Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

Motherhood & Hospitality

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

HTP_8817For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. Matthew 25:35

I am the mother of two little boys (Jude 6 years and Bear 8 months old) and so far, they are ALL BOY. Raising boys, I worry how my love for hospitality will influence their hearts. I spend hours in the kitchen preparing beautiful dishes of food, piled high to feed my friends and family. I love lighting candles, setting out cloth napkins and drinking from fancy, vintage glasses. To me, decorations and dessert are a necessity when entertaining guests. What guest doesn’t just love a good chocolate cake covered in sprinkles?  I worry how this desire in me to be the perfect host will translate in a home full of growing boys. Of course, I have come to the realization that my dream of playing tea probably won’t happen in my house unless light sabers or dirt pies are involved.

At the heart of hospitality is love, and the love of serving others is something that I can share with my boys. I can teach them to offer biblical hospitality through grace and courtesy, as we open our home and in the way we serve people.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of writing an article on what motherhood means to me. I would love for you to visit Life of a Minister Mom to read the rest of this article as well as to download a free Hospitality at Home Chart to use in your home.

Oh how we love Kid President!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Several years ago my heart was won by a sweet little Kid President, Robby Novak. Get ready to smile…

The Kid President is a little boy with BIG voice. Robby, with the help of his older brother in law, Brad, began to make videos because they wanted to encourage kids to make a difference in our world. “I believe kids can change the world. I also believe grown ups can change the world. It just takes all of us working together.” Watching his videos, I am always left giggling and feeling so good about the world. With so much negative on social media, it is so great to have a good example for my little buddy to look up too, even better that he is silly too.

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I have used several of the KP’s videos to teach Jude a few valuable lessons; like how to treat others with respect, to be thankful, that we have so many reasons to dance, oh and that corn dogs are awesome!
Being the huge FAN that I am, I ordered Jude (ok, me) the Kid President Box. Of. Awesome. from fanjoy, mostly because I had been eager to get my hands on the book, The Kid President’s Guide to being Awesome. The box also included a T-shirt, enamel pins, stickers, postcards and a few do-good items as well.

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“This is LIFE, people! You’ve got air coming through your nose! You’ve got a heartbeat! That means it’s time to do something!” I look forward to sharing with you a few projects I have in line for our family as we take on the challenge to MAKE OUR WORLD A BETTER PLACE.

One last thing…

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Aren’t these enamel pins just the best? Mom gets the pins.

On the Road: Panama City Beach, FL

Monday, June 13th, 2016

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I just wanted to share a few photos from our family vacation to Panama City Beach, Fl. Growing up in the mountains, I am still rather ackward jumping into flip flops and lounging by the ocean. The sand, the salt water, the JELLY FISH (eeek), I am still a little uncomfortable. I will admit few things beat lounging in the sun with a good book. I brought with me Brooklyn by  Colm Toibin and read it cover to cover. I rarely actually get into the ocean because I am a bit afraid of all the sea creatures, ha! When I finally braved the ocean waters with my little Jude man, a crab grabbed onto my pinkie toe and wouldn’t let go. I don’t think I have ever seen Jude laugh so hard. I am sure he will never stop telling that story… definitely worth the pinch.

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IMG_1678This was Bear’s first beach trip. He seemed to enjoy squishing the warm white sand in between his little toes. Sand was everywhere! I am thankful for a friend who shared with me the secret of using baby powder to help clean sand off of little faces and hands.

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My husband took our big buddy jet skiing. I was tickled because Jude continues to tell my how much fun he had with dad “ski diving.” The boys raced their jet ski out into the ocean and were able to find a whole school of dolphins playing around. Next, they stopped off at Shell Island to snorkel discovering tons of sea urchins, shells and lots of pretty coral. We used our new Ollo Clip macro lens to capture all the intricate patterns of our finds (sea urchin, hermit crab, sand dollar, coral).

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IMG_1547One afternoon we drove down to the little walking town of Seaside, FL. In Seaside we visited cute little boutique shops and ate lunch at a food truck strip. We couldn’t pass up trying a few toasty grilled cheese sandwiches from The Meltdown on 30A. We ordered sandwiches for the three of us; bacon, Brie on cranberry but bread for me, meatloaf for Jude and Spicy Turkey for Michael. The meatloaf sandwich was hands down our family favorite, melty mozarella, meatloaf, a thins slice of ham and marinara. We ended our lazy, strolling afternoon in Seaside with fresh juice from Raw and Juicy.

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We celebrated National Donut Day at the famous Thomas Donut and Snack Shack in Laguna Beach. We tried a dozen of their fun assorted flavors, the maple bacon was a hit but my favorite was the deliciously moist blueberry cake doughnut! We had a visitor for the weekend portion of our trip, our best buddy Amanda. Amanda is our nanny and Jude’s best friend in the whole wide world. She loved her swirly, extra cinnamon sugared treat.

