Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, March 31, 2017

Easy No Bake Paleo Energy Bites Recipe

Well, it's Friday (hooray!) and it's snowing again (so not hooray). Levi is currently on a nap strike, which, for the record, is waaay better than the nursing strike we survived a couple weeks ago. But still. Ain't nobody got time for a nap strike because hello, I am the Mama and I've got lots of stuff to get done! ;)
I shared this recipe years ago but this one is so good it bears repeating. We can't get enough of these things around here. They're the perfect afternoon snack when you need a little pick me up... or mid-morning, as is the case right now..., and they satisfy my cravings for sweets but don't have tons of sugary junk in them. The kids love them, too!

Here's What You Need
1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup coconut (more or less, depending on your taste, but less keeps the calorie count down)
1/2 cup mini chocolate morsels
1 scant tsp vanilla
1/2 - 2/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey

 Here's What You Do
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients until well combined. Just dump it all in there! Chill 20-30 minutes to make it easier to handle.

Once chilled -- if mixture is too sticky, chill for 10 more minutes; if too crumbly, you may need to add more peanut butter or honey to bind ingredients together -- then shape into balls. They're supposed to be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, but that has never applied to this family. They are g-o-n-e gone in twenty seconds flat! Enjoy!

This recipe is totally adaptable and allows for endless variations. We've added raisins, cinnamon, chopped almonds, dried name it, it goes in there! 

Hope you have a terrific weekend!

Adapted from this recipe.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What's Up Wednesday :: March 2017

How can this be the last week of March!?! We are still stuck in the throes of winter weather and we are beyond ready for some warmer temps! Today I'm linking up with Mel, Sheaffer and Shay for What's Up Wednesday. Hope you're having a great week! :)

What We're Eating...
For Breakfast
I tell ya, a puff pancake is just about the coolest thing to watch baking!

 We've also had Dad's homemade waffles (every Saturday morning), pancakes, and eggs-on-toast, called eggs in a nest by some (?).

For Lunch
I'm on a honey kick and find it so satisfying on this salad. The perfect blend of savory and sweet, and fresh!
For Dinner
These are delicious and pretty quick to make.

Our kids have been over-the-top pizza fanatics lately, if there could be such a thing anyway.
I can't believe I haven't shared my recipe for pizza dough yet! I will have to do that soon!

These quesadillas are easy prep, too...and so, so good!

We've also had pasta and grilled chicken wraps...yum!

And here is why I need to eat more salad.
ha ha
Really, is there anything better?
I crafted this recipe from a few that I found online, so they're all pretty similar, but I wish I would have documented better and given proper credit (and now I cannot remember!) as this one has a pretty big chunk of internet real estate, too.

What I'm Reminiscing About...
my little baby's birth, one year ago exactly one week from today!
Truth be told, I'm not handling it well. Sigh.

What I'm Loving...
fresh paint on the walls!
We (I) fiiiinally chose a paint color for our dining and living rooms and put some up on the walls the other day. You know how sometimes you step back and you just know the color is not going to work, even though you try to convince yourself that you can make it work? Well thankfully this was LOVE at first sight. It is gorgeous! I'll do a post when we're finished.
I'm still tackling all the doors and trim, too. #clawhandforlife

What We've Been Up To...
see above, ha!

What I'm Dreading...
 Poor baby has it bad.

Gah, look at that baby fuzzy hair!!!

And more snow in the forecast.
Just no.

What I'm Working On...
Levi's first birthday party!!

I'm also in full swing sewing up pretty things for Spring and Summer!

 You can visit my shop, Rose and Ruffle

What I'm Excited About...
again, see above, ha ha!
Also, this year is our twentieth anniversary and I have been saving up as much as possible for a special long weekend trip for us -I cannot handle being away from the kids for more than four days, so that's our limit. Now to narrow down our choices...!!!

What I'm Watching/Reading...
I've watched maybe twenty minutes of TV this week and it was basketball, further upsetting my bracket. So there was that.
And no time for reading anything but a couple new recipes this month. Boo. (But also yay for new recipes, so....)

