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.

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?

Post Christmas Trip – Leavenworth

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Ours was great but SO busy. Why does Christmas time have to be so dang busy?? I love christmas but all that goes into it can just be crazy. This year we decided we wanted to spend some time in Leavenworth around Christmas. The little town is so beautiful in the winter. They put up so many lights and it’s only a 2.5 hour drive from where we live. In the greater Seattle area we hardly get any snow. Leavenworth is generally covered in snow around Christmas so we soaked it all up this year!

2 days after Christmas we loaded up the car and took off! We rented a little cottage that had the perfect sledding hill right in the driveway and also had a hot tub! I ended up being pretty sick the whole time we were there but we still had a good time. Board games, hot tubing, sledding, and family time were the only things on the agenda. It was perfect.

I think this may be a new family tradition! Getting away is one of the only ways for me to get a chance to relax. Mom’s you know what I mean! There is always so much to be done so a couple days away is always nice!

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas season. We will do this again. Hopefully next year! It was the perfect way to end the holiday season.

My Perfect Potato Bread

Over the last couple years I have been making all of our bread in my bread machine. When I was a kid my mom did this and I hated it. I wanted store bought white bread (which was totally off limits – and now I know why). I make our bread for a few reasons….It’s cheaper, healthier and yummy! I’ve been perfecting our recipe for the last year and this has become our go to sandwich bread.
I started with a recipe called Linda’s Easy Potato Bread from the book “Bread Machine Magic“. This book is great and has a lot of yummy recipes! It has options for small, medium and large recipe so it’s great for any size machine! I tweaked the recipe to work for us.


1 cup water
1 cup milk
3 TBSP Olive Oil
3 cups bread flour
1 cup white whole wheat
2 TBSP Honey
2 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
5 TBSP potato flakes

Follow the directions for your bread machine (mine is liquids first, then dry ingredients on top) and bake.

Let the bread cool completely before cutting.

If you are planning to make homemade bread on a regular basis I would recommend buying an electric bread knife. I found one at a thrift store for $7 and it’s worth every penny. It allows us to cut the bread much easier than using a normal bread knife.

If you aren’t eating your bread up quick it will mold. Homemade bread doesn’t contain all the preservatives like the store bread do. You can cut the loaf in half, wrap half in plastic wrap then place it in a freezer bag and freeze. We try to eat the bread within a week so it doesn’t dry out.

I hope you enjoy this yummy bread!

God’s Provision…What It Looks Like For Us

So Sunday at church our pastor Jason was talking about tithing and stepping out in faith that God will provide. He shared a story about getting an unexpected check in the mail in college that was the exact amount he needed (and didn’t have) for a bill. As I was thinking about how God has provided for us over the last few years I thought I needed to share. We have also received random checks in the mail but it’s so much more than that.

Roughly 3 years ago when I was pregnant and working full-time I started looking into daycare costs for both my kids. It was insane! When we did the math I would have been working full-time to keep our benefits and make roughly $400 per month. For some people that is ok, but for us it wasn’t. We decided that I would quit and stay home with my kids. But that was a scary decision to make. I made almost 50% of our income and held the benefits for our whole family (very good benefits I might add!!). Before I quit I had a random lady that I didn’t know ask me if I wanted some boy clothes. She gave me 6 black garbage bags full of clothes 0-2T!! After my maternity leave was over I quit my job; it wasn’t an easy transition for Taylin and I but it was the right decision. Over the years we have had many random blessings come our way.

I have gone grocery shopping to find that nearly every item on my grocery list was on sale…God Stretching our budget. Pretty sure Fred Meyer didn’t know what I needed that week!

Many hand me down clothes and shoes for both Taylin and Bryson. We have bought almost no clothing for either of my kids in the last 2 years!!

Random side jobs at Christmas for both Tom and I

Random checks in the mail – we just got one last month!

A free tire for our car when it was leaking and couldn’t be fixed – Discount Tire rocks!!

