Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bits of Splendor Monday

Allow me to introduce you to the easiest homemade donuts ever. I'm not even sure I'm allowed to call them "homemade" but anything I make at home, I consider homemade. From a box or not...all the same I say! 

In this case it's from a can.
I shared this picture & recipe on my instagram the first time I made them and apparently some of you have made these many a time in your day, or your mama did. I was not fortunate to learn about this until recently when I read about them on Autumn's blog. And now I am indebted to her for making my children the happiest people on earth every Saturday morning.  These have replaced the requests for pancakes and even homemade waffles lately.


So here's how easy it is to make them:
Take a can of biscuits.
Cut out the center of each one, using whatever you can find that would be the right size. For me it was a cap off of one of those squeeze cups for kids you see in the dollar spot at Target. Perfect size.
Heat your oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Carefully drop your dough into the oil and cook on each side for about 10 seconds.

I covered some in cinnamon sugar, and some in powdered sugar. The kids and Brandon preferred the powdered sugar. I just rolled the doughnut around in a bowl of powdered sugar until it was fully coated. Do the same to the centers that you cut out for doughnut holes.

And that is it my friends.
Pretty much the easiest-slap yourself upside the head cause you never thought of it yourself- donut recipe on the planet.

And one more "tip" I thought I'd share. I have been making rice crispy treats for YEARS. No lie. I'm a bit of an addict. And I've always followed the recipe exactly: 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 package of marshmallows and 6 cups of rice crispies. But my friend Monica recently told me she uses an entire stick of butter in hers and it makes them even better. I decided to test her theory when I made them this week and let me tell you...she was right. The extra butter makes them melt in your mouth delicious. Just the right amount of chewy to crispy ratio. Obviously not the healthiest of suggestions, but I'm a believer in splurging now and then, so I say go for it.


Now who else out there has some tricks like this up their sleeve?
I need to know about them. Or maybe I don't....
bits of splendor monday

What bit of splendor did you find in your week?
Grab a button {just copy and paste the html above}
link up your post and share with us!
Be sure to visit other blogs too! 

"You will miss what matters most in life, if you are only ever looking for the spectacular" 



Thursday, July 26, 2012

5 Things....

1. i know i've been a bit sporadic and scarce here on my blog. the truth is, it's been both intentional and unintentional. i've never been one to feel pressured to blog, and i have never ever been one to schedule posts, or heck even plan ahead. thats like, way too much work for a blog if you ask me. this is a place for me to share and to write, hopefully encourage and maybe inspire...and to just connect. and sometimes, just like life, the importance of certain things sort of lowers on the list of important things. know what i mean? like right now, at the top of the list is this precious time with my little family. one month. that is about how long i have with asher home before he starts first grade. and when i start to feel the tug of my shop or my blog weighing on me, i remind myself that those things will be there in a month when life slow down a bit. but this time with him...with them...it's fleeting and precious.
And truthfully, just being home with them and our every day stuff...I love it. And I don't want to miss it, you know? 

2. um. august is like next week. i've been saying "when i start training in august" since the first day i started running in april. and now august is right around the corner. i'll be starting "official" training for the rock-n-roll half marathon thats happening here in SA in november and im thinking that a fun way to document it once a week, would be a vlog. meaning a video blog. because sometimes talking about certain things is much easier than writing and i think a vlog series would be fun. what do you think? a weekly vlog update when i start officially training for the half.... yes? no? well don't count on it because i a)  might chicken out and b)have no idea how to do one and the technical difficulty of doing one might be too much for this girl. we'll see though. I plan to do a weekly recap regardless.

