Muffins & Motherhood musings

 Children really help teach patience. They help you learn what things in life are really important and what things can wait, they teach you how to give up your own interests for the sake of others (your family), and…did I say patience?! I’ve had to scale back in life recently to deal with attitudes. For some reason we are in a season where on some mornings, by 8:30 am, I’ve dealt with more attitudes and meltdowns than I should have all day. I was getting so burnt out and frustrated. Then I realized I just needed to scale back on life. I needed to allow myself to be more available to my children to deal with the attitudes on hand.
I haven’t been scheduling play dates or planning a lot of extra things, I haven’t been as focused on Instagram or planning what to post next, I haven’t been on my phone as much… and when I do have down time, I try to fill myself up. I’m in the Word, listening to relaxing music, working out, and staying on top of the house so I’m not stressed about that. And you know, its helped so much. Just letting go of things and focusing my attention on my children. The ridiculous meltdowns and tantrums aren’t as stressful and I’m able to collect myself and face them head on, with more patience. Well, sometimes I want to walk head on into the wall and repeatedly bang my head on it…but, not as often as before. (May I add, I still lose my patience, daily.) Its so easy to get too busy and forget that we are raising little sinners who needs to be taught, disciplined, loved, and reminded of things over and over again…and again..and then one more time. But thats our job, our calling. So, sometimes things in life need to wait, and we need to put all our energy and effort into the most important things…our littles!
So, speaking of trying to fill myself up, I decided to bake on this rainy afternoon while the kids were napping. I turned up the tunes and got to whisking! Here’s what I whipped up…they were pretty tasty!
I used a recipe from Pinterest, and my own modifications are in parentheses.

Maple- Sweetened Banana Muffins

INGREDIENTS
  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or (extra-virgin olive oil, because my coconut oil was expired 😯 )
  • ½ cup maple syrup or honey (I used honey)
  • 2 eggs, preferably at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
  • ¼ cup milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1¾ cups whole wheat flour (I did 1 cup whole wheat and 3/4 cup almond flour)
  • ⅓ cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado (raw) sugar or other granulated sugar, for sprinkling on top
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease 11 cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and didn’t require any grease).
  2. In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the 11 muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats (about 1 tablespoon), followed by a light sprinkling of sugar (about 1 teaspoon). Bake muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
  5. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Enjoy muffins as is or with a spread of nut butter or regular butter.

I hope you’re able to make them and sit down with some coffee for a little “recharge” time! Thanks for reading, friends!

xoxo

Danielle

A moms tutorial on how to paint a dresser

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Hi friends! When my best friend saw that I refinished this dresser she said she would like to paint a piece of furniture she has, but would have no clue where to start. So, I’m going to tell you how I did it (with kids!) in case it helps a few of you out, including my bestie.  🙂

My neighbor inherited a lot of antiques a few months ago and she gifted this cute little dresser to me. I had it sitting in my kids room for months, trying to figure out how I could use it in there. I decided to bring it out in the living room and immediately found the perfect spot for it! So, time to start sanding and painting!

Here’s the supplies I used:

  • 220 grit sandpaper (150grit would work well too)
  • Electric hand sander (not necessary, just faster!)
  • Quart of Kilz 2 latex primer
  • Quart of Shermin Williams, Mindful Gray latex paint.
  • Small foam roller (If you are doing a smaller piece of furnisher, a foam roller isn’t necessary. My roller was old and not working right so I ended up using a bigger paint brush for most of it)
  • 1.5 inch angled paint brush
  • 3 little helpers  🙂
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Before

Here’s the steps I took:

First, I sanded it with the 220 grit sandpaper. I did this while the kids were playing outside and I was on the phone. Multi tasking, a mom’s way of life, right?! I at least lightly covered every little nook and cranny.

