Beautiful Work

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands…. Psalm 90:17a

Peanut Butter Dip October 23, 2009

Filed under: Meal Planning,Recipes — Leah @ 8:00 pm

I totally should have posted this when we were talking about healthy snacks for our kiddos….but alas, I didn’t think if it until now.  :-)

This recipe came from a good friend of mine, she graciously sent it on after our kids devoured it at a swim party this summer.  It’s super easy, and I’m sure would taste just as good with cashew or almond butter substituted in for the peanut butter (if your child has allergies…).

Peanut Butter Dip

1/3 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter
2 TBS milk
2 TBS honey
1 TBS apple juice or water
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Serve with apples, bananas, peaches, grapes, or melons

Place peanut butter in small bowl;  gradually stir in milk and honey until blended.  Stir in apple juice and cinnamon until mixture is smooth.  Makes about 1/2 cup dip. (I spun mine in the mini-food processor.  It worked great!)

 

Making the most of each moment

Filed under: Extending Kindness,Keeping inspired — Kate @ 3:11 pm

Well, obviously we are all in the ‘moms of toddlers’ stage of life!  There are plenty of things that call for our attentions at home and just meeting those demands can be all consuming at times.  BUT we are created to be relational beings and at some level we need and want friendships in our lives!  In order to make and maintain friendships at this stage in life, my mentality has been ‘make the most of each moment!’  Some things that I do to implement this are:

Multitasking

  • I must confess that if I am talking you to on the phone I am most liking doing something else at the same time!  I find that this gives me the time to do two things that I value highly …. caring for my family and home and also maintaining friendships!  I’m not going to be doing something that requires too much brainpower, but folding laundry, washing dishes or making sandwiches are a few things that can easily be done while having a conversation and if the conversation needs to go a little deeper I can simply stop for a moment and focus in on the call.
  • Another favorite for me are the famous ‘play dates!’  Getting to chat with another mom while our kids play together (at a home, park or play area) is a wonderful way to connect with a friend and to care for my kids at the same time.  I’m always so grateful for the time together and thankful for grace and understanding as we continue to parent our children in front of each other!

Be Spontaneous –

  • Like Leah mentioned in her post, inviting someone over for dinner at the last minute might seem unconventional, but it never hurts to try it!  I like to call people when I am thinking of them and invite them for sometime that week.  Maybe it works and we are able to connect, maybe it doesn’t and then we can get something on the calendar for a later date.
  • Sit down and write a note/e-mail or make a phone call right when I think about it.  Most thoughts don’t survive in my pregnant brain too long, so doing something about those thoughts in the moment is a must!  (If I don’t have time for something right at the moment, I write it down … lists are a MUST around here!)

Are there some ways that YOU ‘make the most of each moment’ with your friendships???

 

The Not-so-social Butterfly October 21, 2009

Filed under: Extending Kindness,Hospitality,Keeping inspired — Leah @ 6:00 am

I totally agree with the points that Andie made yesterday:  Friendships were leagues easier to maintain before marriage and children arrived on the scene!  But unlike Andie, I do not have the natural desire to be overly social.   Therefore, as my time is spent caring for my husband, my home, and my children- I can very easily neglect friendships without even meaning to!  Here are some ways I have found to encourage myself to seek out friendships:

Pick your friends wisely: My husband and I aim to spend time with other couples/families that will not only spur us on, but who we can encourage as well- knowing that God often blesses us through our relationships.

Remind yourself that your family is not necessarily built like you are: I have to remind myself often that just because I am content at home with a book or a movie…my kids and husband may not be!  I try to schedule some kind of playdate (for the kids) and talktime (for the grown-ups) each week.  Sometimes it’s during the day with just me and kids and other times it’s in the evening or on a weekend when Daddy can join us.

I know, some of you are thinking “ONLY ONCE A WEEK!?!?” but trust me- that’s a big deal for some of us.  :-)

Invite someone over on a whim: If I think about it too much- the invite never happens….so I am realizing more and more that it’s not wierd (and often not even inconvenient!) to invite someone over for dinner with just a hour or two to spare before mealtime.  Families with children are flexible beings and are almost always up for  the adventure!

 

Time for friends?? October 20, 2009

Filed under: Extending Kindness,Hospitality,Keeping inspired — Andie @ 8:17 am

This week we will be discussing the question, “How do you maintain friendships without neglecting your other responsibilities?”

This has not honestly been a topic that I have given a lot of intentional thought to. At this stage of life, I think I have sort of let the chips fall as they will. Immediate family relationships come first and then friendships fit in around them. Somehow, I have managed to see my friends on a semi-regular basis.   Having small children has forced me to have a more narrow group of consistent friendships than I had before. I still have lots of people I consider friends, but very few are “every week” sort of friends. For that matter, even my closest buddies are not “every week” buddies anymore. Here are a fews ways I maintain friendships:

-Make sure to celebrate!- One way I keep up with friends is to make special occasions a priority. Who cares if it’s the second little baby girl in a family and there is ‘no need’ for a shower? We have a party anyway! It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it is precious to celebrate life’s special moments with friends and it provides an opportunity to catch up. In addition to this, I have some friends I always celebrate birthdays with. This usually only happens with a few friends in my life, but it insures that I have non-kid time with those friends at least a few times a year.

