5 Times Buzzfeed Made Me Snort!

The Original

If you’re following us on Facebook then you’ll probably already know I’ve been spending some time on Buzzfeed.  (And if you’re NOT following us on Facebook, why not?  We have good chats, share silly stuff & love getting to connect with you!)  

It actually takes very little time at all to find things that are entertaining over there I’m learning.  Oh there’s a lot of “articles” (if you can call mindless fodder an article) that are lame, gross or should really come with parental warnings but amidst all that are some real gems.  

There are articles (the real kind) that are thought provoking, others that are really informative & ones that make you flat out LAUGH OUT LOUD (not to be confused with the overused LOL, this is real life dudes.  Real, snort while you read, laugh till you pee funny).

Since it’s Friday and laughter is one of those things you simply can’t have too much of I thought I’d share my most recent “snort worthy” finds.  

Be warned some of these may be completely unfunny to you.  In fact, if sarcasm isn’t your thing, this may not appeal to you at all.  I however, LOVE me some sarcasm.  (The kind that is funny, not the kind that belittles people – that’s just not cool)

Life's too short...

So, here it is.  Check ’em out, laugh and have a great weekend!

Also – I’d love to hear which one YOU liked.  Do you agree with me?  Are these funny or do you think I’m chillin’ all alone out there in left field?  When was the last time YOU had a seriously awesome laugh, in the out loud fashion?

29 Dad’s Who Have Reached Peak Dad

   The dad from #17 is my BFF.  That is exactly how I feel about winter, and this summer – the really cold and the really hot make me angry.  They could both die & leave Fall & Spring to fill in the gaps, they could handle it!

   #28 needs to move to our neighbourhood.  We could all use that kind of free entertainment.

Hey Guys, Here’s a Canadian Reminder Not to Complain About the Heat

    And THIS is why Winter needs to die.  I have never seen #15 but sadly it seems the rest of the world has.  Way to help us look cool Canadian Government!

23 Products For Anyone Who’s Feeling Stressed Out

    I need #8 for our girls, it needs to attach to their faces and come with a lock that only I have the key for.  #11 would make Corey so happy and #19 is probably his deepest secret.

   Zen gardens DO help you de-stress and anyone who tells me that #6 didn’t make them simultaneously think “What the…?”, “Gross” & “HA!” is lying.

21 of the Most Hilariously Honest “No Name” Products

    While I love the honesty of these products, maybe they should spend just a little bit of money on their marketing/packaging departments.  “Nippy Cheese?”

26 Pictured Guaranteed To Make You Laugh Every Time

   Yes.  Yes they will.

Happy Friday Friends!

 

“The Talk” across the Years

Mountain Lake 1

I had the rare opportunity the other day to have the house to myself for a few hours.  Corey & the girls were out, I’d finished running in 82 different directions and decided to push aside the massive guilt cloud and sat down to watch a little TV.

(Side: Am I the only one who has a few hours to herself and ends up filling it with groceries, house work & errands? Please tell me I’m not.  I just always feel like I should be doing things that are responsible and I shouldn’t be doing things that are fun.)

Anyways, I was watching a very grown up show (OK, let’s be honest….I watched 90210 because I’m cool like that.) (Also because HELLO 90’s I MISSED YOU!) with the intention of letting my over working brain unwind. 

However, not long into things the topic of sex came up.

If you grew up in the 90210 era you know that sex was basically the center of any & all story lines.  Each episode seemed to revolve around someone “doing it”, someone else not “doing it”, if they weren’t “doing it” they were talking about it, or the rest of the world was dreaming about which one they’d choose if THEY could, ya know… “do it”.  (Oh, yes you did, you know you did, we ALL did!)

As I giggled my way through the innocence of the episode a different reality hit me.  No longer am I seeing these characters through they eyes of a teenager, I’m seeing them through the eyes of a mother.

And I had a heart attack. 

We haven’t even had the full “sex” talk with our girls yet and all of a sudden I was picturing my future.  The talks we are going to have when they are little, the way those talks are going to evolve as they get older and the role those conversations will play in the choices they make.

I know the message I want to send them about sex, about God’s plan for it in their lives (believe it or not, I believe He intends for it to be an excellently, awesome part of their lives.  When they are married.), about choosing to wait until they are married and all of the things in between.

I also know the part of those conversations where I have to be real, to be raw and explain that I am not necessarily speaking from a place of example but rather experience and sometimes even a place of regret. 

