Wednesday, September 28, 2011

PRAY: the birds and the bees

I'm relatively Type A. Not like A ++ when it comes to everything, but a pretty high degree of A-ness on the whole.

And part of the territory is that I've had this plan for how my life would go since the age of ten (or four?). And although there are things I could not have begun to imagine would have been so amazingly wonderful and beautiful, there have been times where I thought things would have gone differently, and maybe even better had they gone according to my little planski. In those moments, I've caught myself wondering if maybe somewhere along the line God forgot about how things were supposed to go for me.

Last night, a friend of mine was discussing that she had been feeling that way lately, and our other friend brought up Matthew 6:26:

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

And isn't it the truth? If God remembers to feed the birdies and duckies every day, would he really forget the fact that she was hoping this season of pain would pass? Certainly not.

Moving forward, in my times of trial, I will undoubtedly lean upon this verse to be reminded that as long as God is still feeding the baby birds, he's going to take care of my needs too.
PS: If you're a bird. I'm a bird. :)

image via

Monday, September 26, 2011

MAKE: Home Cleaning Solutions

Once I became a mama, I knew that I wanted to clean up my act in terms of home cleaning.  I wanted to be sure that the products I used were incredibly safe to have around our daughter and I didn't want to worry about what was under my kitchen cabinet.

We have made a lot of simple and very frugal changes around our home and I couldn't be more pleased with the results.

Stacy at Delightful Home recently wrote a great post that pretty much sums up all of the changes we've made.  I couldn't have said it better, so I thought I would direct you to her fabulous post!  Happy cleaning!

Friday, September 23, 2011

EAT: Melon...lots of melon.

A mostly-emptied watermelon and a spoon in the backyard--that was summer bliss as a kid. Often my mom would scoop out about three quarters of the melon for a fruit salad to take to a cookout and leave me with the remnants. I remember sitting in the grass and eating every bit of red from that shell. Melon makes summer so sweet. 

Cantaloupe and tomatoes from my garden...mmm

Here in Colorado, melons are plentiful right now. Cantaloupe is two for a dollar. And, my garden smells like sweet, ripe melon. As the melon season winds down, I'm making the most of it. My favorite refreshing afternoon treat is a melon smoothie. This is the simplest smoothie in the world. 

Melon Smoothie
Ingredients: chunks of melon, ice, a little water
Directions: Place all ingredients in your blender or Magic Bullet and blend.
                  Pour it into a glass and enjoy! Share if you must.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

PLAY: a new addition

It can't go without saying. Welcome to the world Diego Brantley Guzman. We are so happy you're here :) I can't wait to snuggle you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

NEST: Clotheslines

We have been borrowing a neighbor's clothesline this summer to hang some our our laundry dry.

There is something so back-to-the-basics about it that makes me feel good every time I pin up our laundry out in the sun.

And it is so simple.  And easy.  And free!

Consider line drying your clothes while the weather is still warm.  You don't need to construct an elaborate clothesline.  Even if you only have minimal space, you can hang your clothes to dry.  Before borrowing my neighbor's, I often draped our diapers on our deck to dry.  If you live in an apartment and have a balcony, you can use this to dry your clothes (just be sure you don't let them fall stories down!).

You can build a clothesline with posts in the ground, or consider buying a clothesline long enough to go between your porch and a nearby tree.

Martha Stuart suggests:

"Buy a clothesline long enough to span the distance between your porch and a nearby tree or post. On the porch end, thread the line through a metal eye hook, and wind it around a sailor's cleat installed about a foot below the hook. At the other end, screw another hook into the tree or post. Tie the clothesline to a snap shackle, which makes attaching and detaching the cord a breeze."

So easy!  

It has definitely saved us a bit of money this summer and the clothes smell so fresh.  The sun also helps with pesky diaper stains.  It is a win-win situation!  

Consider a clothesline at your home!

