Family Fun

Family Fun

 

A yellow leaf all crunchy around the edges. Nutmeg on the counter. A cozy colorful afgan. An orange pair of overalls. Red wine and cheese. Fall has arrived. And with it pumkin spice and everything nice! For me it is a nice shift from the summer heat into  a routine full of energy and color.

Summer conjures up lazy days of nothingness. As it is my favorite season the whole notion of  “An Endless Summer” sounds completly divine. I could get use to beach and seafood all year but alas the days of reading by the pool are at an end. The shift in the calendar brings about excitment for school supplies and apple picking. The season of pumpkins brings on a freshness with breezier days. The color of the sky’s seem to speak of the brightness that the world can hold as it lights up with all the golds and reds it has been holding onto for just this time in the year. Every view seems to drip with more luxury when its in gold and red hues. Don’t you think?

I personally end up with feelings of proactiveness. What do we, as a family, want to create in our days and time as we head into the end of the year? What do we still want to accomplish, see, experience? In this culture, it is important to find things that get us out of the house and from behind our desks.

These ideas (below) are for me to help my family get away from all the electronic devices. It is help in removing everyone from the busy work week. Most especially these activities are to get us away from the hussle and bustle that so often encircles the season shift. Most importantly it is to help us all Create Joy! 

I hope these thoughts spark your imagination in this colorful season of fall! I want to be clear that this is not things you “have to do”! These are iteams that you want to do. So much of adult life is spent on what you “have to” accomplish. So if I can inspire one thing for you this season it would be to focus a little more on things that bring quality to your life. Things that bring you comfort, and color your life just as much as the leaves falling from the trees.

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” – Emily Bronte

Do you want to learn to make homeade pumpkin soup this year? Do you want to paint? Do you want to see a waterfall or go wine tasting? May this season be one that you create and do your “want to” list. Life is precious. Savor and soak it all in. Slow down and taste the flavors of the season.

  • Picnic in the park
  • Apple picking
  • Fall garden planting
  • An entire afternoon, reading on the back deck with ice tea and app’s
  • Concerts – at least two
  • A Camping trip
  • Hike two local trails
  • Pumpkin patch
  • Pizza and Puzzle night
  • Visit a Sunflower farm
  • Corn maze
  • Football party
  • Firepit night with s’mores and stories

 

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Seasonal Nourishment

Seasonal Nourishment

 

Summer life brings a freshness to it that makes my soul sing! But alas all good things must come to an end. School is back and football has started. Food shifts are one of the first things that start to show me that another season is approaching and another is ending. With the heat still very high in our southern state it can be hard to transition to fall menu’s and hearty meals. Most of us are still craving the taste’s of summer. Because of this I have compiled a list of some of our favorites for this in between time.

“Food matters because it’s one of the things that forces us to live in this world — this tactile, physical, messy, and beautiful world — no matter how hard we try to escape into our minds and our ideals. Food is a reminder of our humanity, our fragility, our createdness.”
Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

Breakfast idea:

Walnut Coffee Cake Quick Bread

This is a staple in our house. I can hardly keep it in stock when I make it. It is incredibly good with warm butter or with a cup of morning coffee. The original recipe is from Joanna Gaines but I have changed it bacuse personally it was just to many ingrediaents and steps.

*You need three bowls and a loaf pan. Cook for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

bowl one:

1/2 cup of light brown sugar

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter melted

1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. (I buy raw whole and crunch them with a fork)

Bowl two:

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Bowl three:

2 cups of bread flour (I use Arnold brand)

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

a dash of salt

little bit over one cup of buttermilk

1 egg

1/4 cup oil (I use olive or avocado)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

about 3/4 cup of walnuts. (I chop these minimally)

drop half of bowl three in your laof pan and then sprinkle all of bowl two on top. swirl with a knife to make marble look. drop rest of bowl three on top of mixture and then sprinkle bowl one one top. bake and enjoy.

