Friday, April 29, 2011


Reading the Bible can be tough. I often find myself filling my time with other activities...even when I've scheduled time to read...even when I feel a nudge that I should read right now...even when things are quiet and still. When I do finally sit down with my Bible, I am regularly amazed at the ways in which God honors that time. It's just like when you go to church and find yourself saying--that sermon was so perfect for where I am right now. God frequently leads us to specific verses or reveals truths through verses that we've read before.

I'm working my way through a one-year chronological Bible. While I've loved understanding the bigger picture and seeing how the events of the bible unfolded in time, I have definitely struggled through parts of the Old Testament. There is just so much longing, loss, and disappointment. I find myself calling out for Jesus to hurry up and get there! But, last week, as I read through some of Jeremiah, I felt so encouraged. The Lord was speaking through Jeremiah, telling the people that He would keep His everlasting covenant, that He would never abandon His people. I even found myself rejoicing in God's judgment because that IS Jesus. While these verses might not seem encouraging in isolation, the timing and context hit me just right.

That is exactly what you can find for someone else when you're open to it. I know that Courtney has been given many verses recently from friends who have been praying for Crosby and her entire family. She has been immensely encouraged by God's words given through her friends. So, if you're praying for a friend in need, listen to God's urging. Maybe He wants you to open your Bible, providing a verse of encouragement that would be the perfect gift.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

DIY Dry Erase

I've been itching for the Daily System from Pottery Barn for quite some time. However, even on sale, it's still slightly out of my price range.

Instead, I've opted for a much more cost effective dry erase board.

To make it, you'll need:
A picture frame
Scrapbook paper
A dry erase marker

If you'd like a larger version, opt for wrapping paper instead of scrapbook paper to fill a more sizeable frame.

Fill the frame with your selected paper and voila! You have a brand new dry erase board, customized to match your kitchen's decor.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mixing It Up.

Since Crosby's birth, I have admittedly cooked very little.

Our time has been divided between the hospital and home and it has seemed that what we eat has been one of my last priorities.  As long as it is healthy, anything goes.
Another banana and peanut butter sandwich?  Sure, why not?  Veggies and hummus for dinner?  Or course!

Thankfully, many friends have very graciously provided us with amazing meals throughout the weeks and we have been very well fed.

And I had a few meals frozen in the freezer (I think I knew a big change was on the way!) and those have lasted us a while, as well.

I had a few batches of vegetarian meatballs frozen and although we love them on pasta, I have decided to get a little creative with them so my husband doesn't become incredibly bored with our fare.

One of our new favorite ways to eat them is in a pita with hummus and lettuce, tomato and plain yogurt with lemon juice mixed in.  It is delicious and is a new twist on an old favorite.

We have also enjoyed dicing them up and eating them on a salad for a warm spring night dinner.

You could make them into smaller "meatballs" and place them on a pizza.

Or you could put them in a toasty bun and add marinara sauce and cheese for a hero sandwich.

You could even skewer them with some of your favorite veggies and make kabobs with them.

And of course, they are always delicious on pasta!

Ashley recently posted a recipe for Greek turkey meatballs that look delicious. You could make these and eat them any of the ways listed above.

And although I have mentioned these veggie meatballs before, they are just so good, that I think the recipe bears repeating!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy a new twist on an old classic?

Vegetarian Meatballs


1 c finely ground pecans
1/4 c shredded parmesan or cheddar cheese
1/2 c cottage cheese
4 eggs
1 Tbs chopped onion
1 c breadcrumbs
1/2 t oregano
salt and pepper


1) Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined.  Occasionally I will have to add additional breadcrumbs to make it a "meatball" consistency that will stick together when formed into balls.

2) Place meatballs into a 13 x 9 baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

We love ours served over whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese on top!

You can also use different nuts according to what you have on hand.  I have used almonds, walnuts, pecans or all three depending on what is in our cupboard.  Walnuts are one of the healthiest nuts around, so that is one I tend to use often in these!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Tisket, A Tasket

Easter is joy and hope. It is a beautiful day of celebration, prayer, and family time. Whether your family is spread out across the country or is a group of friends who have become family for you, this weekend is a perfect time to show them you care.

If you have a friend or family member who doesn't regularly attend church, Easter weekend is an excellent time to invite them to come with you. Maybe you haven't been to church in a while either. Easter is such a welcoming time in most churches and their will be plenty of newcomers there. You or your friend won't be the only one who doesn't know exactly how communion is done or where the best seats are.

