Aug 17, 2014

All the Important things

Today I turned old.

Ok, ok, I am not old but sometimes my body feels old.  My mind feels forgetful,  I feel outdated, and I'm more and more stuck in my ways which means I'm becoming stubborn like my grandmas were. I like routine, the spontaneity of my youth has disappeared . I'm not very trusting anymore.  I have gray hairs.  And, I feel like this last year and all that happened, has made me feel older than I should feel.  When your parents die, somehow mortality seems a lot shorter.

However, I also believe that every journey we go on does, eventually, awaken the soul and while this past year was a dark one on my life path, it has ended with bright spots and I do feel like all that has happened has awakened my soul in ways that I didn't expect. My perspective has changed.

One thing that has been on my mind lately is how much I want my girls to know the things that I feel are important in navigating everyday life and difficult times.

Years ago I started a project where I intended to do the same but because I started with the visual, crafty side of it - I never finished.  I'm glad I didn't finish because now I have the opportunity to do it with meaning.

And this time I decided to start with the meat.  The cute patterned paper and scrapbooking layout don't matter so much but the words do.  So, in honor of my Forty + One birthday, here are 41 things I deem important. They are in no particular order and in time I will add the stories behind the statements but for now, it's a start.

1- Have the courage to walk away.  Even from family if needed.

2- Ask questions

3- Friendships are important

4- Spirituality matters, establish a relationship with God.  I've lived parts of my life without that relationship and know that I'm happiest when I work on my faith and live my beliefs.

5- Death happens.  It hurts.  Mourn but then focus on the good memories and not the loss.  And, do not let that loss define you.  See my Heavy Heart and My Story post for more info

6- Maintain a good relationship with your parents.

7- Someone will always be prettier, smarter, taller, and skinnier than you and you will always be prettier, smarter, taller, better than someone else - that’s life but don’t get caught up in the comparisons.  Just love who you are.

8- Think before you spend because things won’t make you happy

9- Say you are sorry

10- Guard your virtue

11- Do nice things for others even if they don’t do nice things back

12- Don’t expect praise or appreciation.  Do what you do because you want to do them and not because of the reward.

13- Look out for the under dog and reach out to them.  They need to be noticed and loved.

14- Smile confidently

15- You will have bad hair days but you will probably be the only one that notices

16- You have divine potential.  Find out what that is and then use it to bless others.

17- When sad, serve others.  Even if it's the most simplest of service acts

18- Say Thank you - ALWAYS say thank you.

19- Be cautious of the need you will have to fit in

20 - If you have children, remember your job is to keep them safe on all levels.  This includes, physically, mentally, spiritually, and with all your might, protect their innocence (this means you may find your self saying no to sleep-overs too)

21- Work to maintain relationships with your siblings

22- Don’t play small, you have talents so use them

23- Give people the benefit of the doubt

24- Create something.  Even if you don't feel like you are an artist, find something to create.  A good meal.  A flower arrangement.  An organized home.  Creating has a power to help you overcome things.  It does.

25- Let light in your life.  Then work to see the light in others and treat them if that is the only thing you see about them.

26- Choose right - even if the right choice is the harder one to make

27- Be willing to open yourself up to new experiences, even if you might fail at them

28- Kindness matters, be kind and make an effort to notice other people's kindness.

29- Do the dishes

30- Happiness is not long term if it comes in the form of a bottle, pill or substance

31- The person you become will always be more important than the grade you earn

32- Pay attention to your surroundings.

33 - Explore.  Even if you feel like being a hermit at home, go explore anyway

34- Take care of your body

35 - God does not take people from this life because he needs them in Heaven.  And despite what people think, that is not a comforting thing to tell someone when they are grieving.  So don't tell people that.

36 - You can do hard things

37- Trust your intuition about others and avoid toxic people

38- Know your past, know the people who came before you and honor their legacies by carrying on their goodness

39- Lock your doors, always!

40- There will be people who won’t like you. It's ok.  It's more important that you like you.

41- Technology is amazing but human connection is more important. walk away from your computer and put your phone away.  There are deep conversations to be had, people to get to know and life to live.

Some of these things I've mastered and are some of them are still things I'm working on but it's a start and I'm excited to start sharing the details of each item with my girls.

There are stories to be told.

What would be on your list?

Aug 7, 2014

Fresh Peach White Chocolate Scones

Last Sunday we had the most delightful knock on our door.  Some friends were dropping off some fresh picked peaches - lots of them!  Happiness may truly be in nature's bounty.  Or, is it, happiness is in the kindness of others? Either way, that box of peaches has sure brought a lot of happiness to our home.  We've enjoyed them tremendously.

Just look at this deliciousness.

We've eaten a lot of them and I even put some in a bag and passed them on to another friend but we still had some left so yesterday morning, since I couldn't sleep, I got up before work and made a batch of Peach White Chocolate Scones.  It's just my White Chocolate Raspberry Scone recipe but made some minor changes.  Here's the recipe should you have fresh peaches at your house that you are wondering what do with them.  I promise, these are heavenly!  (and there's fruit in them so they are healthy, right?!)

