this.

Vegan Enchilada Casserole:
So yummy!! I make this a lot! It is easy and the left overs are better then the right out of the oven. Here is where I found the recipe.

photo by oh she glows
This is simple and delicious. I made it for our small group one night and everyone loved it! It is really yummy with some guacamole stirred into it. I don't add the "cheese" I leave that out and its fine. There is alot of fat in that "cheese" that I really don't need/want going to my mid section. (Remeber just because it is Vegan does NOT mean it is healthy!!) Also...I love the "Hatch" brand enchilada sauce! I would say use whatever brand you like.
HERE is the recipe!

Wednesday, January 9

Favorite Things.

I thought I would take some time today to share some of my favorite things with you. I love seeing and reading about what everyone likes and learning about new fun stores, online shops and fun crafty projects. I love seeing what inspirers people and what makes them happy. So here are a few of my favorite things/places.

It's no secret that I find joy in crafting. It is therapeutic to me to make something beautiful. Something that I can look back at and say "hey I did that!" and it not look too bad. A lot of people don't craft because they say "oh I am not creative enough to do that." Well since the birth of Pinterest, even your dog can be creative. Every time I am on Pinterest my creative juices start flowing. And my wallet gets a bit thinner. I always feel so inspired as I scroll through all of the pretty "pins". I seriously didn't know what I did on carpool lines, drive thru lines or grocery lines before Pinterest. If you haven't joined, you should. Its a real time zapper! But so handy. Find me. Follow me. jennaknight

It is also no secret that I adore supporting small businesses and local business. I love all the little shops on Etsy. It is such a great place to go when you want something handmade, personal, creative and unique. You can find beautiful vintage pieces and new homemade pieces. Here are some of my favorite things on there right now.

Click on the images to go to visit the shops!
There is another little gem of a shop that I just recently discovered that I am really enjoying. Pick Your Plum. Heard of it? Each day they sell something different. I have purchased from there 3 times. And their stuff is marked down 67% from retail cost so it is crazy affordable! Love!
Here are a couple of my purchases.

Sign up! I promise you will Love it!

As far as a couple of Local stores that I adore here is my List:
For Clothing I LOVE... Pink Tumbleweed
I stole this Pic from her website. This is my go to place when I am wanting something new and fun to wear. I love the laid back casualness of this store. Some of my favorite clothes are from here. If you live in Midland you should check her out! She is always on trend and has the best accessories.

I also really LOVE Altar'd State! I used to just shop this store online but now we have an actual store! Here in Midland. The whole philosophy behind the store touches my soul. The stores model is to Give Back to the Community. You can Purchase with Purpose in this shop and get beautiful and creative things! Seriously...I could live in this store. It is boutique heaven for me. It is the perfect blend of Anthro and Urban Hipster. They are fashion focused and cause motivated.

Visit their website to learn more about their mission and to read their story. And if you live near one or you are in Midland be sure to check them out. You wont be disappointed.

I would love to hear what some of your favorite things are!

Tuesday, January 8

NYE. Kid Style.

What a fun New Years Celebration we had!!!

We decided to do things a little differently this year. Finding a sitter is always stressful on New Years Eve. Everyone wants to go out. I don't blame them. I want to go out too!
This last year (2012) I have been trying to be really intentional (one of my words from last year was present-I wanted to learn to be present and intentional in every moment) about being a better mother and making memories that last a life time with my kids. I have started new traditions and made a big deal out of things that seem so small. But the kids LOVE it and honestly I have fallen in love with it too!

In my quiet time one day last winter, while complaining about how frustrating and chaotic life seems with kids, God reminded me of how short and sweet this time with them is. They only have one childhood and I would hate for them to grow up and all they remember is a crazy yellin' momma who was annoyed by them.
Instead I want them to remember a young momma who got in the dirt.
Swam in the pool.
Painted with her fingers.
Let them help in the kitchen (even though it is unreasonably messy when they help).
I want them to remember a momma who ran with them, road bikes with them and who genuinely loved being with them.
Now...most of the time I don't naturally want to be this way. I like MY time and I like to be ALONE. I am an introvert and being alone... off by myself... is something I really enjoy. I dream of going on a vacation alone someday! Ha!
This is where my 'flesh' rises and I when I need Jesus to help me be this mom that I want to be for my kids. I want Him to get the glory in my parenting. And trust me... I desperately need Him.

