A simple blog about seeking the Lord, savoring life and joyfully serving my family.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easiest Healthy Meal You will Ever Make

This meal is so easy, so quick and so simple that it has become a regular feature on our weekly meal plan. It requires only 2 ingredients and the use of a blender.

Simply take two cans (or 3 cups) of black beans, measure 1 1/2 cups of salsa and blend until smooth (I have used both a regular blender and an immersion blender). Pour into a pot on the stove and warm to desired temperature. That is all. Easiest meal on the planet. And healthy. And frugal. My favorite things!

Super Food Soup  
Black beans are packed with protein, rich in antioxidants, iron, folate and the detoxifying mineral, molybdenum. Black beans contain soluble fiber to improve cardiovascular health and lower your risk of colon cancer. Black beans balance blood sugar because of their high protein and fiber content. Pregnant and nursing mothers would benefit their babies by consuming black beans due to the vitamin B6 (folate) to support brain development. Black beans are high in iron as well, a plus for pregnant women whose blood volume increases by approximately 50% during gestation.
As far as the benefits from the salsa, there is lycopene provided by the tomatoes, vitamin c prevalent in jalapenos and the antiseptic properties of the onion to name a very small few. I'll save the majority of the benefits for another post when I share my simple homemade salsa recipe :)
Thank you to my dear, sweet friend, Jocelyn who made this soup for me using a more sophisticated recipe when I was pregnant with my sweet boy. She served it with sliced green onions and sour cream.
My family enjoys this black bean soup served with chips and salsa, fresh fruit and a small salad. A dollop of fresh guacamole is my favorite garnish but my husband prefers sour cream. We have been known to eat this soup cold with chips and it makes a nice bean dip! It is a simple, delicious, healthy and frugal meal. From our table to yours, we hope you enjoy!
Grace and peace,
Adoring Family
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Friday, March 27, 2015

5 Friday Favorites

T.G.I.F! Here is what our family has been enjoying this week...
1.Mommy Daughter Date!
My daughters and I love fro yo so we decided we would treat ourselves to some on a mommy daughter date. Much to our disappointment, our old hangout had closed down. We found a Teapioca Lounge nearby and decided to try it. We actually had more fun that usual! There was a vast array of board games and the girls enjoyed a fresh watermelon slush (fresh watermelon blended with ice and let me tell you, it was delectably refreshing). My oldest and I played an amusing game chess while the baby slept and the wee blonde sister tried to steal the king and queen.

 Raising Homemakers
I enjoy reading biographies of Christian women and I feel it is important to provide our daughters with living examples of God's grace. Corrie Ten Boom has been my hero of the faith followed by Elisabeth Elliot and Amy Carmichael but I was delighted to find seven new ladies to aspire to. Check this post out. You will be blessed!

3.Kate Spade Slippers

I needed a pair of house slippers and adore the feminine style by Kate Spade so I hopped on Amazon and did a quick search. These little beauties popped up and at a steal...$20. It took nanoseconds for me to hit the buy now button. These slippers are very well made. No amount of tugging will get the bows off and they even hold up to the occasional, yet inevitable foot smashing by a toddler :)
4. This mug. 
White Chocolate Mint Mocha (caffeine & dairy free)
A beautiful friend of mine gave me this mug as a reminder of who we strive to be. I think of her every time I use it! Not that I have attained this but I do press on and this mug is an excellent reminder of who I want to be. I was drinking one my favorite drinks (I am going through a carton of almond milk a week because I enjoy it so much)!

5. This video still makes me happy.
I love watching my dimple queen smile. She is the sweetest little baby :) I cannot believe this video was taken 4 weeks ago! Time flies when you're having fun, friends.

Speaking of IG vids...here is my boy saying one of our verses for the week...
Thank you for stopping by! I hope you have a beautiful weekend.
Grace and peace,
Adoring Family 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What Makes a Good Momma?

When I first became a mom I read every book and article I could find on mothering.
I asked the Lord for wisdom. James 1:5 says, "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." God is faithful to fulfill His promises. He has always provided women with beautiful souls to mentor me. I walked through Bible studies with them and learned how to "do life" as they did. I prayed for a heart like theirs. Of course the beauty I saw in them was always Christ. They will be the first to tell you that.

