Church camp with the babe

Dearest friends, I am lounging at my grandparents house in California. And it’s wonderful and warm and sunny. My heart is full. Noah and I will be mostly technology-less for the next week while we spend some time with Jesus in the mountains. I will be back next week.

20140719-094948-35388618.jpg

I hope you all have amazing weeks!!

The perfect cup {a marriage post}

20140716-074357-27837142.jpg

Okay, I’ve started my coffee. It’s making those warm foaming sounds in the kitchen. It sounds heavenly.

However, I know for a fact that once it’s done making those perfect morning sounds and I go pour myself a cup, the ensuing experience will be less than wonderful. I have been trying to make my own pot of coffee for weeks. And yet, I cannot seem to get it right. I swear I use almost the same measurements every morning and yet, sometimes my coffee is straight bitterness, sometimes I get a mouthful of grinds, and most times, it’s watery. Once – on a Sunday morning, I made the perfect cup. PERFECT! I thought I had figured out the secret.

But that was two weeks ago and I haven’t had a good cup since. But I keep drinking it…because I’m committed. ;)

I wish Dutch Brothers delivered. They just opened a new location, literally a two minute walk from my front door, but Noah sleeps until 8 and there’s no way I’m waking him up early to go get my fix. So. Grindy coffee it is.

I was so excited to find this community brew link up this morning. Marriage is one of my favorite things to think about, talk about, and do something about. God has never stopped teaching my how to be a better wife.

My husband and I celebrated our three-year anniversary last week. It was so wonderful to have adults-only time (Noah was with my aunt) and so wonderful to sit down and talk with the man I love. We have recently moved to a new state, transitioned to Connor being the sole bread-winner, and me staying home to take care of our one-year-old (and, in two months, our newborn!). We had a lot to talk about. Having those special moments to check in with your spouse are so important. We both went to  bed that night feeling loved, understood, and united.

And then a few days later, that unity went out the window. Connor was having a rough day (like everyone does from time to time) and I was playing the victim, hard.

My brain did me no favors that day as I thought: “How could my husband be having a ‘bad day?!’ I did this for him, and THIS! He should be ecstatic right now! I slave away to make him happy and now he’s cranky. This isn’t right. He doesn’t even love me. I can’t believe I have to deal with this.”

And when I inevitably blew up that evening we had a long hard talk. And I found out that I regularly play the victim in our relationship. Not because my husband told me this, but because when we got to a place where I could understand him again, like the night of our anniversary,  I realized I had spent the entire day stewing on how I was being wronged. How I wasn’t being loved like the Bible says I should be. And I had let my bitterness sink so deeply into my heart  throughout the day and over the past three years that it took us hours to get anywhere. I hadn’t taken any time to think about Connor, about whether I was loving or serving him well (I wasn’t, by the way.)

“Hi, my name is Kathryn, and I’m a chronic victim.”

And now that I know that, I have to confront it. I am tasked to change myself for the better. I yearn to be the best wife I can be. To breathe in Proverbs 31 and be my husbands ever-flowing fountain of peace.

I’m not naturally gifted with the art of bringing peace…kind of like I’m not gifted at making coffee (however, now that I’m drinking this mornings batch, I am not 100% disappointed – progress!!). Not jumping into the role of the victim is going to be hard. It will be trial and a lot of error. I’ll mess up most of the time and cause more strife than necessary. BUT. Over time, I will make a few “perfect” cups that go down heavenly – no crunchy grinds, not too strong, not too weak.

In my opinion, those smooth, aromatic cups are worth every ounce of effort.

 

community brew link up

Eliminating stress with a meal planning binder

My absolute favorite thing right now is my meal planning binder. It makes me positively giddy. 20140711-101554-36954414.jpg For me, the most stressful part of managing my home is meals and groceries. Well, it used to be anyway. Spending a few extra hours putting my meal planning binder has made shopping for and preparing meals an easy and even exciting part of me day. There are no last minute scramblings in the kitchen. Everything is ready to go come dinner time. Planning ahead has also allowed me to cut down our grocery budget and only make one trip to the store per week. We are fighting to make it on one income, so anything I can do to save money is helpful and necessary. This kind of goodness is too wonderful to keep to myself! So….here are the basics: 1. Sit down and plan out 3 months of meals. I left one night a week open for going out, leftovers, going to friends, etc. 20140711-095028-35428493.jpg 2. Gather the recipes. The physical recipes. Print them off or make copies. Hole punch them and arrange them according to the meal calendars you created. This step is especially important for me because I cannot cook without a recipe and don’t have any meal memorized. Having each evening’s recipe in one binder, easily accessible makes preparation as smooth as possible. 20140711-095453-35693295.jpg 3. This next part took awhile, but has been so incredibly peace-bringing. Create grocery lists based on your meals. Go through the recipes (which are already organized in order of when you will use them), and write down what you will need to get at the store. I made weekly shopping lists, but if you shop bi-weekly or once a month, create your list accordingly. This way, when Saturday morning rolls around and it’s time for me to re-stock our fridge, all I have to do is jot down a few items for breakfasts and lunches and I am set to go. It takes me maybe 30 seconds to prepare my list before leaving. I LOOOOOVE it. 20140711-095453-35693799.jpg 4. Organize your binder as it makes sense to you. In my binder I have my monthly calendars together in the front, followed by the recipes with grocery lists separating each week. After the first three months recipes have been used, I plan on recycling them for another three months. After that, I will create a new three month plan with new recipes and the old ones we loved. If you try this and have any changes/suggestions, let me know!! I would love to make my system easier, if I can. Thanks for reading! :)

