Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Focusing on Freedom


July is usually one of my least favorite months of the year due to the intense heat of the south and the absurd amount of insects attacking my face.  My focus on what is important can so quickly grow dim, while the thorns and worries of life seem to stare me in the face.  Even with those distractions, this month has begun with rest in my soul and a desire for freedom from the thoughts that fill my mind with anxiety.  


The summer months resonate with community coming together. Friends and neighbors keeping it simple with lawn chairs, popcorn, and a last minute movie in the back yard.









Family becomes more precious.  Spending time with my nephews and niece has become more intentional knowing that our family will spread even farther in the near future. Even short phone calls with my sisters seem more precious.






Glancing back on Independence day causes me to breathe deeply, longing for more days like it.  When one side of me wanted to fill the day with plans and people, God gave me such peace in reminding me of the people He has put right in front of me:  my sweet little family.  That day in which we remember the freedom given to us years ago, also brought freedom to my soul, allowing me to choose to rest, to choose the simple, and to choose my family above the busyness that seemed enticing.  

A relaxed breakfast with one of my sister's and our families, weeding the front flower bed, baking a blackberry cobbler, turning off the social media and lounging in the backyard pool, Friday night movie and pizza...  All of those things gave such freedom, freedom to rest and give thanks for the blessings God's placed right in front of me. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Oh, Spring, where have you gone?






From celebrating 10 years with this amazing girl...



To the dreams of flying again... 


 

Treasuring every moment with these girls...

 

Yet, taking the time to rest...




Trying new things...



Memories made with Nana...


Rekindling the past fourteen years...


Yet thrilled to see what the future holds.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Filling Up our Summer Bucket



For the past several summers, I've written out a summer bucket list of sorts. Last year was more organized, systematic, perhaps too ambitious, so this year we're going a little more low key.  It will still be fun, but a little less formatted, yet some new summer ideas for my imaginative girls to look forward to.  My greatest desire this summer is honestly to become more disciplined on a daily basis.  My prayer is to spend more time reading, training my girls in His Word (Psalm 15), and catching up on projects that have been put off for the last year.  Hopefully, there will be a little purging of stuff, simplifying of rooms, and focusing on what God has for our upcoming school year.




 



Summer bucket list for 2014:

  • take each girl on a date
  • farmers market
  • road trip to Greenville, SC and Atlanta, GA with my girls
  • go to museums (Life & Science Museum in Durham and the planetarium in Chapel Hill)
  • outdoor movie night
  • print pictures from the past year & put them in photo albums
  • memorize a Psalm
  • teach the girls something new
  • finish Sophie's baby scrapbook
  • a week of summer camp for all three girls
  • watch Anne of Avonlea
  • go camping (backyard again?)
  • summer reading
  • free summer bowling
  • $1 movies
  • swim with friends at the pool
  • ABC's of summer writing
  • Morning Mind Stretches
  • outdoor photo scavenger hunt





These free printable lists allowed the girls to write (or draw) their own summer bucket lists as well.  Sophie got a little happy with the red marker.  Her four items are #1 Go camping #2 Beach #3 Go to Japan to visit Nana & Papa (how I wish!) #4 Go hunting (for butterflies).  My favorite on Naomi's list was #5 Family Shopping (not sure what exactly that means, but it sounds good to me).  Chloe was a bit more ambitious.  Her's involved lots of reading (200 books to be exact), skateboarding, handstands, and splits.  But my favorite is #7 Get into the habit of doing my devotions.  Let it be real, Lord!




Summer Movie Schedule

Barnes & Noble's Summer Reading Program

Free Summer Bowling

Printable Summer Bucket Lists

ABC's of Summer Writing

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Quinoa, Gyoza, and Other Weird Vegetarian Ideas...



My spring/summer menu plan is finally completed (now that spring is over, of course).  But hopefully, it may be something worth using next year as well.  I have loved menu planning since our early years of marriage, but have found using a monthly/seasonal menu plan to be even more beneficial in this time of my life.  Being a vegetarian, I'm already viewed as a little weird, so why not add to that weirdness by adding things like quinoa (pronouced "keen-wha") and gyoza (what I learned to make in 8th grade Home Ec class)  I tried to lessen our carb intake, since that's the easy option when eating vegetarian, but not necessarily the healthiest.  I may try to substitute lentils instead of quinoa on some Mondays for the cost issue.  We've tried some of these recipes, while others are still a guessing game.  Some (esp the salad ones) may have to be accompanied by Annie's Mac n Cheese for the sake of my non-salad lovers.

Monday - Quinoa
1.  Quinoa, Black Beans, and Corn Tacos
2.  Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
3.  One Pan Mexican Quinoa
4.  Sesame Ginger Quinoa Salad

Tuesday - Fish
1.  Salmon Cakes
2.  Tuna Lunch Bites
3.  Baked Salmon with Garlic & Dijon
4.  Fish Tacos

Wednesday - Beans
1.  Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls
2.  Black Bean Soup
3.  Tempeh Chili with corn chips
4.  Bean & Cheese Burritos






Thursday - Salads
1.  Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad
2.  Quick Asian Noodle Salad
3.  Broccoli, Tomato, & Tortellini Salad
4.  Easy Greek Salad

Friday - Family Favorites
1.  Chipotle Black Bean Burger
2.  Pizza (homemade or take-out)
3.  Japanese (gyoza, edamame, yakisoba)
4.  Hot Dogs, cole slaw, chili


Saturday & Sunday - Whatever...
1.  Spinach Quiche
2.  Waffles & smoothies
3.  Grilled Sandwiches
4.  Baked Potatoes


For the days when I just want to throw the menu out the window, there is always take-out pizza!  Mommy's life-saver!