I Live Here

flagler beach
I live here.
Here, in a world with sunsets as beautiful as this.
Here, near a beach where we can enjoy every color in the sky.
Smell the salty breeze.
Feel the cool sand under our feet and the warm waves rush against our legs.

I do. Can you believe it?
Sometimes I have trouble believing it myself.

Of course, there are the days that I completely take it for granted. Cursing the beach when I'm hot and sweaty and sand-coated, carrying pounds of beach gear to the car in the blazing sun, six months pregnant.

But then, there are days like these.

Where Hubby comes home from work, we scarf down dinner as quickly as possible and head down to the beach (a whole 10 minutes away) to catch the sunset.

These are the days I just take it all in.
These days I'm so grateful for this life,
this family,
this town,
this world.

I think, "How did I get so blessed to receive all of this?"

And then I remember the other me - the complaining me - who takes this for granted, and I remember.

My life is this magical all the time.

I just have to have
awareness of that magic.
Gratefulness for that magic.
Stillness in that magic
in order to feel it.
flagler beach
And I feel it.
And I am blessed.


Skinny Blueberry Banana Muffins

By now you've gotten to know my obsession interest in finding things to do with overripe bananas.  Like these completely guilt-free Banana Oat Cookies, these Chocolate Banana Muffins, or this amazing Ice Cream that may taste like a treat, but is actually more like a health food.

If you've got bananas that you're about to toss and some blueberries (fresh or frozen), then I've got a recipe for you.  These blueberry banana muffins are sugar-free, egg-free, and nearly guilt-free!

healthy blueberry muffins

You will need:
3 overripe bananas
1/2 to 1 cup blueberries (depending on your preference)
1/3 cup applesauce
1/3 cup honey

1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and mash bananas.
Stir in applesauce and honey.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together.  

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix.
Spoon batter into greased or lined (I greased with coconut oil) muffin pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. (I used the entire 25 minutes).
skinny blueberry banana muffins

All the boys in our house gobbled them up - I didn't say a word about them being sugar free, and nobody even noticed

Linked up at:
What I Whipped Up Wednesday
Tell Me Tuesday
Brag About It Link Party
Get Fit Friday
Healthy Vegan Friday

Fluster Buster

It is Well with My Soul

Life is not always kind to us.

We are all struggling every day.  Struggling with bills, with family, with parenting, with disease, with insecurities, with loss, with worries of things yet to come.

With our own demons.

Demons that we do not realize we create.  Demons that we do not realize we have power over.

But life is not always hard.

Our happiness is a choice.
A choice to turn things over to a higher power.
A choice to change our own thoughts.
To bring positivity to the forefront of our minds.
To push the negative thoughts and needless worries aside.

And trust.

Trust that the power is there to bring to us what our hearts need.

I'm trusting in that power.

I'm handing over my struggles, knowing that whatever my lot, it is well with my soul.


Beating the Heat

It's been so hot here.  You'd think we were were lucky, because the temps have been in the mid to upper 80's,  but when you factor in the good old Florida humidity, we're at over 100 degrees!  What better way to cool off than to make use of our $20 blow-up pool?

Even Big Guy couldn't resist hopping in to cool off.  

How are you beating the heat of summer in your town?


Pregnancy: Week 24

24 weeks pregnant
This Week:
Baby's gained 4 oz since last week!
Baby's brain is growing quickly now.
Baby's hair is white right now because there's no pigment yet.

Looking:  Like a chubber!  Look at that face!

Feeling:  Exhausted!  This week began for me on the 4th of July, when we hosted a cookout, then watched fireworks on the beach.  The next day we went to another fireworks show in our town.  During the weekend we went tubing down the river (aka paddling 4 kids away from the sides where gators might be lurking) for a few hours and swimming in the head springs.  And finished it all up with a sleepover.  Phew!  This Pregnant lady needs a break!
Cutest thing:  Little Guy scolds me and calls me "Pregnant Lady" (sounds like "pregnant lay-deh") now whenever I'm doing something he thinks I shouldn't do. ie. Lifting him, carrying something big, standing on a chair. It's so funny.

Exercise:  None whatsoever officially, but I've been so busy - that's got to count for something, right?

Food:  Settling back down now.  Last week's ravenous eater has gone back into her cave, and a much more normal portion-eating woman has taken her place.

Not Cool:  My midwife had given me a chart where I have to document everything I eat for a week!  Eek!  While Big Guy's in town, we've been living it up, so I'm scared to see what she has to say about my choices at my next appointment.

Even Less Cool:  Over the weekend, I had a ridiculously sharp pain.  I had just awoken, and adjusted my pillows to a sort of sitting up-sort of lying down position, when I had the most terrible pain.  It's kind of hard to explain.  I want to say it was in my bum, but not how you'd think because it was somewhere inside my body.  I think maybe the baby pressed on a nerve, but it was strong enough to bring tears to my eyes and lasted about 5-10 minutes.  By the time I began to think about calling my midwife, it stopped.  Any ideas what it could have been?  I'm going to ask my midwife at the next appointment.

