Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Note To Self

If the three year old happens to use red permanent marker on your bedspread again, rubbing alcohol does the trick.  Mostly.  :(

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Healthy Living Lifestyle

Awhile back, while dealing with a minor health issue, I began researching healthy eating habits and exercise routines to help me. Before long, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information available, and became almost paralyzed to start. So many conflicting ideas! So-and-so says eat this much protein and you will be able to jump higher and run faster. But blah-blah says too much protein is bad for you, go vegan, and don't run ever or you'll live to regret it (maybe).

 Soon enough, my health issue was resolved, but the information overload had taken its toll. I left all "advice" behind and just continued on my merry way, doing my best to do what I thought was right. But then I was given a copy of Amy Culver's The Healthy Living Lifestyle. Amy was once "tipping the scales" at 300 pounds. Through incorporating a series of healthy choices into her life, she was able to lose 165 pounds. She shares her choices and so much more in this wonderful, easy to read, book.

Amy's book is much more than just a "do this, lose weight, look fabulous" type of book. It is called the Healthy Living Lifestyle for a reason. As women, we often feel as if we have to look like we could be on the cover of Vogue to be pretty. That's the goal, we think, and we won't be happy until we get there. But, as most of us know (at least in the back of our heads), we won't be happy if we ever do get there. Because that's not health. That's vanity. So Amy shows us how to make small changes to lead to healthier lives.

That's the second half of the book. The first half is Amy's story. How she came to be 300 pounds. How she struggled with food addiction. How she struggled with eating disorders in the name of being thin. And how, through the grace of God, she began to heal. It's a story of hope and faith, that will encourage you to make small choices to become a healthy person. I highly recommend this book if you have ever struggled with loosing large amounts of weight, but also for those of us who really just want to lead healthier lives without getting caught up in the supermodel mindset.

*Note: Amy is a friend of mine and I received a copy of her book as a gift with no obligations. I am writing this review purely because I honestly think her book is a valuable resource.*

Magic Cabin

On Monday I finished up my Christmas shopping, but while I was in the process finding that perfect something for a certain three year old girl, I stumbled upon a little store called Magic Cabin.  Can I just say, adorable?  Fairies and Gnomes and Rope Ladders, Oh My!

How I wish I were a kid again and magically could get whatever I want from this store.  They have toy kitchen stuff, ride on toys, houses and tree forts, capes and robes and wands and...I could go on and on.

We got Ladybug this little wash day set for her dolly clothes, and we got Sunflowers these little baby toys.  So if you are in the market for a little special something, check out Magic Cabin.  And right now you can get free shipping on order over $50. 

Note:  I am getting nothing for my little swoon here.  As long as my order arrives in time for Christmas, you are just hearing from a very pleased momma.  :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Getting Old(er)

:)  Today is my birthday.  My *ahem*  th...th...thirtieth birthday.  There.  I said it.  I'm 30.  This morning I looked in the mirror.  I didn't really look any older.  I don't have any grey hairs (yet), and only one wrinkle on the top of my forehead, put there as a result of having a three year old.  I'm half way to 60, but 30 years is a long time still before I get there.  And you know?  I'm becoming ok with the fact that I'm th...th...thirty.  (Although it is still kind of hard to say.)

Want to know a random thing that I think is weird?  My husband is 33, I'm 30, Ladybug is 3, and we have 3 kids.  Maybe this is our family's golden year.  Or not.  Either way, we've been richly blessed.

This morning I asked my husband to pretend he didn't know me.  And that he saw me walking in the grocery store with three kids in tow (here I did the little shopping cart dance. Know the one I mean, or does that age me?).  Would he think, "Wow!  That woman is 30 for sure!"  Of course he was smart and said no, he would think I was maybe 27?  (He phrased it just like that.  I totally put him on the spot.)  "Really?",  I said.  "You wouldn't think 26?"  :)  To be smart, he told me I looked not a day over 18.  Let's just say, that I do look over 18, and I'm actually happy about that.

