Sunday, February 28, 2016

Chocolate chip scones.

Here is my favorite recipe for chocolate chip scones. I found it online once a long time ago, but don't remember where. It's amazing. I made them today and Kley said they should be a "big thing." Ha.

Chocolate Chip Scones

2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
8 T. butter (1 stick)- cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup yogurt
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips

I put it all into a bowl and mix together. Put on pan in balls and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. (Bake more/less depending on how fluffy or crunchy you like them.) Makes about 18 scones.

I love this recipe because they are easy/quick to make, I usually have all the ingredients on hand already, they are delicious, and you can eat them for breakfast even though they are kind of a dessert.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Weekend in Des Moines.

We went to Des Moines last weekend to visit my family, and I'm so glad we did. It's always great to see them, and we got to enjoy the warm weather too! We went for several walks, played games, and went prom dress shopping with my little sister, Kayla. It was a fun weekend!

Walks with Daddy and Grandpa!

Playing games and getting everyone in the family to give you snacks. 

We love Grandma!

Game time!

Uncle Keaton took the camera and took a few shots.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Norah- Sixteen Months.

I know 16 months is not a monumental milestone and may not be interesting to everyone, but I love posting it for family and so Norah can read it someday.

Norah is 16 months! Her hair is growing and it is making her look older. She is a proficient walker and is getting pretty close to running! She is learning so much and making lots of connections. Poor Norah was sick almost the whole month. We brought her to the doctor a few weeks ago and said no ear infection/RSV/flu, which was good. She was having a cold/fever. The cold continued and had fevers off and on, and brought her in again on 2/15 and she had a double ear infection. Thankfully, she was pretty happy the whole time and still slept well. The medicine is helping! She also had her 15 month wellness check and was 33" (98%- tall baby!), head circumference was 18.5" (82%), and 24 lb. 8 oz. (86%). So thankful for a healthy, growing girl!

Schedule/Eating: We babysat twins who are close to Norah's age this month and I was shocked at how much they ate and how quickly they inhaled their food. They made Norah look like a slow eater and like she doesn't eat much! Norah has wanted to feed herself more this month, so it's a lot messier! Sometimes she is picky, but never for a specific thing, meaning she will eat something one day but not another day. She is a pretty good eater, but sometimes we have to distract her with singing or silly sounds to get her to eat. She was sick this month too, which I think affected her appetite. We are working on not throwing our food on the floor when we don't want it. She always loved her fruit baby food and still loves smoothies, but doesn't like to eat pieces of fruit much. She still sleeps approximately 10-9 (yay!), and still takes two naps most days, but you can tell the transition to one is coming. She can get by with one nap if needed, and she now takes a really good first nap (about 2-2.5 hours), and takes a long time to fall asleep for the second and then we usually have to wake her (so she won't sleep too late into the evening).

Teeth: No new teeth this month.

Developments: It is so fun to watch Norah be able to do new things, like identify new items, match puzzle pieces to their picture, stack things together, connect objects, remember pages of books, etc. She loves books with flaps, touchy feels pages, or music buttons and she loves to flip through books by herself. She likes Pat the Bunny and remembers what the pages are. She has new confidence to go down her slide (though she still likes to hold your finger on the way down), and to turn around and go down the stairs by herself. She remembers where things go and is able to follow simple commands. She can get in and out of the chairs at her little table now also. It's fun to watch her find ways to communicate, like going to the fridge and pointing if she wants milk.

Words: Norah is able to say/attempt to say several new words if we ask her or if they come up, but doesn't use them regularly. She will regularly sign eat, more, please, up, and bath. She regularly says dada, Ainsley, Daisy, grandpa/grandma (bapa), bath, up, eat, please (sounds like peas), baby, ball, wow, bye-bye, belly button (bay-bay) and hot. She has said mama a few times, but not a lot.

Favorites: Norah loves to play with the measuring cups in the kitchen, empty out drawers, look at books, and follow mom and dad around. She likes to strum dad's guitars. She loves to walk around outside and find dogs and balls anywhere she can find them. She has even started going to the door, whining to go outside! Thankfully it's getting nicer out. She is getting better at going to the nursery, but definitely wouldn't call it a favorite! She loves to try to get us to give her a chocolate chip, put on mom's make-up, clean anything with a wipe, and try to put her boots on. She likes having our full attention and doesn't like if we do anything on our phones/computers- she will try to swat it away or even sit right on it! She will turn around and scoot her butt towards you a few times before sitting on your lap, it's so funny! She likes practicing finding body parts, especially belly buttons! Her favorite songs are Wheels on the Bus and Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Norah, you are so pleasant and fun to be around. We love watching your personality come out more and more. You love to laugh and you are a pretty good listener! We love you so much!

