22 May 2017

Meal Plan Week #34

Happy Monday before Memorial Day!

For us, this is our last week of school before we take a two week break. YES!!!🌞

And come Friday, because we're officially celebrating the start of summer around here, I've decided to take a break from posting my meal plans for the summer, too. I'll continue to occasionally share some of our favorite meals and recipes (like I've always done) and perhaps I'll have more time to post fun happenings around here or topics of interest. Either way, it's summer so a break from the norm sounds good!

Our stand out last week:

Hawaiian Sweet & Sour Meatballs.

This was a simple slow cooker twist on the grilled meatball kabobs we usually have. Just add all the ingredients to your crockpot and you'll have a delicious family friendly meal waiting for you.  

Ingredients:
  • 32 oz. package of precooked frozen meatballs (we use Aidell's Chicken Pineapple)
  • 13.5 oz. can of unsweetened pineapple chunks (put juice aide)- I used fresh pineapples this time (approx. 8 spears)
  • 1 large green pepper
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 T corn starch
Directions:
Place meatballs in crockpot and top with chopped green & red peppers and pineapple chunks. In a separate bowl, mix reserved pineapple juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and soy sauce. Pour sauce over meatballs, peppers, and pineapple. Give it a stir and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro and Sriracha sauce (if you like it spicy).

Ok, so here's my last meal plan for a while... Welcome, SUMMER!!

Meal Plan Week #34
  • Fish Tacos
  • Chicken Alfredo Shells
  • Black Bean Burgers
  • Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes and Feta
  • Carnitas with Roasted Corn


21 May 2017

Our Happy Place

I'm still smiling from our trip to the beach!


These two love to comb the beach for shells.


 Happy boy.


Sorting her treasures.




 Little boys in straw hats. ðŸ˜


 Keeping busy.




 My beach babes.


Kisses for my Grace.


 Hanging out in the shade with mama.


 Low tide and soft little waves made it great for Zach to play in the water.






 Our preferred beach snack is always baked Cheetos!


 He had to pet all the dogs.






 Weren't the girls just this little? 😂😂


 Our beach splurge is always ice cream at the snack bar. 🍦🍦
Zach was busy drinking his ice water since he detests ice cream. 😜


Happiness = the BEACH!

We could not have asked for a more perfect day!

Bring on summer!

18 May 2017

My Summer Booklist

A few weeks ago, as I was compiling a summer booklist for the girls, I decided it would be fun to create my own booklist. Like most moms, I read a TON of books to my toddler everyday. In addition, it seems like I've always got a read aloud going with the girls. But honestly, sometimes, I don't make time to read for myself. My personal reading definitely fluctuates between seasons. Truth moment: sometimes, I just want to veg on the couch and I can't even bring myself to pick up another book. I'm finding the toddler years (and now pre-teens years) do that to me. Help! 😜

Thankfully, I'm crawling my way out of that pit season and into a new one.
And just like anything else, when I put my goal in writing, it helps to keep me accountable.

I chose five books to read this summer. Five seemed like a realistic goal for me. Also, I'm being really choosy with my books. I researched them quite a bit to make sure they were going to keep my interest and motivate me towards my goal. In other words... 'Aint nobody got time to read dull boring books! 😛   

I bought this months and months ago on the sale table at Family Christian Bookstore and finally started reading this a couple of weeks ago. I appreciate the short, easy reading chapters. It's been wonderful for someone like me who often times, only has a few minutes to read here and there. The greatest take away so far: Less is more. Be faithful in the few things instead of burdening myself with everything else I think I should be doing. Isn't that true for so many aspects of life? Also, living like we are truly loved by God means that we don't have to try so hard to measure up to everyone else's expectations, especially our own. More being instead of striving. Every soul needs this reminder.  
  

My friend, Sarah told me about this book from a conversation we were having last week. Here's the premise: Play dates, soccer practice, day care, political correctness, drudgery without facts, television, video games, constant supervision, endless distractions: these and other insidious trends in child rearing and education are now the hallmarks of childhood. As author Anthony Esolen demonstrates in this elegantly written, often wickedly funny book, almost everything we are doing to children now constricts their imaginations, usually to serve the ulterior motives of the constrictors. With summer practically here, this one seems perfect.
I can't wait to dive into this one next!


Challenging as they are to raise, strong-willed children can grow up to be men and women of strong character―if lovingly guided with understanding and the right kind of discipline. Find out what Dr. James Dobson, today’s most trusted authority on parenting, has to say about what makes strong-willed children the way they are; shaping the will while protecting the spirit; avoiding the most common parenting mistake; and much more. If you are struggling to raise and teach children who are convinced they should be able to live by their own rules, The New Strong-Willed Child is a must-read!
Ha! We love you, Zachary!