 {Asher is major into batman right now and roped his little sister into being cat woman. She just went with it}

3. Another thing I have been occupied with is Project Hope. On Monday we had our first planning meeting with a group of sweet friends and hearts who want to join mine in this cause. It really means so much to have other people support you and want to help you with something you are so passionate about. We are working on the details for our "Crafting for Hope" event and trying to get a date soon. You will notice a new "Events" tab on the top of my blog. This will have all of the details as quick as we get them. I would love to have you if you are able to come. We are planning some fun & special things for the night! Speaking of, if you have donated any items, if you have crafted any items, if you have been a part of Project Hope in any, PLEASE send me pictures of yourself, your group, the item---whatever you'd like.  We are working on something special for all of you and would love for you to be a part.   Send them projecthope619@gmail.com

 {Mia is a tiny hurricane in case you didn't know. She also likes to wear Asher and Bella's stuff when they aren't around}

4. Now let's talk a bit about reality television shall we? Who here is as happy as I am that Emily chose Jef? I think they might actually work out. They seem more real together than most couples ever have on the bachelor/bachelorette.  And in case you are wondering, no I am not ashamed of my love for this show. It is totally ridiculous I know, but come on, a little ridiculousness in the form of mindless television is good for the soul. 
You know what else is good for the soul? good books. And I may be late to the Hunger Games party, but I'm hooked. I've stayed up till 2am one too many times this week reading it. I never saw the movie and I am so glad I didn't yet. But I can't wait to watch it when I'm done. Does anyone know if its available to rent?

5.  August is one of my favorite months and not for any other reason except for the back to school excitement. the school supplies. oh man i could stand in the school supply aisle of target forever. just smelling the crayons and looking at all of the fun new things they have for back to school these days. like a curtain for your locker?! seriously? but why?
I like to live vicariously through Bella sometimes and buy her things I wish I could still use like hello kitty notebooks and pencil cases....and pink jelly shoes. Tell me you wore them too? They still smell the same. 
 
Hope your weekend is a good one. Enjoy it!
xo

Monday, July 23, 2012

the question "Why"


We went to see the Dark Knight yesterday. We got those D box seats that move. Have you ever sat in those? I'm still undecided on how I feel about them. At times I forgot I was sitting in one and would get annoyed because I thought the person behind me was kicking my seat. 
But it was still a different experience and one we don't do often. When Brandon and I have date nights, we always choose to do something different than going to the movies, cause we would rather just get a redbox and come home. But a movie like the Dark Knight--you gotta see it in the theaters. 

While the movie itself was really good and entertaining, and I definitely enjoyed way too much popcorn and lemon heads, I couldn't help but think about the Colorado shootings a time or two.

It was kind of hard not to. When something like that happens, you can't help but start thinking "what if" when your put into the same kind of situation.  I just can't imagine what I would do. I don't want to. I tend to try to keep my mind at peace and not allow vain imaginations of "what if" scenarios that can only bring fear, you know? 

Instead I just tried to move that thinking to prayer and compassion for those that were affected. My heart hurts to think that there are people in the world who are filled with so much anger and hate for others that they would be moved as far as this man in Colorado was. 
I just don't understand it. I also know I never will. 

I'm not trying to turn something horrible that happened to others, into a post about how it affected me. I have no idea who the people were in that theater, or how their lives have changed, and changed those around them. I'm sitting in the comfort of my living room, with my daughter safely asleep upstairs and my other two playing at a friends house. Careless. Worry free. Our lives just the same as it was two days ago.

But when something so tragic happens you hear people start to ask the question "why."
They say that it might take months before we can get answers from this man as to WHY he did what he did. It's what we naturally need and want when something so painful happens.
People want something to blame it all on. A motive. A reason. A cut and dry answer. Closure.

And that is something I can relate to. A question I have battled many times in my life.
Not questioning God himself, because that would insinuate that I thought he was responsible for the tragic things that have happened in our life. And one thing I hope is always clear, is that I don't believe that is the case. I don't believe God would take our babies from us. He is the giver of life. 
He takes what was meant for hurt and pain, and turns it into something beautiful. 
I hope that is what you see when you look at my life. 
A girl who has walked through some hard things, but who lives with joy and peace each day.
My life is beautiful. And I choose to see it that way. Always.

