Thursday, August 23, 2012

Some days really suck...

Strength for you
Lord, I come before you today knowing that all power is in Your hand. I know that you are the Lord and that you care for your people. Right now, our loved one is struggling with a difficult trial. I can see his strength is faltering, Lord, and know that you have all of the strength that he needs.
I pray that you will reach down and touch him right now wherever he is at this moment. Let your presence fill the room where he is and let him feel an extra portion of your strength that can help him to get through this day.
He needs you now, Lord, and I thank you in advance for meeting him where he is and shoring up his strength during this difficult time.
In Jesus name. Amen.

This prayer is for you...we love you so much xxxooo

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Nothing Shabby about this...

I discovered Shabby Apple probably over a year ago now, when it was featured on another blog. Shabby Apple sells sweet little dresses, clothes and accessories, and have now expanded into swim & fitness, maternity & kids, and arts & crafts. Every time I browse their site there at least 3 or 4...or 5 dresses I'm in love with. I usually resist, but have caved in on the odd occasion :) One such occasion was today...shhhh, please don't tell anyone ;)

This sweet little dress was the one I could not resist - and what a great motivator to get back into shape :)

Hollywood Hills dress - Shabby Apple

Now to go work out on the treadmill for a few hours!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Preparing for New School Year...

School uniforms have been bought, shoes ordered, and supplies bagged up and ready to go to the classroom. School starts in 4 days!!

One will start Pre-K and the other will start GRADE 1!!! What!! This is just insane. Where did my babies go? Guess there is no turning back now, it is full steam ahead for these two little people. It is now their time to grow and develop and learn, and find their own ways to express themselves. It is such a hard thing to let go, though. I'm sure there will be a few tears, and that anxious, nervous pit in my tummy...but, hopefully just me, not them...praying they will be fearless and excited and happy to be starting school.

This week at home has been a fluster - we just got back from our beach vacation, I have been feeling totally worn out, and now have a cold. So, the motivation to do much has deflated to an all time low. The laundry is very slowly getting done. It has taken me three days to unpack our suitcase. The house is a complete mess! But, thankfully I had all their school stuff done BEFORE we went on vacation.

We have met the teachers - both very nice. Kids meet them tomorrow - they are super excited :)

So what to do now - PREPARE!

1. Iron uniforms and clothes for kids and hang in closet

2. Create Mad Minute Math sheets for Grade 1 kiddo (I know she'll love me for day! hahaha). You are free to print off copies for your own use.

3. Make up sweet little teacher gifts (we love to do this all together - the girls pick out what they want to do and I help put it together).

4. Clean up desk and playroom, ready for homework.

5. Work out breakfast and lunch menus.

6. Type up afternoon schedule and pep talk with the kids.

7. Remind Back-to-School fairy that school starts Monday ;)

I'm thinking that if I'm missing anything we will survive. Just want to spend these last few days enjoying my two babies...for just a few days more.

Hoping your back-to-school frenzy is going along okay, and that your kiddos have an absolutely fantastic year :)

The Importance of Being a Reader...

I'm very excited to have joined an online book club - Edie from Lifeingrace has started one for the classics! It will be great to read along and join in conversation with other like-minded people. So if you are interested, click on the pic below (Edie's gorgeous office/library/laundry room). You can also join the forum to follow along with the conversations - links are in the blog post. It will start in September, so you have enough time to contemplate, decide and order the first book. :)

In Edie's first email/post to introduce the book club, she links to this LA Times article The lost art of reading by David L. Ulin, from August 9, 2009. It highlights the current struggles to sit, focus and read, in today's society. The "book" is now in direct competition with the iPad, texting, the mobile phone, TV, the Internet.

What I'm struggling with is the encroachment of the buzz, the sense that there is something out there that merits my attention, when in fact it's mostly just a series of disconnected riffs and fragments that add up to the anxiety of the age.
The article highlights the importance of refocusing back to books. To quiet the mind, envelope ourselves in the written word, on real pages. Take the time to absorb the different experiences, emotions, and characters books expose us to.

. . . The real world dissolved and I was free to drift in fantasy, living a thousand lives, each one more powerful, more accessible, and more real than my own.
It takes willpower, dedication and commitment to read, especially the classics with their more complex language and subject matter.
In order for this to work, however, we need a certain type of silence, an ability to filter out the noise.
So I am ready to start filtering out the noise, the busyness of my everyday life, to expand the horizons of my mind. Even though I do read and have read a lot of the classics, they are still so many more I wish to experience.  I have not yet read The Odyssey, so as the first book on the list I am excited to start off in the book club with something new and challenging.

