Weekend Snapshots

I’ve been connecting with more bloggers in my area recently, and one of those is the lovely Erin from Her Heartland Soul! We finally met in person at Once (the musical) last week where we both enjoyed ourselves immensely! Erin does a fun link-up every Monday morning called Weekend Snapshots and, in an effort to chronicle a little more of life at “home with the boys,” I’m going to be joining in! And here’s my first edition!

Our weekend started with having friends over from dinner. Hosting people makes my heart sing and we haven’t done nearly enough of it since residency began. The Hubby actually took this first step and invited friends from work, and despite the doctor of that family being called back to the hospital twice, we had a lovely time while they were here!

While we were having dinner with friends, Big J was at a sleepover for the birthday of one of his best buddies. I use the word “sleep” loosely because they didn’t sleep. At all. Which resulted in this on the way home Saturday…

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Bless his heart. He also slept for FOUR hours that afternoon. I’ve never seen that boy so tired and completely out of it!

While the big boy slept, the rest of us spent a bunch of time outside – The Hubby mowing, the boys riding and scooting, and me taking pictures. Of course. I’m not a huge fan of summer, but I do love being outside as a family!

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Faces of JJ

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Scooter and Bike

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I’m just dying over Double J’s face in that last one. Really, I die over all his crazy, silly, adorable faces. Last child for the win.

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Obviously we had to refuel after our outdoor adventures and Five Guys was the perfect remedy to our hunger. Mmmm…burgers…

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When your nine-year-old asks to cuddle and watch National Treasure, the answer is always yes. And it must be documented because I know he won’t want to do this forever.

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We ended the weekend on a yummy, healthy note. Turkey burgers from Costco are one of our favorite quick healthy meals and summer veggies make the perfect side dish! I can’t wait to head to the farmers’ market soon to grab some local fresh produce – maybe that will be a part of the next Weekend Snapshots!

What did your weekend look like? What were the highlights?

 

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Sensible Portions Puffs: Snacks for the Whole Family!

This is a sponsored post from Hain Celestials. I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are 100% my own.

I know I’m not the only mom who has kiddos CONSTANTLY asking for things to eat, right?! I’m always on the look out for better-for-you snacks to feed the whole family when they need to munch on something. The boys have found a new favorite in Sensible Portions Puffs from Hain Celestials!

Puffs

Made with organic corn and no fillers, Sensible Portions Puffs are baked and deliciously seasoned bite-size poppable treats for the entire family to enjoy! Sensible Portions Puffs are made with the belief that an after-school snack, or a movie-watching treat, can be fun and delicious while also being a better-for-you, smarter snacking option.

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The boys take after me and like something a little salty for an afternoon snack along with some fruit or string cheese. I don’t want them to fill up on junk, especially with dinner right around the corner. Sensible Portions Puffs satisfy that salty craving with their four yummy flavors: Veggie, Cheddar, Tomato Basil, and Sour Cream & Onion.

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The boys loved all four flavors, but the Cheddar were definitely a favorite! The Hubby enjoyed all of the flavors as well, while I had a strong preference for the Veggie Puffs! These really are the perfect thing to snack on – low-calorie and without any nasty fillers! You can grab your own at WalMart stores for just $2.88 a bag!

I want your family to be able to give Sensible Portions Puffs a try, so we’re giving one of you four bags – one of each flavor! To enter, just tell me about your favorite better-for-you snacks for your family! For an extra entry, tweet this and come back to leave a separate comment telling me you did:

Tweet: Enter to win 4 bags of #SensiblePortionsPuffs from @homewiththeboys! http://ctt.ec/3dJF1+ #giveaway

Leave your comments by Monday, May 11th at 8PM CST to be entered!

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Art Works for Your Kids!

Omaha has so many amazing things to offer for families! At the top of that list is the Joslyn Art Museum. Thanks to a grant starting last year, museum admission is now free, with the exception of the featured traveling exhibit.

We’ve always loved the Joslyn, but our love has grown with the addition of Art Works, a 1,500 square foot interactive space where kids can experience the visual arts!

Art Works

Art Works features nine stations where kids can paint, draw, build, and create art of all kinds! This permanent space offers new experiences with each visit as stations are updated to go along with current museum exhibits! During our latest visit, the focus was on Georgia O’Keeffe’s Flowers!

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The digital painting stations are a big hit with all of the kids!

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Double J would paint there with real brushes (and no mess) for hours – every mom’s dream! All of the boys enjoyed this, especially when they realized they could email me their creations, like this one:

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Isn’t that fun?! They were so proud of their masterpieces and my inbox filled up quickly!