Fresh Peach White Chocolate Scones: 
 2 & 1/2 Cups Flour (a little more if you are high altitude)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 TBS Baking Powder
1/2 Cup butter, softened
1/3 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Greek Gods Greek Yogurt Honey Flavored
1 Egg
1/2 TBS Vanilla extract (I used slightly less)
2 Cups Fresh peaches cut into small cubes
1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
Optional:  Cinnamon

Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.  (I actually prefer to skip the greasing step and just bake on Parchment paper.)  Combine all dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Using a pastry blender or fork, work butter into dry ingredients until butter pieces are pea sized.  

Combine milk, yogurt, egg, and vanilla in a small mixing bowl and mix well.  Then pour mixture into the dry ingredients and mix just until ingredients are combined - don't over mix.  Stir in fruit and chocolate chips.  Spoon about 1/3 cup of batter for each scone onto greased cookie sheet.  

Optional:  Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and sugar before baking.  I made one pan with the cinnamon and one without and I liked them better with the cinnamon on top, it kinda tasted like a yummy peach pie. 

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.  DO NOT over cook.  In fact, for best results pull them out when the tops are just barely starting to brown.

Let them cool and enjoy - actually, they are pretty good warm too

A batch will make about 18.  I left some for my family but still had plenty so I made a special delivery to friend that is clear across the office from me at work.  Even though we work together, I very rarely see her so I felt a treat delivery was needed.  She posted a photo of her morning treat on Facebook, it's above, I stole it from her. Who doesn't love a random treat for no reason!  I know I do.

And, you can't see it much but I put her treat in a little parchment paper envelope.  Did you know it's really easy to make little treat envelopes?  Cut a piece of wax paper or parchment into a long strip.  Fold over the ends, then fold paper in half and staple the sides together.  Super easy and it makes delivering a treat a breeze.  Next just attach a little happy note.

So, there you have it.  If you have some peaches, go bake some scones! They will make your taste buds happy.  And, speaking of happy things.  Here's something else that might make you happy ... it makes me happy.

Miss M, my quiet, reserved child is really a big goof ball - not many people know that.  We can't drive anywhere without her "car dancing".  So, here you go, it's a happy little song by Millennial Youth Pirates called "Dance Love" featuring Mindy Gledhill.  This song has been on repeat in our home, and car, and therefore it's part of her car dancing.  Silly kid!  Oh, and I may have a little appearance towards the end - yep, I joined in briefly - we made memories!

Jul 24, 2014

Shoe Holder Storage Solutions

A few weeks ago my girls headed off to their first Girls Camp.  Girls Camp, in my faith, is a camp that is held once a year and is just for the 12-18 year old girls in our congregation.  It really is a lot of fun for the girls.  They go on hikes, have devotionals, play in the sun, giggle and stay up way to late in their tents, serve each other, and just over all have a great time.

One of the traditions at Girl's Camp is to do Secret Sisters gifts.  This means they are assigned another girls name and they do little things for that girl, without the girl knowing who it is - that's the secret part, for the whole time they are at camp.  It can be something simple like leaving a bottle of nail polish with a note, or getting them their favorite candy treat.  It's fun.  My girls were really excited to shop for their secret sisters.

Jul 19, 2014

Cookie Club

I know they say you should leave the past in the past but I must admit I've been having a great time walking down memory lane lately.  I've taken on the big task of clearing out, cleaning up and organizing all my digital photos.  Now, that might not be a big deal but when you have two photographers and you've been shooting digital for the last 9 years, well, it adds up to a pretty big task.

The benefit of it all is how quickly a photo can bring back a memory.  Like these cookies.  Yummm!  Years ago my family started a little monthly service activity.  We called it "cookie club".  I'm sure I've mentioned it somewhere, at some point, on this blog but since I stumbled on these photos I thought it was worth mentioning again as it was a highlight for my family and a really positive service activity.

So what is Cookie Club?  

Jul 16, 2014

DIY Picture Holder & Room Re-do

Miss M has been away but now she is back.

While she was away she turned 17 and since we weren't with her to celebrate her birthday we decided to give her bedroom a little make-over as a birthday surprise.  She's been wanting a more "grown-up" room for awhile now and keeps mentioning how she'd like a room that she can take with her to college.  (FYI:  As her mother, I think the word "college" is a swear word.  Every time she mentions it my body cringes as I am reminded that I have one year left before "college" gets my girl)

As part of our make-over we cleared out the old, painted the walls, added a ceiling light, made new curtains, bought new bedding, swapped out a desk for a bookshelf and constructed a few little projects based off of ideas she pinned on Pinterest.

One of those projects was a framed wire picture holder.  She had a bunch of different versions of these posted on her boards so I knew she liked them.   I showed the idea to Mr. K and he used his smarts to create one for her.  Of course we documented the process so you can make one too should you have the desire.

Here's what you need to get started: