Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Rings - Fruit & Veggie Style!

Anticipation for the Olympics has hit an all time high in the Nesdahl house.  In a short while we are going to a friend's to watch the kick off and play some opening ceremony bingo.

When we were considering what to bring, we thought it would be fun to be festive so we came up with this idea



Fruit and Veggie style Olympic rings.

My hubby is off today {WAHOO!} so the whole family (minus the baby) took part in preparing it.









And I love how it turned out.  I think it screams centerpiece!

To make ours, we used cucumbers, pineapple, strawberries, black grapes, and fruit dip with blue food coloring.  I made the fruit dip with 8oz of cream cheese blended together with 14oz of marshmallow creme.

Obviously you could use any fruits or veggies that fit the Olympic ring colors.  The options are endless.  And, it creates a healthy and pretty result.

!!!GO USA!!!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Believe I Can Fly

It all started at the grocery store.  I was at the meat counter for prosciutto when I turned around to this.



Hannah planking on the mini-cart handle bars.

Not sure if I should be impressed by her balance or horrified about what was happening, I did what every quality mother does. I told her to get down.  I grabbed my phone and took a picture.

Earlier my husband held her up in the pool like this and apparently she wanted to see if she could do it on the cart.  Never mind the fact that the wheels could slip and she could take a horrible fall on to the grocery store floor.  The potential for cuts and broken bones wouldn't stop her.

Because it would be cool if she did it.

A few days later our family would go to the pool. While there, our six year old Grace asked if she could jump off the high dive.  Since she'd never gone off any diving board, I thought we should start with a little practice jumping in the deep end and then attempt the low board.  She did.  Successfully.  And, of course, she politely asked once more to jump from the high dive.  Realizing that saying no was more about my fear than her safety, we let her and made a video as she soared from above



And swam with confidence to the side.

Afterwards Hannah said, "I was scared of you falling."

Grace, still pumped about her accomplishment, replied, "It was like I was flying."

I smiled and God stirred my heart.

I don't want to balance on the handle of a store cart.  I'm certain gravity would not work in my favor. :)  And, I can still rock the high dive.  But I do want to write another book.  And even though God has prompted me, I've timidly approached the call.  I use Ava's irradic sleep schedule as a hiding place from the fear of rejection.  It becomes my safety net so that the perfectionist in me doesn't belly flop.

So I type in the quiets of the night, sharing that I'm doing so with few.

Can you relate? Is there anything you think would be cool to do but are afraid to take the jump?

Later I would sit down for prayer and Bible Study to these words



My Instagram of YouVersion (source copyright 2008-2011 LifeChurch.tv)

{2 Corinthians 12:9. So like God to smack me with a good dose of what I need to hear}

And I realize that my fear and pain is not a hurdle but a springboard to fully living out my faith.  Because I admit to my weakness, I ask Him to take up residence in my heart -fully aware that I cannot do it on my own - and He upholds me.  My whispered "yes," however faint it my be, makes me powerful because I'm operating in the will of my Creator.

So today I choose to jump because man it would be cool if it works out and the grace of God will never allow me to sink.  He's got a purpose regardless.

I'm gonna fly friends.  Who's with me?


Shared at Raising Homemakers, She Reads Truth, Life Rearranged

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Let's Dance {Photo Display}

Every year I get the girls' pictures taken and with Grace and Hannah so in love with dance right now



I knew that had to be our theme for this year's photo display.

Grace just completed her fourth year of dance and Hannah her first. 



And both of them would live at the dance studio if I let them.

At this point in her life, Grace says she is going to be a ballerina teacher and has plans to open her own studio where she tells Hannah she can teach the babes and pre-K and they will run their own dance store right from within the studio "so no one has to leave."

She's a planner :)

Anyway, I took the girls to my friend Michelle who owns a photography business called Photos by Michelle.  As a mom, Michelle knows the joy found in quality pictures at a price that won't break the bank so she uses her talent to make that possible for others.  Seriously, friends, $50 for the sitting fee (more for senior pictures and weddings) and then she doesn't copyright the pictures so you can take the disc (included in the sitting fee price) to get your pictures processed wherever and however you choose.  In less than an hour she followed my girls doing their own natural thing and we had 160 pictures of sheer cuteness.

And she captures their personality so well!

Grace is sensative and quiet









Hannah is spunky and a little on the mischievous side








They both demonstrated their sweet, loving side when it came to calming Ava



Who did this most of the time.

Despite that, Michelle captured these moments










in the tube top, tutu, and diaper cover that my uber talented mother made for her. {Thanks, mom!}

Thankfully, my goal for the three of them wasn't three smiling girls in an adorable pose (because that wouldn't have happened).  Rather, I'd seen a photo of a little girl's leg warmers and dance shoes that made me smile and I thought having one with Grace and Hannah in different types of dance shoes with Ava's chubby feet in the center would kill me with cuteness overload.