So.  I'm 30.  And I'm ok with that.  Now I just have to change my sidebar.  What should it say?  A thirty something wife and mother....?  Nah.  Maybe we'll just leave age out of it.  :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Traditions

Advent is probably my favorite season in the Church calendar.  I love the emphasis on waiting.  I love the idea of adding a new little tradition each year.  I love the excitement that builds, and the planning, and the cleaning....

I wanted to share the things that we are doing this year, noting that most of these have been built up from the very beginning of our marriage.

I made this Advent calendar last year.  It's a little plain right now, but I'm ok with that.  Each year I plan on adding a little something to it.  Last year we put those little candy bars in each pocket and the kids got to share it each morning after breakfast.  This year I wanted to de-emphasize the treats during Advent so the treats during Christmas would have a bit more meaning.  So I scoured the internet looking for bible verses on the prophesies of the coming Messiah, along with Gospel verses leading up to the Birth.  I found this article, and tweaked it a little to suit my purposes.  The candy is saved for special feast days and the Sundays of Advent.  See the pink bits of paper for the third week in Advent?  Next year I'm thinking of making little Jesse tree style ornaments to hide in the pockets, but we'll see.

Another thing we do is decorate the tree slowly.  We each pick one ornament a night to add to our little tree.

 Even the baby gets to pick.

Most of our ornaments are special.  We let each kid pick out one special one from the store each year and write their names on them.  My goal is to have a set of ornaments for each kid after to move out of the house.  We have yet to do it this year, it's on the to do list.  :)

This year we went to a Christ the King celebration at a friends house.  She had made these little mangers for each kid and gave us each a bag of straw with a baby Jesus hidden inside.  For each good thing I catch the kids doing, they get a piece of straw to add to the manger.  They are working on making a very soft bed for baby Jesus.  (And if you look closely at the Advent calendar, the two baby Jesus' are hidden in the pocket of the 25th).

Our first married Christmas together, we made a simple Advent wreath together.  And we did the same on our second Christmas too.  So this one is the first one we made, and we hung the other one on the front door.  I didn't make it in time to find Advent candles this year, but had some left over from last year.  We light the candles at dinner, and after prayers Dan reads from the little book while the kids eat.

Throughout the house are little touches, little reminders of what we are preparing for.  My husband's parents sent this little nativity to him while he spending his first Christmas away from home stationed in the Middle East while in the Navy.

We have a couple of children's nativity sets.  This one is the most little kid friendly one we have.  Certain figures are put away still, again because we are waiting.

These are the other two nativity sets we have.  All were given to us, not bought.  The playmobil one is great, but has lots of small pieces so we don't get it out often.  Maybe when the kids are older.  The top one I think I am going to bring with us to Wyoming when we go for Christmas.  It's a hands on one and is small enough for travel.

The baby Jesus' are hidden on the shelf.

Last year I scored some great Christmas books, most of them from Tomie dePaola.  I have the idea to wrap them and open one a night, but maybe we'll do that next year.  A little at a time.

It's almost the third Sunday in Advent.  The anticipation is building.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ladybug's Cake

Sorry for the light blogging lately.  Things have been crazy around here recently.  I did want to post a picture of Laybug's cake.  It was a strawberry cake made from strawberries bought on sale and frozen this summer.  The frosting is cream cheese frosting, and I mixed some of the strawberry puree into the frosting for the strawberry on top.  The greens are romaine lettuce.  :)  Here is a link to the recipe.  It was AMAZING.

Ladybug was very pleased with her cake.  And even though it was two days after Thanksgiving, and we were all stuffed and by that point sick of sweets, this cake was a hit.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Waiting For St. Nicholas

The little ones tried very hard to be good tonight in anticipation of St. Nicholas filling our shoes with goodies.  Love the tiny baby shoes next to the great big daddy boots.