Whether or not you have kids in your life, make an Easter basket for someone this weekend. Wouldn't your church buddy be delighted to find a basket of treats on the car seat when you pick her up? I've made baskets for my husband and son and I for Easter even though my son is way too young to appreciate it. I love the idea of starting traditions early in our family's life. I'm definitely going to coerce my husband into decorating eggs with me on Saturday night. There are so many thoughtful and inexpensive gifts you could place into a basket for a friend: fancy chocolates, a headband, vegetable seeds, a potted pansy, tea, a small prayer journal, or some fresh fruit.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Give a Little

When I was little, I loved to organize bookshelves. I liked how a mish-mash of disorganized books in one confined area could be rearranged to look tidy. When it came to my bedroom, however, I was often overwhelmed. No matter how many times my mom told me to clean my room, I just couldn't find the perfect system to keep it that way. Clothes would end up on my closet floor, books under my bed and a variety of items stuffed into my dresser drawers. The bottom-line was--I just had too much stuff and nowhere to put it.

Now that I have my own home with hundreds of places to stash things, I find that I really want fewer things. I relish the open spaces in my house. I love having plenty of space for Griffin to drive his trucks when he's playing and for me to spread out on the floor when I'm doing a project. Like anyone, though, it seems we have a constant stream of items entering our home. It's a balancing act. And, right now, our home feels a little off balance.

I'm working my way through our house one small space at a time. And, I mean small. One day last week, I cleaned out three drawers. Yup. That's all. I had other things to do and didn't want to take on a whole room. I think that's the key to getting and staying organized--keep it small. Maybe you have time to organize your shoes, but not the whole closet. Maybe you have time to organize your pots and pans, but not the whole kitchen. Just find one small area and tackle it. By being prepared, your organization will just take a few minutes.

One of the most important things to have when you're cleaning out is a "give box." Just because you don't wear that pair of yellow tennis shoes doesn't mean someone else wouldn't love them. There are a few different ways to handle your giveaway items. You could keep a large box in the basement, attic or closet and deliver it to Goodwill or Salvation Army when it's full. You could use a box or bag for each area you organize and drop it off while you're out running errands. Or, you could save your used items and request a truck to pick them up--look into the organizations in your area that provide this service.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Don't put trash into your "give" box--make sure it's something useful.
If you haven't worn or used it in a year, give it!
Don't worry if your items are out of style.
If the item has lots of parts, put them together in a bag.
If the item belongs to someone else in your home, you might want to ask them first...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Give Yourself a Little Grace

We sat in the dark hospital room; the heart monitor beeping; Griffin sleeping on my chest. The terrifying moments of uncertainty had passed. Griffin was safe, calm, and breathing comfortably. Tears filled my eyes as I thought about the previous two hours. I started to blame myself for feeding him something that could hurt him, for not knowing he had a nut allergy, for not doing my job of being a mom perfectly.

Many of us fight this battle. We feel like we need to be perfect. We need to be free of mistakes in order to be good enough. There are many days when I am overwhelmed by all of the ways in which I could be judged as imperfect--my appearance, my organization, my mothering, my friendship, my housekeeping. The list could go on and on.

Maybe for you it started in elementary school. You want to please your teacher and your parents with good behavior and good grades. Any grade below an A feels terrible and any behavior that leads to reprimand feels catastrophic. In high school, the worry and expectation becomes driven by friendships, boys and appearance, often on top of concern for excellent grades. As adults, this perfectionism can manifest itself in some of the worst places--relationships with people we care about most and the workplace.

If the Lord is our God, however, we do not need to be driven and controlled by our impulse to be good. He tells us that all men fall short of His glory. We all need to be forgiven and molded. We all need grace. If the God of the universe is willing to give us grace, I think we need to give ourselves some, as well. We are, after all, works in progress.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

1 Corinthians 1:4-7 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way--in all your speaking and in all your knowledge--because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.

Isaiah 64:8 Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Green Cleaning Starter Kit

We're all trying to be green. We're trying to do our part to help our planet. I've recently been inspired by watching No Impact Man. Colin Beavan and his family are more than a little extreme. For one year, they give up many things that we all probably use on a daily basis--electricity, toilet paper, restaurants, and meat to name a few. It is a fascinating movie and reminds the viewer of how much one person can truly accomplish. We can each help teach someone else how to make a difference.

Whitney recently posted some delightful housewarming gifts and Courtney posted some delicious treats that would be fantastic gifts, as well. I have one more simple housewarming gift that you can make for that person who is just starting out on trying to make less of an impact on the environment. I know I would have loved to receive a kit for green cleaning a few years ago.

