Wednesday, April 23, 2014

{Jesus Calling} Our New Family Devotional

A devotional that is right for your whole family is now always easy to come by, but Jesus Calling: 365 Devotions For Kids is enjoyable for my children and myself.  I would highly recommend it to anyone with children.

It is hard to decided what Bible to get 4 and 5 years olds.  They don't respond to the baby story books, never really have, and I want to encourage them to read on their own.  I really wanted to get the kids new Bibles for Easter, but it didn't work out quite the way I planned.

I decided on one early reader Bible for the two of them to share for now, but to my surprise,the better find was a very touching devotional for us to share each night.

Devotions written as if Jesus is speaking directly to a child's heart.
Based on her original Jesus Calling, this version has been adapted in a language and fashion that kids and tweens can relate to their everyday lives. 
After many years of writing in her prayer journal, missionary Sarah Young decided to listen to God with pen in hand, writing down what she believed He was saying to her through Scripture. Others were blessed as she shared her writings, until people all over the world were using her devotionals.  They are written from Jesus' point of view, thus the title Jesus Calling.  It is Sarah's fervent prayer that our Savior may bless readers, and now young readers, with His presence and His peace in ever deeper measure.




We have begun reading Jesus Calling each night before bed and they seem to really like the messages.  It is written like a conversation with God and it is put into terms that they understand.  We read about setting aside earthly concerns to spend time in solitude with God and they were interested in the idea of "spending time" with him.  My son wanted to know if God would play Hide and Seek.  I told him God would always win, lol.  He said he didn't mind :)

I feel ill equipped to handle many of my children's questions and comments about God and Jesus.  I am always looking for resources that will give them a new perspective on faith.  I often begin reading something new to them or look on the internet for answers and it's  funny how the topics that I am most afraid to approach have been thought through and described so well be someone out there and I think, "well, that was easy!"  I know the stuff, but it has been so long since it was new to me that I fear what I might say that is overwhelming or maybe even not enough.

I think I was lead to that store to find this book.

I am not affiliated with this book or author in any way.  I simply love the book :)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs and My Favorite Basic Egg Salad

I missed my usual Monday Menu Post...it seems to be my one and only constant recently and yesterday was just too much to handle.  I know, I should be scheduling these things in advance, but it doesn't sit well with me for some reason.
Anyway, yesterday was hectic because I had, yet another, sick baby.  We have been fighting a very strong virus since the end of March.  It hits you and holds you down for weeks.  It has passed to just about everyone in the family and now poor Nemo has it, plus an ear infection.  He was feverish all weekend an absolutely pitiful on Sunday night.  We went to the doctors and rested yesterday - lots of cuddles were in order.  He has had 3 doses of medicine in him and seems to be feeling like his ornery little self again ;)
Since many of us have dyed eggs in the last week or so, I am sharing my favorite egg salad recipe, which I will be using, and 2 methods to Hard Boil the Perfect Eggs, in case you need to make more.



Here is my favorite recipe for Basic egg salad:
  • ¼ Cup light mayo
  • 1Tbs yellow mustard 1tsp dill
  • ½ stalk celery
  • 7 whole hard boiled eggs
  • 4 hard egg whites
Combine the first three ingredients and then fold into roughly chopped eggs.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Hot sauce isn’t bad either.

Perfectly Boiled Eggs
  1. Place eggs in pot and fill water 1 inch above eggs.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil.
  3. Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the water for 13 minutes.
  4. Remove and let cool.

Or follow these directions for BAKING the eggs instead!



I hope that you and yours had a wonderful Easter and are enjoying your candy and goodies :)

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Veggie Meal Plan 04/14/2014


Last week was quite a week, and not in a good way.  It was just rough.  One thing after another fell apart and it ended with my Respiratory Infection turning into raging Bronchitis - the worst I have ever had.  I have only just now been fever free for 24 hours and I will remain on medication for another 7 days (its already been 11...) I have never had a virus or infection that has been so resistant to treatment and that is really scary!
I am nowhere near 100% back to normal.  I would say 60%, maybe?  But I am pressing on.  I think that these recipes may be a little ambitious for me this week (other than the wraps) so I may hold off on the first two and rely heavily on soup which I already have on hand.  Hopefully by the end of the week I am back on my feet.

I can tell you that this week has started out much better!  Some big accomplishments have already taken place and others on in the cooker.  It's funny how things work out ;)

Enjoy your week!



