30 June 2016

Madilyn turns 2!

My sweet little Frozen loving niece turned 2 over the weekend and we celebrated with a fun pool party. The awesome birthday cakes were made by her talented Uncle Eric. Madilyn is by far the cutest and smartest little girl you will ever meet (I know, I'm a tad biased).

Her "baby" status is soon to be rocked because in a just a few short months, she's going to be a BIG SISTER!

Happy Birthday, Madilyn Rose!

Our family would not be the same without you.

We love you and we thank God for you!  

23 June 2016

Baking with Miss Jill

Ready to make some pop tarts.

Cutting out the dough.

 They made two different kind. Blueberry Almond & Cookie Butter.


Next, came the Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes.

 Frosting the cupcakes were so much fun.

Decorating and making them look pretty.

Having too much fun! Or maybe too much sugar? :)

Afterwards, they got to enjoy their treats while sipping on lavender tea.

 Sweet Sofie wants a bite, too.

My girlfriend, Jill was so sweet to host a baking class for Faith and Grace. Ever since we watched the Kids Baking Championship, the girls have been looking forward to this day for a long time.

Jill's cupcakes were inspired by her recent visit to the Lavender Festival where she stocked up on all things lavender.

What a blessing to have friends who are willing to share their gifts, talents, and time with your kids. The girls had the most delightful afternoon with her!

Jill's friendship is a treasure to me. I'm always inspired by her humble, quiet spirit as well as her generosity and selflessness. She sure makes our life extra rich and sweet!

We love you, Jill!

21 June 2016

Happy Father's Day, my love!

Can you feel the love for this man in this photo?

Homemade cards, small gifts, and a little boy who never wants to leave his side.

Father and son watching the U.S. Open.

Dinner at daddy's favorite place: Dickey's BBQ Pit.

Nearly 15 years ago when I married Morgan, I knew he was going to be a good dad but I had no idea he was going to be a GREAT dad for our kids.

Father's Day is a time when we as a family can affirm him, praise him, and show him our gratitude for all the ways he lovingly takes care of us.

Morgan is the most hard-working, responsible, kind-hearted, compassionate, and selfless man we know. So the fact that he's ours is kind of a big deal.

"Undeserved" is the word that best comes to mind when I think of him. But then again, all of God's greatest gifts are that way, aren't they?

Morgan is not a father because of blood but by love and choice, he empties himself in order to pour his heart into his children.

Faith summed it up well on Sunday. She said, "I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have such a great daddy!" Truly, he is his daughters' first love and his son's first hero.

Thank you, babe for loving us all so well and for being the greatest example of Jesus in our lives.

We love you and we thank God for you!

20 June 2016

Another surgery... mine

That's right, mine.

It's been on the calendar for months now and it finally happened last Wednesday.

Don't I just look peachy in my hospital garb? No make up, a lovely hair net, a sporty IV, and a cool new yellow bracelet labeled, "fall risk".

I thought about glazing over this part of my life and excluding it altogether but then, I wouldn't be able to give God glory.

Since turning 45 back in October, I began to have some dull pain in my lower abdomen area, particularly on my right side. After an ultrasound and a biopsy, it was determined that I had endometriosis. I also had a large cyst on my right ovary that was causing me some pain.

But then, after that initial visit to the doctor, I went almost 6 months without feeling any pain at all. Still, my doctor recommended surgery but it wasn't necessarily an urgent case. Hence, never having had surgery of ANY kind, of course, I wanted to avoid it at all cost. However, in the end, I wanted to be smart about it, too.

So I got a second opinion, prayed, and finally decided that I'd rather get it taken care of now because honestly, life is too short and I'm only as young as I am today. I wanted to feel my best. Especially when I have a toddler to run after. By the grace of God, He allowed me to make it to my surgery date without emergency or complication (which I purposely scheduled after the girls got out of school).

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have some anxiety leading up to this day. It may sound silly to some but I really had to battle Satan and his whispers which are often filled with fear, uncertainty, and lies.

Perhaps that's why I chose to include this piece of my story here today. It's yet another example of how the Word of God can help us slay the Enemy, give us peace, and calm our fears. God so often uses trials in our life to draw us closer to Him. Instead of relying on Him daily, I need Him moment by moment. Experiencing physical pain can do that to you- it's a great reminder that He provides tender mercies and daily grace.

By the time surgery came up, I was still a little anxious but I also had peace. I knew that even though I didn't know what to expect (isn't that half the battle?) that God knew what He was doing and He was in full control.

Let's be real. Hospitals suck. Being a patient is no picnic. And anesthesia is awful.

Watching Zach go through his surgery last month helped prepare me for what to expect and actually gave me courage to face mine. Thank you, son. Another gift.

I'm happy to say that my surgery went as planned and nothing eventful happened. Well, unless you count that nurse who was wheeling me into the OR while telling me she thought my husband was really cute and he was just her type. Huh? I know I'm about to go under but back off, lady. :)

I'm so thankful to my mom who came and stayed with us for a few days to help out. I'm super proud of the girls for stepping up and taking care of Zach so well. And I'm grateful to Morgan, my rock, who snapped this lovely photo of me, and took off the rest of the week to stay home and take care of us all.  

