Thursday, August 23, 2012


I am feeling very blessed this week with the opportunity to connect with some wonderful women.  My prayer since receiving the news that we were moving to Michigan for my husband's residency program has been that I would meet some genuine women to grow, encourage, and support one another during this season in our journey.  God has answered my prayers and has been confirming these special friendships in my life recently.  I am so thankful.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

{MWW} apples

Hello friends!  Well, instead of sharing a recipe for today's "Mouth-watering Wednesday" post, I wanted to share an informative chart that documents The Spectrum of Apple Flavors. Apple picking is one of my favorite activities in the late summer/fall. It saddens me to know that the apple crops in Michigan will not bear much fruit this season due to the unpredictable crazy weather that had a negative influence on crops.  However, that also brings attention to knowing the apples that we will have access to and how they will taste as well as if they are recommended for cooking and/or baking.  So, today let's educate ourselves on apples!

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I hope this resource is helpful!  I plan on printing it and adding it to my recipes so I will always have it on hand.  Do you enjoy apples?  What is your favorite edible item to make with apples?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cookie Monster

I am excited to share my latest birthday shirt creations with you. A friend contacted me hoping I would make a shirt for her son's 1st birthday party as well as a 'big brother' shirt for the party day for her older son.  I of course was thrilled to be given the opportunity!  The theme of the party is Cookie Monster.  I just love how these shirts came together and they look better than what I even imagined!  Thank you, Brooke, for trusting my design and workmanship!

Birthday shirts and sibling shirts are available in my etsy store. Each listing is personalized for individual theme, child and event.  Please visit my store and contact me so I can make your dream reality too!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

lovin' from my boy


Hugs, kisses and snuggles are not as frequent anymore from our active toddler.  However, there is a sacred time that occurs moments before our Little Love is placed in his crib at nap and bedtime that always warm my heart.  We hold our Little Love in our arms and sing a special version of "Jesus Love You" and then a verse that I wrote the words to as a prayer for our Little Love. The sacred time occurs when Little Love snuggles his head in your neck/shoulder while you sing and he snuggles in.  It doesn't last a long time, but you wish time would stand still as you want it to last forever. 
Today I am so thankful for that special lovin' from my makes a momma's heart overflow.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

{MMW} Less Mess Bacon

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Following some recent conversations regarding my love of breakfast and the variety of breakfast food options, I have been craving a big breakfast more than usual! On Monday, I decided that we would have breakfast for dinner.   I had used a coupon over the weekend for some free sausage links and I knew we had some bacon so add some french toast, and we had ourselves dinner!  yum! 
Awhile back on Facebook, I read a posting by a friend stating she was going to try to bake her bacon for a meal.  Curiosity overwhelmed me and I started to do some research and I found the following pin on Pinterest.  "Less Mess Bacon" sounded awesome to me so I gave it a try on Monday night for our breakfast meal.  I must say, it works!  I loved not having grease splattering about while trying to cook my bacon to perfection and not burn it.  I was very pleased with the taste after being baked.  Not only did it taste good, but it did not require my attention which was wonderful since my 17-month-old was clinging to me with the I want to eat now mannerisms.
 I will be honest and share the huge lesson I learned while baking my bacon.  The instructions {listed below}  say to line your baking sheets with parchment paper.  Well, I didn't have any parchment paper so I decided to use freezer paper.  Which usually for crafts is no big deal; but for baking it is!  I failed to realize the shiny side was down and it melted to my cookie sheet. {boo - hoo!}  I have scrubbed and soaked and am now looking on Pinterest for ways to clean it.  Stay tuned for an updated post on how to clean your cookie sheets! Until then,  enjoy some baked bacon!

Less Mess Bacon
{Instructions from}

This spatter-free technique puts the "bake" back in bacon. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, then lay the bacon strips flat, making sure pieces do not overlap. Bake until crisp and browned, 15 to 18 minutes, or desired doneness, rotating the sheets once. Transfer strips to a paper towel to drain.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Today I am going to share my top 3 things I am thankful for that increase my happiness throughout a typical day.

1. playing KLove online - nothing like a little Jesus music to keep a thankful spirit!

