Monday, June 30, 2014

Yummy Summer - Hide It In Your Heart

Last week my children were in Vacation Bible School at our church and it was the first year in a long time that I didn't volunteer!  Praise Jesus!
So I took the week off blogging and enjoyed mornings without children.
It was glorious!
So today I'm making up for it with 2 Yummy Summer treats!
A few years back I chose a few verses to concentrate on for the Summer and have the children memorize.
I wanted to do the same this Summer and as I've been reading Ann Voskamp's blog, I saw that she has a scripture memory plan for the year!  Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'm using a selection of her verses to memorize this Summer.  She has adorable printables (I mean totally cute people!) so I printed them, cut them out, bought precious, tiny, wood clothespins and hung them up!

They are a lovely Summer decoration, and our tool to memorizing scripture this Summer.
You can check out the printable verses and bookmark that outlines the memorization plan here on Ann's blog, or simply click the photo above.
Another Yummy Summer treat - Ann is the famous author of 1000 Gifts (if you haven't read it, do!) where she stresses the importance of living a life of gratitude.  She talks about counting all the gifts that God gives and challenges us all to keep a gratitude journal and list at least 1000 gifts throughout the year.
Well, she has another adorable printable to help you start counting your blessings and I've been doing it on my own for sometime now, but for the summer, we're doing it as a family.
Each day, Ann suggests 3 different gifts to look for.  Kind of like a scavenger hunt of sorts.
For example, for June 30 it says, "3 gifts you gave today."
We read it in the morning and then at dinner, with my journal, I ask everyone to share a gift that they gave today and what it meant to them.  I write their answers in my gratitude journal.
Here is her printable guide of the 3 different gifts to look for each day. (Of course you can list any gift you received that day that you are thankful for, but her promptings are a fun way to get the children searching throughout the day for specific ways God shows His love for them and the gifts that He gives.

How are you hiding God's Word in your heart this Summer?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Plan B Park

Do you remember the Plan B post from a few weeks back?
I planned on photographing a friend's child at a familiar garden and when I showed up for the photo shoot, the staff at the garden told me I couldn't take photos there without a permit that takes about a week to acquire!  They suggested a nearby park instead - "Plan B Park," as I've renamed it!
Well, a few weeks later, the Plan B Park became my Plan A!

I took my tiny dancer to the Plan B Park to take photos of her in her Swan Lake costume.

Aside from putting her in a pond, it felt appropriate that a swan should be in a park!

It's funny, I wrote that sometimes our Plan B is really God's Plan A!  But when that happened to me a few weeks ago while photographing a friend's child, I had no idea that God was redirecting my path that would change my destination today.
Sometimes our Plan B is not only God's better plan for us, but it opens our eyes to a new gift that blesses us beyond the present moment.

Happy Weekend friends, and here's to living in God's Plan A for us - even if it's our Plan B or C or D!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


The Summer Garden has started to produce!

Who knew veggies could be so much fun!

I kinda look at our Summer garden like I look at parenting.
You start with an empty space that only holds potential.
You dream, plan and start the hard work.
Getting the space ready.
Preparing the soil.
Deciding what kind of harvest you want to reap.
Then the investment.
Investment of time.
Investment of work.
Investment of money.
Investment of energy.
Investment of care and nurture.
And then you wait.
It seems like nothing is happening for awhile.
Did I do something wrong?
Did I invest too much in the wrong things?
Not enough in the right things?
Where is the evidence of all that I've invested?
And then one day,
all of a sudden,
you see a little fruit of your labor.
Some growth, even if it is small, is totally worth all the investment!
PS - anyone know a good recipe that calls for 2 green beans?!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Yummy Summer: Blueberry Muffins

Each year I take the children berry picking at a local farm.
I've found that early June is best for blueberries around here.
I was hoping for a load of raspberries this time as I've been pinning raspberry jam recipes!  
But no such luck - too early for raspberries!
But the blueberries didn't disappoint.

I added my own touch to a blueberry muffin recipe I found and they turned out perfectly!
Go get some fresh local blueberries and try this recipe - you'll thank me!

Blueberry Muffins
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. canola oil
1 egg
1/3 c. milk
1 c. fresh blueberries

1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 c. butter (softened, not melted)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder.
Place canola oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture.  Line muffin tin with 8 large cupcake wrappers (they stand up fairly high over the top of the pan).
Toss blueberries with 1 Tbsp. of flour.  Fold in blueberries.

