Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Breakfast Bowl (or anytime!)

My favorite way to eat a healthy meal is in bowl form. Have you noticed this craze taking the internet by storm?  The idea is simple-combine a number of healthy, squeaky clean foods in a bowl and enjoy together.  I guess perhaps this could be considered the modern take on casseroles?! 

I like to eat a bowl, such as the one you see above, for breakfast and then have a super light lunch.  Or even eat light for breakfast and lunch and then enjoy a bowl for dinner.  Let's dive into the contents of this delicious bowl of food, shall we?
I thought I'd share step-by-step how I prepare these awesome meals to show you just how easy it all comes together.  First I add some EVOO to my electric skillet on a fairly low heat.  While the oil is heating up I grate some potato.  I usually prefer sweet potato, but this particular day went for a regular one.  
Next I'll dice up a bunch of onion, either white or red.  
Then add both the potato and onion to the skillet, turning the heat up to 350
While the onion and potato are cooking I open up a can of beans, lima, navy, or black beans being my favorite. 
Drain the liquid from the beans and give them a rinse if you like.
Then take a fork and smash the beans down in a bowl, almost making a sort of patty.
See how nicely the potato and onion are cooking while we are doing other prep?  Now you'll want to add the smashed beans to the skillet.
My last step is to simply fry an egg! I then start taking things out of the skillet and building my bowl, layer by layer.  I like to place the potato in first, followed by the onions, beans, and egg. 

What really puts the flavor over the top is adding some salsa or hummus on top! 
Obviously homemade hummus is healthier but store-bought works too.  
These bowls also taste great with something crunchy added on top, like pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

This is such a low-maintenance, delicious meal to make!  I can easily get each ingredient going in the skillet, while also doing dishes or something else in the kitchen.  I can also easily serve this to my kids, although I would probably leave each ingredient separate from each other on a plate. 

Have you tried a bowl of food similar to this yet?  Any tips for me? 

Monday, January 16, 2017

A simple game of Go Fish

We awoke Saturday, genuinely thankful and excited to be at home.  Home is our favorite spot to be, to recharge and rest.  After a quick breakfast, plans were made for the day which included a wood-burning fire or two, smoked meat for dinner, and plenty of farm work.  One little face with BIG brown eyes was begging to play a game of Go Fish before we gave the full day of marching orders.  Although eager to get on with our to-do's, Brett and I saw the importance of honoring such a seemingly small request, and we sat down to play. 

We began to teach the girls how to play Go Fish, re-reading the instructions for our grown-up selves as well, seeing as it had been years since we'd played.  

I quietly captured the moments that may have looked mundane on the surface, but were really the memories that will sink so deep in your soul, in later days tears will spring up in your eyes.  

Things like my oldest trying to fan our her cards and hold them properly, without them flying every which way or showing them all to the other players. 

Capturing my youngest getting help from her daddy and later on remembering how she thought she won every time you said "Betsy, Go Fish!" and how her whole body giggled and giggled.

That's what I want to remember. 

What I'm finding more and more as I get older is that the simple things truly hold the most depth in my memories and soul.  I always love it when Facebook shows a flashback photo, especially when they include my daughters as babies.  The simple, small moments like Anna's first time finger-painting are what make me sigh deep and sometimes even, my eyes fill with tears. 

A favorite quote of mine is "Our stories are all we have." (Karen Fisher)
Isn't that so true?  

Today I encourage you to find one tiny slice of your day that makes you look just a little longer.  Perhaps it's your daughter's hair in her face, your sons toothy grin, the way your husband walks into a room.  Maybe it's watching a friend deep in conversation, a single raindrop that takes your breath away, or the steam rising from your coffee cup. Take whatever slice of your story catches your attention today and capture it.  Write about it in a journal, capture it with a camera, linger long enough to really take it in. 

"Our stories are all we have."  This is my story of a simple game of Go Fish. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

NEW scripture posters coming to the shop!

(11x14 poster coming soon)

It's FRI-YAY!!!!!!!
You guys, we made it to Friday! The days have been packed so full the past few weeks we are absolutely feeling relief that the weekend is almost here. 