 What I'm Listening To...
Air1 plays in my van 95 percent of the time, so there's that, but at home I'm listening to David Crowder and Jeremy Camp pretty much on repeat these days. I'd also like to start using my time wisely and listening to podcasts...but I'm not even sure how to get started. #imsoold

What I'm Wearing...
I don't even want to talk about it.
I've had such a problem with stress and emotional eating this past month and now I'm in a terrible rut. It's too cold/snowy.slushy to get outside to walk or run, so I'm trying (and failing apparently) to get in quick workouts inside. Nothing fits/feels right right now, ugh.
Howeverrrr, I did wear my favorite Spring scarf. Even though it was like nineteen degrees that day.
Hence the many layers.
And these cute shoes.
Until it snowed again. Ten minutes later. :(
What I'm Doing This Weekend...
no big plans, which feels like a nice change!
I've got some more orders to catch up on (see that mail above? It's Happy Mail! One Easter bonnet even went all the way to France!)
Ethan has another soccer tournament and I haven't been able to go see him play yet, and this is the third tourney! I'm determined to make it work, but it's hard with a baby and such cold, miserable weather to plan on being outside for so long. Plus, they're about 1.5 hours away, so it's not like I can simply show up for twenty minutes and then just head back home. It's a commitment!

What I'm Looking Forward to (While Simultaneously Dreading) Next Month...
Have I already mentioned that a certain little someone is turning one?

And it's Easter!
This might sound completely lame, but I'm probably more excited than I should be that because Easter falls so late this year, it's giving me one last "first" for Levi even though he'll already be one. I think that's really kind of neat. I make Isabelle a special Easter dress, just like my Mom always did for me when I was little. Such a fun tradition!

Aaaand it's also the twenty year anniversary of our proposal! April is going to be a big month!

Oh! And baseball season starts here in the Northeast! I can't wait to cheer on my favorite ball player!
Just look at him from a few years ago! So cute!

What Else is New...
We finally received the state police report detailing the accident that Ethan was involved in a few weeks ago, and it clears him of wrongdoing entirely. I'm not surprised by this, as he is truthful and responsible, but I do know that of course sometimes the truth doesn't win out. What I'm mostly grateful for is that he feels such peace now, knowing that it was not his fault. Such a relief. For him and for us.
(I wrote a little about the whole situation here)

Question of the Month: What Is Your Favorite Spring Wardrobe Piece?
Sandals! Without a doubt!
No pics, but just give me all the sandals.

Hope you have a great Wednesday! I can hear birds chirping outside the window right here for the first time this year! Such a beautiful sound!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Favorite Pictures of All Time

Want to know the first word that comes to mind when asked to select your top five pictures?
Panic comes in at a close second. ;)
I want to include them all! From my time living in Spain to all my kids' baby pictures to our wedding to our time in Guatemala adopting Isabelle to our surprise baby's year ago next week! Cue ALL the tears.

I'm determined not to "cheat" so here are my top five in no particular order. :)

I remember this day so clearly, and it was one of the best. We were spending the afternoon at one of favorite farms the summer after we returned from Guatemala after adopting Isabelle, and suddenly the kids just started rolling down the hills, laughing and laughing all the way down. I don't even know exactly how this pig pile originated, but I'm so glad I captured it.

I look at this now and see a little bit of Levi in each of those three gorgeous little boy faces. I had these fellas all in a time span of 3 years and four months, after losing our first babies and nearly losing my life with an abdominal ectopic pregnancy. Several doctors discouraged us from even trying to conceive because of the heightened risks, and when I see this beautiful portrait, I can't help but be reminded of God's goodness and faithfulness in my life.

At the beach, of course. Caleb was really little and racing his bright yellow dump truck all over the sand around us, the other two boys were jumping over the waves, and we were hopeful to be bringing our Isabelle home soon. (That did not happen, and it would be another year+ before we were reunited and then home.)
I love this picture and our smiling faces here, but I also desire to be transparent. Of course no marriage is perfect, and ours in no exception. We've endured many hardships, both before this photo as well as after, and this picture to me is such a beautiful symbol and testimony of God's redemptive grace.

Oh this picture.
It means the absolute world to me.
Isabelle and I were living in Guatemala on our own at this point, after saying goodbye to both Ethan and Jonah two months prior, and then to Caleb about three weeks before this was taken.
It was hard being away from them. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
But we made the most of our situation - we lived life to the fullest while waiting on governments and embassies and such, so that we'd have no regrets about that after returning home. And I don't! :)
 My best friend there, also an American adoptive Mama, snapped this photo before church one morning and it has been a favorite ever since.
You can read about our adoption by clicking on the label in the sidebar. And the picture of Isabelle on the sidebar, which is a favorite for sure!, tells another part of our adoption journey.