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Lunch Idea:

Chicken Corn Salad

two cups of canned organic sweet corn

one package of chicken (about two servings) grilled and cubbed

cilantro-avacodo- olive oil -baby tomato’s- pesto sauce

mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Add fresh mozzarella – shredded

Rosmary Potaoes and green beans

I originally did this for our easter dinner meal but we love to make this ahead of time and eat it hot or cold!

boil red proptaoes until to your likeing

in a pan saute green beans with onion, scallions, and your choice of mushrooms (we use bella mostly) in avocado oil.

add cooked potatoes.

add salt, pepper and fresh rosmary. top with lemon garlic salad dressing.

 

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Appezizer idea:

Jalepeno Stuffed Peppers

slice peppers in half and throw away seeds

cover the center of pepper with cream cheese. Just the trough part. (If you over fill it will leak out all over your pan in the oven.)

wrap  entire pepper in bacon

lay them all out on a pan and cook in oven till bacon is crispy

Dinner Idea:

Paella

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and cooked rice. Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes. Stir in saffron oil, a bay leaf, parsley, a little chicken stock, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a separate skillet over medium heat on the grill with marinated chicken and onion; cook 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and sausage; cook till tender. Stir in shrimp if desired; cook, turning the shrimp, until both sides are pink and all meat is done.

 

Spread rice mixture onto the grill safe serving tray. (We usually just use the same big stirfry pan that the meat is in on the grill) Top with desired srirachi sauce and optional cheese.

 

“But my parents understood that the world that they made within the walls of our house was what constituted home. So I grew up in spaces framed by art and color, filled with candlelight, marked by beauty. I grew up within a rhythm of time made sacred by family devotions in the morning and long conversations in the evening. I grew up with the sense of our daily life as a feast and delight; a soup-and-bread dinner by the fire, Celtic music lilting in the shadows, and the laughter of my siblings gave me a sense of the blessedness of love, of God’s life made tangible in the food and touch and air of our home.
It was a fight for my parents, I know. Every day was a battle to bring order to mess, peace to stressful situations, beauty to the chaos wrought by four young children. But that’s the reality of incarnation as it invades a fallen world….What my parents-bless them-knew…is that to make a home right in the midst of the fallen world is to craft out a space of human flesh and existence in which eternity rises up in time, in which the kingdom comes, in which we may taste and see the goodness of God.”
Sally Clarkson, The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming

I hope these notes and recipes will inspire you to enjoy the season you are in and to slow down a little bit. May you go and create something nourishing for your family! May you celebrate where you are at and where you are going! But most of all, may you not forget to feed your soul this season. Bon appetit!

Gratefully Delicious

Gratefully Delicious

I am thrilled to bring you my most favorite recipes for the holiday season! I am grateful to have these beautiful recipes from many amazing individuals and resources and I hope they make your festivities lighter and more gratefully delicious! I am so grateful for every single one of you and your suport in this blog. Happy Holiday’s!

Homemade Pasta:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

4 eggs

on the counter throw flour in a pile with the salt and make a hole in middle. crack the egg in the well. using a fork stir and beat eggs keeping the well in place. start to stir the doe. Knead Dough until firm and elastic. (about 10 min.)

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Using a rolling-pin roll dough out thin and then roll the into a spiral log shape. use a sharp knife and cut 1/4 wide strips. unroll the doe for fettuccine!

Cook pasta for two the three min in boiling water.

 

I top with a homeade cheesy topping and eat!

Greatest green bean casserole:

  • 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Trader Joes Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) any style Green Beans, drained
  • 1 1/3 cups French’s Crispy Fried Onions, Original, divided
  • Mix soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup Crispy Fried Onions and (optional) 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until hot. Stir.

  • • For a kick of spice, double the black pepper in this recipe to 1/4 teaspoon and prepare as directed or substitute white pepper.• To feed a crowd, double the recipe and prepare in a 13×9-inch baking dish. Use an entire 6-ounce container of Crispy Fried Onions, reserving 1 1/3 cup for the topping. Increase cooking time to 40 minutes or until heated through.