I feel a sense of urgency now that my children are getting older. I need to get it right! I feel like the first part of motherhood has been learning, a sort of trial and error period but now is the time for me to implement the knowledge I have acquired. No more mess ups. No "do overs". This is it. I want to leave a legacy. What do I want them to remember about their childhood? About their momma and daddy? Their home? 

I was seeking answers one day when I felt the urge write out what I thought a good mother looked like. What kind of mom I wanted to be. What I thought I should be doing. I have hesitated to post this because I did not want anyone to feel condemnation if it was too much or pass judgment on me if it was too little! Anyway, here goes. This is not an exhaustive list but this is what I came up with at the time:

What Makes a Good Momma?
She has daily time with the Lord (not necessarily alone, grin).
She installs a love for Jesus into her kids
She prays for them and daddy
She is cheerful and gentle
She has a sweet voice
She hugs and kisses them
She keeps the kids well groomed
She keeps a tidy home (not spotless but she tries)
She meal plans and cooks healthy meals
She bakes
She has routines for laundry and cleaning
She does crafts with her kids
She plays with them 
She teaches them
She trains them
She has a schedule
She finds joy in all things and makes a joyful noise
She makes everything special
She reads to them
She makes fun snacks
She gives bubble baths
She does morning devotions with them
She creates an atmosphere of worship
She teaches them how to be good stewards of their time, talent and treasures
She teaches them how to do chores and how to be diligent
She trains them to have good character
She models integrity
She lets them know they are important
She looks them in the eyes and listens
She smiles
She laughs
She tickles and plays chase
She loves building puzzles, playing blocks and feeding baby dolls
She eats pretend ice cream and drinks pretend tea
She is not lazy
She does not talk to her children in a demeaning way
She does not make them into little slaves
She does not guilt them into being good little children
She does not think she is better than anyone
She does not think she knows it all
She does not talk about others
She does not think she can do this on her own
She does not pursue meaningless tasks
She does not nag
She does not dwell on negative thoughts

As I said, this is not an exhaustive list but this list can exhaust me! Sometimes I am encouraged by it and other time discouraged. It is something I strive for but I have not mastered this list. It is a goal, a reminder. I like to occasionally glance at it but often times I feel like I am failing.

I catch myself nagging.
I do raise my voice.
I get exhausted and I feel lazy.
I'm too tired to play.
My laundry piles up.
Pizza happens.
Distractions happen.
This list could go on all day ;D

This is where grace and simplicity come in.
What are the most important things I need to do as a mom?
Model a love for Christ.
Take care of their physical needs.
Love them and love their daddy.
Draw my strength for all of this from The Lord.

Motherhood (life in general) is not about a list of dos and don'ts. It is not about legalism or comparison. It us about doing what you know is right every day. It's about being faithful in the little things and drawing upon the Lord's strength when you are too weary to do it on your own. It is about creating a life of delight and goodness for your family in the best way you know how.
In the end I know that what makes a good momma is emptying myself of me and the distractions and false notions that I am failing. It is the filling up of God's goodness, strength, joy, peace and hope. I want my children to look back and see a momma who loved Jesus with all her heart, poured everything she had into taking care of them the best way she knew how, made their home a safe haven and created a few fun memories along the way.

What I think makes a good momma has grown in ways and shrunk in others. I pray The Lord will enable me to be the mother He has called me to be consistently. God has created each of us to be the unique mom our children needs. I hope this list inspired you to seek out what you would write on you own list. If you do come up with your own, I would love to see it. Do remember that God's grace is enough for you and your children. He will equip you with what you need for what He called you to do. If you have children, you are called to motherhood and it is God who works in you in order to fulfill His good purpose.

Commit thy ways to The Lord and He will establish thy plans.  
Proverbs 16:3

Grace and Peace,
Adoring Family

The Deliberate Mom

Friday, March 20, 2015

Five Friday Favorites

This is my first Five Friday Favorites post. I always enjoy seeing what others are taking pleasure in. These are a few of the many fun things I have loved this week...

1.These cookies. I am obsessed with them. Some sweet friends and I had a mom's night on Monday so I made these. I replaced the oats with finely chopped unsweetened coconut. I thought they were amazing. Better than the original recipe. Try it and tell me if you agree!
Recipe here

2. Target's Sparkling Cucumber Mint water. So refreshing! My friend Angie and I used to make "spa water" years ago by infusing cucumbers, lime, lemon and mint. This tastes similar but it is effervescent so it makes it that much better :) I'm drinking one now!

