The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Adventures in Cooking: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

I haven't done an adventures in cooking post in awhile.  Not because I haven't been cooking, but because well, I am a lazy blogger haha.  But seriously, Mel's Kitchen Cafe is where it's at.


I have made several recipe's from her blog and they are all amazing.  Like so, so, so good.  And fairly easy.  I think you know by now that I am really not that talented when it comes to cooking.  I fell in love with Pioneer Woman because she gives step by step photos that helped me be able to figure out if I was doing the right thing or not.  Now that I have a little more confidence in the kitchen, I try recipes that don't have tons of photos, but I still don't attempt anything overly complicated.  I'd like to one day but for now, I really don't have the time!

Back to Mel!  Here are a few of her recipes I have tried recently and LOVED.

Baked Chicken Taquitos.


Bonus, these are gluten free!

I've made them two times, the second time I was out of limes and cilantro and they were still so good. Part of my children liked them.

Pineapple Salsa Chicken



Also gluten free!  Which actually didn't matter because my kiddos wouldn't eat it, BUT Jason and I loved it and I have lunch leftovers which is awesome!

Sweet and Sour Chicken


Okay, so also gluten free, but you should know in advance that this is a messy dish to prepare and involves several steps!  I totally think it is worth it and love this dish!

There you go!  Three delicious dinners.  I can't promise your kids will love them, in fact my kids did not love any of them, but I can promise you will like them!

And, if these don't look delicious to you, I am sure you can find something on Mel's site that you will like!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Saying yes (and random pics of my kids)



I've been saying, "yes," to several things lately.  Like a lot of things actually.  I've started back to school with the kids, started a small group through my church, become a section leader at church on Sunday mornings, started watching one of our neighbors after school, agreed to volunteer on the steering committee for my mother's of preschoolers group, started a new business with Noonday Collection, signed up the girls for Awana's through a local church, and a few other random things here and there, not to mention I am still training for my first half marathon.

I feel busy.


But you know what, in all of those decisions, I felt peace.  I felt okay to make all of those things happen and felt like they were the right choices for me at the right time.  It doesn't mean, of course, that there aren't things that will have to change, or get altered or moved around, or maybe even some things that were previously "yes" may now be "no."


For instance, cleaning is taking a back seat.  That is super hard for me.  I really (like really) enjoy a clean house.  But right now, it isn't happening.  Instead, I am teaching the girls to help me around the house.  Not because they are so awesome at it right now but because 1.  their cleaning is better than no cleaning and 2.  eventually their clean will be the same (or close to) my clean because I spent time teaching them.

I'm also letting any form of sleep training take a back seat.  Yep, the woman who said she'd never do about a hundred things in regard to sleep and kids is now doing approximately all of those things.  And guess what?  That's okay.  Sleep is more important right now.  


You know what else I'm cutting back on.....playdates.  Gasp.  I love having friends over to play and truthfully, it wasn't like I was having a ton of them anyway.  However, for the moment, I am being more selective about how I spend my time.  It doesn't mean I don't still love my friends or their kids or having them over, it is just the season.  A season of less playdates.

Guess what else that means...less internet and tv.  Less time on my phone and less time reading blogs.  I love blogs and fb and instagram, but again, I just need to use my time a little better.  I'd rather be reading one of the many, many books that are on my "must read" list or doing something fun with my kiddos.


I don't mind being busy, but I do not like being overwhelmed.  Turning some things into "no's" whether permanently or for a season is how I feel I'm going to stay sane.  My kids won't always eat this many sandwiches, my house won't always be this dirty, my plate won't always be this full.  For now, I'm embracing the things I've taken on and trying not to be too sad about the things I've let go.  

I'm keeping the most important things as the most important things and not worrying about the rest.  

What are some ways you stay calm during seasons of lots of commitments?  Any tips for this momma?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hula hooper

One of Isabelle's gifts from Santa this past year was a hula hoop.  She picked it up pretty quickly and has been going strong ever since.  One of her favorite things is to slow it down and let it go down her legs and then speed it back up and get it up around her waist again.  She also likes to walk around while hoopin' and make funny faces!  She is pretty great!  Here are some pics from a couple of days ago!









I love my sweet Isabelley and love that she has such a wide range of interests.  She is a joy to parent and I love seeing her get so excited about things that she likes!  And while I will probably NOT let her join the circus to pursue her hula hooping dreams, I do like watching her for now!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Gluten free!



18 days ago, we took gluten out of Lawson's diet.  After reading a status on facebook about speech delay and gluten I figured since I've tried everything else, there was no reason to not give it a shot.  I knew that it would require some changes (like our daily pb&j's) but I figured Lawson would have a harder time than I would (I was wrong, but what is new!).

I met with one of my friends who gave me tons of valuable info and cookbooks and felt pretty prepared.  She mentioned while helping me that probably the first place I would notice a difference was in his behavior.  Honestly, I didn't expect to see any changes and especially not after such a short time.  I was also secretly hoping I didn't see any difference because, well, gluten free bread isn't cheap! 

HOLY MOLY!  I can't believe it, but we are actually seeing some pretty major changes.  Disclaimer:  I realize that every change we are seeing could be just coincidence or maturity or any number of other things.  The fact is, we are seeing some major things change.  

A few things we have noticed.......
First, Lawson's half and hour to forty minute fits have disappeared.  His fits now only last about five minutes haha!!!  Second, no dirt eating or crap touching (fun stuff I tell ya!).  Third, he is actually acting like a normal child in public.  We went to a concert at the library and I didn't have to chase him or tell him to stop yelling even one time! Lastly, and probably totally unrelated, he is drinking his milk from a cup...PRAISE THE GOOD LORD ABOVE!  Now, whether or not his speech is better is yet to be seen.  I really didn't expect to see changes there for several weeks.