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I am told it is a sin to visit PCB without trying out Pineapple Willy’s, there I ordered a giant icy cold virgin Pina Colada, perfect on a hot summer day.

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Each time we have made a trip to PCB my son leaves talking about “the upside down house,” Wonder Works Museum. As we drive along his face is usually squished against the window, screaming in excitement when he sees the building which looks as if it were lifted up into outer space and dropped (kerplunk) completely flipped upside down. Our last day in the city was overcast and rainy SO, Jude’s wish came true. Wonder Works is any kid’s dream; a tunnel that lets you feel 75 mile an hour winds, laying on a bed of nails, roller coaster simulators and more science labs than I could have imagined. Jude even got to step into an astronauts suit for a quick picture on the moon. Best buds and science… it doesn’t get any better.

Have you been to Panama City Beach? If so, what are your favorite places?

 

Wild Explorers Club

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

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Oh summertime, how I love spending time outdoors (yes, even in the heat) exploring nature and soaking in the sun. I recently discovered the Wild Explorers Club and I couldn’t be more excited about the program. Wild Explorers Club is a monthly membership designed to ignite a heart for exploration and wonder in our kids.  The club includes weekly adventure assignments, monthly print magazine mailed to our home and lovely badges which are earned upon completion of each animal level. Each animal level is thoughtful planned out and so far include activities that our whole family can enjoy.

Wolf- embrace the life of an explorer

Bobcat- be relentlessly curious

Bear- learn new things

Elk- care for others

Fox- know how things work

Bison- read great books

Beaver- see adventure in everything

Owl- discover your passion

Hawk- make awesome things

Eagle- travel to new places

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Jude has earned his wolf badge. As we embrace the life of an explorer, we are learning to make the most of little adventures, open our eyes and see things we would normally pass by and we are learning to become even more brave.

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With our adventure pack on our back and hiking stick in hand, we are ready to take on our Bobcat challenges. We will be sure to let you know how it goes!

May The Fourth Be With You

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

From my house full of crazy Star Wars loving boys, we want to wish you a very Happy Star wars Day!IMG_1022

At Home with My Boys

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

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Twenty little finger and twenty little toes.

2015 has proven to be a beautiful one for my family. Jude started kindergarten and we were blessed with a new baby Bear. This adventure of ours just gets better and better. Yes, our newborn baby’s legal name is Bear Westerburg. So many of you have asked all about it, so here’s the story…

After reading through tons of Berenstain Bears books, my oldest son protested against mom and dad because we could never be the family we were supposed to be without a baby bear. All good families are composed of a Papa Bear, Mama Bear, a Brother Bear and a Baby Bear, right? I never planned on having a second child, one sweet baby boy was all I needed to spoil and love. But my friends and family thought differently. This rambunctious group of ladies from church created hashtag #teambabybear… a campaign to convince me of my need for another bundle of joy. So when I got pregnant, it was only natural to begin addressing our baby as Bear.

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When I suggested we actually name our new little guy Bear, my husband called me a silly hippie… haha! But it was the only name that really seemed right.

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Each day I thank God that he saw fit to bless me not with what I wanted, rather what I needed. Our little Bear has enriched our lives and completed our sweet, sweet family.

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Our Jude has stepped into the role of Big Brother brilliantly. The way he looks into his baby brother’s eyes is enough to make my heart explode. He has already begun to plan all the adventures these little bears will have together!

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Photography by Holly Tye.

Every Superhero Needs a Sidekick

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

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This September, Jude will become a BIG BROTHER!

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Pumpkin Patches, Costumes and Fall Granola