A birthday blessing

Today was Connor’s birthday. It was 9 o’clock last night that I had to blink back tears as I realized I didn’t have a party planned, I didn’t have a present prepared, and that I was too exhausted to fix either of those things.

Time runs right past me – much more often than I’d like to admit.

So, feeling like a complete failure, I woke up the next morning and packed my husband’s lunch. I tried making him chicken burritos – his absolute favorite lunch – and ended up overcooking the chicken. Like. Reeeaally overcooking it. Have you ever boiled chicken for 30 minutes? Yeah….me either….

But I wrapped and packed them anyways. I didn’t have time to remake them. I did, however, have bacon leftover from breakfast so I was able to sprinkle those little gems in the burritos. A small win.

Then I kissed my birthday boy goodbye and watched him walk to his car. He has been working so hard since we moved here. And he has been totally selfless about it. If I ever start to talk about feeling guilty for not working, he stops me and won’t hear another word of it. He wants me to be home, raising our children and managing our household.

That is the greatest blessing he has ever given me. I will never take it for granted. And even if I do end up having to go back to work at some point, I will not be bitter. The time I have now is just precious. And challenging.

After he drove off to work, I turned around and faced my kitchen. Dishes from last night and this morning. Then Noah woke up and the rest of the day was his.

Some days I have found myself incredibly motivated to clean, budget, and coupon – but completely unable to follow through with any of it, because my son needs me. All day. Today was one of those days. I wanted everything to be perfect for Connor when he walked through the door after work. It wasn’t.

What he did come home to was a crying mostly naked baby (who had just peed on the floor) and no dinner. I actually still had to run to the store to get a few last minute things for dinner, but hadn’t been able to get things together to leave the house up until that point.

But I got a smile and hug. He said the burritos I packed him for lunch were delicious. Then he took over playing with Noah while I rushed to Walmart.

Connor and I didn’t sit down to eat until 7:45. But Noah was fed and fast asleep, our new portable air-conditioning unit was shooting ice cold air into our faces, and turkey lettuce wraps were steaming on the table.

My husband was happy. So I was happy. I told him I was sorry I didn’t have a present for him and he said that being able to eat his favorite dinner with his wife was the best present he could have asked for.

When I brought out his favorite dessert (chocolate butterscotch cereal bars), he went crazy. He made me feel like the best wife in the world (and there’s really no question that I am absolutely NOT the best wife in the world…).

20140710-221349-80029157.jpg

Our night ended perfectly with one episode of Misfits (yes, we’re obsessed.) followed by a clean and made bed.

Sometimes, days go much much better than expected. And sometimes, I realize just how blessed I am by my husband.

20140710-221348-80028778.jpg

Becoming a SAHM…and why it’s harder than I thought it would be

We are officially settled into our new home. We live in a cute and quiet condo close to the mountains. We absolutely LOVE the location. We are 10 minutes from the zoo, Garden of the Gods, and all sorts of hikes. It’s wonderful.

20140707-210703-76023721.jpg

We do not, however, have air conditioning. And last night I was downstairs on the couch until 4 a.m. because it was so unbearably hot in our room upstairs. So miserable. I’m sure I won’t even notice come September 7, when I no longer have a little heater in my belly. A window air conditioner may be in our future. Out of absolute necessity. ;)

20140707-210703-76023327.jpg

The biggest transition for me has been transitioning into a stay-at-home mom. I worked full-time in South Dakota. I was gone from 8-5 every week day since he was 3 months old. It broke my heart, because all I have wanted to do for years, is be a home maker and a mother. So when it became clear after Noah was born that it was best for our family if I worked during that time, I was fairly devastated. BUT, I surprised myself. I actually liked going to work. I liked taking a shower every morning and putting on nice clothes. I liked getting out of the house when stress was high from a sleepless night. It still broke my heart to leave him (although it was easier because I was able to leave him with my mother almost every day), but I liked having a purpose outside of the house.

Now, my job is my home. And it is a lot harder than I expected it to be. It is difficult to know, at the end of the day, whether I have done my job well. Did I do the laundry to completion? Did I vacuum all the crumbs? Did I sweep the kitchen? Did I play with my son? Did I give him intellectual stimulation? Did I give him balanced meals throughout the day? Did I show him how much I love him? Did I welcome my husband into a peaceful home? Did I prepare a dinner that filled him? Did I soak in the time we had that evening as a family? Did I appreciate my husband enough?

