August 30, 2012

coconut-lemon bundt cake

i made this little cake for this little party. it was so so yum! 
mike's grandmom asked for the recipe so i figured i'd just share it with everyone.
it's from this great cookbook. i love everything isa puts out... 
i own pretty much all of her cookbooks.

what you need on hand:
1 2/3c sugar
2/3c oil
1 (14 oz can) coconut milk
1/4c soy milk
1/4c lemon juice
3Tbs finely grated lemon zest
2tsp pure vanilla extract
3c all-purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1 1/2c shredded unsweetened coconut
a few Tbs confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

puttin' it together:
*preheat over to 350. lightly grease an 8 or 10 inch bundt pan.
*in a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, coconut milk, soy milk, lemon juice, zest & vanilla. stir to combine.
*sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt into the wet ingredients in batches, mixing well after each addition. fold in the coconut. 
*pour the batter into the bundt pan. bake for 1 hour (i only had to bake mine for about 45 mins), or until a knife inserted through the cake comes out clean.
*remove from the oven & let cool for about 10 min, then place a cutting board over the cake pan, gently flip over, & release the cake from the pan. let cool completely. once cooled, sift a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar over the top.
*slice & serve!
ah, i just adore these sister-in-laws of mine!
so so so so soooooo blessed by them!

August 29, 2012

creative play

i love watching my boys explore & be creative. mommies & daddies (any adult for that matter) have A LOT to learn from little ones. it has taken me some time to figure out how important it is to let them do their own thing sometimes, especially at a young age. they don't need much structure. their minds are growing & taking in a lot during these early years & one of the big things they are learning is if they can be creative with the things the Lord has given us or if they have to "stay in a box". i always want our boys to be in awe & wonder of our Creator & this world He created... i think that starts with letting them explore it (with gentle guidance).
i am going through this devotions book with the boys in the mornings (we don't get to it every morning, i'm learning to have grace for myself ;)) & one of the lessons we just read was amazement at how creative God was when He made our world, all the creatures & man & woman. He took nothing & made everything! i want them to create & see the Lord in that.
a few practical ideas:
*the idea of pulling a bunch of stuff out to let them "be creative" (when most of it ends up on the floor) can be a little overwhelming. so keep things in a place that is easy to get to & not a hassle to pull it out every time.
*i would like to start tentatively "planning" what we're going to do for the 3 days a week that we do creative play. that way i know what materials we'll need & how to be mentally prepared for any mess. ;)
*i think it helps them be more creative if you give them ideas of things to do as they play. i say often... "look jude, what if you try this?" & that usually leads him to another idea. but i don't push them to do what i'm suggesting.
*a few days ago we did an actual project & made shakers, with 2 plates & beans in the middle. i asked them if they wanted to color the plates first. jude & amos did, but sammy just wanted to dump beans in the plate & then back in the bucket of beans. so i just let him. :)
*keeping the area somewhat "organized" as they play will help them see what all they have to pick from, & help with an easier cleanup for mommy.
*jude is 3 1/2 & we won't be doing any formal education with him till either kindergarden or 1st grade. we just don't want to push him to start sitting & making him learn a bunch of stuff when he'd rather just play. & he's only 3 1/2... all kids his age want to do is play anyways. :) so we let him play & use his imagination & while he does that we talk about letters & their sounds. we point out letters in books we're reading & say, "B, b..b, BOY". from that exercise & this dvd he knows almost all of his letter sounds & we haven't done any "sitting down" to learn them.
*we will be doing a mixture of charlotte mason & classical education. i'm reading this book on charlotte mason & this book on classical. both very good!
*i'm also reading this book which in more of an overall idea of helping your family be creative & explore. i'm only on chapter 1, but it's very good so far. :)
just some thoughts. we're learning. i was home schooled all the way through (except kindergarden & 1st grade) & i loved it! the Lord will give us grace & direct us as their teachers.

August 28, 2012

straws & adoption

oh my goodness this little shop is so wonderful. i ordered these straws for this party & they were perfect! the way they packaged it was so cute i had to share. :)
please read this post from one of my favorite blogs. she is currently in hong kong getting her little girl! amazing! 
& please read this post from a dear friend who is waiting on the Lord's timing for their adoption. He is sovereign & good & He does work ALL things together for our good. 
what a rich journey adoption is. it has changed me... all of it! praise the Lord! how gracious He is to work on ME as we have worked to adopt. HE IS SO GOOD TO US!