Friday, September 16, 2011

PRAY: Waiting

2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Waiting is hard. As I wait for the newest member of our family to arrive, I can't help but need some serious patience. I know that once our baby is born, these last few days of waiting will be inconsequential. In the meantime, though, every day feels like a week. 

Perhaps you've been experiencing a waiting time recently. Whether you're anticipating hearing about a new job, hoping to meet someone, or trying to figure out a new purpose in your life, the hours before you get an answer seem to be the longest. We can certainly pray for patience and there is value in that. Right now, however, I know I need action. Not checking Facebook, roaming Pinterest, going shopping--busy-ness. Purposeful action.

For me, my action has been simple. I've made a pair of pants for the baby whether it's a boy or a girl. I've made yogurt and bread. I've organized closets. While these things have kept me busy, they've also released my anxious energy. If you're waiting, maybe you could use some purposeful action. Keep living and making the most of each day. This may just be the time you need to become the person who is truly ready for an answer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MAKE: headboard love

I recently had the make of all the makes I've ever had. There's no way I'll be able to top this for a while, so I decided it was appropriate to repurpose the content, even if it seems slightly self-serving. So, check out the headboard I made with the help of my parents.

Although I spent the majority of the project "supervising," I am still really proud of the project.

Monday, September 12, 2011

EAT: Eat Seasonally, Eat Locally

In recent weeks, our meals have often consisted of peppers and tomatoes.

We have had a surplus of them from our CSA.  

Thankfully, I love both.  It has allowed me to come up with creative ways to eat them and enjoy them as a family.

While my favorite way to eat a tomato is while you are still in the field and it is warm from the sun, we have discovered a lot of other delicious meals and snacks!

I recently made a Mexican inspired wild rice dish.  Everyone loved it and it was as cinch to prepare!

Bumper Crop Rice:

- Saute 1 small onion in a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add several chopped peppers (I used 5) and saute.  I also added one hot pepper.
- Add in several chopped tomatoes (I used 4) and allow to come to a simmer.
- Add any other favorites - I chose corn and black beans.
- Season with salt, pepper and cumin.  
- Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.

I made a wild and brown rice mixture and added the delicious veggie mixture to it.  
We topped it with shredded cheddar cheese and fresh salsa.  Delicious!!

The Easiest Salsa Fresca:

We received this recipe from our CSA this year.  As we were out in the fields picking crops, they were in the barn whipping this up by the ball jar for all of their supporters to take home.  It is delicious, easy and healthy.  Give it a try!

- 4 large, ripe tomatoes
- 1 large onion
- 1 T chopped garlic
- 1 T chopped jalapeno
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- salt to taste

Chop tomatoes to desired level of chunkiness.  Drain for a few minutes in a colander.  Chop onion, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro.  Mix all ingredients together.  Let it sit for a few minutes for the flavors to marry.  Enjoy!

I love the taste of summer!

Friday, September 9, 2011

PLAY: Curl up with a good book.

When I was teaching fourth and fifth grade, my favorite question from most of my students was, "Do you have a book recommendation for me?" These kids kept me up to date on my reading. Reading juvenile fiction, that is. Some of my students were absolutely voracious readers and would fly through several books in a week or two. They would catch me off guard if I had taken a break from my forays into middle school literature because they would almost definitely ask what I thought of the latest book by Christopher Paolini or Brian Selznick. And, they would be shocked if I did not have an answer.

Since I have been staying home with my son, I haven't made quite as much time for the latest novels. I have reread several of my favorites, though. If you're thinking that it seems a little odd for me to write about books that elementary and middle schoolers are likely to read, hold on! Most of these books are as well written as adult literature, don't contain questionable content or foul language, and are quick reads. I love the feeling of finishing a really good book, don't you? Well, here are some books that you are guaranteed to fly through:

Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
A touching, uplifting story written in poems. If you've ever felt a soul-freedom in running, you will get this book. I read it during my planning time at school one day (Don't tell my principal!).

