Wednesday, January 25, 2012

7 Principals for Investing Your Life

I just love our pastor - he's just pretty amazing and it's so evident that God is using him in a mighty way!

A couple of weekends ago he preached a message and gave a list of 7 principals for investing your life. I thought it was really useful, and something that I wanted to apply. So, the idea of me re-posting this is for my benefit, although I definitely think anyone with a desire to have a personal relationship with Christ and use their gifts to glorify him would also benefit :)

Here they are:

1. Ownership: Everything I have belongs to God
2. Allocation: God has given me some talents
3. Accountability: God expects me to use those talents
4. Utilization: It is wrong to bury what God has given me
5. Motivation: Fear keeps me from using my talent(s); the three parts of fear are categorized as self-doubt, self-pity, and self-consciousness. "The fear of man is a snare"
6. Application: If I don't use it, I'll lose it
7. Realization: If I use it wisely I'll be rewarded

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

first bumbo experience

So, I just had to post this picture for comparison to yesterday's pic. This was taken around 8 or 9 weeks, if I remember correctly. Remember what I said about the giggle fest? Ya....that's totally coming back to me when I see him sitting in this chair. 
cutest. thing. ever.

Monday, January 23, 2012

simple cuteness

One of my favorite baby items we had when Lincoln was little was his Bumbo seat. There's just something so stinking cute about a little baby propped up in one of these that gives me a giggle fest every time :) Ours has been in the garage for more than 2 years now, but I fished it out last week. My sister is a nanny and the family she works for just had a baby. She is almost 2 months old and is just about holding her head up now, so imagine my giddyness when I went to get the bumbo for her.

The only problem? As soon as Lincoln spotted this chair, he just knew it was his. He has been calling it his bumble seat and sits in it all the time. In fact, he received a special McQueen chair for Christmas this year that's propped up in the living room; he has placed the "bumble seat" right next to it, so depending on how he's feeling at that particular moment, he has two seating choices (he's very opinionated)!

Celebrating cuteness this morning :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Dinners

Sunday nights usually produce our small family sitting around the table for dinner together. It's a nice idea, and one that only happens a few nights a week...if I'm lucky. Most of my hours are in the afternoon / early evenings, so it's likely that the hubs and I will eat together (he's so nice to wait for me), but he usually ends up feeding the little guy long before I'm home or able to make dinner.

Sometimes, after a long week, we order pizza or just eat left-overs, but it's likely on a Sunday that I will cook something up (secret - I love to cook!); tonight was no exception. I just love healthy, home-made meals, and it's a good day in my book when you can use up a bunch of stuff in the refrigerator to create something delish! Because I pre-chop and wash most of my produce, my cooking-time seems to be cut in half these days, which also gives me more time to chat with my son while getting dinner ready.

Tonight, he joined me in the kitchen and sat up at the bar-top while I prepared. I had a container of some cherry tomatoes that I had planned to put in this particular dish. He fussed to get the plastic container open, and as soon as he did, he said "mommy, I'm gonna eat this." I said "go right ahead, but it's a tomato, not a grape, and if you put it in your mouth, you have to chew it up and swallow it." In my experience, if he's not prepared for what he's about to eat - or thinks it's something else - he likely spits it out by sheer surprise. Imagine my surprise when he chewed it up and went for another one! Ya - I knew I loved that kid!

So what did we make? I took almost all the veggies I had still fresh. This included: onion, garlic (don't you just love that combo?!?!), green pepper, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. I had a grilled chicken breast left over from another dish that I diced up as well. After sauteing the veggies in olive oil, I seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic salt, and a little oregano. I seasoned the chicken separately (Food Network told me to always season every layer ;)....) and then added that to the veggies. I added a can of low-cal cream of chicken soup and diluted it with about a 1/4 cup of water. After simmering a few minutes, I tossed the bunch into whole wheat rigatoni pasta. Oh, and let's not forget the Parmesan it off with freshly grated parm. That's right - and none of that boxed junk. I'm a brat when it comes to cheese, but it makes a huge difference!

