Food, Lunch/Simple Meal

Hassle-Free Hobo Fish {Quick. Easy. Cheap. Any Day of the Week!}

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A few summers ago I was introduced to the wonder that is hobo chicken.

But wait…this recipe is about fish…

Yes it is. But anything can be hobo, if you let it. Literally any meat. I’ve only tried chicken or fish. But as a child I remember my mother cooking a similar meal over the coals of the campfire (we were camping) with ground beef.

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The beauty of this recipe is that it is so easy. And I need easy at this time of my life. I’ve got a baby, a toddler and a kindergartener.

Life be crazy.

And if life be crazy for you too, grab some foil, some thinly sliced meat and whatever veggies you have (also thinly sliced) and put this meal together.

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It takes hardly any time and can be customized to fit the tastes and preferences of your family.

Plus its so fun when everyone is presented with “their” little tinfoil packet.

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Remember to add the butter if you are using a leaner meat like chicken breast. The added fat adds richness and moisture. Plus everything is better with butter.

Butter is better!

Anyways here’s the recipe.

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Hassle-Free Hobo Fish

Serves: 4-5

Cook time: 20-25 minutes

 

Ingredients

  • 5 fillets of thawed tilapia
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into long, thin strips (julienned)
  • frozen fancy green beans
  • 1 onion, cut in half and sliced thin
  • about 3 Tablespoons butter, or a few slices per foil packet
  • salt & pepper

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to approximately 390°.
  2. Take some tinfoil and cut it at about 12″ per sheet. Place your fish/other meat in the middle. Repeat for the remaining sheets of foil.
  3. Season your fish with salt & pepper or any other seasonings you desire.
  4. Layer veggies on top. Season.
  5. Fold up the foil packet as pictured above.
  6. Place on a sheet pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until fish is no longer opaque and flakes easily with a fork and veggies are cooked to your liking.

Cost: I calculated that this recipe cost me $5.26 to make 5 of these hobo fish foil packs. That’s just a little over $1 a serving and it is indeed quite cheap!

 

Enjoy!

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Motherhood

10 Ways To Be Kind to Your {Postpartum} Self

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I am so happy I’m not pregnant right now. (These past 9 months haven’t exactly been a cakewalk.)

But with this truth comes reality…

I am now postpartum.

If you’ve been postpartum before, then you are familiar with that time of transition. Going from the joy and wonder of pregnancy and birth, to the time of healing afterwards.

The squishy belly. The aching you-know-what. Swollen ankels. Aching back. The after birth contractions. The super attractive mesh panties. And the fatigue. The list goes on!

The postpartum stage is rough. As a first-time mom, it can be hard to prepare for this. I surely had no idea what to expect when I gave birth to my son 6 years ago.

Even as a 3rd time mom, this transition is still a little new to me. So when I was at the hospital I thought to myself, “how can I, and how can other women be kind to ourselves as we recover from having a baby?”. I actually wrote the rough draft of this post at the hospital!

One thing that has always bothered me about having a baby is the lack of attention that a mother gets after she births a baby.

Medically, we may be taken care of. But sometimes it feels like no one really sees us. Maybe we even lose sight of ourselves a bit during this time.

But just remember…the baby may be important, but you are important too!

 

10 Ways to be Kind to Your {Postpartum} Self

 

1. Embrace your body, your image of postpartum, no one else’s.

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Women’s bodies are all different. So our post-birth bodies should be no different. Be proud of your body and what it has done for you. Love that squishy belly because it has done some amazing stuff!

 

2. Know yourself.

No one can advocate better for you than yourself. Keep in mind your likes and dislikes. Inform the nurses of your emotions and mental health if you have concerns.

I struggle with anxiety and I struggled with it at the hospital too. I let my nurse know and she helped me through it. And the important part is that she asked how she could help me through it. I had to know what would help best in that moment. (And everything turned out just fine. ☺)

 

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3. Communicate your needs.

Both at the hospital and at home, it can be frusterating to not be able to do things. 

But especially at the hospital, it’s important to communicate with your nurses and let them know your needs. It’s their job to help you and to support you while you heal.

It can be hard to express what you are feeling, not only physically but emotionally. But the better you can communicate, the easier it will be for others to help you.

Trust that others will help care for you and baby while you both adjust to this new phase of life.

 

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4. Let people do things for you.

You are not superwoman and I’ve learned the hard way that it is important to open up to accepting help because doing everything will only wear you out.

While at the hospital, let the nurses take over and help you. It’s important to let them help while you heal, so you can sleep and take care of yourself.

And at home, let a trusted adult help you with the baby. Someone to assist you so you can grab a shower, some food, etc will be a lifesaver. Even big siblings can be great helpers for fetching this and that for you.

No woman can do it all! And rest is more important now than ever.

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5. Do what you can to sleep at the hospital, even though it’s hard.

A hospital setting isn’t really anyone’s idea of a restful environment. I think the most rest I got was after I got my epidural. Then it was all downhill from there.

It can be hard to relax. And then once you finally manage to fall asleep, there is an “interruption”. I struggled a lot with sleep, which is normal. Towards the end of my stay I got a blessed 3 hour stretch of sleep in though. And it was awesome!!

 

7. Eat.

While at the hospital, eat as much of your meals as you can. Protein and other iron-rich foods are good. Eat what you crave. (I loved cheeseburgers and tons of fresh fruit.)

And make a mental note of what you like and crave so you or others can buy and prepare it when you get home.

Also, snacks from home can be a lifesaver! Or just recruit one of your visitors to smuggle you in some treats 😉

 

8. Take a long shower.

Enough said. Baby will be ok in the nursery, feed ’em and send ’em. Those first few showers after birth are glorious.

And find a way to get those showers/baths at home. I’ve found the best time for me is when all the kids are in bed for the night, or in the morning before they wake up. Otherwise, have your significant other, relative or trusted friend help watch baby.

 

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9. Take it easy.

I know, I know. Definite no-brainer right? But it can be hard to do, especially if you were used to being active before.

Take it from someone who overdid it much sooner than she should have. Take it easy. If it is at all possible, let someone else do it. Let someone else go out for diapers. Let someone else take the kids for a walk. Overdoing it will only give you added fatigue and other unwanted issues.

 

9 1/2. Indulge in pampering.

This doesn’t need to be elaborate. Think small. I love lip balm, so I packed some up in a little coin purse to use at the hospital and at home.

Some other ideas are special lotions, a favorite book or a nice cup of tea.

 

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10. Love yourself.

Give yourself grace mama, because you are doing great! Really! Soak up that sweet baby goodness and pat yourself on the back. Because what your body has just done is amazing. And you should be proud!

Rock on, mama. Love that baby & love that body. You are precious and loved!

I ask that you bear with me as I return to blogging. Right now, my goal is 1 post per month as I take on mothering my 3 busy bees 🐝🐝🐝

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Food

Thoughts and tips on living gluten-free while pregnant

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Yes that lady is meant to look disgusted by the fact that she is surrounded by wheat.

I mean yeah wheat fields are pretty and all and kudos to all the farmers and the people who eat it.

But I also mean…

yuck.

At one time, not long ago I loved wheat products. But my life has changed so much since becoming gf last July.

And let me tell you, it is a whole new set of challenges when you add pregnancy to the mix. Sure, its not always hard, but other times it really is. (Feel free to vent in the comments if that’s you too.)

This post is mostly written for women who are A) pregnant and B) fairly new to gf living. But it’s not to say you can’t glean a few pearls of wisdom (hopefully) if you fall into neither category.

Either way, I hope these 5 tips can be a help to you.

 

5 Tips for Living Gluten-Free While Pregnant

 

Be prepared for food to be interesting

When a person gets hungry, it’s amazing to discover where your standards are as far as food that you are willing to eat. Case in point, here is part of what I had for lunch today yesterday:

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It is a hastily made tuna salad served inside half of a red bell pepper. And it was good!

Pregnant woman know better than anyone what it feels like to be super hungry. Sometimes finding good tasting food that won’t wreck your body can be an interesting road.

But I promise that all those tears of frusteration are worth it bc you are putting you & baby’s health 1st! Always a good thing and a worthy thing to celebrate.

 

Gluten-free hacks are possible

Some things just stink to not have. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how hard it is to go to an event where all your friends and family are noshing away on delicious food that you can’t have.

And there is no easy fix for something like that, other than to eat beforehand or bring some snacks with you, which feels rude, but *shrugs shoulders* what can you do?

One thing I’ve craved for ages since going on a gluten-free diet last July is honest-to-goodness, freshly baked bread. I’ve made gf pizza dough and banana bread too. But I mean I wanted some wheat-like that was fresh and all beautiful smelling. You know what I mean?

So I finally got brave enough to try it and I made this Gluten-Free Vegan Everyday Bread from Sarah Bakes Gluten Free. It took roughly 4 hours from start to finish, but it was worth it. And no kneading!

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It may be tough, but stick with it and you can find solutions to the things that you crave. I’ve learned how to make gf mac n’ cheese (sans cow’s milk) recently after all but giving up on having it again. There are a lot of helpful blogs and recipe books out there to get you started. I will list some at the end of the post. 😀

 

Keep trying till you find gf brands you like

I’ve found that so far I do not like rice pasta or gf white bread. In fact, most gf bread tends to be a little gross, in my opinion.

I’ve found I like Pamela’s shortbread cookies, Bananza chickpea pasta, and Digornos makes a surprisingly delicious gf frozen pizza (supreme is the only variety I’ve tried).

