Honesty (And a cure for Insomnia)

Lately I've been thinking a lot about Motherhood, Authenticity and Social Media.

We've all had those days where we go about our day, happily resting in what we have, who we are, and where we live etc. That is, until nap time. Somewhere in the midst of our daily moments with the computer, our brief interlude with facebook and pinterest throws us into an internal tailspin of discontent and "comparison-itis."

I really wish I was on vacation this week like that family instead of battling a stomach bug with my kids. Sure would be nice to be at Cinderella's castle instead of holding a vomit bucket for my 5 yr. old... 

If only I could lose my last bit of baby weight, all those style tips would look cute on me too. I will never look that cute in shorts...

Look at her, painting her living room while her kids are napping AND cooking a gourmet meal. My spaghetti doesn't sound so exciting anymore. 

WOW! She did all that for her kid's birthday party??!!!??? I thought all I had planned for this weekend was enough. But maybe I could fit in one more trip to the store....

They just bought another new______?!?!?! I wish we could afford a date night every now and then. 

And so begins the malestrom of unhappiness brought on by others' apparent good fortune.

Why do we do that to ourselves??? 
More importantly, why do we allow ourselves the sin of ungratefulness in the midst of so many blessings? 

I have read ALOT of helpful (in the stick their finger in your eye way) articles and posts lately about the dangers of social media as it can cause us to be fake, discontent and constantly "performing." This is something I've been thinking about a lot because I do love to cook. I do love to be crafty. I do love to do projects with the kids and get them dressed up for playdates. And let's be honest. I'm far more likely to post pictures of that then the pile of dust and cheerios I just swept off my floor. But who am I doing it for, really? It's a daily struggle for sure.

However, I am making a REAL, CONCERTED EFFORT to do the following-- Won't you join me?

 1. to not "apply a filter" to every detail of my life. I.E. pick the BEST parts of my day to share, document, etc. and leave out anything that anyone might critique. For example, the other day I posted a few pictures from Lucy's ballet performance. Here's one I didn't post that I wanted to.

I love this picture... I think it's such a cute "glimpse" into what it is like to be her mommy. But look behind me. (GASP!!!!!) I know. The filth that is my closet. I could tell you that Lu likes to play with my shoes and they all end up in a pile. I could tell you I'm in the process of taking out winter things. All of which are true. But what's MOST accurate is that my closet is just. a. mess. And yes, I'm embarrassed. And yes, after posting this, I'm going to go clean it up. But, hey. Keeping it Real.

 2. And to PUT DOWN THE CAMERA. I know, we all want to document every little detail. And we should. But, I'm really serious about being able to see my memories while they are happening...with BOTH of my eyes. In Lucy's performance the other night, cameras were forbidden. And I enjoyed so much just drinking in the moment and taking a mental image. Because no photo, ever will compare of the feeling of watching her dance in front of all those people. No photo would express the way my breath caught in my throat when she came out; or the way Lance and I were holding hands so tightly, blood flow was becoming an issue. I will never forget that.

Earlier this year we went to Disney World for one day. It was Abby's first visit and 12 minutes after arriving, my camera just quit working. I could have cried. (Literally.) I could have bought one at the gift shop. Instead, I stuck it in the bottom of our bag and saw the entire day with both my hands (and eyes) free. It was so liberating. (To be fair, we did purchase a few Disney Pass photos, but only 4 and they were enough.) It was money well spent to be able to forget about being the designated photo taker for the day.

All that to say, I'm guilty of doing too much documenting and not enough living. That has to stop.

And finally, 3. Am I self-promoting in the way I'm sharing "our life?" I have an acquaintance on FB. She is a very sweet girl, but she often posts pictures of food, whether it's her breakfast, her child's lunch, whatever. In every single description, it's as though she tries to fit the word "Organic" in as many times as possible. Literally labeling every already healthy food as "Organic" even if it means saying "Organic" 12 times on one photo. Now, she probably has no clue how it comes across. Of course at first I thought, "Wow. That's kind of annoying. We get it, you only buy organic for your family and the conventional strawberries I bought this morning aren't healthy at all but should be fed to the dog...." But then I thought (with a sinking feeling) "Have I done that?!?!" Because I am one of those people that loves food photography. I don't post pictures so you just covet my iced coffee, but I do love to "share" those kinds of things. All in all, I've been re-considering my sharing. If I want to cook a yummy meal and share a photo, fine. But if I need for everyone to know that we are eating Grain-Fed Bison on a homemade Bun with a side of vegetables which we grew in our own dirt and I purposely don't include the pile of Cheez-Its just because some might not think it's "chic" then I have a problem that is way bigger than snack foods. I feel that it is my DUTY to care for my family's physical and nutritional needs. But since the Lord sees my heart, I better make SURE I'm doing it for them and unto HIM instead of trying to impress people by my ultra Proverbs31-ness.

Let's take care of our families for the Glory of Christ and not for our Instagram followers.

Oh, if you were hoping for the cure for Insomnia.... Read this ridiculously long post a few more times and be sleeping in no time.


Lucy's Performance Debut

         Lucy has been in ballet lessons since August of last year. To say she loves it would be an understatement. One thing we have enjoyed is that they do a large performance every year, and ALL the dancers--even the littles-- have a part. Lucy (being 3) was a cherub and had a small *adorable* part in this performance of the 28th Annual Roar of Love. (Yes, they have been performing this for 28 consecutive years!!!)  The Roar of Love is a beautiful and evangelical ballet, based on Lewis' The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. She loved every minute of it and we are so thankful for CCB!

