Friday, January 20, 2012

Tea For Two

I love that my girls have each other. 
We encourage them and are trying to help cultivate their relationship but quite honestly most days are hard. They are young and are both learning how to communicate and how to play with each other. Evelyn is not always gentle and Zoë has a hard time trusting her. Evelyn really does not like it when Zoë cries and will loudly let you know it. Both girls are strong willed and vocal about what they want and therefore conflict arises. So, as we pray that God takes our adorable, spunky, head-strong little girls and molds them into beautiful, young women whose tenacity and fire is used for His kingdom I am thankful for the sweet times that they do show love and patience to one another. LOVE it. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Fresh Start part 2

{If you didn't read part 1 you can read that here.}

In efforts to get a little more organized with my time and my home I revamped my daily schedule and set up an easier meal planning method. Hopefully this will help ease my husbands pain of hearing "I dunno" in response to his question of "Whats for dinner?" I also want to be a good steward of my time so that I may have more time to focus on my walk with Christ, relationships in my home and around me, and serving others. I thought I would share what I have been doing and maybe it will lend some motivation or ideas for others....
>Day to Day- I started using THIS wonderful daily schedule from A Holy Experience- Ann Voskamp. I really like it because not only does it give me a place for all the notes and chores for my day but it also helps give purpose to my day. It encourages relationships to focus on cultivating, my daily bible verse, things to be thankful for. {Oh and I love having a place to mark down my water consumption because otherwise I would NEVER drink 8 glasses a day!}
>Meal planning- I started with a cute calendar from HERE and then I made a list of all the meals our family eats and broke it down into 5 categories and assigned each day a category. 
Monday- Mexican
Tuesday- Asian
Friday- Mexican
Next, I made my meal plan for the first 2 weeks of the month by choosing ideas from the main list, made a grocery list, and actually went to the store! {Earth shattering, I know} Now I don't have to spend so much time jogging my memory trying to think of meals we like to eat and there's really no excuse when dinner time comes around cause it's all planned.
Josh made me this cute background for my list and it's on our fridge
>Weekly Chores- Having a basic weekly chores list helps me from falling into 2  extremes. 1-Being a crazy clean freak who cleans the same thing multiple times in a week when it really doesn't need it or 2- Becoming super lazy and telling myself a particular room in the house is already "too messy" so I will just really clean it some other day when I have time... This basic chore list is what I strive to do each week but honestly it's just a guide and I don't always stick to it. I always try and keep a clean kitchen and sink. I have also been trying to do 1 load of laundry a day to keep from getting overwhelmed. My 15 min pick up helps me keep the clutter kept up. 
>Monthly calendar- One of the things I have figured out about Evelyn is that she likes needs to know whats going on. Every night before bed, every morning and every nap time she is always asking me what we are going to do next. I bought this big calendar at Walmart for like $3.00 and wrote out what our plan for the week/month is. I tried to make it simple and easy for her to understand as she sees the pattern of what we do throughout the weeks. Honestly both girls have been sick for the past 2 weeks so we haven't been able to do much of what we planned but hopefully soon we will all be healthy!

>Reading-One of my goals this year is to read AT LEAST 2 books a month. There are so many books I want to read but never put the time into finishing them. These are some of the first ones on my list as well as a couple of my favorites. I want to re-read Radical and finish it this time. I listened to all the sermons but never finished the book, I already finished Loving The Little Years and LOVED it. Short and to the point in addition to being really encouraging to where I am right now. There are some homeschooling books as well as an adoption book. 
One of my favorites is, Then Sings My Soul-A wonderful collection of 150 favorite hymns, with sheet music and the history behind each one. LOVE reading the stories and My girls love singing these together.
For our morning devotional Evelyn and I are reading Jesus Calling, I really like how the Adult and Kids devotions go together. It's a good start for the day to get me focused right way. Evelyn is having a little bit of a hard time focusing since there are no pictures but it's good for her and I know she will get into being able to focus more in the future. I try picking a story from her Jesus Storybook Bible that goes together to help tie it together in her mind. 

