Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Forward

I'm not one to make New Year's Resolutions.  I've been around enough to know that they don't last.  I usually don't stick to much of anything for more than a week or so, if I'm lucky.  I now know better than to use words like "always" and "never".  But words like growing, improving, and striving are friends of mine.  To be able to look back on the previous year and say, "I'm a better person now than I was then," whatever that means to you, is a huge achievement.  I would like to be able to say that.  To always be pressing forward, growing in grace, expanding in knowledge, bettering myself as a wife, mother, and friend.  Not becoming stagnant, but reaching out and making a difference in my little corner of the world.  I think that we can all do that.  By making little changes every day, adding and subtracting what we need to from our lives to slowly mold ourselves into what we want to be.  Knowing that we will inevitably fail, but not letting that stop us from getting back up and pressing forward again.

Here are some things I want to work on over this next year...
  • spend less
  • give more
  • read more books
  • watch less TV
  • eat more veggies
  • eat less sugar
  • take more walks
  • be outside more
  • plant some flowers
  • plant some herbs
  • speak more softly
  • be less easily angered
  • repay evil with good
  • smile more often
  • give more hugs
  • talk to strangers
  • be thankful
  • complain less
  • go to bed a little earlier
  • get up a little earlier
  • write more
  • sing more
  • paint more
  • sew more

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Our Thankful Tree


One of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions is our Thankful Tree.  We started this a few years back with the kids and it is always a lot of fun.  We just used colored paper, scissors and tape.  We cut the trunk in sections and taped it together on the hall closet door. Then we cut out lots of curvy branches and taped them on wherever we felt like it. This year we printed out leaves onto the colored paper using this template.  It turned out to be a little tricky cutting all the points and curves, but we managed.  We made a little woven basket out of leftover paper strips and put the leaves, a marker and some tape in it and hung it on the door knob.  As we think of things we are thankful for, we write them on the leaves and tape them to the tree.  It's not the most perfect looking craft, but that's ok.  It was made with lots of loving, thankful little hands and to me it's the most beautiful tree in the world.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thankful

photo from timeanddate.com

 I have always been bothered by the fact that everyone seems to skip straight from Halloween to Christmas.  This year, the Christmas stuff was in the stores even before Halloween!  Ridiculous.  I never understood why.  Then it struck me... a holiday that focuses on being thankful for what one has just doesn't fit into the modern excessive consumer mentality.  There is nothing for the companies to market.  No costumes, candy, lights, trees, presents, etc.  It is the one holiday that doesn't revolve around spending a lot of money.  It's about good, home cooked food, not buckets of candy.  It's about spending time with your friends and family, not spending tons of money on gifts for everyone and their brother.  Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas... the real Christmas.  Not the capitalistic, commercialized, consumer driven version it has evolved into.  But Thanksgiving is simply this... giving thanks.  So simple, so beautiful.  In this country we live in where we are constantly being bombarded with messages that what we have is not good enough, big enough, or new enough, how important is it to have that one day to reflect.  To choose to disregard all those lies and focus on what really matters.  To realize how truly blessed we are.  To realize we have all that we need and more.  I hope that maybe some of us will slow down and really think about Thanksgiving this year.  Maybe choose to have a different perspective of the coming Christmas season.  And most of all, remember to be thankful.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sweet-n-Spicy Popcorn

Popcorn and movies are some of those things that were just meant to be together.  But I've been getting tired of the plain old butter and salt version.  I recently saw a cooking show with a girl making unusual flavored popcorn and it inspired me to create my own.  I wanted something sweet with just a hint of spice.  I came up with this, and it was just the twist the popcorn needed.

Sweet-n-Spicy Popcorn


 What You Need:

1/4 c. unpopped kernels
2 T. butter
2 T. honey
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/16 tsp. cayenne powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt

What You Do:

Pop your popcorn, using either the kettle or air pop method.  
Please don't use microwave popcorn, you will make me cry. 


We got this cool popcorn maker for Christmas last year, so that is what I use.

While your corn is popcorn, melt the butter and honey.
Ok, so I did cheat here and melt it in the microwave in a Pyrex measuring cup.
Hey, I'm not perfect.

Stir in the cinnamon and cayenne until completely mixed.
Trust me, you don't want to bite into any cayenne clumps.
I only used a pinch of cayenne, 
but of course you can increase it if you like it hotter.


Now put your popcorn in your serving bowl and drizzle the 
sweet and spicy mixture all over the popcorn and toss to coat. 
Sprinkle with the sea salt and toss again.


That's it! So simple and really tasty.
It serves up to 4, if you're being reasonable. 
Of course I'm never reasonable with popcorn and could easily eat it all myself  :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Cat in the Box


 Our darling girl, Pepper


So stinking cute!

Crocheted Owl Hand Bag







Well, I was trying to use up some leftover yarn I had in cream, brown and blue.  I decided to make a handbag.  Then I thought how cute it would be to make an owl.  Then, alas, too late I realized that the owl belonged on a green and cream handbag.  So away to the store I went to buy some green yarn. *sigh*  I think it's super cute, even if I did defeat the purpose of using up my yarn.  Oh well, I will find a project for the blue, I'm sure...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Smoothies

I have been trying to exercise (bleck!) so I've been walking to pick up the kids this week.  Boy, is it hot out there!  When we got home today, I decided to make some smoothies to cool us down.  Smoothies are super simple to make, and very healthy if you don't add a lot of sugar, or even ice cream (that's a milkshake, IMO) like some recipes say.  Now I would like to give you measurements on this, but I don't ever measure it.  But it always turns out right in the end!


What You Need

a couple cups of frozen fruit-
strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, etc.
Today I had strawberries and peaches.

1 or 2 bananas-
depending on how much you like bananas...

1/2 cup or so of yogurt- 
I just put a big blop of it in.
Pretty much any kind will do.  
I like plain greek yogurt as it doesn't have any sweeteners or artificial nastiness.

orange juice or milk-
I just add a hefty splash to it, and if it's looking too thick while blending, I add a little more.
I prefer OJ in my smoothies because you're already getting a dose of dairy form the yogurt, 
but today I didn't have any, so milk it was.

honey (optional)-
I find if you use a pre-sweetened yogurt you don't need to add any sweetener.  Today I used plain yogurt and it was a little tart so I added some honey



What You Do

Here's the super hard part- put it all in the blender and press the button!
I have to stir it around a bit to help the blender out, but it only takes a minute or two for it to all come together.


Delicious refreshing smoothies!


And BTW, are these mugs not the cutest things ever?