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It’s the weekend!

And even better, it is March in Arizona. And if you aren’t from the good ol’ AZ then you don’t know that March, April, and May, are much like everyone’s summers. And our summers, well you will see us complain how most do during the winter. It’s been kind of a funny thing watching everyone have such a hard time during winter, knowing how much I will see them love summer, and I will be loathing it. But, a big one at that, we moved and have a pool this summer, and so, that is exactly where you will find us this summer. With the move we got to start over with our landscaping, and as I planted all the things this weekend, I fell in love with these pots. Aren’t they beautiful! I need to find some! If you know where I can, give me a shout out, will ya?!

Thanks to this post I have found some pretty amazing free home workout sites. Can I get an amen?! Because seriously, I have been dreaming of running and sweating and working out, and I hate running. So I can’t help but think my body needs it that bad. I have really liked this website and am currently on day 2 of their five day fat burning challenge. I can’t walk or lift my arms over my head, so that must mean something good is happening!?

We began football with my oldest this last week and I must say, I love it. I hope he sticks it out and continues to enjoy it, because there’s just something about being under the lights Friday nights that is so much fun. Takes me back to my high school cheer leading days. And can I just say how much this makes my mama heart proud. Oh the happy tears that must have been flowing after this amazing display of defending someone in need.

I talked a little yesterday about my new journey in homeschooling and I just wanted to pass along this great website to any of you mama’s currently on that journey or thinking about it. They have a conference every year that I am dying to go to, but this is what gets me so excited about homeschooling. The freedom to teach my kids, not just through books, but through their surroundings, through nature, through their hands and feet, and I love the encouragement from these fellow mama’s.

Classes have become a new favorite thing for me with essential oils. Empowering mamas to make good educated decisions for their families well being is a complete passion of mine. Another passion is passing that love of teaching onto others. Mentoring them and helping them grow in their confidence of sharing and educating others. With that I will be hosting a class next Wednesday on facebook. I encourage you to ask to be invited into the group (its closed to help it feel more like a community) and rsvp to the class. I would love to have you. I will be having giveaways throughout, if just seeing my face isn’t enough incentive;)

Have a blessed weekend, and with that, I will leave you with this be prepared to shed a few happy tears.

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Can we chat for a minute?

The other day I mentioned about never saying never. In that I mentioned how I said I would never ever in a million years homeschool.

Well, God is funny with those things.

I feel like it may be something he gets amusement from, seeing us make these absolution’s, saying that these certain things won’t ever happen, but He knows. He knows that they are already written into our story and its only a matter of time, if we are willing, that we will walk through those never’s.

If you have followed along for any length of time you may have noticed how I said we were having huge prayers answered. Prayers that were prayed for years were finally being brought up and shown the light of day.

I haven’t really felt confident in talking publicly about it, because its not much of my story to tell, but after much prayer, and the thought that I could help other mama’s who want nothing but the best for their children, and realizing part of this is my story, I thought I would share selected details.

My oldest child, the sweetest, most kind, hardworking, loving, honest little boy, was recently diagnosed with dyslexia. While this may not sound like its the biggest deal or even something one should keep private, the struggles we have walked through over the years is what is really the heart behind that “label” and those details are his and no one else’s.

We have all struggled through his schooling over the years. A lot of it, actually most of it, is now made understandable because of that label. Struggles going all the way back to preschool. So when we found this out, it was so much of a relief, so much of a reassurance that it’s not him, its not me, its just difference. A different way of learning, and in fact, a brilliant way of learning.

He isn’t old enough to quite understand this whole ordeal but I can’t wait until he is.

Dyslexia is a beautiful thing.

A crazy, hard, but beautiful learning difference. One that allows him to see the world in a different way, one that helps him to grab onto things and figure them out in ways not many people can, one that enables him to persevere and try a little harder. But one that also isn’t supported much in school systems today.

Dyslexia isn’t recognized as a learning difference. In much of my research one of the only states it is recognized in is Texas, and God bless them, because these kids need to know its okay. That they aren’t dumb, or slow, or not smart. Its just that their brains process information in a different way than the rest of us. But since there is little help for them they wind up falling behind and losing confidence. And with that lost confidence comes behavioral problems and emotional issues. I can’t stress it enough that we need to make more waves over this issue, but really, that’s a different post for a different day.

