September 27, 2010

Kailyn Turned 4!

Wow, it's been a crazy September!  Kind of feels non-stop.  But at least it's been full of beautiful things!  Kailyn, my oldest baby, turned Four on the 26th.  I can't believe it!  I also can't believe I'm going to be one of those moms who cries harder than her kids when they go to their first day of Kindergarten, turn 10 (double digits), 16 and start driving and of course leaving the house for college... and though I know those days are far away, I'm learning very quickly that the years are going to slip by swiftly.  I had to hold back tears three or four times when I looked at my baby with her hair all curled and her smile covering her entire face as she got ready for her princess party.  She is four years old already!

We had a great time going to the Aquarium for the first time, on Friday.  Then all weekend we got ready for her Royal Spaghetti Dinner (she picked out the entire menu!) which overflowed with "Princesses, Rainbows and Unicorns."  We had a blast celebrating her amazing four years of life so far... and I know that there are going to be so many more amazing years to come!
So this seems to be quite a stretching September, learning that as we enjoy this last year with all of my babies home with me all day... seasons truly do come and go.  Life moves and breathes.  We love and are loved... thank You Jesus for loving us no matter what we go through in life.
Enjoy this beautiful Autumn season everyone!

September 14, 2010

Hosting My First Baby Shower!

I did it!  I hosted my very first baby shower (which is part of the reason I've neglected my blogging a bit)!  I thought I'd post a few pics of the things I did in case anyone could use some of the ideas (I also just want to show you what I've been working on for the past few weeks)!  Let me know some of your great shower/party ideas!
I made a blog for the shower.

And put some fun stuff up (like a picture of what the baby might look like according to  along with directions and all the details for everyone who may have misplaced their invitation.

Then I just started to think about all the things I've appreciated in showers or wanted to have.  First thing, I really wanted the Guest of Honor (Becky) to have plenty of time to visit with her friends and family here since she now lives hours away from us and hasn't had a chance to see everyone in awhile.  So I decided on no baby shower games.

We decided on a polka dot/turtle theme (in correlation with the registry), with hints of Dr. Seuss (Becky loves Dr Seuss everything)!

Gift: My First Diaper Cake!

Kept the Food Simple: Fruit & Veggie trays, Chicken Salad and Crackers with Sliced Cheese.  Raspberry Sweet Tea and Water to drink!

Cake(s): Janet (my sister-in-law) made AMAZING Truffle Turtle cakes, as well as two huge Turtle Cupcake Cakes with some extra cupcakes on the side.  Everyone LOVED these!
After everyone had a chance to eat and talk I did a drawing and gave away four prizes (bath stuff, Starbucks gift card & journal, devotional CD & journal...stuff like that!).  I had everyone fill out their name and address on envelopes and place them in a blue bin decorated with little turtles.  It's always fun to get prizes and Becky doesn't have to address 40 Thank You's now!  This was also in place of a game: it got everyone's attention and helped direct the mood to the rest of the shower's "agenda" which was cake and presents!

On their way out I had a bowl of Kit Kats each with a note attached reminding everyone to check out the blog for event pictures and giving them a web address where they could upload the pics they took!

All in all, we had a great time visiting with friends and family and were able to bless Noe and Becky with many of their baby needs!!!  We were all tuckered out when it was said and done...