August 27, 2012

baby party

i threw a little shower for my sister-in-law & baby rowan, 
with the help of my mother-in-law & sister-in-law. :)
i love my sister-in-laws! & i love planning & hosting parties. i love being creative & working on all the details. it's soooo life giving to me! & more importantly... we can't wait to meet baby rowan!

also, wish i lived close to throw showers
for this sweet friend & this sweet friend. ;)

August 25, 2012

frozen berry treat

my sweet friend leah (that i miss so so much since moving to mi, leah makes me laugh A LOT) made this treat for our small group like forever ago. well, we stole her recipe & have used it on nights when we're wanting something sweet, but know we shouldn't have a lot of sugar & bad stuff. ;) so here's her recipe for a yummy frozen berry treat...

you gotta have:
*1c frozen berries 
(we use the kind from costco that doesn't have strawberries in it)
*1Tbs almond butter
*1Tbs maple syrup (or to taste)

*combine the ingredients
*let it sit for a few minutes to melt some
*mash it with a potato masher
*serve it up & enjoy w a spoon
(this is only about 1 serving... double it if you'll be sharing w a friend)


August 24, 2012

lately grams

1) last week we had beautiful weather for a few bike rides... now it's hot again. :( 2) simplicity. windows open on a cool day. 3) my dad & robin came for a visit. it was grand! 4) some of the best apples i've tasted. from the farmer's market. 5)-6) county fair for family night last week. that night all the rides were only $1 each. the boys had so much fun. 7)-12) nature walk with my 3 little fellas at a gorgeous park!
funny/favorite/current things...
*making this for a birthday party tonite!
*having fun planning, making decorations & being creative for a baby shower for my sister-in-law on sunday.
*currently... i miss my family A LOT! talked to my brother & older sister yesterday... missing all of the cernys (& aunt pam & uncle carl)!!!!! can't wait for december, & a trip in sept to see my older sister, & maybe having my brother up for thanksgiving!
*jude calls the bathroom, "bafume".
*jude will say randomly... "mommy, did you know sammy & amos? they are my brothers & i love them".
*he'll tell me out of the blue, "mommy, i love you really much"!!!!! :)
*when jude wants me to lay with him till he falls asleep he says, "mommy, i want u to sleep whiffa me".
*at the park yesterday jude was so delighted walking around & exploring, he exclaimed, "mommy, i want to see the whole world that God made it". :)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*i asked sammy if something was his & he said, "yes, mommy, mine"! WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING?! ;)
*when i help sammy with something he says, "nanks" (on his own).
*amos now likes to fall asleep for nap or bedtime with the blanket completely over his head. crazy boy.
*amos calls daddy, "dadN". "dadN" also equals brothers or mommy sometimes.
*he loves to snuggle with his bear.
i don't wear ANY jewelry, other than earrings & my wedding ring, (i know my husband is grateful that i don't want to spend a ton of money on it), but this sweet necklace is super cute! i just worry i'll buy it & then never wear it.

August 23, 2012

level ground

oh my goodness, i'm still reading this & i just don't want the book to end. i'm halfway through her chapter about stress & trusting the Lord. oh my gosh... so good! here are some of her words that challenged me & encouraged me & reminded me there are so many others that deal & have dealt with the same sin.

"worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is. & stressed, this pitched word that punctuates every conversation, is it really my attempt to prove how indispensable i am? or is it more? maybe disguising my deep fears as stress seems braver somehow."

"fear keeps a life small."

"stress isn't only a joy stealer. the way we respond to it can be sin. ...knowing that stress stands in direct opposition to what He directly, tenderly commands: 'do not let your hearts be troubled. trust in God; trust also in me' (john 14:1)."

"i can't fill with joy until i learn how to trust: 'may the God of hope fill you with all joy & peace as your trust in him, so that you may overflow' (romans 15:13)."

"stress & anxiety seem easier. easier to let a mind run wild with the worry than to exercise discipline, to reign her in, slip the blinders on & train her to walk steady in certain assurance, not spooked by the specters looming ahead. are stress & worry evidences of a soul too lazy, too undisciplined, to keep gaze fixed on God? to stay in love?"

"isn't joy worth the effort of trust?"

"stress brings no joy."

"to lack faith perhaps isn't as much an intellectual disbelief in the existence of God as fear & distrust that there is a good God. if i don't emotionally believe, practically believe, in the goodness of God, am i a believer?"

"my supreme need is joy in God & i know i can't experience deep joy in God until i deep trust in God."

*sigh* yes Lord!
this man is so steady for me. he's level ground. not easily upset over things. handles things with grace. & i am thereby challenged to do the same. 
funny story. we were trying to get a good picture of the 2 of us & it took close to 15 mins. we were trying to be silly & it just wasn't working. so this is what we ended up with. :)
would 'ja look at this.
i really really really want to buy this embroidered hoop art (scroll to the bottom of the post, the one on the right)!!!!!!!!

August 22, 2012

sweet preggo mommy

this is my beautiful sister-in-law, rachel. she's due sept 1st with her 3rd baby. one of the biggest blessings of us moving to MI is the time i've gotten to spend with her. love you rachel!
we can't wait to meet you, baby rowan!

August 21, 2012

we took a train

we took a train ride that lasted for about 1 1/2 hours. it was pretty great. the kids were thrilled about it when we got there... & then they got pretty restless after about an hour. :) things don't always go the way you plan. & some things don't end up being as amazing as you thought they would be. ;) but we took advantage of the surroundings & got some cute photos. enjoy.
i love how they're all doing their own thing. u can see all their personalities in this picture. :)
we LOVE our cousins joy & caleb & sweet baby rowan who's on the way.
a few likable links:
*want to make this
*loving this sweet shop. ordered something for a baby shower.
*THIS sounds incredible
* do these & these
*want to buy this
the end
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