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

A note from the 'other' Shelbi

Hi Michelle! I wanted to stop by and say hello. I know you are a dog person, but I really think that you and I would get along great. You see, nine years ago, my mommy named me Shelbi. :) At the time, it had something to do with my daddy and his love for some sort of Mustang car, but now, I know there was a greater purpose behind it.

For the past 6 years or so, I have pretty much lived in the basement of our home. I used to be a bit more social, but when those little rugrats, er, I mean girls came along, things got a bit crazy for me and I would mostly hide. Well, last week, mommy decided it was time for me to be more social or meet with an early departure from our home. They captured me and moved me to the girls’ bedroom upstairs. It is a really nice place and they are giving me lots of love there. I even have a window with a view! I am still a bit unsettled and the whining dog outside the door makes me a bit nervous too, but the girls are doing a great job of protecting me from her.

As I acclimate to my new surroundings and become integrated with my wonderful family, I promise you this Michelle. I promise that my daily meows of protest or pleas for affection will remind them of you. I will remind them that life is not something to be taken for granted. I will remind them that everyday is a gift and they need to make the most of it. I will remind them that life is too short to get upset over the small stuff. I will remind them to find JOY, everyday.

Ok, I think that’s all I wanted to tell you. Now, I will go take a nap and dream of you resting peacefully as well.

The ‘other’ Shelbi

Finding Comfort

I  have been thinking about my friend Michelle today, and trying to process the gamut of emotions that flood in at a time like this. 

 It's easy to wonder 'why God' and 'what's the purpose'?

As I keep thinking about these things and how we will probably never know the answers to our questions, I remember...

 I remember that it is the Easter season.

I remember that the God of the universe sent His One and Only Son.

I remember that He let His Son die a horrible and excruciating death on a cross.

I remember that He did this out of love...for me, for Michelle and for every one of us. 

I remember that I will never fully understand God's ways, but find comfort in knowing that He definitely understands our hurting hearts and ultimately has a perfect plan.

Cherish Every Moment

This week has been a sober reminder to cherish every moment of every day, for you just don't know what tomorrow brings. 

About a month ago, my friend, Michelle Laven, started experiencing some strange emotional and physical changes. In a few short weeks, her condition worsened severely. Earlier this week, she was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and, today, "They will not be starting any more IVs, as she has a DNR, and they do not believe there is anything they can do that would benefit her." (from her CaringBridge page).

Today, my heart is heavy for Michelle and her husband Kip and their sons, Devin and Cody. I pray for God's peace for their family and His love to surround them. My heart and head are full of thoughts and emotions, but my mind is at a loss for the words to express them.

No-Bake Granola Bars

Spring Break and being sick for so long has completely gotten me out of the daily picture habit! In an effort to kick myself back into gear, I thought I would snap some pictures of one of my favorite recipes.

Our whole family loves to grab a granola bar as an at home snack or on the go treat. With the growing price and shrinking size of the store bought ones, I try to keep homemade ones on hand. (Plus, I like all the extra 'good for you' stuff that I can put in them that you won't find in most store varieties.)

For this recipe, I use a large tray with sides (or jelly roll pan) and line it with foil for easy removal later.

I typically spread about 1 cup of m&ms, chocolate chips or sometimes cinnamon chips on the tray before I start the granola bars. (Mixing these things in just makes them melt.)

Christy's No Bake Granola Bars

Dry Mix:

Option 1 - large batch/large container - makes 4 batches
  • 14 cups old fashions oats 
  • 4 cups chopped nuts 
  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups sunflower seeds
  • 10 cups rice crispies(or I prefer 'Uncle Sam's flakes for some added nutrition with the same type of crunch)
  • 1 1/3 cups ground flax seed or wheat germ
  • 4 cups dried fruit

Option 2 - single batch (Note: to save time on future batches, I premix single batches in multiple 9 cup 'disposable' Ziploc containers while I have all the ingredients out)
  • 3 1/2 cups Oats
  • 2 1/2 cups Cereal (Uncle Sam's or rice krispies)
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup Nuts
  • 1/2 cup seeds
  • 1 cup dried fruit
  • 1/2 tsp salt (optional)

additional mixins: add cinnamon (2 tsp?) or cocoa (1/3 cup) to any single batch

To make bars:
  • Place 9 cups dry mix in large bowl.
  • Combine 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup honey (340 g) in sauce pan - boil 1 minute
  • Remove from heat and add 1 cup natural peanut butter (256 g) . Stir until melted.
  • Add 'sauce' to dry mix and stir until combined and dry ingredients are coated - (this usually takes longer than most people think, but keep stirring - it will cover everything!).
  • Firmly press mixture into foil lined (or silpat lined) 12½ x 17½ jelly roll pan (or two 9x13 pans). 
  • Let cool before cutting.
  • Use foil/silpat to lift out of pan for easier cutting. Press/squeeze in any edges that seem 'loose' before cutting. 
  •  Optional - Sprinkle 1 cup chocolate chips onto lined pan(s) before dropping scoops of granola onto pan and pressing. 

~ 15 minutes to assemble four batches, get out and put away ingredients
~ 25 to cook, assemble, clean up

One thing I love about this recipe is it's versatility. If you don't like something, or don't have a certain ingredient on hand, just omit it. It's basically just 9 cups of 'something' added to the sauce. (This is the same sauce that I use for the Cheerio Bars in one of my previous posts.)

Store cooled bars in an airtight container - if they aren't consumed before you can get them there! :)

Have a JOYful day!

Spring Break Staycation

We didn't travel anywhere for Spring Break, but the girls and I still had lots of fun last week!! Here is Regan's recap of most of the week's highlights.

I didn't take my camera with me every day, but did capture a few moments.

Hope your week was full of joy and blessings!

Feathered Friends

I just never tire of seeing the birds outside our window. There is something about spotting a bright red cardinal that always puts a smile on my face and brightens my spirits a bit. Tonight, this one perched in the tree right outside the living room window for an unusually long time. He seemed to be basking in the warmish glow of the setting sun. I watched him for quite a while, as the girls and I sat watching a movie. He sat there so long, I finally decided to get up and get my camera. He was so enjoying his little respite, that I think I even caught him yawning!! (Do birds yawn??)

While this little red beauty was a treat to see, I have to say it paled in comparison to our afternoon visitor. The girls and I were sitting on the couch, reading the Wizard of Oz, and I thought I spotted a hawk in the tree across the pond. As I looked a bit longer, I realized it was a bit bigger than most of the hawks we see and then I noticed it's white head. For the first time ever, I was treated to a bald eagle that was not in captivity!

We were able to watch him for about 5 minutes before he flew away. What a majestic site and amazing wing span! 

(After he was gone, Regan immediately went outside to make sure our remaining duck wasn't turned into eagle snacks!)

April Fools Fun

I have returned, almost, from the land of the walking zombies! Paul, Sage and I have been battling a cold that has lingered far too long and left me with zero energy and ambition. Finally, I think we are all on the mend and getting back to full health!

The girls took advantage of today's 'holiday' (if that's what you call it) to have a little fun with daddy. Last night, while he was occupied with chores and such, they created a spiderweb of yarn across the driveway. They wrapped multiple yarn remnants (thanks Grandma B!) from tree to tree, along about a 20 foot stretch of the drive. 

Then, they snuck in the garage and had fun adding a feminine touch to daddy's car, using window markers.

When we woke up this morning, there was a roll of paper towels and a bottle of window cleaner on the counter. Apparently daddy didn't want to drive around town with his newly decorated car. :)

It's fun to have the girls at an age where they find great joy in life's simple humors.