Sunday, April 20, 2014

Because of Him

Hi there. I felt obligated to come out of blog hiding to write what has now become my 5th annual Easter post. This year has been no different from recent Easters past in that it has awakened my spirit.

But this year, unlike previous years, one thing helped me along. My church launched an Easter website, which included a video and the hashtag #BecauseofHim (that's probably redundant to write out hashtag and then put a hashtag, but oh well). All week long I have seen friends sharing it on social media, and I have been blessed because of this campaign. Scrolling through facebook and instagram today, I've felt immense gratitude for Jesus Christ, and I've spent a little more time than usual thinking about the things that are possible because of Him.

I love my Savior. I am so thankful for the knowledge and the accompanying feelings I have deep within that he died for my sins so that I may have eternal life. I am so thankful to know that when I feel utterly alone in my struggles that He knows my pain. His sacrifice was not only to save me from my sins but also to strengthen and sanctify me. He stands with an outstretched arm ever-ready to extend grace when I feel worthy of none. Because of Him, all things are possible. Because of Him, there is no end. Because of Him, there is everlasting joy.

Watch the #BecauseofHim video here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Banana Oat Pancakes

I love cold cereal and milk. I think I could eat some variation of cereal + milk everyday for breakfast for the rest of my life and be happy, but sometimes special occasions call for special breakfast. This past weekend the special occasion was General Conference, and the special breakfast was these banana oat pancakes. Delicious. The perfect combination of soft and chewy.

Banana Oat Pancakes

2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or another 1/4 C all-purpose)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 bananas, mashed
2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt or non-fat sour cream
1/4 cup milk (add more if your batter seems too thick)
1 Tbsp butter for griddle

1. Mix brown sugar, flours, oats, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl.
2. Whisk in the eggs, bananas, and yogurt/sour cream.
3. Add in milk incrementally until the batter moves in the bowl but isn't runny.
4. Preheat a non-stick pan or griddle and grease with butter.
5. Using a ladle, pour some batter onto the pan/griddle.
6. Flip pancake when the underside is golden brown.
7. Cook opposite side until golden brown and no longer wet on edges.
8. Serve warm.

Top with fruit, syrup, or eat them plain like we did. Even Elle devoured these, and she's been rather picky lately. We might need to have these for breakfast again soon.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Car Activities for a One-Year Old

(Alternately titled: How to Not Go Completely Insane on a Twelve Hour Roadtrip with a Baby)

My first piece of advice would be to leave close to bedtime and drive through the night.

That wasn't an option with this trip, and even though my baby took several good naps (more than she would at home), being in the car alllll day was (surprise!) not all that fun.

A few days before we left I decided I'd get started on the busy box I picked for the Pinterest challenge, but then I quickly realized that I didn't have the time or materials to make most of the things on that particular list before our trip... I did have pipe cleaners and a puffs container though, so I put them together for "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle."

If Elle could give an award for best roadtrip "toy" I'm sure she'd pick the pipe cleaners, hands down. She liked pulling them out, putting them back in, and bending them. She loved handing them to me so that I could hang them off of my glasses/nose/ears and would giggle up a storm while grabbing them back.

So I give an A+ to "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle." Cheap, very low effort, virtually indestructible, and my brother's cats thoroughly enjoyed batting them around. The only cons I can think of are the sharp ends (I twisted those over and didn't have any problems), and once we took them out of the car, our pipe cleaners seemed to spread to every corner of the house.

I also made a texture book to bring along in the car. This requires considerably more effort than "Pipe Cleaners in a Bottle," but if you have some supplies on hand it's not difficult to throw together.

Step 1. Gather up materials with different textures.

I already had all of these things at home, but the possibilities are endless as far as what you put on the pages.

Step 2. Cut pages out of old cereal/snack boxes.

I used my Cricut machine to get the scalloped edges and then glued scrapbook paper on the fronts.

Step 3. Glue your objects on to the pages. Use the strongest glue possible if you have a destructo baby like mine.

Step 4. Hole punch the top of the pages.

Step 5. Tie together with string. Voila!

You may have guessed from the note in Step 3 that my baby girl set out to destroy this texture book. She made quick work of ripping off the fuzzy pompoms, the bubble wrap, and even a couple of the shiny hearts. I hot glued everything except for the foam stickers, and the only page that is still completely intact is the one with the fabric flowers. Maybe superglue would've been better. At the time, I was just happy that it held her interest for more than 5 minutes. 

Other tried and true activities:

*Stuffed animals



*Food, glorious food
*My wallet
*And when things got a little ugly that last hour and she couldn't be consoled, I gave her my glasses...even though I can't see without them. She went from screaming to asleep within a few minute's time. Worth it. ;)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pinterest Challenge Wrap-Up

Confession: I just finished the Pinterest Challenge moments ago...but I started a few days after everyone else, so it's totally okay. Honestly, I forgot about my last task, which was adding a "Pin It" button to my blog.

I wrote about the Grilled Malibu Chicken and gave a glimpse of the tab-top curtain and busy box here. I'm still planning to write separately about the busy box and our roadtrip, but realistically, I'm never going to write about the curtains, so here are some pictures of that. ;)

Definitely my most successful sewing project to date, and it was super simple thanks to my friend Audrei and her amazing "sewing computer."

That leaves the scarf headband and the truffle squares

I tried the criss-cross headband with scarves/fabric belts that I already had. The material was too slippery and the criss-cross protruded from my head more than I wanted. I think this would've worked better with something with more stretch that would lay flatter.

This story has a happy ending though because while enjoying a cold Spring Break in Arkansas with my family, I happened upon a fabric headband I liked in a little boutique. And it was a handmade, fair trade item benefiting an Indonesian woman. Win-win? I think so.

I made the truffle squares on Good Friday, and they were yummy. I was sad to go into the kitchen this morning and see that Henry ate the last one. If you like chocolate and nuts, I'd recommend this dessert.

I made a few changes (as I'm inclined to do). For one, I only used chopped almonds for my "dough" because I didn't have any pecans. For two, I used agave nectar instead of honey/syrup. For three, I added a layer of melted peanut butter between the nut mixture and the top layer of chocolate. This was a great decision because it held the nutty mixture together better, and it made the bars taste a lot more like Reese's peanut butter cups.

Now that this challenge is over, I'm thinking about what I can work on next. I want to make a wreath for spring...not sure what else yet. What will you work on?