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Home-cooked family meals are still doable if you’re the only one who is gluten-free

Currently in my household, I am the only person on a gf diet. And it was hard at first to make family dinners that included things that I could have. Honestly wheat is in so many foods that you wouldn’t even think about until you are faced with the reality that you can’t have it anymore.

It is a continual excercise to make sure that everyone has some kind of carb or grain that they like/can have. I’ve found that it’s wise to keep some things on hand that I like to prepare for myself when everyone else is noshing away on something like wheat noodles.

We can always fall back on rice or potatoes, but unfortunately we can’t have those every night, especially when my kids don’t like rice.

So I will keep things like gf noodles, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, box mixes of rice and quiona, gf stuffing mix, some kind of gf bread or cornbread on hand for these times.

An example of a family meal that has that element of mix-and-match-hey-let’s-compromise is what we ate last night two nights ago for supper, which was baked chicken leg quarters, gluten-free stuffing, crescent rolls, green beans and sliced oranges.

 

Treat yourself

Yes, gf food products can be expensive. Yes, I am trying to save money on food. But sometimes you have to recognize that, hey, I am carrying a tiny human that needs to eat just as I do, so buying good food that I crave and doesn’t gross me out even when its expensive is sometimes needed.

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So yeah, sometimes I buy a $5 pack of cookies, or a miniscule loaf of my favorite bread. Because hey, when you’re pregnant, and even at any other time in life honestly, sometimes you just need to cut yourself a break.

Also noteworthy is that “treating yourself” will likely also involve pricier gf ingredients. It’s a sad fact that a lot of special flours will be considerably more expensive than wheat flour.

You may be able to buy 5lbs white flour for around $1.50, and a bag of whole wheat flour for $3.50, but the same amount of gluten-free flour is going to be as much as 31 times the price (5 lbs white flour=$1.50 vs. 5lbs lb almond flour=$47).

Fortunately there are a variety of gf flours available, the cheapest and most common are white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour/starch, and cornmeal. These flours would be more like $20 for 5lbs. (I’m going by iherb prices.)

 

It’s a learning experience 😎 Hopefully these tips were able to give you some support & encouragement as you go through the dual challenge of pregnancy and gluten-free living.

 

A Few Helpful Resources

Websites:

 

Books:

  • Allergy-Friendly Food for Families, by the editors of kiwi magazine
  • Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen: Everyday Foods the Whole Family Will Love, by Carlyn Berghoff and Sarah Berghoff McClure
  • Sweet Laurel: Recipes for Whole-Food, Grain-Free Desserts, by Laurel Gallucci (This book also has dairy-free, vegan and paleo recipes)
  • The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread: More than 200 Wheat-Free Recipes, by Bette Hagman

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Reflections

She Ran {a poem about the Proverbs 31 woman}

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Hey long time no see guys! 🐱

There is an element of mystery wrapped up within this post. Possibly unconsciously done…but definitly related to the fact that I have been binge watching Once Upon a Time.

Most assuredly in an effort to drag I mean gracefully carry myself through the month of January.

Anyone else? Any Oncers fans out there? Or anyone so glad that the weather isn’t so horrid? (If your weather is still horrid I’m sorry, spring will come.)

For those of us couped up with an assortment of pets and small children, last week was probably particularly rough for you. It was for me too.

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The weather was impossibly horrid and everyone was holed up inside, stepping on feet, getting on nerves…it was a mess. I was a mess.

I thought back to last September, when I faced an overwhelming situation of a different sort. I had just discovered I was expecting my 3rd child, and I felt 100% in over my head.

But instead of steeping in my difficult thoughts, I wrote them down. Writing poetry has always been a healing therapy for my ruffled feathers and emotions.

I wrote about how perfect I wanted to be, how perfect I was (at times) trying to be. How I dispised what was perfect, but craved it at the same time. I craved to see perfection within myself, which is impossible. Yet I think I needed to write these deep mullings down in order to let the truth begin to sink in.

Shortly thereafter, I began a study on the Proverbs 31 woman, described in Proverbs 31:10-31.

Who she was. Who she could be. Her possibilities and strengths and challenges.

Will I write more on the topic? That remains to be seen…in the meantime, I hope you enjoy these scribblings from last September.

 

She Ran

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How I do try

I sweat those tears

I work

to banish fears.

Beds get made

The workload fades

How I wish!

Memories are messes paid

I search and cannot see

Proverbs 31, bound and full

Inside of me

This brittle, broken woman

Full of holes, the one who ran

Ran from perfection,

Yet always pursued it, deepest inflection.

 

This poem is my own. All photos are from pixabay.

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Caturday

The Snow Kitty

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Hello everyone & happy Saturday! It’s Saturday Caturday 🐱🐱 January can be so challenging. I would go as far to say that it is my least favorite month of the year.

But one way to bring a little joy to the gloomy days is to love on your cat. Or look up funny videos of cats…pictures of other people’s cats. Just anything cat related.

We went out to play in the snow earlier this week and I got some cute pictures of the kids, the cat and the winter snowscape.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of our friendly snow kitty Shadow.

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Can you read the sleep deprivation in my eyes? Shadow is looking great though. He has such gorgeous green eyes💚

I wanted to thank you guys for the wonderful response to my last post, When You Don’t Want to do Christmas Because You Are Broken. There were a lot of kind words and comments and I was happy to share, even though it was a difficult topic to write about.

It’s been pretty quiet here on the blog but I am committed to keep posting. However, due to certain circumstances this will become more of a challenge, especially this May…when I will be especially busy❤ Just a heads up for you guys.

Thanks for being fantastic readers ☺Stay warm and cozy out there!

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Reflections

When You Don’t Want to do Christmas Because You are Broken

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Behold, Christmas.

The most magical of holidays is quickly, quickly, oh so quickly approaching.

There are still things on my to-do list. Things that may or may not get done. At this point, I’m just weighing the amount of sanity and energy I posses against the amount of things to get done.

*Glares into the sunset* it does not look good, folks.

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I’m kidding. Truly. But sometimes, don’t you ever wish that you could be like Luther and Nora from Christmas with the Kranks?

It’s one of my favorite Christmas movies. After watching, sometimes I wish I could cancel Christmas too. But of course I won’t. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to hide from this Christmas madness?

Let’s talk about something phenomenal.

Around Christmas…and no, even before. Even preceding Thanksgiving there begins this thing which I will call “the holiday deception”.

Stay with me.

Holiday deception?? It’s where a person feels they must have x time for activities, x money for presents, and generally make the holidays incredibly special for themselves and their families.

Maybe it’s just a mom thing. I don’t know.

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But for me, my life right now is like a gigantic holiday explosion. My bank account has exploded, my purse exploded all over my car, My kitchen sink, my sanity, my life. Exploded.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store after a gruelling dentist appointment. In the process of grabbing a container of yogurt from the top shelf, another fell down and, yes, released its contents onto the bottom of the cooler.

It is how I feel about Christmas right now.

That yogurt fiasco has come at the end of a series of trials.

The furnace quit working. (It has been fixed.) Our oven quit working. I was dealing with a health concern. I was getting anxious about bills. We are down to one car.

All these things and others piled up until I was just crying out to God. Just wondering why. Why all these things were happening and why they were happening to me.

It all felt so unfair.

And yeah, it’s not a super large amount of things. But sprinkled with holiday stress and a baby on the way (you heard it!), it starts to feel that way.

And there are some out there who are struggling on deeper levels. Your hurt, your anguish, your pain speaks loudly.

And you’re wondering why. Why me. Why at Christmas.

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Let me share with you something that spoke to me just a few months after Christmas, almost 10 years ago.

I came home from college in December, and I was quite frankly a mess. There was not much room in my heart for holidays and joy and festivities.

The why is hard to explain. I was dealing with a lot of stress and some unresolved grief. But at the core, the very core of my struggle was my relationship with God. Something was broken and needed to be fixed.

I was like a broken clock, whom only God knew how to mend.

A lot of people walk around like that. Broken, hurting. At times these people wear complicated masks that disguise their deep hurt, rather than exposing it. Those who hurt deepest can appear to be the most unfriendly.

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For a time, I was one of those people. And to be honest, I can easily become a difficult person when faced with trials.

But you know what? Thank the Lord for friends who echo the love of God. For my birthday (10 years ago) I was given a Bible. Not just any Bible, it was a collection of Psalms and Proverbs.

What drew me to open up this little book, I’m not sure. I was bored and wanted something to read, perhaps. After all, even depressed me still enjoys a good book.

But even deeper and more sure than boredom was this lingering hope. This small truth, that deep in my heart I still knew. I knew it to be truth.

His Word has the power to restore.

And so I read.

This is the verse that hit my heart, like a brilliant white sliver of light shining into a forest of deepest dark.

 


“For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.”

Psalm 103:14


 

I can tell you that two things came to mind as I read and re-read that one verse.

1) That God created me, just the same as he created Adam, breathing life into His creation.

2) That maybe, just maybe my trials weren’t a reflection of my failings, but proof that I was human, only dust.

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Dust. Feels almost like an insult, right? But God created Adam from it. Gave that dust new life.

The Bible says that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

He illuminates our life.

We can feel broken and useless, like a string of Christmas lights turned dark because of our struggles. Then God comes along and speaks light!

He knows the pattern, the bulb, so to speak that needs turned so that our light is again bright.

He can do that for you. I know because He has done it for me.

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My concern about bills. About our oven. My health concern. They are are all being taken care of. God hears all of our cries and takes care of us in beautifully indescribable ways.

