Exciting News!

We received news recently and are preparing for an overseas move. My plate is FULL of all.the.things. that a Mama must do to prepare a home and a family for a huge transition. Because of that full plate I will not be posting very often here. I hope to share with you how we prepare for an overseas move, when I have time. Once we are over the pond, I plan to write about our adventures, the day to day workings of a homeschool mama life, recipes and copy-cat recipes (there is some food you just can’t get overseas) and all the things that gives me handfuls of life.

Until then, I have more spaces to go through and organize, a home to prepare for rental and suitcases to pack and re-pack. Say a prayer for me…Wisdom and peace would be my top two. Wisdom in packing smart, packing up things my kids need to make this a smooth transition and deciding the timeline for our trip and visits to family out of town. Peace for my heart (moving is tough) and my family (moving is tough).

Thanks friends!

Why Lent Matters

Chris Tomlin’s song Here I Am To Worship is, for me, a perfect Lenten song. Imagine a completely darkened room, no light from any sources (have you ever been in a cave and they turn off the lights, you place your hand directly in front of your face and you cannot see your hand…or anything). That is a life without Christ.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4 & 5). Now imagine a light, slow and steady growing and filling the room, illuminating every corner, every crevice, until the darkness is overcome. That is Christ, into the world, into our hearts, our lives, every hidden place in us.  Lent for me is creating intentional time to allow the Light of Christ to illuminate my life. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him. (Daniel 2:22)

Here I Am To Worship, Chris Tomlin

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter Sunday). This time, for me, has become a season of reflection and pressing in. Most of the time when someone hears about Lent they think it is about giving something up (chocolate, social media, coffee, etc..). I believe that it is a time to gain. Gain perspective, allow Christ to show me the hidden places in my heart, Psalm 139:23 says Search me God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. ~Gain a greater understanding of who Christ is and His plan for my life… For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ~Gain greater peace and wisdom for the days ahead… If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

Spending intentional time for the forty days leading up to Easter has opened my heart more, to the wonder and excitement that is Easter. The sacrifice that Christ completed on the cross, that sacrifice is for me and you.  On Ash Wednesday receiving a sign of the cross on your forehead is an acknowledgement and outward sign that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. The priest says “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19) or “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15).

From dust I came and to dust I will return. More of God and less of me… This is my Lenten plea.

A post shared by Nili (@handfulsoflife) on

Time spent in worship, study and prayer, seeking God and asking Him to reveal more of who he is to you. Asking Him to show you the hidden places of your heart and change you to become more like Him. Forty days of seeking, repentance, praying, worship and allowing God to illuminate your life; preparing you to be the light of the world. This is why Lent matters.

There is no magic formula, no perfect Lenten study, say these prayers, abstain from these things, do this, not that. I can’t tell you what time of day to seek God (all day, while you go about your life, is best) or what translation to read, or what church to attend. What I can tell you is this, you seeking God and Him being found by you and in you, that is what Lent   (and our whole Christian journey is about…even after Easter celebrations are over).  Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 

Take that picture of you standing in the darkness, with no light and one candle is lit and then another and another and another and another and another….until the whole space is filled with light, dispelling the darkness that is all around. Each of those candles is a person, a full of the Light of Christ person. If we, with the Light of Christ burning inside of us; go out and shine our light for Christ….think about what the world around us can be transformed into. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 said: You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

 

Do you participate in Lent? How do you celebrate Easter?

 

Linking up the Tuesday Talk hosts:

Beth at Our Pretty Little Girls, Crystal at Hall Around Texas, Jessica at Sweet Little Ones, Stefanie at Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam, & Dylan Too , Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me , Becky at BYBMG, Lindsay at Lindsay’s Sweet World, Sarah at Sarah E. Frazer , Justine at Full Hands, Full Heart, Christina at Waltzing In Beauty, Meghan at The Adventure Starts Here, Tina at Go Big or Go Home and Whitney at Polka-Dotty Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fish Tacos ~ A 20 Minute Recipe

I love fish tacos, the flavor and texture combinations are so good.  I have a couple of recipes that I have made over the last 12 or so years. One is labor intensive and takes quite a while for prepping and cooking. The one I’m going to share with you is not a lot of work and it’s quick. I need quick meals, I survive these days of Mamahood on quick meals. The other thing I really like about this recipe is that it has only six ingredients, three of which are fresh produce. The dressing I use is Bolthouse Farms’ Cilantro Avocado Yogurt Dressing (this is not a sponsored post). This stuff is delicious, as in I want to use it for everything delicious and it is only 40 calories per serving.