It did.

Their leg warmers, by the way, are hand made by Love Bug Baby Boutique.  You should check out all her fun hair pieces and accessories.  They are a dream for every mama to a girly-girl! :)

And the photo display wall when I put the pictures together?




Perfect!

More will go in Grace and Hannah's bathroom later.  The one of both of them and the ballet slippers scream "FRAME ME!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Eyes on the Light

My family just returned from a trip to North Dakota where we were blessed to be Godparents in our nephew Henry's baptismal service.  Family gathered together to celebrate the claiming of God’s own and celebrate the gift of a life in Christ.

During the service I was struck by Henry’s focus on the Christ candle.  Now, I know that babies like bright lights.  You need not remind me.  But, there were plenty of distractions.  Water was washed over the head of a baby who likes his head dry. No crying. My Ava was doing her fair share of fussing from the pews. No looking. 
He was focused on the light.


This candle, presented as a gift to remind Henry who He belongs to, was all he wanted to look at.
Ironically, as I was making my promises to help encourage the child in his faith, he was teaching me.

You see, I get easily distracted.  I KNOW I belong to Christ and I KNOW that if I keep my focus on Him at all times my outlook on life will always be better.  But fear gets in the way and I let emotions set me in a tailspin.  Crossroads, or even opportunities for that matter, come and instead of bowing before my Lord I start to forge ahead with my own plan.  Self talk gets in the way of my listening. Comparisons with others hinder contentment. Grocery lists and laundry get in the way of Bible time.  And the distractions don't lead to a fulfilling existence.

Yet I have the opportunity to always feel a peace about my life and priorities (whatever the circumstance) if I stay in constant communication with the One who has claimed me, made promises for my life, and has a plan specifically for me.

Prayer is my lifeline.

This doesn’t mean bended knees at all times.  Rather, it means unceasing talk with God throughout my day about my feelings, what I am facing, and decisions I need to make.  It means turning my listening ears up, trusting His heart, and abiding in His will.

He who has gone before me has prepared a way for me always.

In all things...from the seemingly mundane to the most life transforming.
And through this ongoing chat with God confidence builds in unimaginable ways.  What I have claimed as head knowledge – that He is always with me – becomes heart knowledge because I’m able to live it when my eyes are on the Light.

Thanks, sweet baby child, for the precious reminder.  May we all live with sight like yours.
The night before we left I walked outside of the acreage we were privileged to stay in and God stopped me in my tracks (and s’mores were waiting so that is a BIG deal J)


With this breathtaking sunset.  The light shined so brightly between the colorful hues I couldn’t move.  This powerful, artistic God, the one that says “ask, seek, knock,” has my life in His hands.
I would be a fool to look elsewhere.

{PS- Pic number two is from my She Reads Truth journaling. If you want an awesome Scripture reading on prayer, the free 21 day study awaits you!}

Shared at She Reads Truth, Life Rearranged, Raising Homemakers

Friday, July 13, 2012

{DIY} "Lose the Shoes" & Stay Awhile


I love pictures of little feet so I knew I needed to incorporate one into my foyer decor.  In my quest to make my home feel more homey, my foyer needed some attention.  Outside of the little black bench we painted for hats and mittens, nothing was there and it was time for that to change.

Recently, I was given this clock for my birthday. 



I'm kind of obsessed with the commanding large clocks and this one is perfect. 

Since you can see my dad's wreath - or so I call it - right next to it,


(All walls are the same cappuccino color. Lighting on the angles are deceiving.)

I added a Joshua 24:15 vinyl lettering surround.  I knew I wanted the verse somewhere on my walls and this worked perfect.



I especially love that it surrounds my dad's wreath because a lady dried and made that wreath for me with flowers from my dad's funeral. Together with my mom, he raised me in the church and as I think of the many gifts he gave me encouraging my faith was one of the best and certainly one I want to impart on my own children.

And, to fancy up the landing, I found this metal N monogram at Hobby Lobby.



I had to wait three weeks for it and pick it up at a store three hours north during a family trip, but it was totally worth it because not only does it look super cool, but it was half off. Yes!

The Please Lose the Shoes idea originated with a site I'd pinned, but my craft skills are limited and it seemed a bit complex.  So, I dropped the formal Please Remove Your Shoes, made it into a fun rhyme, and grabbed a picture of the little feet I love. 



