Tuesday, March 29, 2011

WLW: My One Word

In late 2010, I was hearing a lot about "my one word". I decided to join in. I pondered what my one word focus should be for the year for quite some time. What kept coming back to me was "self". Of course I did the, "No God, you surely don't want me to focus on me; that's selfish. I need to take care of others". Apparently I was doing enough to take care of others without a resolution, because "self" is my word this year!

So, I got on the computer and typed SELF in huge letters. Underneath, I wrote my Bible verse focus to support my word: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (Mark 1:35). Underneath that, I wrote some things that I thought embodied how I needed to be taking care of myself daily (ex prayer/ devotion, exercise, 8 cups of water, etc.). I printed it out and posted it on my fridge.

Of course, there are also behavior charts, preschool calendars and grocery lists on my fridge. Before I knew it, my SELF page was getting covered up by everything else.

THAT is the epitome my struggle. SELF is being covered up by everything else. I tell myself I'm a bad wife, mom, granddaughter, etc when I put SELF on top of the to do list. Am I the only one who struggles with this?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dishwashers and bike rides (Spring Break, part 1)

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(This was our happy girl at the beginning of our walk. Her face looked much different on the way back!)

Spring Break began with a large shopping trip... to Lowes. My days of fighting a poor quality, dying dishwasher were over! When we got home at about 8pm Friday night, Jason went right to work with instillation (gotta love that guy!).

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(Eli along the People Trail. I was amazed at how well he did on his bike for the first time this season.)

I woke up Saturday morning to find my kitchen in shambles-- old dishwasher in front of the fridge, drawers pulled out, cardboard and styrofoam everywhere. Ugh! I knew that keeping Eli and Ruby happy and preventing David from eating things he shouldn't would be a challenge (that's putting it nicely!).

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Luckily, we had beautiful weather that day, so I threw the kiddos, the bikes, and the stroller in the minivan and headed off to a wonderful people trail about 5 mins from our house.

It was a wonderful ride. David was absolutely silent; he was so in awe of everything around him. That was a real blessing when Ruby had a meltdown of epic proportions!

By the time we got back home, the dishwasher situation was nearly resolved. All in all, a great start to Spring Break!

BTW, just in case you are wondering, the dishwasher is a Bosch and it has been lifechanging. I know how dramatic that sounds, but I am so serious. Day old pancake batter, no problem. Burnt on cheese, easy breezy. I never pre-wash anymore and it is bearly audible (very important for the sensory defensive little guy!).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Weight Loss Wednesdays: My Story

I happened upon the most amazing blog this week. You know, the kind of blog where you read and think, "This person totally gets me!" even though you've never met. The blog where the tears stream down your face because you realize that you are not the only person with "that" going on in her life. Confessions of a Snowflake is that blog for me.

I read about her Weight Loss Wednesdays and decided to join in. The theory behind weight loss Wednesdays is that a cord of three strands is not easily broken. This made me realize that although I've got me (strand one) and God (strand two), if I don't talk to others about it, I'm still a strand short. So here's my story...

I have an auto-immune disease which causes chronic pain. In order to get pregnant (and nurse) David, the pain meds had to take a hike. This has been managable only by severly changing my diet.

That being said, I had a super healthy pregnancy. Between the first trimester weight loss, the inability to eat Mc You-know-who nuggets, and nearly daily exercise, I had a net gain of 17 pounds-- 9 of which was baby! By the time my 6 week check up rolled around I was 3 pounds less than when I got pregnant. I know, you want to smack me right about now, but keep reading...

PPD hit me even before David was born, but, by the time he was 2 months old, it was obvious I needed meds. I was on them for 6 months. In those months, I struggled to find the drive to exercise, I emotionally ate, and I was on a med known to cause weight gain.

And that is where I find myself... 25 pounds later! Every morning I wake up and say to myself, "I am not defined by whether or not this ____ (shirt, pair of jeans, etc) fits.". I am working on believing that.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Skewered Gingered Beef

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There is something about spring that just makes you want to dust off the grill and cook some meat! So, in honor of Indiana's spring weather...
Skewered Gingered Beef (IC Friendly)
1 cup sugar
1 cup Braggs liquid aminos (soy sauce if you don't need IC friendly)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 bunch leeks, sliced
3 garlic cloves, dried minced
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
3/4 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons pepper
2 pounds beef sirloin steak, cut into 1/4 in strips *
In a Ziplock, combine everything except the steak. Shake to mix, then add steak. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and discard marinade. Thread steak onto metal or soaked wooden skewers.* Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 15 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness, turning occasionally.
* I got lazy this time and just made these as steaks instead of skewering them. I think they are a little easier to cook correctly that way, although the kids think the skewers are more fun. You're call.