Currently I’ve been provided with opportunities to work. Work that I can bring Bryson to. While I’m technically a stay at home mom I also clean 2 houses, nanny for a friend and substitute at the preschool at our church. Often Gods provision is opportunity. I could have easily said no to all those money making opportunities but I haven’t. With me doing side jobs we can put a little money in savings, we can go on a vacation. We can get a random cup of coffee at Starbucks. It just adds a little margin to our budget.

Trusting God isn’t always easy, it’s not always glamorous but if you step out in faith he will come through for you. Last year when I did our taxes I was surprised to see that Tom made a couple thousand dollars shy of what WE made when WE were both working!! Are you kidding me!! God is SO faithful!

If you aren’t currently tithing I want to encourage you to start giving something consistently. Anything just do it consistently.

Gluten Free PF Chang’s Inspired Fried Green Beans

Hey friends! Just wanted to share a quick recipe for some gluten-free fried green beans that I made last night. My inspiration was the fried green beans that are served at PF Chang’s. Most fried dishes aren’t GF but I was hoping I could create something yummy! Well last night we were going to a NYE party and I knew there were going to be a couple of people that were GF. I looked on Pinterest and I didn’t find any recipes. So I looked at a couple of recipes with normal flour and then just winged it. And they turned out amazing! I hope you enjoy!


4 cups Green Beans – Frozen or Fresh (I used frozen and let them partially thaw)Oil for frying

1 cup almond flour (or you could sub out GF flour)
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 tsp baking powder (make sure it’s GF)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 egg

Dipping sauce:
3 Tbsp Milk
1/3 cup Mayo
2 Tbsp Siracha

I spread out the beans in a 9×13 pan and let them defrost about half way. You could just microwave them for a couple of minutes to speed up the process. I whisked all the ingredients together for the batter. I poured the milk in until it was the consistency of pancake batter. Maybe 1/2-3/4 cups. Once the batter was all ready to go I poured it over the beans and made sure they were all coated well.
IMG_2285_edited-1Then once my oil was hot I fried them in batches for about 3 minutes on each side (or until golden brown). I think it took about 5 batches to get them all done.
IMG_2282_edited-1 I served them with a creamy Siracha sauce. They were a hit! I have several friends that are gluten-free so I love having options. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! And feel free to tweak it to your taste.

30 Happy Days ~ Days 3&4

Day 3:
Friday our evening was filled with cousin fun! My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were out celebrating their anniversary so we had 3 extra kids for dinner and into the evening! They played and had a great time together!

IMG_0259 - edited_edited-1IMG_0286_edited-1Day 4:
On Saturday we spent most of the day at home. I needed a couple of things from the store so we decided to walk. The kids rode their scooters. I love that Bryson is finally getting old enough to do these kinds of things! photo 2(1)In the evening we headed to Anthony’s in Edmonds. We enjoyed a Mother’s Day celebration with my mom’s side of the family. My mom grew up in Hong Kong and Taylin loves to hear stories of her childhood. Taylin always says, “Tell me a story of when you were a kid!” and my mom always has lots of fun stories to tell!

photo 1(2)So grateful for my mom and her special bond with my kids! They are lucky to have such an awesome grandma!

30 Days Of Happy ~ Days 1&2

So I was catching up on a blog that I love late last night and she just finished up a “30 Days Of Happy” project. I’ve seen a bunch of things on FB and Instagram with the hashtag #100happydays but let’s be honest, I’m really bad at doing things daily so I’m going to stick with 30 days! I’m gonna just roll with life…post as I remember. That may be daily or it may be two or three days together. This project really is a reminder for me. Lately life has been a little extra stressful so I want to learn to find happiness in all situations and learn to create happy days for my kiddos. I hope my project will bring some joy to your life as well!