Despite being raised in a Christian home, with supportive parents, and good strong morals, I didn’t always make the right choices (um, hello sin nature).  As a young girl I swore I’d wait until marriage, I wore a purity ring and I was sincerely convinced I would wait but I didn’t.  Temptation and circumstance bested me and I made choices, more than once to give that part of my body, of my heart to someone who didn’t end up my husband.

I knew the consequences those choices could have in the moment, on me but I had no idea how they would affect my future, as a wife, as a mother.

As the scenes from the show passed by so did my life choices.  I really began thinking about how the things I have done, the things that happened in my past will shape my girls’ future.  Will they hear those stories and make wiser choices?  Will they want to emulate them, ignore them or hide their heads under their pillows?  While there is no doubt in my mind that I will be truthful, I do wonder if I’ll have the courage to allow that truth to also come with the emotions that those memories hold.

Our future as parents is filled with unknowns.  If having newborns teaches us nothing else it’s that all that we think we know is a fallacy and our best laid plans are actually recipes for disaster.

So, I won’t play the “what if game” because it won’t do me any good.  Worrying about it now won’t change anything but I will think about it and pray for all that is to come. I will pray that the words that I say, the conversations we will have will prepare them, protect them and empower them to do what they believe is right. 

How do YOU feel about your children, you past and the conversations you’ll have about their futures?

*Please know that if you disagree with our opinion of what God’s plan is for marriage & sex that is OK, no judgement here.  We respect everyone’s right to an opinion and I’m certainly not going to force mine on you.  However, this is my space, and just like I try to live my life authentically I promise to do the same here, which means sharing who I am & what I believe.*

Victory – Ah

Victoria Family - Serious

A few weeks ago we took our first family trip since Audrey’s diagnosis back in February.  The idea of travelling has felt incredibly overwhelming for me and to be honest, fear had up until that point overtaken any desire I’d had to go away.  

The idea of trying to safely feed her and make a trip enjoyable felt near impossible.  I’ve finally come to the place where I feel like our home, though a dual kitchen (gluten AND gluten free products served here) is a safe place for our girl.  I prepare the food, I clean/scrub the kitchen, I’m constantly hunting crumbs & reading labels.  I know how to avoid cross contamination and ultimately, here…

I’m in control.

Victoria Family - Silly

The trouble with life is that we’re never really truly in control.  God is.  Just ask the weatherman, every time he thinks he has it “all figured out” God’s like BOOM you said sunshine?  Here’s rain!  Control is a figment of our imagination and truthfully, the thing that holds us back the most.  

At least, the pursuit of that control is what holds me back.

Victoria Weight in Gold

So, I decided to let go (a little) of it and plan a family trip.  I spent hours and hours and hours researching cities to travel to.  Predominantly Corey & I wanted to either go “home” to Kelowna or back to “our city”, Victoria.  They are the two places in this beautiful province that our little family love the most.

It turned out that of the two not only was Victoria the city with accommodations still available (I could find NOTHING in Kelowna) but it’s rated as one of the safest cities in BC for a Celiac to travel to – score!

Victoria - Hats BethVictoria - Hats Audrey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After contacting many hotels, I got in contact with the staff at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe hotel.  The resident reservations specialist Kyra that helped us out was phenomenal!  Not only did she help us book a room, but she sent us information about where would be safe to eat with Audrey, including maps.  She had the hotel restaurant manager contact us with all the required information about the gluten free menu and she even stayed late one day to talk with me on the phone, answering all my questions.  

I spent the days coming up to our trip planning, list writing, cooking and preparing.  I knew what meals we were going to eat out, and had spoken with the head chef or restaurant managers of each of those locations.  I’d also packed enough food to prepare many of our meals in our hotel room (something I always have to do for) confident that we could make this work.

And we did!

Victoria - Delta Cookies

We arrived at our hotel to find out the Kyra had not only taken care of our needs pre-trip but she’d gone way above and beyond, heading over to Origin bakery, a very popular gluten free bakery in Victoria to purchase Gluten Free (Corn Free) cookies for our girls to find on their arrival, and left them with a beautiful hand written note.  The look on BOTH girls faces was enough to give this mama tears. (ps. this isn’t a sponsored post, I just want to share the good things we experienced!) 

Victoria Sisters 1

We shopped, we played at a really awesome park Corey remembered, they swam, I hit the hotel gym(!), we got caught in a thunderstorm & INTENSE downpour, we visited the museum and we laughed.  We ate pizza in bed and took silly pictures, because that’s what we do.

