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Not Your Stereotypical Single Mom Part 2: A Realization

As I’ve been on this single mom journey, I’ve seen a few responses to people finding out I’m on this parenting journey alone. I’ve realized that people see single parenting in some strange ways…

“Oh wow! You’re so brave!”

Am I? I didn’t choose this. I just had to accept it. I’m just doing what I have to do for my kids and for myself. I’m sure most single moms feel much the same. We do all that we do because we have to, there isn’t anybody else who is going to help with the laundry, dishes, making meals, homework or all the numerous other things we do. There isn’t anybody to massage our aching feet at the end of an 82 hour day. I don’t do this to be brave, I do this to take care of my kids.

“Good for you!”

Good? Yeah, I guess. Sometimes I feel like it IS good – and a lot of times it is! But there are times when it’s not good, it’s hard. And again – I didn’t choose this. People say that to me as if I chose this. I didn’t. See above.

“Oh really?!”

Okay the way you are saying that to me makes me feel like a bowl of chips with some salsa or something… I’m not a snack. See my previous single mom post… I’m not easy. See the title of this post – I’m not your stereotypical single mom.

“Oh…”

GET OVER YOURSELF!!! Being a single mom is NOT contagious! It’s not a disease! I am not going to start preying on your husband! If I say anymore, I’ll get mean. So I’ll stop there.

As a single parent, what kinds of responses have you received? Good, bad or somewhere in between. Comment and let me know.

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Book review and giveaway! Magnificent Tales Treasury of Bible Stories!

First things first – I love this Bible story book! My kids have had a lot of story books and this one is fantastic!! Thank you SO much to Flyby Promotions for giving me the opportunity to not only review this book, but to give a copy away to one of my readers!!! I’m SO excited about this!

Next up the official stuff…

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

And now the good stuff!! This story book has the cutest illustrations! One of the things my son, James noticed right away is the animals. Most of the stories have a small bird or in this case, a puppy, who make an appearance on all or most of the pages in a story! Even though he is 8, he still enjoyed looking for this puppy on each page!IMG_9389.JPG

Probably my favorite page so far is this one below from “A Shout for the Lord: The Convincing Story of Gideon’s Doubt” which is based on Judges 6-7. As if Gideon’s story isn’t already amazing enough – to put it in this way just brought happy tears to my eyes! There have been SO many times in the past few years where I did not feel brave or strong, but I persevered, praised The Lord and He has ALWAYS come through! This is a great reminder for our littles!!

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Each time we sat for reading, my son would ask for “just one more” and he’s now gotten to the point of negotiating how many stories we will read before we even sit down! When this picture was taken, he negotiated for 3 stories! IMG_9388.JPG

 

I have even caught him re-reading stories on his own. Now, this book is aimed at kids ages 4-8, so I wasn’t so sure James would really like it. Boy was I wrong! He LOVES it!

 

Now for more fun! I get to give away a copy of this book to one of YOU!!! I’m going to start by asking you to be patient with me – this is my first time doing a giveaway! There are TWO ways to gain an entry! First, leave me a comment telling me what your favorite Bible story is! I know – NOT easy! Second, go visit my Facebook page and give me a like over there! While you are here, don’t forget to look over there —> and sign up for my email list! I won’t spam you or send you useless junk! In fact, I don’t send out much at all… but very important updates will soon only come through this blog and maybe a little bit on Facebook! Good luck! I’m SO excited to give one of these away! For those who would still like one, you can purchase online or I did see them in my church bookstore!!IMG_9391.JPG
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Not Your Stereotypical Single Mom Part 1: A Challenge

I never wanted to be a single mom.

But I am.

So I find myself on a road I didn’t chose or plan, but I’m trying my darndest to make the best of it. My kids are happier than they have been in years and so am I! It’s amazing what can happen when certain factors are removed from a home!

I’ve always known there are a lot of stereotypes for single moms, but in the last few months I’ve learned and even seen one that really kinda shocked me and made me really angry.

Single moms “put out” easily.

REALLY?!?! SERIOUSLY?!?!

Not me! 

