November 2013 | Being Jane

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winter Break Bucket List! (What's keeping you from yours?)

               
**Photos of my girls have been removed to protect their digital footprint**


I am so looking forward to the end of the semester on December 13th! I will have a month of no deadlines to worry about! Because of that I have made a bucket list for my month off. Daniel and I keep saying "As soon as school ends we will..."

So here it is!

• Actually watch movies

• Play Xbox games (yes, I am one of those ... Fable III is my game!)

• Get my body back in shape!

• Play cards/board games

• Start a new book (I bought "One Day" back in August and it's still next to my bed, front cover un-bent!)

• Bake

• Attend local holiday events (you know... Christmas light drive-alongs, carolers, Santa, tree lighting, sleigh rides, Christmas Boat Parade..)

• Crafts with Emma (I have a little Picasso on my hands!)

• Enroll Emma in ballet/tap combo class (she won't stop walking around on her toes and showing off dance moves to any jingle that comes on the TV or pandora!)

• Walks to nearby stores (now that we are a one-car family I so appreciate how close we live to the main area of our town. There is SO much to do just a block from our home.)

• Blog more (YES!! I will finally get to blog when I want to instead of feeling guilty for putting off schoolwork.. Like right now.. Are you excited?! I know you are.)

What is on YOUR list of things to do? What's keeping you from doing it?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Harvest Spice Cake + Sweet Fig Crème




Hello there!  Thank you for allowing me to share a little fall recipe with you today.  It’s a joy to support sweet Leanne as she becomes a mother of two.  We are all sending you love Leanne!

Natural+Lovely is a space full of fresh, clean and allergy-friendly recipes combined with a sprinkle of personal stories and adventures experienced along the way.  I hope you find inspiration and comfort in the seasonal treat I have to share with you today. With the onset of colder mornings and brisk evenings, it is a direct result of this lovely shift in weather we’ve been experiencing.

Recently one of these chillier days I found myself drawn to the spice cabinet with thoughts of cinnamon, clove and vanilla. These warming flavors and aromas embody the atmosphere of fall for me. Inspiration came quickly, as I peered into my various cupboards and pantry. Pulling various bits and pieces onto my counters, I soon had the makings of a spicy fall treat. I needed one more ingredient to make it unique and fresh.... a small bundle of figs caught my eye. Perfect. Soon I found myself in a warm kitchen, measuring, whisking and singing to my heart's content. 




May the result of my fall inspiration bring you much joy this week. Let's celebrate this beautiful season with a little cake, shall we?



{Harvest Spice Cake}

2 tbsp Cloves, dried + whole
1/2 cup Water, filtered

1 1/2 cup Almond Meal
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 cup Coconut Oil, organic,  extra virgin + cold-pressed
1/2 cup Honey, slightly warmed to a liquid, organic + raw
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
3 Eggs, organic, free-range + hormone/antibiotic-free

{Sweet Fig Crème}

6 Figs, fresh + organic
1/2 cup Palm Oil, non-hydrogenated
1/4 cup Coconut Oil, organic,  extra virgin + cold-pressed
1/4 cup Honey, slightly warmed to a liquid, organic + raw
2 tbsp Vanilla

Begin by warming up your oven.  Scoop your cloves into a pot and add the water.  Bring the water to a boil and then allow the cloves to simmer on low.  They will steep and create a lovely spicy clove tea for your batter.  In a large glass bowl combine all the dry ingredients and whisk until fine, then slowly add in the remaining ingredients.  If your coconut oil is hard from the cooler weather, scoop your 1/2 cup into a glass measuring cup, preferably with a spout, and place in the preheating oven until just barely melted, then pour into your mixing bowl. Once your tea is well steeped (it will be a rich earthy tone), add it to your batter. The clove tea water should have reduced to about 1/4 cup. Whisk until smooth.  Lightly oil two cake pans.  I use 6 inch, but if you prefer a slightly thinner cake, 8 inch will do.  Gently pour your batter into the pans and place in your oven for 25 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.  I love checking the readiness of my cakes with the butter knife or tooth pick test. Remove the pans from your oven and allow the cakes to cool as you begin your crème.






Now gather your figs. Set one aside for decor and quarter the rest. You may prefer to remove the skins before quartering. I enjoy the texture and flavor the skin provides.  Combine your figs with the remaining ingredients in your Kitchen Aid or in a tall bowl with a motorized hand mixer. Whip until your desired consistency is reached.  I love mine smooth, sweet and creamy.  This may take up to 25 or so minutes.... hence, my appreciation for the Kitchen Aid.





Once your cakes are cool, place the first layer on your serving dish and spread the crème. Gently set your second layer on top and add your last layer of crème. Slice the extra fig or two you have and dress your cake as you wish; finish with a fancy fig flourish! Serve and thoroughly savor.

Thank you for having me sweet Leanne! May these next few weeks be full of time with your family and confirmation of God's deep love for you.  Blessings on you and your family as you grow a bit more. Happy fall, dear friends.



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lonely.



Where are all my friends at?

