Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Happy December!



My favorite month of the whole year has arrived! And with it, a special little Elf from the North Pole.
Santa mailed the Elf to us on December 1st and it was waiting on the front porch for Lucy. 

(Unfortunately the elf who helped to wrap the present was very sick so she didn't do her most-creative present wrapping.)
Lucy opened her gift from Santa, and we read the book all about the Elf who came to visit our house for Christmas. When it was time to pick a name, Lucy wanted to call it "baby" (perhaps because every time we ask her what her new baby sister's name should be, she calls it "baby"), or suggested the name "ummmmmm". We made a group decision to name him Mr. Pickles this year. 

(Next year Mr. Pickles might have a new name. ) #Thatshowweroll.

He has already gotten into a lot of mischief and Lucy's reactions are hilarious. 

"Mommy the Elf make a big mess. Clean that up."


As she's giggling at the sight of Mr. Pickles and "Aunt Barbara" in a marshmallow bubble bath: "I eat all the bubbles--(shoves marshmallows in her mouth by the handful.)

We are loving this new family tradition and are so excited for Mr. Pickles to be here until Christmas!

Do you have an Elf at your house? What sort of mischief does he get himself into?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween

Halloween with a 2 year old is amazing. 


On the days leading up to Halloween, I was busy making Lucy's ladybug costume and busy being worried that on the day of, she would flat out tell me "no" that she did not want to wear the costume that mommy put hours of work into.

So, I hyped up Halloween like crazy, talking about what a cool ladybug she would be, with a sparkly tutu and how she would go around to all the neighbors houses who would then give her candy. 

She was stoked. So stoked, in fact that on Halloween I told her she would get to go trick-or-treating after naptime. So during "naptime" she jumped around her crib and did flips and kept asking to "go trick-or-treat". She played like that for an hour and 45 minutes until she konked out and fell asleep.

Praise. the. Lord. (I kept picturing us taking her trick-or-treating sans-nap while she cried/hated it/wanted to go night-night.) 


Our neighborhood had a big potluck in the cul-de-sac, so we filled our bellies up before taking the hike for candy. 


She got the hang of the whole ringing the doorbell thing fast, and was even generous enough to give some candy back to people when they came to greet her. 

It got too dark for pictures, but we ended up toting 3 2-year olds around in a wagon to go door-to-door. A few lollipops and m&m's to keep them awake, and they were squealing and giggling and laughing all around the neighborhood. 

One of the most amazing things about having a child, is witnessing the joy of the Holidays through their eyes. It's a billion times better than enjoying it yourself. 

Plus, you can share costumes if you end up going to a last minute Halloween party...

I am super excited that Christmas is only 1 short month away, so we can see what she thinks of Christmas!

How was your Halloween?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Taking lessons from a 2 year old...on Grace

Just about 2 weeks before Lucy's 2nd birthday, we got a nice glimpse into this thing called the "terrible twos".


Our sweet and obedient toddler had decided overnight that her new favorite word was "NO", (which she says with an enormous heap of sass).  Time out became her new favorite place to hang out (we go there about 4-5 times most days), and playtime with other toddler friends turned into a gladiator-style battle of wills over what was "mine" and how many kids needed to be knocked over to get it back.

There's this whole new world of "sharing" and  "gentle hands" and time out. And it can be exhausting. In so many ways. One of our biggest problems we have run into so far is pushing. If another toddler steals her toy, or won't share, or simply is having more fun than her, she pushes them over. 

The first time I witnessed this I was literally stunned. Me and the hubs have never taught her to push. We don't have secret sessions in our house planning strategic ways to get-all-the-toys-from-others. So how do we un-teach something which we've never taught?

As parents, we have never taught her to say "mine" or to push, and it's possible she picked it up at daycare or from other children, but why has it stuck? It is a clear example to me of this thing called sin-nature we all have when we are born into this world. 

"The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other..." Galatians 5:17

So we literally have to fight this sin-nature inside of us, and our child, to choose what is good and what is right. We teach kindness, generosity, gentleness and grace, instead of selfishness, greed and hurting. 

And, the amazing thing to me, in the battle of wills I see after Lucy knocks another child over, is this beautiful thing called grace. She makes these little friends, pushes them to the ground, has a time out, a serious talk, an apology is said, and she goes back to play. By the time she is back, her little friend is ready to embrace her and play again, arms open, all transgressions forgotten and forgiven.


I, too, have my days, where I yell too quickly, or way too much. I find myself getting frustrated and losing patience, and this sweet little girl pours out grace on me. Forgives me, hugs me, and wants nothing but her mommy by her side.