Monday, March 14, 2011

i heart faces: sun flare

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When I heard what this week's challenge was at I Heart Faces, I knew exactly what face to use! It's been a long, hard winter in Indiana, but a couple of weeks ago, we had a rare glimpse of spring. Ruby, David, and I took full advantage of being able to play outside! I caught this beautiful smile while David was "trying out" one of the riding toys in the backyard. At first, I was really unhappy with the sun flare, but with a little playing around, I think it is absolutely precious!

Head on over to I Heart Faces and see all the other wonderful photos, and, don't forget your sunglasses!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Heart Face: Best Face of February

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This photo was taken taken on Ruby's pirate day at preschool. She was SO very excited about dressing up and having a treasure hunt! And I was so very happy to create this photo to help her remember her special day. Head on over to iheartfaces to see all the other "Bests" of February.

Tasty Tuesday: Cocoa Butter Sticks

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This Tasty Tuesday is for my Aunt Sharon, who I promised to share this recipe with many moons ago...:)

Grandma Alice's Cocoa Butter Sticks

Sift together:

1 1/2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (*carob powder for IC friendly)


3/4 cup butter, gradually add

3/4 cup sugar, creaming well


1 egg slightly; reserve 1 Tablespoon: add remainder to butter-sugar mixture

Blend in:

The dry ingredients gradually. Chill 2 hours for easy handling.


On lightly floured surface. Divide dough into four parts; shape each into a long roll, 3/4 inch in diameter. Place 4 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Flatten to 1/4 inch thickness with fork which is dipped in flour occasionally to prevent sticking. Smooth dough at edges to form straight sides.


1 Tablespoon cold water with the reserved egg. Brush lightly over dough.


3 Tablespoons blanched almonds, chopped fine, and 2 Tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle over dough.


In moderately hot oven (400 degrees) 10 to 12 minutes-- begin checking after 5-- until set but not browned. Cool 1 minute; cut into 1 inch bars and remove from baking sheet.

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Personally, I think this recipe make it sound much harder than it is; I was amazed at how simple these were to make on my own. Regardless, these are yummy delicious and practically a religion in the Kotnik family!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Craft Corner: Book Page Canvas

Book Page Canvas

I am not artistic. Not. One. Little. Bit. I can not paint, scult, and don't even get me started on how badly I draw-- even stick figures. But crafting, that I can do. I originally saw this on our favorite photographer, Jen Sherrick's blog. She had a few photos of her creations and a link to Jones Design. I love all of the creations these two ladies did, but I needed something a bit more, me.

I decided to start with a creation for Eli and David's room, aka the decorating nightmare! I went to the store and purchased a double pack of canvases ($7.99 at Hobby Lobby), Mod Podge (6.99 at Hobby Lobby), and a book-- Where the Wild Things Are ($7ish at Target). The paint brush I already had.

So for Where the Wild Things Are, I cut all of the pictures, layed them out perfectly, and then tried to lift each one up carefully and Mod Podge underneath. Personally, this technique did not work well for me (more on that later). After they were all Mod Podged underneath, I put another layer over the top. (You have to make sure that you wrap the pictures around the edges of the canvas as well.) Trim any extra paper at the edges and let it dry.

I added some "hanging devices" (more on that later as well), and POOF, awesome wall art for about $20 with materials left to make a 2nd!

The second time I got a little lazier, um, I mean smarter. I used my Grandma Alice's old recipe cards to make a canvas for our dining area. This time I put a layer of Mod Podge down, put one recipe card down, and Mod Podged over the top of just that card. For me, this technique worked MUCH better. If you are a mommy who is likely to be interupted by a child at any moment, I would definately recommend this technique!

Just like with Where the Wild Things Are, I attached photo hooks and wire (which we already had), and POOF again. My grandma's famous recipes, in her own handwriting, loving displayed.

I hung it over our antique china cabinet, behind my grandma's old Kitchen Aid. The recipe card project used materials I already had along with some left-over supplies from the Where the Wild Things Are canvas.

This is art even I can handle!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

iheartfaces: Anything But a Face

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This week's challenge was SO hard for me; I have TONS of photos I love that don't involve a face! In the end, I decided to go with this one. This is a photo of my nephew, Jordan, digging into his first birthday cake. I love the chubby little legs, the fat baby hands, and the icky icing! Head on over to I Heart Faces to see more awesome photos, but don't expect to see a face:)