Beauty In Biscuits

The other night I was working on dinner, making biscuits and I got wrapped up in my thoughts a little. I was thinking about how fast paced our culture is. So many people don’t sit and have dinner together anymore. Everyone is going a different direction, school, work, sports, birthday parties etc. None of those things are bad but for some reason they have all become more important than quality time with our family each night.

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As I stood at my kitchen counter making my biscuit dough I was thinking about the time & energy poured into my meals each night. I’m going to be honest, I’m not really a fan of cooking. My mom taught me how to cook but it just feels like such a chore each day. The other night I had a moment where I realized that I get to provide these wonderful meals for my family. We get to eat our dinner together each night.

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The generations before us didn’t have much choice but to cook. We are now surrounded by fast food, processed foods and so many quick options that a home cooked meal and eating dinner together seems to be fading away. If you feel like you don’t have time to sit down together take a look at your schedule and see if there is anything you can eliminate. We eat dinner together almost every night. I guard that time fiercely. I know that nightly meals together aren’t possible for every family but I bet you could eat together once or twice a week.  Make some soup, biscuits and a salad, and call it good.
Acts246_edited-1Don’t let dinner become just a chore as I had done; make it about quality time together. Dinner doesn’t have to take along time, but make that time around the dinner table count.

If you need a starting point here are a couple of our families favorite soups:
Sausage, Potato & Spinach Soup (this website has tons of great recipes!)
Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
Cauliflower Chowder

My mother-in-laws biscuit recipe is super yummy & I hope you enjoy it!

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Ingredients:
3 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup soft butter (1 1/2 sticks of butter)1 cup buttermilk*

Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together all the dry ingredients. Work soft butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter (here is a how to video) until it’s roughly pea sized. Then add in the buttermilk and mix together until dough is formed. Turn onto a floured surface and cut out biscuits. Place on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly  brown.

*if you do not have buttermilk you can make sour milk by mixing 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar with regular milk. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before using.

Don’t let the quality time around the table slip away!
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Goals for 2016

Well it’s 2016 already! Where does time go??

A couple of weeks ago my sister-in-law posted on Facebook asking people what their resolutions or goals were for 2016.  In the past I’ve not really been a resolution maker. I’ve never really felt like it was something I needed to do, but this year her post made me stop and think about it. So I actually came up with a few goals for this year and thought I’d share them with you!

1. Open my home up to friends and family more. This one might seem like a no-brainer but for whatever reason we just don’t have people over often. To be honest a lot of the reason is that it’s expensive. We live on a tight budget and I always feel like if we are going to invite people over we should provide the dinner.  But I’m going to move past that. We have been blessed with a wonderful place that we call home and I want it to be an inviting place that we can enjoy with our friends and family! So my goal this year is to have people over! It may be for snacks, or a potluck or just dessert but we are going to have our people over!

image12. Be healthier then I was last year. For the last year and a half I’ve been on sort of health/fitness journey. I’m trying to find my groove. I want to make exercising and eating healthy just part of who I am. I’m not trying to join some fad diet or just make a new years resolution because that’s what people do but I truly want to figure out a maintainable way to live a healthy lifestyle. I want to be here for my family and my kids. I want to be an example to those around me. I want to feel good in my own skin. I’m currently eating clean and am part of an online fitness community called Fit By First. This group has totally changed my approach to working out and the need for community to keep you accountable and to be an encouragement. If you want more info on these challenge groups check out this website (I don’t get anything thing for promoting this – I truly just love this group!).
FullSizeRender(1)3. Make time for creativity. I love to be crafty, I love photography, I love redoing furniture but last year didn’t allow a lot of time for the creative things I love. I want to make sure I make time for some of those things, the things that are just for fun. I think so often as mom’s we get so wrapped up in all that goes on in our house that we forget to do the things that bring joy to our lives. Taking time for ourselves is so important.

4. Be more intentional about praying. There is so much power in prayer I believe that with every fiber of who I am and this year I want to be more intentional about who I’m praying for. I punched a hole in all my Christmas cards and tied them together. They sit next to my bed and each week I pray for one family. I pray for the things I know are going on, and for the things that are unseen. God knows what they need but I still want to be faithful to lift my friends and family up in prayer.
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When I look at all my goals I see a trend – being intentional. Goals give us something to work towards and that is why I set a few this year. The older I get the more I’m learning that without direction we just sort of float through life. I don’t want that. I want to make an impact on this world. I want to look back on my life and feel like I lived it!

Cheers to a new year and fresh starts! What are your goals for 2016?

Roatan: How The Trip Impacted Me

So I wrote most of this blog while I was sitting in the Houston airport on the way home from Roatan. I didn’t share it probably because it’s pretty vulnerable but then I realized my experience may help someone. If nothing else being open and honest helps promote changes in my heart.

