A Gift

Last night was our last night at home for a bit, and I was a little bummed that I had not sewed at all, so my husband insisted I get some sewing done. I had other chores, but those could be done tomorrow he said. I made and cut out my pattern and got to work. Honestly, I had a great time sewing and though it was a little tough on my back (I drafted and cut my pattern on the floor and I’m 6 months pregnant :), it was very relaxing!

As I was at the ironing board, again, to fold iron and fold and iron again, I just thought about how relaxing it is. I thought about how beautiful Adelle will look in the material. I admitted that it felt redundant to do all that ironing, but that it did feel nice to know how professional the dress will look.

And it hit me. God gave me a gift.

I always assumed it would be arrogant to admit that God gave me a gift, as if I were something special. As if I had some special talent.

But I didn’t think of it like that anymore, God allows me to create beautiful things. It has nothing to do with what others can or cannot do (though if I can do it you could to!). God allowed me the ability and materials to make whatever I desire with fabric. I love the opportunity. I love the time spent sewing, and I adore my daughter in homemade dresses.

That is a gift from God.

That is something I enjoy, and something I can thank God for and I do every time I make something. Sewing is one of my many gifts from God. I’m not ashamed to say that anymore.

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Here is a link on how to make the headband here. The dress I formed from altering a pattern I already had, but you can find a million peasant dress patterns on Pinterest :)

Kale Chips! Yum! (Who knew?)

Kale

Kale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

“Mommy, more kale please!!” Now who wouldn’t want to hear their one year old say that?! I’m not joking, he REALLY wanted more kale! I had a slightly lower iron level than my midwife would have desired at my last appointment, so I’ve upped my kale and pumpkin seed intake, and finally got around to trying these chips that have been recommended for weeks by several different people.

 

Ingredients:
Fresh kale, whole leaves or shredded, about 5 whole leaves worth
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Seasoning salt

 

Directions:
Drizzles olive oil on kale
Sprinkle seasoning salt
Bake at 350 for 10-15 mins

 

I now use a ziplock bag to coat the oil evenly. The first time I made it I drizzled it and there was a bit much oil, it tasted amazing, but I’m learning to be moderate so I adjusted :) The seasoning salt also goes a long way, so you don’t have to add much and not worry about sodium intake. This makes a great substitute for chips. Or so I’m told, I don’t eat chips unless I make them myself anyway (I should share that tortilla chip recipe, its amazing!).

 

Do you have any healthy snack alternatives to share? I’m no longer hesitant to try new things :)

 

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Strawberry Bread – A Must try!

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We were to be home for about 5 days this trip, and I went to the farmer’s market and bought a whole flat of strawberries. I did not need them all, but hey, I have a freezer :) I sliced several cups and placed them in sugar. While I contemplated between angel food cake and pound cake, I decided to make strawberry bread. And, Wow! You HAVE to try it. It takes about 10 mins to prepare and 55 ish mins to bake.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups fresh strawberries
3 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups melted butter
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped pecans

* Preheat the oven to 350
* Slice strawberries and coat in a little sugar
* Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and soda in a large bowl
* Mix butter and eggs with strawberries and then add this to the dry ingredients. Mix until moistened. (does not resemble a typical batter bread)
* Add chopped pecans
* Bake in TWO 9×5 in pans for 50-60 mins.

*********Try not to eat all the batter*********

I could eat this every morning, and every tea time and never tire of it!

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Growing Confident Children

A one year old boy struggles to climb up the obstacles at the Play Place. The mother does nothing to help. A two year old girl bumps her head and is not sure how to respond; her mother does not even seem to notice. A child barely 2.5 feet tall struggles to put on a shoe, or open the safety door of the playground and receives no aid from either parent for several minutes. Do these parents drive you batty?

I am that parent.

Yep, that’s me. But, hear me out!! There is a reason.

I am not lazy.

I don’t know what goes on in other mother’s heads when I get “The Look,” but I assume they blame laziness or apathy on my lack of quick response. Not so.

It is actually harder to do nothing.