20 Minute Fish Tacos

Ingredients:

  1. Already seasoned/breaded frozen fish fillet
  2. Soft white corn tortillas
  3. Fresh Avocado ~ cut into bite size pieces or sliced
  4. Fresh Tomatoes ~ cut into bite size pieces
  5. Fresh Cabbage ~shredded (I buy already shredded cabbage)
  6. Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado Dressing
Cut the avocado in half lengthwise, remove the pit. Make long slices through the length of the avocado and then slice across as well. Do not cut through the skin. Scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon.

Instructions:

  • Cook fish fillet according to package instructions
  • Wrap in the tortillas in aluminum foil and place it in the oven for the last 5 or so minutes of baking the fish. (I wrap 5 tortillas at a time).
  • While the fish is cooking dice the avocado and tomatoes and shred the cabbage (or place the bought cabbage in a serving bowl).
  • When the fish is done cooking remove it (and the tortillas) from the oven and let it sit for a couple of minutes before cutting it into slices.
  • Fill a warm tortilla with fish, cabbage, dressing, tomato and avocado.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can use whatever fish you prefer and this is easily a gluten-free meal (depending on your fish breading). I used a breaded Alaskan Cod this time. I have used a grilled tilapia, salmon and even shrimp.  You can also add other toppings (my husband likes sliced jalapeno or siracha on his).

I’d love to hear if you try this recipe. Are you a fan of fish tacos? What are your favorite type of tacos?

Just Write~ Out of Abundance

Five minutes of thoughts, words on a screen, fingertips to keys. My thoughts, my emotions, my life, just write.

We had a speaker at my MomsNext group yesterday. She spoke on taking time for ourselves, taking care of our spiritual health, physical health and finances. One of the questions for table talk was, What is holding you back from taking your Me Time? I sat there and thought for a while, the only thing I could come up with is me. I sabotage myself again and again. It’s the most consistent thing about the core of who I am. Which is sad. Why would I do or rather not do the things that I know will bring me a better life? Last year was a wash when it comes to taking care of myself and I never seemed to surface long enough to make a change. The crazy thing is that 2015 was awesome. I worked out on a daily basis, ate (mostly) healthy, I spent time in the Word and in prayer…and then 2016 happened. I don’t know what even happened…I just stopped. So here I am. Seven and a half weeks into this year and I don’t want to be consistent with myself…I don’t want to sabotage myself again. Life and the days of life don’t get longer; if anything they get shorter. There is so much to be done and my ToDo lists seem never-ending. As soon as one box is checked three more appear at the end of the page.  So this is my proposal to myself.

Spiritual:

~Daily Bible readings (Proverbs and Bible App daily readings) ~ Daily Prayer and Worship times before my kids are up ~ A Bible Study for Couples with Ed ~ Worship Music on Pandora

Physical:

~ Water, daily intake to 1/2 my body weight in ounces ~ BeachBody workout stream online daily ~Cut all processed food and eat clean, whole foods ~ Snack on fruits and veggies

Financial:

~ Stick to the budget plan that Ed and I have agreed upon ~ Make it a goal to have more money left over for savings at the end of the month, more than is budgeted   ~ Cut out emotional and impulse purchases

That’s the plan. I know I am not the only person that struggles in these areas. I have a diary for the No Spend challenge that I started in January that I will be posting at the end of this month. I hope you can share this journey with me. Accountability is a powerful thing.

One of the verses that the speaker shared, to help us give permission to take time for ourselves was Proverbs 4:23, For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. If we are not taking care of ourselves and staying in communion with God than the words that we speak and the life that we pour into others will be empty and we will become empty. I don’t want to become empty. I want to be able to encourage and speak life to those around me. I want abundance to flow from my heart.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you struggle in any of these areas? What have you found works for you? Do you have a plan in place to take Me Time? I hope we can encourage one another this year. I’m looking forward to 2017 continuing to be the year that brings great things…even the ones I have to work hard on myself for.