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When I was finished sanding I decided I should probably pull out the little electric hand sander to go over the large surfaces. I did this when I got off the phone because… that sander is loud! When prepping for latex paint you want to make sure all the “shine” on the surface is gone. Its not necessary to sand it down completely to the bare wood, but it is important to remove that first layers so the primer and paint stick!DSC_0779

Once I was finished sanding, I set the little dresser on a table outside so I could paint on the primer with my one year old around. I set up some cars and trucks and asked the older ones to play with him (benefits of having big helpers!) I used Kilz 2 primer, which is a good primer to use, and we happened to have some in our paint cupboard. Yah! Of course, when I pulled the primer and paint brushes out the big kids wanted to help so I let them do the back of the dresser! Its fun to involve the kids… WHEN possible!
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I wanted to get the first coat of primer on in the morning so I could put the second coat on at nap time. We went over to my moms house later that morning and I was able to sneak away to the paint store to get the paint I wanted…kidless! I got Sherwin Williams, “Mindful Gray”. I actually thought it was going to be darker but, isn’t that always the story with paint? I also bought a nicer angled brush to get good coverage on all those nooks and crannies I had just sanded!
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Once the kids were all asleep at nap time I brought the dresser into the house. It was too hot to paint outside and I didn’t want the paint to dry too quickly. Ok, plus I wanted to stay in the cool house with my music and coffee  🙂

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Later in the evening I set up the dresser on our patio table and was able to paint the first coat of gray while my family was playing in the backyard. Thankfully it is small because it went pretty quickly!

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This dresser is really old with lots of dings and a few cracks! I could have used some wood filler to fill in the crack on top but I opted not to 🙂 You can’t really see it when there are things on top!

First coat.

I let the first coat set up over night and was able to paint the second coat at nap time the next day! I didn’t want to paint the final coat while the kids were awake because that would been probable interruptions. I wanted to have good, even coverage on that last coat! I let it dry over night before bringing it in for use!

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I was going to paint the knobs black but decided to leave them in their original state…because I can always go back and change them:)

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I was going to paint the knobs black but decided to leave them in their original state...because I can always go back and change them:)

The dressers new home

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I hope this gave you some helpful hints on how to paint a dresser, and if you have kids…how it can be done with kids!  😉  Do you have any furniture that could use some painting?!

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Keeper of the calendar

IMG_2625For various reasons the past few weeks have seemed extra busy. I constantly just feel like I’m a step behind and can’t quite catch up. Whenever I feel this way I like to pause for a minute and make sure I’m saying “no” to the things I can be. My time on earth is too short and sweet to let busyness invade my life and rob me of special moments and joy!

I need down time to recharge and feel refreshed. Time to be still and  focus my thoughts. When the days go flying by and we are here and there, I feel overwhelmed, behind, frustrated and worn down. My kids are still little so they are dependent on momma for a lot of things. I have to be conscious of not wearing myself too thin. I have found that I like 2-3 days during the week with no set plans. I’ll go out with the kids to do errands or fun things, but we go at our own pace. When my weeks become too full I feel like I’m just herding my little pack around, always rushing everyone around leaving me feeling like a scatter brained drill sargent. Its hard for me to stay up on laundry, housework, our garden, and my quiet time. When the busyness creeps in I feel like I miss out on special little moments with my kids, and those moments can be so important! I am to nurture my children, and nurturing calls for those teachable and lovable moments.

As I reflect on the busyness of the past few weeks, and the upcoming weeks, I realize there’s not much I can do about it. There always seems to be seasons where the calendar is full and there is really no way around it. So what do I need to do during this time? I need to adjust for this season based on how I know I function. I need to make sure I squeeze in a few minutes of down time daily. I need to be conscious of saying “no” to all the things I can. If there happens to be a free day, I need to work at keeping it that way. I need to aim at having a good attitude if the laundry is piled higher than normal and the house isn’t as clean as I want. Its a busy season and something has to give! I also need to make sure this season doesn’t go on for too long and our family doesn’t reach burnout!

As wives and/or mothers it is our job to set boundaries and protect busyness from invading. We are the keeper of the calendar. This is an important job and we need to guard those daily squares and provide some rest for ourselves and our family. I realize everyone is different, some thrive with being on the go, where others like myself may need a little more down time. I encourage you to take a step back though and assess where you are and where you want to be. Figure out ways you can adjust. What do you need and what does your family need?  Are you burnt out? Do you need to be saying “no” more? Time is valuable and life is short. Let’s make sure we are being good keepers of the calendar and stewards of our time!

 

Motherhood letter, part 3- Taking care of YOU!

Weeno Photography 2016 (37 of 50)

Happy Mothers day! I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating your mothers, being a mother, or memories of someone!