Tomato and Asparagus "Carbonara"
Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole
Southwestern Roasted Veggie Wraps

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

10 Things

In the recent months I have shied away from sharing anything very personal.  I was looking back through my blog and I realized that there is nothing about ME, really.

 photo d07170ed-d0b2-4c90-8eec-d0c85aa53d6f_zps7683c895.jpg

You may or may not care, but here are 10 things about me:

1.  I had just celebrated my birthday that week when I married my high school sweet heart at age 22.

2.  My mother, myself and my daughter all share the same birthmark.  It is a small circle on our lower backs that has no pigment.

3.  I love jewelry, shoes, bags and accessories, but you will rarely find me wearing anything outstanding.  During my pregnancies I couldn't stand anything on me and it never really went away.  I am trying to learn how to be fashionable again, but usually look like a mom - I throw on what's clean and I don't give my outfits much thought.

4.  I run 2 side businesses and work full time as a receptionist at a car dealership.  I can be found here and on my other blog, Local Girl, at my Etsy shop and JensHealthyFuture.com, my It Works! Global website.   I desperately want to replace my job as a receptionist with my own business.  I have always seen myself as a business owner who works from home.  I CRAVE the flexibility of working around my family's schedule instead of the other way around.

5.  I have been wearing broken glasses for nearly a full week now and I still haven't had a chance to have them repaired.  It's not a huge priority either.  And this morning, for few brief minutes, I could see without my glasses and I thought that maybe God had blessed me with corrected site.  It must have been an illusion because I am still pretty blind.  But that strengthened my resolve to, eventually, get laser surgery.

6.  I think I might be an Empath...it's weird.  I always knew I was wayyyy over-sensitive, but I ran across an article that described what an Empath is and I took a quiz.  Yep.

7.  I love to be creative, but I hold back quite a bit.  Everyone knows an eccentric artist.  You are picturing them right now.   I think that, if left completely alone with myself, I could absolutely fill that role.

8.  I struggle with friendships because they tend to be draining.  My husband is my very nest friend and I have other friends, but I don't have a best girlfriend.

9.  I gave birth to 3 children in 4 1/2 years.  I was pregnant for 27 of 54 months.  It was long and hard and  totally wrecked my body, but it was infinitely worth it!

10.  I do not like feeling vulnerable or having a valid reason to apologize to someone.  I do it all the time.  I am a people pleaser, not a people person.  

Now you might have a better picture of who I am.



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Friday, April 4, 2014

{Sign Up Genius} How to Create Volunteer Sign Ups and Event Invitations

Do you ever have events that you need to recruit volunteers for?  I am as involved as a working mother can be with my daughter’s school PTO and extracurriculars and we often use an email sign up to collect our volunteers and invite people to events.  It really is genius considering the old-school sign up sheet is practically non existent at this point (which I am not unhappy about).    


I constantly struggle with my son’s half day preschool events and sign ups because it’s a mid morning/mid afternoon program and most children attending have parents home during the day who drop off and pick up.  If I don’t make a point to correspond regularly with the teacher, I don’t know what is going on because it’s all posted on a bulletin outside the classroom.


Sign Up Genius is the free program that we use to create signups and send by email to parents and staff.  It is super easy to use!


How to used Sign Up Genius


1) First, create an account





2) Then build your own Sign up




3) Add General Details

4) Pick a Theme
( there are numerous options or you can upload your own images)



5) Schedule Dates/Times


6) Create Slots (if it applies)



7) Settings

8) Preview Form

9) Send invites:


This program gives you the option to send reminders, make quick changes, alerts everyone if something has been changed or canceled and can be added directly to your calendar. It makes the process sooo much easier.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Veggie Meal Plan 3.31.14


Remember when I only posted about food on Mondays for my meal plan?  Somehow, I have become a total foodie.

 A foodie who hates cooking...

I think that 9 out of 10 of my recent posts have been about making, preparing and sharing food and it wasn't planned.  I do love looking at food, talking about food, changing up my diet, trying  new diets and, of course, eating food.  I guess it's natural, just funny to me.




Lentil Mushroom Ragu
Spicy BBQ Chicpea and Crispy Polenta Bowl with Asparagus and Ranch Hummus
Thai Style Broccoli Salad with Sweet Chili Lime Dressing

All sounds good, right?  I can't wait to dive in!

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

How to Hard Boil the Perfect Egg in the Oven {Baked Eggs in 4 Steps}

So, you want to make the perfect hard boiled eggs?  If you are like me, you probably hate the idea of the boiling water and possible cracked shells or exploding eggs.

