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31 day challenge

Welcome to my last day of the 31 day challenge!! I underwent this challenge with over 1000 other bloggers, hosted by the Nester, where I blogged for 31 days (more or less) on the same topic. Mine was on no more procrastinating (the important, non-urgent things in life). Click HERE for the beginning if this if your first day.

So here’s to day:31 Family Photo Sneak Peak & Conclusion (and Confessions). If you remembered my fall board I created on day 7 for the fall season, Fall and Christmas family photos were on my list of the top five things I wanted to do.

I love how this photo turned out, and how happy we look! It tickled me because it was somewhat of a pain to coordinate because Asher has only so much patience, and so does our dog Bradley, but I guess that’s why talent goes a long way. So thankful for Meredith Cornett’s skill and patience. I haven’t seen all of the pictures yet, but we’ll get to this weekend.

I guess something about having a son has made me value “capturing” memories, and seasons of our life more and more. I now see the value of using a professional photographer, and taking the time to look your best for them. It’s not so we can have a phony, pefect-looking family photo, but so we can have a beautiful portrait that captures our true character and dynamic.I think any good photographer captures that.

It’s not urgent, but important to me to capture my loves, and I’m so glad we took the time to gather together.  It’s never too late to start planning for some family photos, and they always make good family gifts and cards.

What’s your  favorite way to capture your family? Photographs, or memories?

Conclusion, and confessions

Admittedly this challenge was probably more beneficial for myself than it might have been for my readers, but I do hope you found some inspiration. Most of the days I focused on activites I had avoided, but I also included some activities that I had actively been doing, that I found very helpful, non-urgent and important things in life.

It’s made me think I want to live like this more often…less in the fast lane, and spend more time on things that are important but not urgent. These include do it yourself home projects, art, adventures, relationship-building, cutting from the routine, intentional planning…and so on.

I will admit I had one failing in this challenge (okay, probably more than that), but the major one was I did not become an early bird. That lasted for 2 weeks or so. Then I got sick, and choose to sleep as much as I could; but those two weeks were  A LOT more effective. I will try to jump on the bandwagon again, now that I’m no longer sick.

Amanda

Welcome to day 29 & 30 of no more procrastinating (the non urgent, important things of life): our Charleston vacation. Yep, I kind of cheated again, and clumped two days together, but you know how life can be…and of course, family is more important than “deadlines.”

(While you’re here, feel free to click HERE for the beginning.)

Chris, my husband, recently returned from a deployment (click HERE for a homecoming picture), and we have a tradition of going on a vacation upon his return. As it turns out, travelling with a baby is always a challenge…at least with Asher. But now that we’re in the condo for a couple of days, things are nice and settled. The driving up here is always the “fun” part (ahhh screaming baby is no fun!).

Everyone has different views on vacation. My personal view is it’s not about the money you spend on them, but the memories that can be formed from them. I think they help to bond a family, and help build family traditions. Fun memories are an immaterial but a worthwhile part of life. Vacation is only a vacation of course, if it happens once or twice a year, not every week. It’s a once and awhile thing that can help to recharge batteries, and refuel the imagination. I’ve even read that it can replace a trip to a spa. Of course, we all know the “vacations” that require a vacation to recover from. I’m not talking about those vacations. Instead, I mean the relaxing ones; the ones where time slows down, and you’re disconnected from the regular rhythm and scenery of the day-to-day. Finding the right pace is key to having a vacation.

Haha, and being silly helps; we were trying to look in his direction to get a unison photo. Didn’t work.

Vacations with a little one can be inconvenient to plan, are definitely not urgent (and sometimes costly) but I think with a little budget maneuvering, and some planning it can be totally doable.

I say this, because I know how vacations are often sidelined as luxuries, but I think they can become a regular thing for all families. With a little cutting here and there in the unnecessary things we spend on, making room for them in our lives needn’t be so out of reach. Of course, creativity always goes a long way to saving money for vacations.

What’s your personal opinion of vacations? What creative ways have you come up with to make room for them in your life?

Amanda.

Hey, I’d just like to take 5 minutes to let you know you are invited. Yes you. I was invited for a long time, since I was born, but I didn’t receive the invitation until I was 16. It’s a wonderful invitation. An invitation of life, purpose, and love.

I’m not sure if you know about Jesus or not, but He is so awesome. He came to this world not to judge you, or condemn you, but to save you, and love you. If you believe in Him; if you believe that He is the Son of God, that he died for your sins on the cross, once and for all…if you confess him with your mouth, and believe in your heart that He is Lord, you have the right to become a child of God, and are saved. You have eternal life, and a fullness of life in the present. Accept his invitation!

It’s pretty awesome. He died for you. Yes you. If he only had to die for you and only you, he would do it again, because he loves you.

I didn’t have a purpose before I received him. I have the peace, strength and joy that surpasses all understanding in my heart through the tough and the good in this life because of Him. He is the heartbeat of my life, and for that I just wanted to share with you the most important thing in my life. It might not ring at you, or seem very urgent, but it really is the most important thing.

Happy Day 28 of no more procrastinating the important, non-urgent things in life. Won’t you come, and receive this most important invite if you haven’t already?

Amanda.

I love baking, but I often feel like I don’t have time for it these days.  It’s often time-consuming. Saturdays are usually the best day for me to tackle a baking project because the husband is usually home and can look after Asher while I fiddle in the kitchen.