1897654_10203559059523925_1686065921_n_edited-3Here is what I wrote on 3/8…

So I’m sitting in the airport writing this blog…I have spent the last week away from my family and my normal life serving others. This opportunity has been amazing and it has also allowed time for me to think about my day-to-day life. One thing I will say is when you go serve others that have so little you realize it’s completely possible to be happy with less. So often in life our happiness is based on how much we have. Selena has been a single mom for 12 years. She has worked her butt off to provide for her 11 kids and she was happy, laughing and ready to work hard. She has so little but you would never know based on how she carries herself.

Why do we as American’s have such high, unrealistic expectation for what our life should be? In the past few months I’ve had a hard time being at home with the kids (which is a luxury for most). I have felt stuck…so much sickness, not a lot of extra cash to go do fun things but I have lost sight of all the we have. We have a roof over our heads, we have food, more than enough clothes and so much more. After being gone for a week I’ve realized there are things I need to change. I’ve been tired, and haven’t been serving my family like I should. I need to learn to step back…enjoy the little things and be grateful for all that we have. My goal as a mom and wife is to try to care less about the details (which is VERY hard for me), laugh more and just enjoy the little moments. Sometimes you need to step outside of your normal bubble of life to realize all that you have and to reset your goals & expectations.

An unexpected thing I noticed  was that social interaction with adults is very important to me. I’ve been stuck in my bubble of kids, diapers and cleaning and I haven’t made hanging out with friends a priority. Often I make excuses not to make an effort but I need to make it more of priority. Having spent a week with adults, laughing, serving & interacting with each other I’ve seen my whole attitude lighten up…this is something that I want to stick.

This trip was so amazing but what I didn’t expect was all the reflecting
I want to laugh more.
Serve people more.
Chill out more.
And let go of the little things.
We. Are. Blessed & I can’t lose site of that!

Now back to my current thoughts…

As I’ve been home I have wondered why God puts a desire in your heart when you don’t know what to do with it?? I have always wanted to live overseas and be a missionary…maybe short term (like 6 months-1year) or maybe long-term but when you have a husband and family it has to be something you are both called to. How will God use me…use this desire? I don’t know but he knows my heart and he knows I’m open.
Sorry if this post was all over the place…at times it can be really hard to process what God does in our hearts. How he changes us. Often it’s something that get sort of unfold over time.

The trip was wonderful. I know I will go back. I just don’t know when.

Roatan Day 1

So I just wanted to post a quick update on our first day which was really just a travel day. Our flight was scheduled to leave Seattle at 5:55 but due to delays we didn’t leave until almost 6:45. This made things a little nerve-wracking for us knowing that we only have a 40 minute layover to catch our next flight in Houston.
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The beautiful sunrise on the airplane

I tried talking to a flight attendant about it and she was no help. My hope was that they would either hold the plane or it would be delayed or something. I was talking to my brother-in-law about what to do. He told me to “use my superpowers” so I prayed!!! I prayed that God would help us make our connection and I specifically prayed that our connecting gate would be moved closer.

We landed in Houston it was roughly 12:35-12:40 our connecting flight to Roatan was scheduled to leave at 12:52. We taxied into gate A16 and they announced that our connecting flight was moved to A17!! These are the little moments that so many miss. They are the moments of God saying, hey I’m here with you…STOP WORRYING!! The flight attendant asked people to remain seated if they didn’t have a connecting flight. Of course everyone decided to get off the plane. This struck me…we are always in such a rush. Little moments like this are way you can serve other people. So back to the story…by the time we made it on our plane it was 12:50!! We made our connecting flight with 2 minutes to spare! We got on the plane…then we sat for about 10 more minutes…they were loading up our luggage! And every single piece of luggage arrived in Roatan!

While on the plane I’ve been reading “Kisses From Katie”. It’s about an eighteen year old girl who moved to Uganda and has essentially adopted something like 13 kids! Anyways it’s totally my kind of book!

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“And Even as I realize I cannot always meat or mend, I can enter in. This is Jesus. Not that he apologizes for the hard and hurt, but that He enters in. He comes with us to the hard places. And so I continue to enter.”

I’m pretty sure this is going to be a challenging book!

So we all made it to Roatan safe and sound. We ended our evening at Half Moon Bay enjoying a nice dinner together!

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Today our plans are to head to church, hang out at the beach for a little while then have dinner with both the families we are building for. It’s going to be a good day!!

2014 Personal Goals

This is the first year I’m sitting down to make some personal goals…I think having clear goals helps you have something to be working towards. Some are bigger & some are smaller but I wanted to write them down.