Victoria - New York Fries

More than anything we enjoyed being a family, and life felt normal.  

The four of us needed that trip, we needed to just be able to be a family and to spend time doing the fun things, forgetting about everything else.

Life is moving by at lightning speed, our girls are growing up too fast & while I can’t stop those things from happening, I am making sure to enjoy each one of these moments as they happen.

The Dead Green Thumb

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From My God’s Garden

I come from a long line of gardeners – my Mom, my Dad, my Nan, even my brother can grow unending bounties of things.  Flowers, cucumbers, pumpkins, blueberries, tomatoes, roses, the lists of things they manage to grow in abundance seems a mile long.  

It goes beyond just having a “green thumb”, I think their insides are completely green – heck if you close enough, I bet even their pee is green!  (Also, you’re peeing green you should see someone about it…that’s not normal)

They love it and can often be heard saying silly things like, “it’s so relaxing” and “all you have to do is water it”, as if all that growing just magically happens.

It doesn’t, just so you know.  It totally does NOT just happen and green thumbs are NOT genetic.  Wanna guess how I know?

Because I KILL EVERYTHING.

It’s a stinkin’ good thing I manage to keep these kids alive because when it comes to plants, their entrance into my life is their life sentence.  With the exception of the cactus I was given 6 years ago, who thrives on neglect I have never, not once kept another house plant alive.

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Proof of my neglect and His success

If you were to look at the outside of our house you may think I was totally full of the BS since I have two absolutely flourishing & beautiful rose bushes out there.  However, I am not the only reason they are doing so well is because they’re in God’s space – He gets the credit not me.  I don’t even prune them regularly – or until they’re taking up so much sidewalk people might complain.

Part of the problem is that I hate, hate getting dirt under my finger nails.  I don’t mind bread dough, cinnamon & sugar or even ground beef on my hands but dirt makes me cringe.  And before you start telling me I can wear gloves, they don’t work.  That sneaky stuff gets in there & it’s almost instantly gritty – YUCK!

The other part of the problem is I get so busy I forget about them, in particular to water them.  Oh, I’ll think about it as I walk out the door, land a sweet tuck jump or hit the shower and put it in the ol’ “gotta get it done” portion of my memory bank.  It has a secret backdoor that any & all things non-essential seem to slip right through, never to be seen again.

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I used to get upset about it.  I used to feel like a failure and worry that my garden loving girls were going to grow up deprived, void of all talent & skills necessary to earn the name “green thumb”, and I alone, would be responsible for breaking the generational gardener’s chain.

Then I discovered something.  These two little creatures, under the watchful eye & patient teachings of my parents are actually fantastic little gardeners – with fully developed “Green Thumbs”.

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Yesterday after work I was escorted outside to see their garden and I was blow away.  The pumpkins Audrey had started from seed in our kitchen window, the watermelon plants & Bethany’s beans are all doing fantastic! (Thanks Mom & Dad for helping care for them too!)  

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Little watermelon

I love watching the pride on their face as they show me their “babies”.  I love seeing how gentle they are, how happy it makes them and how clean my hands get to remain.  

Thanks to some pretty special people I will happily proclaim my thumbs black (from dark chocolate creations of course) and my fridge full of wonderful, home grown goodness!

5 Bad Behaviours – Social Media Style

You know what’s annoying?  Bad manners.  Bad manners are seriously, annoying.  

Actually, let’s be real – they aren’t just annoying they’re infuriating.  Depending on the extend of their “manner deficiency” some people make me wanna punch them – in their face.  Except that, that’s not nice, and it’s kinda bad manners, and I have children to set an example for…so I don’t.

In the past 10 or so years, the introduction of regular social media interaction has taken our lives and how we interact with people by storm.

We can connect, share & engage with each other in ways that didn’t exist before.  Our computers, tablets, & cell phones allow our “voices” to be heard without ever opening our mouths.  Those screens give us a false sense of security to say, share & post things we wouldn’t in “real life”. In short – manners grow wings and fly right, straight out the window!

You see, that security we feel is false.  The things we say, the pictures we post & the actions we have are still shaping the world’s view of us, but now in a more dangerous and cloaked way.

The Internet is like Las Vegas

 

The internet is like Las Vegas – “What happens online, stays online”.  

Which means, nothing you say, nothing you do, nothing you see online will ever really go away.  It is there forever and your lack of manners now, may potentially be spoiling your future.