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The portrait station is super fun! You can use the mirror to draw a self portrait or the transparent side to draw a portrait of a friend! Or just draw around the oval like Double J.

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I personally love the pottery station where kids can draw on vases with dry erase markers! It’s brilliant! The station has photographs of ancient pottery for inspiration. I think I enjoyed drawing on these vases as much as the kids did!

But the biggest hit with all of us was…

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…the stop motion animation station! Seriously – this was SO MUCH FUN! The station has two computers with two different backgrounds and tons of figurines to use.

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The boys were so creative once they figured out how to put together a movie. I love this exposure to an art form they wouldn’t normally experience! They were also able to send their finished videos to me by email so we can enjoy them over and over.

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I haven’t even touched on all of the great stations in Art Works – sketching, wooden building blocks, and lots more! We’ve been twice and will be going back frequently to create and explore. And remember – it’s FREE! If you live in the Omaha area or you’re visiting, make sure you take your kids to the Joslyn for all this interactive art fun!

What kind of art does your child enjoy? Which stations would they like at Art Works?

By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post and I was NOT asked to write this post by the Joslyn Art Museum – we just love it and I wanted to share it with you!

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This is How We Do St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is my thing. One of my favorite days of the year and always has been. I’ve got all kinds of Irish ancestry and we like to celebrate it any way we can!  It was a big deal at my house growing up, I made it a big deal for my students when I was teaching, and now it’s a big deal for my own family!

We traditionally celebrate with lots of green, some Irish soda bread, and beef stew for dinner, but our St. Patrick’s Day festivities have evolved a little over the years.

The biggest addition has been the Irishman race the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day! It’s held in my hometown and involves 5 mile, 5K, and 1 mile races all in one day. This was my third year running it with my childhood best friend and The Hubby ran it for the second year this year! Of course, I get all decked out in my green for this race…

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Three races in one day is a unique challenge and the Irishman is one of my favorite race days of the year! It is extra special because I get to experience with my hubby and my best friend!

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The weather could not have been more perfect! I finished with new PRs for the 5 mile {43:30} and 1 mile {7:50}, as well as an overall PR for the day {1:17:38}! The Hubby finished 11th on the day – out of 212 people! And we had some cute spectators waiting to watch the parade with us after the race!

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As for today, actual St. Patrick’s Day, we’re not going with our traditional beef stew, but we’ve got lots of green going on!

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And I’m wearing my favorite Irish shirt along with my KraftyKash map necklace of Dublin!

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Fifteen years ago, The Hubby and I were in Ireland on a band trip and we started dating on St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. For this Irish girl, nothing could have been more romantic! I can’t believe I’m posting this, but here we are on that trip…

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Oh my, how we have changed…except I still make goofy faces in photos. That will never change. And I’m more in love with this guy than ever before – that part just keeps getting better!

One last thing: We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day big because of our ancestry. I mean, my family actually built a super famous castle in Ireland, for goodness sake. But St. Patrick’s Day is an important day for all Christians to celebrate because there is a lot for us to learn from the man for which this day is named! I share his story with our boys ever year and you can read more about it on the Tommy Nelson blog in my recent post called The Faith and Forgiveness of St. Patrick!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day from our family to yours!

 

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

~The Prayer of St. Patrick

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About This Blog Silence…

I have included affiliate links below. When you purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site and our sponsorship of our Compassion child, Samson!

I’m still here! And if you’re connected with me on social media, you know I’m still alive, but busy! Every time I think I have a few moments to sit down and write here, life happens and I’ve learned to just go with that flow. But I do miss writing here.

So what have I been up to during this busy season?

Family Stuff

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Big J had his first basketball game. We’ve been watching football and mourning the end of our team’s season. Puzzles and playing outside and cookies and mommy-son dates and homeschool…lots of good family stuff.

Date Night

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Our much needed first date night of 2015 was to see Into the Woods. I loved it. So much. And after having watched it, I would not let my own kids see it until they are quite a bit older. It is a wonderful musical, but the themes are quite mature and I’m not sure they even get most of the movie. But I will probably be buying the movie and watching it on repeat, singing along with every word. Of course, the best part of  seeing the movie was with whom I saw it – he’s my favorite.

Training

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I still can’t believe how much I love running, but I do. This month, I’ve been training to get a new 10K personal record. The Hubby and I are doing a unique 10K race out of town next weekend, so we’ll see then how the training pays off! I love using my Believe Training Journal to plan my workouts and then record how they went. Would you be interested in knowing more about my weekly exercise plan?

