Archives for August 2013

Summer Music

We haven’t posted any summer music in a while and I came across this song by Toby Mac on my playlist.  The words to this song are awesome and the tune just makes me want to hit the beach one more time before the end of summer-it has a “beachy” feel.

I hope you enjoy this tune and you are able to find some time to enjoy God’s glorious gift of summer this weekend!

~Blessings,

Jen

Low-Calorie Cheesecake Filled Strawberries

A couple of weeks ago we had a family picnic to attend and I wanted to bring a healthy dessert to share.  I saw this recipe on Pinterest and decided to give it a try.  Here is the link for the original recipe.

IMG_2605 cheesecake

 

Low-Calorie Cheesecake Filled Strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb large strawberries
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (can use 1/3 less fat)
  • 6 Tbsp powdered sugar (3-4 for less sweet)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • graham cracker crumbs (1 graham cracker is sufficient)

Directions:

  1. After rinsing strawberries, cut the top and clean out with a paring knife. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy.
  3. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag (or ziploc with the corner cut off).
  4. Fill strawberries with cheesecake mixture.
  5. Once strawberries are filled, dip the top in graham cracker crumbs or sprinkle crumbs over the strawberries.
  6. Optional: Slice bottoms if you want them to stand upright

This was such a quick, easy recipe!  I used low-fat cream cheese and only 4 Tbsp of powdered sugar and they were sweet enough (everyone at the party agreed).  They were really good and I will definitely be making them to take to future summer parties.

I calculated the calories for each strawberry and it was around 18 calories per strawberry.  I am a dessert lover and struggle not to overindulge, but it was easy to practice portion control with these because the strawberries were so filling!

Wishing you a happy, healthy day!

~Blessings,

Jen

Just another manic Sunday!!

chaos Just another

 

I do it to myself. I must admit this-I over schedule, wait till the last minute, try and pack a months worth of fun into one day.  I love my kids. Really I do. Every single one of them!! And trust me, I’m not complaining…(I don’t think)!! But I will admit, yesterday I sent my sister a text that read something like this…”Help me, I am in a zoo and can’t get out!!!” I had two youngest daughters and their families here (which includes a 4 month old and 17 month old) (4 month old not feeling well) (=intermittent screaming), bored 17 month old who can’t stay settled in anything, tired, falling down, crying (see where this is going). But I love them all, I really do!!! (Did I mention the two barking, shedding wanting to go in and out, Golden Retrievers and the Schnauzer puppy who hasn’t quite caught on to the house training thing!!) So add to this mix 11 year old twins who are trying to work on last minute 4-H Fair craft projects, (my fault, we have had all year to do this). Did I mention these 11 year old don’t have a lot of patience and get frustrated when things don’t turn out picture perfect!!!???? (Picture tooth picks and beads flying across the room) (Picture grandma making them find them because of babies and puppy!!!) Did I mention we went to church and I fixed two meals in the middle of all of this!!! My mom showed up at one point and then suddenly…she was just gone…I have no idea why!! I remember at one point making eye contact with my husband who wearily said…”we did have a little peace and quiet there for awhile didn’t we?” That may have been the point I started thinking that going to work sounded relaxing!

Now where is the inspiration you ask?? Isn’t this an inspirational website??? Well, the answer is yes. Today I am inspired to stop procrastinating, to stop over extending myself and to go to the beach!! Truth be told though…I probably wouldn’t trade a minute of any of it. We made memories yesterday. And at the end of the day my granddaughter gave me a hug and thanked me for helping her with her projects. They are my inspirations…every child and grandchild I have…and while I TRULY understand now when my mom used to say “it’s good to see them come, and it’s good to see them go,” I don’t plan on changing much of anything any time soon.

Enjoy your families, chaos and all. Be grateful. I know some aren’t near as lucky as I am. Chaos and all, I think I will keep them!!

Happy Monday!

Julie

Finding Contentment

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”         Philippians 4:11-13

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Recently, Jules sent me this picture with the message, “Don’t you wish you were me!”  I have to admit, I was a little envious when I saw this picture because this has been my view for much of the summer:

IMG_2607     I have spent a lot of time driving the girls to various activities and commitments this summer.  We are fairly conservative about the amount of activities they are involved in, but multiply the trips by two girls and it can add up(I feel for those of you with large families!).  I have been known to grumble about all of this driving from time to time, but I started thinking more about it and realized that although it may not always be the preferred way to spend my day, it is the season of life I am in right now.  I want to try to step back and be more thankful, and as the verse above states, find contentment no matter the circumstances.   Thankfully, I have not had to do without food or shelter, but sometimes I find myself  struggling to find contentment in the daily responsibilities that frankly are not the same as floating down a peaceful river in a kayak!