Grandma’s Apple Crumble Crisp:

Dust pie pan with butter and slice apples in bottom very thin. dust with cinnamon and a touch of sugar.

Topping:

In a mixing bowl combine

1/2 cup melted butter

3/4 cup of oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 TB of cinnamon

Eventually distribute topping mixture over apples

Bake @ 340 for about 30 min

Mema’s Spiced Tea:

1 1/4 cups lipton sugar sweetned decaf lemon flavored ice tea mix. (if using stabdard instant tea use 1 oz tea and 1 cup sugar)

lemonade mix to make 2 quarts (I use counrty time)

1 tsp. ground cinnion

1 tsp. ground cloves

Mix well and leave in a pretty jar for people to use. Use 1 1/2 to 2 tsp with hot water to make tea.

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Welcome Our New Writer!

Welcome Our New Writer!

With great pleasure and excitement I am pleased to announce the exciting news of adding another writer to this site!

At six feet and with a smile that melts anyone, he is GQ in the flesh. The one and only “Stevo”. We have been married for over 11 years and as he is an excellent leader, speaker and writer we are joining forces to bring you the top tips and tricks in creating the exceptional life.

His focus will be more on spiritual growth, “man-ly” things, and on relationships. I am pleased to share the platform with him and give him the due respect and space for his ideas and thoughts to shine. To give you, our readers, clarity in being a person on fire for the things that matter most.

He and I (together) are passionate about marriages. We have been working with couples for over six years to fan the flame for a firm foundation and passionate life as a team. He will be giving all kinds of tips and ideas on creating opportunity for you to thrive and perform at a higher level in all of your endeavours, and relationships.

Steve likes to golf, take our kids to the lake, grill out, “Cheers!” everyone, make a priority of date night, have a great looking lawn, give with abandon, and laugh a lot. He has been blogging as a solo writer for some time now and we feel its time to join forces and create ease for our followers. He is a rock star when it comes to content and I know each and every one of you is going to be so inspired by what he brings to the table.

Welcome aboard Steve! I’m thrilled to be starting this part of our writing! You are my fairy tale.

With Heels and Heart,
-Kate

“Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving. It’s about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. That’s what I want my life to be all about – full of abandon, whimsy, and in love.”
Bob Goff, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

We will both be blogging monthly and as a bonus I personally just launched a You Tube channel as well, for those who are interested in getting further coaching tips and tricks for life.

TIA

TIA

My husband and I have recently started reading some books on being strong parents. What the role of that looks like and how it shapes healthy adult children. While going through this I also had the privilege of going to a place where I visited a group of kids who did not get that kind of a start in life.

A mission trip to an orphanage in Africa for 10 days. It was incredible. I originally went to meet up with some friends and see what they have been doing for almost three years. They are called short-term missionaries – although three years seem a long time for me. They had sold their house, gave their dog away, and closed up shop on long-term careers.

In just 10 days, I came home with a heart cry for Everybody Always and making sure I have an outward focus. These people know just what it’s all about.

Those that are there for extended times longer than even three years but indefinitely have given up the luxuries of air-conditioner and paved roads. These people risk snake bites that can kill you in 45 min, own dogs that are trained to fight lions, and the malaria and TB diagnosis is high and likely. All of this so that they can save babies from the rivers, trash bags, and the abusive homes in the area.

Strong mothers create strong sons. Strong fathers create strong daughters. You put them together and you create a strong tribe that will be a force for Jesus and a generation for change! The people who have chosen to be the Mother and Father to theses little souls are making ripple effects that they themselves will never fully see. To them that is not the point. They are doing beautiful work! I saw what life is all about. Loving, serving, unity, sacrifice.

I got to Africa after more than 15 hours on an airplane. I thought I was going to lose my mind before we even had stepped foot onto Africa soil! It is SO SO long. I am spoiled when it comes to air travel since my father fly’s for a living. Walking straight out on tarmacs, no security lines, no weight checks for your suitcases and posh leather chairs that fully recline…Now that is how to fly!! But alas not our flight. I knew we were in for a unique experience before we even landed. A wildlife ranger was sitting behind us explaining the effects of poaching and rare animal extensions.