Most days I don’t know the answers.

But that’s okay.

What I do know, is that I am so thankful for the chance to pour into my son and husband. I am thankful to serve God by maintaining the food, finances, and upkeep of my home.

20140707-210704-76024041.jpg

I’m not super talented at any aspect of homemaking. But I am excited to work my fanny off at it. Because I love that little boy and that handsome man.

20140707-210704-76024382.jpg

In other news, that little dude is now walking. And practicing his running. Oh dear. ;)

Chocolate Butterscotch Cereal Bars

Happy 4th of July everyone!!!! My little family is gearing up for a big barbecue this evening with friends and family. I love how focused on family and freedom this holiday is. It’s not about presents, hidden eggs, chocolate or anything “extra” (well, except maybe fireworks…but are those really “extras” or are they necessities?). Anyways, if you are looking for a reeeeaally easy treat to bring to your freedom celebration event (or any event) try these bars out! Making a recipe correctly the first time around is an extremely rare occurence for me. Extremely. I make two to five mistakes every time. HOWEVER, this recipe was a different story. 100% right and 100% tasty the first time.. I got this recipe from my mother-in-law after listening to my husband daydream about these “A-MAZING” treats she used to make for him when he was a kid. And believe me, they were worth the daydream!

20140704-085114-31874354.jpg

You need:

1 cup sugar

1 cup Karo corn syrup

1 cup peanut butter (you can use crunchy or smooth – I used smooth, because I had smooth)

3 cups Rice Crispies

3 cups Cheerios

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

 

How to make ‘um:

Measure out all ingredients. This recipe moves fast, so having the necessary ingredients already proportioned is hugely helpful. Use butter to coat a 13×9 pan. Set the pan aside. Mix sugar and corn syrup in a big saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring. Once it starts boiling, immediately remove from heat and add peanut butter. Stir together until smooth. Stir in cereals. Once they are mostly covered with the sticky stuff, press it all into the buttered pan.

Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together using the microwave…1 minute, stir, 30 seconds, stir, repeat until smooth. Spread mixture over the top of the cereals. Cut into bars , then refrigerate (cut before refrigerating, or it gets very hard).

Once the chocolate is set and all ingredients have cooled, (1 or 2 hours) take them out and try to eat just one…I dare you. :) I do not recommend storing them in the fridge after the initial setting time. Storing them on the counter allows the mixture to get the perfect crunchy-gooey consistency.

I hope you enjoy them!!

Here are the steps in pictures, if you are a visual person like me. :)

20140702-074858-28138211.jpg

20140702-074857-28137219.jpg

20140702-074856-28136943.jpg

20140702-074856-28136637.jpg

20140702-074857-28137563.jpg

20140702-075330-28410909.jpg

20140702-075331-28411195.jpg

 

<div align=”center”><a href=”http://www.martinisbikinisblog.com/&#8221; title=”Martinis & Bikinis”><img src=”http://i60.tinypic.com/2mdf0ch.png&#8221; alt=”Martinis & Bikinis” style=”border:none;” /></a></div>

 

26 week bumpdate

Well hey there! It’s that time again…

20140606-080106-28866582.jpg

How far along are you?: 26 weeks. Woah.

How I’m feeling: I have nothing to complain about. Minor sciatic nerve pain, but nothing that’s keeping me down! My energy level is up and so is my excitement to meet Mr. Micah.

Total weight gain: 18 lbs and feeling good about it. My overall weight gain goal (or hope) was 25-30 lb so I’m still on track for that. YAY! I walk a couple times a week  and hopefully will walk every day once we’re settled into our new home.

How big is baby?: Baby is an eggplant!

This week baby:  Little buddy is almost 2 lbs! His eyes have completely formed and will open soon. He is a very active baby. He takes little catnaps throughout the day but spends most of his time rearranging my organs with his feet. ;)

Maternity clothes: Yep. Stretchy shirts and maternity jeans. I do have a pair of regular jean shorts I still fit in…but I have to wear really long shirts because I can neither button or zipper them. So. I’m saying that counts as non-maternity. Winning.

Sleep: Noah, Micah and I are all sleeping like rocks. Amen.

Best moment this week: We got a time set up to sign our lease papers and will move in next week! Have I mentioned that God is good? He is. We had been looking for a place to live for over a month when we found the dreamy little condo we will call our own next week. It is a two story, two bedroom, two bathroom. WHAT?! Yeah, this girls excited. ALSO – I finally get to unpack the 20 or so boxes that have been sitting in storage since last June. Biiiig sighs of happiness over here.

Movement: Like I said, he is either a boxer or a black belt.

Food cravings: Macaroni and cheese. With hotdogs. Or Cheetos and pickles (at the same time in the same bite.).

Food aversions: Nada.

Belly button in or out: Innie that thinks they’ll become an outie any day now.

What I am thankful for: Getting to spend quality time with my family before moving, Noah’s adorable personality, and FaceTime.

What I’m looking forward to: Moving in!!!!!! Unpacking boxes!!!! Decorating!!!!