2. my son's smile when I enter his room to get him up in the morning or from his nap

3. nap time! The joy of having a bit of time to do what I want {usually crafting} and regroup
     for the afternoon/evening.  Plus the rest is vital for my son's happiness too!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

{MWW} Slow Cooker Bratwurst

Bratwurst is my all-time favorite meat cooked on the grill.  So yummy! Living in a second floor apartment has made it quite difficult to use the grill on a regular basis.  Grilling for any meal includes our propane camping grill with a lawn chair outside on the sidewalk in front of our building. And well, that just isn't very fun or convenient so we don't really grill much.  You can image my excitement when I came across this pin on Pinterest.  Slow cooker bratwurst - say it ain't so!?!
I went to the store that afternoon to prepare to make the brats for dinner.  I must say that they are amazing!  I honestly think I might like them in the slow cooker more than the grill.  The slow cooker allowed them to marinate and become so moist and tender.  Gosh it was good!  You have to try them and let me know what you think!

Picture pinned:

My pictures:

Ready to serve

My 16-month-old ate a whole bratwurst on his own!
I made a pasta including spaghetti noodles, tomato and bratwurst for him to enjoy and boy, did he ever enjoy every last bite!  We will definitely be making these bratwursts again!

Slow Cooker Bratwursts
{From Six Sisters' Stuff website}

1 package of Bratwursts (whichever flavor/type you prefer)
1 onion, sliced
2 cups apple juice
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
Other toppings you prefer 

Brown the sides of the bratwursts in a skillet on the stove.  After the sides are browned, place bratwursts in your slow cooker.  Top with sliced onion.  Mix together apple juice and Dijon mustard, then pour over everything in your slow cooker.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours, making sure they are cooked thoroughly before serving.  Serve on a bun with all your favorite toppings.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Camp Quality

This happens to be one of my favorite weeks of the year - Camp Quality Illinois!  Unfortunately due to the priority changes that occurred following the birth of Little Love, this is the second year I am not participating in camp. {tear}  I like to believe that my absence is just a life season, as many events are, and I will be able to volunteer in the future. 
If you are not familiar with Camp Quality, it is a camp that "lets kids with cancer be kids again." 
Camp Quality serves children with cancer and their families by providing year-round programs, experiences, and companionship, at no cost. Camp Quality promotes hope and inspiration while helping children foster life skills and develop their full potential.  I began attending Camp Quality Illinois following my kindergarten home-schooling commitment with Jordan. Jordan was diagnosed with cancer when she was 18 months old and relapsed just before she was to enter Kindergarten. In God's divine intervention, Jordan was enrolled in my Kindergarten class and due to her condition, I began to home-school her a few times a week after my daily teaching responsibilities. To make a long beautiful story short, Jordan and I created a strong bond and with permission from her parents to stay involved in her life, I went to Camp Quality with Jordan to be her companion. We attended camp together every summer from 2005-2010.  The friendship remains and I am so blessed to still have the opportunity to be invested in her life.
Foreseeing the future and my need to have a leave of absence from Camp Quality for the birth of and raising our son, I approached my twin sister, Emily to make a promise to me.  Emily agreed that when the time came, she would become Jordan's companion at Camp Quality.  I am so blessed to have a sister that helps keep my passion alive when I am unable to serve in the capacity that I desire.  I know that Emily's life has also been forever changed following her week at camp last summer and now this week.  I am sure they are having fun, dancing their toes off and doing lots of crafts between the exciting themed events planned.  Now, if I could only get past the sadness in my heart from missing out on another week of amazing memories and inspiration!
One of the many highlights at Camp Quality is having a letter or card during 'mail call' at the evening meal.  This morning I quickly realized that I need to get cards in the mail today in order for Emily and Jordan to receive them before camp ends. So...during nap time I quickly whipped up the following cards in about 20minutes and got them in the mail.  Due to my lack of creativity time, they are really simple but I think they turned out cute. I hope they enjoy receiving mail at camp!

Jordan's card on the left reads:  "Hey, happy camper!"
Emily's card on the right is embellished with her name in letter stickers under a piece of yellow ribbon.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Motivation

 In the journey of raising a child, we experience a roller coaster of emotions: joy, anger, sorrow, fear, anxiety, happiness, frustration, laughter, etc.  Raising a child is no easy task and we must always keep things in perspective while we are spending hours feeding, cleaning, repeating while we build character and instill values in our children.  It is easy for me {and maybe you} to have a love tank that is running on low.  I need to be encouraged and valued to know that my efforts in staying at home and raising our child are going making impact for the future.  Some days are full of joy and some days are just not.  However, I desire for days of fun, joy and minimal negativity.  To keep my mind and heart focused on raising up children of the Lord, I like to read, pray and rely on encouraging words/poems/scripture to fill my love tank.  Below is a piece I found via Pinterest that I wanted to share for a little "Monday Motivation".