Reading

I’m devouring some great books this month and rediscovering just how much reading fills me up. I finished Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time series – five books, Christian young adult fiction, set in 14th century Italy, exciting and lots of fun. I cried when it was over. Yes, I get a little invested in fiction books.

I’m reading three other fabulous books right now, too – Bossypants by Tina Fey, The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner, and Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson. I’m really enjoying all of them and have a long list to choose from when these are done!

This is life, people. And instead of being upset or anxious when I don’t have time to write, I’m taking it as a hint that I need to breathe, to live NOW and write later. This post from Shauna Niequist has me thinking deeply about how much of life I have missed and how much more I want to notice everything.

I have a bunch of fun things to share with you this week, including two great exclusive discounts for you on some of my FAVORITE things, so don’t go away! I’m still here and I’m thankful you are, too!

What have YOU been up to this first month of 2015?

 

 

 

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Just One More Reason To Love Fall…

What could have been a burdensome afternoon of yard work before any sleet/snow possibly hits this week became just one more reason to love fall.

The Hubby did most of the hard work of clearing out dead branches and tall grasses, while I did some bagging, raking, and weed killing. The boys were actually quite helpful, but also spent much of the time collecting pine cones, climbing trees, and putting together a leaf pile to jump in.

And that leads me to these additions to my “Reasons to Love Fall” list…

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Oh fall…my crush on you just gets bigger every year. Please don’t ever leave.

What are your reasons for loving fall?

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Singing the Word of God!

I received this CD to review. I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own!

My love for Seeds Family Worship goes on and on and on…

From the moment I first heard a Seeds Family Worship CD five years ago, I was hooked. Seven albums later, I have almost every song memorized and every album just gets better and better. I’m kind of partial to Seeds of Courage, that first album we ever owned, but The Word of God, the newest release from Seeds, has me totally smitten.

I guess I’m assuming you know about Seeds Family Worship, but for those of you who are just hearing about them, they are a music-based ministry that creates modern, relevant word-for-word Scripture songs for families!

The Hubby and I were both music majors and, to be honest, a lot of Christian music written for kids or families is just…annoying. There. I said it. This is NOT the case with Seeds. Seeds Family Worship music is catchy, well-written and produced, enjoyable for the WHOLE family, even picky music lovers! Even the albums we’ve had for five years still get played all the time.

Word of God CD Blog

The Word of God, also known as Volume 8, may have my favorite melodies and music out of all Seeds’ albums. I’m a HUGE fan of track #1 {the title track} based on Hebrews 4:12! “Your Life is Hidden” features Matthew West, who has made an appearance on past Seeds CDs. I super duper love the music and message of track #4, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” based on Philippians 2:9-11. “Genuine” is based on one of my favorite chapters of the Bible, Romans 12. And I love everything about the song “Act Like Men,” based on 1 Corinthians 16:13-14. I want to keep this one on repeat for my boys!

Whether you’re just hearing about Seeds today or you have Seeds albums already in your home, I just know you and your family will adore The Word of God!

And right now, you can get 15% off any Seeds Family Worship CDs in their store when you use the code homewiththeboys at checkout! Oh, did I mention that every CD you buy actually comes with TWO identical CDs? One for you and one for a friend! Another thing I just LOVE about Seeds!

Do you own any Seeds Family Worship albums? Favorite songs?

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Crossing a Bridge

I’ve shared some, but not much, of our journey through medical school and residency. This little old blog actually started the same month The Hubby started medical school, back when Big J was a toddler and Little J was a newborn!

In some aspects, the past six years have FLOWN by, but I know that there were months, weeks, and even days that felt incredibly long and hard along the way. All in all, it has been challenging for all of us, but nearly as hard as I imagined it could be. For that, I am so very thankful.

And I’m here to share another reason for us to be thankful: last month, The Hubby signed a contract for an outpatient internal medicine clinic position to start when he finishes residency next summer! We took about three months to pray and really weigh all of our options and God led us clearly to this one. We are so very excited and grateful and all the emotions!

I feel like we are now on a bridge. Yes, we are physically still on one side of the bridge, living in the same house, same city, same everything, but in our hearts, we’ve stepped out on to this bridge that will take us to the next place He has for us. This one decision means so many things will change for us next summer – new town, new home, new job, new friends – and we are crossing a bridge over these next nine months to prepare ourselves and our boys for the other side.


On the Bridge

The town we will be moving to has this fabulous old pedestrian bridge. The Hubby and I stood on that bridge discussing the future the last time we visited before making our decision. The bridge felt significant to me, so I snapped a bunch of pictures, and when we got home, I discovered this quote…

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“I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.” ~spoken by Aslan in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

I can’t tell you right now if the next nine months will feel long or short. But change is going to happen and God is asking me to not be afraid of it – the house selling and house buying and saying goodbye to everything familiar. Change is the river we must cross, but He will build our bridge and will lead us across it.