Employers will Google you, check your Facebook, search your Twitter and if you’re not careful, they may find things that cost you the job.  The same can be said for the people you’re going to date, the in-laws you hope to have (“Sir…may I marry your daughter?”, “Sure Son, right after you explain this picture from 2011…what is that in your hand & who are all those girls?”) and one day even your children’s opinion of you (they will look you up, I promise!).

So, what do you do?  How do you avoid destroying your future?

You pull out some manners, install a little common sense and make better choices.

To help you out, here are the top 5 WORST Social Media Bad Behaviours.  Avoid these things at all costs in an effort to not only preserve your future but to not annoy the living daylights out of your family & friends.

  1. Tasteless Photos: Do not EVER share photos of naked or nearly naked people (you or anyone else) or of doing anything illegal.  Avoid sharing photos of heavy partying (eg. the “Spring Break” photos…), alcohol consumption, the morning after etc. 

    Why: They make you look irresponsible, dangerous, carefree and sometimes down right pervy.   Also, it’s not just family & friends watching your social media.  If you’re involved in illegal activity (STOP IT NOW) the police, FBI and special agencies are watching too.

  2. Complaining: constantly.  Everyone has bad days, & it’s totally OK to share that once in a while.  After all, if you had a really rough day you’d share it with your girlfriends.  However, don’t make every update, post, comment negative, and/or a paragraph long of “oh woe is me”.

    Why: It’s annoying.  Sometimes life is hard but seriously, it doesn’t suck ALL of the time.  At least it shouldn’t, if it does then you need to seriously look at how to change it!  People would stop being your friend in real life if you complained like that all the time & they will “unfriend/unfollow” you on social media too.  Sympathy is not and endless stream, it will run dry!

  3. Bragging: While the polar opposite of complaining, bragging is just about as bad.  Again, share your happy news, give people a chance to celebrate with you – and then stop.  Be especially cautious to not rub other’s faces in whatever it that is making you so happy, particularly if they are struggling in the same area. 

    Why: This is often unintentional but overly sharing great news can make someone feel inferior and you look conceited.  We all run the risk of this in real life too, so just be careful.  Share it but don’t rub it. 

  4. Selfie-ing: The occasional “Hey I got new glasses” or “I lost 25lbs!” is totally acceptable.  However, flooding my Instagram feed with 31 pictures of you with a weird sucked-in-cheeks-kissy-face-lips pose stating “Random no make up #unfilterd” is SO not cool.  In fact it’s lame, I can see your eyeliner & do you really have that halo glow around your head all the time?

    Why: I can’t necessarily say that an overload of selfies is going to cost you a job, but I can say for certainty it can cost you a whole lot respect & friends.  You look conceited, or like you’re fishing for complements and it’s stupid.  You wouldn’t walk up to a group of your friends, flip your hair, pout your lips and sadly say “I’m feeling positively disgusting today” *dramatic pause*, would you?  Probably not, so don’t do it online.  I have unfollowed many who seem to have selfie-itis.  

  5. Over Sharing: I do NOT need to know the color of your daughter’s poop, the smell of your husband’s shoes or the way you do your “personal grooming”.  I don’t want see a photo of your inner thigh gap, the nasty mole on your back or snot running down your toddler’s face.  Don’t detail the struggles in your marriage, things that will embarrass your children later or how you really feel about Aunt Ida.

    Why: Really?  I have to explain it? Ok.  It’s like this – nobody wants to know & most people don’t care. It also falls under disaster waiting to happen. It appears that you don’t have good discression and that makes an employer nervous.
     
    Would you sit in a job interview and show the guy how your butt now has the “smile crease” thanks to all those squats?  Probably not (and if you would, then we can’t be friends) but if you put it out there, he may find it. Besides, cousin Cody let Aunt Ida use his Facebook this morning and you’re now seriously screwed out of your Christmas duck socks.  It’s also often kinda gross, so please – just don’t.

  6. Fishing: I know I said 5 but I just couldn’t leave this one out.  It may be a little redundant but it is seriously one of the most annoying.  DON’T USE SOCIAL MEDIA to fish for complements.  Don’t fish for complements in real life.  It’s lame, makes you look so insecure, and weak.  We all have our insecurities but we need to be careful how we let them control us.  Just like you shouldn’t brag don’t berate yourself either – you are worth WAY more than the horrible things you say to yourself.  
    And, if you’re really having a rough day why not try something new – tell the truth.   If you can’t find anything positive to say to yourself, don’t post a stupid selfie, maybe admit that you need a few words of affirmation and see what happens.

