Archives for January 2014

Miracles

MiraclesHi Happy Readers!

This isn’t the direction I planned on going today, but God and my twin grandchildren had different plans. This morning we welcomed into the world Elle Margaret and Brooks Gordon! She was only 34 weeks, so they are very tiny and quite a surprise!! I had just talked to her last night at 8:00 and things were fine. Which brings me to the topic of miracles!!! These little babies are proof that God still performs miracles. My daughter really struggled with fertility issues and we weren’t sure this was ever going to happen. But God knows what He is doing and when faith and trust are put in him, we can just sit back and what the miracles he performs. Now I’m not going to tell you the whole story, as it is not my story to tell. But I can tell you a year ago my heart was breaking for my daughter and her husband who wanted a baby so bad. You see, she is a nurse midwife, and this is what she does every day, so to deliver baby after baby and not be able to carry your own, well, I’m sure you can imagine. Our faith is strong, and I had to remind her that God knows what he is doing, but its that “waiting in the gap,” that place between what we want, and when we get to see how it all plays out, that is hard. Well, look at this picture below folks and trust me that God has touched these babies from the first cell of their creation. I only have a really good picture of little Elle. Little man is needing a little more assistance, but he is doing great. Say a prayer for them all tonight please! God is good. We are blessed.

Peace,

Julie

Baby Elle

15 Minutes

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What can you accomplish in 15 minutes a day?  Do you have a list of things that you have always wanted to do, but never seem to have time to tackle, such as organizing your house, , learning how to knit, paint, sew or speak French?  The list could go on and on.  These are just a few of the things I’ve heard others say they want to try or I’ve thought about myself.

Two years ago, I really wanted to chronicle our adoption story.  I had kept a personal journal and a blog throughout the adoption process, but I really wanted to put it all together in a story that I could one day share with Little One.  I kept putting it off because it seemed like I never had a chunk of time to sit down, gather my thoughts and write.

One of my New Year’s resolutions that year was to spend 15 minutes three times a week writing.  It took me two years, but I kept my resolution and completed our story-all 92 pages!  So although 15 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time, it adds up!  Even weeks when I was super busy, 15 minutes was always doable.  The feeling of accomplishment I had when the project was completed, motivated me to keep up my 15 minutes of writing.  Who knows, maybe one day I can write that Great American novel!

What about you?  Do you have a dream you have been putting off because you don’t have time?  I challenge you to commit to 15 minutes a few times a week to make it happen!  Just 15 minutes!

~Blessings,

Jen

Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes

Hi all!  I wanted to share a new recipe and website with you. This healthy dessert blog has many yummy looking recipes! I have been following the blog, Chocolate Covered Katie, for a while and this is the first recipe I’ve attempted.  Oldest daughter actually texted me the recipe and asked me to make them.  She is in need of a quick on-the-go breakfast and this fit the bill!  The recipe was a hit with three out of four family members (youngest didn’t like it-she is going through a picky phase).  They were so moist and very filling and the chocolate made them seem extra special. I preferred them warm from the oven or heated in the microwave, Oldest daughter and Hubby liked them at any temperature! Here is the recipe and the link for the blog in case you want to check out more of her recipes.

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Baked Oatmeal Cupcakes To Go

from: Chocolate Covered Katie

(makes 24-25 cupcakes)

Adapted from: Cookie Dough Baked Oatmeal.

  • 5 cups rolled oats (400g)
  • 2 1/2 cups over-ripe mashed banana (For all substitutions, see nutrition link below) measured after mashing (600g)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 NuNaturals stevia packets (or omit and use 5 tbsp liquid sweetener of choice–such as pure maple syrup or agave–instead)
  • optional: 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 2/3 cups water (640g) (If using the liquid-sweetener option, scale water back by 1/3 cup.)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp oil (45g) (I really like coconut, but veg oil will also work. For lower-fat substitution notes, see nutrition link below.)
  • 2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • optional add-ins: cinnamon, shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, ground flax or wheat germ, raisins or other dried fruit, etc.

Preheat oven to 380 F, and line 24-25 cupcake tins. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir very well. In a separate bowl, combine and stir all wet ingredients (including banana). Mix wet into dry, then pour into the cupcake liners and bake 21 minutes. I also like to then broil for 1-2 minutes, but it’s optional.

Each cupcake has 88 calories and 2.9 grams of fat.  You can view more detailed nutritional information by visiting the link to the blog.

I did not have enough bananas for the whole 2 1/2 cups , so I used about 2 cups of bananas and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce.  I also used pure maple syrup as the sweetener and broiled them for 2 minutes which gave them a nice crispy top.

Oldest daughter likes them for breakfast, I prefer one for an afternoon snack with a cup of tea!

Here is to a happy, healthy week!

~Blessings,

Jen

Adventures!