He is faithful. (Psalm 33:4, Lamentations 3:22-23)

God has not forgotten you. (Hosea 11:8, Psalm 94:14, Joshua 1:5)

He remembers, and He sees. (Psalm 139:16, Ephesians 3:17-21)

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Food, Snacks

{7 of} My Favorite Gluten-Free Snacks

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I’ve been going through some gluten-free angst lately. I’ve been gf for almost 5 months now and it’s been getting easier. But some days…there are so many things that I miss!

I’m not about to name allll the things, ’cause that just isn’t helpful. But I will say that cutting out gluten from my holiday diet is not exactly fun!

I’ve had to look hard for things that I can have, or dig for gf recipes that are enough like the real thing to satisfy/trick my mind and taste buds. For instance…around Thanksgiving I tried out a pumpkin bread pudding recipe. (It was ok, maybe not exactly what I was expecting though.)

Things are getting easier. Cookies and baked goods are fairly easy to adapt. The kicker is finding good gf bread and pizza! Thank goodness our favorite pizza place has a gf pizza option. Literally a lifesaver.

So enough about that. I decided to share some of my favorite gf things to snack (or breakfast) on. If you’re new to going gf (or even if you’re not) I hope that this list can be a help to you.

Bonus: all of these recipes (aside from the banana bread) are easy and quick to make. Gluten-free win!

 

 

7 of My Favorite Gluten-Free Snacks

 

1. Dutch apple pancake

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This is one of my favorite things to make for breakfast in the morning. I loved it before I went gf too. All I had to do was change the flour. I love using Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 all purpose gf flour.

Recipe is from $5 Dinners.

2. A decadent open-faced sandwhich made with a chocolate rice cake

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I’ll be honest, rice cakes have not always appealed to me. But I hadn’t tried chocolate rice cakes, and I hadn’t tried them topped with peanut butter, cinnamon, honey and bananas! This is a very filling snack that has a rich taste and excellent texture.

 

3. Banana bread 🙂

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It took me awhile to be brave enough to attempt a homemade gf bread. I stopped eating gluten this July and didn’t make this bread till October. The end result was dense (read: good with lots of butter) but heaven to this girl who had gone so long without yummy oven-fresh bread.

Recipe is from The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread: More than 200 Wheat-Free Recipes, by Bette Hagman.

 

4. Peach-apple crisp

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One of my most favorite gf desserts by far! I was able to adapt my mom’s apple crisp recipe to make this gf, low(-er) refined sugar version. And I added in some peaches too. It turned out fantastic!

This is my recipe for Delish Baked Apple and Peach Crisp.

 

5. Peanut butter, cinnamon and honey on gf bread

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This is another version of #2…gluten-free whole grain bread (Sam’s Club brand) with natural pb, cinnamon and honey. Sometimes I toast the bread, sometimes not. It’s good with or without bananas too.

 

6. Salads!

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The awesome thing about salads is that they are almost all gf. This particular salad is one I had this summer. Grated garden-fresh carrots, chopped cucumbers, drained and rinsed garbanzo beans and raisins. Lots of fiber and protein!

It’s an easier version of a favorite Morroccan carrot salad. No dressing here, but that’s how I like my salad ☺

 

7. These no-bake peanut butter cookies!

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Lastly, gf cookies of any kind are always a huge win for me. I loved the way these cookies turned out. They are a bit on the dry side, as many gf products tend to be. They are good with a glass of milk!

The peanut butter makes these cookies very filling, and the cinnamon adds a bit more flavor. I’m sure you couldn’t tell from this post that I love cinnamon! 😉

This is my recipe for Super-Easy Peanut Butter, Oat & Cinnamon Cookies.


 

Happy gf eating everyone! Stay safe & warm out there while you are hustling & bustling about!

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Books

4 Things Ma Ingalls Has Taught Me About Life

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This post is an edit of the original, written in 2017. 

Little House on the Prarie (and I know I’m not alone when I say this) is one of my most favorite series.

Sure, it’s a kid’s book and sure, the events took place a long time ago. But like all good books, there are parallels between daily life that transcend time.

Ma (or Caroline) Ingalls is something of a superhero. I have no doubt that she had her faults, as we all do. But in reading through the series, her character as told by her daughter Laura has helped me realize some things.

First of all, that my house is incredibly messy and could stand to be cleaned more often. But secondly, each of the following four themes gradually developed in my mind as I mulled over the series: words, bravery, creativity and self-care.

Join me as I take a look at a well-loved series and a character that has inspired me for quite some time.

 

4 Things Ma Ingalls Has Taught Me About Life

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Strong Women Speak Softly

All throughout the books, Ma almost never raised her voice. And her family heard her better that way. There was strength in her quiet word, although there were times when she did raise her voice and for a good reason.

(Such as in Little House on the Prarie, chapter 2…when the girls needed to be quiet and still when the family was crossing a rushing river in a covered wagon.)

I try to remember this when I struggle to keep my voice even out of frustration. Soft words will come through loudly because of their power. A person has power, or control over themselves when they speak softly. And those they are speaking to have to listen carefully.

 

Fear Nothing…Slap the Bear

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Ok so I’m not advocating for literally going out and pressing your luck by hitting a real live bear. However, if you happen to do so…you can pretty much declare that you have no fear in life.

“Ma was trembling, and she began to laugh a little. “To think,” she said, “I’ve slapped a bear!”.

-from Little House in the Big Woods, Chapter 6, Two Big Bears, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

Hard Work and Creativity Will Get You Far

One thing about Ma (or Caroline) that always inspired me was her incredible work ethic. She was such a hard worker. Most of this was probably due to the sink or swim mentality that pioneers by nature had to posess.

Pioneers had to constantly be thinking of ways to reuse things. Ways to get or make what they needed from raw materials. Trash was almost unheard of, because they used everything. Oh for simple days like those!

We have more options and resources at our disposal nowadays. But the fact remains the same: We can do little with much if we put on our thinking caps.

One example from Little House in the Big Woods is when Pa Ingalls makes a grater for Ma out of an old pie tin. She uses this to grate carrots, so she can add a bit of color to her homemade butter!

 

Be Pretty, Even When You Work

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Caroline is often decribed by Laura as wearing a pretty calico dress, which she never got messy thanks to her trusty apron.

“Then [Ma] rolled the sleeves of her flowered calico dress above her elbows, and she knelt by the tubs… Ma looked pretty…while she scrubbed and rubbed the corn in clear water. She never splashed one drop of water on her pretty dress.

-from Little House in the Big Woods, Chapter 12, The Wonderful Machine, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

And it makes me think. Isn’t life, even life spent within my own home just a whole lot better when I make the effort to look nice?

Please understand that I’m not against pajamas. Because life happens, and we sometimes need a break.

But I think self-esteem, and consequently what others think of us is tied to how prepared we are for the day. When I take just a little effort and get showered, dressed and fix my hair just a bit before the kids wake up…I feel so much better. A little bit of self-love goes a long way 😊

 

Just a little bit of Little House to brighten your day ☺ Stay warm out there!

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Awards and Tags

Light of the World Award

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I am excited to announce that I was nominated for the Light of the World Award! I was actually nominated by T.R., of Inside Cup this May and I am just now getting to it. It’s a bit embarrassing but…well lets just quit dilly-dallying and get to it 😄

I am relatively new to posting about my faith, and as this blog covers several topics I was somewhat surprised by the nomination. But make no mistake, I am very honored to accept and to humbly share the posts God places on my heart.

 

More About Who Nominated Me

So T.R. nominated me, and she blogs over at Inside Cup, which is a great site and resource for the community of believers.

T.R. has very much made her blog about reaching out to and connecting the body of believers. One of the categories of her blog that I love is her section on Bible study. (I read through the portion on Numbers recently as I was studying the book.) Fantastic resource T.R ☺

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Who Created the Award?

Joe, from Light House Devotion is the blogger who created the award. I love his focus on lighthouses and the symbolism of believers shining as lighthouses (with God’s help) for all to see. I reccomend checking out his blog, particularly the post “Even the Broken Can Shine!

 

Rules

For the rules of the award, you can check out this page on Joe’s blog.

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Questions

  1. What three words would you use to describe your blog? I would use the words unassuming, gentle and honest.
  2. In what way(s) can a Christian shine for Christ? One way that I can think of is described in Matthew 25:14-30. Here Jesus illustrates The Parable of the Talents. I’ve come to see this passage more as using the gifts He has given us (not necessarily monetary) and using them the best we know how, to glorify Him. For me, this looks like sharing my writing with others, with the intention to help, educate and encourage. Sometimes with a great bit of prodding *chuckles to self*.
  3. What bible verse (quote it) talks about being a light in a lost and dark world? “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
  4. What Christian song do you know that has the word “light” in it? Provide a link, if available. I chose the song “Chasing the Daylight, by Phillip Larue. It came out in 2009, but it’s the first song that came to mind. To me, this song describes what it really feels like to be a believer. It isn’t always all roses, and sometimes others will not understand our faith. Sometimes darkness, in whatever form, comes into our life. But we have to chase the daylight, keep running after Him.

 

 

(Or, if difficulties arise, you can view the video here.)

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Nominations

Here are 5 uplifting blogs that I am nominating for the Light of the World Award. You guys are wonderful! Thank-you for sharing your light with the world.

 

Love Joy Balance

 

Abigail, @Whatever Happens…Rejoice

 

Damaris, @ The Believer’s Triumph

 

Dori, @ Celebrate His Love

 

Callie, @ hi there, fellow sapling

 

Guys, there is no pressure to accept and if you do, don’t worry about timing. (It took me 6 months!)

Know that what you are doing is valuable to others and most importantly, to God!