Gluten may or may not be responsible for these changes, but since it seems to be working, we are going with it!  After six weeks we will add it back in and see what happens!  

Here are a few of my fav gluten free products.
2. Namaste perfect flour blend.  It really is perfect.  My cookies and muffins have turned out beautifully.
4. Corn tortillas (naturally gf)

Mostly, in case you are interested, we have just been doing lots of fresh fruits and veggies with chicken or beef!

So there you have it!  Gluten free is working for us!  Know any great recipes I should try?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Weston at four months

My little (or not so little) guy is growing up so fast.  Here is a little about Weston at four months old.


                         

Height:  24.75 inches (47th percentile)

Weight:  15.6 lbs (63rd percentile)

Likes:  rolling over (tummy to back), being held, chillin' in his swing, watching big sisters and big brother play outside, smiling (smiling is his favorite), and eating haha.

Dislikes:  being ignored, being hungry, being wet.  

It is actually pretty tough to come up with things Weston does not like.  He is a very happy and easy going baby.  I will admit I think I have said that about all my babies and then eventually they turn on me but for now, Weston is a piece of cake.  I am one lucky mom of four.  He is sleeping like a champ most nights, and does pretty well during the day also.  I think teeth might be in our near future but who knows.  Overall, the transition from three to four has been very easy.  Not calm, not slow, but easy.  And since Weston will turn five months in like four days, you can tell I'm not exactly caught up on blogging, but oh well!!

Happy four months, Westy!  We love you!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Reverse Bucket List

The past couple of years, I have made myself and the kids a summer bucket list.  And guess what?  I have never completed it.  Surprise, surprise!  Turns out, sometimes things come up.  Sometimes I don't feel like making t-shirts using sandpaper or making homemade suckers.  And sometimes, it gets to be 115 degrees outside and the only thing you can do is sit inside and watch movies all day!

So........this year I decided to do things a bit different.  I'm going to just keep track of all the great things we do and feel great about spending fun times with my kids instead of feeling guilty because I didn't get everything done off of a stupid list!  Maybe you don't have the same problem as me, but not finishing lists drives me bonkers!

Here's a few of the things we have already done this summer!



Bought a cheap-o Walmart pool and let them swim to their hearts content.  (Not pictured is the sunburn they suffered after three hours outside!  Praise the Lord for lavender oil!)


Made cloud dough and played with it all morning on the back porch!


Toured the Blue Bell plant and had ice cream for an early morning snack!  Lawson did surprisingly well thanks to the help of several awesome friends that were with us!


Spent time at Granny and Grandpa's bird watching and taking nature walks.  I see many of these trips in our future.  The kids LOVE going over to spend time with their great grandparents!


Picked up golf clubs to begin to learn how to play.  LaFortune Park in Tulsa has a club rental program for kids which is so nice because you don't have to buy new clubs as your kiddos grow!  Molly and Isabelle can share the same size and Jason is going to give lessons!

Not pictured is a trip to our local library to sign up for the summer reading program, the clown show we saw at Conner's Cove (a theater at the local library), or taking Chick-fil-A to dad's work to eat lunch with him!

I have lots of fun things planned this summer, but I am also giving myself a break if I don't get a million things done.  What is important is spending quality time with the kids doing quality activities!  Not checking things off of a list!!  My inner perfectionist is going to take a little vacation this summer!

What fun things have you done this year?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Oiled Up

As many of you know, I am a distributor for Young Living Oils.  What many of you don't know is how I use my oils!  I have been asked many times recently, so I thought I would let you in on which ones I have used and how I've used them this past month.

First, Thieves (a blend).

I use this oil very regularly.  I almost always apply it to my feet or my kids' feet before and after being out around lots of people (think MOPS, church, etc).  This past month, I also used it daily on Lawson during his five day fever episode as well as diffusing to prevent the rest of us from getting sick (which none of us did). I love thieves and recommend it as a great starting oil for anyone interested in seeing how oils can benefit them!  I really enjoyed our winter without repeated trips to the Dr. for illness!

Peppermint is another one I use pretty often.  I use it to help with tension headaches (apply on temples and back of neck), prevent ants and other insects from getting in my house, as a great scent for cleaning (I put it in my mop water) and as a fever reducer!

I also use Peace and Calming (another blend) almost every day with Stress Away (also a blend) on Lawson.  I put Peace and Calming on his feet and Stress Away on his spine to help him sleep or to help him calm down during a particularly bad day of fits!  I love Peace and Calming for myself also and diffuse it during the day when I need to calm down!

This month I also used Purification (blend) several times.  I used it after cooking broccoli, after several stinky diapers in a row, when smelly trash got left overnight and in the bottom of the diaper pail to help get rid of terrible odors!

Lavender is maybe my favorite after Thieves.  I use lavender for almost everything. Cuts, scrapes, sunburns, regular burns, sleeping, mosquito repellent....this oil does it all!  Before I started using Young Living, I used lavender oil from Whole Foods.  Young Living is a much higher quality oil, but using lavender is what sold me on all oils.  I have never seen burns heal so quickly as I did when I put lavender on them.  It is amazing!

The last oil I used this month was Frankincense.  I am using it to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks!  I realize some of you lucky ladies don't have any stretch marks, but this momma does and I am anxious to make them look a little less horrible!

I love using oils to help my family in a more natural way.  I have been pleasantly surprised at how much they can really do!  If you are looking for a better way to help your family or have questions about Young Living oils, let me know!