There are more, I could go on but I won’t.  

Instead, I’d love to know what social media bad habits totally drive you cra-ZY? 

Exciting Announcement #1 (Hint: There’s FREE STUFF!)

Brownie Bites

3 years ago Baking Life Healthy launched.  My passion for baking, for real ingredients and for good food turned into a business and overnight I was bombarded with customers.  It was amazing, it was fun and it was more than I’d ever thought possible.

It was also poorly planned, I was unorganized, I didn’t take a look at my pricing well and before I knew it I was drowning.  I loved the business, I loved the customers & I loved being able to sell people food they could have confidence in (where they could read & recognize every. single. ingredient). What I didn’t love was how tired I was, how my family was suffering and how I could see no way of making it better, of streamlining what I was doing while still maintaining the quality.

So, with a sad heart, just over a year after it began, Baking Life Healthy came to a close.  I had sad customers, I had my own sad heart but I also knew it wasn’t over yet.  

I’ve continued to bake these past few years, feeding my family and often times anyone close enough to take a “treat bag” home with them.  Corey’s employees & friends have sampled many a trial day recipe and I’ve kept at it.  

My passions have evolved over the years, long gone are the days of lethargy and poor eating choices.  I’ve really come to love being active, exercise, nutrition and living life healthy and I’ve taken that passion into my kitchen.  Those passions have allowed me to be a better wife, a better mother and hopefully a better friend.  I can channel my stress, build my energy and feed our bodies in ways I feel good about.

They have also begun taking me on a few new journeys, and I’m getting pretty excited to share them with you!  While I’m not quite ready to share all the info just yet (working on it, I promise I’m workin’ on it!) I do want to share this one because I can.

Ok, and because I’m super pumped, I’ve worked really hard and it’s finally here.  And I suck at keeping non-secret type things a secret because who needs to keep a secret if it isn’t a secret?  That’s like hiking (!) to the top of a mountain and refusing to checkout the amazing view – it doesn’t make sense…and it’s lame.

So, in an effort to not be lame (-er than I can be sometimes, like when I dance) and in response to the many, many requests I received here it is:

I’ve written an e-cookbook!!!!  In particular I took the most popular Baking Life Healthy recipes – mini pizza pretzels, whole wheat bread, brownie bites & graham cracker minis, to name a few, along with some others family favourites, did some perfecting (read: we ate/gave away a lotta stuff), took some photos & voila – Baking Life Healthy: The Secrets Behind the Business e-cookbook!

Well, almost a cookbook.  We are in the finishing stages of editing & reviewing the finer details, all the stuff I need to do before I feel like it’s A-OK to go but it’s almost here.  

In the meantime, I’ve put together something wicked awesome (do people say wicked awesome any more?  probably they don’t but that’s ok, I’m not 20 any more, who cares what people say) to share with you – for FREE!

Baking Life Healthy FREE Recipe Download 1

I’m giving away a FREE Sneak Peek package which includes – 4 of our most popular recipes from the business & the book, 1 bonus never published recipe, a coupon code & more!  It’s all because I love you, and I want to say thank you.

To all those who supported the business locally, to those who encouraged me online, to the ones who were sad when we closed & asked for recipes, to those who have read our blog, done our recipes & showed us incredible love through so very much – thank you!

Please enjoy these.  There’s no obligation to purchase the full e-cookbook when it officially launches in a few weeks (though I hope, sincerely that you do, because it’s great!), these are straight from my heart, my kitchen to you & to yours.

Thank you again and Happy BAKING

ps. If/when you do make something please share a photo on social media with us!  Use the hashtag #OFSBakes, and/or tag us and we’ll see it.  The whole point of getting a good recipe is taking it on an adventure & making it your own.  I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with them!

Dirty Little Secrets

Silly Stones

You know what I have?  Secrets.  “Dirty little secrets” that I rarely if ever let anyone see. The things I keep hidden from the outside world, the thoughts I never say (shocker – she does have a filter), the things I try not to let you see and the habits I work to hide.   

Until today.

In an effort to live my life as authentically as possible (which I’ve always tried to do with sincerity & honesty) I’ve decided it’s time to share the things that make me, me.  The quirky, silly, annoying & sometimes even embarrassing parts that make up the whole of me. 

