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I just wanted to share my favorite photos with you a little bit this morning. These photos are a glimpse into the last few weeks in our little household. We’ve went to Legoland and the aquarium with the kids, and little miss Bluebelle has started kindergarten. She’s a week in now and she loves it so much. According to her she has the best teacher ever and has no problem getting to sleep every night!

Enjoy the photo dump!

This was a picture before we went to Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium two weeks ago. I love how happy and excited they all are!

August 2015 (2 of 8)

This was little man watching his sister sing karaoke at the “princess” part of Legoland. It was very…pink in there.
August 2015 (3 of 8)

We loved the mini Lego city of Dallas! It was so cool to see it all in a smaller scale. Of course, we had to take a picture of Bluebelle at the Ballpark because it’s one of our favorite places!

August 2015 (4 of 8)

I didn’t get a lot of photos from the aquarium, due to lighting and such. It was a really cool experience, but pretty small. I don’t know if we’d pay to go there again. Thankfully, Todd had gotten us complimentary tickets to both. The sharks and the sting rays were pretty amazing to see!

August 2015 (5 of 8) August 2015 (6 of 8)

Finally, here’s a few quick back to school photos for both Bluebelle and Dean Bean! I had the hardest time preparing for Belle to go to school, but once the day was there, it was time to send her off without a tear. I just like to bawl for the weeks beforehand! haha! We’re already in love with her school and I don’t think she could have gotten a better teacher! I signed up to be a room mom… we’ll find out if that’s “on my beam” or not!

August 2015 (7 of 8) August 2015 (8 of 8)

Today was Dean Bean’s first day of Mother’s Day Out. I’ve actually never done that before. I’ve had the kids with me all day every day since 2010… but since we’re away from family and with Todd’s schedule, we decided that 10 hours a week for me to write and do anything I need to do sans kids was a pretty good idea. I wasn’t sad about this at all — I might have squealed “Dobby is FREE!” on my way to Starbucks. Maybe. I make no promises.

Since he’s the second kid and we were running fast and frantic this morning, I snapped a quick phone pic or two. No sign… because, well, it still says Kindergarten on it. He’s already playing and having fun and he has been wearing his backpack since 7 am.

…And they won’t upload right now. You can just check my Instagram. :)

This is quickly becoming a beautiful season of our lives. I’m thankful for it.

Have a great Tuesday!

 

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Towels of gratitude.

towels

Today as I was folding the laundry, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. You see, I have the same chores every single day. The same routine, the same house to clean, the same long list of things that need to be done. It never ends because as I finish one task, there is another to begin.

As I was folding that towel, I thanked God for the little bodies that use it. I inhaled its sweet fragrance and I was wrapped up in gratitude for the laundry soap I can afford and the washer and dryer I have to use every day. The laundry list of things I have to do every day are things that have to be done because I have the precious opportunity to have a family. I know that’s not something everyone gets to have.

When I think of giving thanks, I often think about Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. That book changed my life. The daily practice of giving thanks should be something everyone tries to do. To practice gratitude is to look through like with a tiny glimpse of God’s vision, it’s a humbling and completely fulfilling task – and it’s not always easy.

Yet long before I think of Ann, I am most often drawn to one of my favorite heroes of the faith, Brother Lawrence. He lived in a Carmelite monastery from 1611-1691. Was he a great theologian? Was he a preacher? An author? A person of high ranking?

He was a dishwasher.

He was a dishwasher, and yet he left behind one of the most significant pieces of literature about practicing the presence of God. You see, he spent every day of his life in an attempt to remain in constant communication with God. No task was too trivial for him. His daily life in the kitchens of his monastery was simple, but his revolutionary faith drew people from everywhere to him. After his death, his abbot collected the letters and notes from his life and compiled a book.

He wrote, “But when we are faithful in keeping ourselves in his holy presence, keeping him always before us, this not only prevents our offending him or doing something displeasing in his sight (at least willfully), but it also brings to us a holy freedom, and if I may say so, a familiarity with God wherein we may ask and receive the graces we are so desperately in need of.”

Brother Lawrence encourages me because he shows me that there is no task that is too trivial for the presence of God. He is with me when I wash the dishes, when I fold the clothes, when I sweep the floor or wipe the countertops for the hundredth time. He knows when I sit and when I rise. He knows my thoughts. He knows me. (Psalm 139:2-4)

I may never be anyone beyond daily chores or wiping baby bottoms. This home is my mission field and I live among the natives. I may never hold a place of importance in the outside world. But if a 17th century dishwasher can revolutionize the way we practice our daily worship of God, there is no limit to what He can do when I submit myself to His will.

