Dreams To Do

May 2013 archive

High Five for Friday!

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TGIF! Wow, what a wonderful week! Here are 5 things that have made me smile this week…

1) New HOT pink lipstick!
I’ve never been that into beauty or makeup… until this past year or so. And now I am having SO much fun playing with different products! I found a coupon in a magazine for $2 off a Maybelline Colorsensational lip product, so I bought their new Vivids lipstick in Pink Pop. It is definitely the brightest lip color I’ve ever worn! I love the way it feels and tastes (you know how some lip products just have a nasty perfumey taste to them? Not this one!).

2) I gave myself a pretty manicure.
Again, I’m having so much fun experimenting with beauty products! I went years without painting my nails on the regular and now I can’t get enough of having a pop of color on my hands. This week I’m rocking Essie’s Tart Deco (a bright coral) with some Dollar Store glitter polish on the base. It makes me happy. 🙂

3) I co-wrote an article for Daily Mom.
I had the pleasure of collaborating with my friend Megan from The Memoirs of Megan on a helpful article on DailyMom.com about Returning To Work After Maternity Leave. I love being able to use my experiences to help others – definitely one of my favorite things to do in writing! Please check it out HERE and let me know what you think!

4) Playtime with my kiddos.
Watching Leila’s imagination develop has been so much fun! She’s at the age where she likes to pretend ALL THE TIME. We’ve been playing princesses a lot lately. Or that I’m the baby and she’s the mommy. And Landon is always just right there with us! (Leila likes to make him the prince or the daddy.) It’s like I get to re-live my childhood all over again!

5) I had a 3-day work week!
Since Monday was Memorial Day and I don’t work Fridays anymore, I only had to go to work 3 days this week! YAY! OMG did it feel good! And now I’m getting started on 3 days home with my beautiful family. What to do, what to do…

Happy Friday to you!

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Wise Words Wednesday: True To Yourself

Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it. ~ Hardy D. Jackson

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Love this quote (in fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve probably shared it in another Wise Words Wednesday post before). It is so important to take inventory on your life every now and then: Is your heart in what you are doing right now? Is your behavior a true reflection of YOU – of your beliefs, your desires, your personality?

Sometimes I lose track of myself. It is SO easy to do so! Sometimes I have to question whether I like something because I actually like it or because the media/my friends/society is telling me I’m supposed to like it. I think this is a trap that everyone falls into every now and then.

So today let’s focus on being true to ourselves, k? Are you wearing a pair of skinny jeans because they’re all the rage, but you’re ridiculously uncomfortable and not feeling confident? Ditch them! Trying out the latest fad diet, but you’re miserable? Stop – find something that works for YOU! Working on a blog post that you think your readers will enjoy, but your heart just isn’t in it? Delete it!

Focus on just being the best YOU you can be.

Filling a day.

It’s funny how the to-do list can be a mile long, but it all goes out the window when you’re spending the day alone with your children. Priorities shift from productivity to simply meeting (and hopefully exceeding) their needs. If you’re lucky, maybe you can check off a couple things, but if it isn’t in their best interest, then chances are it isn’t in yours. And no matter how long the list of things you just MUST get done is, when it comes to entertaining two small children all day long, there just isn’t enough to do.

I’m coming down off a lovely 4-day weekend spent at home. No fancy Memorial Day plans here. Andy had to work Fri-Sun and I got some more practice in the Mom vs. The Kids game. I’m happy to report that I had THE BEST weekend and learned a couple of things along the way…

  1. I am an awesome mom. And I say that with confidence (if you’re a mom, you should say it too!). This weekend I nailed the perfect balance of kid fun and mommy have-to’s. I cleaned out the closet AND took the kids to the park. I folded laundry AND played puzzles and built block towers. Somehow I was productive AND a fun mom. So, I guess it can be done.
  2. I really do have the best friends. My last post may have came across more dark and depressing than I hoped. I wasn’t writing that from a place of sadness, it was just merely an observation and a truth to what I feel sometimes – lonely. But this weekend God responded to my blog post with not one, but three wonderful play-dates with some of my best mommy friends. We had something fun planned every day and not only did it help my sanity, but it was fun for the kiddos, too. I just feel so blessed. Love you ladies!
  3. Days with kids are so much better when there is a game plan. Usually during my weekends alone with the kids we just wing it. Minute by minute I am trying to come up with things to do to fill the day. But this time? This time I had plans. We had our play-dates in the afternoon and errands/chores in the morning. Not only was this great for my sanity (things to look forward to), but it was nice for Leila to know what we were going to do all day. Instead of my usual, “well, maybe we’ll go to the park today or maybe we’ll go shopping,” I was able to tell her, “we’re going to Target in the morning and then after lunch and naps we’re going to meet up with some friends.” Now I know what my problem was before!