Why?  I guess to encourage others that we’re not alone in our idiosyncrasies.   Social media has made perfection easy to fake and I don’t wanna fake it.  I want to be the true, faulted human God has created me to be, because it’s in acknowledging my failings I can work to be better (or embrace them completely).  

So, deep breath here we go!

DLS #1 – My Kitchen looks like something exploded: when I bake.  No kidding, I do my best to avoid having anyone see what my kitchen looks like when I bake.  Back when Baking Life Healthy was running, I’d keep the front blinds drawn so that customers coming to the door for warm baked goods couldn’t see the catastrophe behind me.

In general it’s a pretty clean place, especially now that we are living in a constant state of Gluten Watch but when it’s time for the magic to happen, all bets are off.  Flour flies, dishes are everywhere and there are always multiple items being constructed & experimented with at the same time.  I mean, if I’m gonna have a mess to clean up anyways, I might as well make it worth the while right?Sweat

DLS #2 – I sweat, uncontrollably: when I workout.  It’s seriously disgusting and there’s not a thing I can do about it.  I’ve got fancy workout gear, I keep the house as cool as possible, I use towels & I drink copious amounts of water.  The only thing I won’t do is reduce the intensity because, dude – if your heart’s not thundering, what’s the point?!

Now I wear deodorant (see DLS#3) but let’s be real that stuff is only meant for under your arms.  I’m pretty sure applying it to my forehead would go against manufacturer’s instructions.  That and I’m guessing nobody’s tested what happens with the aluminum sinking into your brain….(I have no idea if it does, but I wonder)

DLS #3 – If I could afford it I would TOTALLY get Botox: in my armpits! I know, I know weird right?  But not really.  You see I sweat, A LOT and it’s really gross.  I have tried all different antiperspirants/deodorants and while some work better than others, I’ve yet to find one that really does the job.  And I haven’t found ANY that help when I work out (see DLS #2).

It’s not just the sweat either, it’s the smell.  Sweat itself doesn’t smell, but the warm, moist environment is a prime location for bacteria to grow which equates to bacteria stink &  me a nasty, smelly mess.  The other problem is that I really don’t love the idea of putting aluminum on my skin, in my armpits near any breast tissue I may have (HA!), but natural deodorants are completely ineffective.  To date armpit Botox is coming up as a safe alternative to antiperspirants/deodorants.  Since it’s gonna be years before I’ll be able to afford the treatment, I have time to wait and see if it stays that way.  

DLS #4 – Sometimes I go the bathroom not to use it but to: get my children’s attention.  Sadly, this is not a joke.  There have been days when nobody is listening, nothing is getting done and I am getting hoarse from yelling (see DLS #5).  Instead of completely losing my mind or moving out, I just head straight for the nearest toilet.  Within seconds of the “click” from the light switch both my girls are meandering in there.  Then we have a meaningful conversation as I sit on the toilet, lid closed.  It’s stupid that it works, but trust me it works.

(WARNING: Should you begin to employ this method of parenting I strongly suggest you stop hiding in there to eat the chocolate you don’t want to share with them.  IF they find you with it, you’ll never EVER pee alone again.)

DLS #5 – I’m a yeller: and a cryer.  I truly hate this part of me, and it’s something I’m working really, really hard to change.  I hate that my frustration amps up my volume 25 fold in 5.2 seconds.  I hate that post hollering I end up in tears because I didn’t like to holler and I loath that there are times I hear my girls mimic that tone back to me.  

I, like everyone else am a work in progress, and I can truly say it’s getting better.  But, in an effort to be transparent it’s not as better as it could be.  I don’t yell when other people are around (unless they have really, really pushed mama’s buttons) so there’s no reason I need to do when it’s the 3 most precious people in my life.

So there you have it, just a few of the things that I’ve worked so hard to keep hidden way down deep.  I hope my being transparent with you has made you feel better or even laugh a little at my expense.  

What Dirty Little Secret are you hiding from the “real world”?

 

The PAC

Ashley &  I'm terrified to be here

You know what scares me? (Other than Sleeping Beauty…) The PAC, the PAC scares me.

Not our PAC in particular but the whole idea of “The PAC”.  I mean, say it “The PAC” – it totally feels like it should be followed by “DUN, DUN, DUN”.   Every time I hear it, my brain automatically jumps to the image of a pack of hungry wolves and I get all sweaty & stuff.  Any thought I had about attending a function shoots out the window and I quickly begin planning my escape route (eg. the truthful but well timed excuse) (which is often actually legitimate but also extremely convenient).