We may not ever know the "why's" to so many of our questions. 
But we can resolve to have peace instead. 
To live by faith. And to love unconditionally.
Don't block out the world and all of it's hurt. Don't hide safely behind your 4 walls.
Do something. Love people. Extend yourself. That in itself can make a difference far beyond what we may ever know.
I can't help but think about this man in Colorado and how his life could've been so different. Did he know the love of God for him? Did anyone ever tell him?
How different the lives of so many might be, if only he knew.

I am sure many of you have read this blog written by someone who was actually inside of the theater when the shootings happened.  There is so much truth in her words. So if you haven't read it yet, I encourage you to. She says it all so perfectly.

Also, my husband taught a really good message not too long ago called "Tragedy never plays favorites" You can click here if you'd like to hear it.
He did an amazing job at telling our story. Both the pain of it, but especially the beauty.

Bottom line is this. Don't question God when bad things happen.
Instead lean into Him even more. You may not get your answers to "why" but I promise you'll find peace in Him. An unexplainable peace that surpasses all understanding.
And that can just be enough.


Bits of Splendor will be back next Monday.
Link up your posts in the comments if you'd like :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

lately

 I thought I had rode the 'Goodwill' wave in and was done with it. I hadn't gone to one in about a couple {maybe a few?} months, but I went last week to scope out some frames and got hooked again.  You just never know what you are going to find and that fun part sort of makes up for the itchy-need to use antibacterial asap- feeling. I ran in a couple of days ago and just as I walking to the front, decided to go back down this one aisle just to see if anything had been added. 
And there it was. This 12.99$ candle I've been eyeing at Target. brand new for 1.99. 
And that my friends is why we all keep going back to Goodwill, am I right?


 I have some really good memories from when I was little, of sitting at our open front door during rain storms, with chairs and blankets watching the rain fall. So whenever it rains I always get the urge to do something fun and special with the kids. This day we dragged their little ikea table and chairs to the front patio with some kraft paper and crayons and they thought it was the greatest thing ever.


Speaking of rain, it's been doing it a lot here. It's hit or miss. Sunny one hour and pouring rain the next. I went for a run just after a really good storm the other day and decided I loved it. I was drenched in sweat by the time I got home because although it was somewhere in the 80's, it was 100% humidity.

And it is always fun to come home to my little cheerleaders. 
Asher keeps a tally of my mileage and Bella just wants to hang on me like it's been days apart.


 This was us heading home last night. The kids had some friends over to spend the night. I sort of thought we might be a little crazy at first, but at the end of the night after dinner, baths, play time and  bed time prayers,  I loved laying in bed knowing we had a house full of kids. I think I may have even told Brandon in my half awake stupor, that I'd love to have 6 kids one day and I'm pretty sure he told me I was indeed crazy. 


SheReadsTruth started a new reading plan on Prayer and I am really loving it. Since there isn't a devotional with it, just scripture, it really pushes me to put my own thoughts down and dig a little deeper for myself. Check the SheReadsTruth site out if you have any questions and let me know if you started this one too, I'd love to follow along with you on instagram or twitter. 


Happy Weekend friends!
We are going to see the Dark Night on Sunday and I am really looking forward to it. Mainly because I fully intend on getting the complete movie theatre experience since we rarely go anymore. I plan to consume lots of buttery popcorn, diet dr. pepper and lemon heads.
Oh yes. 

 Have a good one! 
xo


Linking up here

Thursday, July 19, 2012

confidence

we watched a home video the other night when my sister was in town.
It was of Ashers 2nd birthday party. I was somewhere around 20 weeks pregnant with Bella.

I watched the video completely taken back by the girl I saw on it.
I kept trying to figure out what it was.
It wasn't the short, dark reddish hair. Or the extra 20lbs. {I almost always gain 20lbs by 20weeks with every one of my pregnancies! Yikes}
Or the hideous maternity jeans that I am burning and never wearing again.

I didn't recognize the girl I was watching. But it was me.
Do you ever hear your voice back on a voice mail and cringe at the sound of your voice? Like surely that is not how you really sound.

It was sort of that mixed in too, but mostly it was realizing how much I've changed in these few years.
I watched myself as I held Asher, my little pregnant tummy just starting to show, and I realized what it was that was so different.
Insecurity.