To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour,  2 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
Bake for 20 to 23 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Should make 8 large muffins.
What yummy things are you baking this summer?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Live & Love Like Jesus

The motto of our church is:
Live & Love Like Jesus
Throughout the week, our church reaches out to so many hurting parts of our community through feeding the homeless, having a food pantry open to less fortunate families, sorting clothes for those in need, making blankets for people...  And one day a year they coordinate Serve Day.  A few thousand people come to serve in over 400 projects in our greater community and this was the first year we participated as a family.

My husband and I both agree that we want our kids to grow up knowing how other people live, serving those in need, and having a heart for the poor, widowed and orphaned, like Jesus.
We've been waiting until they were old enough to participate, be somewhat helpful, and understand what we were doing and we felt this was the year!

I was very excited when we were told that our project was to a retirement home where we would love on some elderly folks for the morning, doing a raffle, sharing some baked goods, and hearing their stories.
I was excited because as my children's first service project, I wanted it to be about people and not just a task.  I wanted them to see the faces of those they were serving and maybe get a little uncomfortable with what they might see.  Yes, it might have been a bit easier to be painting a building all day or pulling weeds, but seeing the faces of people in their sunset years of life, some rarely having visitors, some happy to be there, some not, and taking the time to tell them they are important and valued was a powerful experience.

I had a funny flash back at the retirement home - when I was little, perhaps 5 years old, my mom was in a singing group that would travel to convalescent homes to sing for the elderly.  As a little girl, I would tag along.  I remember one particular time that I wore a corduroy jumper with little green frogs on it that my mom made and the people in the home all wanted to hold my hand and touch me.  They loved to stroke the soft skin of my young hands.  Remembering this, I told my children not to be afraid if the people wanted to hold their hands and touch their young skin.  It was really sweet to see my children be a little timid and uncomfortable at first, but then warm up to these people who just loved seeing children!

Hearing the stories of their lives was amazing and fascinating.  Some of them grew up overseas and somehow ended up in California.  Some told stories of being farmers in Minnesota, living their whole life in a tiny town in New York state, graduating from UCLA and running the blood bank... however diverse the stories of their lives, they now shared the same patio and ended up in Southern California
 to finish out their lives.

We are all called to live and love like Jesus.  
Take the time to let people know that they matter, they are important, they are valued, they are loved.
Sometimes we do this by cleaning up some one's home or yard.
And sometimes we get the privilege to tell them face to face.
Next week I'll have to tell you about Kay and Marie.   They really taught me something that day.
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Little Girls

These little girls are my greatest source of 
fond memories and joy!
And conviction!

I'm sure I've said this before, but having twins was one of the best gifts I've ever been given.
And twin girls at that! - the greatest!
2 little girls.

These little girls daily give me flash backs to when I was a little girl.
They are like me in so many ways!
When they play with their baby dolls, I remember changing my baby dolls into jammies before I went to bed, tucking them into their blanket and putting them to sleep with a kiss.
My little girls still do the same!

From swimming, ballet, writing books, drawing, dolls, dressing up, watching me put on my make-up or cook - they remind me daily of the little girl I once was and all those fun things I too once did.
It's like a magic time machine when you have kids!  They blast you back all the time.

But these little girls also bring conviction into my life daily.
They are so much like me - not just in the fun little girl ways, but also in my ugly ways.
Seeing them daily, the things that are less than kind, constantly leave me reeling in the fact that they've learned a lot of that from me.
I know that my example to them speaks louder than any words and as I dream for the women I pray they become, I am convicted that I must first be that woman.
I'm impatient.
I'm task focused which means sometimes I forget about the people involved in the task.
I scowl.
I yell.
I'm ungrateful.
Oh I know this is nothing new - as mothers and parents we see 
the good and bad of ourselves in our children.
But I do think there is something unique about a mother daughter relationship.
I don't see my junk as much in my son.  
(He gets his stuff from his daddy!  Let's just be honest!)
Children are a gift from God - a beautiful refining tool that cuts us to the deepest parts and eradicates our ugly sin so that God can be glorified and we can become more like Him as they become more like us!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Yummy Summer: Ping Pong Balls

Welcome to my second Yummy Summer post!
I hope you'll join me each Monday for some fun Summer ideas about activities to do with your children, recipes to try, ways to relax...  and I hope you'll share your ideas too of how you're going to make this Summer extra Yummy!

 Ping Pong Balls

Something we love to do in the summer is swim!
I'm so grateful for a pool and for 3 children to love to swim! 
 Being in the pool can wipe a kid out like no other activity!

When I was planning my daughters' Splish Splash Swim Party, I was looking for new pool games and came across Ping Pong Balls as an alternative to dive toys!  How brilliant!
Throw a bunch of Ping Pong Balls in the pool and let kids swim after them!