Now I realize that this is absolutely ridiculous.  I do.  My logical brain can completely understand and comprehend that this is down right absurd.  However, the other part of my brain, the one where my super insecure self lives, knows nothing of logic.   It’s where my self-conscious voice takes root, where the whispers of my faults & failings come from and it’s often the one that grows the loudest.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately working on my fears.  Really, and sincerely trying to face head on the things I’m afraid of in hopes of one day achieving self confidence, actually achieving confidence in anything at all would be nice.  In the midst of all of those things resides The PAC or rather The PAC meetings.

My rational self sees the good of The PAC (seriously guys, DUN, DUN, DUN) the things they do at the school, in particular the things The PAC board members do at our school are amazing.  They organize events, work on hot lunch, spend time there before and after school.  And while yes, they’re supporting their kids they are also supporting everyone else’s kids – my kids.

I am thankful for those things, for those hours, for that heart.  I have on occasion even interacted with one of them, in person or online and they’ve been pleasant, sweet and helpful.  Apart, they all seem like stand up women and I take my hat off to them.

So what’s my problem?

My problem is the idea of them all together.  Some how it takes me back to my high school days, and the “In-Crowd” mentality.  Just thinking about it I quickly start slipping back into my old self.  The one who hid behind books, had 42 pens, 6 different post-it notes and was completely incapable of making eye contact.  I hear whispers of “What if they don’t like me?”, “What if I sound stupid?”, “I don’t have anything of value to add” and ultimately “I’m not important enough to go – I don’t belong”.

That entire scene plays out in my living room as I read the monthly newsletter & see The PAC meeting on the calendar.

On paper screen it looks absolutely ridiculous – and yet it’s true.  It is how I feel and I am going to learn to make a change.

The school year is almost out but I am seriously going to work on these issues over the summer.  I’m not exactly sure how I plan to do that yet, but I’m going to try.  I need to get over my fear of The PAC and get involved there.  Those meetings contain important information, those people are of great value and I need to be up to date on what’s happening too.  I may even try to get involved in hot lunch, so that a day can come where Audrey will be safe to receive hot lunch too.

Am I alone in this?  Anyone else have issues with the idea of The PAC or other social group settings?  Any tips or advice for this nervous ninny?  I’ll take whatever you’ve got to offer – leave a comment (or if they’re not working because there is a glitch I can’t seem to fix!), then comment on the Facebook status (HERE) sharing this post.  I need you, and ALL you have to say & share!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal “Comfort” Cookies – The Recipe

There’s nothing better on a cold, rainy afternoon than a warm, gooey chocolate chip oatmeal, a cozy blanket & a cup of tea.  I don’t know exactly what it is, but this magical combination seems to soothe any bad mood and almost instantly takes me back to being a little girl.

Over my married life I have experimented with many, many chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipes.  I’ve tried Company’s Coming, Martha Stewart, Food.com, magazine recipes and about a dozen others in between.  They were mostly good recipes (except for the one that I accidentally tripled the baking soda…it was the polar opposite of good) but none of them were quite right.  

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Corey is a cookie “monster” (much like he’s an ice-cream connoisseur) and I was desperate to find the recipe that would be it, the one.  I wanted it to be perfect (because striving for perfection, while illusive and unattainable will always me happy) and I was determined it had to be possible. 

So I did what I always do – I played.   A little from this recipe, a little from that, throw things in here and something else there, scribbling down the changes on an old envelope as I went.  

It took a little time but a few years ago it happened, I finally achieved the cookie that gave Corey “the face”.  You know “The Face”, I bet you even make it but just in case you don’t it looks something like this…

They walk into your kitchen and take a HUGE breath, “Mmmmm something smells good” (which is code for GIVE ME A COOKIE), you hand over a warm from the oven cookie and wait – there’s a slow bite, the eyes close 3/4 of the way as they chew and a little smile starts to creep up the sides of their mouth – it’s THE FACE.  Then 3 seconds later they swallow, devour the rest of the cookie and try to be stealth as they steel 3 more.

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These cookies elicited that exact reaction and have been a hit ever since.  They were in the top 5 most popular items at Baking Life Healthy when we were in business and are still the most requested food from any guest coming to visit. 

This recipe is simple, it’s versatile (but only if you need to change it, I’d say they’re perfect as they are) and it’s delicious.  So from our house to yours, I hope you makes these and enjoy a warm bite Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Comfort!

