Nº. 2 of  28

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PALEO AFTER SCHOOL SNACKS {healthy post Monday} …

I am so glad to finally be able to share on this little blog a tiny piece of God’s goodness in our lives! I have survived the first month of being a Kinder-parent, but it has not been easy! Transitioning to full-time school has been harder on Matt and I than it has been on our girl! She has not cried one tear or had any objection at all so far, thank you, Jesus! She pops out of bed every day, with a smile on her face and when we pick her up in the afternoon, she has the same wide smile and big a exclamation that she has “had the BEST day ever!”  I am daily learning more about my girl as I watch her grow and learn. She is more of a Pollyanna than I ever realized. I guess I have shed enough tears for both of us these last few weeks, so I certainly won’t complain. I think if she had squeezed out one tear at the door of her classroom, I would’ve scooped her up and started homeschooling immediately. I could not bear it. I am so thankful for this peaceful transition and blessings we have received from relationships made on this new and exciting journey. And I am extremely thankful for the privilege and blessing it is for her to learn Spanish at this incredible immersion school. Last week they were voted a Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education! What an honor! Plus, it has been so fun to hear her sing songs, say colors, and count in Spanish. She tells us her teacher only speaks Spanish in the classroom and she understands everything he says?! Crazy.

Of course, the first day of school (ever, might I add, as she has never attended preschool or Mother’s Day Out), was quite a celebration. The natural alternative for me was just not an option. Plus, focusing on making it fun and exciting her for took the edge off my natural instincts to wail and despair in a grand pity party.  It began with the fun tradition of presenting both my kids a Schultüte, a giant paper cone filled with school supplies and gifts. It was SO fun! I will post photos and a DIY tutorial on another day. I spent the rest of the day baking, praying, crying, and preparing for her homecoming that afternoon. I made several gluten free treats, including brownies upon her request. I think this is a funny request because she had never had a brownie before. I do not think she even knew what a brownie was!  The kitchen help was excellent, albeit dramatic when asked to wait on his sister before he taste tested the cupcakes.  All my recipes came from two of Elana Amsterdam’s cookbooks, The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook and Gluten Free Cupcakes. I use both of these cookbooks and have had great success with her recipes. Plus, I love that I can feel good about giving my kids treats knowing it is beneficial to their health, completely grain-free and processed sugar free, with real, organic, ingredients that are not genetically modified.  This means when they ask for more, they can have as much as they want. :)

Yay! Click on the photo link to go to the Platinum site of Matilda Jane Clothing for a great weekend SALE! There are some awesome pieces featured that I have loved for myself and my daughter! Christmas is around the corner so now is a great time to grab those cute items at a great price!  Please kindly use my Trunk Keeper ID #629 when you check out. Thank you!

Yay! Click on the photo link to go to the Platinum site of Matilda Jane Clothing for a great weekend SALE! There are some awesome pieces featured that I have loved for myself and my daughter! Christmas is around the corner so now is a great time to grab those cute items at a great price!  Please kindly use my Trunk Keeper ID #629 when you check out. Thank you!

HOW TO MAKE RAW BUTTER {healthy post Monday} …

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It’s been too long. I’ve missed my little blog, sharing our family adventures and our quest for living brighter and healthier. So much has been happening. So much change in our little family. A summer packed full of adventure and growth. A new job addition to my schedule. Preparing myself for the biggest parental rite of passage since the days of potty training … kindergarten.  10 more days until I release my oldest into the world of public school, a classroom of 29 five-year-olds and two Spanish speaking adults I know nothing about, with whom to spend two-thirds of her waking day. The concept is so foreign and strange to me now that I am a parent.  She, nor my son, have ever attended pre-school or a mother’s day out program.  Homeschooling was definitely on my radar. But after labored prayer and studying God’s Word for specific answers, we know this is God’s plan for her.  Believe me, I will be clutching the hem of her little uniform dress all the way into the front door and will leave most likely in a straight jacket, rocking myself in a fetal position until Matt drags me home. I know she is ready and will absolutely love every second. I will be counting every second until she is back in my arms sharing every detail about her day. My baby girl. I could cry right now writing about it.

Ok. No more tears.  In the meantime, we are in the throes of health food boot camp to make sure her immune system is supped up and ready to fight all the sniffles and bugs that plague school classrooms. Probiotics are one of the best forces to fight off illness and homemade raw butter is a great source. I joined a local raw dairy co-op so that we could buy raw milk, raw cream, and raw cheeses. This morning, I made this beautiful butter from two pints of raw cream. I love how it naturally turns this pretty bright yellow, with no chemicals, additives, food coloring, or other unidentifiable junk you might find in margarine or butter substitutes, which are not real food. There are also no hormones or antibiotics in the raw cream used to make this butter.

