Friday, May 31, 2013

:: Healthier treats - Energy Bites

Recently we have been making these delicious Energy Bites quite a bit for a healthier snack.  You know me - I love my sweets.  =)  They are like a soft granola bar, in a ball shape.  I usually make a triple batch, put them on a cookie sheet to freeze, and once frozen, transfer them in a tupperware to store in the freezer.  It's a snack I don't feel bad about my kids (or myself) having when they are wanting a treat.  Lot's of protein, and very little refined sugar (and I think gluten free?!) There are many variations to this recipe - feel free to throw in other things too (like sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, etc)
Energy Bites:
1 c. oats
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. honey
1/2 c. flax meal, fresh ground (or you can use wheat germ)
1 c. coconut
1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix and chill for 30 min, then shape into balls.  Store in fridge or freezer (due to the oils in the flax seed)  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

:: One Line A Day: a 5-year memory book

Today marks my three-year anniversary of this little memory book.  The entries are simple:  "one line" for each day (for 5 years):  one memory from the adorable thing one of the kids thing I never want to forget after these years of parenting are over.   Things like my 3-year-old saying, "I'm not cold, but my hands are like ice and cubes", the day Jack (8) learned to drive the riding lawn mower, Audrey (5) saying "Mom, I know why shredded wheat is called shredded wheat.  It's because it's made out of shreds", or the time I found Ellie (5) changing Blaize's dirty diaper.  It's simple enough that I actually do it.  Either at bedtime, or first thing the next morning as I'm having my quiet time.  And I know that not only will I love going back and remembering, but my children will love learning little things about themselves as they get older.  Already they *beg* me to read to them out of it.

Sometimes the days fly by in a blur of daily-ness (meals, cleanup, laundry, school, diapers, parks, bath times, bedtime) and it's so easy to forget the little details that make raising these kids of ours worth it.  Since I began writing in it, I've become much more aware of the need to "notice" these details.
Often I give this as a gift at 1-year-old birthdays.  Of course, I didn't buy it just because of the adorable aqua cover with gold pages =), but that didn't hurt, either.  If you think you want to start one yourself, of buy one for someone you know, you can find them here.  You will be so glad you did. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

:: Yep...this farmer's wife is a beauty

It has been a long, long wait from the start of my Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt, and you have stuck with me the whole way. Now, after weeks and weeks of nothing but individual blocks, I'm so excited (so, so excited) to show you the finished quilt top (minus the borders). Please excuse all the pictures.  There are alot of them!  My design wall (aka - a plastic picnic tablecloth) worked great and kept the un-sewn blocks from being tramped on through this process.

I set the blocks on point, and used little squares of printed fabrics for the cornerstones, while using a creamy white for the sashings.
I haven't decided what fabrics to use for the borders, so for now I just love to stare at it, in all of it's creamy, colorful goodness!  If you haven't done so yet, you really ought to give this one a try! 

Quilt Stats
:: pattern - Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt (found here)
:: size - twin (83 blocks)
:: block fabrics - scraps from my stash
:: sashings - Moda Bella Solids #97 (Bleached White)

Friday, May 24, 2013

:: The start of summer

The start of spring and the end of the school year.  It's breathing in fresh air after being cooped up indoors all winter. 
I see the children soaking up the fresh sunshine as the girls pick countless bunches of wild flowers, Jack spends hours whittling and carving things, and the hose is constantly running in the sand area.  Now that Blaize can walk, he literally stands at the sliding door, crying to go out.
It's so easy for me to stay busy indoors with chores, laundry, house projects or sewing.  And when they play so happily outside without me, I have to try and make a conscious effort to make sure and not miss these days, those moments, slipping like pearls from a string.  I don't ever want to look back and regret NOT being with them enough.  I don't want to make issues of the sand being tracked into the house, and miss the outstreched hand cluthing wilted flowers for me.  And although mothering has its patience-testing moments for me, I desperately love my children - each one that God has blessed me with.  It's such a balance, isn't it?  I don't know if I'll ever have it down completely, but I'll keep trying.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

:: Distracted Parenting

Yesterday I read a post called Distracted Parenting on one of my favorite blogs.  And I cried.  It was exactly the conviction my heart needed, as well as the encouragement to be more purposeful in my moments with my children.  Sarah (from Clover Lane) is a mother of 6 children, and she offers such encouragement, such practical examples and her own transparency in our daily struggles to not get sucked into being physically present - yet emotionally and mentally absent - from our children, You really should read it. It will do your heart, your moments, and your children, good.  Thank you, Sarah.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

:: So now I'm a farmer's wife

You would think after making 69 blocks, 14 to go would be nothin.  But crazy as it is, these were my hardest to find motivation to do.  I have a few other quilts in the works, and it was all I could do to not break them out and work on them.  But I knew if I stopped, I wouldn't finish this one for a long time.  Don't get me wrong, I love making these, but here at the end I lost a bit of steam.  My rule was good for me, and forced me to finish!  Now I am SO glad I did.
I'm so glad to have made these last 14 blocks, and the sluggishness I felt before starting has now completely evaporated at the thought of sewing them all together and getting to see what it will look like!  So hold on, cause here's the last (long) lineup of blocks, completing my 83 total.
Block 92 - Streak of Lightning
 Block 81 - Snowball
 Block 101 - Wedding Ring
Block 90 - Storm Signal
 Block 72 - Railroad
Block 84 - Spool
 Block 86 - Squash Blossom
 Block 93 - Swallow
 Block 108 - Windmill (love me a good polka dot)
 Block 46 - Hill & Valley (switched this one around a little)
 Block 85 - Square Dance
 Block 68 - Postage Stamp (there's just something I love about these adorable 1" squares)
Block 103 - Whirlwind
And last but not least: (drumroll please.....)
Block 87 - Star Gardener
What a fun project this has been.  You really should consider giving it a go if you like scrappy projects.  And other exciting news: I finally made myself a design wall of sorts.  Not the highest-tech thing, but it was fast and cheap - 2 necessary things in my life. 
Nothing more than a $3 picnic tablecoth from Walmart thumb-tacked into the wall (back side out), but the blocks stick, and now the kids aren't gonna be walking all over them during the next few weeks as I try to get them all sewn together.  Which is what I'm doing now. 
Cutting. Sashing. Strips.
All 198 of them.

Modern Pearls Quilt Along - Week Four (the finish!)

Good Morning, friends!  It's the fourth (and final) week of our Modern Pearls Quilt Along, and this is where all those 9 patches start t...