Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Cookies with Kids

 As my little ones get older, it's become more fun to involve them in holiday cookie making.  They both have their aprons that they get to wear, just like Mommy, and they get to get up on the chair and cut out cookies.  I love being able to share this fun tradition with them, just as my own mom shared with me and my siblings when we were all young.

I LOVE kisses from my kiddos!  My oldest was taking the pictures for me.  Didn't he do a great job?!
I will show you how we decorated the gingerbread cookies in the next post.

Have a blessed weekend!

Mama Bear

Monday, October 1, 2012

How to Remember if You Took Your Medicine

As I get older, I forget more easily!  ACK!  I don't like this part of getting older, and I'm only 42!

I have to take this medicine every morning.  I don't always remember if I've taken it or not.

So, I came up with what I think is a pretty ingenious solution.

What do you think?

This way, I will know for sure if I took the meds!

Pretty smart, right?  :-)

Mama Bear

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Clicked It Up a Notch During August 2012

This month, I have been working at "clicking it up a notch" when it comes to my photos.  I'm working on style, presentation, white balance, clarity, and exposure.  This photo is from a "Mommy's Wedding Dress" shoot that I did with my daughter, wearing my wedding dress.  I love how this turned out, and am so thrilled to be able to share these photos with my daughter, for her to display at HER wedding!

So what do YOU think of the photo???  I'd love to hear from you!

By the way, I have submitted this photo to the "Click It Up a Notch" August 2012 Photo Contest!

Click It Up A Notch
Mama Bear

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Big Brothers Build Great Tents

Today, my oldest son built this tent for his brother and sister.  They LOVED it, of course!  Big brothers are great at building cool things!

Mama Bear

Friday, August 17, 2012

Superhero Capes for Kids

There are many, many kiddos out there who are battling cancer.  Kiss the Toad Creations is trying to make life a little more joyful for these kids, by making superhero capes to give to them.  They are trying to  reach a goal of providing capes for 10,000 kids, and YOU can HELP!  All you need to do is sponsor a cape for just  $20 or $30.


Here's the post from their Facebook page:  


"In fearful day, in raging night, with strong hearts full, our souls ignite, when all seems lost, in the war of light, look to the stars, for hope burns bright!" - Blue Lan

Please help us to spread the word about our mission at Kiss The Toad Creations by inviting 5 friends to “Like Us” on Facebook by August 31,2012.

If each one of us can recruit 5 friends we will reach our goal of 10,000 Cape Crusaders for the children. Once we reach our goal - we will be having a drawing where everyone will have the chance to enter to win their very own custom made Superhero Cape.

More Cape Crusaders = More Capes for Children battling life threatening illnesses. Thank you for everything you do to help us continue our mission of providing capes to these children.

I hope that you will take the opportunity to help out with this wonderful program! 

 I did, and I'm so glad I did!

God bless you!

Mama Bear

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A "Weird Home Remedies" Article

I read this article today, and thought of a few of my own home remedies that are good for certain ailments.

Honey-  Honey is good for burns.  As soon as you burn yourself, slather on some honey.  It will help take the sting and redness away.  Leave it on there as long as you can without getting everything messy.

Honey is also good for your skin.  "Honey absorbs impurities from the pores on the skin, making it an ideal cleansing agent." (See this article for more on honey.)

Apple Cider Vinegar - Any time Papa Bear and I have tummy ailments, we make a tea of sorts, with 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp. honey, then fill the rest of the cup with hot water.  Seriously...when your tummy is upset, or you have a case of stomach or intestinal flu, this is the best stuff or it!

Oatmeal - Oatmeal makes a superb facial scrub.  Mix it with a little honey, you have a great, natural mask!  
"Many people swear by oatmeal as a natural remedy to acne. One easy recipe is to cook up some of the stuff, let cool until lukewarm, then apply to the affected areas. Let stand for several minutes, then rinse." (source)
Buttermilk - Buttermilk is a lovely way to get beautifully radiant and soft skin.  It also has other uses:  "A great remedy for dark spots on your face is to grind dried orange peel and combine with buttermilk to make a paste.  Apply daily and let it dry before washing it off.  After 30 days you should see quite a difference and without the use of harsh chemicals." (source)

Banana- "You can do a lot more with a banana than slice it on your cereal. Among the fruit's other uses: slap a banana peel (the inside part) on an itch caused by a bug bite or poison ivy; this will dial down the inflammation and relieve the itch. You can also use mashed banana as a facial--it’s great for moisturizing dry skin. Banana peel also has anti-acne properties: just rub the inside part of the peel over your clean face to get the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects." (source)

What are some of YOUR favorite home remedies?  I'd love to hear about them!

Mama Bear

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Now THIS is True Love

I know that it has been two months since I last posted.  My life has become SO busy with my family, my Etsy shop, and my new photography business.  I hope to be able to post a little more frequently if and when life settles down a little for me.  Graduation season is a busy season, and we are reveling in it, as our oldest child is getting ready to graduate from high school!  In the meantime, I wanted to share with you this video directed, produced and written by Carolyn McCulley and Citygate Films.  This video truly depicts what real love is.

