30 August 2012

Walk in the Eternal

I Was All You Are

On the days when all you can see are the unfinished projects, the messy corners, and the incomplete areas of your life… turn your eyes to the finished work of the Cross, the clean slate you have in Him, and the complete freedom that is yours through His blood. 

Be faithful in the temporary, but walk in the eternal.

Everything changes, except Him.
-Ruth @ Gracelaced 

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 
~2 Cor. 4:16-18

29 August 2012

{Healthy} Chocolate Candies

A sweet and healthy treat!


 3 ingredients:  Cocoa powder, coconut oil, and a natural sweetener, like agave.



 Little candy maker.


I had these cute little silicone ice trays from years ago.  You could also use a mini muffin tin.


 Set in the fridge or freezer for 30 mins.



 Pops right out of the mold and into your mouth!

These little chocolate candies are so easy to make, even the kids can do it!  

Plus, they're healthy and have the consistency of decadent truffles.  A win-win!

Healthy Chocolate Candies
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 T agave nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)
1 tsp. peppermint (optional)
  
Cool in fridge or freezer for 30 minutes and enjoy that piece of chocolate, daily! :) 

28 August 2012

Weekend: Fellowship with Friends

 San Clemente Beach with the Rehard family.  







 My lovely friend, Erin with her youngest, Julia. 


 The dads helping the kids find sand crabs.







 Sweet little Julia and her cute sand beard. 



 Faith & Luke.


 Family bible time.  Too precious! 


 Elizabeth loved Morgan and called him her "other daddy."



 Puppet Show.


 All the kids got a chance to tell their own bible story with puppets. 




























Sunday morning church.

We spent the weekend with the Rehard's and loved every minute of it!  We met at a local park last November, while they were here on vacation.

We became instant friends and haven't stopped thanking the LORD for bringing us together!

Rarely do you find such like-minded friends who share the same vision for their family.  Such an encouragement and gift! 

PRAISING GOD for this life-long and important friendship!

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10      

25 August 2012

Musical Theatre


The Lion King ensemble.








Grace played Nala the lioness and Faith played Zazu, the horn-billed bird.
































Summer dance class was something the girls have been looking forward to for months!  We coordinated with their friend, Annaliza and ended up choosing a musical theatre class where the girls could sing, act, and dance.  Oh, what fun they had all week!  And it didn't even matter that they've never even seen the Lion King. :)

The performance last night brought tears to my eyes... it was SO STINKIN' ADORABLE!!

Most of all, we LOVED seeing their hearts sing!  

24 August 2012

Endless Summer Peach Berry Crisp



So, I'm slowly adding new real food recipes into my repertoire. This week, I was looking for a healthy dessert to make for my girlfriend's birthday dinner next week. I wanted something that was easy to put together, yet light and full of flavor. This is it!

It's made with healthy, whole food ingredients with just a touch of natural sweetener.

I've never used almond flour before but it was delicious and oh so light (found at Sprouts).  



I made the crisp for my own family yesterday and it was a winner!! After one bite, I changed the name of the original recipe, simply because it reminded me of all the joy that summer brings!  

I bet it would be delicious with apples, too!  

Endless Summer Peach Berry Crisp
{original recipe and photos from Kelly @ the Nourishing Home}

  • 4 peaches, peeled & sliced 1/4" thick
  • 1 cups raspberries
  • 1/4 cups apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (I used agave nectar)
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoons arrowroot flour/powder
  • 1/8 + 1/8 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
  • 1 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/3 cups sliced blanched almonds
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoons pure honey
  • pinch of sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, add apple juice, maple syrup, vanilla, arrowroot powder and 1/8 tsp cinnamon; whisk well to combine.

2. Evenly arrange peach slices and raspberries along the bottom of a deep-dish pie plate (or 2.5-quart baking dish).

3. Carefully pour the apple juice mixture over the top of the peaches and raspberries.

4. In a medium bowl, combine all of the almond crisp topping ingredients -- blanched almond flour, sliced blanched almonds, coconut oil, pure honey, 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon, and pinch of sea salt.

5. Spoon (or use hands to crumble) the topping over the peaches and raspberries.

6. Bake approximately 20-22 minutes, until topping is golden brown.

7. Allow to cool about five minutes before serving. Serves 5-6.

*For an extra special treat, top with a scoop of homemade ice cream and drizzle with the peach-berry sauce at the bottom of the baking dish.  Enjoy!
—————————————
If you are allergic to nuts, you can substitute oat flour for the almond flour and 1/3 cup old fashioned oats or shredded coconut for the sliced almonds.