In case you think that this was easy for him, Brother Lawrence wrote that, “When I finally reached a point where I wanted to quit, I found myself changed all at once. In my soul, which until that time was in distress, I suddenly felt a profound inward peace as it it were in its true place of rest.”

It’s not until we give up trying to make things happen on our own accord and we relax in our own efforts and rest in the strength of God that we begin to feel His presence.

Be encouraged today. You don’t have to be the best, or the biggest, or anything that you think you have to be. You just have to rest in the knowledge that you are loved. “I considered that he was always with me, that he was even within me.” (Lawrence)

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col. 3:15)

You. are. loved.

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Recipe: Mini oven frittatas!

The older I get, the worse I get at following a recipe. This isn’t bad for me, per se, because I know what works and what doesn’t and for the most part, I do fine just “winging” it. The problem come when a person asks me for my own recipe and I have to sit down and wonder what I did to make it! Haha!

This morning, I posted a picture of some mini-frittatas I have been making. They –like most of my recipes– are a work in progress, but I’ve come down to a basic routine as I make them week by week. Since many of you have asked me for the recipe, I’m going to give you the foundation and let you play with them just like I do!

I love this recipe. I’ve been making them for about a month. It’s largely up to you what you prefer to do — and you can make it more involved (or less) depending on your personal preference. My recipe uses the ingredients I have on hand the most, but I will recommend you have another muffin tin ready (or a skillet!) for any leftover mix if you find you have more mix than you planned!

Red dirt mama mini frittatas

Mini Frittatas

You will need:

One dozen eggs
1/2 c. whole milk, heavy cream, or half and half
1 t. cornstarch (not necessary, but recommended)
Below are your preferences!
Cheese of choice (I use sharp cheddar)
Bacon (about 6 slices)
1/4 c. onion
1/4 c. sweet bell pepper
1 cup fresh spinach (I just grab a handful!)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350*

I begin by dicing my bacon and putting it in a pan (low to medium heat!) to begin cooking. Then I add my onion and pepper to the pan, stirring frequently until veggies are soft and bacon is cooked through. Add your spinach and give a quick toss then remove from heat. The spinach will finish wilting and that will give your vegetable mixture time to cool.

While your veggies are cooking, shred cheese. I find that I use about a 1/2 c to a cup of cheese total. You can use more or less depending on preference — I just put a pinch in! If you just buy the bagged stuff — you’re good.

Then, crack your eggs into a bowl or 4 cup Pyrex wet measuring cup. The measuring cup makes it easiest to pour. I use a fork to beat my eggs until light and fluffy, then I add the half and half and salt and pepper to the mix. You don’t HAVE to use milk in your dish, but it gives it this incredible creaminess to the dish and (I think) makes it reheat better. If you only use skim milk, please don’t add it. You’re wanting the fat in there, and skim milk in this mix is the equivalent to adding water. (I drink almond milk mostly– but this is a time where fat is GOOD.) Add in the cornstarch too, if you have it. This was recommended by Alton Brown — it helps soak up the water in the eggs and retain moisture. You don’t HAVE to do it, but I think this batch did better with it in there and you can’t taste it! Beat until light and fluffy.

Take your non-stick muffin tin and grease the tin to make sure the eggs won’t stick. I like to use olive oil spray, but its up to you. I tried bacon grease last time and I didn’t have as good results, although it was delicious.

Here is the process:

1. Put in a pinch of cheese.
2. Pour eggs 2/3 way full in each tin.
3. Add in a pinch of the veggie/meat mixture until all gone.
4. Finish adding eggs until almost to top.
If you find that you’re going to have leftover eggs, then scramble what you have left. I usually just live on the wild side and try so hard to get every last drop in there! haha!

Carefully put in your wet mixture in your preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Set a timer for 20 minutes. They are done when they looked popped out like the picture above (that was right after removing) and the top and center of the eggs aren’t wet. You DO NOT want the mix to turn brown on top, that means your dish is probably overcooked and while edible, will be spongy and dry. Mine takes usually closer to 25 minutes, but I just watch it like a hawk at the end.

These frittatas will be very high when baking, but will shrink down to their normal size when cool. I like to remove them fairly quickly after pulling them out of the oven and place them on a plate to finish cooling so they don’t over bake.

DONE!

To reheat — wrap in a paper towel and zap in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Use whatever toppings you like! Play around with it! They give Todd and I a quick breakfast a few days in a row. You can make some more kid-friendly ones (if your kids don’t like that flavor profile) for early morning breakfast on the go!

It’s really easy, especially if you are tired of scrambling eggs every morning! We go through so many eggs in our house.

I hope you enjoy them! Let me know what you think, or if you have any ideas for variations!

Have a wonderful Monday!

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