With all that being said, we tried. We tried reaching out to the school, we got a reading specialist and even spent three months helping him with intense reading remediation. And it helped, it did, but the second he was back in school, without that special attention, he slipped, just like so many kids do, right through the cracks.

I began praying. Praying for wisdom in the choices I should make and the way I could help him. I couldn’t just sit by and watch as he didn’t get the help that was needed. And the doors opened, and the direction I was turned to was homeschool. An idea I forever dismissed as crazy. But the more I researched and the more questions I asked and the more I just let myself be open to the idea, the more God showed up and answered. The clear peaceful feeling that began to sweep over me was all the reassurance I needed.

This was what needed to happen. And the more and more I have looked into it, the more I have realized this needs to happen for each one of my children. This was what was written into our story and it was my job to listen and follow.

We won’t start until the fall, but all I can say is I am so excited. I am ready to help my kids grow and learn in the ways I know they need it. I will write posts talking about some of the curriculums we will use and about this amazing program we will be apart of to help support and teach us along the way.

Now, I know this isn’t for everyone and as you can see, we have been on every side of this, so I don’t feel like I should even have to say this, but every families journey is different. God has written you your own story. So I have zero judgments. I just love on all mamas who don’t give up on their little ones.

//Another big part of our journey in helping our children has been essential oils. So I wanted to take a moment and invite each of you to a Facebook class I am hosting on March 18. Essential Oils 101 will give you an overview of what essential oils are, how you can benefit from them, and why to use them. I love sharing and empowering mamas to make natural strides for their family, so please join me:) Leave your email address and I will invite you to the group. Have a blessed day!!

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Isn’t it funny how we all make our lists of things we are never going to do.

I am never going to co-sleep.

I will never stay at home with my kids.

I will never breastfeed past one year.

I will never home school.

I will never use those essential oil things.

I will never ever sell those essential oil things.

Oh goodness gracious. It is so funny to me how we limit ourselves not realizing the gigantic blessings we could be swearing off.

I began using essential oils about 6 months ago now all because of my husbands level of stress with his business. I was to the point where I would do anything to help him. I ordered my starter kit on a whim and wasn’t expecting much.

Hopefully it won’t be a huge waste of money.

I shook my head time and time again as I watched the oils help.

Stress, yep.

Stomach flu, yeah.

Sleep, that too.

Over and over and over again.

I quickly realized how huge of a blessing these oils really were and wanted everyone to have what I had. So I jumped into the business side. I just couldn’t help myself. I loved the product, so I didn’t even feel like I was selling. I was just sharing something I loved with others wanting nothing more but for them to have that blessing too.

That’s what makes the business side of Young Living so beautiful. It is all about sharing with others. Building a community and relationships trying to better the quality of life of those around you. I say it over and over again. Oils aren’t the end all be all. They are a piece of the puzzle. My job is to help you put all the pieces together. Good sleep, healthy foods, exercise, water, and essential oils are all keys to an amazing and healthy lifestyle. God gave us all we need, we just need to utilize every piece.

If you are looking for a way to earn money while being at home, or have a passion in helping others, want to join a team that will cheer you on, mentor you, and bless you to pieces? Well I would love to have you. I really would. Pouring into others is exactly what God made me to do. So let me pour into you, so you can take it out and change others lives as well.

Email me and we will chat. And I wont be pushy or scary or intimidating, promise;)

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Yes.

I will let that sink in for just a second because….yes.

What a vessel that man is, yeah?

Believing our circumstances are more important than Gods command. I don’t even think one person can say that this isn’t them, that they haven’t chosen their circumstances over rejoicing.

Because really, we are human, with perfectly imperfect human nature and desires and ego’s.

Friends, my circumstances feel all consuming at times. It is easier to look at my life and cry and pity myself.

So much laundry, broken car, sick kids, allergies, cooking, cleaning, homework, this, that, and the other.

Wah Wah Wah is what is being heard up in the heavenly realm.

Can you imagine for just a second how ANNOYING that must be. I mean if I was God looking down on my people at all the beautiful and wonderful and perfect gifts I have given them and all I heard was wah wah wah I would probably have to try my darndest not to strike those whiners down with lightening. That whiner, me, right here, I would strike me down.