I keep hearing that line in my head like an intro to a rap song.

But really, it's lonely being cooped up in the house with two kids. Yes, we've gone out more than we did with Emma at this age, but I don't want to overexpose Audrey to the public quite yet.

My husband has been working A LOT the past two weeks and will continue to do so for the time being due to the fact that he works at a popular natural grocery store and this is their busy season. I am really not complaining, we need the income! But I do miss him so.

It has been very nice having my mom here for Audrey's birth and my mother-in-law here this last week. That has been a huge help. 

But truly, I'm lonely. I miss friends. I miss conversation and comradarie. I'm sure this is just a case of cabin fever/just-had-a-baby syndrome, but that doesn't make it feel better.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What Do I Know of Holy?


                                       

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

(CHORUS)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

 ("What Do I Know of Holy" by Addison Road)


What DO we know about God? Not a lot, honestly. We know His promises. We know His stance on disobedience and the 10 Commandments. We have read the parables and the proverbs. But what do we really know? 

The first verse of this song by Addison Road speaks volumes to me. We spend time in prayer and devotion to God but how often do we listen? How often do we allow ourselves to obey and act on what He tells us when we DO hear Him?

I was responding to a fellow blogging friend today and made a point I wanted to share with you.

We all get so busy with life. We all have responsibilities in our home, family, personal life, work, school, etc..... That can make it hard to find time to spend one-on-one with God. We say we don't have time and we feel far from Him. I am so this person. 

But have you considered this:

Without Him, without God, none of these things in our live keeping us busy, would be. We wouldn't "be". Without Him, there is nothing. 

So how can we still say we are too busy to find time (or make time) to talk with Him and listen to what He has to say to us?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

YOU get to decide my hairstyle!

Yep, you read that right!

You, my readers, get to decide what I do with my hair. I always get bored around now (post-baby grow out, too long with the same style, impatience, etc)

Take your pick:

**Photos of my girls have been removed to protect their digital footprint**




Ready, vote!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Awesome Apps for Toddlers!

Thank you so much Leanne for letting me post while you're (hopefully) having your little bambina! I wish you well!



My name is Breenah and I blog at By Breenah. My daughter, who is two, knows how to use the iPad. Sometimes this fact embarrasses me (obviously not too much otherwise I wouldn't be sharing), but most of the time I don't worry about it. She's growing up in an age where she's going to absolutely need to know how to use electronics. My sister-in-law just started high school and every student is given a tablet to use. The backaches I got from lugging around English, math, and history books on the same day are terribly jealous.



The best thing about electronics becoming more and more available is that there are plenty of educational apps to go along with them. I appreciate educational apps because, while there are many things I can teach Quinn before she gets to school, I can't teach her everything. I'd say the apps are more of a supplement and sometimes they're fun to play with her.



(Just as an fyi: none of these are affiliate links nor sponsored. We also have the lite version of most because I'm cheap when it comes to paying for apps.)



Giraffe's Matching Zoo (free)

This is a memory card game with animals. When you flip the card the animal sound is made. Some of the sounds are weird and don't quite sound like the animal, but it's fun nonetheless. The game also times you so you can try and beat your old score.





Cute Baby Flash Cards ($1.99) (lite version, free)

The lite version comes with animal flash cards in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Greek. If you purchase the extended version it adds different categories such as things and people. As you go through the flashcards the app says the word aloud and if you click on the animal it makes the sound. It's a cute little app and definitely helps me come up with animals when singing Old MacDonald.

Adding this just now I realized where Special Agent Oso gets his name.
My First Steps Preschool Early Learning Alphabet Animals ($0.99)

This is a great app because it has learning, playing, and quiz modes. It uses real pictures as opposed to cartoons, if you have a preference. I love this especially because Quinn is only two and can't read, but she's started to differentiate letters and I think this app is really helping her out.





My Shape Box (free)

It's a pretty literal app. There's a box, you drag shapes into it. It has letters, numbers, shapes, and some outdoor shapes. It's simple, but effective.





Of course, you also have to have some fun apps. I think that's a rule.



Color Drops (free)

This is a pretty cool coloring app. It plays music as you draw and says the name of each color when you choose it. It also has a rainbow option that changes colors while you draw and I'm obviously more intrigued with this than I should be at 24 years old. This one is free, but you can purchase coloring pages.





Herd Absurd ($2.99, but I got it during a free weekend)

Did you ever make those flip books as a kid where the head, body, and feet were all different? This is the electronic version of that. Plus when you click on different parts of the animals they make silly noises and do silly things. It's adorable.



Pretty sure I'd be terrified to meet a hedgehog/cow/beaver hybrid.
Netflix (free, but you need a subscription to use) and Hulu Plus (free, but you need a subscription to use)

I'm sure you all know the benefits of Hulu and Netflix by now, so I won't go into that. The thing I love the best about Hulu is that there's a child lock so you can keep it in kid mode. The thing I like least is that there's no way to lock out Spongebob (I really don't like him). Netflix has the new profiles and you can keep certain profiles in kid mode too. Granted, there are still some age-inappropriate things in the kid sections, so keep an eye if you're letting your toddler use it.