Through this process, God has used so many water and river images to guide and calm me, so I’m not surprised this bridge is firmly imprinted on my mind. It’s actually a comfort now as I know we’ve taken the first step and the only way to go is forward!

Yes, change is unsettling, but we are so thrilled with the direction He is moving us. We’re crossing the bridge and looking forward to many new and wonderful things for our family!

 

What bridge are you crossing right now?

 

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Fall Family Fun!

The past week has been full of all sorts of fall family fun – my favorite kind of fun! I recently wrote on the Tommy Nelson blog about simple fall break ideas – things to do locally when you can’t get away for long but want to enjoy some autumnal activities! Here’s what we’ve been up to as we enjoy the change in seasons…

First stop: the pumpkin patch!

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And then the Monster Mash Fun Run/Walk to finish out our Miracle Marathon

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It was super fun to meet up with blog reader and Miracle Marathon team member Erika, her boys, and her mom! We all enjoyed the activities, the walk, and each other’s company! We also met Curt Tomasevicz, former Husker football player and Olympic bobsledder! How fun that he let us hold his Olympic medals?!

Speaking of the Miracle Marathon, the miles have been logged, but it’s not too late to donate! I still have a ways to go to reach my $272 goal, but you can help me out and give until November 1st!

Don’t forget to check out my fall break ideas over at Tommy Nelson to make the most of my favorite season!

What kind of fall fun does your family enjoy?

 

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Let My Private Life Be the Proof Of Your Love

I’m surrounded by men and women making a big difference in this world. Rescuing women and children from human trafficking. Running maternity homes in Kenya. Creating sustainable income for men + women living in poverty. They have taken God’s call in Isaiah 61 and acted on it. Their lives are proof of the love of Christ.

As I have read their stories, shared their stories with you, tried to find “my” place and way to help, I have also been swept away by thoughts that I needed to prove my love for Christ for all to see. Yes, my heart to serve is there, but so is my people-pleasing side and that desire to have my good deeds known.

Yep, confession time today. I want to help those in need and I’ve wanted people to notice.

God started to break that in me this weekend. I was suffering from choice paralysis. I had a good ugly cry on a friend’s shoulder, wanting to just forget all the suffering and need I had heard about and start over. I asked Him to tell me exactly where He wanted me serving. And He did, but He wasn’t done there.

After returning home, my church held a worship + prayer night, and God spoke. At a prayer station were the words of “The Proof of Your Love” by For King and Country. Being one of my favorite songs of the past year, I glazed over the words at first and headed back to my seat. I started to write something in my journal and this came out instead…

Let my PRIVATE life be the proof of Your love.

Just a few days earlier, I had felt a gut punch in the ballroom of a blogging conference because I didn’t know WHO to serve. Now I was feeling it because God was telling me HOW to serve.

Private Life

It’s not that serving in the public arena isn’t important. I know you hear my heart there. The sharing of causes and the blogging trips and all of that is needed and important. People need to know of needs and how they can help. That is why I love to tell you about organizations like Compassion and fashionABLE and so on.

But Jesus wants my attitude, my behavior, my actions that only He and maybe my family sees to be the REAL proof of His love. If my life in private, in the walls of my home, doesn’t reflect His love, the rest is just a show.

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4

This is what He is speaking to my heart: “If you’re struggling to show my love in private – in your heart, in your home – let’s focus there first.”

The truth is, for me, it can be a lot easier to love those I am NOT in constant contact with every day. I am a very social, outgoing person who loves connecting with lots of people. But I end up giving the best of me to online communities, charities, even this blog, TRYING hard to prove my love for Christ in a very visible way. Then my husband and children get my leftovers, which usually means tired, irritable, less-than-joyful Erin. God is calling me to reverse that.

And now for three steps on how to make this happen…

Oh wait, I don’t have all the answers. I’m just processing this word He spoke. I think it looks like intentional time, being present, continuing to soak in His Word and listen expectantly for His voice, but there is no three-step process because He works differently in all of us. But I do want us all to let this sink in and motivate us to love better in our everyday, not always looking for places to love that people will notice.

I’m convicted today, but also hopeful. I hope you’ll join me in making our private lives the proof of His love first and then letting Him shine outward from there.

 

A more lighthearted side note: We get to see For King and Country in concert this weekend! I’ll be singing this song at the top of my lungs with them, knowing just what it means for me!

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