Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Healthy Chocolate?

I am pretty sure that I will never buy pre-made chocolate at the store again!!

I found an awesome post on Pinterest (here) and Gabriella and I decided to try making it last night.

We gathered our ingredients:
Coconut Oil, raw honey, unsweetened cocoa powder, pure vanilla and sunflower seed butter. 

We melted 1/2 cup of coconut oil and poured it into our blender. Next we added 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and 1/2 cup of sunflower seed butter. 1/4 cup of raw honey (thanks Uncle Steve!) and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla then we were done. So easy!


We blended up everything for about 30 seconds (just until it was all smooth). Then we poured the mixture into cupcake liners in a cupcake tin. 
10 minutes in the freezer (or about 30 minutes in the refrigerator) and they were set up!

They were AMAZING!!! So rich and creamy and delicious! 
The kids shared one, I had one and Matt had two. The rest we are storing in the refrigerator in a sealed container. 

I love how simple these were to make and how pure of ingredients they are! No chemicals that are impossible to pronounce, no concerns for GMOs or cross contamination with any allergens. 

There is an almost unending list of benefits of coconut oil!
(check out this website for more info)


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Choices

My views on choices have changed drastically over the years. I remember as a kid wanting so badly for something to go a certain way, or wishing that I could just choose to do what I wanted to. Then I got older and had to start taking responsibility for my choices. At that point I wished that someone else could just make them again for me! Now I am seeing that there are always two main choices we have to make in any given situation: do we see the good things that are happening/will happen (God's perspective) or do we focus on the negative/"what could have been" (the world's perspective)?

After months of being told that everything was fine, my mom found out she had breast cancer, four days before Christmas. My Grampa is getting old (he turns 86 in March) and isn't getting along very well. Matt finished up school in a few months and will be looking for a job anywhere he can get one. Knowing the fact that this Christmas could be the last one where we were all together presented itself with a choice to be made. I opted to enjoy every moment of Christmas and not to think that it might be the last one like this.
   
I made it a point to enjoy every moment with each member of my family. We laughed and joked together, we hugged and held each other. I watched as true character came out in people. 

Mom found out her surgery would be scheduled on my birthday.

Here is what actually happened: 
On my birthday morning I woke up at 7:30. I spent half an hour chopping veggies and chicken and getting a meal in the crock-pot  Next I had to wake my kids up early and hurry them through breakfast and a bath. We headed out the door by 9 and were at the babysitter's house. At the hospital by 9:45 I sat in a waiting room filled with people. Dad came out of the pre-op room at 10 and we headed outside. By 11 we were back in the waiting room and there we sat until 12:40 when a nurse called us back to talk to the dr. We couldn't see mom for an hour so we headed out to the cat to process everything we had been told. 
Dad got called back into the recovery room at 1:30 and I sat in the waiting room by myself for half an hour. I got to back at 2 and we sat with mom until 2:30 when she was able  to go to her room. 
At 4:30 I headed home to see Matt and the kids. Gabriella hadn't gotten a nap so she was going back and forth between throwing fits and talking back. Matt wanted to take me out to dinner but Gabriella was too upset so we ordered out and took it home to eat. 
At 6:00 we were back at the hospital to check in on mom. By 7:30 we were home and Gabriella couldn't stop crying. There were no presents, no cake, no ice cream. Just two fussy kids who needed a bath and to go to bed. We put on a movie and got Gabriella calmed down. After a snack and a bath, both kids entertained each other while Matt and I sat on the couch and talked about our relationship. 
By 10:30 we were all in bed. 

Not exactly the birthday I had dreamed of...

Here is how I am CHOOSING to see the day:
I got to spend the day knowing that my kiddos were being loved on at their baby-sitter's house. Dad and I got to have a special breakfast together by ourselves. I also got to spend several hours chatting with my dad about anything and everything from gun laws to soap operas to houses to family. I got to have a birthday picnic at home with my special kids and handsome hubby. I was blessed to be able to spend the day being there for my parents and taking care of them, something they have spent their whole lives doing for me. 
I got to witness the love that my parents have for each other, the love that my siblings have for them, and the love that my parents continue to show to everyone. 
I am CHOOSING to feel blessed! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Life is Crazy

Things have been kind of crazy lately! We had a second birthday party for Xander (at my parents' house) once everyone was feeling better. He got some more Legos and was super excited for them! He loves to stack things, climb on things and play with cars!

We had another "snow" day and Gabriella went out to play in it. She could only find one glove so daddy gave her an oven mitt to use. What a cutie pie!!


Matt and I were able to cash in on our Christmas present from my parents, free babysitting while we went on a date! Woo hoo! We went on Saturday and saw The Hobbit in 3D! (I of course couponed for it and we only paid $4 total for both of us to watch it, plus we got a dvd copy of Inception).


After Xander's scary allergic reaction to cinnamon a few days after Christmas, I took him yesterday to get allergy tested to see if he had any other allergies.
He tested positive for dog and peanut allergies as well. 
Ugh! So now we have to be super careful about peanut butter. The dr said that he is pretty sure there was some cross contamination in the oatmeal that made Xander have the hives, and that likely there was peanut oil in it. 

The kids and I made a run to Joanns Fabric store. Just for fun. Its fun to get to see new places and things. Plus Gabriella is starting to get into crafts so it is fun to walk around and let her look at everything. 

And finally, all my freebies from the mail in December. I won quite a few sweepstakes and got some awesome stuff! Its always exciting to see what arrives in the mail each day!!



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Xander's 1st Birthday Party

We were going to have a party at my parent's house for Xander, but Matt got a bad cold so we stayed home and had a party with just the four of us.

Opening presents with daddy

Giving kisses to his new "Scare Me Not" monster, Knock-out Ned

He LOVED his Little People talking animal zoo

His cake
(a gluten free black bean cake sweetened with honey from Uncle Steve's honey bees!)


video
Singing Happy Birthday, blowing out the candles and having a taste!

Xander was very much enjoying dipping the car into the frosting and then licking it off the tires!

Taking a few tastes carefully with his finger

Going for it!!

Gabriella eating with her fingers too

Mmmmmmmm!!

Gabriella's face after finishing her cake

Xander looking at the messy boy in the mirror! 
Time for a bath!!

Building a castle with daddy with Xander's new castle blocks set. 

Such a joy to celebrate a year of life with our little Roo! It's been a year of ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade him for anything (even more sleep!!)