Staying on Track

This is the first post that will be tagged under my “healthy living” category.

I want to share a couple of websites that I use to help us stay on track with our eating.

For us, the best way to stay on track is to meal plan and grocery shop based on that plan.  I like knowing ahead of time what we are going to eat than to plan things at the last minute based on the food that is in the house.  The website that I use is called Plan to Eat.  You can try it for free for 30 days.  You plug in your meals and your groceries are automatically added to the grocery list.  You can also add recipes (typing them in yourself of uploading them). Then when you plug the recipe under a certain day, the ingredients are automatically added to the grocery list.  The only negative that I found is that there is no app.  There is a mobile site, however, and that works fine.

We also use Grocery IQ.  If for some reason I am handwriting  our meal plan, then I add the groceries to the Grocery IQ app.  Kevin will also add things he needs or notices we have run out of so we always have an ongoing list.  This app allows you to create different categories based on the stores where you shop.  Kevin often stops at Trader Joes or Whole Foods on his way home from work – this app helps make his stops more efficient.

I love the blog 100 Days of Real Food for meal  and snack ideas.  This mom does a great job of posting kid friendly meals and snacks that requires all whole food ingredients.  Some of our favorite recipes from here are: muffins, cereal/granola, and tortilla shells.

Also,  if you are not on Pinterest, try it! I have a lot of friends who eat healthy, clean foods that they pin.  I have one friend, Nicole, who categorizes the dodos she pins under “Recipes I’ve Tried and Liked” and “Recipes I Want to Try.”  I love this because I know of a lot of people who have had Pinterest recipes flop. I like knowing st hat someone I know has been successful at certain recipes.  Nicole also usually mentions whether or not her boys like the recipes. This is extremely helpful for moms! (The link above actually takes you to Nicole’s food blog.  She does a fantastic job of adding new recipes and letting you know what changes she made and whether or not the boys like the food. Check it out!)

I also recommend using My Fitness Pal. This is basically a calorie counting website, but has a lot of other great features (however, I would suggest getting your calorie range from another site, My Fitness Pal assumes you will add in all your extra activity – but, really, who has time to add every little thing outside of exercise).  My boot campers use this website and many have been very successful in adapting healthy lifestyle habits.

There are a bunch of other websites that I use for help/ideas, but these are my favorites.  What websites/apps do you use to help with healthy recipes or to keep your eating on track?

Adoption – The Back Story

Many people have asked us when and how we decided to adopt so I decided to blog about it -starting at the very beginning.

Adoption is something Kevin and I have talked about for a long time. . . even before we had any of our girls.  At the time, however, it was just a “someday” thought.  Over the last several years, adoption was something that was on my heart especially, but as each of the girls were born, we focused on supporting other adoptive families in various ways.

About a year ago, the calling to adopt – for us – became a little more specific and a little louder.  We both felt a nudging – something we, again, talked about but just sort of pushed it to the side, saying, “If it happens, it happens.”  I don’t know, maybe I thought God would just drop a child into our laps.  Then as we would pray for other adoptive families, Norah would say, “We could do that” or “When are we going to adopt?”

I think the nudge turned to a shove one Sunday when we heard a sermon on Matthew 14:22-33.  If you have never read these verses, I encourage you to do so.  This is the section that talks about Jesus walking on the water.  Peter saw Jesus, stepped out onto the water, and began walking to Jesus.  When he doubted, he began to sink.  Jesus reached out and caught him.  Several things really spoke to us in this sermon.  1 – I want to stay safely in the boat and watch the miracles from a distance.  Do NOT ask me to step foot outside the boat – I KNOW I will sink.  Someone else can do it and I will sit back and enjoy their “story.” 2 – I am full of doubt.  Why step out to begin with if I think, before I even step out, that I will sink?

To those doubts, Pastor Terry reminded us that Peter KNEW it is better to be with God out of the boat than to be in the boat without Him.  We know a lot of people will wonder what in the world we are doing when we already of 3 kids and are very busy.  They will think we should stay in the boat, but, as Pastor Terry also reminded us, God saved us so we could live in an adventure of faith.  What are we doing in faith?

After church that day, Kevin and I talked and we both knew that God was doing something in both of us.  “Shoving” us in the right direction, maybe.  We do know – like Peter – doubts will come.  We will just have to trust that God will see us through.

Back to the child dropping in our laps – so we know God was calling us, but still just said “when it happens, it happend.  We just have to be patient.”

I read a commentary recently by Warren Wiersbe on Colossians, “We must never think that patience is complacency.  Patience is endurance in action.  It is not the Christian sitting in a rocking chair, waiting for God to do something.  It is the soldier on the battlefield, keeping on when the going is tough.  It is the runner on the racetrack, refusing to stop because he wants to win the race.” As a runner, the end of that quote really stuck out to me.  After I have spent months training for a race, I don’t quite at the hardest part of the run.  I KEEP going because I have trained and I want to finish.

