The Small Things

Hairstyles can trigger a lot of anxiety in women. Personally, I can nearly have a panic attack before going to get my hair cut because of too many bad previous experiences. I get to the hair stylist, sit down with plans to be adventurous, and then end up reverting to “just trim it up and style my bangs!”

Kate from the Small Things Blog has become quite the success story. Her hair tutorials went viral on Pinterest and You Tube and she has attracted a lot of people to her blog, me being one of them!

One thing I want to say about Kate is that she seems to be an extremely humble and wonderful woman. On her blog under “about me” she says very straight forward that she is a Christian and finds her worth in Jesus, even though she loves to talk about things like hair (she’s a professional stylist), make up, style and decorating, she serves Christ first.

Because her blog took off so quickly she suddenly started making money off of advertising and other avenues. She posted a while back about how she chose to sponsor a child through Compassion International with some of the funds she received.

I have personally benefited from her hair tutorials so much! They are quick, concise and offer great advice for spicing up your every day hair with tricks and tips for using your straightener, curling iron or other tools.

As a stay at home mom, I can feel down if I don’t take time to get ready during the day, even if we aren’t planning on leaving the house! Of course there are those days where nothing seems to go right and I barely have time to drink my coffee, let alone style my hair! But most days I try to get ready when Caleb is napping or occupied. He usually gets a lot of entertainment out of watching me do my hair and make up!

Ok I’m being brave: here is a picture of my hair just blow dried with NO style yet. It’s scary. You will understand why I need to straighten it, curl it or put it up!

I decided to try out Kate’s latest tutorial on the double bun. You can watch it right here.

So I got three-quarters of the way through and then you can see that Caleb stopped being entertained and got very unimpressed with me wasting time on this!

So I sat him down with a snack and tried to quickly finish this off. Of course I’d never tried this one before so it took me a tiny bit longer then it usually would (or when I re did it later in the day). Here is my final picture. I hope to get a better finished product today when I try it again since I won’t wash my hair again today, so if I do I’ll post another picture! I ran out of bobby pins and that one longer curly piece wouldn’t stay back!

 You can check out her flat-iron tutorial here, and her curling iron tutorial here. These are my two other favourites as they livened up my hair a little more!

You can check out all of Kate’s hair tutorials and other fun blog posts by visiting The Small Things Blog.

Enjoy!

Encouragement with a Scone

This is a bit of a unique Try It Out Tuesday post, but I hope you will give it a read, hear my story from this morning and then make one, or both of these delicious scones!
For the heart…

Today I received a phone call completely out of the blue. I don’t know if I have ever really talked to this person before, but we are in the same denominational circle. I guess you could say the power of blogging and social media linked us together. So when I say out of the blue, that’s truly what I mean.

She called basically to encourage me as a mom and hear what I was struggling with since she had picked up that we were having some issues with Caleb screaming a lot.

She didn’t simply offer advice that worked for them, she affirmed me as a daughter of Christ first, then as a mom.

My tiredness was still with me, but my spirit was rejuvenated. God had spoken to someone to encourage me, let me know they were praying and to build me up. The power of her words and the influence of her obedience is indescribable.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Being the recipient  of a random word of encouragement revealed to me again the power of my words. In my tongue I have the power of life and death.

Which will we choose? Why don’t we each finish off today by trying out what this lady did for me. Be that voice out of the blue in someone’s life, bringing hope and encouragement.

For the home…

I have been loving trying new scone recipes lately. Whether eating them warm with butter or cool and plain, scones are a comfort with tea or coffee.

Perhaps one of these recipes would make the perfect gift for a person you want to encourage?

White Chocolate Raspberry Scones (view original recipe here and see the cute blog I found it on!)

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt (I used raspberry yogurt since that’s what I had on hand)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together; add softened butter to dry mix and combine until mixture is the size of small peas. Combine milk, yogurt, egg and vanilla and add to dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in remaining ingredients, and spoon 1/3 cup of batter onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until lightly brown.
Double Chocolate Scones with Cinnamon Butter (see original recipe here)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, 1 stick cut into pieces and 1 stick softened
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, combine the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. In a small bowl, mix the egg with the buttermilk until just combined. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until the dough just comes together. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and place on the prepared baking sheet. With lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a flat, round cake about 6 inches in diameter. Using a sharp, straight-edged knife, cut each round into 6 equal wedges, leaving them in place. Sprinkle the tops with the granulated sugar and bake until firm in the center when lightly touched, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool slightly before breaking into wedges.