 

Flatbread Pizza~ A Quick & Delicious Recipe

I don’t know about your kids, but mine LOVE pizza. I’m pretty sure that 99.999% of all kids love pizza. I mean, what’s not to love… bread, cheese and toppings of choice. Pizza is one of those meals that can be made to cater to any eating occasion…breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snack…it’s all out there. I try to keep the ingredients for flatbread pizzas on hand at all times. A mama never knows when the promise of a homemade (read kid made) pizza for lunch or dinner will by her some extra clean-up or quiet time. (What? I’m not above bribes for the right reasons.)

Artichoke & Garlic White Pizza

For this recipe you will need:

  1. One Naan flatbread
  2. One clove of Garlic ~ pressed
  3. Little Salt & Pepper
  4. One TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  5. 1/4 Cup Artichokes ~ chopped
  6. 1/2 Cup Italian Cheese Blend

Cooking Instructions:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 Degrees F
  • Mix the Olive Oil and Garlic together and spread it on the Naan, bubble side up
  • Sprinkle a little Salt & Pepper over the oil and garlic
  • Spread a small amount of the cheese on the Naan
  • Put the chopped Artichokes over the cheese
  • Top the Artichokes with the remaining cheese
  • Place the naan on the middle rack of the preheated oven (You could use a cookie sheet, placing the naan directly on the rack will give you a crisper crust.)
  • Cook for about 6 or 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  • Cool, slice and serve.
Classic Cheese Flatbread Pizza

My kids go for a classic cheese or sausage and cheese pizza. With only three or four ingredients it is so quick to make and delicious too! Grilled flatbread pizza is divine. You might end up saving yourself some dining out cash after you grill these for the first time…SO GOOD! You can pick up the Naan flatbread usually in the deli area of your local grocery. I find mine in front of the deli counter. The topping possibilities are endless with this recipe. I frequently make a “clean out the fridge pizza” and top my naan with veggies, meat and cheeses, that we might only have a little left of, but not enough for a full meal alone. Depending on if you have to prep anything, this is a 10 minute hot lunch or dinner.

Artichoke & Garlic White Pizza

Do you have a pizza topping combination that you love? Mine is smoked salmon, capers, arugula and crème fraiche. I’d love to hear if you try this recipe out and what toppings you used!

Linking up the Tuesday Talk hosts:

Beth at Our Pretty Little Girls, Crystal at Hall Around Texas, Jessica at Sweet Little Ones, Stefanie at Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam, & Dylan Too , Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me , Becky at BYBMG, Lindsay at Lindsay’s Sweet World, Sarah at Sarah E. Frazer , Justine at Full Hands, Full Heart, Christina at Waltzing In Beauty, Meghan at The Adventure Starts Here, Tina at Go Big or Go Home and Whitney at Polka-Dotty Place

All About the Girl~ $10 at Target

I’m not sure that two girls can really ever spend less than $10 at Target in a shopping trip, Alexandria and I almost did.  We went out for a girls day this past weekend on a hunt for berry, berry girly things. With two older brothers at home, Alexandria has her pick of all things masculine, car, building, dinosaur and animal related at home. While she loves playing with her brothers stuff, she also loves all things girly.

Alexandria saw this fun mermaid puzzle in the toy aisle and she wanted to hold it right away. She has been dragging puzzle boxes out of the game closet for about a week or so; wanting me to help her put them together and then playing around/on them. “It’s berry, berry girly” she said over and over. Mermaids trump dragons and dinosaurs anytime…especially for this girl. I couldn’t resist buying it for her and the $7.99 tag fit right in our budget.

Alexandria added a couple of ponies to swim underwater with the mermaids right after I put together for her. She spent the next 10 or so minutes playing quietly on and around the puzzle.  I love the bright colors, the sturdiness and the size of the puzzle pieces. Alexandria is learning to sort the pieces by color matching; I’m sure it won’t be long before she figures out how to put the pieces together.

We made one more swing through the Target Spot before we checked out and Alexandria spied a little wooden bird house to paint. For $3.00 it put us a little over our $10 budget…a girl can try though! I had hoped for little painting party on Sunday but I was immersed in a big project that couldn’t wait.

It’s so hard for me to believe that my baby is growing so fast. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was snapping her into an infant carrier? Her cute expressions, non-stop conversations, infectious giggles and love for all the berry, berry girly things just melts my heart.