If I would’ve stopped short, before the cream turned into curds, I could’ve made a beautiful, fluffy, white whipped cream. I have added maple syrup, organic powdered sugar, and even xylitol to sweeten it and to top cupcakes and fruit parfaits. I LOVE whipped cream. :)

When you leave your food processor running for awhile, the cream eventually turns into butter! You then scoop it out, squeeze and rinse it under running water to remove the butter milk. You can reserve the buttermilk in a glass jar for future baking purposes, or if you’re like my father-in-law, you can pour it on top of cornbread and eat it like cereal. :)

Store your raw butter in a glass container in the refrigerator. Some like to mix in a little salt, but I kept mine unsalted. Yummy goodness on top of gluten free pancakes! Enjoy!

New past season pieces have been uploaded to the Good Luck Trunk at the Matilda Jane Platinum site!

You can shop the collection by clicking here.

Please kindly enter my Trunk Keeper ID #629 at the time of checkout.

As always, I appreciate your business! :)

I can’t believe I start this new adventure tomorrow!  And a double bonus is that it is TAX FREE SHOPPING in Oklahoma this weekend!  Extra savings on the weekend of my launch! If you would like to place an order, go to www.matildajaneclothing.com and E-mail your Wish List and contact information to melissam@matildajaneclothing.com. You can even host an online show to earn free clothes and half-price items! E-mail me and I will show you how easy it is.

It still seems so unreal. I have been to a training conference in Indiana and met the most wonderful group of girls. I will have to share about it on another post. Oh, and I also want to share all the amazing things Matilda Jane is doing to better the lives of folks in Fort Wayne, Indiana through Habitat for Humanity and to give hope to a group of about 100 orphan girls in Africa. It is all so very awesome.

You won’t want to miss this amazing sale … and you can even shop directly from MatildaJaneClothing.com! Only from July 10th through July 14th will there be a special  summer clearance sale.  The sale will only be operated through the web site.  Don’t forget to show me some love and enter my Trunk Keeper ID #629 at checkout!

Two exciting announcements …

I was recently hired to be a Trunk Keeper for the amazing company, Matilda Jane! I have enjoyed hosting trunk shows for five years and now, I get to do Trunk Shows for other people! If you haven’t heard of them, go check out their website. Get ready to faint from all the cuteness! I am so completely humbled and in awe of this awesome honor. I’ve been working hard to schedule Trunk Shows in August when I can start selling!

Secondly, at the request of friends and family, I have launched another small business offering my party prints and event styling via my new Facebook Page! Go check it out by clicking on the About tab and look through the albums to view the party themes and products available to order. Message me if you have any questions or would like to place an order!

In the meantime, I am trying to cherish every last moment I have with my sweet pixie girl before she starts school this Fall. Hopefully, I will have several things keeping me busy so I won’t go crazy missing her!

GOOD HEALTH/BAD HEALTH DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A MYSTERY: {healthy post monday} …

"Getting healthy isn’t just about losing weight. It’s not limited to adjusting our diet and hoping for good physical results. It’s about recalibrating our souls so that we want to change-spiritually, physically, and mentally. And the battle really is in all three areas."

Quote by Made to Crave, shared by Lysa TerKeurst on Facebook.

It has taken me over 5 years, but I am finally getting it. I grew up eating the Standard American Diet and continued this lifestyle into my early 30’s. I thought eating healthy was abstaining from anything fattening, sweet and yummy, and only eating fat free, sugar free foods, mainly in the form of boxed “diet” treats, fiber enriched bars, and iceberg lettuce salads. It wasn’t until I experienced infertility that the concept of what I ate affected more than just my weight was introduced into my philosophy about health. Food allergies prevented me from getting pregnant. I also learned how certain foods gave me asthma, fatigue, migraines, digestive problems, and even affected my ability to think clearly.  The beginning of this journey started by reading the book, The Maker’s Diet, by Jordan Rubin. I encourage everyone who aspires to live life vibrantly to it’s fullest, to read it as well. It was life changing and I never want to go back.

On another note, we are in full party-prep mode this week!!!! Baking and crafting getting ready for birthday number THREE for my little guy. We are sooooooo excited!!!! :)

BLUE’S CLUES BIRTHDAY PARTY: {for my college roomie’s very special girl} …

I was thrilled, honored, and blessed when my dear friend and college roommate asked me to help with her daughter’s 11th birthday.   The Birthday Girl asked for a Blue’s Clues party since that has always been her favorite show and character since like, forever.  She and her little sister are both darling, precious, sweet girls who also overcome daily challenges with special needs. I wanted this party to revolve around them and their friends, as well as the cute blue puppy dog and characters on the show. I had never seen the show Blue’s Clues until two weeks ago. Since my kids had to help me with “research and development” for this event, we all now love it! I tried to incorporate some of the characters throughout the party and it was so much fun! I created all the custom party prints in the traditional Blue’s Clues colors as well as some fun pops of pink to make the party “girly.”  There were five sensory-type activity stations, as well as a huge back yard for kids to run and play. It was so fun! I love this family so much and am completely in awe of the parents’ awesomeness. They are truly Rock Stars in my book.
 