And I am so thankful for that blank slate that starts back over, every time she forgives me or her little friends forgive her. I am so thankful for this thing called grace.

I've decided to rename the "terrible two's" the "grace-filled twos". Because, let's be honest, we can all use a little more grace.

"Sin spread when the Law was given. But where sin spread, God’s loving-favor spread all the more." Romans 5:20 NLV

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Pumpkin Farm

I love love pumpkins. So this year, we made two trips out to what Lucy calls the "Pumpkin Farm" (also known as Hillridge Farms.)

Here is our first trip in 2013.


The Giant Slide:


"Hey Lucy, sit on those pumpkins and pose for mommy."


"Ok now turn and look at me"

Closer...

We gave up on posing and went to play in the corn.


The next weekend, we tried again. See the "cheese" face? Practice makes perfect.


The Hay jump


We are so glad my sister showed us Hillridge Farms! We love our new fall tradition.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Apples!

Staying home Part Time leaves me looking for creative things to do to entertain a 2 year old all day.

Today we decided our day would be all about apples. I have been itching to make some crockpot applesauce and I wish I hadn't waited so long to try and make some! It's amazzzing.

Plus, I have this incredibly cute helper who always loves to help me cook.

She loved turning the crank of the Peel Away Peeler. I've had this for a few years, and it's great for little helpers, because it peels, cores and slices the apple. (If it's setup right! )


                                  Time for a snack...


  She was generous enough to share some peelings with the pup too.


Adding the cinnamon and sugar.

While the apples cooked, we made an Apple Tree Craft we found over at Happy Home Fairy. She loves paint! And this little project gave us an opportunity to talk about what colors the apples and the tree are. 




The finished products:

The smell in the house is incredible while this is cooking. 


Crockpot Cinnamon Applesauce
4 large Fuji Apples, peeled and sliced into 1'' cubes
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar

In a crockpot add the apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Cook on LOW for 4 hours. Blend with an immersion blender in the crockpot. Cool and serve.


2 year old approved!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lucy turns two!

Our little Lucy turned two!

I couldn't help but reminisce the week of her birthday, back two years ago when we were waiting for her to be born. And how she slept on my chest the first night in the hospital and how incredibly tiny and precious she was.

At two, she is a little person now. She walks, she talks and has her very own opinions.



Two year old "STATS"
Loves: Motorcycles,  playing with friends, riding her bike, and signing songs
Doesn't Love: Being told what to do
Favorite Foods: Eggs, Applesauce, Raspberries, and popcorn
Favorite song: ABC's or Itsy Bitsy Spider


The morning of her birthday we sang happy birthday as she blew out the candles on her pancakes with sprinkles (or "sparkalies" as she called them) and honey.


We had a few people in the family over for pizza and cookie cake for dinner. She giggled hysterically when we all sang her happy birthday.


A few days later we celebrated with an Elmo Party. We had a cookout in the backyard with lots of balloons and friends to play with. My sister made the amazing cake- she captured exactly what I had imagined for her Elmo cake!


Enough pictures mom and dad, Lucy's ready to eat this thing...


And since I was busy hostessing a party and chasing a two year old around, these are all of the pictures I got...But we both partied hard and had a blast.

Lucy and her "big sister cousin" Lex



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Warm Quinoa Salad

Since about January, I have been trying clean eating. (Cutting back on sugar, processed, and refined foods.) 

It's not easy, especially being the foodie that I am. I like big, fatty flavors, y'all. But, I was determined to stave off those last few pounds of baby weight before squeezing myself into a bathing suit for summer. 

Enter quinoa. 

It's one of those things people tell you to eat for years, but you can never quite figure out how to make it....yummy.

Here's a fun nutritional comparison to rice. {More protein, fiber, potassium, zinc and folate.}


I played around some with quinoa, and now I'm in love. Lucy loves to eat "Keen-Ya" too. And the other night we were out of dog food, so the dog even had quinoa for dinner. Protein and folate for all!

The only person who's not sold yet? The Mr...but it's a work in progress.


(That crazy looking thing on the side is a veggie burger with hummus and avocados.)

Warm Quinoa Salad
can also be served cold
2 servings
1 cup of cooked quinoa (follow package directions)
1 large handful of kale or baby spinach
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
2-3 tbsp parmesan cheese
dash garlic powder
dash salt & pepper
dash red pepper flakes
juice from the wedge of a lemon
Olive oil (or coconut oil)

In a saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil, tomatoes and kale. Toss around for a minute or two to wilt the kale. Sprinkle garlic powder, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste. Add quinoa and stir to warm up. Add parmesean cheese until it melts (about 30 seconds) and juice from the wedge of a lemon. Serve warm or chill for later.