>Memorizing-To help with memorizing scripture, I am trying to have a verse a week and utilizing my big chalkboard to write it out right in our kitchen. It's working pretty well so far and I love having scripture up in a tangible way. 
>Exercise- I don't exercise and quite honestly every time I say I want to exercise more I never end up changing a thing. I have always been able to eat whatever and stay at a weight I am pretty happy with BUT after 2 kids and turning 26 I think things might be a changing.... I know I know don't hate but it's hitting me. I have been having back pain and I am pretty sure it's linked to my complete lack of stomach muscles as well as the fact that pretty much every time I eat a semi filling meal I look about how I looked at 5 months pregnant-also probably contributed to my lack of stomach muscles. So I printed out THIS little workout plan to start with and so far it's made it up on my fridge and I *plan* are starting it soon. ;)

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Fresh Start part 1

{OK so I know this is a little late.... it's January 13th and I kinda missed the New Years bandwagon but better late than never.}

 I love fresh starts. God is so gracious to us and gives us so many opportunities to start anew.

A new morning
A new week
A new month 
A new season
A new year

I always look forward to the New Year and making my list of things I want to start doing, or stop doing, or do better, or whatever. I don't always stick to them but I am not really one to beat myself up about it either. There's always tomorrow, right? 
I was bored and decided to revamp my boring list into something more
eye pleasing and also working on my Photoshop skills {or lack thereof}  I added words and sayings along with my goals to give a direction I hope my days will take. 

I want to read more. I want to serve more. I want to memorize scripture. I want to pray more. Cook more. Exercise more. Laugh more. 

My hubby had the week after Christmas off and in addition to having some fun time as a family I worked around the house like a crazy woman- I cleaned, organized, and de-cluttered every drawer, cupboard, and closet in our house. Josh tackled some long over-do projects around the house including making a ridiculously large mountain of paperwork disappear and when I say mountain I am not exaggerating.... we have never been good with paperwork, filing, sorting, etc. and about 3 moves ago we had our filing cabinet break on us mid move and all the papers ended up in a cardboard box and stayed that way until a week ago.... yeah... and what happened to all the papers since then you ask?... yeah.... we had a few more boxes, paper bags, and even a plastic baby bath tub full in our spare room. I am not proud of this but thanks to the hubs it's gone! {oh how I despise papers!} After all our effort I started off the New Year in a good place as far as our home is concerned. 

Tomorrow I will post about some specific tools I have been utilizing to help with the day to day. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Version of Easy Chicken Fried Rice {and a little rant about naps}

Well, I had every attention of blogging some kind of real post about things I have been learning lately but alas my 3 year thinks it's her duty to get out a bed 100 times before finally calling it a night at about 10pm. I think we have officially hit the point where she no longer needs to take an afternoon nap and that makes me a little sad but not really in the "oh my baby girl is growing up sad" more like "when in the world am I going to have time to get things done without those precious 2 hours of quiet, sad."  Looks like I need to start figuring out some quiet activities that will keep her attention for more than 2 minutes....

Don't worry, I am not going to leave you with just this little rant about my loss...  I have a recipe, and it's even easy and kid approved in my house so that's a plus!

My Version of Easy Chicken Fried Rice
I usually just throw this together without measuring it but since that wouldn't be too helpful but I attempted to measure and take pictures so I could share.... it's not exact and you don't have to follow it perfectly to get good results....
You will need:
3 1/2 Cups Cooked Rice (I used brown rice)
1 Cup Frozen Peas
1 Cup Cooked Carrots (you could probably use frozen, I'm just not a fan)
1 1/2 Cups Diced Cooked Chicken
1 Egg
Soy Sauce (start with about 3 TBS, add more depending on taste)
Chinese Style Mustard (start with about 2 TBS)(FYI, mine said extra spicy but it really wasn't that spicy at all)
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Cooking Oil (I used Canola)
*You could probably add onions too if you like that, I never feel like cutting them up*
*Tip- I cooked my carrots in my little steamer basket of my rice cooker to save a little time*
Start with a large skillet or wok on medium high heat. Put a few TBS of oil in the pan and heat. Add egg and scramble up in oil. 
Add rice, frozen peas, cooked carrots, and chicken and then soy sauce and mustard. Heat through adding more sauce if desired. Salt and Pepper to taste. 

That's it, pretty good and easy. My girls like it and using the brown rice it's healthy so that's a plus. BUT a little disclaimer, if you have toddlers this WILL make a mess (Isn't rice the hardest to clean up!?!) So my suggestion, after dinner go for a walk, then put the kids to bed and clean it up later when it's gotten yucky and hard, MUCH easier to sweep up....