Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DIY: Cell Phone Charging Holster

This was a fun little project that I whipped out in about 30 minutes.  I was feeling crafty last night and my hands wanted to be busy while we watched some Office reruns.  I followed this tutorial and since I already had everything on hand, it was a quick project.  My verdict--Cute to look at:  yes.  Practical:  no.  I already have a handy spot in our bedroom where we're used to plugging in and charging our phones.  This would be perfect for someone though that plugs theirs in the kitchen or in an office.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Behavorial Incentives For A 2 Year Old

Vera, my 2 year old, responds well to positive feedback.  One of the best tricks I've learned if wanting to modify a behavior is to praise one of her friends for doing something well (sharing, obeying, etc.) when she is within earshot.  She, too, wants praise, so it motivates her to do the right thing the next time.  Though I am more concerned with the condition of her heart than behavior modification, there are times and situations when incentives help her learn.
I stole this glass jar incentive idea from someone else.  After about a month of doing it, it's working great!  I had everything on hand already, so putting it together for use was quick.  I gathered some glass votive candle holders, rocks, jingle bells and sparkly balls from my craft stuff.  We decided that there were six specific areas that we wanted to help her work on, so I found pictures and printed labels to help her take ownership.  When she gets in her car seat without a fight, I praise her for it and tell her that she gets to go put something in her jar.  When she stays in bed (and doesn't moan underneath her door) during nap time, she gets to put something in her jar.  This has become exciting to her and she often asks about the status of her jar.
For rewards, I chose three things I know she likes; ice cream, bike rides, and watching a TV show.  It is really special if she gets to go on a bike ride with one of us.  Watching TV and dessert are not everyday occurrences here, so these are special to her, too.  As she takes initiative to obey on her own, we in that moment try to tell her how much it pleases God and reward her for her good behavior.  I'm not sure how long this will do the trick, but for now it's working!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Currently Snacking On...

There's something about raw squash that has been hitting the spot lately.  I cut up a ton and have been munching on it all week.  Yesterday I made a batch of hummus and added some Greek yogurt, dill, parsley, salt, and pepper.  The perfect dip for a creamy, salty craving.  For a purchased brand, Sabra is easy to find and I like the classic hummus.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Really Expensive Kind That is Found at High-End Boutique Hair Salons

About 4x a year I get my hair cut.  I save up the fifty bucks and splurge for the kind where you get a head massage and glass of wine offered to you.  Makes me feel fancy for the hour I'm away from my kids.  I went a couple days ago and had this conversation with my favorite hair gal.

Lily:  Wow, your hair is so shiny and soft.  What kind of product do you use?
Me:  Product?  I guess I use a hair dryer on occasion to speed things up, you know, if I need to have dry hair or something.
Lily:  No, like do you use a certain brand of hair products?
Me:  Oh.  Yeah, I use a really expensive kind called Suave.
Lily:  Haha.  Suave, eh?
Me:  Oh, so you've heard of it?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Revisiting 2012 Resolutions

I posted some resolutions for this year and wanted to look back and see how I'm doing a month later.

Brush my kids' teeth more consistently.  I'll be honest that it's still not every night (We're only shooting for once a day here, right?), but we're at it about 4x a week now.  Why do I forget so easily to do this?

Add flax seed more often.  Check.  I add it once a day now to something we're eating.

Log my runs.  Check!  I've been using MapMyRun and I love keeping track of the stats!  I run about 3 times a week at an average of 10 min./mile pace with a total of 70 miles so far this year.

Cook through my recipe box.  Not gonna happen.  I should have actually looked through it thoroughly first.  50% of the recipes are desserts, and Lord knows I don't need any more reasons to buy more butter.

Get the doors on the laundry cabinets.  This one is not in my hands.  ;)
I'm feeling pretty productive so far this year.  Maybe I should make some additional goals...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh, For the Sake of Poop!

I'm not sure if we are a normal household or not, but I'd like to assume that other families in the toddler-bottom-wiping phase of life are poop-centric, too.  Real life examples.  (Don't say I didn't warn you.)
* My 2 year old kind of requires an audience when she's working one out on the potty.  The more, the merrier.  She wants you to sit and give your undivided attention while she marinates you in her poo smell.
* From across the room if we spot our baby grunting and red in the face, our typical response out loud is "Push.  Work it out, girlfriend."
* I met up with a friend to feel adult-like grab drinks.  The bar tender asked for my ID and along with my wallet I presented her with a pretty foul poopy diaper that had been in my purse for who knows how long.
* I looked out the window a couple days ago to check on my kid playing outside and noticed her pants down and squatting.  My observations concluded that she was replicating how our dog "goes" in the yard.
* In the midst of giving my diaper-rash-prone baby girl some 'air-out time,' it's not uncommon to find a little surprise in a corner somewhere in the house.  I try to keep a good eye out so Marlow doesn't swallow whole the steaming hot fresh poo.  It's his favorite delicacy these days if he can get his paws on it before us.
*  Though they look similar to what could be a parasite, kiwi seeds in a baby's poop should not cause alarm.  This was only discovered after some intense inspection from the momma.

Bonus fact of the day!  For the record, it is possible (and not all that uncomfortable, actually) to take a dump using the Ergo while baby is on the back.  Who knew?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What We're Eating This Week

You'll see some repetition below.  It's a simple week.  I didn't have energy to create an ambitious menu, so we're using a lot of the same veggies throughout while varying the meals.

