April 19, 2014

Ava's Easter Dress


Yesterday we were at Hobby Lobby (my 1st time there and it was AMAZING!!!!) and they had some tube-top material on sale, so I let Ava pick out the one she liked. I only needed 3/4 yard for the dress & with the extra fabric I made straps and a headband. I am not a properly trained seamstress, I just make sure all my seams are sewed correctly and everything gets tucked in and such, so I will spare you a tutorial (and spare myself the embarrassment, lol). I just thought I would share with the world the first dress I have ever made my daughter!! She is frolicking and dancing and twirling around in her new dress & she cannot wait to show everyone on Easter.

PS...
Don't you just love the miss-matched princess slippers? She can never decide on one princess so she wears two at a time :) She's so funny, I'll keep her!

Happy resurrection celebration weekend! Christ is Risen!
Janiene


April 13, 2014

Princess Tea Party

My precious daughter turns 3 this week and she asked for a princess tea party. So that is exactly what I gave her!

Ava asked for a girls-only party and asked her Daddy and brothers to go fight all the bad guys and keep the kingdom safe for the tea party. So that is what they did :)

So, without further ado, here is my daughter's princess tea party...

The cupcakes were inspired by Pepper Design Blog's balloon bunch cupcakes...

Aren't they adorable! YUM!

The food table...

The glittery butterfly backdrop that Ava helped me make...

In lieu of tea sandwiches I made Ava's favorite, pancakes! I made mini pancakes & layered them with caramel & strawberries. I used decorative toothpicks to secure the stacks...

Banana pudding with cool whip and cinnamon, a family favorite! Simply serve them in mini mason jars...

Isn't/Aren't (not sure which word to use there - vocabulary is not my strength) berries and cool whip the BEST treat EVER!?!? Or, is it just me? Beautiful...

We served iced tea instead of hot tea :) Blackberry Acai Green Tea & Harvest Peach Tea. YUM!

Ava LOVED her tea party. She kept thanking me for everything and twirling in circles! So cute...

My mom loaned me her Spring crystal and I set the table in pastels and floral prints...

Flowers, gold fish crackers, and animal cookies...

The princesses had a fun time chatting over tea and snacks...

After the princesses finished their tea, they made bracelets...

Making bracelets...

Happy Birthday Ava...

And this was right before she almost set her hair on fire (so close)...

"Let It Go" dance party...

We were so happy to have our friends come over! The goody bags were wrapped in tulle and it had a book, hair clip, necklaces, and party favors in it...

My husband bought flowers for his daughter and scattered them throughout the house. I found these in the guest bathroom. Pretty!

The beautiful princesses from today's party...

The mommies of the princesses, aka the Queens (faithful friends through all of my parenting adventures)...

I used Pink Monkey Prints for our invitations (I whited out my address and phone number, no need to post that on the internet, lol)...

We had a beautiful day & I am excited to see what this year of Ava's life will bring for her. I'll say this, having a girl has been so fun (and pretty, and sparkly, and pink). :)

Blessings,
Janiene

April 9, 2014

My Journey of Losing Weight, Part 2...

Before you read this post, read {this post}. This post is part 2 of my journey of gaining strength (and losing weight!).

In January I began my journey of walking in self-control, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the area of food. The Lord has been my focus, my ability, and my reward. I am now in my 13th week of this journey and I thought I would share my progress with you all.

I have energy throughout the day.
My blood sugar has been stable, all but one time.
I am down 27.2 lbs.
I'm wearing clothes I have not worn in over 7 years.
I am stronger and have more endurance.
I am acutely aware of how out of control I can get when I stop yielding to the Spirit and start indulging my flesh.

The number one question I have received from readers, family, and friends, is how?
How did I lose weight?

To begin with, as I shared in my first post {click here to read that post}, this journey was born from conviction. I had wanted to lose weight for 6+ years. I tried, and tried, and tried, and then stopped trying, and tried again. The Lord convicted me that "I" was the one "trying". As a Christian nothing in my life should be powered by "me" (Gal 2:20 & Col 3:1-4 & Gal 5 & Eph 5:18 & John 14). "I" was "trying" and failing. The Lord convicted me that this issue with self-control was really an issue of yielding to the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit. It was a revelation. A light-bulb moment. A moment of sweet conviction. "I" needed to stop "trying" and instead "I" needed to be removed and in my place the "Lord would empower me and help me". Spirit-controlled eating. Spirit-controlled living. Birthed from this sweet conviction was a desire to abandon & abide. Abandon my will & abide in Jesus.