Solution:  Baked Eggs

How to hard boil and egg


You will Need:
  • an oven
  • eggs (as many as you like)
  • cold water 
  • 40 minutes


Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325 f
2.  Place eggs directly on oven rack or in a muffin tin (your choice).
3.  Bake for 30 mins.
4.  Remove eggs from oven and place in cold water for 10 mins.

The eggs come out the perfect texture :)

Draw Backs:  the time and possible brown spots on the shell if put directly on the rack (which is perfect for large batches that would not fit in a pot).

The time isn't an issue for me unless I am trying to get things done very quickly.  I would much rather stick them in the oven for a while and be able to do something else and not be tied to the stove.

Happy egg baking!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Veggie Meal Plan 3/24/14


It was a reeeeeaaaaalllllyyyyy nice weekend here in Pa.  A little chilly yesterday, but now rain or snow and Saturday even reached 60 degrees (snow is in the forecast this week by most people are choosing to ignore it I think).  We did all our usual things, grocery shopping, laundry, dance classes, dinner with the grandparents, watched FROZEN, but we also got to play OUSIDE!  I even let the kids eat dinner on the deck which went better than expected considering it was windy and they were eating spaghetti.
I am sad that we week has begun already, but I am happy to share some new menu items that I found on Pinterest (where else do you get recipes?)





Chic Pea Avocado Mash plus veggies on a pita :)
Arugula Salad with Roasted Tomatos and Pasta
Vegan Sweet Potato, Coconut Milk and Roasted Chili Ravioli


Have a great week everyone!

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Friday, March 21, 2014

A Sense of the Resurrection: An Easter Experience for Families {PLUS 20% DISCOUNT}



Easter comes later than usual this year, but I am happy about that because unlike Christmas, we don't normally have much time to focus on the true meaning of the holiday.  We skip through little holidays all through the winter and when we hit Spring it's all shamrocks, tulips and bunnies.  I am ashamed to say that I have not put forth the best effort to make Easter more of a priority.  

Two years ago I was in search of an Advent curriculum to experience with my children as I thought that they were at an appropriate age for them to grasp the concept.  I came across Amanda White, her blog, Oh Amanda and her ebook, Truth in the Tinsel.  It is something that my children could not wait to start again at Christmas time and now they understand the significance of Christ's birth because along with explaining the scripture on a level that they can understand, the activities made it fun to talk about the meaning of Christmas.

When Easter rolled around I was really craving something similar to do with them.  Last year I watched the new Bible miniseries and loved it!  I wanted something that the kids could experience like I was experiencing the Bible stories I learned as a child in a whole new light.  We found short children's videos online that told the story of Jesus' death and resurrection, but they had soooo many questions!  I  have known these stories my entire life and I just believe.  I am ill equipped to answer the in-depth questions my children have on a level that they can understand without preoccupation with death.

A Sense of the Resurrection

A Sense of the Resurrection is an ebook with 12 simple activities to be done the few weeks before Easter and will turn your home into a memorial to Jesus’ death and resurrection.  You’ll experience Jesus’ anointing, the Last Supper, Peter’s denial, the cross, the empty tomb and more. Memories will be made as your family uses their five senses to understand and believe the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
This simple eBook includes printables, Scriptures and specific conversation and starting points so you and your kids can get a sense of the resurrection




{This is an ebook. After your payment is complete you will be redirected to a Thank You page that will have your unique download link. PLEASE DOWNALOAD YOUR BOOK ON THE THANK YOU PAGE. Later, you should receive an email with an additional download link and instructions. We’ve been having some hosting-email issues that is delaying and even not-delivering the final email with download link, so PLEASE DOWNLOAD YOUR BOOK ON THE THANK YOU PAGE after you complete your payment. See step-by-step download instructions on our FAQ page.}


Monday, March 17, 2014

Veggie Meal Plan 3/17/14



Happy St Patrick's Day everyone!  I like when it lands on Monday.  It makes the start to the week a little easier when there is an element of fun to it :)

I was looking up some green recipes to try out and I found some that I think are way better than the traditional.  I don't like the idea of adding dye to stuff just to make it look festive and I want the ingredients to be quality.

Dye Free Green Eggs and Ham sounds a whole lot yummier than eggs dyed green with food coloring.

Skinny Shamrock Shake
Vegan Shamrock Shake except for the dye.  It doesn't really have to be green.

I love Shamrock Shakes....

As for the weekly menu, here's what I was thinking:

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Linguine with Fried Sage
Slow Cooker Chic Pea Coconut Curry
Stir Fired Singapore Noodles with Garlic Ginger Sauce

Have a wonderful, fun filled day - even if you aren't Irish!

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