$10 at the Dollar Story got me 2 baskets with holes and 8 packages of Ping Pong Balls
and that just might be the best $10 I'll spend this Summer!
Now that the birthday party is long over, the fun has not stopped with the Ping Pong Balls.
The children pretend that they are mermaids and the balls are 
pearls scattered in the sea that they must retrieve.
Or they all act like baby seals in the water and one child throws out balls as a "treat" when they do tricks!
They are endless fun.
I highly recommend buying some Ping Pong Balls to add to your pool fun this summer - totally Yummy!
And if you don't have a pool, wouldn't a basket of Ping Pong Balls be a fun gift to take a friend when you go to their pool?  Perfect hostess gift that will thrill the kids!

What are you doing to make this a Yummy Summer?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Plan B

I had the pleasure of taking photos of a little dancer the other day.
We arranged to take the photos at a beautiful garden where I've taken photos several times.
I arrived early to sign the form I've signed before in which I agree to abide by the rules of the garden.
Well, they quickly told me I couldn't take photographs if I didn't have a reservation and fill out all the proper paper work and get approval which usually takes about a week!
The little girl was arriving in 10 minutes and I was sweating!  I did my best to beg and plead with them, saying I've taking photos here several times before and never had a problem, but they told me their policies had changed and there was no way I could take photos that day.  
They suggested we go to a nearby park.

Just then the little dancer arrived and I ran out to meet them before a staff member grabbed them.
Too late!  A staff member was already telling them we couldn't do any photographs today.
Feeling horrible, knowing I should have called ahead, I smiled and said,
 "I know where the park is, let's head over there."  

In my car on the way to the Plan B location, I was feeling so horrible and irresponsible.  I really should have called ahead.  My mind quickly went to blaming the staff and I began crafting my speech to the Mom of the little dancer why it was their fault that we couldn't take photos at the garden.
I knew I needed to own the mistake and realized that my attitude would dictate the next hour.
Was I going to complain and regret that we weren't at the garden?
Then I heard the words of my friend who once told me, "Sometimes our Plan B is really God's Plan A."
"Lord, please bless this time and let these photos be glorifying to you."
What if the park is a better location?

It was!
I'm so reluctant to be redirected in my plans.
Plan A is always best in my mind.
But what if my Plan B is really God's Plan A?
Happy Weekend!
See you Monday for a Yummy Summer post!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Yummy Summer: Summer Supper Club

Yummy Summer is a series where every Monday I'll share something to make your Summer extra Yummy!  An adventure for your children, a new recipe to try, a craft project, a suggestion for date night, Moma time, all sorts of delicious ideas for this Summer!
I hope you'll share your ideas too using the comments box.  Tell us your great ideas to make this a Yummy Summer!

Kickin' off Yummy Summer with a little suggestion for the grown ups!
Summer Supper Club

Several months ago I invited 6 women to join me for a study of Ann Voskamp's book, 1000 Gifts.  
God brought each woman there for a specific reason and I have to say, it was a magical group of women.  Everyone is so different, yet we have a lot in common.  Everyone has great wisdom to offer and life experience to share.
Needless to say, we were all sad when the study ended.
Since Summer is often busy with vacations, we knew meeting weekly wouldn't work, but once a month would be totally doable!  So we grabbed Shauna Niequist's book, Bread & Wine, and started our 
Summer Supper Club!

"A love letter to life around the table with recipes," is Shauna's caption!
The book is filled with stories, life's gifts, heartbreaks, celebrations and how they are all experienced best with dear friends around the table.  She offers discussion questions and menu suggestions. 

Each woman brought something and used the recipes Shauna offers.
Everything was incredible!
Here are 2 little fun tips I have for serving cheese:
1.  Use fig leaves to place the cheese upon
2.  Crackers, bread sticks, bread... they look so much more pretty displayed in a glass!

And because the title of the book is Bread & Wine,
I made homemade baguettes!

The salad was to die for, and the homemade vinaigrette.... probably won't buy dressing ever again!

Of course there was lots of wine!

Another fun aspect was getting to cook together!
The main dish was steaks au poivre and risotto.
My girlfriend went to a real butcher shop and got beautiful filets.

 Did I mention lots of wine?!!
I didn't capture a picture of the dessert, but it was blueberry crisp with homemade vanilla ice cream!
The whole evening was just right.  
Wonderful women, incredible food, great conversation, laughter, perfect weather, and remnants of a night well spent all over the kitchen that I get to clean up today!
This Summer, get a few girlfriends together for a special dinner.
Have everyone bring something and make it extra special with flowers and candles and splurge a little on the best ingredients - you'll be glad you did!
How are you making this a Yummy Summer?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...