Always interesting to photograph a baby/toddler! She wanted the camera instead.

Finding her belly button!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Teaching the Gospel to your (very young) children.

A friend's blog that I follow, Oakland Avenue, recently did a podcast series with her sister-in-law called Risen Motherhood. They were so good! I would highly recommend them. I wish there were more than five. I listened to each one as I cleaned the kitchen, and I left each one feeling a wonderful mix of encouraged, challenged, and inspired.

The one I am specifically talking about today is Beginning Gospel Instruction with Young Children. I thought it was very good- filled with practical ideas. She also has follow up articles, posts, and references on her blog to go along with the podcast.

For all the Christian moms out there with young children, how do you practically teach them about God? How do you talk about it in ways they can understand? How do you make it fit their short attention span?

Norah, my daughter, is 15 months right now. So, her attention span is really short and there is no way we could do any sort of "formal instruction" with her right now. Listening to the podcast definitely got me thinking about how I want to proceed with teaching her the Gospel as she gets older. I definitely feel that this is a team effort with my husband, and I am so glad we can parent together and that we can help/lean on each other. However, being a SAHM, I am the one that spends the majority of the time with Norah, so I want to be ready with ideas and tips for how to effectively teach her and be a good model.

Before having Norah, I taught preschool at a Christian school for three years. I was blessed and honored to be able to share His love with the kids in my class. While I was there, we did a Bible story a week, where we read the same story out of different children's Bibles, sang songs, talked about relating points/questions, practiced retelling the story, and tried to make it applicable to them. This will definitely help me once Norah gets older since I've had experience with it (not that that makes me great, but experience helps), but I would love any tips for how you teach very young children!

So, what are we doing right now? Here are some simple practical things.

1. Play worship music in the background. Occasionally I will play actual children's worship music (meaning music geared towards young children), but most often I just play my own worship music. I think this is huge, both for Norah and myself. If I am having a tough day, I'm amazed at how quickly turning on praise music can change my mood, attitude, and thought patterns. I strongly believe Norah will pick up on that. She will learn those songs and hearing them play/hearing me sing them will be impactful. Music is powerful.

2. Pray before meals/bed. This is something I want to get better at. We pray before supper, but Norah hasn't always been with us during every supper (because of naps), and before bed every night, but there are too many lunches where I forget. I'm trying to do better! I really want to pray with Norah, as she gets older, during other parts of the day when situations arise, especially during discipline, but for now I want to make it a habit of instilling prayer into our lives on a daily basis at set times.

3. Read Christian books/Bible stories. Norah has some Christian board books that we put in her reading area, but just in the last few months we have started reading a Bible story to her every night before bed from one of her children's Bibles. Since she has several, our plan is just to go through them all, and once we finish one, start with another! Here are a few of the children's Bibles that Norah has:

A Child's First Bible- This is the Bible our church gives to all the new babies.
The Beginner's Bible- This is one of my favorites and we used this a lot when I taught.
The Beginner's Bible for Toddlers- An even simpler/shorter version of The Beginner's Bible. We have a board book version of this which is great for them to handle, and we also have a hardcover version. The hardcover has more stories in it than the board book.
Lift the Flap Bible- A story a page with flaps.
Jesus Calling Bible Storybook- This one would be better for more preschool-aged.
Jesus Calling for Little Ones- A simpler version of Jesus Calling Bible Storybook.
Tiny Bear's Bible- A short synopsis of stories in board book form.
My Very First Bible- Fewer stories in this one, but they are a little longer/more in depth than some of the quick summaries in other Bibles. Also, the pictures are great.
Day by Day Devotional- This would be better for older kids. It has something for every day of the year with a verse, short summary of a story, question, and prayer.

4. Model/explain what you are doing. Norah is learning and will learn so much by watching me and following me. That's a big responsibility, but a great one too! Even if she can't fully comprehend, I try to tell her what we are doing because they learn so much by doing. What's happening during church? Why are we praying for this person? Why are we bringing them a meal? It's easier to explain the good things, but this also goes along with the bad. When I get frustrated or say something I shouldn't say, I want to ask for forgiveness from Norah and explain how much I need Jesus. I've told Norah a few times that I was sorry for something, and she just stood there and looked at me, which was kind of funny, but we can learn something from how quickly toddlers forgive!

Kley and I pray so often that God would equip us to be good teachers and models to Norah. It's amazing that He entrusts His children to us to raise up.

