Cold Buster Smoothie

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This smoothie is perfect for the season. Drink in the morning whenever you feel a cold brewing to jump start your immune system.

Ingredients

2 organic carrots with skins

1 organic apple

1 teaspoon chunk of ginger root

2 organic peeled oranges

8 oz coconut water

Directions

Blend together and enjoy for instant relief!

Green Machine Smoothie

16110295_1239120339506829_2124150770013044736_nI recently watched the movie Hungry for Change and was reminded of the importance of eating to fuel your body. This green machine smoothie is one of my favorite ways to begin the day and it is toddler approved. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 stocks organic celery

2 Tablespoons NutivaⓇCoconut Superseed Blend

8 oz coconut water

1 cup organic kale or spinach

1 organic apple

1 organic banana

Directions

Blend items together until smooth.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

16110167_615104238689669_3482395320803917824_nThese Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are a variation of Betty Crocker’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies with a twist. The trick is making sure you cook them just the right amount, so they are golden on the bottom. Otherwise, they will fall apart and you will have a huge mess. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 cup raisins

1 cup hot water

¾ cup melted butter

1 ½ cup organic sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 ½ cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups rolled oats

½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Soak raisins in a bowl with hot water.

Heat oven to 400°

Mix melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

Stir together flour, spices, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients.

Add oats, nuts, and raisins.

Drop dough onto baking sheets covered with non-stick silpat.

Bake 7 minutes until golden brown on the bottoms.

Basement Remodel

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

Living through a remodel is hard. Living through a do-it-yourself remodel with a baby and a toddler is even harder. Ultimately, you are responsible for the delays, the setbacks, loss of weekends, stress, the costs of time, family, and friendships. Does this balance the cost savings long term? While we are truly blessed to have the family know-how and ability to renovate for such a large-scale basement remodel project; is it truly worth this year long process? After making yet another detailed list, I am still unsure. My husband thinks it is the right thing to do, and for now I need to trust him. Especially since we are already in the thick of it and there is no backing out now.  I guess all we can do is continue to forge ahead as planned.
God, I hope I live long enough to enjoy the fruits of this labor.

Happy 2017

Happy 2017! Every New Year’s Day my husband and I make a list of things we want to accomplish in the upcoming year. We post it on our refrigerator to help us stay focused and motivated. Here is our list for 2017:

  • Pray together every night before dinner
  • Finish basement remodel
  • Visit at least one more national park
  • Kiss 10 minutes a day (or more!)
  • Increase service to others
  • Fix one thing a day
  • Decrease television consumption

We will see where our resolutions take us. May your year be merry and bright!

Two Cloaks

“Christ has no hands on earth but yours.” -St. Teresa of Avila

During this season of Advent, I have been following Bishop Robert Barron’s Daily Advent Reflections. These reminders have helped keep me focused on the true meaning of the season. You can likewise sign up at http://adventreflections.com/sign-up-advent

The reflection from Day 19 particularly resonated with me. Bishop Robert Barron reminds us of the true meaning of the season through answering the question, “What shall we do?” For several weeks, I had been thinking about the call of John the Baptist “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none” (Luke 3:11).  This reflection was then forwarded to me by a ministry leader of my church. It was as if God was saying, “Pay attention! Do something!” That same day, another snowstorm hit Portland. I rummaged through my coat closet and pulled out a coat I no longer wear.  I decided to post it for free on Craigslist along with a holiday season snowman blanket. The listing read, “Free gently used blanket and medium size women’s coat to keep you warm in the snowy weather.” I was amazed by the immediate responses I received. In two hours, I had four people asking for the coat and blanket. Another person wrote me an email just to say thank you for giving. The need during this season truly is great. Please consider helping others any way you can.

 

The Gift of Time

I gave myself three months. Three months to focus solely on labor recovery, my family, and welcoming the new addition. Three months to not worry about working, blogging, or ministries. Three months gym free and guilt free eating. Three months of the gift of time. Something that is so important as a new mother, and something we are too often pressured by outside influences not to do. Even though time is one of the most important things we can give our children and ourselves. So, in case you were wondering, that is where I have been. Taking some time. Now to get back to life in the fast lane.