That first night there, jet lagged and spinning, we dove into some pizza at a large table and were debriefed on what the trip would look like. A half eaten chicken was given to our waitress. She was beyond grateful. Here was this person serving us and she took tips in the way of food. Half eaten and pulled apart. No food is ever wasted. I was in awe. This was a nice place, and people were scrapping for the leftovers of anything.

They have Joy in all circumstances. There is so little and yet they love what matters. Here in the states we don’t even really understand second world problems and we are all so discontent. There is no food banks or shelter for people to go to. You just go days without food and you walk over an hour each way for your water. The church feeds people every Sunday. It reminded me of the verse in Acts where all the saints were in unity and they fed and clothed each other to survive. Should we not be doing this too?

My shock of the trip was not that I was taken with the children at the orphanage. The trajectory of these little people is forever changed for the better. I knew that loving these kids would be easy for me and I would fall head over heels with them. I wanted to take many of them home with me! Four….or maybe Six. Oh, but what about eight! Could I handle 10 kids? 😉

What surprised me was the heart I had for the workers and the teams of people behind the organization. The Aunties and Uncles. The Swazi people. Who some of them bus in every morning to work with these children. They work hard to be an inspiration for others and to feed their own families. I loved these people and what they represented and stood for. For the energy they carved out of thin air to make something better.

I had one of them look me straight in the eyes and ask “When are you coming back?” As I swallowed my tears I looked straight back into her hope and answered “I don’t know. It’s a long way and my family needs me right now.”

My husband and I are continuing to pray over the emotions we now have for this organization and for the bigger role we are supposed to play with our world. We are not suppose to be about building our own kingdoms and forsake the greater cause.

As Jesus explained, the right things have to die so the right things can live–we die to selfishness, greed, power, accumulation, prestige, and self-preservation, giving life to community, generosity, compassion, mercy, brotherhood, kindness, and love. The gospel will die in the toxic soil of self.

 

What are you doing that is bigger than preserving your self?

A beautiful life does not just happen, it is built daily by prayer, humility, sacrifice and love.
Anonymous

 

Taking it Seriously

Taking it Seriously

I had a friend recently encouraged me. Well I understood that she was trying to encourage me…
The person made a comment to try to encourage me in my role as a mother. I was feeling down and very much unqualified for the large task of creating a life quipped and taught the beautiful nature of Christ’s love. The comment when first said sounds good and is a typical comment. It is often said in my circles to try to release guilt or control, that we as parents don’t actually have in the first place. The comment is:

“Your kids are not a reflection of you.”
The point of the comment is to release you of feelings that you have the ultimate control. That it’s not your fault and that it doesn’t mean you are a bad mom. That choice is involved and they may still choose to go a different path despite all your amazing work.
I strongly disagree with this statement. We can make a difference. To me this is my generations copout to our calling as parents. And yes its a calling! This is not just another role we put on. This is not the time to give ourself a pass and call it “grace”. My children are reflections of me. All the way down to the reflection of the sinful nature that flows through us all – they are reflections.

Now is the time to step up to the ministry of motherhood, to encourage and equip our children. To realize that we are shaping the next generation, and it is our responsibility and that we can and will create it for better or worse. That is our responsibility.
We must go back to the biblical truth’s of motherhood. It is said that all scripture is for teaching and correcting (2 Timothy 3:16) and that it doesn’t return void (Isaiah 55:11). I believe that what I do, matters and that I must be about commitment and love. Always. I am not allowed to give my kids a pass. “oh kids, will be kids”. I’m not allowed to give myself a pass in the statement of “what they do is not a reflection of me”. Because it is. Every single thing absolutely is. That doesn’t mean I let it define me….God does that. (and that is another blog but, responsibility is responsibility.