White vinegar
Spray bottle
Essential oil
Baking soda
Recycled jar
Old t-shirts or other fabric (I use pillow cases)
Cotton muslin

Green Cleaner
1. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in the spray bottle.
2. Add several drops of the essential oil of your choice. (Good options are tea tree, orange and lemon)
3. Reattach the top.
4. Add a label to the bottle. (multipurpose cleaner: white vinegar, water, and essential oil)

Baking Soda
1. Clean out a small jar. A salsa jar works well.
2. Fill the jar with baking soda. (You can buy baking soda in bulk at Costco for a great price.)
3. Add a label. (baking soda: use with multipurpose cleaner to scour sinks, clean toilets, and freshen drains)

1. Use a ruler to cut an 8"x8" square out of your old t-shirt.
2. Sew around the edges using a zig-zag stitch.
3. Repeat, making at least three more rags.
4. Make a tag (rags) and attach to the stack with a ribbon.

Bulk Bag
1. Cut a large rectangle out of the cotton muslin. (8"x20")
2. Fold with right sides together and sew up the sides.
3. Turn the bag right side out and sew up both sides about 1/2" in from side seams.
4. Fold the top over twice to make space for your ribbon.
5. Iron and pin the seam.
6. Sew around the top edge, leaving an opening for the ribbon.
7. Use a safety pin to guide the ribbon.
8. Sew the ends of the ribbon together.
9. Make a label and pin it to the bag. (Bulk bag: perfect for shopping in the bulk aisle at the grocery)

Assemble your gift by placing all of the items into the bulk bag. You may want to include the essential oil as part of the gift. (It can also be used to add a lovely scent to an unscented laundry detergent.) Drop your gift off at your friend's new abode.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Bit Greek

As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, I hosted a party for a wonderful organization in Denver--the Women's Bean Project. I purchased quite a few of their products, but had yet to use any of the dip mixes that I had picked up. If you aren't hosting a party, when do you really ever use a dip mix? I was craving something a little bit Greek, so I decided to make some Greek turkey meatballs. The Dillicious Dill Mix was just the thing to liven up our dinner. (You can purchase the dip mixes online, so you can enjoy this recipe too!)

1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 leek
1/2 shredded zucchini
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
salt to taste
olive oil
1/2 packet Dillicious Dill Dip Mix
1/2 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt

I used my food processor to crumble my bread, shred my zucchini and grind my turkey (in that order). The whole turkey breasts were less expensive than the pre-ground turkey.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, zucchini and bread. Add the leeks and mix everything together.

Use your hands to mix the egg, salt and a little less than 1/4 of the dill dip mix into the turkey mixture. Once it is thoroughly mixed, form meatballs--smaller than golfballs.

Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Brown the meatballs on both sides, then place the entire skillet into your hot oven. Bake until cooked through--about 10 minutes.

While your meatballs are a'cookin', mix the rest of the dill dip mix with the yogurt. Spread the yogurt dip into pitas. We added some cucumbers and olives to our pitas. Once your meatballs are done, squeeze them into your deliciously full pitas. This could become a regular on our menu.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Night Out

We have devised a brilliant way to give and play simultaneously with our neighbors.

They have two children and we now have three.  And about twice a month we serve one another by babysitting.  

The way it works is that they will tuck their sweet ones into bed and then either my husband or I will go over to hang out at their house and keep an eye on their kids.  And they go out on a date without having to pay for a babysitter.  Then a few weeks later, they reciprocate and one of them will watch our kids while we go out on a date.  

It is such a simple way to give to one another (and also receive a gift of a free date, too!)  

Ryan and I very much look forward to our nights out when they babysit and I know they feel the same way.  

Do you have a neighbor or a friend you could arrange a babysitting swap with?  I guarantee you will enjoy it!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Since I did not have the opportunity to "nest" as I did in my previous pregnancies prior to Crosby's birth, I find myself currently in full on "nesting" mode.

It is a very odd place to find myself.  When I was pregnant the first two times, I almost drove myself mad trying to anticipate when I would go into labor and if everything would be in order on that fateful day.

This time around, my sweet baby is here, but not yet home.  And I will know in advance when he will make his much anticipated homecoming.

But in the meantime, I keep thinking to myself, "this job will be much easier with only two children at home as opposed to three..."  And so the list of jobs I hope to accomplish prior to his homecoming is growing.
I think part of it is that it is a way I can feel a tiny sliver on control over a situation that I have absolutely no control in.  And another part of it is that I do know life will be busy in a different way once he is home.  So, I hope to have things well organized and ready for him once he is here.

And that brings me to how you can give in regards to the home.