I almost felt sorry for the girl I was watching.
To anyone else watching, I'm sure it wasn't as obvious to them as it was to me, but thats because I knew better.
I knew the thoughts going through that girls head.
20 weeks pregnant with Bella. The same stage in the pregnancy where we found out we had lost Grace.

I remember always trying really hard to keep a strong, calm face.
To be smiley and happy and pretend to be confident.
But on the inside I was fighting every thought of losing this little girl too.
Writing that out is hard for me, because I feel like even saying it, gives more power to it and I hate to do that. but that was reality.

All the outside appearances aside..
One main thing has changed the most and that is my confidence.

Not confidence in my appearance, but confidence in who I am because of Him.
And there is a difference.
Over the years, I've had to learn how to put my trust in nothing but Him.
When at times I was putting it in everything else but Him.

In fact that video reminded me of the time I woke up one day completely consumed in anxiety and worry. I just had to get to the dr. and get an ultrasound. I had to see for myself that everything was ok. I was just around 16 weeks. It was a Saturday, Brandon was out of town. So my mom and my sisters went with me to the ER. They took me back into an extensive ultrasound, and wouldn't show me the screen. I waited to hear it...
and then she turned the screen toward me and told me I had a perfectly healthy baby moving and kicking and jumping around like crazy. And she guessed that it was a girl.
A girl. Like I had prayed for.
That was the day we found out we were having Bella.

I remember being sort of embarrassed that I dragged my sisters and mom out on a Saturday because my own insecurities took over my ability to rationalize.
.....took over my faith and trust to believe everything was ok...

Surely I had learned something from it, right?

then weeks later at Ashers birthday party..... Watching the video, I knew that I hadn't.
I knew what was really going on in my head and my heart.
And how I didn't want anyone else to know because then they'd see my lack of faith.
They'd see my weakness and insecurity.

That was almost 4 1/2 years ago.
We have lost 2 more babies since then. Faith Marie and Mia's twin.
But.
We have had 1 beautiful healthy little girl too...Mia Glory.

The trials didn't go away.
Life didn't get easier.
But life did keep moving. And I had to start making choices to Trust.
Even when I didn't want to.
Even when I really felt like giving up.

It didn't happen over night.
But watching that video I realized that somewhere along the way of then till now,  it did.

Confidence in Him and in who He made me to be.
Not perfect by any means.
but reliant.
and I think thats exactly where He is always trying to get us.
Reliant on Him. Not other people, or in how we look, or in ultrasounds even...

So this girl you see now? this girl who looks and seems confident?
I am.
Not because of any ways that I've changed on the outside, but how I've been transformed on the inside.

the less of me there is, the more of Him shines through.
But I had to learn that.
I had to learn that no amount of tanning, shopping, or changing my hair could transform my heart and mind like it needed to be.

I have people ask me all of the time how I found peace and faith to have another baby after losing one. The truth is that I was scared just like anyone else would be. But I knew that if I didn't keep fighting for my faith, if I stopped trying, and said no more babies for me....then I lost.
I lost to fear.
And I wasn't willing to do that.
Because there was too much gain.
Like my Bella Grace and Mia Glory.
They are worth it.
Every bit of it.

I would be lying if I said I had it all together and one day when we decide to have another one {because I really really want another baby some day} that I would walk through it with confidence and without fear. I'd love to think I would, but the truth is that I won't. I'm human.
I will, however keep fighting for my faith. Keeping pursuing it and believing and standing on it.
Because there is too much to gain.

Something I believe has helped heal and bring strength along the way, is helping others heal too.
That is why I am so passionate about Project Hope.
I truly believe the very way God has worked in our own lives, is the very way He wants us to work in others.

Do you struggle with something? How can you encourage someone else in that same area today? 
It doesn't have to be in big ways.
Small ways...small steps along the way...
and then one day, maybe years later, you'll realize the very thing you lacked,
...you've now gained.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Project Hope: Jump Right In!!


