Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Little Bits of Lovely

With only 2 days before school starts, I'm feeling nostalgic. My little girl is going to 3rd grade and I can't believe it! It seems like only yesterday she was a tiny munchkin with little ponytails and now she's a bigger munchkin with longer ponytails! But, she's still my munchkin!

Monday, September 1, 2014

New Recipe Alert! Coconut Rice and Chana Masala! So Very Yum!

Coconut Rice and Chana Masala
One of my favorite meals!

I had the pleasure of sitting in on a cooking demonstration at Potomac Adventist Book and Health Store a few weeks ago and came home making this yummy recipe of Coconut Rice and Chana Masala. It is a fairly easy recipe only the dicing of onion and tomatoes is a little time consuming. This is a meal that will give you leftovers and you can either have it for dinner a couple nights a week or it makes a great lunch. You may want to make the Chana Masala first and then the Coconut Rice, since the rice takes less time. If you like Indian, you will like this recipe!

Coconut Rice
2 Cups Basmati Rice
2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
1 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
2 Green Cardamoms Bruised (just pinch them)
1/4 Cup of Diced Onions
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
2 Teaspoons of Salt
1 Can of Coconut Milk
2 Cups of Water

In a pan heat oil until it shimmers and then add the cinnamon stick, cardamoms, and diced onion. Saute until onions are translucent.

Add rice, turmeric, and salt, fry for 2 minutes

Add coconut milk and water

Bring rice to a boil; turn heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, don't open or stir during those 15 minutes.

Turn off heat and keep rice covered until ready to serve. Fluff rice and serve!

Chana Masala
2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon of Cumin Seed
1 Medium Onion chopped and diced
2 Teaspoons of Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon of Ground Garlic
2 Large Tomatoes finely chopped
2 Teaspoons of Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
2 Cans of Chickpeas (washed and drained)
1/2 Cup of Water

Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat until shimmering then add cumin seeds, stir until they sputter.

Add onion, ginger, garlic (I diced up about 3 cloves because I didn't have the ground garlic) and salt. Stir until onion soften.

Add garam masala, coriander and turmeric; stir 10 seconds

Add tomatoes and cook until soft

Add chickpeas and water ; stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens slightly for about 20 minutes. Then add lemon juice (I just squeezed in half a lemon) and stir slightly.

I added some naan and it was really delicious! Hope you like it!

Check out some other recipes they have at

What Are We Laboring For?

Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope you all are having a very relaxing day and enjoying the end of summer. I started thinking about laboring and all the ways we labor. We labor at our jobs, we have labored at giving birth, we labor in our homes and for our children, we labor when we volunteer and in so many ways. Most of us labor hard at our jobs and raising our family. But what are we laboring for? I'd like to think that the most important labor we do is laboring for God. I am reflecting more and more about the things I choose to labor on? Are they important to my life in Christ? Do they matter to God? Lately, I'm starting to closely examine how I'm spending my time and am I making the most out of my days. The days are short and I don't want to spend them laboring away at something that doesn't matter. For me that looks like idleness, procrastination, surfing the web, watching bad television, or worrying needlessly. When I spend my time doing these things they drain me and actually make me feel unproductive and worse they take precious moments away that I can be laboring on those things that bear fruit.

In Peter 4:10 Peter says, "Each one should use whatever gift he has to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in various forms." If we want to use those gift to uplift the body of Christ then we  have to use self control and have a clear mind on what we should be laboring on. I want my labor to make a difference in my eternal life. I'm finding that to do this I need to be in consistent  prayer about God's will for my life. It all begins with his will because if I'm doing it in my will I'll just chasing my tail. Then discretion comes in that allows me to either pursue what I'm laboring on or not pursue it because it isn't worthy of my time and energy. The past month I've been paying attention to how I'm laboring and been asking myself if I am giving it 100% , am I accountable, am I prioritizing, and do I have a good attitude?

Labor isn't a bad thing! Laboring for God is fulfilling to yourself, others and to the body of Christ. When we have a good attitude about laboring we are showing and sharing our fruit with others. What we do while we're here matters to God and it should matter to us. When we take on the attitude that we are laboring for Christ that is when our light really shines.