I love how baking can slow down time. It’s so easy in this day and age to always want the quick fix, the fast food; who has an hour to just do something? But I’m reminded by something profound I read on the topic of time. It went something like this: In our day of modern conveniences we have almost every appliance under the moon to save time, yet we work more than generations past, and have less time than ever…somethings ascue with this picture. That’s why I think it’s good to slow down, and tackle something that takes awhile, even if it seems like overkill, it can help to slow things down (provided you don’t feel rushed or stressed).

I even used a real pumpkin. Not sure if I’d recommend it, it was kind of a pain, but since I bought it I wanted to use it. The U-shape peeler really made it fairly easy to peel (even though it was still much more challenging than squash!).

Anyone who read my fall board post might remember that perfecting pumpkin dunkin muffins was one of the things on my list . So here’s to no more procrastinating (the important, non-urgent things in life): my first attempt at perfecting dunkin donut muffins. Click HERE for the beginning, if this is your first day stopping in.

Let me tell you, I definitely put this one off because of the time it took…even though there was a time I would have laughed at the idea of muffins taking too much time. When you have a little one to care for full-time, time is very precious, and yes, an hour is a lot to find sometimes!

Recipe

Makes 12.

I ended up going with the joy of cooking pumpkin muffin recipe because I had all the ingredients, and I had success with it in the past.

  • Preheat oven to 400 F, line or grease a muffin pan. Make sure oven rack is centered.

Whisk together thoroughly in a large bowl:

  • 2 cups of flour, 1 tbs baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg, 1/3 cup of sugar
  • Whisk together in another large bowl:
  • 2 large eggs, 1 cup of milk, 2/3 cup of sugar, 1/2 of vegetable oil

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet. Several swift swipes should do the job, but remember to leave it lumpy, and DO NOT over mix or the muffins will not come out nice and peaked.

Streusel: Mix, and add on top of muffins before placed in the oven.

  • 3 tbs of brown sugar, 3 tbs of white sugar, 3 tbs of melted buter, 6 tbs of flour

Bake for about 17 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on cooling rack in pan for 5 minutes, than remove, and place on the cooling rack again. You should allow them to cool for at least 15 minutes before you apply the icing (I cheated and did it after 5 minutes). Drizzel on with a spoon.

Icing:

  • 3 tbs of icing sugar, a touch of milk (about 1 tbs).

Tip:

if you can get your hand on one of these cookie scoops, they are awesome for scooping muffin batter into pans, otherwise  1/4 cup measuring devise, or a tablespoon works fine.

The Verdict:

They taste good (both my husband and I taste tested them); but they taste more like muffins than they do like cake, whereas DD’s muffins taste like cake. The color was lighter than DD’s. I used from scratch pumpkins, so I’m sure that affected the color. Also, I have a hunch that DD uses pumpkin pie filler for the batter. I’ve tried a slightly undercooked muffin at DD’s once, and it kind of tasted like that. Of course, I would have to make the icing much thicker (an addition of cream cheese and butter to the icing would have helped).  OH, and the muffin tops came out a little “flatter” than when I went without the streusel, so I’d want to tweak that as well. So it’s not a bang on replica, but a healthier-still-tastes-good version. I don’t think I’ll write this one-off, but I would like to give it another try.

Do you have a killer pumpkin muffin recipe? I would love to try it.

Happy Baking,

Amanda.

Welcome to day 26 of no more procrastinating (the important, non-urgent things in life): homemade deodorant. Click HERE for the beginning.

So the first time I came across this recipe I was at a friend’s house who was hosting a girls night. In between nursing my newborn and watching the demonstration, all I really wanted to know was does it work?  Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was awesome that it doesn’t have toxins in it like antiperspirants, and actually allows your body to rid itself of toxins by sweating, and you can say goodbye to those nasty yellow stains in your white tops that antiperspirants are infamous for leaving. But at the end of the day, if it was going to leave me smelling dingy, it wasnt going to fly with me…no matter how healthy.

As it turns out it works better than any store-bought option! And believe me, I’ve tried them all! My military-blunt husband can attest that they work. He wouldn’t lie.

It only takes about 5 minutes to make, and saves money to boot. That being said, I’ve been meaning to make some for a while now, but had been procrastinating, so here’s to not procrastinating an important part of life, my well-being and ahem hygiene (don’t worry, I wasnt walking around deordorantless, just running low).

Here’s how:

I got my recipe from HERE.

Gather your supplies, you’ll need: Cornstarch or Arrowroot powder, baking soda (preferably an unopened box), coconut oil, and your choice of essential oil (optional). An easy way to remember this recipe is you use 2tbs for everything, except the essential oils (7-10 drops should work…I used lavender). You can use any empty container you like, but I used an old deodorant container, by emptying it out, and filling it with my batch.

Mix, and stir all the ingredients until you make a paste:

 And then place into whatever container you choose. I usually have a little extra that wont fit into the old deodorant container, so I just place it in tupperware container. I will say, coconut oil will turn into a liquid if your house is warmer than 75, so it will melt. If that’s the case you can store yours in the fridge. Apparently we keep a cold house, so  I can keep mine out with no melting issues.

This is the second batch I made, and it lasted about 2 months the first time. If you’re like me, and don’t know where you would buy arrow root powder, essential oils, and cocnut oil(right beside the oils), I found all of them on amazon (my go-to place for everything!), but apparently you can find coconut oil at just about every grocery store, and you should be able to find arrow root and essential oils in the health food section of most grocery stores.

Hope that helps!

Amanda.

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