  • Read Bible daily
  • Monthly date nights with my hubby
  • Take the kids on individual dates throughout the year
  • Travel to at least one new place (Chelan, Oregon coast, or maybe Victoria, BC)
  • Have girl’s nights more often
  • Exercise 3 times per week (make it a normal part of my life)
  • Take time to rest (this is hard for me)
  • Create some reachable financial goals for 2014 with my husband
  • Be more encouraging to the people around me
  • Read more – 6 books in 2014 – I’m a REALLY slow reader!
  • Blog more!
  • Be a little more unplugged (less technology)
  • Learn something new

Have you thought of any goals for the year? They don’t have to be crazy or scary! For me I like lists to refer to and I like to think about what’s important to me and how I  can invest in it.

The Sweetest Morning

Today was a day in the world of mommyhood that you don’t want to forget. We got up on time. I got Taylin off to school without any major issues. No attitudes. We weren’t running for the bus. She remembered her lunch. You know, all the millions of details that take over my mind each morning. Our routine is to get her off to school then Bry and I eat breakfast and then our day together begins. Today he was full of sweetness and I don’t want to forget it.

Often as mom’s our days are so full of keeping the house running, picking up after the kids, laundry, changing diapers, kissing owies and figuring out why our kids are screaming or whining AGAIN!!! Today I just sat and enjoyed the sweetness of my son. He is almost 20 months and is so full of personality. Just recently he really wants me to be part of his world, playing, showing me things, snuggling and it’s just so precious.

Here are a few pictures from our morning.
IMG_9267IMG_9272_edited-1 IMG_9278_edited-1IMG_9303_edited-1 IMG_9290_edited-1 IMG_9307_edited-1Let me be the first to admit I need to do this more. To stop. Play. Listen. It’s not in my personality to just “sit around”. I have to feel like I did something each day. Today I did. I hung out with my son. There are toys everywhere. I have no makeup on & I haven’t even brushed my hair, but I had the best morning just playing with my son.

Don’t let these sweet moments pass you by!

Roatan 2014…Giving Back

Friends…it’s been a long time since I’ve posted…life has been crazy and my priorities have been my kids, volunteering at church and just enjoying life! I’m super excited to post about what I’m doing next year! Our church does a few different mission trips each year and his year I’m excited to be a part of the team heading to Roatan, Honduras.

IMG_8204Roatan is a small island off the coast of the coast of mainland Honduras. We will be building two houses for families in need. This island is an interesting place…on the water there are beautiful resorts and the cruise ships come in several times a week. If you really see the rest of the island you will see that there is a huge population of people who live in extreme poverty.199338_10150459633735078_861535077_18123814_7946245_nThis trip will be my 8th or 9th mission trip…I’ve lost track at this point. I feel like God has placed this desire in my heart to serve. Serve people locally and specifically serve people overseas. I’m not sure why but I always feel this tug on my heart to travel the world and help people! This year my husband and I agreed that I could go. He will be serving these families at home while he takes the week of off work to take care of our kids.

Our team will be building 2 houses in the course of the week. To learn about the families we will be building for take a look at this link.  I am so excited to see all that God is going to do! The trip is March 1st-8th, 2014 and I truly can’t wait to get dirty, swing a hammer, shovel gravel and do whatever is needed to help get these two houses built!

We need your help in two ways:

  1. Financially – The trip is roughly $1,500 and while I would love to pay for it on my own, we don’t currently have the finances to do that. I’m willing to clean houses, babysit, or do anything else to help raise some money. If you need help with anything let me know! I’m happy to workIf you would like to donate to my trip you can make a donation online through our church PayPal site. In the notes put  “Sydney Ross – Roatan” http://tinyurl.com/lzykn3e
  2. Prayer – Specifically pray for all of us going on the trip, for safety, for our hearts, and for our team to work well together. Pray for the families – that God will use these houses to glorify him!I’m excited for this trip! Excited for the new relationships that will be built and for the ability to give to these two families a safe place to call home! Below are a few pictures from my last trip in 2011

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28 And Finding Joy

   Today is my birthday…I’m 28 years old. Most people would be like “Oh…you’re so young!!”. True I am young but birthdays get me thinking. I’ve been thinking a lot the last couple of weeks about life, goals and being a stay at home mom.

   For some people being a stay at home mom seems to come comes naturally. For others, like me, it hard. I watch both my sister-in-laws and feel like they have it down! They don’t sweat the small things, they seem to enjoy the little moments and don’t mind if their houses gets a little messy :). These things don’t come naturally to me…at all!! I get anxious when my house is a mess, I like order and routine to my day and I’m not a spontaneous person so when things don’t go as planned it’s hard for me. You might be thinking why are you sharing? Because it’s my reality. I love my kids but being a stay at home mom is very hard for me. It’s a very draining, and never ending job…this year I want to try to focus on finding the joy in it.