This may seem mystical or spiritual, but for me it was "the" necessary first step. I had to realize "I" was the problem and HE (the Lord) was the power, the way, and the solution to "me"!

Ok, now onto the second part of how I am doing this...
Basically, the eating plan is low carb, high protein, no refined sugars, eat every 2-3 hours, exercise 6 days a week, drink an insane amount of water, have a protein day once a week, and stay consistent and don't cheat. I journal everything I eat & I weigh myself once a week.

Also, I have an accountability group (with the best leader ever & the most awesome ladies to ever go on a journey like this with) that I meet with once a week and I call into the leader once a week. The accountability has been a blessing because I am weak and having encouragement is perfect for me.

I plan ahead when I am leaving the house and take protein bars with me, bottles of water, herbal tea bags, cuties (tangerines), etc.

I shop for produce once a week and prepare everything on Monday nights so I can easily make a salad, grab a snack, use fresh veggies in meals, etc.

I prepare meals like I always have. My family eats everything I make and then I just eat the meat & veggies. My kids eat a lot more veggies than they used to just because they see me and get curious and ask for a taste. They love broccoli, carrots, peas, green onions, lettuce and tomatoes now :) YAY!

I would say the most challenging aspects of this journey has been kicking my night time snacking habit and saying "no thank you" to yummy foods at special events.

I love to snack at night. I have learned to replace nighttime snacking with exercise, a glass of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and a string cheese.

Special events have been hard because you seem to stand out more when you are not eating. People have asked me why I am not eating or why I didn't have cake or why I brought a protein bar. I simply share that I am on a diet, because saying "I am trying to be good" makes them feel like they are being bad. It is not bad to eat cake - I will be able to eat cake and ice cream again, and it will be deliciously good! But for now, through this journey, it is not good for me.

A few of the verses that have been a banner over my journey...



And here are a few quotes that really ministered to me...

"Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake."
-Jonathan Edwards

May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!
Saint Patrick

“Choices will continually be necessary and -- let us not forget -- possible. Obedience to God is always possible. It is a deadly error to fall into the notion that when feelings are extremely strong we can do nothing but act on them.”
Elizabeth Elliot, Discipline the glad surrender

I don't quite know what else to share about the journey. If you have specific questions you can email me at janienemarie {at} gmail {dot} com.

Blessings,
Janiene

March 28, 2014

Imagination Play with Tape & Recycled Stuff


I gave my son a bunch of cardboard boxes, egg cartons, tissue paper, cork, and whatever else I could find,  and I asked him to play with it. He told me he does not have an imagination and that he has no idea what to make. I gave him a roll of masking tape and set the timer for 30 min and told him to play until the bell rang. It was amazing to watch his brain click and then see all the awesome ways he played with the stuff. He ended up playing for an hour and a half and came up with a half dozen play scenarios. At the end of the play time he tells me, "I have a great imagination, huh Mom?!"

Imagination rules!

Blessings,
Janiene

March 22, 2014

Let's get this garden started...

What a fun Saturday!

We had a blast going to Home Depot today and buying all our veggies for our vegetable garden! We have bell peppers, jalepenos, 3 kinds of tomatoes, japanese cucumbers, sunflowers and carrots. So fun! We have most of it planted! YAY!

I love Springtime.

I planted my first vegetable garden last year and I instantly fell in love with gardening. My kids and I learned SO MUCH last year and we are excited to see what new things we will learn this year. We are going to attempt to grow carrots and my kids are super excited about that.

Last year, the kids and I made this sign that hung in our garden all Spring and Summer...

Today we had fun repainting the sign for our 2014 garden! Each kid sanded their little rectangle and then repainted it. It is now proudly hanging up in our new garden. Ta-da...

Last year I added 5 bags of Kellogs organic garden soil into my dirt. This year I only bought 2 bags and stirred it into the dirt. This stuff smells awesome and rich...

I had a lot of help from my kiddos today. Ethan raked...

Owen helped me soak the jiffy pots...

Ava helped me plant all the veggies & was the most adorable helper ever...

I am using my same drip hose from last year and when I pulled it out it was all twisted and crazy looking. I reshaped it and I am keeping it in place with rocks. I thought I'd explain just in case you were curious about all those rocks in the garden :)

We are starting some carrots as seeds this week and hope to plant those in April. 

Oh, and I will be growing sunflowers too - I want to win at the county fair this year for the largest sunflower head. I came in second last year. I'm aiming for that first place prize!! ;) Here is last years' entry, isn't she a beauty?...

Happy Spring friends. 
Janiene