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Books

5 Favorite Quotes About Fall {from Anne of Green Gables}

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*Update: quote #5 has been added! It is the second quote listed. Sorry about that!

Hello everyone & happy fall!

Things have been a bit quiet here on the blog but I promise I have not forgotten about you guys ☺ And I definitly don’t want to stop blogging. I’ve missed it so much. Everything has a season and you will hear more about my absence in due time. (Promise!)

In the meantime, I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes about fall. And of course they are from one of my most favoritest (yes, made up word I know) authors of alll the times…Mrs. Lucy Maude Montgomery.

Pretty much the minute it turned October, I was bracing myself as I scrolled through my social media. Because I knew I would come across the most famous, most shared Montgomery quote.

(Hint: “I’m so glad I live in a world…)

And ok I love it, but in my opinion the quote is overused. And I thought… there has to be other awesome fall quotes in these books!

And so I skimmed. And from my skimming I have the following 5 quotes from L.M. Montgomery’s books.

I hope you enjoy, fellow lovers of Avonlea and all things Anne. 🌾🍁🏡

 

5 Favorite Quotes About Fall (from Anne of Green Gables)

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“It was October…a glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with the delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain-amethyst, pearl, silver, rose and smoke-blue.”

-from Anne of Green Gables, chapter 24, by L.M. Montgomery

 

“Peace and tranquility brooded over the Glen; the sky was fleeced over with silvery, shining clouds. Rainbow Valley lay in a soft, autumnal haze of fairy purple. The maple grove was a burning bush of colour and the hedge of sweet- briar around the kitchen yard was a thing of wonder in it’s subtle tintings.”

-from Rilla of Ingleside, chapter 9, by L.M. Montgomery

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“Anne thought those Friday evening gypsyings over the autumnal hills in the crisp golden air, with the homelights of Avonlea twinkling beyond, were the best and dearest hours of the whole week.”

-from Anne of Green Gables, chapter 35, by L.M. Montgomery

 

“It was a beautiful autumn morning, clear and crisp and sunny; the frosted ferns, drenched and battered with the rain of yesterday, gave out a delicious fragrance…”

-from Chronicles of Avonlea, chapter 2, by L.M. Montgomery

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“I went out and down the harbor road. There was such a nice frosty, Octobery smell in the air, blent with the delightful odor of newly plowed fields. I walked on and on until twilight had deepened into a moonlit autumn night. I was alone but not lonely.”

– from Anne of Windy Poplars, chapter 2, by L.M. Montgomery


 

Hope you guys are having a wonderful November and that fall still lingers in your part of the globe (northern hemisphere peeps only I guess lol, totally had to look it up!) The things we forget 😆

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Desserts, Food

Delish Baked Apple and Peach Crisp {a gluten-free take on a family favorite recipe}

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Ready for some awesome baked goodness? Of course you are! It’s nearly fall, summer is wrapping up and comfort food season is coming this way😋

There’s something about fall dessert. It’s texture, flavor, warmth. Just gives you a warm and cozy feeling and puts you in your happy place.

Right?

Now growing up, there was one comfort food that my mom made that I always associated with fall. It could be made all year of course (but everyone knows apples are best when autumn arrives😉).

And not just any apples. Mom was always admanant. They must be granny smith. No other apple will do because the flavor will be so different and not quite pitch-perfect and balanced.

Man, I can taste it just describing it.

My mom always and I mean always made the best apple crisp. She would say, “the recipe isn’t actually all that special” or “it’s so easy to make”. Never understanding the way we fawned over that lovely dessert.

 

Mom you made it special. That was why.

It was special in it’s simplicity.

Special just because it was.

 

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Special notes about the recipe:

My mom’s recipe is totally the best, but I was craving a peach crisp. Not wanting to do all peaches, I added some apples for an extra flavor and texture boost.

Then of course I used gluten-free flour in the topping. For my recipe I used up the little bit of the all purpose flour blend I had. (I used the living now gluten-free brand.) It was only about 1 1/2 Tablespoons, so I put that in my 1/2 cup measuring cup and filled it the rest of the way with oat flour.

Oat flour is easy to make. Take some quick oats, throw them in the blender and pulse until the texture becomes fine. Then sift it and walla! Flour.

For the sugar, it was the same concept. I used a total of 2/3 cup sugar, but 3 Tablespoons of it was coconut sugar, the rest was brown sugar.

All of these additions made for a magnificent, and I mean magnificent final product. *kisses fingers like an Italian*. Haha. 🍏🍑😍


Delish Baked Apple & Peach Crisp

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 peaches, sliced thin, pitted and peeled
  • 1-2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup/70g gluten-free flour*
  • 1/2 cup/70g quick oats
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 7 Tablespoons, 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup/67g butter, diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

*I used 1 1\2 Tablespoons gluten-free all purpose flour blend and the remainder oat flour, see above discription of flour under the above section “special notes about the recipe”.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 395°.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together flour(s), oats, sugar(s), and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  3. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and work it in by hand (my method) or with a potato masher. The texture will be chunky.
  4. Place fruit in a medium bowl and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Toss gently by hand to avoid breaking up the delicate fruit slices. Place the fruit in a 1.5 quart casserole dish.
  5. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and evenly distribute.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cost:

This recipe cost me $3.37 to make. That’s 84¢/serving when divided into 4 portions and 56¢/serving for 6.

Fairly cheap, but even if it wasn’t I wouldn’t care ’cause it’s so delicious!

Enjoy!

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Caturday

Stella (and Shadow) Incognito

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It’s Caturday Saturday! Hope you all are enjoying a nice relaxing day. I know I am am trying to.

We’ve had some changes and busyness in my household due to the new school year and subsequent colds that happen when you have about a million kids 5 and under all mixed in to a little classroom germ factory.

So it’s been a bit less relaxing and a bit more snot taming. But you know. Whatever.

So due to the above mentioned reasons I thought I’d just do a Caturday post this week.

It’s been a few months since I shared anything about Stella or Shadow. So here we go….

 

What has Stella been up to?

Well, she has been supervising my sewing projects, as long as the kids aren’t about.

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Sometimes she visits with Shadow, taunting the fact that she lives the life of luxury. But Shadow knows that outside kitty freedom is awesome. Life may not be as easy but at least he’s living a life of risk and intrigue!

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Shadow

Shadow has been doing very well. He survived the winter and is as fat and happy as ever. Very loving and friendly, that one.

Here he is with his “prize” last winter. So far he and Stella are 2-2 with the mouse catching. He has probably caught way more though. Sorry Stella.

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The kitties have been hanging about the shadows of this blog but I like to talk about them every now and again. Who doesn’t love seeing cute kitties right?

Next week on the blog I hope to do some new posts…dessert and books! Can never have too much of either.

Well…one might give you diabetes. But you know. Viva la vida.

Haha jk.

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Beverages, Food

Simple Fall “Smoothie” {gluten-free, dairy-free & made with butternut squash!}

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I don’t know about you, but I love butternut squash.

Love it. Since I’ve started going gluten-free I’ve had to look for substitutions and replacements for the wheat products I can no longer have.

So some nights I’ll fix myself some butternut squash when everyone else is having noodles or stuffing or whatnot.

I don’t typically eat a whole squash, so I’ll save the remainder, along with the cooking water so that I can make a puree. I usually throw it in the fridge so I can make it up in the morning. 😝

Sometimes I’ll use that to make some gluten-free muffins…made a triple batch of butternut squash and apple muffins last time.

But here I decided to make some smoothies.

Last year, I posted a recipe for a Pumpkin Spice Smoothie. I used a pie pumpkin to make that recipe. However, later that season I tried making it with butternut squash and I actually preferred it to the pumpkin.

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Overall, the taste and color I like much better than the pumpkin smoothie. It tastes much more like “pumpkin” than the actual pumpkin! Haha. I think of pumpkin pie Blizzard’s and actual pumpkin pie when I drink this. It would be good with dairy or non-dairy whipped cream too!

Cost:

This recipe cost me $1.57 to make a 16oz smoothie. That’s about 70¢ more than the pumpkin smoothie. Mainly because the price of almond milk at my Aldi store has increased, but also because the pumpkin was a bit cheaper.

You can find the recipe—->> here.

Enjoy!

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Food, Seasonal Food

A Saucy Summer {canning tomato sauce, salsa and a peek at my canning season}

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Hello everyone and welcome to canning season! Haha I just felt like saying that since it feels like it’s all I’ve been doing lately. 😴

I feel like I’ve been canning non-stop, but looking back at the dates on my jars I’ve just done a few things back to back with a week or so break.

The latest and greatest food on my canning list is toe-maye-toes.

I love tomatoes, but I’m beginning to get sick of the overabundance. So as with any other thing, when it’s in season and a good price, I buy a lot and preserve it.

This year, my canning goals for tomatoes was a bit lofty. In my head I ticked off all the jars I wanted to can. “Oh hey, I’ll just do 20 cans of spagetti sauce, 20 jars of salsa, like 8 of ketchup and 8 of red enchilada sauce.”

Eating.

My.

Words.

Y’all.

First of all, I would need 40 lbs of tomatoes to accomplish this. Which worked out to be about $60 worth. Hmm. No….?

Secondly, when I took home my *ahem* 20lbs of gorgeous tomatoes, I rather humorously misjudged how long it takes tomatoes to cook down.

There’s a reason they say to use paste tomatoes.

That reason is largely to avoid the transformation of yourself into an irate raving lunatic because your tomato sauce literally took 6 hours to can.

Six hours.

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But I got some lovely photos out of it at least. 😄 I cut up 10lbs of peeled tomatoes and made 3 1/2 pints of sauce with it.