 This is my first picture with all five of my children in it with me. Bill took it last Mother's Day after church, when we had little Levi dedicated. This was after lunch when everybody had changed, but the look of sheer joy on everyone's faces is what makes me love this so. Levi was one month and three days old here, and we were already so smitten with him.
Plus, this was before "the shed" and I was having such a great hair day. Yes, I remember those things. :)

 Okay, so I'm cheating, but only by one.
How can I not include this sweet thing?
I still can't believe that he's turning one next week! I'm not ready!

 I'm linking up with Andrea today and have loved seeing everyone's favorite photos so far!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Some Fun Things to Remember

I just looked out the window and it's snowing right now.
This is the hardest time of year for us in the Northeast because we're craving Spring weather but still very much stuck with lingering winter days. Warm weather cannot get here fast enough, let me tell you! I am desperate to get outside on a regular basis, and it's just too plain cold to keep Levi outside for any length of time.
However, yesterday we did just that. It was frigid and windy BUT the sun was shining and we made the most of it! Isabelle's class was going on a field trip to a textile museum (yawn), and we had actually already visited when we were homeschooling, so I asked her teacher if it was all right to take her on our own special field trip. We had fun!

We drove to Endicott Park in Danvers, MA because I'd read some neat things about it and it's fun to go places we've never been before. I have to admit I was a bit nervous that our special day might not seem all that exciting and I really didn't want Isabelle to be disappointed. But how bad can it really be when you're anywhere but stuck at a boring museum?
We started our adventure off on the right foot with a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts for a pink frosted with sprinkles...before lunch! gasp! It's fun to be a Yes! Mom, sometimes. ;)

After one wrong turn, which I've decided was not entirely my fault because the highway got all screwy with unidentified sections and forks, we finally made it. Isabelle got the royal treatment for sure because she got to eat in the car AND watch a movie the whole way - she had on the wi-fi headphones and she looked really cute. We kept making eye contact in the mirror and she'd look up and smile really wide. That sure made my day! Levi was a champ, an absolute angel, and slept the whole time.
It was such a pretty place! We're definitely going back this summer.

 She loves both horses and anything related to Laura Ingalls Wilder - we were imagining Laura and Almanzo riding in this buggy with their friends.
Side note: Laura had a huge influence on me becoming a teacher :)

The playground there did not disappoint!
Levi hasn't been in a swing for several months and he sure looked nervous at first...
 ...still not sure
 And then he loved it!
 He really loved it. Isabelle kept fake-sneezing and he got laughing and laughing. Such a fun time together!
 Because one can never see too many adorable baby in a swing pictures...
 And where did my little baby go?!?
He looks like a full blown toddler boy here.
 My sweet, pretty girl
 I also learned that the trunk is an excellent makeshift baby jail.
ha ha ha

After I took yet another wrong turn, arggggh, we met up with Daddy in a Target parking lot for a McDonald's picnic. Which was supposed to have taken place at the actual McDonald's. Ugh. I don't think anybody really cared. It was fun!

I'm backing up a bit here...I did get Whoppie Pies made for St. Patrick's Day, which was a feat in and of itself with all the crazy that goes on here day to day. Yum! They are so good!
 Levi also spent much of that day showering me with kisses.
Lots and lots of kisses.
He's been on quite the PDA kick lately, and I love every single minute. ha ha
Of course he's also quite interested in March Madness. I'm still the winner so far in our family, but that isn't saying much at this point.
And when he isn't shooting hoops, he's helping me. ;)
I took this earlier this morning, and the mat he's sitting on holds the dog's water dish, which I let him play with for a few minutes of peace- I was washing dishes right there near him. Anyhoo. He was absolutely soaking wet by the time I took the bowl away, and he was just having the best time getting into things and being the adorable mess-maker that he is.

Poor Caleb was home sick for a couple days this week, but not super sick, so we enjoyed our time together. This morning he was excited about the very first meeting of a new chapter of FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at his school. We had to leave a little early to get him there before his school day begins but had several minutes in between dropping off Jonah, so yet again we found ourselves stopping for treats. These kids, I tell ya. ;)
Actually, Caleb was a sweetheart and pumped gas for me, which worked out well because I may have on a scarf but I'm also wearing pj pants here. No, I would not have gotten out of the car like that, I had a quarter of a tank left! Now I feel the need to explain and defend myself, ha ha. 

I still can't believe my baby is turning one so soon. He is acting more and more like a big boy, more on that in another post.
Happy Friday!
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