3. This song. I am sure everyone is so over it but not me. I love it.

4. This bracelet. My stepmom, whom I will forever be endeared to, gave me this bracelet. Her mom received it during World War Two. She was working in the shipyards and a gentlemen made it for her by twisting two stainless steel welding rods together and running over them with a rail car.  This is the one piece of jewelry I have kept up with all my life other than my wedding ring! It is a priceless treasure and I wear it every day. Don't you love one of a kind pieces that have sentimental value?

Side note, I was NOT operating a vehicle when this photo was snapped :)

5. My sunnies. My dad bought these for me as a gift two birthdays ago. I originally "borrowed" a pair of his old aviator Raybans and was perfectly content with them. Like I said, I am sentimental and my dad happens to be one of my favorite people on the planet so I enjoyed owning sunglasses that once belonged to him. On my birthday I was delighted that he would take the time to surprise me with this pair.   I think of him and feel special every time it is a sunny day and I pull these out of their case and slip them on! My lil' bro bro is also among my favorite people and in the photo below...

Bonus: My Scripture for the week is Mathew 6:20-21
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
As fun as all of the above is to me, I know that filling our hearts with God's Word is of eternal significance. Each week our family has a Scripture passage we memorize. This is our passage for the week. Believe me, there is nothing sweeter than to hear your children recite the Word of God. Joy and blessings to all of you this week!
Grace and peace,
Adoring Family
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Anybody Out There in The Mood For Some π

This is one of our favorite songs so in honor of Pi Day we thought we would share it with you. We have about half of it memorized but hope to get all of it by summer!
 Hope it helps you celebrate 3-14-15!

Grace and peace,
Adoring Family

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How We Add Fruits & Veggies to Our Diet

Good day, friends! I have been doing a whole lot of this...

And a bit of this while my lil' Bro Bro is visiting us for two weeks!

So I have been a bit busy but enough of that, onto our post for the day!

5 Ways to Add Fruits and Veggies to Your Diet

Fruits and vegetables, especially raw, should be an integral staple in your diet. There are live enzymes found in raw fruits and vegetables that aid your body in digestion. Antioxidents and vitamins are at their highest level when the food is consumed raw. Heat destroys some of the nutrients of these foods which is I why I aim to feed my family at the very least five raw fruits and veggies per day. I do not feel a meal is balanced without the consumption of raw fruits or veggies. Here are five easy ways to add fruits and veggies to your diet.
1. Green smoothies.
What's all the rage about green smoothies? Nutrients in fruits and vegetables are found in the cell walls. In order for our bodies to properly assimilate these nutrients, the cell walls must be broken down. Chewing your food is how we break these cell walls down however, blending or pureeing breaks down the cell walls of the food  more effeciently than chewing alone which allows for better nutrient absorption. Green smoothies are best enjoyed first thing in the morning before your digestive system gets clogged with a lot of other foods that are more difficult to digest. It is also best to add a healthy fat to your smoothie to help your body absorb the fat-soluble nutrients. I usually add coconut oil, almond butter, sun butter or avocado. I have developed a unique take on the typical green smoothie found here.

2. Carrots for mid morning snack.  
Raw carrots not only balance your hormones as discussed in this post but they also support ocular health. The beta carotene has been reported to slow down development of cataracts.
3. Replace a cooked side with a raw veggie or fruit at dinner.
We serve both a raw veggie and a raw fruit with lunch and dinner. This helps momma tremendously because I know my family is benefiting from life giving nutrients found in these living foods but it is also easier to plate up fresh, raw veggies  and fruits than cooking an additional side dish. Some great options are sugar snap peas, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and  asparagus. I simply wash, cut the ends off and assemble a few on each plate. For fruits, a small cluster of grapes, cherries, sliced apples, strawberries, sliced avocado or cantaloup. Of course, a small side salad frequently graces our plates.

4. Sweet treats.
My husband says that frozen grapes are almost as good as ice cream! Have you ever tried this easy, fun treat? Just place a few in a bowl and pop them in the freezer for a few hours. My husband and children are delighted when I serve this sweet snack on a hot summer day. Speaking of ice cream, we love Banana Ice Cream. We have all seen the pins like this one floating around Pinterest but have you tried adding a little avocado to your banana ice cream? We enjoy 1/4 avocado, 2 Tbsp. peanut butter, 1 banana , 2 Tsps. Cocoa Powder and 1/2 almond milk puréed and frozen. The avocado adds a creamy texture and contains large amounts of vitamin E for beautiful hair, skin and nails. It also contains high quantities of oleic acid which helps prevent breast cancer. As if one needed an excuse to consume the avacodo it also contains high levels of lutein which protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. 