Also, to my sweet girlfriends who brought us dinner every night. Love you, girls!

Praise the Lord, each day, I'm feeling better and stronger. By Sunday, I was able to go to church and even out to dinner to celebrate Morgan for Father's Day.

God is good, friends.

He not only continues to write my story, He lovingly refines me through it all. My hope is in Him alone. By faith, I'm going to continue to believe in His promises and the complete healing and restoration He has for me.

10 June 2016

Bread in a Bag

 The girls made bread this week.

 I was inspired when I came across a recipe for bread in a bag.

 They had so much fun!

 The bread only comes out of the bag at the end when it's time to knead it.

 We let it rest for 30 mins. and watched it rise.

Move over, Panera! :)

They were giddy about their bread.

We couldn't wait too much longer. We had to try it!

Everyone knows, I'm not a baker and I've always been intimidated with the thought of making bread myself but when I stumbled across this recipe, specifically designed for kids, it inspired me to give it a try.

The kids devoured it warm, drizzled with a little honey. I have to admit, it was pretty good.   

We typically don't eat white bread but I stuck to the original recipe on this one. Now, the girls want to try making different versions, like honey wheat, sourdough, and pumpkin spice.

Most importantly, they had so much FUN making the bread and the anticipation of how it was going to turn out was a blast! Today is the last day of school and I am SO looking forward to cooking more with the kids this summer!

Bread in a Bag
by yourhomebasedmom.com

Serves: 2 mini loaves or 1 full size loaf
  • 3 C flour, divided
  • 3 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 (.25) package rapid rise yeast
  • 1 C warm water
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tsp salt
    1. In a resealable plastic bag place 1 C flour, sugar and yeast and add in warm water.
    2. Squeeze air out of the bag and seal.
    3. Squish with your hands until well mixed together.
    4. Let it rest for 10 minutes at room temperature. Bubbles will form.
    5. Open bag and put in 1 C of flour, oil and salt.
    6. Seal bag again and squish until well blended.
    7. Add last cup of flour and continue mixing in the same manner until well blended.
    8. Remove dough from bag and put onto a lightly floured surface.
    9. Knead for 5-10 minutes or until smooth.
    10. Divide dough in half and place each half into a greased mini loaf pan. Or make one large loaf
    11. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for about 30 minutes.
    12. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until bread is golden brown.

07 June 2016

JCA Awards Night

Aloha themed night.

Trying to learn how to be a good audience member.

Clapping for his sisters!

So very PROUD of these two!!

Their teacher, Miss Gilmore telling Grace how proud she was of her.

And in other big news... she finally made Honor Roll this last quarter!

It was great to have Uncle Ben join us, too!

We're all still beaming from last night!
 What a night it was and what a YEAR it's been for the girls!

Faith was awarded Most Improved Overall Academic Excellence as well as the year's Fruit of the Spirit Award for LOVE. The Fruit of the Spirit awards are chosen by all of the teachers and only one is given in each fruit throughout the whole school.

Grace's awards: Perseverance in Grammar (her toughest subject) as well as the Fruit of the Spirit Award for PEACE. In addition to her two awards, Grace was also awarded the Citizenship Medal in her 4th/5th combo class.

 The Citizenship Award is mainly for godly character. 

Her teacher said this about her:
"She is filled with Jesus' love. She takes time to pray with the students and take their hand if they are upset or worried. She is filled with the Holy Spirit and reflects Jesus in all she says and does."

We are so proud of BOTH our girls and all the hard work and determination they put into this big transitional year.

But Grace, I get teary eyed just thinking about how far she's come. She is someone you can't help but cheer for. The academic side of school has not always come easy for her but her heart, enthusiasm, and determination have prevailed. As parents, you just can't help but cry happy tears when you see others recognize her sweet soul and the uniqueness God has gifted her with.

She is quiet but social. She is gentle but mighty. She's a devoted friend and a fierce protector of the fragile. She is generous, compassionate, kind, humble, innocent, and yes, girl...YOU ARE BRAVE. She is wiser than I give her credit for sometimes and her name fits her to a tee.

Because of her quietness, I remember telling her at the beginning of the year, "You may not always get recognized or rewarded but that's OK. You just keep doing your best because we see you and most importantly, God does, too."

What an amazing year of growth it's been for us ALL.

God knew exactly what the girls needed. And graciously, He blessed them with loving teachers and opportunities to grow and shine at JCA!

We couldn't be more thankful. What a memorable year!

Glory to Him!

06 June 2016

Janette's Birthday!

The ladies and I got together on Sunday to celebrate Janette's birthday at the scrumptious Eureka!

You can always count on Janette for a kind, sympathetic, and encouraging word. To know her is to love her and I have been so blessed by her sweet friendship over the years.

Towards the end of the summer, we'll also be celebrating the arrival of her newest baby girl, Paisley (baby #4)!

Life's celebrations are even more special when you have sweet sisters like these.

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