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
The City of Ember (Books of Ember)
This science fiction novel centers around the survival of mankind. The domed city where Lina Mayfleet lives is crumbling all around her and she seems to hold the key to discovering what lies outside the confines of dimly lit Ember. This is a story of adventure and courage.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Inkheart Trilogy Boxset
A fantasy novel that begins in our normal, not-at-all fantastic world. Meggie discovers that her father has the incredible ability to read characters to life from books. She will discover why he has hidden this talent from her all her life and will be swept away into another world to rescue those she loves most. (I absolutely adore anything by Cornelia Funke--you can't go wrong.)

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Peter and the Starcatchers
This prequel to Peter Pan will have you holding your breath in suspense and laughing out loud. It is a charming adventure that moves quickly and leaves you eager to pick up the next book in the series.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games
Perhaps you've heard of this post apocalyptic novel that has become a phenomenon. For a more mature audience than City of Ember, this novel will grip you from beginning to end as you watch Katniss fight for the survival of her family and life as she knows it.

Do you have a favorite novel from your childhood that you would love to reread?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NEST: when life gives you lemons

Nothing makes me happier than a sparkling clean apartment. My favorite is to clean it like crazy at night, and wake up the next morning to perfection.

I recently learned of the many, many uses of lemons when cleaning. Try these out, and then enjoy your own blissfully citrusy abyss...

Aluminum: Squeeze lemon juice on aluminum. Wipe it down and watch it shine.

Countertops: Dip lemon in baking soda and combine with a wet sponge to scrub countertops.

Cutting boards: Squeeze lemon onto the cutting board and let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse and watch your stains disappear.

Garbage disposal: Drop a lemon in and run it through - it will make your whole kitchen smell fresh.

Laundry: To make your whites brighter, add 1/2 a cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle.

Shower: Add lemon juice to a spray bottle and wipe down your shower doors.

image via

Monday, September 5, 2011

PRAY: Study.

I am enjoying a Beth Moore study of the book of Daniel with a couple of good friends.  We are just barely into the study and I have been challenged quite a bit already.

I have often been overwhelmed by studying the Old Testament.  Thankfully, this study is not only fascinating, but it is easy to grasp and digest.

One of the main points that I have taken to heart so far is about living a life of integrity.

She states, "We will live lives of integrity on purpose, or we will not do it at all."

That really struck a chord for me.  We have to be so intentional in this world to live a life of integrity.  It is so easy to get swept into mainstream living and allow our hearts to become calloused and hardened to the "decaying morals and standards of our culture."

Sometimes it seems so much easier to blend in and accept the norm and go with the flow.  But, we are called to hold ourselves to a different standard.

I so desperately want to live a life of integrity.  Do you?

What are some areas of your life you can intentionally work to hold yourself to a higher level of integrity?  I know I have many in my life.

This study has given me so much to think about.  Reflecting on my relationships, the words I speak, the media I allow to come flooding into our home and the way I parent our children.  I am praying that I would lead a life of integrity that would allow Christ's love to be evident.

Friday, September 2, 2011

MAKE: A simple solution.

Baking soda is my friend when it comes to cleaning. I use it so often that I bought a huge bag of it from Costco. While this was certainly a cost-saving move, it was not the most practical in terms of daily use. I have a canister of baking soda in my pantry that is supposed to be used for cooking, but I also end up spooning out of it for cleaning. It's a pain. Don't worry--I don't cross-contaminate!

After an attempt to lightly coat my kitchen sink in baking soda, which involved dumping about a quarter of the canister by mistake, I decided it was time to find a solution. Here is my simple solution:

As you know, I love using old jars around my house. So, why not make one into a baking soda shaker? That way, I can keep it under the sink, pull it out with my vinegar cleaning solution, and simply sprinkle it wherever necessary.

How To:
1. Get a hammer, a nail, and an old piece of wood.
2. Rest the lid of your jar on the wood.

3. Hammer the nail into your lid repeatedly to create holes.

4. Fill 'er up!

What are some simple solutions you've found to use around your house?
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