It got me wondering – are most single moms really that desperate? I know it’s a lonely road – trust me I know. But I’ve also seen first hand how these “boys” who prey on single moms use their slick words and flirtatious ways, feeding off of this loneliness and using it to their advantage. To meet their lustful and selfish needs. To give them another notch in their belt. To make them feel like more of a man. So I ask you – if a guy, knowing a woman is a single mom, befriends, flirts with, pays compliments to and even gets a woman to believe he truly cares for her. Then he gets her to believe she wants to “put out” for him… and she does… why is she completely to blame for that?!?! I admit and believe that yes, she is at some fault for that. She does have a choice and she can say no. I also know how it can feel to receive compliments after years of negativity and emotional abuse. But I also know that some of these guys are very skilled with their words. They know just how to distribute their compliments, just how to get you to believe they really care. They prey on the weak and what’s worse… they know it!!!

I would like to offer up a challenge to single moms.

Let’s change the stereotypes about single moms.

Let’s stop being who society thinks we are. Let’s stop giving our hearts and bodies to men who don’t really want us – who just want to use us. (I just wanna be clear here – I’ve not given any of me to anyone and I don’t plan to any time soon!) Let’s set the example for our children for how a man should treat a woman and how a woman should treat a man. Don’t show your sons that it’s okay for him to use women! Don’t show your daughters that it’s okay to be used as a man’s play thing!

Make a commitment to yourself today. Now. This very moment.

Respect yourself. Value yourself. You are worth it! You are beautiful. You are setting an example for your children.

Please share with me ways we can support each other, hold each other accountable and change this stereotype!!

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“Future” – not “Dream”

A certain number of years ago when I was a newly licensed driver, I wanted a big truck! My first car ended up being a Mercedes Benz!! Yes! And… I paid for it myself! It was a 1975 Mercedes Benz 280 in an ugly yellow color with a smashed door! It ended up needing more work than it was worth and I swapped it out for a little coupe that was just a few years old. That lasted me a long time – I did consider trading it in a few times! Once for a convertible and a couple times for a BIG TRUCK!!

I never got my big truck. It just wasn’t in the cards. I tried and looked into it a couple of times, was about ready to sign papers once even! BUT – I did the smart thing and kept my little car. That truck would have doubled my monthly car payment, insurance and fuel costs! Kids came along and my own desires were set aside for various reasons. At one point I was even driving a 15 passenger van… fun. Fortunately, about 7 years ago I was able to get rid of the gas guzzling van and downsize to an older minivan which I’m still driving.

With our new interest in fishing, we are naturally now interested in boats! The kids and I spent some time looking at boats at a local sporting goods store and were talking about the pros & cons of the different ones. Well this naturally led us to talking about a different vehicle! My little van can’t pull a boat! We’ve been looking at trucks on the road and have narrowed it down to what we desire to have! Even down to the color! I know I’ve got some more research to do since we based 100% of our decision on which one came with the 4 door option and looked the “beefiest”… yes… beefy. We like that big, beefy truck! I don’t dare go to the dealership – I’m not in a place to purchase a truck right now, so I don’t need the temptation!

This past week, as we were on our way to choir rehearsal I spotted the exact truck we chose! I pointed it out and said

“Hey guys! Look! Our dream truck!”

“No. No, mama. Don’t call that our dream truck.”

“What do you mean, Zoe?! That’s it!”

“No, it’s not our dream truck, mama. That’s our future truck!”

SMACK. IN. THE. FACE.

I want faith like that! Faith like my 11 year old girly! That’s our future truck! I don’t wanna dream about good things, I wanna believe! I wanna work toward these goals and achieve these dreams – make them more than dreams, make them our future!

So I will keep driving my 19 year old van and admiring my future truck from afar! I know things can be a bit rough as a single mom, money is tight. I also know that I have a bright future! Some good things are gonna be happening and I trust that our truck is a part of our future!

Faith like a child! That’s what I want!

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Wave or Octopus?!?!

I saw another blogger share this photo the other day…

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And at first I just found it to be hilarious. Then I was thinking about it… this is so similar to something I’ve said recently. Some friends are seasonal friends (waves) and some are forever friends (octopus). This opened up some neat opportunity for conversations with my almost 12 year old daughter to talk about friendships. Some friends are only around for a season and that’s okay. We need to be thankful, pray for them and move on. The Lord may allow them to come back later, but for now… let go.

A bit later, I saw this posted.

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I wasn’t sure how I felt about being “Amazing Octopus” at first. Then I remembered the waves & octopus meme above. I’m perfectly okay with being an amazing octopus! Sticking to my friends faces!! It kinda goes along with my intentional post from the other day!!