If you are on instagram, tag your Project Hope pictures with #project_hope so that all of the pictures are in one feed and others can use it as reference. 
These are some of the pictures that have been added so far. 

 {if you added a photo to the old hashtag, just add the new one and it will show up in the feed, we had to change it}
I've had so many emails from some amazing people who still want to donate to project hope and want to know how! Our list of needed items is starting to narrow but there is still quite a bit we need so I will get right to it! Stick with me because I have ton of thoughts and details jumbled in my head, and 2 cups of strong coffee surging through my veins. I'll try to focus on one thought at a time but no promises ;)

This is where we are with our goal of 100 boxes: {shout out to Kaylee for keeping this all organized for me!}

100 "Hope" prints-
100-Modern Inspired Design
100-Framed Frosting
100-Lindsay Hopkins 
100-Unwaivering Hope
100-Shadia Johnson
50- Amylee Weeks

100 4x6 frames-
4-Missy Cox
20-Katy
16-Kristen Townsend

100 hand stamped charms-
20-eager hands
50-Tiny Tags

100 hope tags-
50-Tiny Token Designs

100 lovies-
4-Vanessa Phillips
6-Brie Holtschult
2-Michele Clark
5- Naelyn Gamel 
4- Kristen Caddell
14- Monica Lopez

100 booties/hats-
13 booties-Abbey Lane Designs
16-Heather Foltz

100 hair lock bags/tags-
Leslie Padgett 

Small Blankets & Tiny Diapers
24-Elizabeth Hepler {Teeny Tears}

100 Jeremiah 29:11 prints-
Aly Allen

“Hope” necklaces
10-Cerrisse Wood
50-Heather Holden 

Wedding Dresses-
3-Hattie Whipple
1-Sarah Baker
1-Shaila Klosterman
Scripture printable-Sarah Cain

Door Prizes/Raffle items {for the craft event}
Flower bow basket-Ladybows {Vanessa Philips}
Apron-Shannon
Sunshine Hoop art- Aly Allen 
2 dozen cake pops- Monica Lopez 
a 15x13 mini blanket in giraffe print- Alyssa Johnson 

If your name is somewhere here on the list, that means you emailed us to let us know you were committing to donate these items {and some we have already recieved} If you aren't able to donate then please let us know. 
As you can see, we are well beyond our goal on the Hope prints, but every one of the prints will still be used! This is not the last Project Hope we will have and the prints will be used in the upcoming projects. 

The biggest needs are lovies, frames and hats/booties:
-Please know the hats/booties do not HAVE to be crochet. As long as they are small newborn size booties and/or hats, we can use them in the boxes.
-Many of the lovies have been found at HomeGoods/TJMaxx, so if you would like to scope yours out and donate one or two, we would love that! I believe you can get 1 at 6.99 or a pack of 2 for somewhere around 11$
 -Also 4x6 frames: I found some at IKEA for under 5$ or Katy found some for 6$ for a pack of 4 at Target!

We have had 180$ donated toward the craft supplies and boxes, and 40$ for caskets. 
If you would like to donate monetarily toward the supplies, we will send a print made specially for Project Hope from Lindsay at Pen and Paint,  in memory of the baby. Here is the post explaining this, in case you missed

This print was hand drawn and designed by Lindsay and is even more beautiful in person. She also designed one that can be purchased through her shop {without the donation inscription on bottom} and 20% will go toward Project Hope.

I also have received some great ideas for other items to go into the boxes. One of my favorites is "Seeds of Hope" a small bag with seeds for a tree to be planted in memory of the baby. It will have a small note card attached explaining what the seeds are for. Don't you LOVE that idea? Honestly, I personally would have loved something like this. My sister and brother in law gave us a hydrangea plant when we lost Grace and it was THE most special thing I've ever owned. A tree would be that much more special. In fact in my dream world, I will have a cherry blossom tree in my backyard for my girls one day. 

All that to say, if it's on your heart to donate something, please don't be limited to this list or to a certain number. We will take 1 of anything, or a 100. Every donation is valued equally in my heart. 