Life is hard, God didn’t promise it would be easy, he promised struggle, he said that we would have trouble but to rejoice and take heart because he has overcome the world.

This world, this perfectly imperfect, awful, horrible, sin ridden world.

So friends, in my trouble, in my heartache, in my struggles, and crappy situations, I am going to go against the grain today, and I am going to rejoice, I am going to look up to heaven and say yes God, this sucks, but praise you, praise your glorious and wonderful name because YOU are here, YOU are present, and God, You are good.

And when I get it wrong again tomorrow or even ten minutes from now, Lord have mercy on me, because that beautiful servant of yours, Francis Chan, he said it best…

“I find myself relearning this lesson often. Even though I glimpse Gods holiness, I am still dumb enough to forget that life is all about God and not about me at all.”

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 The humble blueberry muffin.

A fresh out of the oven blueberry muffin with a pad of butter melting over the top is seriously my most favorite thing ever, and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t shared a recipe with you all.

I remember all the way back when I was younger making blueberry muffins out of the box, you know the one with the little teeny tiny dried blueberries. Well I remember the smell that would fill the whole house and the excitement I would have while I sat by the oven door waiting for them to be done baking.

Not much has changed.

I may or may not still wait by the oven door as these delicious muffins bake and fill my home with an amazing aroma.

I experimented a couple of times trying to find my favorite combination of flavors and I think I finally landed upon it. The sour cream lends a slight tang and keeps the muffins nice and moist. The coconut oil lends a subtle flavor that isn’t overpowering but instead delicate and enticing. The topping of the coarse sugar is exactly what’s needed to get the crunchy caramelized tops we all love. All of these ingredients make these muffins my perfect muffin, which as I have said before is the reason why baking/cooking is so fun, adapt recipes to your taste, and friends these flavors do not disappoint.

Make these for your next breakfast or brunch or if you’re anything like me, midday when you’re craving something warm right out of the oven, and enjoy.

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 Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

1 3/4 Cup Flour

2 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

3/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Sugar

1-2 Drops Lemon Essential Oil or grated lemon peel

1 Egg

3/4 Cup Sour Cream

1/3 Cup Coconut Oil softened

1/4 Cup Milk

1 Cup Frozen of Fresh Blueberries

1 Tablespoon Flour

1 Tablespoon Sugar

Coarse Sugar for topping

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Blueberry Muffins

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a muffin pan with muffin liners, set aside. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. After mixing dry ingredients make a well in the middle and add wet ingredients and lemon essential oil or peel. Carefully combine being sure not to over mix.

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In a separate bowl add blueberries. Coat with flour and sugar carefully. Gently fold blueberries into batter.

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Spoon batter into muffin muffins liners about 1/4 cup to each. Top with a generous sprinkle of coarse sugar on each muffin.

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 Place muffins into preheated oven and bake until tops are golden, approximately 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for just a few minutes and then remove muffins from baking tin. Enjoy muffins warm with a pad of butter.

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Recipe highly adapted from here.

 

**The suggestion of using essential oils in this recipe is only that, a suggestion. Essential oils have not been approved by the FDA. The only essential oils I would ever recommend ingesting are Young Living because they are beyond organic and back this up with their seed to seal promise. Please do not ingest essential oils if you are on any medication without consulting a physician.

Tiny fingers and toes patiently awaiting the red with sparkles.

she squeals, so pretty Mommy

Wisps of baby hairs blowing about as we dry it with the big girl brush.

she shouts, so pretty.

Pursing her lips as she sees the curls bounce upon her head.

she whispers, just right Mommy.

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Hopping down and skipping to her dress, she steps in while being ever so careful not to ruin her new sparkly nails.

she stares up at me, I’m so pretty.

She pulls on her shiny new shoes that were picked out especially for this day, inspects each nail to make sure nothing has been ruined.

I’m ready, she manages between excited laughter.

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I watch as she twirls and spins and twists in her dress as she awaits her date.

Daddy!!!!

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This night is one that needs to be filed away in the memory banks because my heart quite possibly exploded right out of my chest as I watched her run to him. He’s hers, and he’s special, and she’s his, and his love for her….

Oh, these are the moments.

I spent the late hours of the evening last night writing love notes. Something that I honestly haven’t done in a really long time. Each note started off with I love you because…

Can I just say that as I sat there last night, thinking of all the reasons for my love for him, that I began to get the same feelings that I had nine years ago.