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I’m trying to be more intentional.

I’ve noticed lately that my friends and I will say “We need to get together soon!” when texting, but… it never happens.

I decided while with some of my really good friends that I wanted to be intentional with making plans to see them. They live quite a ways away and between their schedule and mine, getting together isn’t always easy. So while we were together, we all looked at our schedules and set a date for when we will be getting together next!! The date we chose is almost 3 months from when we were together – but it’s on all our calendars!!

I was going to be near a friend who lives about an hour away, so I made a point of seeing her even just for an hour while she was on her lunch break! That short time was so beautiful and I am so thankful I got to see her!! I’ll be bugging her in a couple weeks to make time to get together again… and for a bit longer!

Another friend who lives a not too far drive away – she and I text almost daily, we check on each other, share funny stories, pray for one another and just love talking and being together. Despite the just 30 minute drive, we rarely see each other in person. I decided to be intentional and keep pursuing until we set a date to get together! And it’s on both of our calendars!!

Yet another friend who lives even closer to me… we keep saying we are gonna make plans, then don’t! I told her I was being intentional and we needed to make plans! It took us a few days to nail things down, but we now have plans! YAY!

Being intentional is NOT easy. I told my friends I felt like I was being annoying or bothering them! I also told them that being annoying wasn’t my intention, just that I value our friendship and desire to spend time with them! Spending time with them is so important to me that I’m going to keep saying “Hey…” until we plan our time!

I know I need time with my friends. God created me to need fellowship with others. He created my friends and we meet each other’s needs! I’m taking it slow, but I’m so thankful for this decision to be intentional!

Can I encourage you to be intentional?! Get in touch with that friend- the one with whom you always say “We need to get together soon!” and tell them you are working on being intentional, that you value their friendship and you want to set aside time for them! These times are SO rewarding and SO worth it! Even if they are only an hour, they are worth it!

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Should we panic? Should we worry?

During our vacation my kids and I had a day on our own to just adventure and be together. After our morning classes with our friends, we went fishing. We didn’t catch anything, but we had a lot of fun and enjoyed being together.

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On our way down from the lake, I decided I wanted to take the kids to the harbor. I couldn’t remember how to get there! I used to LIVE in that city! And I couldn’t remember haha! But we did find it, parked and were walking around. The kids were enjoying looking at the boats and walking around. We decided to take a bathroom break when I realized that my keys were not in my pocket. Or in my bag. Or in the pocket of my hoodie sweatshirt. Oh no.

As we realized this, my son looked at me and said

“Mama, should we panic?”

“No. Am I panicking?” I asked him.

“No. Should we worry?”

“No, bubs. Do I look worried?”

“No…”

“James, I know this doesn’t look good, but I also know that we will be fine, we will be taken care of and we sure aren’t gonna be stuck here all night. How often do you see me panic or worry?”

“You don’t panic or worry, mama. You say to just trust God.”

I think I’m doing my job as his mama!

We quickly went back to the van where…

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There were my keys. In the ignition. I have been driving nearly 20 years. I have only locked my keys in my car THREE times. This was the third time – and the first time there wasn’t someone within a 10 minute drive with a spare key. Fortunately, my car insurance includes roadside assistance! So… using my phone, I looked up the name to my insurance company is SO prepared for this type of thing! They were even able to look up my policy using my name then have me verify some information to make sure it was indeed me… which was good because my insurance card… yeah, in the glovebox.

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Got the roadside assistance all set up and THANKFULLY we were told it was only a 30 minute wait. So the kids played with their shadows on a wall near where we were parked! Can  I just say – I am SO thankful I parked by this grassy spot and not in the middle of the parking lot?!?! We had a really fun 20 minutes waiting – they got there fast! They popped the van open and we were set! We had decided we were done with the harbor, stopped at the store for a couple things and ventured back to our friends house.

Hours later, I realized that this was an opportunity for me to teach my kids to not panic, worry or let this ruin our vacation. Yeah, it took a half an hour or so away from our plans, but it wasn’t a big deal. We didn’t get hurt, we were not in danger. The Lord looked out for us the entire time and we were fine. We made the best of it and we had fun. I didn’t even have to think about it, it was just my natural response.