22 August 2012

Party in Your Mouth Fruit Nachos


I made a new snack this week.  Don't you just love the name?  A healthy twist... on nachos!

Actually, the only thing that's new about this, is the assembly and presentation.

I bet you already have most of these ingredients on hand.

The original recipe was inspired from this month's Family Fun Magazine.  

They used yogurt and honey but I opted for drizzled peanut butter instead.

That's a thinly sliced Granny Smith on the bottom.

Toppings:
shredded coconut
dried cranberries or raisins
granola
diced strawberries
... the possibilities are endless!  

*for drizzable peanut butter, heat for 20 seconds in the microwave. 

You can use your fingers (just like traditional nachos) or you can use a fork to shovel it in, I mean, be more lady like. :)

























A fun, healthy and tasty snack to share at your next kids party or potluck!

20 August 2012

Hope in Christ, Not in Curriculum


Are you getting ready to start school?  

What grade are you in?  

What school do you go to?  

Do you know who your teacher is yet?  

Do you like your teacher?  

These are just some of the questions my kids get asked frequently.  

Especially now, since the "back to school buzz" is in full effect.  

Thankfully, the girls have had lots of practice answering these questions (and more) over the last couple of years.  Most folks we meet are genuinely gracious and kind to us when they find out we're homeschoolers.  At least to our face, anyway. :) 

I'm always impressed that the girls can answer all their questions with zeal and never get tired of saying, "We're homeschooled!"

And let's be honest, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't completely thrilled and relieved with their answer on that last question... 

"We love our teacher!  She's our mom!"  Makes my day, every time. 

This time of year, I also get questions concerning curriculum choices from fellow and new homeschooling moms.  

One thing I've realized in my short time homeschooling is that no curriculum holds the magic answer. A little research will show an endless amount of resources today and a vast array of curriculum options in every subject.  

If you're not careful, you can spend a ton of money and feel desperately discouraged all at the same time.

Therefore, whenever I'm asked about homeschooling, my answer always points back to the Lord.  As I've written in the past, our family's vision has evolved.  Our view of education is much different than it used to be.  Our goals have changed so naturally, our methods have changed.

I don't want to give the false impression that it has always come easy for me (surrender never does) but at the same time, it has always felt right.  

It requires that I relinquish control, constant comparison, unrealistic expectations, standardized models, and pre-conceived outcomes.  It makes me seek God's counsel and His Word daily, rather than depend on my own flawed, comfortable model of schooling.  It allows me to accept and appreciate my children for the unique individuals that God made them to be.  It opens my eyes to see more clearly the gifts and talents God has given my children, in a way that I might not have, if I were so focused on completing lessons.  And last but not least, it gives me the freedom to embrace our numbered days with joy and peace.  

It's been quite the journey thus far.  One that I'm so thankful for!

I saw this post on Visionary Womanhood a couple of weeks ago (one of my absolute favorite blogs) and I thought it was an encouraging and important reminder for those of us who homeschool for the Lord.

Here's a peek...

Every September I feel a wave of self doubt wash over me. It doesn’t matter that I have been home schooling for 12 years; I still question the soundness of my plans and my own adequacy as a mother and teacher.

Although I feel these doubts year in and year out, I don’t entertain them anymore. They were just signs that I was shooting for the wrong goals and fashioning idols out of clay.  

I wanted to raise intelligent, articulate children who could succeed in life, and I was trusting they would get there if I just used the right methods. I was focused on worldly success in this life, rather than striving for crowns in the life to come.

God’s Word says that “…some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7). 

Are we trusting in the Lord for the success of our homeschool, or are we trusting in our carefully fashioned plans?

Read the entire post here.

“If your children know Saxon Math better than the Proverbs, they are not being properly educated.” -Kevin Swanson

17 August 2012

My "new to me" TOMS

I love a good peep toe wedge.

The text simply read:  "What size shoe are you?"

Me:  7.5

My girlfriend, Hailey picked these up at a yard sale while she was on vacation visiting family in WA.

They retail for $70 plus tax and shipping.

She paid $5.

She and I have lots in common.

One being, we both love a good bargain.

However, we don't share the same shoe size.

That's how I ended up with these puppies.

I'd like to think I was first on her list.

Just because she knows my style and mostly, just because she loves me.

I know it defeats the purpose of TOMS to buy them at a yard sale but a gift is a gift and I'm the grateful recipient.

Good friends are like a good pair of shoes.

Comfortable, reliable, walk through life companions.



May your weekend be blessed with both.

