Thursday, September 29, 2011


This may seem like a contradiction or backwards to many, but being a stay-at-home Mom is one of the most emPOWERing things I have ever done! Don't get me wrong, I have MANY-A-DAYS consisting of wiping noses, tears and bottoms that might not feel so empowering but here are a few things that ARE emPOWERing to me about being a Momma!

First, CHOOSING to be a stay-at-home Mom is emPOWERing! Just a few short decades ago women stayed at home without option or choice, can you imagine? I can see how IMPOSSIBLE it would feel to be a mother with a grateful heart in that time, you would almost feel chained to your home and children. In OUR time as Mother's we are given so many opportunities, we can be working mother's, stay-at-home mothers, part-time working, freelancers, bloggers, crafters, Etsy sellers and oh'so much more! Having so many opportunities to be a Mother and to pursue our passions really provides us, the women and mother's of today, the option for choosing our Motherhood story and giving it our best!

Second, not only choosing to stay-at-home but getting an education and having AMAZING career experiences before making this choice. This was an important thing for me personally. Also, having a degree and a few years of relevant work experiences before being a full-time Momma has given me the confidence to know, REALLY know, that I am relevant and capable and VALUABLE at home OR in an OFFICE! Getting a formal degree may not be what accomplishes this for all ladies, but find your story, what provides you with the DEEP and I mean DEEP know that YOU, WHO YOU ARE is fantastic, indispensable and all around EXTRAORDINARY! Do what it takes to find the authentic person you are and DON'T LET HER GO!

Third, doing it the way I imagined. For me, I always had a picture of the kind of Momma I wanted to be. I think in some way we all do this, we take references from our Mother's and other Mother's who have influenced our lives growing up. We edit, pick and choose what we like and don't like and create our imagined Motherhood story. Many days can be frustrating BEYOND all belief especially when we are not being the Momma we imagined and it is usually a downward spiral, but look at the big picture. Are you being the Momma you imagined? If not, STOP, PUT on the BRAKES and change your course, BE THAT MOMMA! This is a constant up-hill battle (I NEED to do this AT LEAST once a week) but it is one that is worth WINNING!

Fourth, don't waste time. Our children are young once, we GET to do this ONCE! Don't waste time! So many of us say "oh I can't wait for...." in anticipation to get through a phase or to reach the next milestone but each phase of parenting and childhood is it's own big ball of challenge and AMAZING! Enjoy this phase and be in THIS MOMENT!

Are you an empowered Momma? What is your motherhood story?

That's my Shiny ~ J

*images found via Pintrest

Monday, September 19, 2011

Strawberry Cake with Love from Germany

This strawberry cake is DELICIOUS!! I made this recipe for Q's baptism this summer with strawberries that the kiddos and I PICKED FRESH! YUM!

I swiped this cake recipe from a google doc my Brother-in-Law's family started. His sister works as a house Mom in Germany for missionaries' high school aged children. One of her responsibilities is cooking. In Germany they do not rely on things like pudding or jello for fruit flavored cakes like we do in the U.S., sooooo... missing her Grandmother's strawberry cake, she found this replacement recipe. My vote is that this cake is a pretty fantastic healthier version that I WILL be making many more times in the future. Not to mention it's quite beautiful, PINK to be exact WITHOUT food coloring!

Strawberry Cake & Icing
Cake:2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Cup Pureed Strawberries, I used fresh picked hulled and tossed in my blender
1/2 Cup Milk

1 Box powdered Sugar
4 Tbsp Butter (melted)
4-6 Tbsp Pureed Strawberries

Preheat over to 350. Butter or spray and flour 2, 9" round cake pans or one 9x13 cake pan. Set aside. Combine dry ingredients in a larger bowl. In a separate bowl, beat remaining ingredients together. Add to dry, beating with a wire whisk. Pour into prepared cake pans. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick.

To make the frosting, sift powdered sugar into melted butter. Add strawberry puree to spreading consistency. Frost the cake and decorate the top of the cake with fresh strawberries just before serving.

I cut some fresh strawberries into quarters from the top down to the bottom and made little pinwheels or flower clusters on top of the cake.  I of course forgot to take a picture of this, sorry friends. I will get it for ya next time.

That's my Shiny ~


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Funner Summer and Autumn Anticipation!

This Summer went by in a flash and was filled with gobs of fun for our little family! We are sadly saying goodbye to summer but happily welcoming autumn. I sure do love summer but I am looking forward to the slower pace, warmer clothes and comfort food cooking the fall season brings. I will however miss all of our fun outdoor activities, the beach, grilling, the sun, fresh produce and most of all our Up North get-away, the cottage.

Things I am ready to say "see ya later" to until next year,  the slammed packed summer agenda, road construction AND my house in an utter chaotic dirty state due to the slammed schedule.

Being a SAHM (Stay-at-Home-Mom) with my Little's has allowed for us to do many fun things through out the year, but much of our exploring here in Michigan happens in the warmer months.

Here's a little taste of our FUNNER SUMMER this year:

Berry Picking: This is such a fun activity for toddlers and all the kids! They enjoy picking and helping and seeing our hard works results! It also provides kids with the knowledge of learning how our food is grown and the importance of supporting local agriculture and of course healthy eating! This is also pretty much a FREE activity due to the fact that your only cost is for berries and most likely you will pay slightly less than at the grocery store because YOU are the labor. Lets face it WHAT IS BETTER IN THE SUMMER THAN FRESH PICKED STRAWBERRIES or BLUEBERRIES (I will post two of my favorite recipes that we made this summer from the pickings)!!

LAKE LIVING: The kiddos and I and a few of our friends were able to explore a few of our local beaches. Several of which are on Lake Michigan! What a treat! These days are fun and tiring, the kids SLEEP AMAZING! We traveled to Lake Michigan's Silver Beach several times and enjoyed the, carousel, water cannon park and of course the beach front and lake! We also kept it closer to home and traveled to the local beach on the VERY hot days this summer. Our beach trips consisted of JUMPING in the big waves, making sand castles, eating picnic lunches and chasing minnows.

Also, like many Michigan families we are blessed with a family cottage Up North and THIS IS MY MOST FAVORITE PLACE ON EARTH!! We had a TON of amazing moments this year, C learning how to swim, Q splashing like a wild woman, C casting his little fishing pole all over the place, antiquing with the ladies,  the kiddos snuggling with their Auntie, Uncles, GG and Papa and so so many many more awesome moments! We escaped UP NORTH as much as possible, which also includes lots of packing, unpacking, laundry and crying melt downs in the car, all of which doesn't compare to AMAZINGESS of the experiences!

The Mundane: We also had so much fun doing everyday tasks outside with the kiddos. Including washing the car, play dates in the backyard, trips to the park, TONS of walks both around our neighborhood and at a great local walking trail.


Even though we had such a FANTASTIC summer we are looking forward to fall IMMENSELY!   

Look out here we come fall activities!! Like:
 story time at the public library, brisk nature walks, a trip to the apple orchard, football games, baking, cooking, going to the pumpkin patch, carving pumpkins and oh so much more!

That's my Shiny -