Have you had any recent Target finds? Bonus points if you walked out the red doors spending less than $10.  I’m joining  Stephanie, Elizabeth, Beth, Becky and Tif for the $10 at Target Link-Up Party.

 

Becky at bybmg // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest
Elizabeth at Chasin’ Mason // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest

Five on Friday V9

~one~

Have you heard Hillsong’s What a Beautiful Name worship song from their new album Let There Be Light? Oh.My.Goodness I LOVE this song. I love worship songs. I love how they can transform my mood, emotions and right my spirit back to Christ. Focusing my heart and my day back on the One who matters most and on the things that matter most. There are some worship songs that just usher me into peace and presence of grace, more than others. When I first heard What a Beautiful Name on the radio the other day it instantly became a new favorite of mine. Press play and enjoy…I’ll wait.

~two~

I bought The Life Giving Home, Creating A Place of Belonging & Becoming by Sally & Sarah Clarkson on Amazon last week using gift cards I received for my birthday. I saw a page of highlighted text on Instagram and the words spoke so much to me, that I knew I needed to read this book. Home, for me (a military wife), is never in one house, town, state or even country. Home is where my family is and where I am the homemaker.  I so want my home (no matter its geographical location), to be a place that is full of belonging and becoming. “Nothing is required for the making of a home except a heart that loves God, an imagination fired by His Spirit, and hands ready to create.” (The Life Giving Home pg 20) I am looking forward to reading through this book and growing in my homemaking abilities.

My other current read is Magnolia Wednesdays by Wendy Wax.  This novel is this month’s book for the book club I am in. I have only read the first five or so pages so I don’t have an opinion on the story just yet. We have had a couple of deeper books to read for the book club, so I am happy for a easy-fluff read this month.

~three~

I love this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book: Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage .  I have not read this particular book, however, I do love this quote and believe it to be true on marriage. After the honeymoon period is over in a marriage you get to see, really see, who you married, the fabulousness and the flaws and they see you. And you choose love…to love them in their light and in their darkness and they you. It really is miraculous. My husband, Ed and I, just celebrated fourteen years of miracles this week. I am so grateful for our marriage and the relationship we have forged for us and our family.

~four~

Image Source: https://recovergirl.wordpress.com/

I LOVE quilting. I know that I do not have time in the very near future to start a new project, but… I am collecting wool sweaters to make this quilt. As soon as I saw this on Pinterest I knew that it would be my next big quilt project. Anyone have a wool sweater or ten they can send me?

~five~

Image Source: Etsy

A good friend of mine has this mug. She posted a picture of her drinking from it last year at this time and it showed up in her time-hop this year. Oh.my.goodness this makes me laugh and shake my head. I think this all.the.dang.time. There is no life-like a stay-at-home-homeschool-mama-life that will make you LOSE YOUR EVER LOVIN’ MIND.  I need this mug in my life…it just needs to hold at least 2 cups of coffee at a minimum.

Happy Weekend Y’all…

Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites,  September Farm and The Farmer’s Wife for Oh Hey, Friday, Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites, and Cup of Tea for High Five for Friday.

Meet My Sisters

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.        — Isadora James

I read an article a couple of years ago regarding women’s ministries in church and how we don’t need more programs, a specialized service or a long list of special speakers.  What we do need is conversations and building of relationships amongst the women at church. Learning from each others strengths and weaknesses, hearing what God is doing in the lives of the women around us. Hearing their story, because the telling of our stories and the experiences we have are powerful things. Pulling from the treasure trove of life experiences of our sisters (natural-family sisters, military sisters, the sisterhood of Mamahood) is a wonderful thing. Seeing life through someone else’s view-point can bring clarity to our own view.  I wrote a little about being a sister last year and this year I want to bring the sisterhood that I share with 7 other women to you.  A monthly or bi-monthly post in which my sisters and I will share about life, love, family, Mamahood, our work, our passions, advice, favorite products, etc….all.of.the.things. I am so excited about this series and my sisters and I are anticipating good things from these posts.

Today, I would like to introduce my sisters to you, a little snippet about each of them, so you can get to know them a little better.

Sarah

Sarah is my oldest sister, born in 1970, married to her high school sweetheart, she has two adult children. Sarah works in property management, owns her own business and lives in Florida.