Our marriage is the thing that takes the back seat a lot of the time. Between babies, and chores, and work, and life, my husband can always be tended to later.

But sitting down and intentionally writing those notes…it felt good.

I hid them around the house. Taping them to the mirror and coffee pot, hiding them in sock drawers and coffee cups. I felt like a giddy high school girl wondering what he would think when he found each one.

Would it make him smile and feel the same feelings he had when we decided to make that walk down the aisle?

I love surprises, I love this man, and I love love.

This love that we share isn’t new, its beginning to age. It’s showing the wrinkles and stretch marks that come with each passing year. But that’s what makes it good. Each wrinkle has memories and lessons learned and stories to share. Our love isn’t shiny and new because it has been through loss and excitement and tragedy and good and in each one of those we have laughed and cried and loved and smiled.

That’s what a love story really is, yeah?

All the wrinkles and stretch marks weaving through your life creating memories and stories. All the feelings that have been felt through the years and yet finding yourself still choosing love, still choosing him.

That’s the kind of love story I want my children to see. Not the perfect fairy tale one that ties up pretty with a bow. I want them to see the real, raw, and passionate love of two people choosing each other again and again even if they don’t want to. I want them to see a love that is wrinkled and stretched and perfectly worn in.

That is the love story I want to share.

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My love, you are everything to me. You hold me up when I can’t hold up myself. You are strong and steady and confident and honest. You are a good guy, one who cannot be shaken and will do anything for anyone. Your word is valuable to you and you love others hard.

You are the one who still makes my heart skip a beat when you walk in the room. You are serious but funny, strong yet soft, and I love the way you melt into the arms of our children.

Nine years hasn’t been easy, but they have been good and full. Full of more love than most people would ever know. I would never trade the day my nineteen year old self walked down to you and said I do, because you have grown me and stretched me and loved me in ways I never knew possible.

You my love are the best part of me and I thank you for these past nine years.

I love you and I love us and I love that we keep on choosing all of this over and over again every single day.

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 Allergies are kind of a funny thing when it comes to food and kids.

You don’t want them to feel like they are missing out too much when they are little because everyone around them can eat all the “kid” foods, but now, since we have done away with most processed food for so long, you also realize how much you don’t miss it at all as a parent.

Yes, things take a little bit longer to make, but pretty much everything that is homemade is better than the package.

Take these homemade chicken nuggets for instance.

They are so good, I even crave them at times.

And the kids?

They pretty much rave about them being better than every chicken nugget they have had.

And even better?

You can name every ingredient and know what it is.

I very quickly realize how the way I feed my family is oftentimes in the minority, but I wish more than anything that I can educate moms on how to healthfully nourish their family, in really simple ways.

I always feel so empowered knowing that I am teaching my kids good eating habits now, only to have them take off and run with them when they get older. Am I perfect at it? No. We still order pizza and frequent In-N-Out. But I try my hardest to get whole foods into their little bellies.

Make up a double size batch and freeze half before you cook them. Then, you can pull them out just as you would the premade frozen ones.

Its all baby steps, but its all really worth it,

Enjoy.

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 Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Ingredients

2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs or Breasts cubed

1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

1 Tablespoon Salt

1/2 Tablespoon Pepper

1/2 Tablespoon Onion Powder

1-2 Cups Flour

2-3 Eggs

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 Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Directions

Add seasoning to flour and mix to combine. Prepare your dredging station by having the flour first then bowl of eggs then plate of bread crumbs and Parmesan. Begin by dredging chicken in the flour, followed by dipping in the eggs, and then dredging in the bread crumbs. Do this for each piece of chicken and place on a prepared baking sheet, preferably with parchment paper, I find that they stick to the foil.

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  Continue this process until all pieces of chicken are breaded. You may need more eggs or flour but you should be good. Once done breading, allow the chicken to set up for a few minutes while the oven is preheating to 425 degrees. At this point you could wrap and freeze half the batch or go ahead and cook it all. You will cook the homemade chicken nuggets for approximately 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Allow to cool for a few minutes before enjoying alongside a salad or sweet potato fries. Be sure to whip up some homemade ranch dressing to pair with these, its delish.

