Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phillipians 4:8

New food love

I am always on the look out for new, healthy, low-sugar food options for our family. One thing the girls and I are enjoying right now is freeze dried fruit. It is a fun, crunchy, sweet/tart snack to eat just plain. The girls have also been enjoying some on their cheerios in the morning. When they ask for a piece of candy after dinner, I tell them they can have some of this fruit and I don't usually hear too many complaints. :)

This is our second order from  North Bay Trading. They also carry some soup mixes that I thought looked delicious, so I ordered a few of those too!



They fight. They play. They sass. They laugh. They hit. They hug. They antagonize. They encourage.

One minute the best of buds, the next 'I am never going to play with you again!'.

But at the end of the day, they are sisters and they really do love each other.

(The girls share a room and these were some of the notes they were passing back and forth last night. Or, should I say flying back and forth - they were folded like little airplanes. <3 )

This week...

6:15 am - Monday morning, I woke to check the school closings. Sure enough, Sunday's snowstorm had rendered it another snow day. I crawled back in bed, hoping for a few more minutes of half sleep before Regan made her way out of bed at the 7:00 hour her brain is hard-wired for.

7:30 am - Regan quietly entered my room and asked if she could watch TV. I tell her 'not right now' and she made her way back downstairs to, I assume, curl up with a fairyland book. Sage was still asleep. I laed still for a few minutes, with every intention of crawling out of bed soon.

8:30 am - I rolled over, after what seemed to be a few short minutes and blinked a few times to get a clear view of the alarm clock. I laughed to myself, pleasantly surprised at being able to 'sleep in' that late. I rolled out of bed, madly in love with my children who had left me undisturbed. :) Be still my heart when I stumbled downstairs to find the two of them curled up on the couch reading together.

We spent the rest of the day hanging out at home. We ventured outside for a brief walk in the woods, but the wind was bitter cold and we didn't last long. 

We occupied some of the morning with messy, goupy hands, as I introduced the girls to paper mache. They thought it was pretty fun and both did a great job. The first layer is dried and waiting for us to have an opportunity to finish our project. 

On Tuesday, I began thinking about what type of food we need for our upcoming trip to Great Wolf Lodge. Road trips usually mean some sort of homemade treat (it's just my thing). :) I asked Sage if she wanted to help me bake some cookies and she was more than willing to help. I think her exact words were 'I LOVE helping mommy make things!'.

I pulled out my Sneak Chef Cookbook and we mixed up a quadruple batch of the Unbelievable Chocolate Chip Cookies.  


We substituted applesauce for 1/4 of the butter and added 1/2 cup ground flaxseed and 1 1/2 cups finely chopped  sliced almonds to the quadruple batch. 

Note: Her single recipe says it makes about 50 two-bite  cookies. Our quadruple batch made 70 'regualar' size cookies.

Good thing we made plenty, so we can munch on a few before Sunday's trip!

Sunday Photos

Today, I had the privilege of shooting at our church - pictures that is. LOL! :D They are getting ready to update their website a bit and asked if I could take some 'fresh' pictures. Isn't it great when you can serve God with the gifts, talents and passions He has given you??

Here are a few that I can share without hunting down permissions from the subjects! :D

Hope  your Sunday was blessed!

Celebrating with Friends

Although Wednesday was Sage's real birthday, today was the day she has been waiting for. Today was the 'friend party', five guests for a five year old. Many thanks to Hannah, Aubrey, Alyssa, Aleia and Caroline for making Sage's day extra special. 

Regan and Sage have been planning a winter themed party for a few weeks now, hoping the elves would come back and visit (which they did). So, we kept most of the party related to that theme.

We started things off with a melting snowman craft.

Followed by games of 'Hide the Elf' and 'Pin the carrot nose on the Snowman'.

Sage then opened her presents from the girls. 

And, of course, cake and ice cream. Sage picked out a cute bee/heart themed cake. It didn't quite match our winter theme, but it was what she chose last weekend at Sam's club. She loved it, which means it was perfect. ;)

After the girls played for a bit, Sage said her thank yous and sent the girls home with a goodie bag of slinkies (the good ol' fashioned metal kind) and a couple of silly bands.

The view tonight...

Making a New Journal

Even a digi-girl likes dabbling with scissors and glue every now and then!! :D

Working on a new flip-book to house scripture verses I want to memorize.

Happy Birthday Sage

Five years ago today, on a icy cold blustery winter day, this sweet darlin' made her early entrance into our lives. 

Happy 5th Birthday Sage! 
We love you!