Part 3

“This leads to something else I’ve become better at over the years of parenting. Making time for myself. I used to think this sounded selfish…when people said I need “ME” time. But now I realize it is crucial in being a good mom. I like to think of it more as “recharge” time though…to recharge spiritually and emotionally to keep persevering in our important role of being a mother! I used to feel guilty when doing this, it was hard for me to stop and sit when there was so much to do! But now I realize I’m always a better mom after.

In the book “Mission of Motherhood” I read, Sally Clarkson suggested doing something which I have found so helpful. She said to make a list of things that help keep your sanity- 15 minutes daily, an hour or two weekly, and a weekend refreshment at least once every 6 months (well, the weekend away is a good goal at least 😉 ). For my 15 minutes daily it’s (usually with coffee) gardening, looking at a magazine, reading an easy read book, working out, crafting, etc…. something refreshing and something I enjoy. At times when I only have a few minuets I have turned on some worship music and sat on the couch with my eyes close and feet up. It helps me relax, clear my head of the chaos, and gives me a little more energy to hang on to as I finish out the day! On the weekend when my hubby is home I try to to do a “fun errand”…like browse the stores for clearance clothes that I can store away for next season for my kids. This doesn’t always happen, and I know it can’t for some, but please, just carve out a few minutes here and there to take care of your sweet spirit. Motherhood is a lot of giving to our little loves, and I think we can do it with a happier heart if we make a little time……And remember, if you feel overwhelmed on this motherhood journey, all God needs is a faithful and willing heart and He will help with the rest!”

I hesitated sharing this because I don’t want it to sound selfish. I know as moms we tend to put our family before ourselves, and thats how it should be. But I also know, as I have done it many times, I reach burn out…and then I just collapse and can’t do anything. I’m learning ways to help prevent those burn outs coming as often…and I hope this little exercise I learned from Sally Clarkson helps you too! What things help you feel refreshed?!

 

Motherhood Letter part 2, Patience & Our high calling

I hope you were encouraged by Part 1 (read here if you missed it) about sleepless nights and our great example of the Proverbs 31 woman! Read below about how to help keep patience with your little ones!

Part 2

“This leads to the next thing I’ve discovered about being a mom… it’s really hard to keep a good attitude and have patience when you’re tired and its complete mayhem. When you get married you learn that you may not have been as “selfless” as you thought…and then you have kids. I have had a lot of growing pains in this area of attitude and patience over the past 3 years. It is so hard at time to have patience!!!! I mean, I can’t emphasize it enough. I won’t tell you all the ways I’ve failed in this area, but I will tell you what has helped me. It takes being filled with the Holy Spirit. I’m currently in a Bible Study on the Fruit of the Spirit by Beth Moore and have been so encouraged by it. She talks about how we can’t let our flesh dictate our attitude. Galatians 5:17 says “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit was it contrary to the sinful nature. They are at conflict with each other.” The biggest reason for failure in daily struggles is trying to balance the Spirit and the flesh. But it just doesn’t work. I have to be filled with the Spirit so that my mood, emotion, impulses and urges is not of my flesh, but of the Spirit.

Romans 8:26 talks about how the Spirit helps us in our weakness…(or our attitude and patience).

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One thing that really stood out to me in the study is when she talked about how the spirit intervenes in our weakness, not in our avoidance. As a mom it’s easy to not make being in the Word, or being in prayer, a priority. There’s always so much cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc to be doing. This was a hard balance for me after my first kid, even my second! And now that I have 3 kids, I have made the time almost daily, because I’m realizing I need His help more than ever. It takes a little while to get into a routine but I encourage you, friend, to make it happen. And I will say, a lot of my mom friends and I have talked about how we had to adjust. Would I love to sit outside for an hour ever morning with my cup of coffee and do my Bible Study with no interruption. Yes! Can that always happen? Absolutely not. Especially when they are so little and up throughout the night, or when you have multiple little ones who are so dependent on you. I found when I first became a mom I would try to wait until I had “the perfect” time where I could just sit for a good 30 mins to an hour and be in the Word. But sometimes that perfect time wouldn’t come, and it wouldn’t come again, and again. Then I realized I had to be creative. Some days, it means turning on worship music while cooking dinner to set your attitude straight. Some days, it can be praying for my kids as I’m folding each of their clothes. The point is, we need to be in tune with Him.