Titus 2:4 so that they may encourage the young women to tenderly love their husbands and their children,  to be sensible, pure, makers of a home [where God is honored], good-natured, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
God has called us to The things [the doctrine, the precepts, the admonitions, and the sum of ministry] entrusted to us [as a treasure]. We are supposed to be reliable and faithful mothers – so that we will also be capable and qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)

Sally Clarkson says it perfectly

“its easier sometimes to tell myself, “we do our devotions, we go to church, they memorize scripture. That’s all they need. I do enough.” but it’s not enough. what they really need is my life, my heart, my touch, my love, my patience, my correction, my gentleness, and my encouragement. They need me to be able to be there during the many teachable moments of each day, transforming them into discipling moments because of my spiritual intent for their lives.”

Its simple. Be Faithful and reliable to what we have been entrusted with. To be available in a world that says we must do and be a thousand things but not present.  If we do this it is to show them it’s not perfection but my time that matters. Let us remember as mothers to keep it simple. Simple isn’t easy. In fact its the opposite.

It is so very hard to stay faithful and to stay connected in a world that says to be more complicated is to be more fulfilled. Living simply in the now and in the hard times of training and tantrums is to reveal the most beautiful and definitely the most peaceful way to live. It shows them and the world that I will not stick them in front of a screen, or project, or distraction but, that they mean more. Their soul means more. It allows us to create and to make a difference, where it matters the most. For the next generation.
My mother did this the absolute best. I am grateful for her training, and for choosing the hard road of being present, of living simply with the convictions of God’s Word and His purpose for our lives. Her dedication to being faithful with what was in front of her is the reason the picture of her kids (the five of us above) are alive in Jesus.
Happy Thanksgiving. May you be strengthened in your own ministry of motherhood.

Circle of Life

I live next door to a house that attracts certain people. It’s a small house. No yard, basement or second floor. It has wheel chair accessibility in all the doors.

Recently an older lady moved out and another one moved in. She’s old. She has lived a whole life and I always wonder about her story as I’ve only grabbed ahold of a few bits and pieces. She has grey hair and shuffles and most of the time I struggle to understand her, (I think she wears dentures).

It had been a rough day for me. The heat had still yet to dissipate over Atlanta as I walked my children to the mailbox. Something to do in an already rough morning. Honesty I just wanted to check out, to put them in front of the tv or make them take a morning nap. And there she was. Heading out on the arm of a nurse that comes to her house everyday. The nurse that makes sure she hasn’t fallen and that she’s eating.

My daughter being the social butterfly walks right over to talk. I don’t know if it was the heat that day, the exhaustion factor or the plastic sparkly jewelry of my daughters contrasting next to the bathrobe of the older person, but the contrast in front of me was striking. It was also, beautiful.

Here it is in front of me. ALL of life. In that moment I saw everything and wanted to grab hold of every blazing hot second of that crazy rough toddler day. “Soak it in, Kate.” I told myself. “Because in a blink of an eye, that’s it. from 3 to 30 to 85.”

I ran back into my house chasing toddlers and grabbing sippy cups. The little old lady shuffled slowly back into hers. I had laughs and tantrum’s and piles of laundry to deal with the rest of my day. She had a hair appointment and tv, to finish hers. The stories she tells have been interesting but it’s also a reality check that the stories she tells are always over while mine are still in the making.

What’s my point? What are you griping about, frustrated over, or just plain over looking that through the eyes of another person might be treasure on earth? I know that little old lady would kill to be back in my shoes. Lets not miss the beauty of the mess. The reality of our fleshy, physical existence. It’s what makes us human. It’s Christ incarnate that meets us in those moments. And it’s those moments that are the most important.

Soak it in. Relish. Treasure. Live. Feel. Adore.  Don’t miss one moment!

May the hard days, and the rough days, and the mundane days of our existence be the place where we create faith, beauty, love, hope, and our very own stories. A life marked by God’s grace and goodness.

“The spiritual world is connected to the physical world. The common factor connecting all things is true love.” – sun myung moon