100th Day

Today marked the 100th day of school for Regan. Each year, her classes do something fun to mark the occasion. This year, they were given the freedom to bring in or wear 100 of 'something' and were told to be creative. Since we have been working on photography stuff together, I thought it would be fun to do 100 photos. Regan loved the idea too. Together we snapped close-ups of 100 things around our home and I made this page for her to bring to school. We had a great time with it!! How many can you guess??

a1 - Markers a2 - dog treats a3 - Wii Console a4 - Craft Paint a5 - Flu bug (from art class) a6 - Lime a7 - Oven thermometer a8 - carton of eggs 
a9 - School folder a10 - Quaker oatmeal

b1 - State of Michigan quarter b2 - Telelphone cord b3 - Awana award ribbon b4 - House thermostat
b5 - Boo boo the bear’s nose b6 - Cheerios b7 - computer keyboard b8 - Pens and markers b9 - squishy animals
b10 - Wii Remote

c1 - DumDum Suckers c2 - Cookie jar c3 - Pillow Pet c4 - My Backpack c5 - Journal/diary c6 - Nativity Set
c7 - Sage blowing up a balloon c8 - coffee cup c9 - paper snowflake c10 - Snow Ice Cream 

d1 - Faucet d2 - Leaf d3 - Sage eating an icicle d4 - Telephone d5 - door handles  d6 - Photo or Scrapbook album d7 - Pinewood derby car kit  d8 - CD player d9 - Outdoor Adventure mat for Wii d10 -fireplace vent

e1 - feather e2- Scruffie, stuffed dog e3 - Tumtum and Nutmeg library book e4 - digital photo frame e5 - Piano Keys e6 - Pipe Cleaners e7 - Angel Ornament e8 - Orange e9 - Pencil e10 - Blender

f1 - refridgerator f2 - Jingle bell pens f3 - Valentine person f4 - zipper f5 - Liquid Hand Soap f6 - Candle
f7 - Antique telephone bell f8 - flushable wet wipes f9 - Toilet paper f10 - wood flooring

g1 - Painting/artwork g2 - fur covered journal  g3 - food in the pantry g4 - lightswitch g5 - computer mouse
g6 - Rainbow Magic Fairy book g7 - fresh chicken eggs g8 - Kitchen Cabinets g9 - winter boots
g10 - Nuthatch eaiting bird food

h1 - Silly straw h2 - bowling ball  h3 - q-tips h4 - Lincoln logs h5 - Winter Wipeout h6 - Chocolate cookies h7 - Netflix movie h8 - Dead flower  h9 - burner on stove h10 - Pineapple 

i1 - Regan’s Eye i2 - Sage’s Eye i3 - Mommy’s eye i4 - Marley’s Eye i5 - duck  i6 - Chicken eye i7 - Microwave
i8 - silverware i9 - Penny Pony i10 - Afghan/blanket

j1 - bananas j2 - Tufted Titmouse j3 - lunch, apples and milk j4 - honey j5 - Brownie bites j6 - My sweatshirt
 j7 - carpet j8 - Word World j9 - my socks j10 - wood post, reflected in mirror

Valentine's Day 2011

A day full of blessings and fun.

Breakfast for my girls (and a scone for the road for Daddy).

Flowers by Regan

Blessings outside my window.

Good clean family fun.

Hope your Valentine's Day was filled with love and smiles! :)

Mommy Sick Days

I guess if I have to have sick days, I am thankful when they fall on a weekend. I am so grateful for my dear husband who steps in and takes over, without complaint, and encourages me to get the rest I need to be ready to go again come Monday.

He started the weekend with some sweet treats for his girls from a local bakery/restaurant.

And something for mommy too, of course.

And he was just as great the rest of the weekend too. He did my Sam's club shopping for me - including ordering a birthday cake for Sage's party. He kept us all wonderfully fed with things like Rotisserie chicken salad for dinner and baked apple french toast breakfast. The snow and weather finally provided the perfect conditions for him to start an igloo with the girls, something they have been looking forward to.

And I'm sure there were countless other things he tended to while I enjoyed some much needed downtime, including a 3 hour nap this morning.

I did manage to accomplish a couple small tasks over the weekend, one of them being Regan's valentines. The last two years we have made our own using my scrapbooking stash. Knowing that we had a lot going on right now, I had actually purchased some Valentine's Fun Dip candy for her to write the kid's names on - hoping we could skip the part of making our own. Well, she really wanted to make our own again. I could not find last years on my computer, but luckily I found some freebies from Persnickety Prints, and she liked them (not that she really had a choice!).

