Sunday, February 24, 2013

blur. {Project 52}

Muffins. A box of coffee. 72 eggs.

Boy-filled minivans. Baby dinosaurs. Foam swords.

Snowy boots. Sunshine.

Bleeding toes. Helping hands.

Sleeping babies. New friends.

Pictures falling. Grace explained.

Toddler tea parties. Over-flowing cups. Wet tables.

Plans being made.

Stories told, and retold.

Girly giggles. Belly laughs.

A kitchen filled with cooks. A home filled to the brim.

Debates. Discussions. Physical therapy consults.

Crumbs. Spills. Empty egg cartons in the sink.




It's a bit of a blur, but I do believe we had ourselves some church today.
Autumn is busy with her beautiful new baby girl, but check back soon for her take on Week 8's word, blur.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Club // Daring Greatly

Here we go {again}.

After two inspiring rounds of book club -- Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts last fall and Jen Hatmaker's 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess earlier this winter -- we're gearing up the troops for yet another page turner.

Our pick this time around is Brene Brown's Daring GreatlyHow the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. We had a hard time picking a title this time through {so many great titles out there! and how to pick one that will make everyone happy?!}

When we finally settled on one {the bugger just kept popping up!}, ironically enough, we struggled to put the suggestion out there, to throw the topic into the ring.

One deep breath later, the all call was posted on Facebook, and I love, love, love the group of women God is assembling {and yes, I believe book club can be a holy adventure + I am fully confident He will be showing up.}

I believe this is an important, relevant, timely conversation we need to be having within an authentic community.

Purpose. Meaning. Connection.

Uncertainty. Risk. Fear.



One more deep breath. Here we go.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

love. {Project 52}

Our Project 52 challenge this week is to share a snapshot that captures love.

Right now, when I hear the word love, I am reminded of our girls... sisters... and the special bond that holds them close.

I didn't grow up with a sister relationship like this, and it's been extra special for me to watch them grow from merely big sister / baby sister to playmates, friends, and confidants.

We're potty training right now (well, Mady's learning to use the potty, the rest of us are learning to be very patient), and at the end of a very long potty-centered day, Ella cheerfully offered to lend a hand. I let her go to work and smiled as I overheard their interaction.

And then I laughed when I saw this scene.

These two sisters are devoted to one another. They delight in each other. They laugh together. They are protective and look out for one another. They miss each other when they're away. They're practically inseparable when they're at home.

They are just starting out on their sister journey together, and I'm so glad they will always have each other in their corners, even though I know there will be moments {and there are, even now} when they can't stand each other.

They'll play together as little girls and then navigate the bumpy waters of middle school and then high school, not too many years apart. They'll share clothes. They'll share secrets. They'll keep in touch throughout their college years as they grow and change some more, finding their footing on their own grown-up paths. 

Someday they'll stand beside one another on their wedding days, holding bouquets of beautiful flowers in their hands and maid of honor speeches in their hearts. Someday after that, they'll hold each other's babies in bustling hospital rooms and become aunties to a new generation.

I know real sister relationships can be complicated, complex, and competitive, but my prayer for our girls is that no matter what they'll always have a sister to come home to, someone who knew them first, someone who knows them best.

These two girls, they've just begun, on the cusp of lifetime full of ups and downs, laughter and tears, heartbreak and celebration.

And through it all, they'll always have a friend who is more than a friend. 

She is a sister.
Click here to see Autumn's interpretation of love this week!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

sweet success.

I was asked to bring in a treat for Dylan's 2nd grade class Valentine's Day party. I looked like quite the rock star mom carrying these bad boys through the elementary school halls today.

Truth is, my friend Tiece is the real super hero, and she totally helped a girl out. 

I had a vague idea of something involving a Rice Krispie treat and I dunno, some chocolate chips?? As I tried to explain my vision to her over a round of Bunko, she smiled politely and told me I really should just head on over on Valentine's Eve. {Tiece has quite the talent for cake makin' & decoratin'}

So head on over I did. And in the spirit of paying it forward, I wanted to share with you the process that took a box of ordinary Rice Krispies treats (yes, a box...Costco: thank you very much) to extraordinary so you too can impress all the 2nd graders {& their moms} in your life.