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

a beautiful work

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Last night we enjoyed the music in the park venue in our city.  It was a hot night but the music and fellowship was worth being a sticky hot mess.  On the way home we witnessed an amazing sunset.  The sun was just an orange ball of fire lighting up the sky with beautiful pink and orange hues around it.  I tried to capture a photo but was unsuccessful and highly recommend one does not try to take photographs while driving {just a note for the future!}    There is just something amazing about a beautiful sunset in the summer. Would you agree? The artwork of the Lord is just breathtaking! I am thankful for that reminder and want to keep my eyes open to witness the beauty of His creation on a more regular basis.  What is your favorite natural masterpiece?  Mountains? Waterfalls? Ocean shores? 
The photo above was found on Pinterest.  I love that it captures the detail and beauty of the flowers in the field as well as the beauty of the sunset in the distance.  I have been reading the book of Matthew in the Bible and this photo makes me reflect on the passage in Chapter 6 verse 30. "And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?" My God is a God of details, right down to the color and creation of flowers.  Surely then, I can trust Him with the details of my life as he cares for me more than the wildflowers that are here today and gone tomorrow.  May I place my trust in the Lord daily that he always has my best interest in mind and will always be with me.  Thank you Lord for your constant care.

Enjoy your weekend and may you keep your eyes focused on the beauty and blessings from the Lord!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

In this journey of life, we experience many seasons and God calls us to be thankful in all circumstances {1 Thessalonians 5:18}.  I want to live so that my expression of thankfulness can encourage others, give hope, and bring new perspective so we can all live with hearts that are more thankful for every day blessings.
It has been quite the week for our family!  My goal was to take a few moments each day and reflect on what I was most thankful for.  Here is the list from this past week:

Happy birthday to me!  Today I give thanks to God for another year of life.  I am thankful to have the opportunity to love more, invest more, learn more, and grow more in this journey called life.

Today I give thanks for photos. I love having photos arranged throughout my house to tell the story of our lives. It is such a great reminder of who we were/are, what we have accomplished and experiences that have brought us to this point in history. I am very thankful we decided to have our family photos taken today to document the growth of our Little Love and the joy he brings to our family.

I am thankful for my father-in-law. I specifically give thanks today for his wise counsel and willingness to help his children in whatever circumstances arise.

Today's random thing I am thankful for is the dog park.  Living in an apartment with a large breed dog requires intentional planning to be sure your dog is exercised.  This morning's visit to the dog park was refreshing.  There was a slight breeze, the dog ran off some energy and I was able to be at peace and in thought all while Little Love was content in the stroller.

I am thankful that Little Love does not require toys and gifts of large monetary value.  I am sure the day will come when he thinks he needs certain toys and games but in this stage of life, he is thrilled to have a rock, pine cone, or stick.  May he always remember some of life's littlest things that often get overlooked bring the most joy.

Today I give thanks for a new friend, Sarah.  My prayer has always been that God would bring women into my life to come along side and join in this journey of residency life and motherhood.  May God give me the opportunity to bless, encourage and serve this new friend.

I am so thankful today for God's protection. Yesterday my husband hit a deer while traveling to work.  It was a quick event that has caused quite the damage. It truly is a blessing that my husband walked away uninjured.  Our car...not so much.  Estimated damage totalling $6, 100!
God does not say that bad things won't happen but that He will be with us always. Thankful God is in the details and our situation is not a surprise to Him.  He will see us through to the end.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

{MWW} Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Smores

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Who doesn't love a gooey-ooey sticky melted chocolate messy smore?!  I actually know a few people who don't like them and I think they are crazy!  Did you know there are even places {like the east coast} where some people have never even heard of a 'smore'!  True story. When I went sailing off of the coast of Connecticut 3 of our crew members had never even heard of them. Needless to say the next time we stopped on mainland, we went to the general store and bought the supplies and made the crew members taste a smore. 
If you haven't gathered by now, I LOVE smores. I will make them using the stove top, a grill or over an open fire pit. Today I want to share a new way to make them with you! Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! Enough said!  I am so excited to make these in a few weeks on family vacation!

Toast 2 large marshmallows to your liking.  {I prefer toasty brown}
Place marshmallows on top of 1 graham cracker square
Add a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup on top of marshmallows
Finish with a graham cracker square on top of peanut butter cup
Enjoy the gooey-ooey peanut butter chocolate marshmallow goodness!

Photo and recipe found here.
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