There you have it!  A delicious, and very colorful meal in 15 minutes whipped up from whatever was left in the fridge after a long week. It turned out really great and I got to spend a few minutes in the kitchen with my favorite little boy in the whole world!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

simple pleasures

Potty time is coming along...slowly, but surely. He knows how to go and how to tell us when he has to go so he doesn't wet himself. When it comes to the other kind of potty...ya - he is having trouble. It's a process - and that's okay. We wait and keep trying; that's all that matters, I guess.

This week we spent lots of time outside walking - we walked the neighborhood and even met a friend and walked a lake area while drinking some chai (mommy, not son). Between all the activity, we talked - a lot. I can't believe how much he can carry on a conversation. He tells me about his toys and wants to show me all the cool things they do, he tells me his opinion on every matter you could imagine, and he asks me what I'm doing. He also sings and dances constantly, and above all else, he laughs. His joy is contagious and it makes me proud. It makes me smile, and I find myself laughing with him every time. Wow, I love that kid!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

woes of potty training

I was thinking of calling this post my philosophy on potty training, but then I almost laughed out loud at the notion of me having a philosophy on a matter that is entirely too new. I don't know that I'm even entitled to such a formed opinion of a matter that I have so little experience with, but I'm going with my gut on this, and so far, it's working!

Because I am a working mom and run a business, potty training was something I was dreading for a long time. I also am cursed/blessed (depends on how you look at it, I guess...) with an extremely laid-back personality. So, when it comes to battles with a toddler, I usually try to avoid them at all costs. I take the "no drama for your mama" approach, and since potty training can be a huge battle, I decided it wasn't worth forcing if he wasn't ready and/or willing.

I also knew that potty training required a huge amount of dedication, time, constant persistence, and love for laundry. To me, it just didn't sound doable or enjoyable - for either of us! Plus, with me gone for a few hours at a time in the afternoons, how was I supposed to enforce such a thing? So, I decided to just let the diapers run their course; surely he wouldn't want to use them forever, right? I should also mention that, with such a busy body son, he just never seems to have time to go potty - even when asked, he just doesn't want to do it.

At times, I felt guilty - like, maybe I should be pushing this issue. But then I entered into a conversation on facebook after an old friend of mine had used the phrase "self potty training." I just HAD to know what this was all about! Could it be? An actual term - or do I even dare say - movement to the madness behind my idea? Indeed! She told me that, with the birth of her second daughter, she just did not have the time to dedicate to actual potty training with her toddler. So, like me, she decided to allow her daughter to do it when she was ready. No pushing, forcing, pulling out hair, etc. Sure, it takes a little more time, and these children aren't actually 'ready' until closer to 3, but it works! And best of all? It comes without a battle! Just my style...

So, how's it going? I'm happy to say that, as of Tuesday this week, my son has been wearing big boy underpants. It started that day around lunch when he went in the potty and, with a little encouragement from mom, Lincoln put on his underpants. I thought for sure that he wouldn't want to wet those - no matter how busy he was. So far, I've been right! He only had 1 accident, which was yesterday when he was at grandma's house. I will say, he's been wearing pull-ups at night, but I'm only ready to conquer one battle at a time. For now? we are a happy, drama-free, and dry family ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

3rd time's a charm

Christmas is over and yet my child continues to sing "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer"....on a daily basis. Additionally, he LOVES the song "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas", which surprisingly, he knows every word to. It's really cute, but despite our best efforts, he doesn't want to accept that the holiday craziness is behind us.

On the other hand, mommy and daddy HAVE moved on, and with the Christmas tree clean-up and crazy work schedules returning, we are busy at work planning for the little guy's 3rd birthday party. The big day is February 28th, so we will be celebrating the weekend prior. We did a big party for his 1st and kept it low-key for his 2nd, but I definitely think 3 is something to celebrate; especially because he really understand the concept behind the birthday party now and knows the big day is quickly approaching.