Mama Bear

Friday, March 9, 2012

Colorado Springs and Our Soldier

 This past weekend, I had the opportunity to fly to Colorado Springs with my 18 year old son.  We went there just so I could take photos of my baby brother and his wife and son, before he left for Afghanistan for 9 months.  I hadn't yet met my nephew, who is just 7 months old, and I hadn't seen my brother or his wife since their wedding in June of 2010.

We went to Garden of the Gods so that I could take photos of them, and I love how they turned out!  They wore blues and blacks, and I think their outfits look striking against the red rock backdrop.  I also took some photos of my brother with his uniform on.  I am so proud that he is serving in the Army!  Coming from a military family background, he is continuing the tradition, so to speak.  

We are praying every day for God's special protection over Chris and his unit from Fort Carson.  We are also praying for special protection for my sister-in-law, Tina, and their little man, as they move from Colorado Springs to Montana, to live with family while my brother is deployed.  We covet your prayers as well!

My son, Caleb and I, posing in front of the red rock formations.

Garden of the Gods with Pike's Peak in the distance.

Pike's Peak, with snow blowing off of it.  Isn't it gorgeous?
Isn't he just the sweetest little guy ever to wear camo?

Tina, Chris, Caleb

Don't you just LOVE this photo???  I DO!!!

Please pray for this family that we love so much!

Have a blessed day in Christ!

Mama Bear

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Potty-Training Resistance!

 This is how my little Princess Diva Bear feels about potty-training.  We have been fairly consistent with training her for the past 3-4 weeks, and she still cries nearly every time I tell her it's time to go potty.  She doesn't tell us when she needs to go either, which is a bit frustrating to me, because I KNOW she knows when at least #2 is coming!  She stops everything and bends slightly at the waist, and her Pull-ups!

I'm not sure what to do with her at this point.  We have tried stickers, treats, and pretty much any other bribe for when she DOES go.  But she fights me a LOT on this.  I have the timer set for every 45 minutes so that I don't forget to have her go.  Maybe this is too often, but I find that about a third of the time, she has already gone in her Pull-up in that 45 minutes between potty time.

We let her have books in the bathroom, which she enjoys.  We let her turn the timer on for the next potty time, which she also enjoys.  I have asked her to help me remember what to do when the timer bell rings, which she does, and seems to be excited about.

But she just does not care if she gets potty-trained or not.  She will be 2-1/2 in a couple of weeks, and I figured for sure that she would be ready to potty-train.  I am tired of changing diapers, so I know I'm ready, but I guess maybe she's not.  I will not stop though.  We will continue to take her to the potty, and we will continue to give high praise when she goes, and even the occasional piece of candy when she goes #2.  Somethings GOTTA give!  Right?

I'd love to hear about your potty-training experiences!  Got any advice for me?

Mama Bear

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How Beautiful Are the Feet

How beautiful upon the mountains
   are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
   who publishes salvation,
   who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” 

Isaiah 52:7

I love those feet up there.  They belong to our very energetic 5 year old.  It seems his feet and hands and arms and legs and head NEVER stop moving.  But we pray that he will use those feet, that body, to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others.  I have to remind myself of that most days, when his energy tires me out.  God has chosen him for a very special purpose, and He has placed this little boy in our home for a very important reason.  Even if that reason is just to show me plainly how much I need Jesus and the cross and I how I can't make it without Him, then that is reason enough for me.

Mama Bear

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Blackberry Oatmeal Bars -- A Small Deviation from a Pioneer Woman Recipe

Blackberry Oatmeal Bars
(one small step away from Pioneer Woman's recipe)
Of course I follow Pioneer Woman on Facebook.  Of course I had to make these yummy bars as soon as I saw the recipe link posted on FB this morning, from her show that aired this morning.  Only, I didn't have any strawberry jam in the house (SHOCK & AWE, I KNOW!), so I had to use what I had (fortunately!), which was Sugar Free Seedless Blackberry Jam.

Yes, I made this at 8am this morning.  Yes, we ate it for breakfast instead of as a dessert or snack.  And it was DELICIOUS!  If I were a coffee drinker, I'm sure it would be divine with coffee.  But I'm not.  So I just drank my standard fare---ice water.

Yes, this was supposed to cool completely before I cut into it.  But who can wait when it's all warm and heavenly and smells SO good???  This would be excellent with vanilla ice cream, but I couldn't do that for breakfast.  Sorry.  That would've been a bit much.

Want her recipe?  Ok.  Here it is:

1-3/4 sticks salted butter, cut into pieces (plus a little more to butter your baking dish)
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups quick oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
(oh, and I added a bit of cinnamon, just because)
One 10-12 ounce jar of strawberry (or blackberry or whatever you like) preserves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan.
Mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread with the strawberry preserves. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly. Bake until light brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely, and then cut into squares. 

 There you have it!  Now, go and make it!  You won't be sorry!