September 8, 2010

Operation Beautiful Part II: My Story

I have waited quite a while to write this second part of my two-part Operation Beautiful "series," because it's my own story. Operation Beautiful is another woman's idea, but it is helping women stop "fat talk," and helping us all realize we are matter what...and that is one of the passions of my heart too!
I want women, girls, even men to realize that they are amazing, just as they are!  But, this is one area of my life that I still struggle with!
I was a normal kid growing up.  Involved in Brownies and Girls Scouts, loved church and all my church friends.  I was shy.  Took ballet for a few years, loved teaching myself piano... but when I went into middle school I gained a lot of weight.  Now, I can't tell you any-one situation where someone picked on me or made me feel bad about myself - but I don't remember needing that to feel bad about myself anyway.
All of my friends were stick thin.  I felt self-consious all the time.  My baby sister (2 years younger than I), friends, everyone I spent time with were much smaller than me.  I remember crying whenever I had to go shopping for new clothes.  I actually remember one time my mom taking me to get some new jeans and when I didn't fit into anything but a size 12 years old, I balled my eyes out right there in the fitting room.
Well, some of those memories have left some scars on me mentally, and emotionally.  I have spent all my teenage years and early-twenties battling seeing myself correctly, and not allowing negative inner-talk to break me down.
The crazy thing is that most people that I have told this to are surprised.  I guess looking back at pictures, I started changing on the outside as soon as I got into high school.  I lost some weight (mostly due to being so stressed out each day I could barely eat).  Then when I went off to bible school (Christ For the Nations) at age 18, I gained 15 pounds - of muscle.  (You may be laughing, but that was the best shape I had ever been in, in my life.  I weighed 135 lbs, was a size 4 and still didn't think I was "skinny").  Then I yo-yo-ed for the next 3 years or so, until after I was married for 4 months and got pregnant with my first baby.
This is where things really started to change for me, on the inside too.  I get so sick in my first trimesters that I am usually hospitalized (for re-hydration) and lose around 15-20 pounds in those first 9 weeks.  Then I have a healthy pregnancy and get back in shape fairly quickly after each baby is born.  I am now 4 months post-partum...for the third time.
I would say now I am FINELY beginning to get a grasp on things mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually...and I've been at this for 14 years.  I would love to say "I've made it to the otherside," but it is a daily battle (sometimes weekly, sometimes hourly).  I have learned a few things that I would love to share with you... but the main thing is that EVERYONE needs to hear this!  EVERYONE needs to believe they are "Worth It," and it doesn't matter what size you're in or what the scale says.  It matters what God says. 
The first song I ever wrote was a little melody to Psalm 139:
"You made all the delicate inner parts of my being, you knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! ...How precious are your thoughts about me O God! They are innumerable!"
I have written a few songs that are a great reminder to me of what God really thinks of me, even when I have a hard time seeing myself the way He does.
I pray that through the areas of my life that I've struggled or experienced hardships, God will open a door for me to minister to other women and to use those experiences to help someone else grow, change and blossom!  I'm starting to realize that I don't have to have it all figured out to bless someone else with my story... it is far from complete, but here I am anyway, as of yet!
I hope that as I continue to grow and learn and become who God has made me to be, how He sees me, that I can encourage others along the way!
So share your story, spread the love... whether in the comments below, on post-it notes around the gym (see Operation Beautiful Part One), or over coffee with a friend.  You never know how a little honesty and transparency can impact others!  Be blessed!

September 3, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Sale | Tiny Artichoke FREE Shipping!

These Organic Cotton Leggings are only $5.99!

Check out Tiny Artichokes Labor Day Sale! 21 Reduced Price items plus FREE shipping! First time buyers use code ilovetiny for an extra 5% off. Everything is organic or eco-friendly in some way! Enjoy! Let me know what you pick!

September 1, 2010

Turkey Chili w/ Beans and Rice

Not really how the chili looks, but I forgot to snap a shot of my own!

1lb of lean Ground Turkey
1 Onion
1 Pepper (I used Red, but Orange or Green is best for the mixture of colors)
1 C. Instant Brown Rice, uncooked (or 1 C. any Rice, cooked)
1 C. Frozen (or Fresh) Corn
1 15.5 oz. can Beans, drained (I used White. Navy, Kidney or Black would be great too)
1 28 oz. can Tomatoes, undrained (I used Diced tomatoes)
1 Tbsp. Egg Whites (The Secret Ingredient!)
Seasonings (*See what I used below)
1.5-2 C. Water (Depending on how liquid-y you like your Chili)

Saute the Onion and Pepper in a tsp. of Olive Oil, until soft.  Push to the side of the pan and cook the Ground Turkey.  While cooking the meat, add the Egg Whites.  (This doesn't change the flavor at all, but adds protein, hardly any calories and helps give the Turkey stick together, giving it a texture more similar to ground beef).  Now mix together the Onion/Peppers and Turkey in the pan.  Cook the Turkey completely.  Add Corn, Beans, Tomatoes, Water and then Rice.  Stir together, season and cook for 20 minutes on Medium-Low heat (or until everything is heated through and the Instant Rice is cooked).  Add more liquid if needed (the Rice soaks up a lot of it) and simmer until you're ready to eat!
Serves 8

Tomatoes, Brown Rice, Lean Ground Turkey, Beans, Onion, Egg Whites, Pepper (and spicy foods) are all in the Top Fat Burning Foods that help boost your metabolism, even after you've finished eating!

*List of Seasonings:
Salt, Black Pepper, Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Pepper, Crushed Red Peppers, Garlic Powder.  Paprika optional on ground turkey for coloring, otherwise the turkey has a white look - even w/o egg whites).

Additional Options:
My official taste-tester (DJ) approved of the finished recipe, said that it had an almost Chicken Tortilla Soup taste, and thought that strips of Blue Corn Tortilla Chips might be really good on there!
Feel free to mess with the ingredients and seasonings all you want.  I almost always make choices based on what is in my pantry/fridge or what I need to use up!  Tell me what changes you tried and if they worked out!
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