My mom and my mother-in-law both spent quite a bit of time with us when I was in the hospital and immediately following Crosby's birth.  And they both did countless jobs and projects around my home to help us.  In one day, my mom painted our shutters and stoop (twice!), planted flowers, ran errands and created a new organizational system under my sink.  What a gift!
And my dear friend, Katy, has organized childcare for me every day of the week so I can go to the hospital daily.  There could be no better gift!

These people so very dear to me are helping me to "nest" now and are generously giving me so very much.

If you have a friend in need or even just some spare time, consider helping someone with projects around the home.  It is so much more fun to do jobs with a companion and is such a generous way to give!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Best Gift

When it comes to giving, there is something that is so much fun about actually handing someone a physical gift.

However, over the past few months, I could have received no better gift than that of others praying for us.

I have been absolutely overwhelmed and humbled by how many people have lifted our family and especially our baby up in prayer.

I have felt such peace in even some of our darkest moments because I have known others are praying for us.

The prayers of our family and friends (and even of strangers) are truly what has sustained us through these months.

So, if you are looking to generously give to someone, consider praying faithfully for them. You can do so anonymously or you can tell them specifically what you are praying for.

And by doing so, I guarantee they will feel so very loved.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gifts from the Kitchen

Typically, the "make" section of our blog has focused on crafty type things.

But, I certainly think "make" extends into the kitchen, as well.

Since all three of us bloggers here at Freshly Rooted are trying to live quite frugally, I thought the topic of homemade gifts might be appropriate. I stumbled across a wonderful post at simple bites that focuses on saving money in the kitchen and making pantry staples on your own.

I love receiving homemade gifts and I really love receiving homemade gifts that can be eaten! This post discusses homemade substitutes for grocery staples. I am really inclined to try many of them and I would be thrilled to give or receive quite a few of these staples.

The blueberry syrup looks divine.
I love the cinnamon walnut butter.
And I made green tomato chutney last year with our surplus of tomatillos from our CSA and loved it!
(I do have to admit that I tried making the yogurt, but had disheartening results. But you have to start somewhere, right?)

So many of these recipes would be lovely in a ball jar with a simple ribbon. And they would truly be a gift that shows how much you care.

Happy cooking!

And the editors of simple bites will be running a segment on eating well and spending less for the next three weeks!

Monday, April 11, 2011


2011 has been a tumultuous and eventful year in our household.

I was pregnant and expecting our third child to come in June. We had some known complications in my pregnancy, but we were hopeful i would carry our little babe to term.

As we moved through the winter, I started having a lot of contractions and losing lots of blood. Unfortunately, I became very sick and ended up being admitted to the hospital. After many complications and an emergency c-section, we welcomed our beautiful son into the world on March 7th, at 27 weeks gestation.

The past 5 weeks have been emotional and stressful. I am abundantly thankful to be able to say that I am doing great and our baby is growing and progressing wonderfully. We still have many weeks until he will leave the NICU, but we are all doing better.

And through my hospitalization and recovery and the past weeks of us dividing life between the NICU and home, we have been abundantly blessed by our family and friend's generosity. People have so generously prayed for us. Friends have watched our children so we can be in the hospital. Family has flown into town to help us in our time of need. And we have received amazing meals from friends to get us through the days well fed.

A friend of mine set up a wonderful meal schedule for our family through the website We have received delicious food three nights a week and it has been such a gift.

The website is incredibly user friendly and allows the people bringing meals to sign up at their convenience and see what everyone else is bringing. It allows you to change dates if needed and see where the greatest need for a family is.

It has been such a blessing to receive food so that our family is well nourished as we walk through this time. Consider taking a meal to someone in need...or even coordinating meals for a friend!

Friday, April 8, 2011

wrap away

Although I’ve been told I’m the world’s worst gift wrapper, I still love cute wrapping paper. 

However, I see why people tend to think it’s a touch wasteful to spend billions on paper that is almost immediately thrown away…

If you’re in need of cute, ecofriendly wrapping ideas, consider these options…
  • Use an old map. My personal favorite, as it adds a touch of culture. That Paris charm from Wednesday? If you wrap it in a clearly well-used map of France, you’re guaranteed to make them believe it’s authentic.
  • Wrap your gifts in fabric. This year for Christmas Ashley sewed amazing gift sacks out of old cloth. So crafty! And in Japan, people wrap their gifts in scarves or towels, which become part of the gift. So efficient!
  • Try out an old potato chip bag. Cut the bag along its seam, wash it with soap and water, and wrap away! Your gift will have a nice, retro feeling.  
  • Use your kid’s artwork. It’s inexpensive and sentimental.
  •  Or, of course, the old stand bys: newspaper and shopping bags. While they may be slightly overdone, no one can dispute a classic.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

housewarming gifts

“I brought you some housewarming gifts. Salt so your life always has flavor. Bread, so you never go hungry. And a scented candle for the bathroom, because... well, you know.” Phoebe, Friends

I love housewarming gifts. They represent such excitement – a new home, a new chapter of life, a new place to decorate! What could be better than to give than that?