     These trips in the van may not be as serene as the kayak adventure, but I can find contentment in them.  I think it is all in how I look at things. If I focus on the positive, I think I will find more contentment.  As many wise people who have gone before me on this parenting road say,” These years go by too quickly, enjoy every minute!”

     While we are in the car, I am able to sneak in conversations with oldest daughter, who has to listen because she is trapped!  Some of our most interesting conversations happen in the car.  Little one also enjoys chatting up a storm, knowing I am available to listen. I am even able to make our little pup’s day when I let him enjoy the thrill of a car ride with the family!  I am thankful I have two healthy girls who find joy in extra-curricular activities and I am thankful we are able to provide them with these opportunities.  I know these times with the girls are fleeting and I am determined to make the most of them.  I have also discovered our local library has a great collection of books on CD that I listen to while driving around town.  I have read more books in five minute increments than I ever thought was possible!   It is even more relaxing when I include a hot cup of tea for the road!

     The last part of the this verse states, “…I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”  The challenges I am talking about in this post do not even come close to some of the hard times I have faced in the past or many of you are facing currently.  I think it is important to remember that no matter what circumstances you find yourself in right now, happy or challenging, you can do all things through our gracious Lord who will give you strength!

How about you?  Do you struggle to find contentment?  I would love to hear from you and how you deal with this in your daily life.

Blessings,

~Jen

Little Pieces of God’s World – Great Inspirations!

Collecting rocks along the beach is one of my most cherished, serene activities. I guess I can’t just say the beach because I’ve been noted to pick a rock or two from the shoulder of the road or anywhere I see a rock that strikes me! I have no real purpose for collecting these rocks other than it gives me great peace and joy to do so. I feel they are just another awesome piece of God’s creation!! Some day I may find a great inspiration of something to do with my rocks, but for now I’m okay with just letting my collection grow.   There are 2 favorite places I have collected rocks from this summer: White Fish Point and 2 Hearted River, both in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My mission was to find some Agates during our last trip to the UP. A guy at a craft show pointed me in the direction of 2 Hearted River. What I have learned is that it would be a good idea to take someone with you who knew the difference in rocks. I get caught up in the “Pretty Rock Syndrome!” Not sure if I have any agates, but I sure do have some pretty rocks!! Some day I’m going to make a trip by myself or with another fellow rock picker as my husband tends to get a little impatient. Hobbies are so important to our wellness and mental health. It is the number one thing I encourage my clients to find…a hobby. So, what are some of the things you consider a hobby or like to collect?

Rock on!

Julie

DSC02425 Little PiecesRock 1 Little PiecesDSC02404 Little PiecesDSC_0012 Little Pieces

 

DSC02411 Little Pieces   Rock 4 Little Pieces of God's World Rock 2 Little Pieces Rock 3 Little Pieces

God’s Amazing Creatures!

IMG_2630 Creatures

 

I took the girls to the zoo today, it is always a favorite family outing and the weather was perfect!  As we were staring at this zebra  and pondering the age old question- “Black with white stripes or white with black stripes?”, we found ourselves noticing the intricate design. The symmetry and pattern were perfect!

If you ever have doubts about the existence of God, I urge you to visit a zoo, aquarium or place that displays the many creatures of this world.  It really is mind boggling, what an awesome and creative God we have!   Think of all of the types of creatures that roam the earth and tell me there is not a God…no way! Not to mention the other many natural wonders of the world, but for me, I always see God’s creativity and even humor the most in animals!   So whenever I find myself in awe of one of these amazing animals, I am reminded of how much God loves us and am so thankful for the wonderful gifts He gave us to enjoy!  I am so happy to be able to share this knowledge with my girls and I hope they will always remember how much God loves them whenever they visit the zoo!

By the way, a lady standing by us informed us that zebras are white with black stripes and that if you shave a zebra, it would be all white!  Hmm, never heard that tidbit before!

Here are some more of my favorite animals of the day:

IMG_2627 Creatures

 

IMG_2618 Creatures

IMG_2643 Creatures

 

 

IMG_2621 Creatures

 

IMG_2633 Creatures

And to me, the most amazing of God’s creatures:

IMG_2619 CreaturesBlessings,

~Jen