In a small bowl, using a hand mixer or a fork, beat the softened butter with the confectioners sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until light and fluffy. Serve with the warm scones.
I forgot to take a picture of my scones, so I used the one off the website. My double chocolate scones looked a little different because I just dropped them on a baking sheet individually instead of forming them into a cake and cutting it.
May you be blessed by blessing someone else today!

Mentoring: Leaving Your Washroom Door Open

This new stage of separation anxiety has brought a few changes to my life really quickly. The biggest one is always leaving the bathroom door open during the day if I have to go to the washroom. Ok, so it’s just Caleb and I at home, it shouldn’t be a big deal. But I have a hard time using public washroom when other people are there!

The moment I take a step in the house Caleb hears me. If I move one direction, he leaves whatever he is doing to scoot after me as though I’m leaving forever. If I leave the door open to the washroom he’ll get so excited about the event that is going to take place. When you think about it, the washroom is a pretty exciting place. There is a giant basin filled with toys to play with while soaking in nice warm water. There is a cool bowl that swirls water around and around when you push down a lever. Caleb will nearly hyper ventilate whenever we get to go into that tiny room.

Today as I was reading one view on toilet training, they emphasized the need to demonstrate for your child how to use the washroom and to let them watch you. “Well I guess Caleb’s getting some good pre-training”, I laughed to myself. 

The truth is, in mentorship, whether with our kids as they grow up, or in other areas where we speak into people’s lives (my husband and I specifically work with senior youth), sometimes you need to be transparent enough to show what your life is really like. Show the good, the bad and the ugly. Bring to light the things in your life that you aren’t proud of, or the toughest stuff you’ve overcome.

Displaying our lives as an open book is so freeing. Both of the mentors I have had in my life chose to share with me the struggles they were going through. There was no sugar-coating life for me. I walked with them through some difficulties, just as they walked with me through mine.

Paul describes mentorship in 1 Corinthians 11:1

And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.

If we are to imitate Christ, we need to know him. If someone is to imitate us, they need to know.

I’m not saying we need to go around telling people to imitate our lives. I’m scared to tell even the ones I mentor to imitate me. But here is the key: we let them see everything. Trying to cover up the areas in our lives that still need work doesn’t help anyone. Sharing with them what you’re doing to refine yourself in Christ helps them to have the courage refine themselves and face their issues.

Thankfully I don’t have to show anyone else but my own children how to use the washroom, but the analogy transfers. My life needs to be an open book in order to help others.

My prayer for myself is that I would have the courage to allow the Lord to use ALL areas of my life, not just the nice, tidy ones that I feel comfortable exposing.

Are you ready to leave your washroom door open?

*The picture is linked back to the original website out of courtesy for them allowing me to use their image. I am not promoting their method of toilet training.

High Five For Friday

Hello, Friday! I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog. Check out all the other High Five For Friday posts there!

1. Monday was a holiday so we enjoyed some extra time together! We didn’t do a whole lot. Caleb did enjoy wrestling with Daddy, he was laughing so hard I thought he stopped breathing!

2. I have figured out how to have a successful shower! I cover the bathroom floor in toys. Caleb stays occupied most of the time I’m in there. It definitely made the week a little easier.

3. I got together with a friend and we made biscotti this week. It was super delicious and fun to make. You can find the recipe we used here

4. Yesterday my mom and sister came in to the city and watched Caleb for a couple hours. I got some groceries, won on my Tim’s cup (I’m 2 for 3!) and hit up Value Village. 

5. Tonight is Canucks vs. Devils. My husband cheers for the devils, and I LOVE the Canucks. (Ok he loves New Jersey too, I just bug him that he can’t because he never lived there, whereas I did live in Vancouver at one point). I’m excited for this game. I hope Vancouver annihilates New Jersey.  Go Canucks!!!!

 

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

 

Stress Eating

I’ve never thought of myself as someone who depends on food, or turns to food for comfort. For Lent this year I decided to give up desserts. I was excited about it at first since I had realized I ate too much sugar a while ago. I thought this could be the push I needed in the right direction.

As the beginning day of Lent drew closer, I started to get a little nervous about giving up my cheesecake, brownies, cookies and all other little things I make far too often. My husband laughed at me as I started to get a little panicked the Monday before, reminding me it’s only for forty days.