 

 

 

Lydia

My second-oldest sister is Lydia, born in 1972, married to a guy that compliments her perfectly. She has 2 adult children, 3 StepChildren (2 adult and 1 just finishing high school). Lydia is also a Nana with 6 grandkids. She owns her own business, works at a restaurant and lives in South Carolina.

 

 

Irene

Irene is my third sister, born in 1973, she is married to a fabulous pastor and they have two teenagers and are currently fostering 2 children. She is a busy SAHM and her family lives in South Carolina.

 

 

 

Grace

Grace is my fourth sister, born in 1976. She is married to the love of her life and they have two children (a teen and preteen). Grace owns her own business and her family lives in Indiana.

 

 

 

 

Charity

Charity is my fifth sister, born in 1978. She is married to an incredible guy and they have 2 children. Charity is a SAHM and dedicated volunteer at her kid’s school. She and her family live in South Carolina.

 

 

 

 

Doris

Doris is my sixth sister, born in 1980. She is married to her best friend and they have 3 children. Doris is an administrative assistant and knitter. She and her family live in South Carolina.

 

 

 

Viviane

Viviane is my seventh and baby sister, born in 1982. She is a life partner of wonderful guy and has one child. Viviane works as an administrative assistant and in customer service. She and her family live in South Carolina.

 

Seven women, seven lives and different life experiences. There is a lot of life and wisdom, determination, motivation, strength and stories in these women. I can’t wait to share my sisters with you!

I would love to hear about your siblings or if you are an only child (my husband is an only child…BIG change marrying into my family!).

Raddish Kids ~ Ren’s Favorite

Image Source: www.raddishkids.com

We started a Raddish Kids subscription at the beginning of our homeschool year. If you haven’t heard of Raddish Kids, it is a monthly cooking club for kids. Each month a new kit is delivered to your mailbox. Each kit contains: 3 illustrated recipe guides, 3 culinary skill cards, a creative kitchen project, exclusive kid friendly tools and collectables and online activities that you can participate in. We have not been disappointed with any of the recipes that have come in the Raddish kits. Ren is 7 and can cook with assistance.

 

As a homeschool Mama, I am always looking for ways to incorporate real-world activities into our school day. Cooking is one of the most well-rounded, real-world educational tools that we can use. Not only do my kids learn how to cook, they learn about safety in the kitchen with tools and appliances. They learn about different cultures which exposes them different food experiences. Cooking incorporates math, science, geography, reading comprehension and nutrition. It uses all five senses and improves motor skills.   My Ren likes to speed ahead with most activities; cooking requires him to stop and follow step-by-step instructions. He is learning patience in the process and is building his confidence in himself and in his abilities in the kitchen.

   “I like helping you cook and I like trying new recipes” Ren said, when I asked him about the Raddish Kids kits.

Ren’s favorite recipe (that we have made several times for an afternoon snack) is the Brazilian Cheese Bread recipe that was in our very first kit.  Cheese & Bread can’t go wrong with those. I love how Raddish Kids provides detailed step by step recipe cards that Ren can follow with little assistance.

Do you cook with your kids? Do they have a favorite recipe or cooking experience that they enjoy with you? I love food, trying new foods and cooking is one of my passions, one I hope to pass on to my kids.

 

Valentine

Did you know the name “Valentine,” derived from the Latin “valens,” means “worthy, strong, powerful.” I can’t think of a better definition for love. Love is worthy, strong and powerful. Love can and does change the world….one person at a time.

Love is patient, kind, does not envy, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (1 Cor 13). 

 

My Valentine found me November of 2002. We met online and started an email exchange, that led to exchanging numbers, which led to phone calls,  which led to us meeting each other on New Years Eve. Six weeks later we were married and now 14 years, 7 moves, 3 kids and countless adventures later he is still my Valentine. Finding him changed my world and our love is worthy, strong and powerful and I am so grateful for it.

Happy Valentine’s Day

 

Linking up the Tuesday Talk hosts:

Beth at Our Pretty Little Girls, Crystal at Hall Around Texas, Jessica at Sweet Little Ones, Stefanie at Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam, & Dylan Too , Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me , Becky at BYBMG, Lindsay at Lindsay’s Sweet World, Sarah at Sarah E. Frazer , Justine at Full Hands, Full Heart, Christina at Waltzing In Beauty, Meghan at The Adventure Starts Here, Tina at Go Big or Go Home and Whitney at Polka-Dotty Place