Think about a mother’s natural response when a child falls down or is struggling to straighten their shirt. Now imagine NOT doing that as a mother. Sounds cruel I know, but continue to bear with me.

Why let a child struggle?

How has life treated you since you left home? Has everything been easy? Everyone’s life story, perspective, worldview and experiences are different but I imagine we all realize the need to be prepared for a life that requires independence, trying and yes, even struggling and hardship.

I just want to prepare my children.

I will spare you an extended list of experiences, but suffice it to say that I began babysitting my 6 siblings at the age of 11 and have been working in children’s ministry and daycare since 14. I have a lot of experience, despite my young-ish age and I have seen a LOT of minor bumps ,scrapes and triumphs. I have learned that children derive either confidence or stress/worry from parents/teachers.

What does this look like?

It looks much like the first paragraph describes. If my children are trying to do something safe, I do not interfere, not even if it is difficult for them. If they begin to be frustrated, I will then suggest that they ask for help if they need or just offer to help. Out of respect, I don’t help without permission, that would be condescending and would not promote self confidence.
If they get a minor “uh-oh,” as we call them, I do not draw attention to it. If my son does come up to me whining about a hurt, I respond positively. “Did you get a bonk?!” I’ll ask like he won a prize or something. I’ll offer a high five, or tell him how brave he is; and he smiles and walks away, confident and proud.

Children derive many actions, reaction and emotions from their parents.
Honestly, how many times have you seen a young child bump or fall and look around before responding? I don’t respond first, or I respond with a positive “way to go!” So the child can move on with his or her merry way.

To what end?
I want my children to learn from their mistakes, to cope with minor issues on their own and to grow as they see fit. I don’t give my one year old his shoes to put on himself, but if he is trying, who am I to interfere? If I begin to pull his pants up and he says, “I do it!” I believe he has the right to try….and try….and try, until he is satisfied with himself and gives me permission to continue. It does take patience for a time/goal oriented person such as myself.
Imagine a baby chick slowly, and carefully pecking that eggshell open. It is a slow and difficult process, but there is no aid for the chick who has never even seen the light of day. When he finally does break free, he is stronger and prepared to face the world.
Every time my children attempt to do something on their own, I really do see a picture of a baby chick. I want to help, it is in my nature, sometimes I want to help selfishly because its quicker! But in waiting and letting them try, I allow them to see and understand their limits. They learn what they are capable of doing and thus grow their self-esteem. They also learn when to ask for help.

“I can’t do it.”
This is a phrase that is NOT allowed in our house. If it is said, we kindly suggest two phrases instead, “how about you say, ‘this is difficult’ and try again, or ‘Mommy will you please help me?'” This does not frustrate the child, but it also does not let him/her think negatively about herself or abilities. You either can do it, or you can do it with help. Positive thinking :)

I want my children to know they can do ANYTHING.

They can attempt anything because they are capable, I will not interfere without permission because I trust them. If they learn to handle the ‘tough’ parts of being a young child, than they will grow to be the movers and doers in the world. They can learn to be happy even when life is difficult.

I am not a lazy parent.

I am a mother who has chosen her methods and philosophies very carefully and who takes her job as a parent very seriously.

If my three year old has her shoes on the wrong feet, I did notice. It does bother me, but she is SO proud to be independent and I don’t want to change that.

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My daughter trying to make a basket like Daddy.

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Me helping her “do it herself” at her request :)

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Me running after the ball like a goof…my daughter absolutely thrilled that she got “so close,” to making the basket herself.

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My 16 month old son (at the time) wanted to help like Sissy. I was hesitant to let him try, but he successfully oiled and put the peperoni on my Alfredo pizza. I did help by rotating the pan, but he was SO happy to be a blessing.

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We love letting our daughter help in our ministry! She passes out stickers/prizes, says Bible verses to classes and shows students where Africa is on the Map and where Namibia is in Africa. This is her at 2.5, our confident little helper!

Clearwater Beach

As traveling missionaries, we get to visit a LOT of neat places! My quick review for today is from a place close to where I grew up, and my absolute favorite beach! I do have some close seconds, but my all time favorite beach is Clearwater Beach.