Day 1:
Yesterday Bry took a short nap so we ended up outside playing before Taylin got home from school. He spent a long time jumping over and over off our steps. The simple things of can bring so much joy to a child. We sipped on some smoothies and just enjoyed the sunshine! In the Northwest you have to take advantage of it when it’s around!
IMG_0190_edited-1IMG_0188_edited-1IMG_0185_edited-1Day 2:
Today after lunch Bry played in his room by himself! Seems like a normal thing but he hasn’t really learned how to play on his own yet. The mess on the floor was him dumping out toys…not really playing with them, but it captured his attention! The few minutes that he choose to be in his room were so precious to me. Trying to entertain all day or listening to whining when I don’t is very draining. After awhile I went and sat down on the floor, we played with his football and giggled together. This sweet boy went to bed so happy and giggly!
IMG_0242IMG_0253No matter what is happening in your life and in your world it is possible to find some joy in the day! Don’t forget to look for it!

Quiche & Pie Crust Recipes

Tonight I made a yummy quiche so I thought I would share the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
IMG_0107-1_edited-1Pie Crust:
3 cups flour
1 cup Crisco
1 egg
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vinegar
½ cup water

Cut the Crisco into flour until it’s about the size of a pea.
Mix remaining ingredients together in separate bowl and then toss it into the flour/Crisco mixture

Roll out to 1/8 in thick. I use a fork to poke some holes in the crust. To be honest I don’t know why I do this but my grandma does it so I do it!

Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.

photo(1)This makes 2 crusts – for the quiche I normally just make half the recipe.

Quiche Recipe:
1 cup washed/shopped kale
Browned sausage or meat of your choice (about 1 cup)
1 cup shredded mozzarella  cheese
4 Eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Dried onion – I just shook some in – you can also do fresh if you prefer but I was being lazy!

Put the kale, sausage, and cheese into the partially baked pie crust. Mix the rest of the ingredients together & pour into the crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until cooked through. Enjoy!

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 3&4

So yesterday I didn’t have a chance to blog. I was SO tired and went to bed! Yesterday was day one of the build. We had to put down the decking for the floor. The guys would snap it together and tack it down then Kelly and I came behind and added a bunch of extra nails to keep the floor down. We nailed like this for two or three hours which is why I was sitting!!

nailBy the end of the day we had the floor done, two walls up and most of the wood cut for the rest of the house.
IMG_9571_edited-1Today we got the other two walls up and all the interior walls framed. By the end of the day we were able to get a start on the interior wall paneling as well. It was a productive day and we are expecting to be finished with the house sometime on Thursday. The houses will be dedicated/presented to the families on Thursday evening!

IMG_9619So I just wanted to share about Selina. She is wonderful. She is 59 years old and a mother to 11 kids (8 girls/3 boys). Her husband was murdered 12 years ago so she is a single mom. Her oldest is 36 and her youngest is 15. She is so excited to be getting this house. She is a very hard working/loving lady. She has been so excited to pound nails with us. Yesterday she helped us put up the two walls up. Today she was bummed when we didn’t call her to help put up the 3rd wall! She wants to help and she wants to be involved. This afternoon before we left I asked if she has a broom. I told her that I wanted to sweep her house out when we are all done building it. She said, “don’t worry about it. I plan to sweep it out each night after you work. I go up there and enjoy the beautiful view”. I said, “are you so excited??!!?” and she just grinned from ear to ear. She is quiet but has such a sweet spirit! I have so enjoyed getting to know her and her family!

photo 2(1) IMG_9608_edited-1Salina working hard on her new house!

Her family has been coming & going and are all so eager to help. They have nothing but wonderful things to say about there mom!

A few more picts from the day

IMG_9593_edited-1This is Gabriana – she is couple months younger then Taylin. We have become buddies! IMG_9596_edited-1 Another ADORABLE little girl at our job site! IMG_9580_edited-1Kelly & Takeshi Working hard at the job today!

IMG_9605_edited-1 IMG_9615_edited-1 IMG_9617_edited-1  Our house as the end of the day! We made great progress!