The 20 pints will not be happening.

Oh well.

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The sauce was absolutely gorgeous though. We ended up having pasta that night with some of the extra sauce.

Here is a look at the tomato sauce (left) and salsa (far right).

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The salsa is very good, I used the recipe for Roasted Tomato-Lime Salsa from the book Foolproof Preserving: A Guide to Small Batch Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Condiments & More, which I mentioned I was borrowing in a few of last year’s canning posts. I ended up purchasing a copy because I think it is wonderously helpful.

I love the small batches, unique recipes and easy to follow directions in this book. Not paid to say that, just truly love it. 😄

Here’s a little peek at the other things I’ve been canning⤵⤵⤵

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Yummy fruit…cherry preserves, peach jam, canned peach chunks in apple juice, applesauce (looks strangely white).

Pickled things & condiments…dill pickle spears, pickled watermelon rind, and zucchini relish.

It’s been a saucy summer and thankfully I’m running out of things to can!

Any canning plans for yourself? I’ve been admiring the canning posts here on WordPress. I love all the unique and beautiful food!

Do you have any favorite home canned foods?

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Reflections

It Will Not Be Taken Away {learning from the story of Mary & Martha}

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(This post was written yesterday evening.)

Earlier this afternoon, I found myself in an interesting situation. (Warning: bodily functions ahead!) I was in the middle of assisting my daughter off of the potty.

And there it was.

Poop.

I’ll spare you the details, but it was in places where it should not have been.

Let’s face it. When you are a mom, things like this are second nature. You see poop and you don’t even bat an eye.

And most days that would be me. But not today.

Oh today I am tired from lack of sleep and from tending sick kids. To be honest, I am worn out from worry.

But I’m still doing this crazy thing called life, rushing around trying to get things done.

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And a voice in my head says something like, “This is all very well and good, but are you forgetting that one thing…?”.

Ah yes the story.

 

Mary and Martha

This story is becoming more and more relatable as the day goes on.

How well I know it. Or thought I knew it. In reality I don’t think I know it as well as I thought I did.

You’re probably familiar with the story of Mary and Martha, from Luke 10:38-41. 

They were two sisters who were friends with Jesus. Here are their stories, based on what I’ve studied from scripture.

 

Martha

Sister #1 is running about like a chicken with her head cut off. Barking orders. Even at…Jesus?

But wait. She’s all on her own, a one-woman show. Where is her help?

Sitting down?!

I always used to wonder about that. I don’t think it’s by accident either that the story is told from Martha’s perspective. God knows us well.

Martha is just trying to be a good hostess, right? Baste the roast, set the table, fluff the pillows.

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Mary isn’t doing anything at all. Except that she is. She’s doing everything that she needs to do. All that her heart and spirit needs is being met at this moment spent at Jesus’s feet.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” (vs. 41-42a)

Worried and upset. About many things.

A page in the diary of my life. A phrase most relatable in this storm cloud of a day, in this season.

I’m thinking about so many things. My mind and my physical body are being pulled in so many directions. My very soul is weary. I am running on E but I keep going somehow.

But look at what Jesus says next after that bit about Martha’s troubles.

 

 Mary

“Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (v. 42b)

Two wonderfully positive things going on here in verse 42.

  1. She chose what was better.
  2. It will not be taken away.

Mary is actually a very quiet person in scripture. She is only recorded as speaking once, in John 11:32, before Jesus raises her brother Lazerus from the dead.

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But this isn’t a matter of personality… quiet Mary vs. bossy Martha. Jesus isn’t saying here, “Hey Mary is better because of her temperament”.

It was her actions and the state of her heart alone. Martha does exhibit strong faith when she speaks with Jesus in the same chapter I mentioned above (see John 11:21-27).

What I think Jesus really meant here is that physical needs have their place. There is no sin in being a kind hostess. It’s easy to be blindsided by life. But the inner, rather than the outward person is more important.

 

Sitting at Jesus’s Feet

Jesus keeps us going! He never meant for us to walk alone. To mother alone. To shoulder our problems alone.

No. He wishes for us to come away with Him. To dwell in the quiet for a little while so the crazy is less crazy. 

Because when we take the time, it makes all the difference.

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Did I feel rushed and pulled about today?  I did. But did I carve out time to spend with Him? I failed to. I was blinded by my to-do list.

But guess what? He’s still faithful. He still comes alongside me, encouraging my heart.

And what was playing on my Pandora today? I kept skipping through songs. Nothing was sounding good. “It’s Gonna Be Alright”, by Sara Groves comes on.

I couldn’t help but smile. It’s one of my favorite songs and talks about “not getting any sleep”. It felt like Jesus was singing it right to my heart.

Folks,

He is good. 

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Blog Updates, Reflections

Thank-you for 200 Followers!

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Hello everyone! Short post today as I share an important blog update ☺

You can probably tell already from the title, but…

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I’m now at 200 followers! I’m amazed! I’m grateful for all of your follows, likes and time to read my posts. Thank-you so much!

I feel I need to thank two very important people who have been very instrumental in the creation of this blog.

First, is my friend Amanda. Amanda, you may think I’ve forgotten about the time I asked you for advice about becoming a better writer. You told me it would be a good idea to start a blog and that has been some of the best advice I’ve ever received. Thank-you❤

Additionally, this post would be massively incomplete without recognizing the Source of much of my inspiration and occasional prodding haha. Thanks be to God, for seeing then and Who still sees now the future of the blog when I cannot.

He put the vision for this blog in my mind. And where I have the will to write, He directs my steps.

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To illustrate what I mean, here is a quick story about how the name of the blog came about.

 

Secret Flowers Helped Me Name My Blog

It was last May that I changed the name of the blog to The Buttercup Lamb. I had thought long and hard about the name, but still wasn’t sure.

See that post here: Addressing the Name Change

Then I was outside and I spied something growing near the pine tree where elderberries grow now.

They were buttercups. Half-hidden in the weeds, I couldn’t see them until I was in the middle of my backyard.

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Was this an act of chance, of happenstance? Not to me.

These buttercups popped up at exactly the time when I was doubting. I felt it was an amazing and beautiful thing that these flowers were there, at this exact time.

I think that God can speak to us in small, quiet and unexpected ways. Is it beyond Him, to make a statement with flowers?

I would say no. I don’t think that anything is beyond His doing.

Sometimes I lack the faith to fully understand. And yet I know, even if I don’t yet fully understand…nothing is out of His reach. No cares that we have are too small or unimportant to Him.

🌼💕🌼

Happy Monday, may you have a blessed & happy summer and another big thank-you to all of my followers!  

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foraging, The Great Outdoors

Foraging for Blackberries & Elderberries {and what I made with them}

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Ah berries. One of summer’s sweetest, yummiest and healthiest gifts. Berry picking in the summer always brings back wonderful memories for me.

Did you pick berries in the summer as a child? If so, you probably remember the sweltering heat, berry stains on your fingers, pesky bugs and sneaking some fruit before it made it into the bowl.

And when you take the berries home…oh then the fun begins. Party with the berries! Haha. There is really nothing that compares with those fresh, juicy treats.

What to do with them?

I’m really into foraging (I’m sure you haven’t noticed 😉) Foraging in itself is great fun. Even better is a chance to preserve that harvest a bit longer and turn it into something scrumptious.

The photos below show the progression of the elderberry tree from flower to fruit.

The elderberries pictured are from harvest #1 and the blackberries are from harvest #2. And there are still more berries! It’s good to leave some for the “critters” anyways ☺

 

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Now I had some berries. I had nearly 2 cups total and then I did a little research.

Ugh.

Many of the elderberries I had painstakingly plucked were not ripe enough. None were green, but some were red and I didn’t want to make anyone sick by using underripe berries.

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Ripe berries are on the left, unripe on the right. The difference is subtle but important enough to take note of. ⤵⤵

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After properly separating the berries, I decided on making a syrup as per the recipe for Elderberry Syrup on the blog Wayward SparkI loosely followed the recipe and ended up with a tasty finished product. 😋

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Here’s what I did. I ended up with a little less than 1 cup of ripe berries. I had a few blackberries in there after *cough* eating some.

They were then mashed a bit, boiled, simmered and strained through cheesecloth.

At this point I had a bit less than 1/4 cup of juice. I neglected to add water at the beginning so I added a bit to make it a full 1/4 cup.

I added a small splash of lemon juice and 1/8 cup of raw honey to the warm juice and then froze attempted to freeze it.

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Psyche! Honey won’t freeze. Good try though I guess. *pats self on the back* I tried to make an apple and elderberry jelly earlier this week and I ended up with caramel-elderberry flavored candy! 😰 Boo. I like these results better.

There it will sit, in the freezer. I’ll take a bit as a tonic now and again to keep colds and flu away. Isn’t it awesome that elderberries can do that?

Ever wondered why?

This article from Huff Post says that the pigments, or “molecular chains known as anthocyanins…[are] capable of preventing viruses from reproducing and infecting new cells. They also kill many of the bacteria that cause chest and respiratory infections.”.

Cool, eh? Nature’s little wonder, the humble elderberry.

Hope you guys are having a good summer ☺ Have you had a chance to go berry picking yet this season?

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A few helpful references for you

https://www.talesfromthekitchenshed.com/2016/09/harvesting-elderberries-picking-preserving-recipes/

(Lots of info on harvesting and preserving.)

http://waywardspark.com/2013-food-preservation-season-elderberry-syrup/

(Recipe I followed.)

Reflections

Poetry in (E)motion

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Hello my lovely readers & happy Saturday to you!