5. Over the top salads.
When my husband and I were first married I learned what a delicious salad looks like. His grandmother would add sunflower seeds, avocados, small pieces of broccoli, finely chopped onion and sweet peppers. That opened my eyes to the delicious world of beautiful salads. Now we add artichokes, chives, olives, fresh jalapenos and feta. Sometimes we have a sweet spinach salad with strawberries, grapes, avocados, pecans and chèvre. We have found the combinations are endless and the more eclectic the better.
We hope you find this information helpful and the ideas fresh. Please comment your favorite ways to incorporate raw fruits and veggies into your family's diet :)
Grace and peace,

Friday, March 6, 2015

Clean Eating No Bake Cookies

We whipped up this small batch of no bake cookies and adapted it to a clean eating recipe for a tasty afternoon treat. These cookies were amazing and went too fast. I am already craving more! They had a satisfying, chewy texture with a slight crunch and a creamy chocolaty, peanut buttery sweetness. It only took about twenty minutes from start to finish. I love how simple and quick this recipe is which is a must if I am going to be making it in my kitchen :D

 Clean Eating No Bake Cookies

 1/2 Cup Honey
 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
 1 1/4 Cup Rolled Oats
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla

 Bring first four ingredients to a boil and boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and add oats and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and drop by spoonful onto wax paper. Let cool 10-20 minutes. Makes 12 cookies. Just enough but not too much :)

Nutritional values: 169.81 Calories 11.12 g fat .9 g sodium 25.66 Carbohydrates 2.5 g Fiber 11.63 g Sugar 5.47 g Protein
We have already talked about the benefits of honey and coconut oil here. These cookies have the added benefits of cocoa powder which provides zinc, magnesium, iron, and manganese. Cocoa powder also contains the flavonoids epicatechin and catechin which are antioxidants that reduce inflammation. This causes blood vessels to relax and lowers blood pressure which is one reason experts claim dark chocolate is good for the heart. 

Oats are considered to be a heart healthy food as well due to the unique fiber beta glucan. This fiber helps clear bad cholesterol from the digestive system which prevents it from entering the blood stream. Beta glucan also stabilizes blood sugar and heightens your body's immune function. 

Could these cookies be considered a "super food"?  They certainly are a super treat to my family! Let me know if you try them :)

Grace and peace,
Adoring Family

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How to Exhibit Grace and Poise

Occasionally I am faced with a social situation that puts me slightly outside of my comfort zone. Before I succumb to uncomfortable apprehension, I remind myself that I can exude grace and poise in any situation if I remember to focus on three things: speech, action and countenance.

1.Only say what is helpful and uplifting.
Be tactful yet honest.
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

2.Think before you speak.
It is perfectly acceptable to take time out to contemplate your words before speaking them.
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; James 1:9
3. You have the right to remain silent.
Over the years I have come to realize that a peaceful silence is often welcome. Don't feel like you have to talk to fill the quiet.
Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.
Proverbs 17:28


4.Serve others.
Look for ways to contribute good in every situation.
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. Psalm 90:17
I have a beautiful friend who I often share social experiences with.  When the room is full of  noise and often chaotic, you will find her sweetly humming as she finds something useful for her hands to attend to in order to serve others.
5.Move slowly, calmly & gracefully. 
Speak gently and softly. Take deep breaths and do not feel hurried or rushed. Try to maintain a serene, peaceful composure.
 1 Peter 3:3 -5 says,"Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5
6. Focus on being kind to others.
Smile. Be lighthearted and friendly in conversation.
Ask questions, show interest in others. “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
"People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel."- Maya Angelou


7.Display a pleasant countenance.
Think pleasant thoughts. See the beauty in the world around you.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

8.Fill your mind with goodness.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16
9. Maintain graceful posture
Strengthen your stomach muscles and back to make good posture effortless. Try holding a 30 second plank 3 times daily. Practice holding your belly button in toward your spine. Keep you shoulders up, back and down. I enjoy Barre exercises which not only improve posture but strengthen the body. I will be posting my Barre routine so stay tuned :)
With practice and quiet confidence, you can exude grace and poise in any situation.
Grace and peace,
Adoring Family

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