Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Amazing Black Bean Brownies

Yesterday, I made Black Bean Brownies by Melissa d'Arabian.  The recipe was passed on to me by a friend and I was a little leery to try it.  Black beans...in brownies?  But taking my friend's glowing recommendation, I went ahead and baked them. 
When I cut them last night to try them, Buddy and Sweetpea devoured the brownies!  Buddy finished his and was up before I could turn the camera on and this was the picture I got of Sweetpea, the last bite being crammed in her mouth. 
I've had a huge sweet tooth these last few weeks and I don't feel as guilty eating these brownies.  I highly recommend trying this easy recipe for homemade brownies!

Monday, January 30, 2012


I've been observing lately that Sweetpea loves to imitate me.  The other morning as I got ready for the day, I put in my contacts and turned to grab my brush.  As I turned back around, Sweetpea had dipped her fingers into the leftover solution and was rubbing it under her eyes.  I've also found her trying to apply my makeup and she loves to wear my shoes.  Buddy has done a similar thing with Jon and at 18 months insisted he needed "apple-shave" and "do-rant".  I'll see Buddy sit like Jon and try to talk like him too and it makes me smile.

Ephesians 5:1-2 was brought to mind, "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma."  Just as my children want to imitate their parents, I should be striving to imitate God.  Throwing off qualities that are sinful and pulling on His righteous characteristics should be a daily goal.  Instead of imitating the world around me, I hope to emulate Christ so that my children and the world will see Him through me. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Joyful Mom

joyful3Life as Mom has a great series of posts entitled "To Be More Joyful".  I recently read all the posts and it was a good reminder to work on my joy as a parent.  Often, after putting Buddy and Sweetpea to bed (and they stay there), I breathe a sigh of relief to have 'survived' another day.  I don't want to just survive...I want to enjoy motherhood.  I bookmarked the first page and, over the next month or so, I plan to re-read and focus on areas that need work in my life.  My prayer is that God will help me to recover joy from each day and to zoom in on the good rather than the bad. 
Check out all 14 posts for very practical tips to ramp up your joy as a mother!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Praise of Homeschools

Here is a very interesting article praising homeschooling parents.  If you homeschool or are thinking of homeschooling, I very much recommend reading this as an encouragement to keep up the good work!
In Praise of Homeschools

Monday, January 16, 2012

Go Fish Guys

Lets Sing, Singalong with the Go Fish GuysBuddy and Sweetpea received this Go Fish Guys DVD for Christmas and we love it!  I love that the songs are not annoying and they love the music and moves.  Buddy is already working on memorizing several of the songs and I look forward to the day when he has Bible Book Bop memorized.  That means he will know all 66 books of the Bible in order.
I'm constantly on the look out for good solid Christian entertainment for my children and I have been very pleased with our Let's Sing DVD.
For more information about the Go Fish Guys, check them out!  There are lots of Cds, DVDs, and other options at their website

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hello Mornings: Inspired to Action

One of the most dreaded things that I've decided to do is take the Hello Mornings Challenge from Inspired to Action.  A friend challenged me to do this with her and I almost did not join.  The challenge begins Monday and I'm pretty nervous.  Basically the challenge is to wake up early before your children to complete Bible reading and prayer time, exercise, and shower.  While I normally resolve to do this every year, it normally only lasts a day or two.  I absolutely hate waking up early! 
By joining with everyone in the Hello Mornings group, I am hoping to stay accountable and encouraged until waking early becomes a habit.  My goal is to wake up around 6 a.m. to be ready to face the day before Buddy and Sweetpea wake up at 7:00.  Hopefully this will lead to smoother mornings and more consistent exercise and Bible Study.  It will be interesting to see how this goes but I'm willing to give it a try!
If you are looking for a way to change your habits and wake before your children, check out Inspired to Action for awesome tips and the e-book Maximize Your Mornings.  My favorite part of the e-book is the printable forms and charts to help plan out my quiet time and work out goals. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Sneaky Chef

The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite MealsOne of my newest books that I love is The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine.  I devoured (yes, pun intended) this book on our trip and came home ready to buy cauliflower to hide it various things!
Sweetpea is our "picky" eater in that there is no convincing her to try something if she is not interested.  Buddy will at least try most things but even he can be selective about what he eats. 
The Sneaky Chef not only gives recipes that hide veggies and fruits but also gives various reasons and methods behind choosing to hide the healthy foods. Missy Lapine addresses meal time battles and how this makes family meal times a dreaded event for both parent and child.  Jon and I have struggled to make our family suppers a joy while encouraging healthy eating.
I hope to apply a few of the principles learned from this book and breathe a little easier knowing that Buddy and Sweetpea are getting the nutrients that they need.  With recipes like Magic Meatballs and Sauce, Power Pizza, and Total Tacos, Buddy and Sweetpea will be able to enjoy their favorite meals while consuming hidden vegetables and fruits.  I still plan to present vegetables and fruits on their plates to hopefully get Buddy and Sweetpea to eat them as is but without battle!
If your children are finicky eaters, I recommend finding this book and giving it a read.  Meal times should not be a guilt filled experience of bribing or cajoling or fussing at our children.  All moms want to know that their children are eating healthy and enjoying it.  The Sneaky Chef finds a balance between a fuss-free meal and nutrient rich food.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Plan for Schooling