The longer I’ve been a mom there are areas I have become more efficient in, allowing me for more quality quiet time. But there are some seasons where we feel like we can barely stay afloat. So, even if it’s not my ideal, I’ve learned I have to be ok with that for this season of life, however, I need to make the most of every opportunity …or I lose it.

I just finished reading a book by Sally Clarkson called, “The Mission of Motherhood” and it spoke to me in so many ways. In one chapter titled “The Faithful Mother”, she says this

God designed mothers to partner with Him in His eternal work, and He has promised to reward our faith and our faithfulness…We are the real, in-the-flesh, tangible picture of God’s loving hands, strong arms of protection, and encouraging word of hope to our children…Each child longs for a heritage with which he can have pride; a home where he can see the faithfulness of God lived out every day; a family in which love is constant, forgiveness and grace hold everyone together, and faith and endurance conquer all obstacles. This is the kind of foundation upon which a child can begin to build the fortress for his own life… Each of us, as mothers, must continually endeavor to make the right choices so that our children receive such a foundation. (p. 232)

When I realize how important my role is as a mother, how much my attitude…even in the small things, affects my children’s future; how I am their example of what it means to live a Christ centered life, things get serious. I’m reminded that I have been entrusted with these little lives and need Him more than ever. So my friend, although there are sleepless nights, countless diapers, dishes piled as high as the Taj Mahal, messes beyond belief, and little time for rest, let’s remember together that motherhood is so much more than that. We are building our children’s foundation for their future in these early years!

This leads to something else I’ve become better at over the years of parenting…” **Please check back for the final part of the letter!**

Does this speak to you in any way? Do you have any questions?!

 

Motherhood letter part 1, Sleep & the Virtuous Woman

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In honor of Mother’s day approaching I want to share with you the first of a 3 part “mini series” on motherhood. One of my best childhood friends recently became a mom (yah!), and while she was expecting her sweet boy I wrote her a letter about a few things I’ve learned on my motherhood journey. Being a mom is so extremely hard at times, but brings a joy and love you can’t describe! I’ve divided the letter into 3 parts so that each part is just a few paragraphs and makes for an easy read!

Part 1

….”As you begin on the this journey of motherhood you have a sweet little newborn, who needs you 24/7. And although “lack of sleep” can sometimes be a laughing matter when talking to a new mom…it.is.hard. I have a very supportive and hands on husband, however, in the beginning I would find myself annoyed at him. Annoyed that he would wake up after a solid 6 hours of sleep and would yawn and say “I’m tired”. Really? Really. You’re tired?! Must be nice to get more than 2-3 hours in a row! And although things get better the older they get…there is teething, sickness, early risers, scary dreams, more kids… It used to be really hard for me mentally. I would want to sulk on days I felt exhausted from not getting a good night’s sleep. Over the years though I’ve learned that that’s just part of parenting and I need to stop dwelling on it…or to stop dwelling on the fact that some peoples kids sleep actually do sleep a solid 12 hours at night (because I’ve dwelt on that). I just read something I wrote in my “motherhood journal” recently:

Today I write this feeling exhausted. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in, I don’t know how long. Recently there have been nights I’m up 8 times between all the kids. I’m trying not to focus on the lack of sleep and just enjoy the days we have together as a family…however, I think I’m almost at a breaking point.

There are times & seasons (sickness!) when you really do just need sleep, so get some help and take a nap! But I’m talking about the normal, day to day sleep deprivation. Something that has motivated me to get up before the kids when I just really want to hit snooze, or when I’m just tired and don’t feel like serving my family, is striving to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. Proverbs 31:15 says “She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household”, and verse 27, “She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” The virtuous woman here rises early and works hard because of her concern for others. She gives of herself to care for her family..she was a servant leader. What a great example for me.

The scary thing is that as woman, we set the tone for the home. Titus 2 talks about how the older women need to teach the younger women “…to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home.” Our husbands are called to be the leaders of their family, but we are the overseer who can plan, organize, manage the creativity, and set the tone for the home. My attitude greatly affects my family, so I need to stop dragging my feet around whining that I haven’t had a good night’s sleep.

This leads to the next thing I’ve discovered about being a mom, it’s really hard to keep a good attitude and have patience when you’re tired and its complete mayhem…”

**Please check back for part 2 of the letter that talks about the hardest thing for me as a mom, patience!** Proverbs 31 has been a great reminder for me as I take care of my home and my family, and I hope it is for you to!