What are you reading? Want to join us?

True Love...

Do you remember this post when I professed my love of these j. crew capris?

They just went on sale!! WOOT! WOOT! ...awesome :) I am one happy gal tonight!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Creating a Home...Inspiration

This morning, I stumbled upon a picture (on pinterest) of a room in Reese Witherspoon's Ojai home - a beautiful, simple entry area, featuring a sweet little desk in front of a window, nestled under a graceful staircase. So, of course, I had to go check out the ELLE article.

The article features Reese's stunning home nestled in the foothills north of Los Angeles - it is definitely worth drooling over checking out all the photos in the ELLE spread.

But what struck me most about the article (yes, please read the article - the history of the house is almost as amazing as the house itself) was this paragraph:

"It reminds me of growing up in Tennessee, where we spent all day outside," she says. "I wanted my children to have that experience, to get muddy and hang out with the animals."
Indeed, Witherspoon has turned Libbey Ranch into a menagerie. A Friesian horse and a chestnut pony share the paddock. There are donkeys, goats, pigs, chickens, and four whimsically named dogs: Hope, Nashville, Coco Chanel, and Hank Williams. Neff fashioned animal silhouettes that are perched on wooden fences around the property. Witherspoon's favorite, a dog and cat on a courtyard gate, serves as a gathering spot for family photos.

It is the fact that they know what they love (animals) and have incorporated it into their home in a beautiful, tasteful, but also playful way - how gorgeous! That really is the essence of what makes a house a home. I would love to see a pic of the animal silhouettes on the wooden fences...but I guess imagining them is just as sweet. I also love how this allows them all to connect to their home - making memories with family photos by the wooden fence silhouettes, having animals to tend to, having the space for the kids to run around outside, playing in the dirt, and gathering together in the evenings for games, or just talking around the fire.

I know we all don't have this big fancy house, but that should not stop you from making your house a real loving beautiful place where you and your family can make many happy memories together, for many years to come. It is all how you see it, perceive it and what you do with it. Maybe start with a place you would like to take family portraits - make it something special for you and your family. I think I need to get out my sketch book and start on my own.

Thanks for the inspiration, Reese! ;)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Breakfast Smoothie

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day - it starts you off with the right energy level to tackle whatever comes your way. This is especially true for kids. They really need a good breakfast to fuel their brains and prepare their bodies for school. It would be difficult to concentrate in class if you were hungry. Breakfast also needs to be balanced - not all sugary foods - it is best to provide a decent breakfast that will last all the way through to lunch time.

I know, it's the time factor. We are all time pressed in the morning, so quick easy breakfasts are a must. We like to do eggs, waffles (wholegrain), cereal, but after a while we need something to jazz our mornings up a bit. So what about a smoothie!

So this morning we tested a new smoothie recipe to add to our weekly meal list, just in time to be ready for our new school year. Smoothies are quick, easy and nutritious - the perfect breakfast. And what a great way to start the day with a "milkshake".

Here is the recipe we tried this morning, but I think I will add some honey next time:

(makes 3 glasses)

8oz coconut water (I found this in the fruit and veg section of the grocery store)
1 1/2 cups of frozen mixed berries
1 scoop of whey protein powder
1 cup plain organic yoghurt
1/2 cup milk

I used the Ninja to mix it all up. Delicious!

You can also add banana, 1 tsp peanut butter, honey, other frozen fruit (strawberries, mango), fresh kale, or spinach, etc. I'm sure there are lots of ideas out there on the internet to pick from, so you would be able to come up with your own favorite combination. Have fun with it!

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Look...

I'm all rested and revived after our wonderful summer vacation, so I am testing out a new look for the blog. Please be patient with me - I have no idea how to get posts onto the tabs (anyone know??? - please let me know if you do). Slowly and surely...

Please let me know what you think. It is nothing drastic, but it did take most of my day to figure it out ;)

Black, white and a pop of color

Love this dress, purse combo from Anthropologie:

Wonder if I can find a little less expensive version?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Photo of the day...

We absolutely loved our beach vacation this year. Only thing wrong was it was too short. By Thursday you just start to relax, then it's time to head home again. But it was wonderful, especially since we got to spend it with both sets of grandparents (for the kids). This is one to remember...