So I’ve completed two full days, and I sort of already cheated by eating biscotti that didn’t have “much” sugar. I have realized something though. Stress makes me want sugar. If Caleb’s screaming, I subconsciously root around to see what baking there is, or pick up a little chocolate here, or desire a sugar filled latte. Being at home all day, I don’t think I had any idea how many times I just ate a “little something”.

It’s eye-opening to realize there is a deeper problem behind something. It isn’t just that I really like dessert, I’ve developed a dependency on it.

Confession: After two days, I have literally thought “I can’t do this.”

Wow. If this isn’t a wake up call to shake things up around here, I’m not sure what is!

The truth is, if I only deal with my sugar cravings, I will end up only replacing my need for comfort with something healthier, or something else that isn’t food related.

So my little Lent sacrifice has turned into something way bigger. I guess I could call it my journey towards a TRUE dependency on the Holy Spirit, not on food.

This is my theme song right now, for every situation I’m in. It’s very old, and I love it. I have been reminding myself many times already to “tell Jesus” instead of running to something or someone else.

“I must tell Jesus, all of my trials. He is a kind compassionate friend.” You can listen to the rest of it below. Let the words touch your heart, and throw preconceived notions of “hymns” aside.
*I couldn’t find a version that wasn’t a little dated in style! 

I certainly don’t have any answers on any of this yet, but I am excited at the work that Jesus wants to do in my heart, even if it scares me a bit to see what he digs up. One thing I know, he won’t ask me to deal with by myself.

Jesus can help me. Jesus alone.

I’m Not Losing My Mind

In case someone else needs to hear this…

Yesterday when Caleb was screaming a lot I felt like I was having a bit of a breakdown. Our house was full of senior high students ready to learn about leadership, and I was stuck in Caleb’s room trying to deal with this frustrating screaming stage. When  Andrew came into the room and I said probably ten times “I think I’m losing my mind, I honestly think I’m going to lose my mind”, of course in between many tears.

No. This is not true. I made an extreme statement out of my hopelessness, feeling trapped in our current phase. Instantly this scripture mash entered my mind:

I have the mind of Christ. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. His joy is my strength. I will wait on the Lord and he will renew my strength. I will soar on wings of eagles. I will run and not get weary.

Today I am tired, just as I’m sure many of you are. Today I’m a bit discouraged, just as some of you might be. But I won’t give territory to the enemy! When this lie about me “losing it” enters my mind, I know exactly what to tell that deceiver.

I have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

His joy is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10

I will wait on the Lord and he will renew my strength. I will soar on wings of eagles. I will run and not get weary. Isaiah 40:31

 

May the Lord increase your strength and multiply your rest today!

 

Go back to your family!

I talk to so many stay at home moms who absolutely love the opportunity to be with their kids. At the same time, I hear over and over questions asked about whether God will still want to use them after this stage is done, or at least when there is a little more time. I was struck by what Jesus said to a man who I think can really apply to moms in the season of staying home. Not only to moms, but to anyone who has been asked to stay where they are for the time being. It was a real encouragement to me.

Jesus was told about a man possessed by many demons. His whole heart, body and life were controlled by a demonic force. This poor man lived homeless, in a cemetery not even in his right mind to realize he was naked. In a moment, Jesus drove the demons out of the man and into a herd of pigs. The crowds were astonished. This psychotic man who couldn’t even be held by chains was now sitting clothed and in his right mind! In seconds his life was back. The joy and thankfulness that filled that man’s heart could be simply unknown to us unless we experience forgiveness to that degree.

But this is what stood out to me:

The man who had been freed from the demons begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him home, saying, “No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” (Luke 8:38-39)

I’m sure this man was so disappointed when Jesus sent him home. He craved a closeness with Jesus, and desired nothing more than to be right with him and his disciples. But Jesus said no. For that season of this man’s life he was to go back home and share what Jesus had done for him with his friends and family.

I guarantee that his testimony would have been shared in front of large crowds and he could have been a great attraction for an outreach or a service. However, he needed to share his miracle with those closest to him first.

If you feel confined to your workplace, home, or any other environment, and you know that’s where God has you, share your story with those around you. Share the miracle Jesus has done in your life. Give him glory, and in the right time you will be called to the next setting.

Mom’s – don’t make the same mistake some of the women of old did in thinking their call from God was greater than their family. All the things God has placed on your heart, will work together with your family and your kids. God will not ask you to forsake one to pursue the other.