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to be more consistent with what Buddy and Sweetpea are learning.  I've really slacked off in the past few months throughout this pregnancy but am determined to make this more a part of our routine.  Since the big focus for Sweetpea is learning her alphabet, I'm also trying to coordinate Buddy's lessons with each letter.  Here are a few of the things we'll be doing:  Sweetpea will be going through the In My Heart section from Totally Tots.  The verses and activities coincide with our Songs for Saplings Cd that she loves. 
Both Buddy and Sweetpea will be coloring the Alphabet Coloring Pages from Pondered In My Heart.  We'll be focusing on a letter a week along with the listed virtue.  We started these pages this summer but did not make it very far so we'll start over.
Buddy will be working through Raising Rock Stars Preschool materials.  We've done a few of the lessons but we're going to go back through the ones we've already completed as we work in ABC order.  I've found that Buddy is a lot like me and likes to do things in order.
And finally, Buddy will continue to work through the You Can Read program.  He has loved this program and loves to point out his words whenever we see them in print around us.
The best part about homeschooling is the flexibility to change as needed but I hope to bring a little more stability to our work this year, even with the addition of a third baby to the mix!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Marriage: A Holy Union

This past week we traveled to my sister's wedding.  I was so grateful that all went well...traveling with a 34 week pregnant momma and two young children was an adventure for Jon.  It was such a great time of visiting with family since we did not travel at Christmas.  While watching everyone scurry around to prepare for the ceremony and wedding, I had the chance to reflect on marriage and what a unique God-given blessing it is.  One man and one woman brought together and bound with inexplicable bonds of marriage.  Genesis 2:24 says "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
Jon and I don't fit in with today's society of easily dissolved and discarded marriages because we believe that marriage is forever, like the vows say 'until death do we part'.  After five years, we've weathered many ups and downs that could have torn us apart but instead God used to draw us closer together.  My prayer for Sandi and Kyle is that they will allow God to draw them so close that no one and nothing can come in between them and that they will be united as one through their individual pursuit of Christ as the head of their marriage. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


One of Buddy's favorite questions lately is "Why?" and he asks it about forty million times a day.  To be completely honest, it drives me nuts.  But what bothers me more is my response, the infamous "Because I said so!".  I always promised myself that when I had children, I would explain all their "why?" questions.  Invariably though, frustration sets in and I blurt out the exact response I hated growing up. 
It dawned on me yesterday as I was lamenting to Jon about how I wanted Buddy to mind without questioning me and how I didn't like my responses, that we do the exact same thing to God.  We hear His still small voice telling us to do something and we immediately question, "why?".   Or life brings us a circumstance we don't like and we question. 
"Why do I need to witness to this person?"
"Why am I or a family member facing this illness?"
"Why do I have to learn patience?  Can't you just give it to me?"
"Why can't vegetables taste like chocolate?"
"Why? Why? Why?"
I am so grateful that God has more patience with me than I do with Buddy in this area.  And though sometimes I do think God's answer is "Because I said so!", it is reassuring that He has the best in mind for us.  As I encourage Buddy to obey immediately, I am challenged to do the same thing in my spiritual walk.  Maybe 2012 can be the year of instantaneous spiritual obedience!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

As usual, Jon and I have made our list of New Year's Resolutions.  The top one for me was to read my Bible through again this year until Jon showed me Professor Horner's 3650 Bible reading plan.  This entails reading 10 chapters of the Bible a day from different sections of the Bible, hence the 3650 in the title (though this year is a Leap year so it will be 3660 chapters). 
"This means that over the course of 2012 anyone who uses the plan will go through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the Old Testament History and Prophetic books about 1.5 times."  -- Tim Challies
I know today is January 2nd but it isn't too late to join in!  How changed do you think your life would be after reading God's Word daily?  I have enjoyed both days of reading so far and today Buddy woke up from his nap while I was reading.  He cuddled with me while I read about 7 1/2 of the 10 chapters aloud to him which made the reading time even more special.  If the 3650 plan seems a little much for you right now, feel free to check out youversion.com which has several different Bible reading plans.  The important thing is that we are reading Scripture and soaking in what God has to say to us.
I hope 2012 brings you closer to God!