Mama Bear

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Beautiful Brown Eyed Girl Giveaway

Want to win a $40 Gift Certificate to buy something GORGEOUS (like the clothing you see in the photo above) Beautiful Brown Eyed Girl Boutique?  Go to A Moment Cherished, and you can read the story behind BBEG, which is AWESOME, because it's about adoption!  And if you know ANYTHING about our family, you know that we adopted our two youngest children, so we have a heart for adoption.  Be sure to scroll down to see all the ways you can enter to win!

I found a few things that I just LOVE for our little Princess Diva Bear!!!

Mama Bear

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Thing a Husband Should Never Say to His Wife

I remember when Papa Bear and I were first married.  I was cooking something and he said "Hmmm, my mom does it differently."  In other words "That's not how my mom does it."  WHAT?  Of course it's not, because I AM NOT YOUR MOM!  I think I actually might have told him that.

Husband's, if you want to offend your wives, tell them "That's not how my mom does it.".  If you DON'T want to offend them, don't EVER say that.  I mean EVER!!!  Know that your wife is someone beautiful and creative and is definitely not your mom.  She will introduce you to new foods that you would have never tried in your mom's home.  There will be things that she does that won't make sense to you, because you've never seen it done like that before.  But bear with her.  Be patient, and don't open your mouth, unless you are going to offer your assistance...with ANYTHING.

On the other side of this, I have had to learn to be willing to learn new things too.  For instance, my mother-in-law has taught me the correct way to make Spanish rice, and how to steam tamales.  Wives, it's ok to learn something new.  It's ok that you don't do things the way his mom does, but be willing to learn from her.  She is likely chock full of wisdom, and if she loves the Lord, like my mother-in-law does, she will also be full of grace.  She's not going to try and force her ways on you.  She won't hold unrealistic expectations for you, in taking care of her "baby".

Wives, be willing to be taught.  Be willing to let go of control.  I never thought of myself as a control freak, until my husband (or son) would put things away...but NOT the way I did.  Laundry wouldn't get folded the way I fold it.  Dishes wouldn't get washed the way I washed them.  But, get husband and son were helping me with household chores, and they still do!  So, I have learned (well, mostly learned) to keep my mouth shut and be grateful for a husband who helps around the house, and has taught our children to do the same thing.

Note added 01-19-12:  Let me just add this; Papa Bear is the most patient and kind husband.  He does not say things like this in our marriage.  I think that was a one time thing, and he saw how hurt I had been, so he's very careful with how he phrases things.  This isn't to say that he has to walk on eggshells around me.  Not at all.  He is just very gracious and kind in his speech, not trying to hurt or offend anyone in what he does or says.

Wives, I am leaving you with one more thing:

The Woman Who Fears the LORD
 10 An excellent wife who can find?
   She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
   and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
   and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
   she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
   and provides food for her household
   and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
   and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
   Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
   and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
   and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
   for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
   her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
   when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
   she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
   and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
   and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
   and let her works praise her in the gates. 
I hope that you will strive to be like the Proverbs 31 woman, in every way that you can.  Show grace and mercy when your husband doesn't do things the way you would.  Show it when your children do something differently than how you would like.  It's ok.  There are MUCH more important things in life!

Mama Bear

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What is True Beauty?

A very creative mock commercial about the standards of beauty in a digital age.
 I saw this posted on Facebook, by Carolyn McCulley, and I had to share it.  It's such a shame that the entertainment industry and fashion industry have done so much to twist the view on what TRUE BEAUTY looks like.  
We are trying to teach our two year old little girl about true beauty.  When I do her hair, she always says "I so pretty!", but we want her to know that true beauty is found on the your you treat others, how you show love, how you forgive, how you share, how you talk,  how you act...not in your clothing, your hairstyle, or your face/body.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
   Proverbs 31:30
 What are your thoughts on this?  What do YOU see as being true beauty???

Mama Bear

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ham & Pinto Bean Soup -- Recipe

Ham & Pinto Bean Soup

This soup is EASY PEASY and perfect for those cold winter days. 

I used leftover ham that we had...but any boneless ham (except deli ham...that's a NO-NO!!!!) will do.

Take 2-3 cups of dry pinto beans (or any kind of bean, really) and soak them in water, overnight.  (This helps eliminate the "gas factor".)

The next day, drain and rinse the beans, and then put them in a pot or crockpot and cover with salted water.  Add in your ham and some minced garlic if you like, and allow to cook low and slow until the beans are tender.  Add about 1-2 Tablespoons of Taco Seasoning and allow to cook for another hour.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy with biscuits or with cornbread (which is what we did!).  Even my 1 year old foster daughter, my 2 year old and 5 year old LOVED this soup!

Mama Bear

Saturday, January 7, 2012

More Flavor Please

Want more flavor in your ground beef dishes?  Give the beef a good sear (just like in the photo above)!  To do this, just turn your skillet (or pan) on high and allow the ground beef to get browned on the bottom before you break up the meat.  After it's seared, turn it down and finish cooking it.

What's YOUR favorite ground beef dish?  I want to know!

Mama Bear