I couldn't decide if we were going to do some extravagant theme or keep it simple with friends and family. Lincoln is totally into Cars and Toy Story, but that's so "been there done that" and I wanted to really do something fun and unique - something that all his friends, and parents alike, would enjoy; not to mention, we did a Rock Star theme for his 1st birthday and that was totally cute! So, with all my motivation - and a little lot of inspiration from pinterest - we will be doing a sweet shop theme! I'm so excited, as is Brian. He even researched a local old-school candy shop where he says we can get all the treats for the big day! I just love when the dad's get so into this stuff :)

So in the next month, I will be getting in touch with my inner craftiness (ha!) and hope to create the most darling 3rd birthday party a boy could dream of! I'll make sure to share my ideas ideas along the way (and would welcome any ideas as well!) and, of course, pictures of the "final draft" when all is said and done.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lincoln playing at the park

spring in winter

With a new year comes a new start, and in our case, the most beautiful weather in the world. The high in Gilbert today is 73 degrees...that's right. It's absolutely gorgeous! Today is also the day I am back to work, after enjoying a glorious break for the last week and a half. My first appointment isn't until the afternoon, so we have spent the whole day outside, which I truly believe does wonders for the mind, body, and soul.

This morning we walked to a small, family owned coffee shop across the street from our neighborhood. Met up with my sister and spent some quality time while the little man made some new friends and ran his little legs off, all while sitting at a picnic table under the orange trees while sipping a hot, non-fat, white mocha...bliss.

After walking home and enjoying some lunch together, we walked to our neighborhood park (we are's so close that it can be viewed from our front window). Made some new friends among the sand and slides, while mommy caught up on work emails. Did I mention that self-employment was the best thing that ever happened to me? ;)

Spend some time outside this week, that is, if it's not snowing...although, I suppose there's always time for sledding?

Monday, January 2, 2012

healthy time-saver

I'm really into healthy eating. I also love to cook, and have learned a lot over the years about nutrition and vegetarian cooking. This post is, by no means, about vegetarianism or healthy eating, but because of my own personal testimony related to nutrition (let's save that for another day, shall we?) I am forever connected to vegetables :)

A few months ago, I was inspired by my own mother (who had recently heard a lecture about food preparation from a nutritionist) to do some time-saving, pre-washing, and pre-chopping with my produce. I had thought about this concept before, but don't know why I never put it into affect...until now.

Here is my handy-work from yesterday:

I usually spend a short time (any where from 20-minutes to an hour, depending on how much produce I buy/consume) washing and chopping up all my fruits and veggies. I have found that this, not only saves me time when cooking, but it allows me the convenience of easy access with every single meal! I am adding veggies to almost everything now!

One of my favorites? A veggie egg-white scramble. You can put whatever you like or have on hand in it, and it always turns out delicious! It's also a good way to get a good serving of veggies in the morning, or even at lunch! Who said eggs were just for breakfast?

Ramblings of a 2 year old...

So, if you have children, you are well aware that, by the time they can speak, they don't stop - speaking, that is. My son was an early talker - he had a small, understandable vocabulary by 15 months, and by the time of his 2nd birthday, we knew we had an opinionated and confident little boy. He's always had something to say about everything. He will be 3 in a couple of months, so you can imagine how much his language skills have grown. He uses full sentences and forms them properly - it's actually quite amazing! I'm not sure if this has anything to do with my English degree, and the fact that I have corrected his speech along the way, but I probably shouldn't take any credit - he is just a determined child and one that has had an insatiable desire to speak his mind from day one!

At any rate, I have started a new habit with him that I sincerely hope will stick. We are learning short, simple, Bible verses every week or two, which has become a really special time for him and I. It all started earlier December when Lincoln received a take-home Christmas booklet in the nursery that had a Bible verse written in it, along with the condensed Christmas story and fun games. One morning over breakfast, I was reading him the booklet and went through the verse with him - "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son." I said over and over, and after a few times, he tried saying it with me. After 2 days, he had it and has been quoting it ever since!

Last week, I thought, "why stop there?" So, we didn't. He almost has this one down perfect: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding."  It's really quite precious and allows me to provide him with something positive to hold in his heart forever. It's true - toddlers repeat EVERYTHING they hear - good and bad. So, why not give them something good to say? Something that could change their life forever?