The doctrine of adoption—God’s decision to adopt sinful men and women into his family—stands at the heart of Christianity. In light of this, Christians’ efforts to adopt beautifully illustrate the truth of the gospel. In this popular-level and practical manifesto, Russell Moore encourages Christians to adopt children and to help other Christian families to do the same. He shows that adoption is not just about couples who have struggled to have children. Rather, it’s about an entire culture within evangelicalism—a culture that sees adoption as part of the Great Commission mandate and as a sign of the gospel itself.
Yes, yes, and yes!! Naturally, Morgan and I are passionate about adoption and lately, God has been stirring us up to share this message with our church. I can't wait to see what He does as His word and Spirit inspire those around us!    


Ok, so as you can see from the above books, I'm usually bent toward non-fiction. Books about growing in depth, purpose and knowledge. You know, deep stuff. One True Loves is NOT one of those books. Ha! This is Chick-Lit, as far as I know. Totally opposite of what I'm used to. It's an emotional and epic love story that supposedly keeps you hooked and wanting more. I chose it as an easy vacation or beach read.
We shall see!    

And last but not least, I'm adding this 6th book to my list but it's not available until October. I can't wait to get my hands on Katie Davis' second book, Daring to Hope. I absolutely loved her first book, Kisses from Katie. Now, she's married with a new baby boy! Katie has a gift for sharing stories and conveying how big our God is through her unconventional, inspiring life.  

Ok, that's 6 books in total but I hope to get through 5 of them by the end of summer.
Do you have any must read books you'd like to share with me? If so, I'd love to hear about them!   

 Happy Reading!

17 May 2017

Mother's Day 2017

 We started the morning early at church. They had set up this cute little bench with lots of greenery and this darling sign for moms to take a photo with their kiddos.


After church, we headed to breakfast at the Café at Shield's Date Garden. We had to wait a little bit for our table so it was the perfect time to stroll through the gardens and take the Jesus Walk.


"Let the Little Children Come to Me."
Oh my goodness, how I love this picture. Zach was trying to hug Jesus, too.   


 "Your King comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey." -Zechariah 9:9


Love these two men in my life.


 And these two ladies.


The girls enjoyed their date pancakes (of course!) and Zach got a Mickey pancake. Breakfast was spectacular! The food was incredible, the weather was perfect, the scenery and the live music all added to the ambience of the morning. I could not have asked for a sweeter time with my family!


And then the kids showered me with cards.


How sweet is this?


 And they even got me a gift! A bread maker!  


Making bread at home has always been a bit intimidating to me but I found out months ago, even Joanna Gaines uses a bread maker to make her bread! I mentioned it to Morgan a while back and he listened. 😄
A bread maker has never been something I felt I wanted to splurge on but all my kids are bread lovers and I am so tired of all the tasteless bread in the stores. This gift was actually from the girls (they paid Morgan for it) but it benefits the whole family! I can't wait to bake my first loaf! Stay tuned!
    

Another sweet surprise for Mother's Day came from Super Sue, Zach's spectacular NICU nurse. She sent this beautiful arrangement of edible fruit. She said she lost her mother 2.5 years ago and she wanted to send me something in honor of her memory. Wow. I'm still so humbled and honored that she would remember me and do something so warm and kind. Sue, you have a very special place in our hearts!


 This was the photo I sent thanking her. The fruit is SO good! We've been enjoying it like lollipops!


Later in the afternoon, these two took advantage of the amazing cool weather we've been having by going to the skate park for some daddy/son time.


 Taking a break from all that riding.


While the boys were at the park, I took the girls to see the movie, Born in China. We loved it!

My mother's day was absolutely fabulous but you know what? Everyday with my people is pretty special. How undeservedly blessed I am!

On this Mother's Day and every day, I am especially grateful for 4 mothers. First, my own mother who has poured her life into me and continues to be a source of strength, grace and dignity in her 70's. Thank you, mom. I love you. Second, my mother-in-law, whom I think about almost every day. She has gone to be with the Lord but her legacy lives on daily as I witness my husband serve us (and others) with the same love and compassion she did. We miss you dearly, Grandma. Lastly, on Mother's Day, I can't help but remember Faith & Grace's birth mom and Zach's birth mom. Without their sacrifice, I wouldn't be celebrating this day at all.

I can still remember the days when I prayed for all the things I have now. Being a mom is by far the hardest and greatest job I have ever known. Some days, I feel like I fail at it way more than I succeed. Loving people is hard. Heck, loving myself is hard, too. Believe me, my kids see the absolute worst in me and some days, I think to myself, "Really, God? Why did you choose me with all my flaws?"

Whatever you perceive about me through this blog or in person, I can assure you that I am no Mom of the Year. My mothering is not sufficient. Only He is sufficient and only He can fill up the holes, for all of us. So on a day like Mother's Day, when my family just wants to celebrate me or give me sweet heartfelt notes, I'm overwhelmed by God's grace and humbled by His love and faithfulness.

Thank you, God for giving me this life and the privilege and joy of being a mother.


  

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