Today isn’t my typical day to post but I’ve been in a canning flurry lately. The garden and produce stands are booming! Gotta take advantage of it 😉

You guys seem to love the poems I share so I thought I’d share a recent one. It’s hot off the press haha just scribbled it down last night.

This poem expresses a lot of what I’ve been feeling lately as a mother and just as a woman in general. In this I’ve folded in several topics. Work ethic, time, serving others and confidence are the themes here.

In spite of the business of life, I am content and I am happy just being me.

 

Sugar and Bliss

 

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Spin

Spin dear spider

Spin sure

And tell me how

You spin

And never tire

Never cross

Your eyes.

 

Be aware of the lies.

 

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Run, run

Run

Little mouse.

Chase your tail.

Hurry, scurry.

How can you

Run

Without the hum

The tick and the tock

Of a runaway

Clock

 

Run, telling clock. Away.

 

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Sing

Oh do

Sing

Sweet little

Bird

Warble and tweet

Hop on those

Feet

Fill the air

With your sweetness.

Give back

And take less.

Such a song you sing

 

A song of love.

 

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Dream big

Little butterfly.

Delicate

In beauty

Flutter

Flutter

Soar.

Life is worth living

It’s worth living now.

Trust your wings

To take you

Where you need

To go.

Don’t answer to

No.

 

Trust your wings.

 

This poem is my own. All photos are from pixabay. 

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Reflections

Frugal vs. poor {a penny for your thoughts}

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What does it mean to be frugal? And what does it mean to be poor? 

Although I think about these words often, and define them in my head, I realize I’ve not yet shared this on the blog.

In this post, I want to outline the definitions of the words “poor” and “frugal”, just as a starting point. Then I will share what these words mean to me and open the post up for discussion.

So if you have any thoughts or stories to share, please do so ☺

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Definitions

According to dictionary.com, a frugal person is one who is “economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful”.

A poor person, by contrast will have “little or no money, goods or other means of support”.

 

My thoughts on being poor

Poverty is a complicated issue. On the surface, it seems an easy fix. Work hard, get money and improve your standard of living.

Some people only have seasons of struggle. Some have a lifetime. There is no easy fix for that. But please understand that if you are in a difficult time in your life, there is hope and you can, you can move past it.

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I think the bottom line is that no one really wants to be poor and struggling, but it is possible to get out of it. Usually this takes some clear thinking, a good work ethic and help from others to accomplish.

 

My thoughts on being frugal

I think that most people would agree that people are not poor by choice. Some choices may lead to poverty, but people largely do not wish to place themselves in that uncomfortable place.

However, frugality is a choice. It is a way of life. It is essentially saying, “Hey, I make x, and I don’t want to spend all of x, so I will save where I can”.

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Frugal people, in my eyes are people who live as if they have less, so that they can have more in the future.

One way to save is to learn ways to slash your grocery budget. I’ve educated myself on this topic a bit and I enjoy passing on little bits of what I’ve learned to you guys.

((Are you up for a new series on saving money on groceries? I may have one in the works 😉😉))

So let me ask…what does being frugal mean to you? Does a certain picture come to mind? What does the word poverty mean to you? Where do you think the line is between poor and frugal? Would you consider yourself a frugal person? 

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The Great Outdoors

Lazy Summer Happenings

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Hey everyone! I debated whether or not I should post today…I’m getting a little lazy about blogging.

One of the reasons is that I’m devoting more time to my kids and family and to keeping my home in nice shape. It has been a good decision ☺

I do miss blogging more than 1x a week, but my kids are still rather young and have a lot of demands needs at this stage in life.

Plus, you know, getting one post per week gives me time to brainstorm a good post for you guys. Everyone has been loving the food posts lately and I Thank-you for that 😄

Summer can be such a lazy time, but it can also be a time of high energy. When I think of summer, the words “lazy” and “productive” come to mind.

I’ve been both so far. I’ve got my garden and garden beds, my sewing and knitting projects, fun places to go, people to visit with.

Annndd..you know. Sometimes I like to be lazy, sitting on the couch with my knitting or a good book. I have to get up a million time to break up fights, get snacks and so forth. But whatever. Life with kids is mayhem sometimes.

Anyway…enough of my rambling. Here is a bit of what my family and I have been up to this summer.

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Making dandelion wine.

This was the last step before bottling. All of the ballons had to be flat for 24 hours before we could cork them. (Shows that the fermentation process is complete.)

We bottled these in early June, so they should be ready in early December. I can hardly wait! My husband and I have always wanted to try this and I’m so glad we did.

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Harvested this bunch of sheep sorrel from the garden.

I ate some of it fresh and some in a smoothie. It has a nice tart taste and tons of vitamins.

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These itty bitty radishes were so cute.

I was impressed with how fast they grew. They literally sprouted the day after I planted them and were ready to harvest in about 3 weeks.

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This little wonder is a garlic scape.

I harvested about 3 of them from my garlic plants about a month or so ago. I had read a post about garlic from two branches homestead that discussed how to grow garlic. One step is to cut off the curly garlic scape so that the plant’s energy will go toward growing the garlic bulb and not the flower. The light green part in the photo is where a flower would appear.

I cut up some of the scape, like a green onion and had it on my salad. It was good!

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Joy of joys, elderberry blossoms!

There are so many this year that I think I can safely harvest some to use in a recipe.

Last year, there wasn’t many, so I let the birds have their fill.

The flowers smell so beautiful! There should be berries in another month or so…you know I’ll share if I make something ☺

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Most recently, I made these little treats for the 4th of July.

I used a tiny star cookie cutter to cut out peices of watermelon, then piped on a bit of almond yogurt, then a blueberry on top.

Magnifico!

(My daughter just liked licking the yogurt off. She let me eat the rest 😆)

What about you? Any lazy summer happenings of note where you are? Stay cool & enjoy this beautiful summer that He has provided. God bless!

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Food, Lunch/Simple Meal

Garlic Butter Shrimp with Quiona, Brown Rice and Garden Fresh Peas

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Garlic butter makes everything better. It’s a known fact.

Well, you know. Savory dishes. Like pizza, and pasta.

And shrimp.

Of course shrimp.

I made this delicious lunch yesterday and it was so wonderful that I had to share. It was the first time I had ever made this recipe.

Ask any food blogger and they will probably say that the first time isn’t always a charm when it comes to new recipes.

But I’m glad it was the case here. Garlic butter and shrimp are like a married couple. They just go together. And quiona makes rice taste better and kicks up the protein a notch. Then some super fresh garden peas gives it a bright and beautiful punch of color and texture.

All together, these foods just made an awesome combo.

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Most of you know what quiona looks like when it’s done, but for anyone who isn’t sure, here it is. The edges of the quiona will become white and start to peel off a bit.

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Quiona, rice and peas are re-day! The texture should be more on the dry side so it absorbs the soy sauce and garlic butter better. Butter better. Haha.

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😋😋

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Garlic Butter Shrimp with Quiona, Brown Rice & Garden Fresh Peas

 

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: 1-2

Prep time: 3 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup-3/4 cup medium cooked frozen shrimp
  • 3-4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup quiona
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • handful of fresh peas (frozen works too!)
  • low sodium soy sauce, to taste

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a small skillet. Add garlic just before butter has completely melted. Cook 1 minute.
  2. Add shrimp. Saute for a few minutes.
  3. Next, cook the quiona according to the package directions. (About 1 cup water with the 1/4 cup of quiona, simmered for 15 minutes.)
  4. When the quiona is completely cooked, add the rice and peas, along with a 1/2 cup of water. Cook for about 5 minutes, or till heated through and peas turn bright green. The texture should be dry, not wet.
  5. Plate up! Spoon rice mixture onto plate and toss lightly with your desired amount of soy sauce. Spoon shrimp and garlic butter over rice.
  6. Serve & eat!

 

Cost:

It cost me $2.69 to make this entree for lunch yesterday. And it made a lot! I had 2 helpings, with some leftover. Definitely getting your money’s worth here, and lots of protein to boot!

Enjoy!

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Food, Snacks

Super Easy Peanut Butter, Oat & Cinnamon Cookies {no-bake, gluten-free, dairy-free and no refined sugar}

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These cookies have taken me for a stroll down memory lane. You can relax though…no long stories (today that is haha).

I remember eating these cookies when I was pregnant with my daughter (she’s now 2). I needed a quick snack with some protein to get me through some of those rough days. (Pregnancy isn’t all rainbows…sometimes you hate eating protein and can’t stand around a hot kitchen for long…oh the fun.)

Nowadays I have different nutritional needs. I’ve recently been trying to go gluten-free because I’ve been noticing some food sensitivity after eating wheat products.

This morning I wanted toast so much. I haven’t jumped into the gluten-free bread melee just yet. So gluten-free bread there was none.

But I thought hmm…maybe I can whip up some breakfast cookies.

So I hopped on Pinterest and looked up the No Bake Healthy Breakfast Cookies, from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

I changed things up a bit and the result is the recipe that you will see below.

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Super Easy Peanut Butter, Oat & Cinnamon Cookies

Prep/hands on time: 15 minutes or less

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: 4-6 (maybe 😉)

 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • a few sprinkles pink Himalayan salt
  • *1/2 cup plain cheerios, crushed
  • **1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats

*I put some cheerios in a ziplock bag and crunched them up with a heavy glass cup.

**I like to make a bunch of oat flour in the blender so I don’t have to make it every time. Then I sift it through a mesh strainer to get a fine texture.