One of the reasons I 'think' she likes doing them with me on the computer is that she doesn't have to write them all out! LOL! (smart kid!!) In the past, I have had her write her name and then scanned it and printed it on the cards. Being zapped from my cold left me less ambitious this year.  As we scrolled through the font choices in Photoshop, she spied some cursive ones and let me know that was what she wanted. They are learning their cursive letters in school right now, so I think she found it pretty cool that her cards could be signed in 'cursive'. :)

The Fun Dip fit perfectly inside, secured with a staple to prevent it from falling out.

As today drew to a close, I noticed the backyard was glowing with a pinkish orange color. Regan and I quickly grabbed our cameras to capture a shot of God's beautiful, but brief, painting in the sky.

Just Dance

Like no one is watching! :)

The girls bust a move to 'Cotton Eyed Joe' on Wii Just Dance.

The best part of waking up...

is hot tea in my cup! :) I have recently become a reformed coffee drinker. I am now enjoying a nice hot cup of flavored tea in the morning, and at bedtime, and often in between! I still enjoy an occasional cup of coffee, but I think drinking too much of it was causing me stomach aches. 

This mornings brew? A wonderful cup of Masala Chai from Adagio Teas - with a touch of honey.

Are you a tea lover too? Here's a $5 GC to Adagio Teas: 2397474051. Good for 24 hours.

I order loose tea from them and use the Brewt infuser (above). If you don't have an infuser, you can do a search on their site for 'bags', as some of their varieties are offered that way.

CHEERS!! Here's to nice hot beverages on these cold winter days!

A New Day

Today was a new day, and we were thankful for it. After six days home (two snow days, two school vacation days and the weekend), we were all ready for some 'normalcy' again. 

I decided to let Sage do some painting. It had been a while since I let her play a bit with paints. I found some 8x8 canvas squares that I had bought for something a while back and let her create some art with a couple of those.

When those were finished, she wasn't quite ready to be done painting. We found some unfinished Christmas ornaments that needed paint, so she worked on those as well.

She worked very intently on her projects and was quite proud of her work and all the pretty things she painted and colors she mixed. 

The girls were both very excited to receive a special package today. They got some very cute socks from their 'big sister' Carol in Brazil. (They were more excited about the socks than they were about having their picture taken!! LOL!)

I am so thankful today was a MUCH better day than yesterday. :)

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

While the rest of the world prepared for Super Bowl Sunday, there was not much activity at our house today. We just kind of hung out and had a nice lazy day.

Regan ventured into the sunroom/craft area for a bit while Sage was napping. She got out the watercolors and coffee filters and spent some quiet time painting. I love having a dedicated space for them to explore their artistic desires. :)

Our cups overfloweth...

They overfloweth the sink that is!! LOL! For the most part, I really don't mind doing dishes. And, strangely enough, I wash them all by hand, even though we have a dishwasher. However, after cleaning what seems like about 18 different cups for the girls every day, we are working on a new system. I have asked them to each pick a cup in the morning and make a mental note of their selection and use it for the remainder of the day. So far, so good. :) Their favorites are our tupperware cups with lids and a twisty straw. Isn't life just much more fun with a twisty straw??


Call it pannekoeken, call it puffy pancake, call it German or call it Dutch...I call it Yummy!!!

I can still remember the first time I tried it. I can't remember the name of the restaurant, I can't remember if I was alone or with someone, but I can remember that delicious pannekoeken I tried while at college in Houghton, Michigan.

I found and made a recipe many moons ago, but forgot all about this delicious dish! When I started looking around for recipes that used lots of eggs (due to the abundance from our six chickens), I remembered this wonderful treat.

With all the recipes around, I somehow stumbled on this one from Dandelion Mama - German Apple Pancake. While I am sure her recipe is every bit as delectable as she describes, I have to admit I have never made it exactly as she describes. I needed to come up with something a little bit healthier that I can feed my family on a regular basis.

Based on her recipe, a couple reader comments and some of my own tweaks, this is how I make it for my family.

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2-3 large firm apples, thinly sliced with skins left on (core removed)
  • 1 cup milk (usually 1%)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 8 large whole eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Place 2 Tbsp butter in 9x13 pan and put in oven until melted.
  • Add apples to melted butter and cook in oven for 5 minutes.
  • Combine flours, wheat germ, milk, eggs, egg whites, sugar and vanilla in blender and mix until smooth.
  • Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on apples and pour batter on top - apples will mostly float to the top
  • Bake until puffy and golden, usually 20-25 minutes
  • Dust with powdered sugar. 
It comes out of the oven all toasted and puffy.

 After about five minutes or so, it deflates a bit and is cooled enough to serve up.

There is no complaining at dinner when I serve this up! :)