With that being said....we decided that we would make New Years Eve fun for not just us but for our kids too!  And fun for ours friends with kids and their kids!!
For our first New Years Party Kid Style we had our friends Wynne and Stephen over and of course sweet Camp and Asher. It was low key and great for our first try! I cant wait to invite more next year. I am pretty sure there will be 5,000 kids there because for some reason we all feel the need to have more babies or adopt. Seriously! Just between my 5 friends I hangout with a on a regular basis there are like 21 kids! LOL!
Right after Christmas I got busy googling and searching Pinterest for fun party ideas for a kid friendly New Years Eve party!! There are so many creative people out there!
Here is what I came up with:

My crafty Banner:
I just bought some cardboard pre-cut triangles from Hobby Lobby, threaded some yarn through the holes and added Scrapbook stickers! Boom! There ya have it! A Banner!

Edible Party Hats:
I saw this little idea on Pinterest and knew my icing lovers would LOVE this activity!  Decorate your own Party Hat!!
Activity Bags, Clock Cookies and Party Bags:
I found this idea on Pinterest and so I made these hourly activity bags (out of brown lunch sacks, I traced the rim of a glass and marked the clock face with a marker punched some holes and tied on some ribbon) that had a little note with what we were doing for that hour and a little gift from the Dollar Tree in them. Along with some Midnight party bags with little kid firecrackers in them. I also made these Clock cookies! These were probably my favorite part! They turned out to be really fun!
One of our activity bags had glow stick swords in them so we had a mini glow-in-the-dark sword fight! The kids loved it...until the swords broke 30 seconds later! HA!

We also had a Dance party, played a board game, had a fun photo shoot, answered a 2012 questionnaire and watched some pretty hilarious YouTube videos. We cant have a party without a little YouTube action! We also enjoyed some bubbly and some kid appropriate bubbly!

Finally we had a Midnight Balloon Drop after we watched the Ball drop in NYC. I got this idea from google images but later found an awesome pin on Pinterest that explains what I did but better! I wish I had of found this before!!

It was such a fun night! I was worn out the next day but it was definitely worth it! I have so many ideas for next year. I cant wait! You can follow my Pinboard here for more inspiration if you want to throw one of these epic parties next year. It was worth the late (LATE) nights I stayed up crafting and it was most certainly worth the sugar rush from all the treats. Such fun memories! Here's to many many more!
Pop over to Wynne's blog for more pics and details of this fabulous party. 

Monday, January 7

Eat:Meal Plan Monday

Ok...Here we go! My first "Meal Plan Monday" post. I am absolutely not organized enough for this! I am scattered and unorganized but I am going to put all the effort I have in these little posts. So here we GO!

First off...7 years ago I did not know how to cook. Like... at all. I could make Raman Noodles, Red Baron Pizzas, Macaroni, scrambled eggs and an assortment of things made out of SPAM! You know...the weird canned meat?! If you can even call it that. You can sliced up that stuff and serve it on bread, with crackers, by itself or you can slice it and fry it! And did you know that you can make Spam Salad?? Its kinda like Tuna Salad but tangy-er and cheaper. I made this one day for Phillip when we were dating. He nearly puked but ate it to not hurt my feelings. What a sweet boyfriend he was. Ya'll its gross. I shredded that Spam with a cheese grater and whipped it up with some Mayo Salad Dressing, stirred in some Dill Pickle Relish and sprinkled some Grated Cheese on top. Slapped it between 2 pieces of white bread and there you have it... A Spam Salad Sandwich! Appetizing?!
After that my cooking progressed into frozen pre-cooked breaded chicken breast alongside some mashed 'tators and gravy and macaroni. Occasionally some spaghetti and if we were lucky a salad. Then it got a little more sophisticated and I used cookbooks.  Needless to say it has been a fun 7 years of trials and errors. I learned that I do LOVE to cook.

This last year as I mentioned here, we have gone Plant Powered or Vegan. Whichever you prefer to call it. It was a semi easy switch. It takes mind power and a willingness to just DO IT. It also takes a great deal of re-training your brain to know what REAL food is and you have to teach your taste buds what REAL food tastes like. You have to learn to read labels (which I am STILL learning) and you have to be familiarize yourself with what your body actually needs to survive and where you can get these elements.