Perks of Clearwater beach:

  • Softest, finest, whitest sand in FL (and I’ve been to several neat beaches in FL)
  • Some of the clearest water in FL
  • Not full of shells (to the dismay of some, but your toes will thank you)
  • Playground in the shade
  • Neat pier to walk down (sometimes has vendors)
  • Cabana rentals
  • Recreational activities
  • Bathroom access
  • Neat shopping strip in walking distance
  • Necessities in walking distance (sunscreen, food, etc)
  • You can watch the sun set over the water! Oh how I miss living by the gulf and watching the sunset!!!

Not so amazing truths:

  • Traffic can be rough, especially if there is a concert in Coachmen Park (maybe they fixed this since I was in highschool?)
  • People. It is not overly crowded, but far from private. I don’t like being near too many people at the beach but this amount is not a deterrent to me.
  • Paying to park/finding parking. We parked close and payed 2.50, but I know some who have principles against paying to park near the beach ;)
  • No lifeguard on duty. There is a shack for it, but the no lifeguard sign is usually up when I go.

My family lives about an hour away from this beach now, so even though our visit was short, we went to this beach instead of the closer, less awesome beaches.

They couldn't get enough!

They couldn’t get enough!

Sitting on Daddy's lap keeps a one year old from floating away!

Sitting on Daddy’s lap keeps a one year old from floating away!

Wingsaseagles40 ~ Clearwater Beach

My little buddy

My little buddy

My little buddy has red hair if it is wet and in the sun. I still can't decide what color it is dry...

My little buddy has red hair if it is wet and in the sun. I still can’t decide what color it is dry…

 

Walking back to our car

Walking back to our car

Geocaching on our way home, we geocache everywhere!

Geocaching on our way home, we geocache everywhere!

3 of my 6 siblings. The 4th, 6th and 7th children from my family :)

3 of my 6 siblings. The 4th, 6th and 7th children from my family :)

My sis decided to fix my son's hair. He is sitting in my daughter's carseat, my husband put them in the car in the wrong places and they are exactly the same seat baring color so we'll get around to it when we get around to it :)

My sis decided to fix my son’s hair. He is sitting in my daughter’s carseat, my husband put them in the car in the wrong places and they are exactly the same seat barring color so we’ll get around to it when we get around to it :)

We visited my parents at work and this is what my son did at dinner. This is very unusual because he LOVES food, but that's what the beach does :)

We visited my parents at work and this is what my son did at dinner. This is very unusual because he LOVES food, but that’s what the beach does :)

My parents work with children and we were invited to an activity day. Adelle-a-Gator got spoiled!

My parents work with children and we were invited to an activity day. Adelle-a-Gator got spoiled!

My dad has turned into a grandpa. Proof? He is eating chips out of a dirty hand of a one year old :)

My dad has turned into a grandpa. Proof? He is eating chips out of a dirty hand of a one year old :)

 

KidVersations ~ Big Fat Mommy

I took Adelle to the bathroom at church let Sunday and she kindly asked to use the toddler one near the nursery.

I obliged and after she was finished, I took her hand and said, “Now we have to go to the other bathroom.”

While dancing and wiggling and running alongside me she asked with all the energy and volume her little body could muster, “ARE WE GOING TO TO THE BIG FAT MOMMY POTTY?”

What can I say? She leaves me speechless… :)

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Spring/Summer Popsicles

20130412-084346.jpgSpring is here! I may not be singing that tune when I’m in New Jersey next week, I don’t know, but for today, I am in Florida and it is HOT! We were home recently and I wanted cold snacks for my kiddos to eat outside. And while I pondered how many fruit juice pops a week were too many, I saw some browning bananas and thought I would make Banana Popsicles!

All I did the first time was cut them in half and shove a large Popsicle stick in them and put them upright in a cup to freeze. The second time I did the same, but after they were frozen I covered them in healthy peanut butter for extra protein. My kids LOVED them and did not seem to know the difference between a frozen banana and a Popsicle….and my daughter doesn’t even like bananas….

What healthy cold treats does your family enjoy? I need more ideas!! :)
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