To Make the sign I:
*got a frame that fit the setting (Hobby Lobby for $10)
*printed off a 4x7 black & white photo of the girls' feet (27 cents)
*bought scrapbook paper for the background (50 cents)
*bought glitter stickets to match other color objects in the foyer (Hobby Lobby $3.99)
*photo corners (that I had at home)

I put the photo corners on the photo, which I placed in the center of my scrapbook photo page.  Then I used my glitter stickers to write out my phrase, stuck it in the frame, and voila. Super cute!


With everything else it makes for a really fun space.  Now with an inviting entry, people can lose the shoes and stay awhile!

Shared at Six Sisters Stuff, Raising Homemakers, 24/7 Moms, The Better Mom, Adorned from Above, Craftionary, Pintastic Monday, Gussy Sews

Friday, July 6, 2012

Loving Your Looks in an Airbrushed World {A Note to My Girls}

This week the Keep It Real campaign released astounding statistics in an effort to get parents thinking about how their words and attitudes affect their child's perception of beauty AND encourage major beauty magazines to release unaltered photos. The stat? Eighty percent of ten year old girls have dieted.  As if that isn’t startling enough, 40 to 60% of children aged six through twelve are concerned about their weight and 70% want to be thinner. 

Grace is six.

My heart sunk at the swelling reality that the mirror’s lies start before Berenstein Bears has even been turned off.  Photo booth creates laughter one day

But could induce tears in the next.

And I never thought it so this young.

So far my girls have a healthy sense of self.  We tell them daily that they are beautiful because God carefully created them and Sheila Walsh’s Gigi: God’s Little Princess series is a great reinforcement (she has a Will, God’s Mighty Warrior series for all you boy moms!).

However the day will come that the nit picking begins and, when that happens, I want them to hear my words:

Dear daughter,

Today I watched you color.  You smiled and laughed at me in a moment that I wanted to freeze.  Beauty radiated from your dancing eyes and your infectious laugh mirrored a heart heaped with joy.
That is beauty.

The world will be quick to tell you what beauty is.  It will be in the size of your pants, curve of your nose, the height in which you stand.

What they won’t tell you is this.  The image of that perfect someone has been digitally altered so that even the person in the picture is no longer real.  Satan gets busy at work in the art of deception.  Sadly, many will cling to this and begin dramatic, often unhealthy, efforts to achieve fake pretty.
But let me warn you that once Satan has you twisted up in this constant striving for worldly beauty, it will never end.  I have never in my adult life met someone who achieved bodily perfection in their eyes.  Once one “goal” is met another “flaw” is identified and in this downward spiral focus is taken off the One who made you to begin with.

This leads to more problems than one.

If you are trying to fit in to be with your friends, they are not really your friends to begin with.  The comparison game isn’t an active part of healthy friendships.  If you are doing it for a boy, then I guarantee you his motives are wrong and your father won’t approve.  Godly men aren’t focusing on your lines.  They are focused on the heart.

From a heart standpoint, you can never really be happy if you are caught up in numbers.  There is a reason this mama of yours doesn’t have a scale in our house.  I might have years on you but I’m still a part of the same culture.  And, if I step on the scale there is a tendency to obsess about the number before me.   I’m fairly confident a tape measure to the waist would do the same.

But I don’t need one because here is the truth, sweet girls. My number doesn’t matter.  It isn’t about the number.  It is about being healthy.  And that is very different.

God created you.  The same God that pressed the stars into the sky that you wish upon and formed the waters you swim in.  That God chose to make you your height, your nose shape, your everything…and He doesn’t make mistakes. 

And since God made you with such extreme care you need to treat yourself with care.

When the world tries to define beauty, my prayer would be that you focus on health.  Starving yourself and harming His craftsmanship for a number certainly doesn’t honor God.  Taking the best care of the one body that He gave you does.  Eat your fruits and veggies.  Exercise.  Get rest.  Close your eyes and hear God say, “There is no flaw in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7)

I guarantee that if you take on this perspective life will always feel better.  You will stand with confidence.  Your friends will be real.  Your relationships will be pure.  You can focus on all that life is instead of what it isn’t and, in the process, you will get to enjoy life richer, longer.

Looks change.  They always will.  Pick any person to look at photos over the years and this will be a constant.  Knowing that, I pray you choose the best and treat your body well.  And when you feel down, always, ALWAYS, come chat with us about your feelings.  We will always have the time.

You are beautiful, dear child.  Continue to let those eyes dance and double over in laughter.  In doing so, you will feel His perfection manifest in you and beauty will be everywhere you go.

Love you to bits,
Mom                  

Proverbs 31:30 - "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."


Shared at The Better Mom, Titus 2 Tuesday, Women Living Well, She Reads Truth, (in)Motherhood
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