Nesting for the Soul

In preparation for the new addition to our family, I decided one of the best things I could do was undergo the Sacrament of Reconciliation. “Nesting for the soul” as I call it. While it is difficult to find time to attend reconciliation with a toddler, I knew it was a top priority during pregnancy. The first time this month I attempted to attend confession the Holy Spirit had a different plan. Leaving my toddler with my in-laws, I drove to Holy Rosary Church for their daily confession time. I pulled up to a full parking lot and, to my surprise, my parish priest was standing outside greeting those who entered. As it turns out, my coworker’s father’s funeral was being held during that time instead. Over the years I had gotten to know many of my coworker’s family members through teaching her children and nieces. The Holy Spirit brings you to the right place at the right time.

The following week, I attended lunchtime confession at Holy Rosary Church. I had compiled a list after discernment, so as not to forget any sins I wanted to confess. It was difficult to admit my faults to God, but the love I felt after was amazing. With each prayer of penance, I felt lighter and more at peace. This is a wonderful way to prepare for bringing a new life into the world. I recommend making the effort during your own journey of pregnancy.

The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Since the beginning of my first pregnancy, I started attending prenatal yoga classes at YogaShala on N Williams. This studio employs thoughtful, caring instructors who take the time before each class to listen and fine tune instruction to your individual needs. YogaShala also has a wellness studio attached for acupuncture and massage appointments before or after baby’s arrival.

Through dedicated practice, the benefits of prenatal yoga are astronomical. I recommend all mothers-to-be attend prenatal yoga classes, especially if they are hoping to have a natural childbirth. The classes were incredibly beneficial, and I always felt accepted. They focused on mother and baby health, not on religion, and I never felt any conflicting spiritual aspect with my faith. In fact, through practicing yoga, I am able to focus on my relationship with God through upholding “the body is a temple” belief that the body should be nurtured and cared for throughout pregnancy for optimal mother and baby health.

Prenatal yoga prepares and strengthens your mind and body for the journey ahead. Additionally, it provides comradery with other pregnant women that helps ease the transition into motherhood. This class prepared me for what to expect. Even if your internal monologue sounds something like this, “I can’t believe that is what 40 weeks looks like! I don’t think my belly will ever get THAT big. How does she manage?” and then you are there at 40 weeks with your belly“THAT big” spending most of the class in child’s pose.

Isn’t it interesting that the number 40 has such a significant occurrence in the Bible?  For 40 years the Israelite’s wandered in the desert, for 40 days Jesus struggled with the devil, and for 40 weeks mothers bear the trials and tribulations of pregnancy. Each of these 40 trial periods are a test that ultimately bring great joy and fulfillment, although the path is difficult. May God provide comfort for us at the end of the journey of preparation and lead us into the light of his glory.

 

Pregnancy: Participating in a Miracle

Pregnancy involves participating in a miracle with God. I try to keep this in mind every time I get frustrated, tired, or discouraged with the pregnancy process. While I am afraid of reliving the pain I had during my natural childbirth with my first son, I must trust God that everything will be okay. So many times during pregnancy I have needed to place my trust in God. Trust that the baby will develop properly, trust that I won’t go insane with the constant bodily changes, trust that I will have enough energy to work, cook, clean house, and run after my toddler….I try to remember that the pain that lies ahead is nothing compared to the joy this new child will bring. What a precious gift to carry a new soul that with God’s grace will one day enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Furthermore if Mother Mary was able to labor and give birth in a stable, shouldn’t I be able to deliver this baby without complications in a modern hospital? Imagine trying to recover from childbirth and learning to breastfeed while entertaining three kings and riding a donkey! Mary understands the difficulties that mothers go through during this pivotal transition period. Invoke her intervention and pray often.

When I am afraid, in you I place my trust. (Psalms 56:4)