My camera was being quite flaky the night of the dress rehearsal so the pictures of the performance are few. We did get a couple but the night of the performance was completely different to watch. We were so proud of her, and yes, I will admit we both (Sorry, Lance!) cried. I am THAT mom. If she continues in ballet here, I'm sure I will cry next year when she's a firefly too. Regardless of the fact that I don't have many pictures, I will never forget the feeling of watching her "flit" out on stage. At the end of the performance, the cherubs were led out on stage for the curtain call and when Lucy walked out, her jaw dropped to see the 100+ dancers behind her. Then the cherubs were supposed to hold hands and Lucy kept breaking free so she could curtsy properly. She was hilarious.

 She told me I was "very helpful" when I put her makeup on. Ha!

 Here's a shot from dress rehearsal-- there was of course no flash photography during the ballet.

 The Cherub and Her Daddy after Dress Rehearsal

 So Exciting!!!

Daddy brought her pink Roses--she was thrilled!

 Lucy excitedly relaying the details to Nana and Grammy

  The Dancer and Her Grandparents!!!

 Post Performance Cupcakes!!!!

Little Sister stayed at home with a sweet friend but enjoyed the "after party!"

And here she is, just before the performance with her makeup done... It felt so wrong putting makeup on THIS face. She loved it of course!


Hmm.. Very PINTERESTing.

I found this quote on Pinterest (could not locate a clear source) and it really sums up so much! 

Seriously, though. I have learned so much from Pinterest (or rather, people that 'pin' things) and I keep meaning to do a "Pinterest Post" so I just had to make myself before I forget everything I wanted to share! Nearly every new recipe I have tried in the past year has come from Pinterest. Every SINGLE craft project has. And most of my style advice. Ok, all of my style advice. I haven't yet found a pin on "how to wear yoga pants for 6 days out of the week and appear that you dressed up." I kid, I kid! I only wear them a *few days out of the week. 

Okay so, recipes first! I am going to try my hardest to site the original location. Because, if college taught me nothing else, it taught me to be mortally afraid of being guilty of accidental plagiarism. 

Favorite Healthy Recipes:

(If you make Taco Soup, I HIGHLY recommend trying it with a little of this on top. It's a whole other level of YUM.

 Also, from OBB... Mango Quinoa Salad. I've even tried it with a peach instead of Mango. 
Amazing Spring/Summer lunch idea and it just gets better the next day. 

Wonderful, colorful side dish or healthy lunch. (SkinnyTaste)

This was one of the first things I ever pinned. Yum. 

Makes a great lunch or even dinner with fruit or salad. And if you're on WW, only 3pointsplus. This entire site is amazing for WW users. And all the recipes are made with judicious amounts of REAL ingredients. I love that. (SkinnyTaste)

I love the ease of this recipe. Delicious, Healthy and Fresh! 

Looking for more Healthy recipes? Here's my board with a few more I
 have either tried or would like to.

Okay, for a a little bit of levity. Here are a few "not so healthy recipes." 
Come on, you new it was coming. 

Quite possibly the only dessert that I cannot be left alone in the house with. Make them when you are taking half of them somewhere. At least half. (Lulu the Baker)

This is actually not really unhealthy. But since you leave the skin on the chicken... :) So good, though. We made it with roasted veg.  (Smitten Kitchen)

Great breakfast for overnight guests! (Picky Palate)

Also, try these
They really do take 30 minutes from start to finish and the dough even makes great Cinnamon Rolls. 

And for the Grand Finale of Food... Homemade Chocolate Pudding (which is worlds better than a box and has no artificial anything in it. Really, I recently noticed blue and red dye in instant chocolate pudding. Strange.) Make this for your kids... they'll love ya forever. :)

There have been MANY more recipes I have tried and loved and really only a handful I wouldn't make again. I guess I will have to do another post on Pinterest-y tips and crafts!!

What is your FAVORITE Pinterest FOOD FIND?!?!? 


Slow-Cooker Baked Beans

 Last night we had a BBQ with some close friends in honor of the beautiful weather we have been having. Lance smoked a brisket and we tried a new recipe for homemade (as in made from dried Navy beans) BBQ Baked Beans. I have always been a big believer in taking canned Bush's Bake Beans and jazzing them up a lot. These were so much better than our normal beans. The best part is, they require no extra steps except dumping everything (including the pre-soaked beans) in the slow cooker and stirring every few hours. (Not to mention using dried beans cuts way down on cost and sodium!!!) These were absolutely delicious and coming from a girl who was raised on Sonny's BBQ Beans,
 that means ALOT! 

Try them for your next cookout and let me know how you like them! 

Slow Cooker Baked Beans:

To soak beans: place 1 lb. dried beans in a large bowl with 6-8 cups of water. Cover and let stand overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse beans. Discard soak water and add beans to slow cooker. 

6 slices of bacon (or 3 slices thick cut), cut into 1-inch pieces.
1 (16oz.) package of dried Navy Beans
1 1/2 cups of ketchup
1 1/2 cups of water
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 cup finely diced onion
1 tbs. dry mustard
1 tbs. salt

Combine all ingredients with pre-soaked beans in the slow cooker. Cover and Cook on LOW 8-10 hours. (Note: we ended up cooking ours about 9 hours.)  Stir occasionally, if possible.  (Makes about 10 cups)

Source: Publix Apron's Simple Meals