For DO NOT need to eat meat to get enough Protein! There are PLENTY of protein rich grains and beans to meet the appropriate amount you need. Like Quinoa, Beans, Lentils and a wide variety of Vegetables and Fruits.
I hope by now that you have watched at least 1 of the videos I posted in my precious Eat. post. Start with Forks over Knives if you haven't. I am NOT a nutritionist nor am I dietician. Like I said before, I am just a momma who has read some blogs, some books and watched some documentaries about food and has become hooked on this way of eating.
Any way now for my Menu...Here is the line up... Click the Image to view better... I am still trying to figure out how I want to share these! Bare with me:)

Here are the recipes for some of the Menu items. I get a lot of ideas off of Pinterest so if you just click the image or the link below the image it will take you to the recipe site!

Lentil Loaf - Meatless Meat Loaf
NOT my image

Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatos (These are so yummy!!)
Image from

Qunioa Stuffed Poblano Peppers So good!!! We just leave out the cheese! 
The Sushi we will eat if just from a local Sushi Bar. It's not Vegan but it is LOW cal and solo yummy!!! A food I cannot live without! 

Creamy Cauliflower Potato Soup. I orginally got this recipe from my friend Jami! It is sooo good!! It is on a constant Family Rotation. You will LOVE this!! Best soup EVER!! 

Follow my Pinterest board here to follow recipes that we have tried and approved of! 
 If you have any questions about any of these meals or how we eat, please dont hesitate to comment below or email me! You comments and questions make these posts so much easier and productive for me. It helps give me some direction. I hope you try these meals and LOVE them like we do! They are easy and my kids approved them so they must not be too bad. 
Bon Appétit. 

Sunday, January 6


We kicked the first weekend of the New Year off with a bang!
I have the worst ear infection ever! (those stinkin' things HURT) and Beckham woke up the other night puking.  We move in 2.5 weeks and I am behind on all of our homeschool stuff and class resumes on Tuesday.
I guess you all know what I will be doing tomorrow...Sleeping until 10:30 and teaching.
But you know what...I have JOY and I am focusing on having, being and showing Grace and I have been really intentional about how I am spending my time. It is only the 6th and I am already being reminded of my "words" for 2013. Funny how God lines things up to work things out in us sometimes. He's so clever.
Though I am 'behind' in some areas I have decided that it is ok and life will be just fine. Life is not an emergency and its ok if laundry is sitting for a couple of days in a big heap on the laundry room floor while I lay around crying about my ear and it is ok that my kids are eating oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner because we are out of veggies. They aren't really eating oatmeal for every meal but they might if I don't break down and actually go to the store tomorrow! 

I have been meditating on Grace since I decided it to be my 'word' of focus for the year. There are so many angles you can look at 'Grace' from.
I feel like right now God is trying to teach me to have more Grace in the mundane. More Grace in the midst of messes and in the brut of sickness and craziness. And more Grace with myself in these moments.
Life is so short. These moments with our children, and with our spouses are so short. Each day like a blink. A breath. I refuse to let anymore days slip past without embracing the beautiful in each. I refuse to let the sun give way to the night without me fully breathing in the sweet moments the Lord has blessed me with. To waste this time without leaking an ounce of God's Grace would be foolish.
I want to encourage you to look deep, focus hard and find the beautiful in your day. To find the calm in the chaos. To feel the peace in the storm. And to find energy in the mundane. Let Grace surround you. Let it flow with your words. And let it leak out from your touch.

Wednesday, January 2

2012 Books

I am a bookworm. I love reading. Though it is something that is hard to find time to do when I have 3 littles running around and 1 that I part-time homeschool, it is something that I am intentional about making time for. There is just something so great about curling up to a good book with a cup of coffee in my hand.
Last year I shared this list of books with you.
I thought I would again, share my favorites of 2013 with you.
2012 Reading List:

So there it is.. my list of great reads in 2012. All the images are linked to their Amazon page incase you are interested in ordering a copy of your own. I have a few books going right now for 2013 that I am LOVING!! I am re-reading When Helping Hurts and I am about to finish Start Something That Matters. I got Start Something free with a pair of Christmas TOMS that I ordered. If you got this book this holiday it! It's so good!
Also my TOP recommendations... though I LOVE all of them and it is really hard to single out a favorite in this group without feeling like I am cheating on them all... my top recommendations would be Circle Maker, 7 & Love Does.