Ignite Weekend

I know I am a bit behind, but better late than never.  A few weekends ago, Mike and I spent a fun packed weekend with a BUNCH of students from our church.  The weekend is an in-town retreat called IGNITE.

We fill the weekend with sessions, activities, laughter, songs, learning, games, outings, food, breakout times and much more.  It is a way to invest in the students lives and to have fun doing it for a low cost and in town no less!

Here are a few pictures I took throughout the weekend.  Yes you’ve seen a few of these girls before.  I focused mostly on taking pictures of them this weekend.  There were plenty of other cameras around to capture everyone =)

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The weekend was focused on learning to restrain the tongue as well as the good uses we can put our tongue to.  Love you girls and so glad to be able to make wonderful memories with you =)

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(non)traditional celebration

Mike and I are different than some couples; maybe it’s because our love languages are more along the lines of quality of time and acts of service, but it works for us.  BTW, I still do like getting flowers.

We celebrated our “Valentines Day” on Saturday.  I mostly wanted to go out to eat on Saturday at lunch because I figured it wouldn’t  be crowded, it is lunch after all, and we could go to a nice restaurant and still get “lunch” prices! and did I mention no crowds? 

Here is a small photo diary of how we spent our valentines day

We woke up to some snow on the ground!! Blizzard of 2012, I tell you what… and yes those are our tulips trying to come up in January/February.

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Mike left early in the morning to go pick up one of his students so they could bring home some firewood to the students family.  I spent some time cleaning the house.  I must confess that I have an ap on my phone that helps me remember what I need to clean when and how often… yes I’m THAT person.

Mike came back to the house to pick me up so we could go chop and haul firewood for our own house.  It started showing again while we were getting the wood.  Avi, of course, was supervising the truck and keeping my seat warm.

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12 - 1 (1)Then, we freshened up to head to Lakeside Tavern.  It’s a pretty nice place, overlooking the water and enjoyed delicious wonderful food.  I had a tasty piece of salmon and Mike had a steak.  He said this place definitely makes the list of repeat eateries.

We then spent a little time at the house putting the final touches on our lessons for Sunday before we headed out to watch a movie with some friends and get a bite to eat.

 

 

 

 

 

So anyways, not too much lovey dovey stuff like a “traditional” valentines day would be, but we loved it just the way it was.  Tonight, the actual holiday,  we are making steaks and sweet potatoes at the house.  I’m super excited, and we’ll probably make our routine appearance at the gym as well.  We love just doing life together.

Here are a few things to keep you busy this afternoon.

If you really want to know the true difference between Love and Like, check out this cute video.

For kicks and giggles, below is a little movie Mike made for me for Valentines Day in 2007.  He just found it today and resent it to me.  Enjoy. 

 

Love you babe!

healthy snacking

Over the last few months, I have attempted to pair down the processed foods in our home and make smarter wiser choices when it comes to snacks.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we still totally enjoy a bag of Cheetos every now and again!! 

My general rule of thumb is attempt to purchase foods with less than 5 ingredients, and preferable those with ingredients that I actually can read and know what they are.  The list of ingredients on things as simple as pancake mix would absolutely appall you!  This is one reason I started making my own peanut butter.

For example: Triscuits actually make the cut.  The cracked black pepper are my favorite.  And so do Baked Tortilla Chips.

My attempt to cut down processed foods for granola bars is a bit more difficult, especially because there are way less coupons for the healthier foods, so the costs can be significantly higher.  Plus, with a tree nut allergy in our family, a lot of the bars with less ingredients in them contain tree nuts.  Clif bars for instance can be around $1 per bar!  And most Luna bars contain tree nuts.

So in my attempt to help us live a healthier and safer life, I found a recipe (while pinteresting of course!) for homemade clif bars.  They turned out great and were super easy to make!  Below is the recipe from the site.  I chose to make ours with PB, honey (instead of rice syrup), dark chocolate chunks and craisens.  Even the hubs thought they were pretty good!!  I’m looking forward to trying other varieties.

Homemade Cliff Bars (no bake!)
There is plenty of room for variation here, so let your mind and tastebuds run wild. I have a few variation ideas to get you started. And yes, you can definitely double this recipe and press into a 13×9-inch pan insteads of an 8-inch pan.

1 and 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal (e.g., I like Erwhon Crisp Brown, but Rice Krispies are fine)
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal)
1/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (e.g., raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.)
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts or seeds (pepitas are great)
1/3 cup brown rice syrup or honey
1/2 cup nut butter (preferably natural, well-stirred, but creamy is fine, too)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the rice cereal, oats, flaxseed meal, dried fruit, and nuts in a large bowl.
Combine the syrup and nut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted and well-blended (alternatively microwave in small microwave-safe bowl 30-60 seconds until melted). Stir in vanilla until blended.
Pour nut butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until coated (use a wooden spoon at first, then get your hands in it. It will be sticky, but this way you can really coat everything. Just scrape off your hands when you’re done). Press mixture firmly into an 8-inch square pan (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) using a large square of wax paper (really tamp it down). Cool in pan on a wire rack and chill at least 30 minutes to help it set. Cut into 12 bars. (Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator).
Variations:
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Replace the dried fruit with an equal amount of semisweet miniature chocolate chips (or carob chips). Combine the cereal mixture with the syrup mixture, then let the combined mixture stand 10 minutes before adding the chips.
Pepita-Cranberry
Use chopped cranberries for the dried fruit and raw pepitas for the nuts/seeds. Use either honey or brown rice syrup.
Peanut Butter Cookie
Use chopped dates for the dried fruit and dry roasted peanuts for the nuts. Use honey, or half honey-half molasses for the syrup and peanut butter for the nut butter.
Will You Cherry Me?
Use chopped dried tart cherries for the fruit and lightly salted roasted almonds for the nuts. Use any nut butter(almond butter is great, but I know, a bit pricey–but worth it!), and add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.

back to the chalkboard

Last night the ladies of my small group and a few college girls got together to craft, chat and make homemade pizzas!  It was a great night.

We decided to make chalkboard mugs. (it’s the latest thing to do on pinterest!) We used red and black chalkboard paint.  It was a lot of fun to craft together with these creative ladies and for the most part pretty easy to do. 

(I apologize for the yellowness of the pictures.)

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Here is what my final products turned out to look like.  Now when I want to write a sweet note to someone on their coffee/hot chocolate mug, I just grab my handy piece of chalk and write away =)

Party