If you make any of our recipes we’d LOVE to see them! Send us a photo of your creation on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #ofsbakes

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Comfort Cookies
A warm chocolate chip oatmeal cookie that offers the comforts of home with the memories of childhood.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Cup Butter, softened to room temperature
  2. 1 1/4 Cups Brown Sugar
  3. 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  4. 2 Eggs
  5. 2 TBSP Coconut Milk* (can sub other milk of choice)
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  7. 1 tsp Baking Soda
  8. 1/2 tsp Salt
  9. 1/2 - 1 tsp Cinnamon (I never really measure, just shake away)
  10. 1 Cup All Purpose Flour (preferably unbleached)
  11. 3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  12. 2 Cups Quick Oats
  13. 1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
  14. 1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  15. 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Pre-Heat Oven to 375°F
  2. In a large bowl or using a mixer beat together butter & both sugars until fluffy & light in color
  3. Beat in eggs one at a time until incorporated, then add vanilla and milk
  4. Add baking soda, salt & cinnamon to mixer and allow to mix briefly
  5. Gradually add in both flours and mix until combined
  6. Add oats, turn on mixer for a few seconds then add chocolate chips and allow to mix until well combined
  7. Place mixture in the fridge for approx 10 minutes to chill
  8. Measure out cookies onto cookie sheets leaving approx 2" between each cookie (we make smaller cookies at about 2 teaspoons each in size and get just over 60 cookies)
  9. Bake for 9-13 minutes until lightly golden brown. For perfectly chewy cookies remove when centers look slightly damp but NOT gooey
  10. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack
  11. Store well in an airtight container or in the freezer
Notes
  1. * We use the coconut milk found in the refrigerator section NOT the canned milk
  2. Rolled oats give a chewier cookie while quick oats give a fluffier one. Feel free to use what you have and adjust it according to your preference.
  3. Can sub 1/2 a cup of the chocolate chips for raisins if desired.
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Finding Grace in Small Things #18

Sometimes, choosing to focus on the grace in my days is hard.  Sometimes, I’m don’t want to look for that grace because it takes work, and wallowing in self pity is easier.  Other times, like the past few weeks the hard keeps building pressure and I find myself desperately clinging to each of the tiny bits of grace I can find.

We are currently dealing with more health struggles for our Audrey, causing us great concern and cancelled weekend plans.  There also some big changes pending in our future and friends/family who have their own hard going on that affect us.  It’s all stuff that can weigh me down but today in an effort to keep my eyes on grace I don’t want to write a post, spewing it all out.    

Instead, here is my grace:

Grace 18 -1

 

Family & Fish – Corey’s Dad dropped us off some beautiful fresh, ocean caught cod & halibut this past week.  It was so kind of him, but it was in whole and, as non-fish eaters we had no idea what to do with it.  My Dad re-arranged his evening plans to run over and help Corey cut & package it all.  The kids were thrilled to have an evening with Papa & I was thrilled to not have to touch that sliminess myself have the help!

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 Girls Days – Due to all that’s happening with Audrey’s health our spring break plans were all cancelled.  She wasn’t well enough to travel, and on the day that we’d planned to spend out exploring with my mom she wasn’t even well enough to leave the house.  Instead, my Mom came over to hang out with us.  

A day that had started out disappointing because plans had changed again, turned into a wonderful day.  We cuddled, watched movies, laughed, colored and tried on my wedding dress.  It was exactly what we needed!

 

Grace 18 -3

 

Silk Tie-dyed Easter Eggs: I saw this tutorial a few years ago over on MommyKnows and vowed one day we’d do it.  This year we did, and they turned out beautiful!  We ate the last one this week and I was a little sad to see them go.  We will definitely be going this again next year – thanks Kim!

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This love: I can’t put into words how much I love the way these two love each other.  They can fight (and play) with the best of ’em but when someone’s not feeling well, has had a bad day or is just down, the other one is right there to “fix it”. 

 

Grace 18 -5

 

Old Spice Advertising:  Their commercials/ads are ridiculous, lame and yet somehow completely genius.  I actually let out a snort & almost spat out my tea in the drugstore when I saw this.  Everyone could stand to believe a little more in their “Smellfs”…ya know?  Also, “I’m on a horse”

Here’s to grace, God’s beautiful Grace hidden all through every day life.

Grace in Small Things is a social network created by Schmutzie to wage a war against imbitterment!  Check out my first post here.