Friday, October 31st, 2014

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Our visit to Elliot Farms in Macon, GA was dreamy this year. The weather was perfect, sunny with a gentle fall wind. Rows and rows of fresh Zinnias lined the pumpkin patch. I brought an armful of colorful flowers home. This year was unique at the farm, there were so many HUGE 100 lb.+  pumpkins in the field. Jude had to work hard to climb to the top of these giants. They were big and beautiful, so many shades of orange and green. The reason I love Elliot Farms pumpkins is because of their Cinderella Pumpkins. These magical pumpkins look like they jumped straight off the pages of a fairy tale. Cinderella pumpkins are not great for carving but make perfect decorations and are great for cooking. Our home feels like fall now!
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Our second pumpkin patch adventure was with Jude’s school and his sweet little classmates. We traveled to Alabama to visit Jack-O-Lantern Farms. This trip was a great opportunity for me to connect with many of the parents of Jude’s friends. We shared stories of our silly littles, had picnic lunches and even got to hold baby bunnies at the petting zoo. I love seeing Jude interact with his friends. He is has such a soft heart, one that wants to hold hands with the littlest kids to guide them towards the fun, a heart that offers to share his water bottle (despite my concerns), a little heart that always holds the door open for his mommy. I see how God is shaping him in a special way. Jude picked out our perfectly round, perfectly orange pumpkin head… he had to have just the right one and was so very proud to show his dad.
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Our church Fall Festival was so much fun this year! Complete with bouncy houses for the kids, funnel cakes and a petting zoo. Jude and my little brothers had a blast. My silly little Jude debated his Halloween costume for weeks, such important decisions for a 4 year old. He had two ideas in mind; one was this very ambiguous super villain named “Eagle Claw” (dun, dun, dun) from the show Aquabats or “Jack Frost” from the movie Rise of the Guardians. I’ll admit I was a bit concerned that my son was interested in becoming a villain. However, Jude informed me, “villains are good too mom.” In the end he chose the side of good… and so Jack he was.
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With all this pumpkin picking I was inspired to once again come up with a recipe starring PUMPKINS. I just can’t get enough of this crunchy pumpkin granola. Once prepared I had fun adding different mix-ins; white & dark chocolate chips, pecans, dried cranberries and dried apples. This granola was perfect with yogurt, though I ate most of it as a sweet, crunchy evening snack.
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Pumpkin Patch Granola
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbs. Pumpkin pie spice (you can find my recipe here)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
A pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients ensuring the oats are completely coated. Spread the oat mixture in a single layer onto a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, turning the oats about half way through. The granola should be dry and crunchy.

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Enjoy!

Top 10 fun things to do with your little ones this weekend

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

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If you are looking for something fun to do this weekend, here is a list of our favorite weekend activities.

My top 10 are great for kids as well as those who are kids at heart!

1. Slumber Party: Just about every weekend Jude asks, “Mom, can we have a party?” So we drag our mattress out into the living room and pick out a movie together. We have a family picnic dinner on the floor, often we order pizza or Chinese food. We like to see who can jump on the bed the highest or has the best flips off the couch. Michael loves making slo-mo movies of our ninja moves. Slumber party nights are my favorite. Make the night complete with indoor or outdoor smores.

2. Outdoor Nature Scavenger Hunt: before heading out for your hunt take a white paper and draw pictures of all the things you want to collect on your hunt; biggest rock, smallest leaf, a walking sticks, acorns, a squirrel… and so on. Grab a bottle of water and head out for a long walk, collecting and celebrating the discoveries of your little ones. Check out our Adventure Hunt (here).

3. Cook a meal together: wake up and make pancakes with funny faces or make your own pizzas for movie night. Have you tried our Goldfish Pie recipe?

4. Family Dance Party: crank up the music and boogie on down. pull out your pots, pans, and wooden spoons. Think outside the box… What can make music? Freeze dance is Jude’s favorite!

5. Get Dirty: we have had so much fun planting and caring for our family garden. A full vegetable garden or a small herb garden, your kiddos will love getting their hands in the dirt. If you don’t have a garden find a U-pick farm near you. We went apples picking in September and will be picking out our fall pumpkins this month!

6. Water Wars: Grab a few water guns and balloons from the dollar store and get wet. What can hold water? Buckets, pans, cups, turn on the sprinkler, anything… just get wet.

7. Movie Feature Night: pick a movie and build your activities and meal around it. We will be having a Lego themed movie night this month complete with a TACO TUESDAY themed dinner! I have so much fun find old classics from my childhood to introduce to Jude. He enjoys watching me make a fool of myself as I act out every scene and sing every line from Mary Poppins.

8. Ding Dong Ditch: as kids my friends and I would love the thrill of ding dong ditching our neighbors. With Jude, I like to get a little surprise ready to leave on the doorsteps of those we trick. Who can be mad at a little package of fresh made cookies, a basket of apples or flowers left on their doorstep? So much fun, like this day our Earth Day surprises!

9. Saturday morning farmers market: here in downtown Columbus, Georgia we have such a great farmer’s market. We like looking at all the dogs out for walks with their masters (big and small), try new foods and bring home fresh produce. Jude loves picking up fresh baked croissants which are bigger than his head! Fresh air and we meet plenty of our friends along the way.

10. Make Paper Airplanes!

Enjoy your weekend!!!

What fun things are you doing to make memories with your family & friends?

Back to School

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Have you heard of the “Kid President?”

Well… he is AWESOME!!!

Jude and I love watching this little guy. He makes us belly laugh. He makes us want to eat corndogs. He reminds us to love others. Kid President has some great advice for getting your school year started off right.

“Teachers keep teaching, students keep student-ing.”
#kidpresident

Enjoy!

Flying Paper Airplanes