Same thing goes for us as Christians.  God has been preparing Kevin and I separately and as a couple for a long time to be obedient to whatever He calls us to do.  Why would we quit now – just because this is bigger than we expected?

Another Sunday, Pastor Terry said, “Sometimes we have to carry God’s plan before it comes to fruition.”  We had to step back and ask ourselves, in regard to this calling to adopt: Are we living the life God has called us to or are we sitting back just waiting for something to happen.

At this point Kevin and I both knew that adoption is something God wants for our family.  We know that it is not an easy process  – there will be trials but we also know that if Christ has called us to do this, He will carry us to the end.  Our job is to trust His plan.

Willy Wonka

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The drama program that Norah and Lucy participate in during the school year, Lifelight Youth Theater, offers summer camp classes.  The class for their age group this year was Willy Wonka.  Lucy’s age group went at 9:30 and stayed until noon, while Norah’s went at 9:30 and stayed until 3:30.  My niece joined the girls this summer – which was really fun for all of them.

The kids worked really hard all week as they prepared for the performance last night.  This was Norah and Lucy’s favorite musical so far.

(side note: Daphne stayed home with me.  Yesterday, when she knew my parents were coming into town, Daphne said “Whew! Now I don’t have to play with you anymore.” Nice.)

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Norah had a little solo and a little duet with her friend, Lily.  They did a great job!

 

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Lucy was an Oompa Loompa.

 

 

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All of the Oompa Loompa were so cute!  They did such a great job!

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The girls have been so blessed by this fantastic theater ministry for homeschoolers!  They put on fantastic classes, productions, and summer camps.

 

Little Hands, Shoeless Feet

This has become our family “theme” song.  Every time I hear it, I tear up a little.  My favorite lines in this song are “I know my God won’t let them be defeated.  Every child has a dream to belong and be loved.”

As a couple, Kevin and I believe this to be true.  We believe that God has a plan for each and every child who lives on this earth – orphaned or not.  James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  After a little study of this verse, I learned that it was a family’s responsibility to care for widows and orphans, however, if these other family members (or if there were none), orphans and widows would end up begging, selling themselves as slaves and/or starving to death.   As Christians, it is our job to care for those who have no one.

We believe that we are called to put God’s word into practice by caring for orphans and widows.  We also know that caring can come in various forms – my mom is great at caring for some widows in her neighborhood.  She takes them food, checks on them, goes over and visits with them for awhile, etc.  I also know of people who financially give to families who are adopting – to help ease the burden there.  Many people care for widows and orphans through prayer.  For some, that means adopting – being a father to the fatherless.

After MUCH prayer on our part, many conversations with others who have gone before us, and a call to “step out of the boat” from our pastor, Kevin and I have decided to adopt from Eastern Europe.  There are many more things to say and I will continue to update the blog as we move along this process, but for now, we ask that you would join our family in prayer as we try to distinguish God’s will for our family through this process.

Morrison’s Visit!!!

Ryan, Heather, and the kids came for a nice long visit a couple of weeks ago.  It was a fun-filled weekend and it was so nice to catch up.  The kids were all perfect the entire 4 days!  I had “warned” Norah ahead of time – that if she and Savannah messed around too much at bedtime (with the exception of the first night – I was totally fine with the girls have one typical “sleepover” night), that she would have to fall asleep in our bed while Savannah sleeps in the trundle in Norah’s room.  I tried to explain to Norah that 4 nights was too many nights to be up late.  The girls totally surprised me – they went to bed every night as soon as we told them to.  One night, they even shut the light off and were quiet before we told them to go to bed.  

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The girls – waiting for Circus Flora to begin!

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The Tight Rope!

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The kids played ALL Saturday morning, then after lunch we headed out to see Monsters University.  After dinner, the we roasted marshmallows for s’mores.  There is nothing quite like roasting marshmallows with friends!

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Yummmm!  I think DJ is loving her s’more!

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Dance Recital

The girls started taking a dance class at My King Studio of Dance in February – just in time to begin learning the dances for the recital.  Norah and Lucy took a tap/ballet class and Daphne took a tumbling/creative dance class.

Minus the make-up (not a fan of my littles wearing make-up), the girls looked adorable.  Their dances were very sweet.  The girls are so excited to begin again in the fall!Image

Norah, Lucy, and Daphne with my dad and my niece.  Notice all the holes in Lucy’s mouth!  She lost a tooth the day of dance pictures and lost another one the day before the recital (plus, she had lost one a few weeks before that!).

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