PBS Kids (free)

This has pretty much all the PBS shows and is a good alternative if you're worried about your kiddo opening up random shows in Netflix or Hulu.



Disney Jr (free)

I prefer Disney shows over Nickelodeon (even Nick Jr shows) by a LOT, so I'm not sure if Nickelodeon or Nick Jr have apps. The Disney Jr app lets you watch a few shows without signing in, but you can get to a whole lot more if you have cable and sign in with your username and password. Quinn's current favorite is Sophia the First, but she also loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (did you know in the Danish version they say yippee instead of hot dog?), and Henry Hugglemonster.





Obviously there's a WHOLE lot more apps available, educational and otherwise, but these are the ones we use a lot and I hope you enjoy them as well!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Announcing... Audrey Elizabeth!

She's here! Audrey Elizabeth was born on Friday, November 1st at 7:36am! 

She weighed 7 lbs, 6 oz, and was 19 inches long! She is so tiny that we had to buy some Preemie clothes, can you believe that?!

And now for a photo dump of our new little girl:








Friday, November 1, 2013

Ways Help Out New Moms!

photo by The Coral Peacock Photography

Hi there!  I'm Denise, over from Gratefully Inspired and I am
thrilled to be here while Leanne snuggles her newest addition :)  I
recently added to my family and now have a 3 month old baby girl!  Georgia Grace Lopatka was born July 30, 2013 and she has changed my world and my heart forever - for the better.  The
past three months have been the best in the world.  Truly.  But also
the hardest.  Being a mom is hard work.  But again, the best work.
 I am so thankful for my friends and family and all the support they have
given me over the past few months that I decided to compile a list of ways you
can help out a new mama.  Enjoy!

Georgia - 2 months!

1.  Bring dinner.  This is
pretty much a given and most people do this already.  But seriously.
 Meals are the least of a new mama's worries when she's running on
negative sleep and sore all over.  So bring food.

2.  Don't come over without food.
 OK so just because you didn't sign up to bring a dinner, bring some other
kind of food.  A snack, a frozen pizza, cereal, a double-fudge brownie
sundae - ANYTHING.  Because trips to the grocery store are highly unlikely
for the new mama.

3.  Don't ask to the hold the baby
under 2ish weeks.  This may be my personal opinion but as a new mama I was
so overwhelmed with emotions.  I was so grateful for friends who stopped
by and didn't always expect to hold my baby.  It is refreshing to see
friends and have them there for support, but not feel like your child has to be
passed around like a  football.  Now, don't get me wrong, I let my
friends hold my baby - but I was able to ask them if they wanted to hold her
when I was ready.  So much better.

4.  BE. ON. TIME.  If you and a
new mama decide on a time for you to drop by, bring dinner, say hello, do the
dishes - whatever - arrive at the agreed upon time.  Seriously.
 There is nothing more stressful for a new mama than unexpected guests.
 And that includes extremely late guests.  When you aren't sleeping
and you have a newborn (aka a ticking time bomb) it is nice to be able to
expect visitors.  And nothing is more frustrating for a new mama than
prepping her baby and her house for a guest, only to sit and wait on said guest
for 30 minutes.  Even if you are bringing dinner to help.  The
tardiness cancels out the helpful gesture.  Not cool.  Be on time.

5.  Don't stay longer than 30 minutes
- at least for the first few weeks.  Again, new mamas do not need to feel
like they need to entertain.  So don't come over and make yourself all
cozy expecting a 2 hour catch-up sesh.  New mama is tired.  No. Exhausted.  So once your
half-hour time slot is up, politely say she looks fabulous and you can't wait
to spend more time together soon.  Then leave.

1 day old!

6.  Text.  Don't call.
 Texting is so much easier and frankly in those first few weeks new mama
doesn't want to talk about details.  She will call you when she's ready.

7.  If you do call, leave a voicemail
reminding her she doesn't need to call you back.  I received some of the
sweetest calls from my best friends after Georgia was born.  And I loved
when my friends said, "don't call me back, I know you're busy, just know
we love you and Georgia."  I know they wouldn't have been mad had I
not called them back, but the fact that they put it out there and set the tone
that it was not the expectation took a lot of weight off my shoulders.
 Thank you friends :)

8.  If you do stop by - help.
 Walk the dog, wipe down the kitchen counters, take out the trash -
something.  Something little - but something.  And don't ask or tell
her that you are doing it.  Just do it.  Like a quiet angel fairy at
night.

9.  Tell new mama she looks beautiful
- even if she looks like she got hit by a truck.  Because let's face it -
after labor, post-labor swelling and absolutely NO sleep - even Gisele probably
looked a little rough.  And new mama's emotions are fragile.  She
needs to here she looks fabulous.

10.  Be there.  Judgment free.
 Really the most important thing you can do for a new mama is be there.
 Having friends that she know she can call to vent, cry or laugh with
during this special and hard time is so so important.  SO just make sure
your new mama knows you've got her back.