  1. Start with aforementioned box of Rice Krispie treats. Costco. You won't be sorry.
  2. Buy something called Candy Quik (Vanilla). Meijer, baking aisle, top shelf.
  3. Forget to think through the whole stick part of the equation. Bring ridiculously huge Popsicle craft sticks. Accept graciously when your friend offers you her super cute, very fun paper straws {she bought hers here}. Cut them in half.
  4. Melt the Candy Quik on the stove top. Not sure of the technical cooking term here...double boiler? Dutch oven? Anywho, we used a glass bowl with handles that fit on top of a pot with water in the bottom. Turn up the heat until you're getting a good melt without any burning. Stir often. (Heating the Candy Quik this way means it will stay melty longer, even when you remove it from heat, because the hot water in the pan keeps it warm.)
  5. Take your straw / stick and dip the end into your bowl of Candy Quik and push it into the bottom of the Rice Krispie treat. Repeat 26 times. Let cool. This will keep your treat from tragically falling off the stick and devastating some poor 2nd grader's soul.
  6. Lay out wax paper. Start dipping your treats. I perfected a method around treat #24 {out of 26}...while holding the stick, start with one long, skinny edge and dip and wiggle, turn the treat, dip and wiggle, turn the treat, dip and wiggle, and keep going until all your sides are covered (not counting the side that the stick is in). The wiggle is important so you fill in all the crevices of the Rice Krispie treat with the Candy Quik.
  7. Attempt to stand them up in Styrofoam thinking you'll end up with a perfect looking treat with no flat sides. Realize they are leaning, top-heavy, and quickly becoming wonky. Listen to your friend when she says slowly and wisely, lay. them. down. Set them on the wax paper on their sides, disregarding every perfectionistic bone in your body. 
  8. Realize the world won't end just because your 2nd grade treats aren't perfect. Breathe a sigh of relief, smile, and carry on.
  9. Once you start the dipping process, you can either add sprinkles right away {the bigger, the better} or you can let them dry completely and add pretty line designs later.
  10. To add the designs: melt / microwave some colored chocolate discs {you'll probably need to get these from a craft store rather than the grocery store} for 30 seconds at a time, 50% strength in some nifty little squeeze bottles. This was the really fun part, so feel free to get a little crazy. Reheat the chocolate as needed if it cools down.
That's really it. You could bag these up individually if you wanted to be super fancy and you could obviously switch out the colors on them to fit just about any sort of party. Oh, and as an added bonus, these treats are peanut-free. {Which was one of the reasons why I opted for making a treat vs. picking something up from the local bakery.}

File this information away. Someday you too, will receive the dreaded wonderful phone call requesting umpteen treats for some variety of holiday party and instead of panicking, you can rest easy because you've got this.

{Another mom brought in this craft which I thought was brilliant and the kids loved}
What about you? Any class party tricks to share? Don't hold moms have got to stick together!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

shoes. {Project 52}

For 112 weeks, we have been working out, day in and day out, often side by side. Sometimes we work out our backsides or our extra dessert; sometimes we work out our problems, our frustrations, our burdens.

There are days when we don't want to do the work, but I know if I don't do the work, she won't, and she knows if she doesn't do the work, I won't. So we keep on keeping on, one foot in front of the other.

And we always note as we catch our breath that we're so glad we went.

There are some things in life that are beyond priceless, and I count a reliable, hysterical workout buddy as one of them.

We motivate each other when we're feeling blah. We push each other out of our comfort zones. We extend each other grace when we need it. And perhaps most importantly, we simply show up.

When I thought of this week's Project 52 theme, shoes, I thought of the many places our feet have carried us over the past 555+ workouts, and how I never would have made it this far if I didn't have another pair of shoes plodding alongside me.

Today, in an effort to keep things fresh, we strapped on snow shoes together for the first time. It's on our Year 33 lists {Kt / T}, and we figured if you can't beat winter, you might as well join it.

And we almost didn't go because I said I thought it might rain {winter in Michigan is weird}, and she said who cares, remember how much fun we have in the rain??

In the end, it didn't rain, and we did have fun. We made some new friends, learned a thing or two about the art of snow shoeing, laughed a little, sweated a lot.

And on the drive home, we looked at each other and said, I'm so glad we went.

Walk on over to Charis Images to check out Autumn's shoes this week!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

opposites. {Project 52}

30 days ago, my go-to afternoon pick-me-up? The shiny red Coke can on the left.

30 days later? The glass jar of green goodness on the right.

This week's Project 52 theme is opposites.

Completely unlike. Contrary. Contrasted. Converse.

I still love a good Coke every now and again, but I've changed my everyday, mid-afternoon habit after starting the year off with a 30-day green smoothie challenge.

I've traded in my caffeine for green.

I feel more alert (especially during the afternoon slump).

I no longer wonder what's for lunch (& I'm not tempted to eat kiddie fare).

It's easy to keep the ingredients stocked (because most can reside in the freezer).

And my body seems to be thanking me.

It's different than my regular routine {quite the opposite, in fact} but sometimes a little change does a body good.

Ready to give your blender a whirl? Check out this site. Some of my faves: Beginner's Luck {pictured above}, Berry Zinger, Strawberry, Banana & BlueberryBerry Cherry Jubilee. #1 green smoothie tip: blend your liquid and your greens first before adding the fruit to avoid chunky bits of leaves in your cup!
Now head on over to Autumn's blog {and the rest of the Project 52 crew} to see what opposites she rounded up this week!

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