Friday, February 19, 2016

What teachers wish they could tell you.

What teachers wish they could tell you but can't.

This was a very moving letter! As a former teacher, I thought it was incredible. It's a letter from a teacher to parents about how concerned parents are about "that child" in class who causes trouble and all things they can't tell them about what's going on but wish they could understand.

All professions have their tough spots I'm sure, but I know that teaching is hard work because I did it. This letter is so touching because it shows how much teachers do and care.

Teachers, I salute you. You are great and keep up the good work! You are making a difference!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

My sister, the superstar.

Last Saturday we went to Omaha and got to watch my sister in action at her club volleyball tournament! Glad we got to go watch! She really is very talented. I overheard a guy sitting next to me, who was rooting for the other team, say, "Man, that girl can hit. She has great form." Proof that she really is a superstar.

I really need to develop my action photography skills, but these are the best I got!

Also, we are leaving next week for a trip to Arizona with Kley's family, and we can't wait! We have been so sick this winter, and I am ready for warm weather and hopefully health! All three of us had the flu over Christmas, lots of colds since then, and this week Norah had a double ear infection and I had strep. So anxious to be feeling better and be out in the sun!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Mom's favorite toddler books.

It seems a little silly to write a post about MY favorite toddler books (instead of Norah's, which you can check out here), but I can't resist. I love books. (Norah will probably enjoy these more once she gets a little bit older. Norah's favorite books are for younger toddlers, while these are probably for a bit older toddlers.) So, here are some of my favorites:

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal- A hilarious book about peas who have to eat their candy for dinner (because it's healthy), and if he eats all his candy he can have his favorite for dessert (spinach).

The Crown on Your Head by Nancy Tillman- Norah got this book at one of her baby showers and I now love Nancy Tillman. Norah also has It's Time To Sleep, My LoveWherever You Are, My Love Will Find You, and On The Night You Were Born. They don't speak directly of God, but are really special books about how loved you are.

Thank You, God, For Mommy by Amy Parker- This is a really special book about the things moms do and what a gift they are from God.

I Love My Daddy Because... by Laurel Porter Gaylord- A neat book about the ways animal dads take care of and love their babies. I gave this to Kley on Father's Day when I was pregnant with Norah.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle- A fun book with lots of different sounds and a message about working together to help others.

Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann- This was an absolute favorite when I was a preschool teacher. There aren't any words, but it's about a zookeeper who is saying good night to the animals. The gorilla takes his keys and lets out all the animals, who follow him home to his house and try to sleep in his bed.

Good Night, Iowa by Adam Gamble- A good night book featuring different sites/landmarks across the state of Iowa. (They make them for other states, too!)

I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak- A cute book about loving all parts and sides of your baby.

Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae- This is a bit longer, so your child probably wouldn't sit still for the whole thing until they were a bit older, but I like it because it has a good message- his friends make fun of him for being a poor dancer, but then he gains self-confidence and dances and his friends think he's the best dance they've ever seen. Giraffes are my favorite animal and it has neat pictures, so that helps too!

God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren- A great message about a mama bear recalling her pregnancy/birth to her cub and how thankful she is for him and that God gave him to her.

The Story of Jesus by Patricia A. Pingry- One of my favorites ever! My mom gave this to Norah, and it's one of the best kids Christian books- it tells who Jesus is, how He loves us, and why we should love Him, in simple, easy to understand terms.

How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends? by Jane Yolen- This is a really fun series that my preschool kids used to love, and this book is my favorite of the series, because playing nicely with your friends is a topic discussed on the daily (more like hourly, sometimes by the minute), with kids playing together/siblings. The first half talks about how a dinosaur would poorly play with their friends, and kids think it's hilarious to see bad examples, and the second half is examples of them nicely playing with their friends. Kids also just seem to love dinosaurs, so it's a win-win.

We're Going On A Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury- This was another preschool favorite when I taught. Everyone loved it! It's about different things they have to do as they are going on a bear hunt, and then when they find a bear at the end they get scared and run home. The suspense/hilarity is the perfect amount for this age to keep them engaged.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day 2016!

Happy Valentine's Day!

We tried to have a nice photo session to get just one cute picture to put on Norah's valentines, which of course is hard to get when you have a one year old. But it was fun to try! Here's a sampling of what we got:

Singing wheels on the bus.

Playing with her new ice cream set that grandma and grandpa gave her for V-Day.

Shot with Daddy.

She's really loving it.

Got a few smiles!

This one below was my favorite. We love our little cutie!

(Check out Norah last year on Valentine's Day!)