   I want to enjoy the small things. Look past the blocks and barbies everywhere and see the joy of my two kids playing together. Look past the chores of the day and decided to find joy in serving my family. I know this is where I’m supposed to be. God has blessed us beyond anything I could have ever imagined to make it possible for me to be home. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

   The last year has been a hard one for me. Lots of good times and great memories with the kids but also lots of hard, and extremely draining days. I believe that God puts us in an uncomfortable place to help us grow and learn…to make us be stronger, better people. Instead of being frustrated with my situation I want to find the joy.

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24

“7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess”

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So let me start by saying I’m in a book club…not because I like to read but because I love the people in the book club and I love the food they bring. Most months I don’t read the book or if I do I don’t finish it. This month was different…we chose to read the book 7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker…this book was life changing or at least it should be.

The book is about an experiment she and her family did in seven different area’s of life…trying to eliminate excess…excess food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste and stress. She spent a month on each topic and it’s really challenged me. It’s a really easy read…she writes with emotions and heart. I really appreciate that she included all the times she failed (and she did each month!!). It’s really challenged me to think about all the excess in our lives.

Here is the trailer about the book…watch it so you understand 🙂

Each chapter challenged me but a few stood out the most.

Spending – This chapter hit close to home. She talked about how her family spent at 60 some places each month. For one month she would spend at only 7 places. I don’t know how many places we spend at but I’m sure it would be pretty close to 60. We are at a time in our budget where we don’t have a lot of extra money…in our society it’s hard to not spend money. It’s hard to only spend on what we TRULY need. It’s not “normal” to only pay your bills and not buy a lot of extras…but it’s OK. We are blessed…we can pay our bills and we can provide what our kids and family needs…we don’t need Starbucks or that new sweatshirt…I have 8 sweatshirts!!

In this chapter she talked about how she didn’t got anywhere for the first week because if she didn’t leave her house she wouldn’t be tempted to spend. She was so used to grabbing coffee with girlfriends or meeting a friend for lunch. But after the first week she realized she could have people over or hang out at friends houses instead of constantly out to eat.

This part of the book really challenged me:

Let me be honest for a minute…often I don’t have people over not because I don’t want to hang out with them but because it’s too much work. I am a clean freak so my house needs to be clean before people come over…then after they leave it’s dirty so I need to clean it again. Come on really!! It’s totally lame and this called me out…this really challenged me…my house isn’t spotless all the time and people are probably ok with that…relationships are WAY more important then how clean my house is! God provided us with this amazing house…I need to use it for his glory not keep it all to myself!

Media – we live in a world that is so connected…it’s amazing in ways and it benefits us but in other ways it hinders us. In our house we have 2 TV’s, an iPad, laptop, Toshiba Thrive (tablet), two iPhones, a DVR, xBox, Wii, Super Nintendo (yup!!) and a TiVo. To say we are always connected to something is an understatement.

I love that we have all this technology at our fingertips but this chapter really challenged me to be in the moment. When I’m playing with my daughter I should  really be playing with her…not checking my Facebook every 30 seconds or checking Pinterest. There is a time and place for those things but I think at times it gets out of control.

15 years ago we didn’t have Facebook, Pinterest or Words With Friends and we all survived…I love all those things and will continue to use them…I’m just really going to strive for moderation.

To sum this book up…all I can say is read the book. It’s an easy read and so worth it! She is raw, funny, and a  great writer. I totally enjoyed the book (which says a lot coming form someone that hates to read!!!). It will challenge you and make you think twice about so many areas of your life!

God’s In Control

I’m not exactly sure how to express all that is going through my head right now. The last week has been super intense…lots of things changing that are out of our control and intense emotions around it.

Here is what I know – God is asking us to serve more at the church – specifically Tom, but I know my support at home is all part of what God is asking us to do as a couple.  This is extremely nerve-wracking for me since we have a baby due in 6 weeks and in addition to serving at the church, Tom will also be working every other Saturday throughout the summer.

I know that God has us there for a reason and for this season. I know that we will look back on this and know we were doing what God had asked of us…but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.  I’m just praying for peace and patience as we enter this time in our family.

A couple of verses that have been given me peace many times over the last few months

Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Isaiah 41:10 (The Message)

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 (The Message)

God’s word adds peace to my life during these times of change and uncertainty. I’m thinking I will print both of these verses to put on my fridge…I’m going to need the daily reminder!

I’m so grateful for all the wonderful friends God has placed in our lives that know how to encourage both of us and are a great support during this new season!

I’m excited to see how God uses us and see all that is coming in the next few months.