DSC_8688I have to admit that I am a bit of an adventurer. Especially if I think I am going to capture a good picture. I think that I shared in the past how many back problems and ultimately surgery I experienced. After being in the hospital for four days, I went to the chiropractor and I said I will do anything you say without question to make this better and not have it happen again. He laughed…and said, “you will forget. You will get better and forget you said that.” I swore I wouldn’t!!

Today I wanted to see if the pictures that had been posted of the Lighthouses on Lake Michigan were “real.” So my trusty camera and I headed off. (Note the athletic shoes and lack of hat in this picture as I was so excited to go I left both in my hotel room.) Nothing was going to stop me though!! I was going to get some cool pictures (and I did)! First I didn’t see the “close” parking and probably walked a mile up the beach. The closer I got to the walkway going out to the lighthouse, the more excited I got as I could see ice balls, snow/sand drifts and HUGE ice piles and icicles!! (Did I also mention at this point that I also forgot to go to the bathroom before setting out on this adventure!!) It was beautiful and I started out towards the lighthouse at the end. The walk wasn’t easy, but I kept moving on. I wasn’t alone, there were a lot of other brave souls with cameras. The closer I got to the end, the more anxious I was to get there, and truthfully, forgot about having to go to the bathroom!! I got to the lighthouse and asked if it was worth getting around to the front…I was told YES!

There were mounds of ice…but I hadn’t come this far to stop. So I carefully….carefully started moving around the lighthouse which was pretty much solid ice. I have to laugh, because at the point I was crawling and sliding around the ice, my chiropractor’s words popped into my head!! I wanted to call him then and say, “you were right,”  but it was too dangerous. After crawling up and sliding down, getting pants and gloves wet….I was there! Yahoo, I had made it! I enjoyed watching the ducks dive and swim. It was probably one of the most awesome and craziest things I have done. (Please don’t tell my doctors!!!) I made it back safe and sound, a little wet, a little cold, and with some sore muscles, but it was worth every minute!

I think adventures are good for us. A little exploring, a little bit of “pushing” ourselves to do something different. I wish my sister could have been there with me. It would have made it complete and we could have had some good laughs. I encourage you to think about what adventure you could go on! I doesn’t have to be crawling over mounds of ice over Lake Michigan…but what could it be? Let us know what you pick!!

Living Frozen

Julie

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Power Granola

My family loves granola!.  They eat it in yogurt, with milk or just plain in a bowl for a snack.  I found this recipe for homemade granola and tried it out this week.  It was a hit with the family and of course I was very happy because it contains some super healthy ingredients!  It makes a mama’s heart sing when I see my family enjoying “good for you” food!

This recipe was very simple and easy!

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Power Granola- from my recipes.com

Ingredients

2 cups regular oats

1/3 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup chopped slivered almonds

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/3 cup orange juice

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking spray

1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine orange juice, honey, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in oil and vanilla.
  4. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat. Spread mixture in a thin layer onto a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300° for 10 minutes; stir well. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Spoon granola into a bowl; stir in dried cranberries. Cool completely.
  5. Note: Store completely cooled granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

*I have an electric oven and cooked it for the time listed above.  It turned out a little chewy so for crunchier granola I would probably add about 10 minutes to the cooking time.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving

  • Calories: 196
  • Calories from fat: 31%
  • Fat: 6.8g
  • Saturated fat: 0.7g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.2g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 3.3g
  • Protein: 4.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 32.5g
  • Fiber: 3.6g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
  • Iron: 1.5mg
  • Sodium: 5mg
  • Calcium: 38mg

How are you starting off the year in a healthy way?  We would love to hear from you!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

 

Write it Down!

write it downHappy New Year Everyone!

With all of the holiday happenings, weather and travel I’m a bit behind on some of my post idea. As you all may know my mom was in the hospital for a week the first part of November. I want to share a tip with you that our Pastor shared with us when he came to visit. He suggested we get a notebook and take notes on everything that was going on with mom: what meds she was taking, what each doctor, nurse etc. had to say. The notebook would stay with mom and whoever happened to be there could be brought up to speed in a matter of minutes by checking the notebook. That notebook turned out to be invaluable. The doctors and nurses were all very patient as we took notes. I think they were happy to see us write stuff down as I think it cut down on some repeat questions.  We all know how stressful it can be when a loved one is ill, and sometimes all of the information coming in can be overwhelming. This is why the notebook became so important. We could also create a list of questions for the doctor when he came in. Those visits were “short and sweet” (ok…really, they weren’t sweet!!!) and having the questions ready was very helpful. So I suggest if you are caring for a loved one in or out of the hospital, the notebook could be a very useful tool for you too! We even continued to use it for awhile after she was home and took it to her after care visit with questions! Thanks Pastor Matt for a great tip!!

Blessings

Julie