Here are some of my favorite current housewarming gifts for less than $20...
Pier 1 Wheat Grass: Bring a little spring into their home.
CB2 Glasses: Cheers! in six languages.
Anthropologie Candle: For when the meal is over and you're ready for a new scent. 
Toast-Its Wine: To togetherness!
The Giving Tree: Or any other coffee table book. This one is appropriate for April :) 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

giving prayer

It’s so easy to lie in bed at night and go through my wish list of prayers. But it's also very important to give time in prayer to others.

Whether you want to pray for your family and friends or pray for disaster relief in Japan, taking extra time to pray for others creates a clear way to watch God work in someone else’s life. It’s much easier to see prayer being answered for someone else, because we often become so wrapped up in our own problems that we forget to see the positive.

In addition, it is an active way to help strengthen their relationship with God, which is an excellent way to give this Easter April.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

gettin gifty

My budget is a little tight right now, but I still absolutely love giving people gifts. As the special occasions keep coming, and the money keeps going, it might be time to look into some DIY gifts.

Etsy's supplies section is an amazing outlet for this. From ribbon to flowers to wooden guitars, the site has an array of options. Whether you're looking for something specific or browsing for inspiration, Etsy is the perfect resource.

You can even find Eiffel Tower charms, perfect to throw on a bracelet. Your friends might even believe you picked it up for them in Paris...

Monday, April 4, 2011

beyond the kitchen

I used to hate watching movies like Good Will Hunting because it made me sad to see such poverty. I couldn't handle thinking about people who truly live in such sad situations. Although it's not gotten easier to watch it as I've gotten older, it helps to focus instead on the positive things other people are doing, and ways to help.

It's relatively easy to find ways to give to those who need food and water. From volunteering in soup kitchens to giving food to those on the street, any way that you can give locally will immediately impact your community.

Outside your city, there are many charities focused on providing for those in poverty. Below are three highly reputable charities that offer food and water. If you're like me and have a hard time setting aside an entire Saturday to volunteer somewhere, these organizations are a great outlet.

Feeding America: It's so important to give globally, but it's also essential to focus on those in need in the United States. This organization gave food to more than 37 million people in 2010. They offer ways to donate monetarily, volunteer time and to act as a local advocate.

Heifer International: This organization aims to teach families how to provide for themselves, as opposed to just giving them food, by providing livestock and training. After learning how to expand their livestock, each family agrees to give one of their animals to another family in need - thus constantly working to end the cycle.

Charity Water: This organization works to bring clean drinking water to those who do not have access to it by building wells. From volunteering in New York to raising money for schools, there are so many ways to get involved.

If you know of any other great ways to give food to those in need, please share as a comment. The most effective tool is to spread the word.

image via

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Hill of Beans

Welcome to a new month! April is going to be all about giving. We'll share ideas for giving back to reputable organizations, giving of your time, and even giving fun gifts. We want to inspire you to give where there's a need in your community or where your heart leads you. We hope that you'll share some ideas, as well.

Since it's Friday, we're going to throw a party. A party for a cause. A couple months ago, a few friends and I planned a party for the Women's Bean Project. It's an organization here in Denver that helps women to learn valuable job skills and get back on their feet. They make and sell simple bean soup, dip and dessert mixes through their website and through parties. Before you get worried, this is not like a make-up party where you get pressured into buying something that you will never use. It's a get-together of friends with good food, good conversation (hopefully), and an opportunity to buy some tasty food to help women in need.

Here's how it worked for us. We contacted the Women's Bean Project to let them know that we wanted to host a party. They gave us samples of dip, soups, and cookies to make for the gathering. A couple of the soups needed to be made ahead of time (beans needed to be soaked), but we made everything else in the hour before the party. They loaded us up with boxes of their products, including beautiful, but somewhat pricey jewelry. We invited all of the friends we could think of and bought some chips and crackers to accompany the dips.

It was fun to group different circles of friends together for this great cause. We chatted and ate. Most of the food products were purchased before the end of the evening. The jewelry was not, but we felt great about how much we had sold for the organization and had a great time in the process.

If you don't live in the Denver metro area, there are still great options for something similar. While it doesn't involve food, Bead for Life is another extraordinary organization for which you can throw parties. Are there any interesting organizations in your area?
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