I am also so excited to share that some ideas I've been carrying around in my mind for ages are finally unpacked and in real life.  My Etsy shop hasn't been updated in a while but that's about to change! As I sat down to reflect on what I wanted to offer in the shop I actually looked inward, instead of outward.  I dreamed of the art and photographs that I was currently craving and designed from that deep well of reflection.  

Without further ado, the first new products coming to the shop are these scripture posters.  Each one will be big-11x14!

(11x14 poster coming soon)

These are absolutely my favorite.  In my opinion you can almost never have "too much" art on the walls.  What I've been craving lately though is God's word, not just the art itself.  I married the two in these photographs you see, which will be available next month as 11x14 posters.  
You can tape the poster to the wall, use thumb tacks, or even those sticky squares that peel right off when you're ready. 

You could also pin one up to a bulletin board, have your hubby make a frame for one, or buy a frame at Hobby Lobby. The possibilities are endless and I'll be sharing some of my favorite ways to decorate with posters as we get closer to their release time. 

Which is your favorite?  Do you have a spot in your house where an encouraging scripture would fit best?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this new product! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Project Life: Week 2 and resizing photos to print!

Hey friends, near and far! How (truly) are you today?  I'm excited to share my second week of Project Life with you!  If you're thinking "didn't she JUST share week one?!" the answer is yes!  

The end of another week snuck up on me and before you knew it Sunday night had rolled around and I had this huge urge to design another page before Monday came knocking.  Once again, I'm so glad I did!  I truly am loving Project Life so very much, like wondering why I haven't done it sooner. 

For me personally, being able to slip some cute journaling cards in with my photos is very appealing visually, plus I'm getting my story down a bit on paper, instead of just being lost on the "inter-webs", as Chewbacca mom calls it.  

For right now I'm keeping this super simple and easy.  I have a million ideas on how to include painting, more creative layouts, etc. but I think the point is to make it fit your life.  Right now "simple" fits my life! I really enjoy recording a bit of one week, before another begins.  

I had a good question last week about how I resize my photos and print them myself.  I made a video to show how I do that in Lightroom.  I have a whole list of disclaimers about the video-like the shifting light, the weird wind sounds in the background, etc. but this is real-life!  I'd rather post it and help someone than hide it due to perfectionism. 

You can view the video here: Project Life photo resizing
 I hope this encourages you to give Project Life a try! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pizza, prayer, and PRIDE training

I suppose I'm breaking all kinds of blog-savvy rules this morning by combining a title with a post when the two don't seem to be married together at all, at first glance at least. 

But stick around and hear me out.
We had our first weekend of foster care training last Saturday and Sunday.  We actually started the weekend off by also completing our CPR skills test, after working throughout the week on a five hour online course.  So we accomplished a lot in three days over the weekend!  
Saturday was a nine-hour day of training, followed by a six-hour day on Sunday. 
These photos were taken from a previous day, where our hours were spent in the company of our farm woods instead of with paperwork, new information, and new friends. 

I've been asked a few times how the training went.  I hesitate because I truly just don't know how to answer.  My rosy self wants to just answer "great!" and be done with it.  The truth is our emotions over the training and whole foster care process run the gamut.  Naturally.
The training really is going well.  We are learning so very much, have two awesome teachers who are both counselors themselves, and have met such a nice group of people who are also becoming foster parents just like us.  It's a club that few get so it has truly been nice to be around like-minded people.  
The content of the training is clearly no picnic.  It is hard, hard stuff guys.  I don't know a better, more rosy way to say it.  It is for sad reasons these precious babies and kiddos and teens need a soft place to land.  Do you see why it's tricky when I'm asked how training is going? 
With that said, we are firm in our calling for foster care.  Our hope and faith in this calling and season of our life is unwavering.  There are kiddos who are waiting, who will need us, and you'd better believe we'll be there. 
I do feel like I'm walking around in a foster care fog though, I'll admit.  A few things are helping balance the hard right now.  Things like taking long walks through the woods with our girls, watching Snow White with the girls, pizza (yes, I ate pizza!), music (Us the Duo, I love you), reading books, cooking, lighting a candle, and hugging a friend.