Camembert, Bacon, and Potato Tart
Mixed Greens, Strawberries, Almonds, Raspberry Vinaigrette

Potage au Pistou (French version of Italy's Minestrone)
Crusty Bread

Chicken Sausage with Green Chilis
Fresh Corn Sauté with Red Onion, Bell Peppers and Basil
Mixed Greens with Tomatoes and Vinaigrette

Spaghetti Squash, Onions, Bell Peppers, Zucchini, Tomatoes
Crusty Bread

out with friends


Monday, February 20, 2012

Being Hungry for God's Glory {Fasting & Prayer}

The role of our prayers on earth are able to invoke the power of God from heaven. -Norm Rasmussen
My first memory of fasting was joining in with the rest of my youth group in middle school to do the 30-Hour Famine, though sadly, I was less concerned about worldwide hunger and praying on its behalf and more focused on counting down until I could indulge in whatever my mind was craving.  I didn't get the point.  And I certainly didn't believe in the power of prayer combined with fasting.

Fasting is simply human weakness deferring to God's strength.  It does not come naturally to me to deny myself food (or much, for that matter) and put God and His interests ahead of my own.

I've often felt that I pray half-heartedly or without belief.  I forget who I am appealing to!  It's easy to let life distract me and forget that I am calling on Almighty God.  I don't want my limp prayers to bounce back at me.  I want God's power to be released and accomplish much.

For me, fasting seems to draw me nearer to the heart of God and it intensifies my time in prayer.  When I get stuck spiritually, it debunks my unbelief.  It breaks through when prayer doesn't seem to be working on its own.  It signifies that I can't do it on my own and that I need God's intervention in my life.

For the prayers of a righteous man are both powerful and effective.  James 5:16

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Happenings

 Lydia really is the sweetest little thing.  She's all smiles.
 It was laundry day 'round these parts.
 Vera tried to convince me to let Lydie sleep with her during nap time.
 This is one of my favorite cookbooks by one of the most inspiring food pioneers in America.
 My boy.
 Dinner prep
 She boycotted napping today but was clearly tired.  (Can someone answer me why both my girls suck the same fingers on the same hand?  It baffles me.)
I call Vera my sweet pea.
 She tried to "help" with laundry in the afternoon.
 Baking and cooking with Vera is one of my all-time favorite things to do.  She is so focused and loves having a project.
 We take full advantage of our backyard.
 We go on a lot of walks.  Vera insisted on being "warm" and wearing a coat and hat despite the fact it was almost 70 degrees today.  Texas girl.
 The afternoon was dragging so we loaded up and went to a store so I could return something.
 Finishing off dinner was quick tonight.
After the kids were down...Chocolate Tart with Whipped Cream.  We cut, slather, and eat standing at the counter.  No need for plates or forks here.

Having A Social Life As a Parent. Is This Possible?

Date Nights?  I say yes.  But the must-have is a local family.  I don't have blood-relatives around, but I do have a network of folks who care for and love me just as well.  One of the things we do for each other is swap babysitting and watch each others' kids on a whim.  This works excellently for date nights because who doesn't want alone time with their spouse?  They do and I do, so we both win.

Sometimes it's on the calendar ahead of time.  Other times it's a phone call a few hours before checking to make sure the other couple didn't have plans to be out.  If they don't, then since they also have littles, they are home bound for the evening doing the routine of dinner, bath, books, bed.

We are extremely fortunate to have our "family" live within a 2-mile radius; 3 other couples.  Each family has 2 kids, and I've found that adding 2 more on occasion is less burdensome than I used to think.  They entertain each other.  We stick 'em all in the bathtub together and do pjs and books.  It's much like organized chaos an assembly line.  We've got our system down here and it's fun.

* It works well to have date nights planned out a month ahead.  We do a little calendar sesh and write it all out.  Organization is key.

Girl Time/Alone Time?  Again, yes.  Chris has conference calls for work once a week.  He works from home and is on the computer.  I enjoy using that time to take Marlow to a dog park or going to a store by myself.  It's also especially fun to meet a friend for Happy Hour or a run (one after the other is not recommended!) or a thrift store run.

In our marriage, we are happier people if we each get ourselves some quality alone time (this usually means coffee shop with a book or something of the like), friend time, and kid-free dates.  Because I am mostly home during the week, I am usually ready to get out at night or on the weekends.  (Who knew that people are still awake and out doing things past 7pm?  How exciting!)  Chris is the opposite.  He is a homebody and enjoys lounging it up and being productive around the house.  We both get our fix and it works for us.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

This Happens Daily

Fact.  My tea usually steeps for 12 hours at room temperature before I drink it.  I intend to consume it while it's hot, but the mornings are driven usually by a rather energetic 2 year old and a baby who puts a hook so tight around your arm that you don't put her down.  I usually find my cold mug in the microwave around lunch time, reheat it at that point with great ambitions once again, but almost always do I get caught up in something else and forget about it.  Thus after the kids are down I drink my day-long brewed tea.  Should that gross me out?  It's one of the exciting times of my day, actually.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Ain't That The Truth

This blog makes me cry-laugh on an almost daily basis.  My oh my, how I can resonate with the parenting sketches.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

But God--The Two Words At the Heart of the Gospel

I have really been soaking in Scripture lately, especially the multitude of verses that begin with "but God."  They remind me that throughout the past and now during the present, while humanity lives in darkness, He steps in, extending grace and compassion.  It is God who reaches out to us.

When I come across a verse in the Bible that has "but God" in it, I always circle it because it is fantastically good news to me.  You see, my life could never measure up.  I am naturally inclined to live a life of evil.

Once I was dead in my sin.  But God made me alive!
Once I was captive to Satan.  But God made me free!

Eph. 2:4-7
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Rom. 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this--while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

But God...the two words at the heart of the Gospel.