Directions

  1. Place cheerios, oat flour, quick oats and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  2. Measure the peanut butter, honey, vanilla and salt into a medium saucepan.
  3. Set heat to medium high and stir till melted and thoroughly mixed. (Or you can use a microwave to melt the ingredients.)
  4. Pour and scrape the melted peanut butter mixture into the bowl you set aside and stir it into the dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Shape into 16 or so small balls.
  6. Place on a plate and dust with cinnamon.
  7. Flatten and criss-cross with a fork.
  8. Eat!

 

Price Breakdown:

It cost me $1.54 to make 16 of these cookies. That’s only a little under 10¢ per cookie!

Enjoy!

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Books

Summer Reading Goals {what I’m reading right now}

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Hey everyone!

Summer. Sweet summer. When I think of summer I think of books.

Oh yes. Books.

Give me all the books. Let me go out and get more books. Let me sit in the a.c. and read all those books.

Mountains of books!

Ahem.

Worked myself into a book frenzy. Anyways.

I have this habit of starting so many books and then not finishing them for some reason or another. 

To help resolve this issue, I decided to narrow down my list to 5 books I want to work on finishing. I am more or less actively reading these books. And lets face it, I probably won’t finish them all by August but this is a start.

 

My Current Reads This Summer

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1. Fountain Creek Chronicles, by Tamera Alexander

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 689.

  • book #1: Rekindled
  • #2: Revealed
  • #3: Remembered

Why I love it:

This particular series is set in Colorodo Territory (western US) in the mid- to late 1800s. I enjoy this particular time period and westerns have piqued my interest lately.

It’s hard to put into words exactly what I love about these books. Maybe its the fact that the characters are so real, so genuine in their struggles. They are committed to their faith.

The author walks a fine line here with providing just the right amount of detail to make the story flow. I also like her gutsiness to write about topics that not every Christian writer would. And she does it with eloquence and grace.

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2. The Magnolia Story, by Chip & Joanna Gaines

Genre: Biography.

Pages: 184.

Why I love it:

Most people are familiar with the dynamic duo that is Chip and Joanna Gains through their show, Fixer Upper. One of my friends (who is a fan) loaned me this book.

Chip and Joanna have a cute story. Joanna is so…Joanna and Chip is so crazy! I’ve enjoyed reading about the “ages and stages” of their lives…and how they got to be famous!

 

3. The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman

Genre: History/ World War I

Pages: 368.

Why I love it:

This one. This one is very deep and quite detailed. I’ve found I cannot do this book justice by reading it quickly. So, just like the classics I’ve been reading this novel slowly.

The book is based on the true story of Jan and Antonia Żabiński, a Polish couple who manage the Warsaw zoo during the Holocaust. What is so special about them? The synopsis says that “..[they] managed to save over 300 people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages”. Although I haven’t yet reached that point in the story.

I can tell that this book will be heartbreaking and beautiful. It is full of rich detail and I know that it will touch my heart.

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4. The Cranford Novellas, (Girlebooks) by Elizabeth Gaskell

  • Cranford-16 chapters.
  • Mr. Harrison’s Confession-31 chapters.
  • My Lady Ludlow-14 chapters.

 

Genre: Novel

Pages: 134 pages.

Why I love it:

Earlier this year I finished Gaskell’s North and South and I liked it (for the most part).

My thoughts on Gaskell’s works are hard to explain. I like her books, but they can be slow and the characters not as easy to like as say…Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet.

When I read that Cranford was supposed to be her best work, and saw a preview for the BBC series I decided to read it. The show came out in 2007 but apparently I missed the boat haha.

I am currently having some difficulty following the storyline and need to find some sort of spark notes to help me.

I did really enjoy the beginning of the novel. I found it to be quite humerous and entertaining. This book seems much more…easygoing? than other novels of hers.

 

5. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Genre: Fantasy.

Pages: 306.

Why I love it:

It’s J.R.R. Tolkien. Need I say more? His writing style is beyond amazing. And it’s no wonder, when he devoted such a large portion of his life to the series.

I don’t read much fantasy at all but I can definitely make time for a little Tolkien ☺

 

Any books on your summer reading list? Now’s the time to knock them out! Stay cool out there! ❄☀🌻🌺

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Beverages, Food

Easy Strawberry-Coconut-Chia Milkshake {dairy-free, gluten-free & paleo friendly}

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Last night my family and I binged out on homemade popcorn. It was delicious, as always.

But it left me feeling super-thirsty. So after I cleaned up the kitchen I made up a nice little milkshake. Everybody knows mundane chores go by way faster when you have a reward dangling at the end 😉

So I mixed up this and that, keeping in mind my Pumpkin smoothie recipe. Except this time it was strawberries.

I love strawberries 🍓🍓🍓Don’t you? (Strawberry allergy sufferers, you have my sympathy.)

No fresh strawberries this time, but maybe there will be more on that in the future. This time I used frozen, which I bought on sale, too. Yay!

Strawberry season in the midwest will be here soon & I can hardly wait.

This is a good strawberry recipe to whet your appetite. The concept of “rubbing x food through a seive” is one I learned from reading old school cookbooks. I’m thinking it was what people used before blenders.

But anyways. Here’s some photos, with the recipe to follow. My daughter and I fully enjoyed it both times (yes today and last night, it was that good 😋).

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Easy Strawberry-Coconut-Chia Milkshake

Prep/hands on time: 10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Makes one 16oz serving.

 

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 frozen strawberries, diced
  • *a drizzle of raw honey
  • **10oz/300ml vanilla almond milk
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chia seeds

*using an alternative liquid sweeter, such as maple syrup would make this recipe vegan.

**any kind of non-dairy milk will work here. If you can have cow’s milk, that works too.

 

Directions:

  1. Pour the diced strawberries into a pint mason jar, or any desired container with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Add the honey and stir well.
  3. Add the almond milk, attach the lid and shake it up.
  4. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the strawbwrry mixture into the bowl. Rub the strawberries through the strainer with a metal spoon (until you have extracted as much strawberries as you can).
  5. Set the strained strawberries aside.
  6. Pour the strawberry mixture into a glass and add the chia seeds. Stir.
  7. Top with a dollop or two of the coconut “cream” and the leftover strained strawberries.

 

Cost:

This recipe was fairly cheap, although I used a bit too much coconut cream in my recipe. Using much less of it would bring the price down from $3.06 to about $2.06. Still, at 19¢ an oz it’s not a bad price.

Got any favorite drinks to keep you cool this summer?

Enjoy!

Note: I realize that pictures of the topping when contrasted with the directions may be a bit misleading. In the photos, I did not “scoop on a dollop”. Instead, I whipped the cream. However, it was very liquid-y and I thought I could firm it up by freezing it, which didn’t exactly work out according to plan. But it did make the cream nice and smooth. So my recommendation is to save yourself some effort and just add a scoop on top. I sandwiched the leftover strawberries between layers of the coconut cream, in case you are wondering where it went 😉 Hope that makes sense!

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Uncategorized

How to Manage Anxiety as a Parent {5 questions to ask yourself}

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Hey guys!

Today I have the awesome privilege of making my very first guest post. I’m so excited!

Ruth, from the blog 1000 Ways To Be Fearless graciously invited me to do a guest post on her blog. I asked her if I could post on how anxiety affects parenting and she said yes! Yay!

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My previous post on mental health was last week, when I shared a link to one of Ruth’s posts, a speech she made about how recovery from a mental illness isn’t always what people would expect.

Ruth’s blog is full of encouraging tips for people with anxiety that are looking for creative ways to cope. I’m happy to add to her blog with this post 😊

Head on over to Ruth’s blog to check out the post.

Thank-you for joining me on this journey through the month of May as I’ve focused on this important issue of mental health. 

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Gardening, The Great Outdoors

No Plans Like Garden Plans {companion planting and crop rotation}

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Hello everyone 😄

I am so wonderfully excited that it is spring. Wonderfully isn’t even a good enough adjective to describe how excited I am.

I’m over the moon.

I. love. gardening. so. much.

I’ve not been as active on the blog lately and this is partly due to the fact that I’ve been spending all kinds of quality time with little green things…and the little brown things that they come from 😛

Little seedlings🌱🌱🌱 below (picture captions are still being glitchy).

Clockwise from left: radish sprout, hot pepper plants, radish and carrot sprouts, marshmallow, dill sprouts, tiny beets, and alllll the tomatoes.

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I have done a lot, and I mean a lot of work on my garden. I’ve expanded it, which is a short phrase to describe a long and back breaking process associated with the relocation of S-O-D.

But you don’t want to hear about that.

**Just for the record, before I dive in. I’m in a zone 6, so planting usually doesn’t happen till memorial day/late May. 

 

Crop Rotation

For a visual on my expansion and what I’m growing this year vs. last year check this out.

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This ⬆⬆⬆ is last year’s garden. Dimensions are about 12×13′.

(In an additional garden bed #8 by the house I grew sweet potatoes and marigolds.)

And I got bored of it.

I read in The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible: Discover Ed’s High-Yield W-O-R-D System for All North American Gardening Regions, (by Edward C. Smith) that if you find you are bored with your garden, add more to it. Woo hoo!

So I did.

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Here ⬆⬆⬆ is this year’s garden plans. It measures 20×17′. New garden beds this year are #s 2, 3 and 7.

So the old beds that I rotated are #s 1, 4, and 6.

Confused yet?