Is our "hard" the same as these precious lives are going through? No.  I almost cringe to use that word.  But something I felt like God told me a long time ago was not to discount my own life, honesty, and story for the sake of others.  I matter too.  So I'm being honest with you that I'm walking around a bit glazed.  But boy does a dose of rosy help.  

Things like keeping up with Project Life, checking out books from the library, and starting a new photography learning course online.  
And YOU all! Brett and I have such a tremendous support system that watch our kiddos, cheer us on, encourage us, and check on us.  We are forever grateful. 

I'll still be showing up here, one of my most favorite spots ever.  But if I hesitate to know how to talk about this process, it's just because I'm still processing. 

Maybe I'll write a book about all this someday! 

Now your turn-how are you? Truly? 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

My first Project Life album!

I am super excited about this post today because I have something crafty to share with you! It's no secret that our family has been on a pretty twisty journey the past year or two, going from adoption to now foster care.  Throw in a few other curve balls of life and you have me sometimes feeling a bit worn out.  I am pretty good at recharging though and crafting is one way I like to simply have fun!  I'm always kind of surprised when a mom tells me they feel guilty for doing something fun or resting or fill-in-the-blank, whatever fills you back up.  My favorite quotes about this very subject are "an empty cup can't fill others" (or something like that), and "learn to rest, not quit." 

I believe whole-heartedly in taking care of ourselves, because so many of us mamas are taking care of so many others!  In order for me to give, give, give, I must sometimes fill back up.  I do at least one thing a day to fill back up, even if it's a 10-minute sit by the fire or a cup of tea and a good book before bed.  
Crafting and photography set almost everything right in my world.  When I'm partaking in either of these activities the noise is silenced, my soul is at rest.  It's when I reflect, pray, and worship.  It was with this in mind that I began looking for a way to combine my love for the two in a tangible, hands-on medium I could easily fit into my busy life.  

I considered my own form of bullet journaling, but it just didn't ever click for me.  In the end it felt like too much work for a lot of lists, when really the things I want to remember aren't my lists but the stories and photographs.  Enter Project Life!  

I discovered the idea of a Project Life scrapbook album years ago but haven't ever made one.  One day recently at Hobby Lobby as I was talking myself out of buying every single scrapbook item ever made, it clicked.  I should totally make a scrapbook and put all the cute stuff I already have to use.  I started reading up on Project Life albums to see how others started and kept up their own yearly scrapbooks. 
I was delighted to see that anything goes, truly! You can spend as little or as much time on a Project Life album as you like and I like that.  

So what is a Project Life album?  It is a scrapbook album that you fill with scrapbook items, like these cute graphics and art cards you see, and photographs during the year.  You can purchase a BIG album like I have, which is the 12x12.  You can also purchase the clear pages with pockets to go inside the album.  Last, there are scrapbook accessories GALORE online or at Hobby Lobby you can also fill your pockets with.  
These are my first pages!  Or really, one page, two-sided.  You guys, this was SO easy and so wonderfully fun to do.  I have my own printer so I quickly scaled some photos as close to 3x4 as I could and combined them on a sheet to print.  Next I cut out all the photos, slid them into pockets, and journaled on a few scrapbook cards.  Last I slid the scrapbook cards into the pockets and added a few extra embellishments here and there. 

This was so super quick to do and I love that!  I can easily keep this up by taking a few minutes each Sunday night, printing a sheet of photos, and having my page made for the week in under 30 minutes.  
Here's a close-up of the pages I've finished so far! 

Isn't that so fun?! You know how much I adore the blog, but I'm a very devoted book fan over a Kindle any day so it completely makes sense that my personality craves a real-life book of my life story.  

Of course it didn't take long for the girls (ok, Anna) to spot some of my cute supplies laying around and get totally inspired. 

I mean she does come by it naturally, doesn't she? 

I had both the girls pick out some cute scrapbook cards and print some photos.  Then they each got their own binder and we filled the table with stamps, markers, glue, and more!  We've left this out on our table all week long and it is adorable to see how many times I'll find one of them quietly and happily working on their scrapbook.  I'll share their pages with you soon! They are precious. 

In this ever so busy season of life, scrapbooking is saving my sanity.  It's keeping my creative spirit alive and that feels so good. 

What about you?  Have you ever done a Project Life album or another kind of memory-keeping? 
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