Mr. Mailbox greeted guests as they arrived at the door …
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Puppy prints were the “clue” that told them what to do when they walked in …
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Custom Welcome Sign by the door …
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Activity #1: Pin the Paw on Blue …
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The party favor table … (Oops. Forgot to iron the table cloth. Oh well! Table cover repurposed from my girl’s Dollhouse Party posted here).

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Custom sticker labels for bubble party favors …

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Mr. Pail and Mr. Shovel made their debut as party favors …

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Custom stickers for Mr. Pail party favors …

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Custom water resistant water bottle wraps …

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Custom water resistant flag straws …

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Custom cupcake toppers …

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Activity #2: Color a Picture of Blue …

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Who doesn’t love to color?! I found darling color pages on the Nick Jr. website, where most of my research took place!

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Activity #3: Decorate your own “Handy Dandy Notebook” …

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Custom Blue’s Clues stickers made by me …

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Mr. Salt, Mrs. Pepper, and Baby Paprika make their glittery debut! OhMyWord! These guys cracked me up!!

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Activity #4: Dig for a Bouncy Ball! This was a great sensory activity that has a calming and relaxing effect for anyone. :)

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Activity #5: Stamp your Paw Print on a T-shirt …

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I mixed craft paint with a special base that turns it into fabric paint. Guests were invited to stamp their hands in the paint and leave “puppy paw prints” on a keepsake custom-made tee for the birthday girl. They or their parents were invited to sign their name next to their paw prints. Smocks and baby wipes optional!

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Here come the guests!

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Birthday girl decorating her own Handy Dandy Notebook, concentrating very hard. I love her sweet face!

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Stamping puppy paw prints …

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Diggin’ for bouncy balls …

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Had to throw this one in of my girl … :)

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Free play!

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My man and my girl …

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My little monkey just hanging out  …

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Some of my favorite photos from the entire event … birthday girl’s little sister exuding pure joy …

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Beautiful birthday girl smile …

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Birthday girl and her amazing Rock Star Parents. Love them so. And I gotta mention … my photography does not do her justice … BUT if I were casting director for the Twilight Series, my roomie would be cast as Rosalie. She is exactly who I pictured her to look like when reading the books. Those eyes. That smile. Flawless skin. Gorgeous perfection. But no fangs.  :)image

Finally, over a month ago, I became enamored by this party  when I saw it featured on The Purple Pug’s blog. It was the inspirational springboard I needed to give me the confidence to try to recreate the same magical experience for this precious, sweet girl. Plus, this gal is a fiercely loyal advocate and activist for Autism Awareness. I love that . Read the post and be wowed. I was.

If you have any questions about the party prints, please feel free to E-mail through my website by clicking here or contact me via Facebook by clicking here. :)

 

 

My home state was torn apart yesterday and the previous day by devastating tornados. The first day of storms was in and around where I lived for four years during college. My alma mater was spared, but many lost everything. Yesterday’s tornado was in the town where I attended Bible Study weekly for over a year. It is also where I worked as a home-based family therapist, driving to Moore almost daily to pick up clients from school, meet them in their homes, take them to the park, the library, or Russell Stover’s for a scoop of ice cream. One foster family I worked with had just recovered from losing everything in the 1999 tornado and had just opened their home to fostering one of my clients. I haven’t lived in that part of Oklahoma in seven years, but I still feel emotionally connected to it. Many of my friends from college grew up in and around Moore and are raising their families there now.  My heart is grieving the loss of the precious children in Plaza Towers Elementary School. I cannot stop crying.

These photos are not from this week. They are from a tornado that ripped through another part of my state two years ago. Two of my college friends’ homes were hit. One lost everything in Joplin, MO. The other was pregnant with her first child and suffered severe damage to her home in Cashion, OK. Matt and I loaded our car with donations given by friends and drove them to the Cashion to deliver to her and her neighbors. The pictures above are of my friend’s neighbor’s house and her surrounding neighborhood. These images were burned in my mind all day yesterday with the daunting knowledge that today, this could be my home. Thankfully, the super cell did not hit my city. But unfortunately, these images represent what many are experiencing in Moore and Shawnee. Please pray for them. Find organizations and donate. Pray for teachers. Pray for the students. Pray for peace in the midst of terror and trauma.

"THE LORD IS CLOSE TO THE BROKENHEARTED," Psalm 34:18

Nº. 2 of  28