This box was delivered to my front door yesterday. I had no idea what it was, so when I saw what it was, I was caught a little off guard. It's a wedding dress donated for the caskets of babies from families who can't afford one. Threads of Love also uses these to make burial gowns that go into the memory boxes as well. It made me think of the verse that the Lord has given me many times.

 Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,

the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor. 

Beauty for ashes. I can't think of a more perfect example than something as special as someones wedding dress being used to help mend the broken heart of another, can you?
I'm overwhelmed with how good God is and how He uses His people to display His love and beauty. Thank you to each and every one who has wanted to give to this Project. It means more to me than I could say!

If you would like to donate to Project Hope, please do! Jump right in wherever you can. We can use you wherever you, whatever you can give. 

Please email me with any questions! 
projecthope619@gmail.com

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bits of Splendor Monday

 


My older sister {the one in the middle} lives a couple of hours away, in another city and it is always hard to say goodbye after she's come for a visit. It seems like it gets harder and harder every time.

My sisters are my absolute best friends. 
When we were younger, my mom would always tell us "friends may come and friends may go, but your sisters will always be there". 
It seriously used to make me roll my eyes at times.
But, as I've gotten older and become closer and closer to them both, I've realized how true that little saying was. 

When I see Bella and Mia just being "sisters" together... Through the laughing and giggling, and silliness, and made up songs, and even the tattling & getting on each others nerves...
As a mom it just makes my heart smile, because I know that no matter what, they will always have each other. 

I'm sure there will be days where they really don't like each other very much. There may even be a hanger thrown a time or two {I'm just sayin. It's possible}, but I really hope & pray the day comes too, where they love & respect & just treasure the relationship they have as sisters.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<



bits of splendor monday





 How did you find a bit of splendor this week?
Whether it was a project, or recipe, new milestone or special memory, document it share it with us!

"You will miss what matters most in life, if you are only ever looking for the spectacular" 

A couple of "rules" if you will:
1. Grab a button for your post {just copy and past the html above into your blog post}
2. Visit other blogs and make new friends! 


 



Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bits of Splendor Monday

Let me tell you something about my Bella girl. She is a GREAT sleeper. Always has been. So this afternoon when she started showing signs of needing a nap, I pulled her up on the sofa with me and told her to close her eyes and go to sleep. Now, this might not fly with most kids but Bella welcomes a good nap with her mama. Within seconds she was out and for an hour and a half, I laid there with her on top of me, soaking it all up. I know it sounds super cheesy but as I listened to her breathing with her mouth wide open, all warm & squishy, I just kept thinking... This is the good stuff of life.

Next time I won't wear velour pants and cover up with a fur blanket before letting her fall asleep on me, cause sister is a heater and mama was burnin. UP
But, Was it worth it? 
Totally. 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Now, I'd love for you to meet my sweet friend Kaylee from Life Chasers .Not only is the girl a beautiful mom to two super cute girls, loves the Lord and has great hair...but she can also cook. Which I can not. So I thought I'd have her share a recipe with you today! 


Making food for my family ranks pretty high in my list of passions.
But like many of you lately, the thought of being stuck in a muggy kitchen when it's blistering hot outside kind throws that passion out the window.
But since your family can't survive on watermelon and iced tea every night for dinner,
here is a super quick, easy, and healthy dinner we had the other night that was perfect for that exact situation.


 About an hour before we ate I took three portobello mushrooms and a sliced red onion and put it into a ziploc bag with just enough balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and s&p to lightly cover it.
I let it sit for an hour before Ryan put it all on a hot grill for about 10 minutes.

While he did that I threw together my favorite salad.
Tomatos, fresh mozzarella, and basil drizzled in balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

It was light and bursting with flavor.
And the best part was I didn't have to cook in the kitchen.
Next time I may do the exact same thing except serve it on a ciabatta roll instead.
Either way, you can't go wrong with this combo.
Enjoy!

.............................
Please be sure to go visit Kaylee's blog and get to know her, you will be so glad you did!  

How did you find a Bit of Splendor in your week? 
Grab a button, Link it up and share!




bits of splendor monday