Besides filling our days with fun activities and a little bit of chores, they were definitely packed full of love. (The fact that tomorrow is Tuesday and I have to work is just breaking my heart right now. I don’t want to leave my babies!) 

Oh, and I finally busted out the DSLR (and of course my phone) and captured some great pics! I sure do wish I had more time to play with photography.

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A big THANK YOU and SHOUT OUT to all of our troops and those who risk their lives each day for our safety. And to those of you who have lost loved ones, my heart goes out to you. Happy Memorial Day!

Alone.

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It is in our human nature to crave companionship. We were born to interact with each other and to give and receive love. With 7 BILLION people on this planet, how can it be that so many of us feel lonely or alone at times – like no one “gets us” or really understands who we are and where we’re coming from?

Sometimes I feel super lonely and I don’t think I’m the only one. I’m not writing this post to be a Debbie Downer or even because I’m sad right now. I am very happy with my life. I have some seriously amazing friends and a husband and kids who give me the world.  But I can honestly say that there isn’t a single person on the planet besides myself that knows exactly what is going on in my head – that knows what I feel on a daily basis, that understands my hopes and dreams. And the same is true for you. I think sometimes this realization slaps me in the face and I get overcome with loneliness. In those times I usually turn to God and the feeling goes away. But, it still isn’t easy.

I think it’s hard to develop deep friendships and relationships as we grow up. Through our early years we live life simply and we spend every day with the same people – at school and at home. Those people really know us. But as an adult with so many life distractions – work, bills, house, kids – it’s hard to build quality relationships without much quantity in terms of time. Heck, even if you’re married and living with someone it’s hard to find time to really connect!

I have lots of friends, but honestly no one that I’m an open book with any more. My husband is as close as it gets and he’ll be my best friend ’til the end, but… he’s a man. I think as a woman, you need other women in your life to really “get you” ya know? It’s something about that female bond – the way we think, our motherly instincts, our emotions.

I think finding those special “soul-mate” friendships in life is a lot like finding your spouse – it’s a one in a million kind of thing.

When I think back a couple years to the time I started blogging, I was in a really lonely and lost place. I always think I turned to the world of blogging as an outlet for my hopes and dreams and as a diary to leave behind my legacy. But I think one of the bigger reasons I started was to find community – to find a place where maybe I would fit in. A place where maybe I could find some other women in similar circumstances as me with similar hopes and dreams. To fill in my lonely void a little.

And ya know what? I’m in a much better place than I’ve been for a long time. Sometimes the lonely still creeps in. And that’s when I find myself on here. Writing it out. Connecting. The internet really is a beautiful thing. Scary, but beautiful.

To any of you who feel lonely sometimes, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Coconut Cream Pie Larabar Recipe

I am by no means a wiz in the kitchen, nor do I have the healthiest of diets, BUT I did successfully re-create one of my favorite guilt-free store bought snacks! Go me!

I’ve been a fan of Larabars ever since my hubby brought a box home from Costco. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are little packaged bars made from fruit and nuts and spices and nothing else! They are vegan and gluten free. And the best part is that they taste great!

My favorite flavor that I’ve tried is Coconut Cream Pie. I read over the ingredients on the back of the bar and I thought, “hey! I can make these!”

So, I did. And they turned out tasting just as good (if not better) than the original!

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And now I’ll gift you with the recipe. No cooking required. And they only take about 10 minutes to make. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut (but I’m sure sweetened coconut would make them extra yummy!)
  • 1 cup whole pitted dates
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil

(The actual Coconut Cream Pie Larabar includes cashews, but I don’t particularly love cashews and they are expensive, so I stuck with just almonds. Feel free to throw in some cashews if you’d like!)

I had a little helper in the kitchen…
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Here’s what ya do:

1. In a food processor, blend the almonds until they are pretty finely chopped.
2. Add in the shredded coconut and blend some more.

Here’s what the almond & coconut should look like afterwards…
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3. Transfer the almond/coconut mixture to a bowl and then throw the dates and coconut oil in the food processor. Blend until creamy.

FYI: I added my coconut oil in a solid state…
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The blended dates & coconut oil…
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4. Add the almond/coconut mixture back into the food processor with the dates and blend it all together.

The finished blended product…
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5. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment or wax paper (plastic wrap would probably work, too) and push your Larabar mixture down into the pan FIRMLY until it is touching edge to edge and VERY compacted together.

This is a fun recipe to get the kiddos involved in, too!
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6. Remove your block of deliciousness from the pan (just pull up on the edges of parchment paper) and cut it into bars. I used a pizza cutter to make 10 bars.

Pre-cutting…
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Sliced & diced!
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7. Individually wrap some of your bars in plastic wrap for a grab-&-go snack or store them in the container of your choosing. Keep refrigerated – they stay together better when they are cold because the coconut oil firms up.
8. ENJOY! 🙂

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My kiddos and the hubby love them, too! I can’t wait to experiment with different fruit/nut combos. Let me know if you give them a try!

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