Belly Button:  Almost to the surface.

Excited About:  Appointment with my midwife next week!  My mom will be accompanying me, and this will be the first time she lays eyes on the inside of the birth center.  It will be quite a new experience for her!


The Importance of "Boy Time"

I'm one of those mom's who likes to participate.  We're going to the beach?  I'm down.  We're going on a hike?  Let me get my shoes.  Bowling?  Oh, I'm going - and I'll try to beat all you boys.
But in a house where I am the lone female, sometimes I just have to sit out, whether I want to or not.

It's important for the boys to spend time with just their dad, and let's face it, Hubby is going to do things much differently with them when I'm not around.

When it's just the boys, they can be disgusting, rowdy, and just downright stupid if they want.

Hubby lets them.
He even encourages it.

All these things are part of being a boy, and if they want to use a tote bin to play "tiny pool" with - fully clothed, then they can just have at it.
It also seems that when Mom is around, there is a lot more tattling and a lot less letting things roll off your shoulders.
It seems a hit to the arm or bump on the head gets laughed off much more easily when I'm nowhere to be found.
Hubby usually has some boy time outside with Little Guy every evening while I clean up from dinner, but since Big Guy has been in town, he's started using one day a weekend to take the boys out to an activity while I stay home.

It's been great for me - peace and quiet to do laundry and clean, and great for them, because these are the times that the boys get to connect with their dad.

They can talk to him about things they may have already told me, or about things they may not feel comfortable talking about with me.
Yesterday, Hubby took the boys to the local pool for a few hours followed by a stop at a park.
Did they come home a little sunburned?
Did they have a blast?
You bet.


Grilled Mozzarella and Tomato

grilled mozzarella and tomato with pesto

You know how sometimes you just want a grilled cheese for lunch, but sometimes you want something more?  Something really delicious and full of flavor.

Here it is.

Super easy.  Super quick.  Super delicious.

You need:

mozzarella cheese

Just spread the pesto on the bread and top with mozzarella and tomato slices.  Grill and flip until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Mmmm... delizioso!

Pregnancy: Week 23

23 weeks pregnant
This Week:
Baby is over 11 inches long and weighs in at a little more than a pound!

Belly Button:  Definitely on it's way out!  Getting much closer to the surface every week.

Exercise:  Ummm...not much.  Big Guy is in town visiting, so I've only walked once this week.  It's also a holiday week, so my days have been filled instead with beach, decorating, crafting, cookouts, and hanging out with family.

Sleep:  Better than last week.  I've decided that I'm just not going to sleep fully on my side, because that seems to be what brings out the terrible hip pain.  Instead, I'm finagling this weird, not quite on my side, but not quite on my belly position.  It seems to be working.

Food:  Where? Gimme some!!  This week I've been starving.  Eating like it's my last chance all day every day.  One night I'd made escarole soup for dinner, and afterwards had a pancake with sausage, and then a bowl of cereal.  Let me just throw Hubby under the bus - he ate everything right along side me!
Baby is supposed to be doubling in size over the next couple of weeks, so I'm chalking up my raging food cravings to that.

Contractions:  Braxton Hicks happen pretty much daily for me now.

Shared at: Tell Me Tuesday

DIY Personalized Wall Art

Have you seen these cheap adorable bed spreads at Target? They're only 19.99 for a twin, and oh-so-soft!  We picked one up for Little Guy's room when he decided he was getting too old for Lightning McQueen.  

Little Guy has been asking me to make him a sign for his room since we've taken down most of his Disney Cars decor, so last week on a rainy afternoon we got out the paints and set to work.

We actually never call Little Guy "Little Guy." That's basically for blog purposes only.  We do, however, call him Mr. Bent, or sometimes just Bent.  When he was just a little thing about 2 years old, he'd walk around going, "Oh, yeah! Ahh, ha! Mr. Bent!"  We have no idea where he got it from, but it was hilarious.  He's been Mr. Bent ever since, so it seemed just right to make him a Mr. Bent sign that matched his "bigger kid" room.  

Here are the steps I took:

1.  Using MambiSticks from Hobby Lobby, arrange and stick the letters on a canvas board.  

2.  Paint over the entire board with a gray craft paint that matches Little Guy's new bed spread.

3.  Once dry, peel letters off.  *They didn't peel off quite as neatly as I'd hoped, and left a raised, splotchy edge on the letters, so I ended up outlining the letters in a turquoise that matched the bedding.  I think this may have happened because we were outside on the porch during a rainstorm, so there was a ton of moisture in the air. 

4.  Using scrapbook paper for the triangles and turquoise craft paint for the streamers, I fashioned a pennant for the top of the sign.

5.  On the back, I attached a large ribbon, tied into a bow, to hang the canvas board with.

Little Guy is loves it, and I have to say, homemade flaws and all, it is pretty cute hanging in his room. 

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