-Friendships change with time aka. I can’t be committed to everyone deeply all at the same time- As I mentioned before, my group of consistent friends is smaller than ever before. Less free time has meant less deep friendships. I am super social and there are many people I would love to see more often, but I purposely hold myself back from planning dates with all the people I’d like to hang out with. I have to make myself FOCUS on the friendships I feel God wants me to pour more deeply into. With that said, I do look out for newcomers.  I know how hard it is to be new and not know anyone. When I moved here, I mostly only knew Gretchen. She let me come to her house every day for awhile because I didn’t have anywhere else to go. That was such a blessing to me and I try to make it a point to welcome newcomers who cross my path in the same way. This can be time-intensive (in a totally positive way) for awhile. Eventually newcomers make other friends, too, and I don’t see them as much. This is okay with me and this ebb and flow idea is how I approach most friendships in my life.

-Do it when you can and do it right away- This is something I find helpful for keeping up with the people I love but don’t see or talk to often. If there is a person on my heart I haven’t been in contact with, I just write a quick note or email. I try not to put it off until I have time to write something long because then it never happens. It doesn’t have to be a full update to be meaningful. Just a note that says, “This reminded me of you….” or “I was laughing about the time when we….” tends to really encourage people.

 

planning for fall October 15, 2009

Filed under: Activities,Homemaking — Kate @ 6:00 am

I guess it’s just going to be a strange fall no matter WHAT part of the country you live in!  We are all trying to make the best of it and enjoy the changing seasons (whatever they are changing from or to!)  Fall is my favorite season,  so I really am hoping that we get some ‘normal’ fall-like weather at some point and we will definitely still try to enjoy the tasty treats that just can’t be left out!

Our fall ‘must-have’ list includes:

  • A trip to Greenbluff for apple picking (This is usually on, or around my late Sept birthday.  This year we made it up the first weekend of Oct w/family friends only to be welcomed by bitter cold rain, but we picked apples anyways!)
  • Make some Chai tea mix … I’ve been enjoying the last of the HUGE double batch that I made last year, but the stock needs to be replenished.
  • Enjoying pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin sausage soup (not together) … seems that pumpkin recipes are a good theme this week!
  • Knit or crochet something.  While I do this year round, there is something nice about making something warm when it is so cold outside.  My latest project is this.  I made one for our daughter due on Dec 31st, and I’m working on one for my 2 1/2 year old too!
  • Go for walks and admire all the different leaves – shapes, sizes and colors!  I guess this year our walks will involve winter coats, mittens and scarves!
  • Find a routine!  I feel the need to get back into a routine now that the weather is changing to be a little less outdoor friendly.  So my goal is to settle back into a routine (or maybe make a new one!) now that vacations are done and school year activities have been going for a month.
  • This year my fall list includes painting the 2 kids bedrooms.  One will be the nursery come January and the other my son and daughter have been sharing in all it’s purpleness for the last year!   I’d love to get some mint green paint on the walls in the nursery and I’m still looking for inspiration for a boy/girl room!  Any ideas for a gender shared bedroom??
 

Oh Pumpkins, how I love thee…. October 13, 2009

Filed under: Activities,Homemaking — Leah @ 6:00 am

Seriously now ladies, I have a complete LOVE for the pumpkin.  I love the color, the smell, the TASTE….I love it in coffee, bread, pancakes, muffins, cookies, ice cream, smoothies, in cheesecake, and of course…in PIE.  :-)  With that in mind, my “must do before Fall leaves us!” list is this:

  • Bake some chocolate chip pumpkin cookies.
  • Make some pumpkin bread (per my son’s request)
  • Pay WAY TOO MUCH for a couple Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks
  • Enjoy a fat-free Pumpkin smoothie from Burgerville.  YUM.
  • Roast me some seeds!
  • Buy some outrageously priced pumpkin butter from a local grower…and then eat it on some pumpkin pancakes.

I also plan to do some things that don’t include the wonderful pumpkin:

  • Make a batch of the Chai Tea Mix (I really did have this in mind BEFORE Andie’s post!)
  • Head to Hood River and enjoy the Fruit Loop!
  • Put flannel sheets on the beds (ahhh, so cozy…)
  • Get a family photo taken (I’ve got 5-10 more lbs to lost before I’m willing to schedule this one, I’m aiming to get there BEFORE Christmas…)
  • Clean up our espresso machine – this little appliance has the potential to save us a lot of money through the cooler months…we definitely did not take full advantage of it last fall/winter.
  • Chop down the big ugly bush/tree thing that is next to our house.

I think that’s it for now…

What are you going to do?

 

The Irony October 12, 2009

Filed under: Activities,Homemaking — Andie @ 1:43 pm

This week’s question that we planned months ago was “What do you want to do before fall is over?” The ironic part is that I woke up this morning to find our lovely fall leaves covered in a blanket of thick, wet snow. Sad. Winter may have already arrived here in MN.

My answer to this question has changed out of necessity. What I would like to do still this fall….

-Bake an apple pie
-Make my annual batch of Chai
-bag up a lot more things to take out of our small house to donate
-Use my Knifty Knitter to make a hat for the baby and for Ruth

and here is what I would have written if winter hadn’t already arrived….
– go back to the orchard
-jump in the leaves
-take in the fall colors somewhere beautiful