My favorite labor of love is raising my sweet girl

Avoid Single Mom Burnout Tip #5

Tip # 5 is Get Organized!
In my single years pre-Anya I was not a very organized person to say the least! Then when I became a mother and I realized how important organization was to my wellbeing and my mood. There was a point in my life when Anya was around two and we had just moved into a new place and I was juggling a lot of balls in the air. I was burned out, cranky, and exhausted. I couldn't catch up and was always two steps behind it was making me miserable. Then one day I came across this site called Homemakers by Choice. The founder Donna Otto had written a book called, Secrets to Getting More Done in Less Time. I devoured it and then begin to listen to her podcasts. It changed my view and my actions about organization. I found myself wanting to get organized and to have an orderly home so that I could have more time to do the things I loved so I wouldn't be so cranky!
Organization looks different for everyone. What may work for me, may not work for you. But, if you take some time to think about what level of organization you would need to maintain that could make your week run smoother you will save yourself so much time and aggravation. There are so many cool tools and resources available that can help you maintain organization. Previously, I wrote about Cozi an app that I have on my phone that stores my calendar, to do list and shopping lists. Cozi gives me a snapshot of what  I need to do and how much time I need to set aside. In your home you may want to create a cleaning schedule and chore schedule that will help you maintain an orderly house. Maybe creating a  meal plan for the week, will save you an extra half an hour every night and give you some down time.
Think about the areas of your life that need order and are causing you to feel burned out and tackle those first. Burnout happens when you feel overwhelmed and organization is one simple solution to ease your that feeling. Don't overwhelm yourself more and try organizing everything at once. Take a notepad and go room to room and write down what needs organized. Then tackle the room that needs the least organization and don't move on to another area until you are finished. Think strategically about cleaning, what are the things that need done daily, weekly and monthly and create a schedule that makes sense for you. Try using a family calendar that is out in the open so everyone knows what is going on during the week and included chores and expectations. You don't have to be OCD, but a little organization does go a long way.
Preparing lunches in advance is just one of the ways I prepare for the week

30 Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge Idea #5

Idea #5 Bring Your Neighbor's Trash Can Back to Their House From The Sidewalk
You may be thinking, what are you talking about? LOL. Well, we all have a trash day where we have to put our trash cans out in front of our house then the it's picked up right? Well, we have to pull them back to our house, why not pull the trash cans back to your neighbor's house? It is something so small, but it is one less thing they have to do, so it is a little thing that helps!

Day #35 of 100 Days of Happiness

Day #35 is My Church
I feel really blessed that God led me to a church where I know that the gospel is being preached. It makes me happy that both myself and Anya are spiritually fed and especially that Anya loves our church so much!
Anya in front of our church this past July for VBS!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Avoid Single Mom Burnout Tip #4

Tip #4 Find Something You Love to Do and Find the Time to Do It!
If your like me and so many moms out there you will do anything for your children. You make sure that they are in the activities they love, you try to expose them to different opportunities, you drive them around, you take them on play dates, you provide a home for them, you take them to church, you'll fight tooth and nail to give them the best start you can because you are mom it is a what you do. When I do things for Anya I don't think about it because it is part of my every day life and I enjoy raising her. I have one child and life is busy so for those of you who have more than one child I can't imagine how busy it gets and my hat is off to you! In the midst of play dates, cooking and cleaning and the host of other stuff we do we can get lost in routine of the day. It's so easy to be consumed with everyone else's needs that we forget about what we love to do. Our dreams can pushed aside and sometimes forgotten altogether. I'm here to tell you that you deserve to have dreams and goals and you deserve to be able to work towards them.
What is it that you love to do? What did you enjoy doing pre-kids? What do you see yourself doing in your future? Are you living the creative life you want to live? Do you feel that you are reaching your potential? Only you can answer these questions, but I do know this there is a fire in your belly to do what it is you love. Maybe the fire is just crackling or maybe it is so hot that you can barely contain it, but it is burning. If you want to avoid burnout remember to do the things you love, don't bury your dreams because of a hectic life. You are a wonderfully God created woman who has gifts, talents and abilities that you are meant to discover and use!
Every day make one step towards your dreams, no matter how big or small. When you are doing what you love you are a happier mom and you inspire your kids. Don't focus on the negatives only focus on what you can do to make your dreams a reality. Set time aside when the kids are in activities or with their dad to pursue your passion. Even if you stay up a half hour later or get up a half hour earlier if you're dedicating that time to what you love to do it is completely worth it! It isn't always about making a profit, maybe what you love to do will never make you rich, but it enriches your life. That is what matters. Pursuing what you love gives you that glow, that pep in your step that make life just a little more fun!
One of my passions