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It’s been so fun jumping back into a regular presence on this space. I have loved getting my creative juices flowing and starting back up with my food photography, did you catch this recipe and this one? I think one cancels out the other, hopefully.

Currently I am enjoying that all my shows are back, I was slowly mourning the end of Parenthood, I feel like I am good and content with closing that chapter because the past two episodes have left me a little disappointed. I mean don’t get me wrong, I will forever love the show, but I feel like they could give us a little more, right!?

I am excited for a midweek date night with my main squeeze to see this movie. I love movies that are based on true events. I am one of those people who truly invest into characters, and having them be real people makes me do so even more. I think that it’s interesting though that we need movies to remind us of what these men and women do for us, and how they don’t just sacrifice the years that they serve, but rather their entire lives and those of their families.

Currently it is 70 degrees in Phoenix. I am in a tank top, cut offs, and barefoot. I am not saying this to rub it in for the rest of you who are freezing, but just reminding myself to appreciate this because come June I will be jealous of you all!!!

I am pretty excited to say that come next week I will have been married to my love for nine years. Nine. Y’all that seems like a big one. So much has happened in nine years. Two homes, a business, four kids, a dog, and lots and lots of ups and downs and in betweens. But man, has it been worth it. We always promised each other we would travel somewhere big for our ten year, and I am surprising him with a bank account designated for our trip. 

It’s going to be a great weekend friends, we are having the Superbowl here on Sunday, wait, who’s playing?! Ha! We are about the only family who doesn’t watch any professional sports. But there will be lots of activity and hustle and bustle. And not all of it good. Did you know that the week of the Superbowl shows the biggest increase of prostitution and sex trafficking? Arizona wasn’t buying it, and they have done a really good job at trying to raise awareness. Can y’all just do me a favor? Cover my city with your prayers because I know we will need it.

On a happy note, I think I will close out with this. Known as tips for Jesus. This group of people are blessing unsuspecting servers socks off.

Choose love my friends.

I talked a little bit last week about our need for community, how it takes more than a village  to raise babies in this busy world.

God created us to do life together. It is something that we thrive off of. I know that because after an entire day of being home I can almost attack my husband with conversation the second he walks in the door. Even the most introverted person needs their people.

But, as the world is shifting and changing sometimes that relationship is lost. We silence the phone and respond with a text. An email or Facebook message is enough to get the point across. We have become a society of people who prefer to look at a computer screen over a persons face.

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But, God knew what he was doing when he created this online world too.

He knew the good that could come from it. The community, the help, the blog post you could read and go yes, me too. But with the good comes the bad. The negative comments, the pornography, the bullying, the addiction so to speak to countless hours spent online.

I struggle with that last one.

Checking emails, instagram, google. Anything and everything. It got to the point where when I sat in church on Sunday and was challenged to think of the values my kids were learning from me I wondered what they thought of the phone. This good thing that God gave us to benefit and help us, became an idol. I was so embarrassed, I deleted instagram from my phone the second the service was over. I felt good, that was done it would help and I could change, but just as fast as I deleted it I found myself walking to the nursery to pick up my babe and habitually tapping through to open it up as I walked.

I felt the kick in my heart. I put the phone away and looked up, smiling at people as they walked past.

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I pretty much already knew the answer. I thought of the countless times the kids would come up to me talking to me and my face would be buried in the phone, not even looking up as I shushed them away. The hours spent sitting and scrolling through my phone as my husband who I rarely see sat just feet away from me. The taking, editing, captioning, and posting the perfect picture. The list could really go on and on.

I had to do something, change my values, fix this problem.

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So I did, and I am trying, but I can’t stand on this platform and say that I am getting any better. I still find myself downloading instagram during the day or late at night as I am sitting on the couch, scrolling through google to research more about homeschool or healthy recipes or anything at all,  but I see that something needs to change, and I try. I find ways to keep myself from being on my phone all of the time, I turn on music so its out of use, or put it in the other bedroom to keep it away until the kids are asleep.

Community, my people, my village.

I want them to see what I value most.

That first and foremost God is the one I worship, not a phone.

That my kids are important to me right now, right here.

God knew what he was doing when he created our community, both in real life and online, I just have to stop getting in the way, give myself grace when I mess up, and listen to him when he is nudging me in the right direction.