Keep close to The Lord because in times like this one we had, it can be easy to be a person you don’t want your kids to see and to set a bad example. I’m so thankful that I’ve kept my relationship with The Lord a priority. It set my mind in the right place so my natural response was a good one. I wasn’t worried about my actions or about the words that might come out of my mouth… though I did have to say “Geez, Zoe… PLEASE be quiet so I can hear the prompts on the phone!” My silly girl has been so gabby and excited haha!!

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Gluten Free Cheesecake with a buttery Almond Crust!

If you are here from Weekend Potluck, welcome!!!

I love Cheesecake.

Cheesecake!

 

I hear today is National Cheesecake Day.

Here you go.

You’re Welcome.

Gluten Free Cheesecake with a Buttery Almond Crust!
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Gluten Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
This Gluten Free cheesecake will TOTALLY hit the spot for that cheesecake craving you've been having! The buttery almond crust is TO DIE FOR!
Ingredients
  • CRUST
  • 1½ cups almond meal flour
  • ¼ cup raw almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • FILLING
  • 2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese (do yourself a favor - get the full fat stuff, none of that low fat garbage)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Tapioca flour/starch
  • 1 tsp. pure gluten free vanilla
  • 1 16 ounce container sour cream (again - full fat, low fat isn't worth it)
  • 3 large eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat your over to 375*
  2. Set your cream cheese and eggs at room temp for at least 30 minutes (I left my cream cheese out for almost 2 hours to make sure it was good and soft.)
  3. Prepare your 9" springform pan (I just made sure mine was put together and ready to go, nothing stuck to it.)
  4. Combine your crust ingredients and press into the springform pan. This is really messy, but worth it. Trust me.
  5. Combine all the filling ingredients in your stand mixer or using a hand mixer, mix until well combined.
  6. Pour the filling over the crust gently.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Mine bubbled up and was coming out over the pan, but settled during cooling.
  8. Cool completely on a cooling rack then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  9. We topped mine with fresh cut strawberries and OH MY - DIVINE!!! I was in cheesecake Heaven!!
  10. ENJOY!

 

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Come with me!!

A day at the beach with one of my dearest friends, her two precious kiddos and my own two kiddos. A beautiful day, perfect weather and a lesson from The Lord.

That’s part of what happened and inspired this post.

Some back story. I’m not a huge fan of the beach. I LOVE looking at it, but… it’s dirty. The sand gets everywhere and it’s dirty. The water feels sticky and dirty. The sunblock makes the sand stick to me and it’s dirty. Basically, it’s dirty. For some reason, beach dirty grosses me out more than other kinds of dirty – no idea why. And I almost always get burnt no matter what I do! But… I digress. Despite the fact that I’m a “California girl”, I haven’t swam in the ocean in YEARS. I just don’t like to. I haven’t even been in the water past my knees in years. My kids don’t like to go in too deep- which is fine with me. My daughter will if my sister is with her, which means I don’t have to. I stand on shore and take pictures.

Today my bathing suit actually got wet thanks to this precious little girl.

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She knows me as “Auntie Alicia”, my kids refer to her parents as aunt and uncle. That’s how close of friends I am with her parents. She has my heart just as much as my own nieces do, but because of distance she doesn’t know me as well as my Stinky and Squishy know me. Today she was excited to be with me and The Lord used her to speak to my heart.

“Come here! Come with me!” she said with a contagious smile and an outstretched hand.

So I did.

I walked out into the water. And I got wet. And it was worth it.

The Lord reminded me that He is calling me to come with Him, like a popular worship song says- to the great unknown. In oceans deep. I can rest in His embrace, He has amazing plans!! He used the lyrics to a song, His creation and a beautiful little girl to remind me to take that step into the unknown… He is there with His hand outstretched telling me “Come here! Come with Me!!”

Here I come! Don’t let go!!

And I know He won’t.

Even when the water is deep and I can’t see my feet beneath the surface.

Even when the wind is beating the waves and I’m scared.

He is there, holding me. I’m safe in His arms. I have a fantastic journey ahead of me. It’s starting now… I’ve seen it! It’s not all going to be fun or easy, but I know that my Faith will be made stronger through all of it and I will come out with a smile on my face and peace in my heart!!

Words stuck in my head. The outstretched hand of a beautiful little girl. An ocean. Those are the things The Lord used to remind me of His calling on my life. Those are the things The Lord used to remind me that I need to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep following Him even when I can’t see where He is taking me. Trust. I trust Him.

Hillsong UNITED Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

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