Here is a better description:

Bed #⬇     2017➡2018

  1. Corn ➡ cucumber, nasturtium, bush beans, carrots
  2. (New bed)
  3. (New bed)
  4. Tomatoes, marigolds ➡ cauliflower, dill, carrots, radishes, onions
  5. (Unchanged)
  6. borage, cosmos, thyme, basil ➡ borage, echinacea, marshmallow, bee balm
  7. (New bed)
  8.  Sweet potatoes, marigolds ➡ spinach, strawberries.

Basically, it’s all about taking care of the nutrients in the soil so the plants grow better. And It’s also about planting the right things together so that they benefit each other.

I understand it’s mostly rotating the heavy feeders with the lighter feeders.

 

Companion Planting

And that’s crop rotation. But what about companion planting?

Companion planting is just planting things in the same bed or row that will benefit each other. Those plants are friends. They grow up together and make each other happy, either by keeping away pests, or giving each other nutrients or both.

Q: How did I implement companion planting this year?

A: Pretty much any way I knew how to.

Companions

Bed #⬇

  1. cucumbers & nasturtium. Bush beans & carrots.
  2. sweet potatoes & marigolds, onions & tomatoes.
  3. tomatoes, onions, hot peppers and basil all go together.
  4. Cauliflower & dill, carrots, radishes and onions. The onions area divider of sorts because dill and carrots do not go together.
  5. (Unchanged.)
  6. Most herbs go together, especially bee & butterfly friendly flowers. 💐 🐝
  7. See above.
  8. Spinach & strawberries. 🌱🍓

 

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Found some spinach randomly growing in the garden…didn’t want it there, so I picked it and ate some!

Got any garden plans? Do you have any fond memories of gardening as a child, teen (or even as an adult)?

What do you think of crop rotation and companion planting?

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Uncategorized

So When Will I Get Better? {a new way to look at recovery- from the blog 1000 Ways To Be Fearless}

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Have you ever had someone ask you, “So, are you better now?” It’s a well-meaning question, but it is one that is sadly a misinterpretation of just how mental illness works.

But in all fairness, I have asked myself the same question.

“When will I get better?”

It isn’t an easy question to ask, because I already know the answer.

“People tend to think that recovery is one upward trajectory. You go through a bad time, you get better, then you’re back to your normal self. Unfortunately, the complexity of human emotion and experience doesn’t quite fit into such a pattern.”

-Ruth, 1000 Ways To Be Fearless

from: A Talk: Recovery Isn’t Linear-A New Way of Viewing Recovery from a Mental Illness.

But what I’ve come to see…is that I’m not a failure for struggling with mental illness. It doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t mean that day is shot. Worthless. Over.

No.

Recovery from a mental illness is not carefully constructed. It can’t be controlled or planned.

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It just is. It might be a bit messy, but that’s life, and life is messy

I want to invite you to check out this post from Ruth, of the blog 1000 Ways To Be Fearless. Her blog has been a wonderful tool in my own journey towards recovery. 

In her post she shares a speech she made at an event for the NHS (National Health Service in England). I thought what she had to say about recovery was beautiful, relatable and so, so true.

I really enjoyed this post of hers and I think that you will too ☺

A Talk: Recovery Isn’t Linear-A New Way of Viewing Recovery From a Mental Illness

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Blog Updates, Uncategorized

Blogiversary Reminisce {blog update #4}

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Hello to my lovely readers,

I’m rolling 3 thoughts into one, as this post is an anniversary, thank-you and a reflection on one year of blogging 😄

Today, this day, one year ago is when I started blogging…blogging for real.

I started in 2014 but didn’t have the gumption to blog regurally. It was 1x a month at the time, if that.

May 17th, 2017 I decided to make my first post: Pregnancy, Parenting and God’s Grace. It was about my long (16-month) absence on the blog and what motherhood is like with a baby and a toddler…and how God’s plans aren’t always my plans, but they turn out to be the BEST plans anyways 😉

I was unsure of where this blog would take me. I was nervous that people wouldn’t like what I had to say. That people would never like my posts or think that my blog was worth reading.

But I was wrong. People did want to hear. People did care. You, my fellow bloggers, were kind. You cared. I was a newbie and you took the time to read my stuff.

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So thank-you to all of you. To my readers on and off WordPress. I’m honored. I’m blessed. Thank-you for following my blog. Thank-you for taking the time to read. It means so much to me 🌞❤

I’ve been going through my blog stats, looking at my most-loved posts. Seeing what you guys like so I can improve the blog.

In my reminesce, here are the top 5 posts that you guys loved most on The Buttercup Lamb.

 

Top 5 Posts

1. When Grace Doesn’t Seem Like Enough {5 things to remember}

2. The pain in the quiet, healing flow

3. 5 Favorite Things {on our FL vacation}

4. Nourishing Lentil Stew with Daikon and Sweet Potato

5. Crockpot Calico Beans

Going through these helped me realize what kind of content interests people, which turned out to be the posts that I most enjoyed writing 😯😝

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It’s another year. Of learning, growing and writing. I’ve written 100+ posts and have been slowly gaining followers (but pushing closer to the big 200!)

I’ll be brainstorming new ideas for posts, new designs and new ways to mesh my visions and goals with the stuff I love writing about.

Thanks again everyone!

What kinds of topics would you like to see on the blog? Do you enjoy the recipes and food? The poems? Reflections posts? Or maybe something else? Let me know in the comments, it would be such a big help to me 😊

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Reflections

Struggling Against Anxiety {part 2 in a series of poems}

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As I said in my last post, May is Mental Health Awareness month. And it seemed like the perfect time to talk about some important topics.

Stemming from the subject of mental health is a variety of topics. Mental health can be everyday stuff. It can be things like phobias, or illnesses like OCD, depression, panic disorder, anxiety. The list goes on.

And I just want to say…I am not a mental health expert. I only know what I’ve experienced. This series of poems on mental illness are meant to bring awareness and share what these things really feel like.

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It’s hard. It’s hard to live with. It’s hard to share. And if you or someone close to you struggles with mental illness, then you know exactly what I mean and where I am coming from.

Today’s poem is about anxiety and panic attacks. The very words “panic attack” steal fear into the hearts of people. They don’t know what to say about it. They are…unsure. Uncomfortable.

And it’s ok.

It’s ok. But for the people that don’t know, and maybe want to know…and yet don’t, I wrote this poem. It is a description of a small piece of my world when anxiety comes in and erases much of what I know.

 

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Invisibly Visible

 

I’m invisibly visible

You see me

And now you don’t.

 

You see me

And I’m fine

But you can’t feel

My heart

 

My pulse.

My mind.

 

You see

And yet you don’t.

 

Fear makes fear

Afraid

 

And so you turn

Away.

 

Afraid it is contagious.

Afraid you’ll catch my pain.

 

And though I crave

Your understanding

 

I hope you never know

This invisible

Disease.

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Important Note: If you or someone you love is dealing with intense anxiety and/or panic attacks, it is important to remember these 2 things: 1) you are not alone and 2) there is help for you. You can call the suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255. You can call your doctor and get on a prescription, you can call your mom, your spouse, your bestie. You can dig down deep and find therapies and healthy ways to cope. There is help, I promise. And it will, it will, it will get better

For more on how I cope with anxiety, see my post Bravery in Motion: 10 Ways to Help Overcome a Panic Attack

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All photos are from pixabay. The poem is my own.

Sewing & Repurposing

Whipstitch Wednesday: Making Bears for Carry the Future

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Today I finally, finally got to finishing some stuffed bears I had been planning on making for Carry the Future.

Last August, I was nominated for the Leibster award by Sharon, of the blog Leadership2Mommyship. In my post One Lovely Blog Award & Leibster Award I shared that I was totally in love with an organization called Carry the Future that gives aide and baby carriers to refugees, especially those in the Middle East.

They had a great need for certain items, and while I have slightly limited resources, I do like to sew. I saw that Carry the Future was partnering with Dolls of Hope, which made simple doll and bear patterns available for anyone interested.

(I decided on the bear pattern because it looked easier.)

Not too long ago, I actually downloaded the pattern, planned the project and then went to Wal-Mart to get my fabric.

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I bought a few flannel prints ⬆⬆⬆ for the front of the bears, and combined those with some Sesame Street fabric I already had and another flannel solid that was gifted to me.

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These ⬆⬆⬆ are the fabrics for the backs of the bears. There is a combination of minky, fleece, and plush fleece (the green).

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I probably started these in March and have just now finished 3. My goal is 12, but we’ll see 😄

These bears are fairly easy to do. And for anyone interested in making these, here are a few tips:

  • Minky is hard to work with because it likes to slide, but once it’s matched up correctly I found it easy to sew.
  • Using a peice of felt for the nose as the directions reccomend is the way to go.
  • You will use a lot of black embroidery thread. Buy lots.
  • 1 bag of stuffing will get you far. I’ve used enough for 3 bears and it looks like I’ve used hardly any.
  • Minky and plush fleece will shed everywhere, which you will probably notice when it is cut at the store. I found it helpful to use an old sheet spread under the fabric when I cut it and then cleaned up the mess with a lint roller.

 

I think I will get better at these bears as I go along but just wanted to share my progress for those interested.


 

Price breakdown:

Fabric– $15.61, for a 1/2 yard of 6 different fabrics (1.99-3.92 each).

Stuffing-$3.47, and more than likely way more than I need.

Blue thread-$1.45 (I always buy Gutterman).

Total: $20.53

It is very doable to make 10 or more bears for under $25, that’s in the ballpark of $2.50 or less per bear.


 

If you want to get started making these, you can find information and directions here:

https://www.carrythefuture.org/announcements/dolls-hope/

Does this look like something you are intersted in? Have you ever participated in a project like this? Let me know 😄😄

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