30 Day Random Acts of Kindness Challenge Idea #4

Idea # 4 Send Someone a Card
Instead of sending a text go one step further and send a card with a personal note so someone. There is something so lovely about getting a personal message from a friend you haven't heard from or just sending a not of appreciation for friendship.

Day #34 of 100 Days of Happiness

#34 is Giving Pedicures to Anya!

Anya went on a little weekend trip with her dad, so a home pedicure was in order. These little moments with her make me happy!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Are You a Christian Writer? Check Out These Opportunities from Christian Writer Submission Information

Writing Opportunities from Christian Writer Submission Information

I'm aware that some of you readers out there are also writers! So from one writer to another I always like to pass along opportunities that I find. The list below is from Christian Writers Submission Information, which is an informative resource for Christian writers who are looking for opportunities to submit articles, poems, books, etc.  These are the deadlines for September from Christian Writers I suggest going to their site and looking at all the deadlines for upcoming months.  Good luck!!

Sept. 01 - Not Your Mother's Book: On Menopause - creative nonfiction 500-2500 words
               Chicagoland Poets and Patrons Annual Contest - one fee to enter 7 categories
               Guardian Angel Kids - kid-oriented fiction, nonfiction, poetry on theme Flying to the Moon
               Alive Now - devotional magazine; stories, poetry, prayers, meditations; theme is Poverty
               Not Your Mother's Book: On Military Life - creative nonfiction 500-2500 words
               NANO Fiction Contest - enter up to 3 fiction stories, each no more than 300 words
               Parabola Literary Journal - fiction, nonfiction, & poetry on the theme of Goodness
               Good Housekeeping's All About Love Writing Contest - 2500-3000 words stories
               2014 Houston Writers Guild Fall Contest - children's, fiction, nonfiction, & poetry
               Jesus Talked to Me Today: Stories of Children's Encounters with God, Angels, and Miracles - stories 1000 to 2000 words
               Oregon Poetry Association Fall Poetry Contest - 7 categories to enter
               Indiana State Poetry Association Fall Poetry Contest - 31 categories to enter
               Pockets: Hope - Christian children's devotional magazine; fiction, nonfiction, poetry, recipes, games, activities
               Presbyterians Today Magazine - articles 500-1500 words on the theme "The Church That Stayed"
Sept. 12 - Foster City International Writer's Contest - fiction, personal essay & poetry
Sept. 15 - Springfield Writers' Guild Annual Prose & Poetry Contest - prose to 1000 words, poems to one page
               2014 Houston Writers Guild Fall Contest - children's, fiction, nonfiction, & poetry
Sept. 18 - Real Life Simple Life Lessons Essay Contest - up to 1500 words about a eureka moment in your life
Sept. 23 - Arizona State Poetry Society Annual Contest - 12 categories to enter
Sept. 27 - Saturday Writers Anything Goes - Emotionally Speaking Contest - submit short story, essay or poetry
Sept. 29 - Sparkle - Christian magazine for girls in 1st to 3rd grades; fiction, nonfiction, & poetry, current theme is Creative Communication
                SHINE brightly Magazine - Christine magazine for girls 9-14; fiction, nonfiction, & poetry current theme is Be Yourself
Sept. 30 - Northern Colorado Writers Annual Poetry Contest - submit 3 poems, up to 250 lines
               Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to My Mom - creative nonfiction up to 1200 words and poems
               Pelican Book Group Easter Lilies Special - historical or contemporary Christian romance, 15K to 25K words
               Palettes & Quills Biennial Poetry Chapbook Competition - submit between 14 and 50 pages of poetry
               Tethered by Letters Spring Literary Contest - for short stories, flash fiction, and poetry
               Writers Unlimited Mississippi Poetry Society Annual Literary Contest - 16 categories to enter for short story, poetry, & memoir