15 August 2012

Tacos de Papas


Crispy, creamy, smoky and spicy seasoned potatoes. Oh, yeah!!

I have to admit, I've been to several "hole in the wall" Mexican restaurants and I've seen Tacos de Papas (Potato Tacos) on the menu. However, I've never ordered these particular tacos- although they sounded interesting.  

Last week, I ran into my girlfriend, Janette and she told me about these seasoned potatoes she made. She also told me she used them for tacos as well as for breakfast. Um, she had me at "taco". 

I think everyone who knows us also knows our love for Mexican food. What can we say? Maybe it's a California thing? We usually have Mexican food several times a week and thankfully, it's been a versatile and key part of our new diet. Ole!

Thanks for the inspiration, J! My family absolutely loved these and we devoured every last bite!


Here's my version of Tacos de Papas.




A warm corn tortilla topped with seasoned potatoes, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. 




Oops!  Don't forget the avocado slices!

Tacos de Papas
Ingredients:
4-6 potatoes (I used 6 small Yukon Golds.  Any kind would work).
2-3 garlic cloves, diced
1 small onion, diced
EVOO
Cumin
Chili Powder
Smoked Paprika
Salt & Pepper
*1/4 cup water

Boil potatoes until fork tender.  When cool enough to handle, cut in bite-sized cubes.  Use EVOO to saute onions and garlic in a non-stick skillet.  Add cubed potatoes and spices.  Toss and coat.  I don't have exact measurements because it's really just a matter of preference.  Try it with a 1/2 tsp. of each spice and then add more if you desire.  In the end, I think I used about 1 tsp. of each spice.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Remember, these are potatoes so salt liberally.

*You may need to add some water to absorb the spices.

Right before serving, turn up the burner to get that extra crispiness on the potatoes before turning once more.  Warm up some corn tortillas and add your favorite garnishes!

Mmm, que rico! 

14 August 2012

Stick to Your Bones Curried Lentil Soup

Pinned Image

Lentils... little flat legumes, packed with fiber, B-vitamins, protein and hardly any calories.

I love these little guys because unlike beans, they don't need to be soaked before cooking.

I've only used the green and brown varieties, as I hear they keep their shape and texture better once cooked.

Yes, I realize it's 115 outside and that means it is still very much summer around these parts but comforting, stick to your bones type food is yummy in any season. No? Just turn up the A/C!

Besides, this is less like soup and more like stew, anyway. Here's a peek.            



I don't have a fancy camera and frankly, the lighting in my kitchen isn't the best for photos but this shot turned out pretty good. I think it's the pop in colors and textures. I have to say, it tasted delicious, too! So much so that I've been eating it for 3 days straight!

I'm slowly navigating my way through this new way of eating. I guess you can call it mostly vegan with the occasional fish. I don't know what the technical name for that might be, nor are we concerning ourselves with labels. We're not hard-core like that. Or snobbish. :)

We are, however, 5 weeks into it and so far it's been good! I don't miss anything I can't live without. I feel like I have lots more energy throughout the day and that's a nice bonus. Thank you, Lord!

I'm most impressed with my hubby though. He's not only cut out meat but also heavily processed foods, soda, and sweets. And boy, did he love his sweets! Thankfully, this was all his idea! OK, maybe I had a tiny bit of influence but ultimately, he's the one who made the decision to change his diet for himself. And since he couldn't do it without his chef at home's support, we jumped in together, for our whole family.

All this to say, if we invite you over for dinner, we'll still cook you meat and when you invite us, please don't fret. :)

Oh yeah, and feel free to pass along any delicious recipes you have for me. I need them!

Enjoy this, in any season!

Stick to Your Bones Curried Lentil Soup
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 med to large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups dry green lentils (rinsed)
  • 8 cups Vegetable stock (I like Pacific Natural Foods Organic Veg Broth)
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1.5-2 Tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • simmer for 30-35 mins.
  • 10-15 Minutes Before Cooking Time Ends add in:
  • half bag of baby spinach leaves, kale, or swiss chard- cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces

 Serve with some crusty bread.  Mmm!

Rich & Emily's Summer Visit

Fun at the pool!
















Dinner at the Yard House.





 Haha!


 Awesome.



Rasta Kyile.





 Morgan's little buddy.


Playing doctor:  Grace is the doc, Kylie the patient and Faith the comforting mommy.  Too cute!






Loving cousins.

We always look forward to my brother's summer visit with his family.  We spend lots of time in the pool, we share meals together and get to hang out and watch the kids play, as if we lived closer.
These are the memories we will all cherish!

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