Friday, April 29, 2016

April MNO & MOTT

Lots of fun this month at our Moms' Nite Out (MNO) and MOPS On The Town (MOTT)!  

MNO - Cooking class at Sonia's house

A HUGE thank you to Sonia for hosting the most delicious MNO in recent memory!  Sonia put on a 3-in-1 cooking class, demonstrating for us how to prepare 3 delectable dishes and how to use the same ingredients in multiple dishes, saving time and money!  She included lots of food prep/cooking techniques, instructions for do it yourself mixes, bargain shopping tips AND we got to EAT ALL THE FOOD.  Look for the recipes on the blog in our upcoming Tasty Tuesday installments!  And thanks again Sonia!!!

MOPS mamas gathered 'round.

Sonia shares her culinary genius
Abbey shares how to make Ramen

Jayla loves her some stir fry!
Chicken and shrimp stir fry

Shrimp and grits (with chicken and andouille sausage)
Shrimp (or fish) taco

 MOTT - Split Creek Goat Farm

It was a beautiful day for our kiddos to see the baby goats and farm animals!

Baby goats are hungry!

Mom Photo Bomb!

Consider yourselves warned!

This little gal looks delicious!
Not a future goat farmer
Our attempt at a group picture!

Making new friends

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April Meeting Recap: Notice Goodness

This month at MOPS we focused once again "Noticing Goodness"- a key element of flourishing fiercely!  We had a lot of fun together, listened to some inspiring words from one of our own moms and a MOPS International video, found some second hand treasures, and made the sweetest craft!  Read on for the full recap! 


This month we decided to shake it up with a couple of "Minute To Win It" style games.  Each table produced one brave volunteer and these fierce competitors put on quite a show!  Thanks to these mamas for being part of the fun!
Taylor Swift's not the only one who can Shake It Off! 

Moms prepare to Hang Loose!
Winner winner chicken dinner!




Sonia was not only the winner of the Hanging Loose game, but also shared a heartfelt devotion on Noticing Goodness and finding contentment in where you are NOW, in this present season.  Check back soon for a link to the full devotional.  Thanks so much for sharing with us Sonia!  


We enjoyed a video called Space: Eyes to See produced by MOPS International.  Hannah Flora Villio spoke to us about having a "Thankfulness Perspective", which is making the best of right now... making the best of what you have. 

She shared 3 tips to help create a home you love: 
  1. Rearrange what you already have...  Many times switching objects to different rooms can create an entirely new look and feeling.  You don't necessarily have to go out and buy more stuff!
  2. Paint can go a long way...  Whether you're painting walls or household items, paint is a cheap and easy way to breathe new life into a tired space.  
  3. Edit...  It's so easy to accumulate more than we need and live with the constant burden of clutter.  If you want to simplify and create a more relaxing environment, it might be time to get rid of some of your stuff.  Here are 3 questions to ask yourself while editing:
    • Is the item in good shape?
    • Do I love it?
    • Is it serving a function?
Hannah emphasized how important our homes are.  So much of life (good and bad) is lived in our homes... they are where we create memories and experiences with the people we love.  Make your home a place that you can be comfortable and REST in... a place that you LOVE.   


Each mom was given an opportunity to make a super cute "pea pod" necklace for this month's craft!  Moms could choose the beads (aka "peas") to represent each of their children or their whole families.  Each necklace was beautiful and unique.  Check back soon for a full tutorial on how to make these pretty pea pods!

Bath sheets are so exciting!


Special Event

In the spirit of Noticing Goodness (and in honor of Earth Day), we put on the first ever MOPS Flea Market!  The idea was simple:  Bring something that you no longer want but that others might like or find useful.  Take home something new to you... for free!  We think it was a success! 
 And believe it or not, next month is our last meeting of the 2015- 2016 year... time flies when you're having fun!!!  Be sure to join us for a year end celebration! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: Cowboy Caviar

Whether you call this concoction Black Bean Salsa or Cowboy Caviar, it's the BOMB!  Fresh and delicious, it's perfect for a warm weather get-together.  Trust me, you make a batch of this and your taste buds will be shouting YEE-HAW!!! 

click here for photo & recipe source


2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed

1 (17 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 large avocado, diced

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

3-4 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper


Combine all ingredients in large bowl.  Cover and chill 1 hour.  Serve with tortilla chips.
(If making far in advance, wait until one hour prior to serving to add avocado.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

March Meeting Recap: Notice Goodness

We had a great meeting last month!  Noticing Goodness is one tenet of this year's theme, A Fierce Flourishing, and in March we focused on noticing goodness in the unique personalities that God has given our family members!


Megan shared some great thoughts with us based on the Scripture passage of Luke 10:38-42 where we learn about Jesus' visit with Mary and Martha.  Too many of us moms tend to be like Martha... busy, hurried, serving and a little angry.  Megan gave us 3 practical steps to help alleviate the
"Martha syndrome"and you can click here to read her full devotional.  Thanks for sharing, Megan!


Our craft was simple and perfect for the Easter season.  We made these beautiful pallet board crosses, and as you can see there are endless style possibilities for these crosses.

Here's the how-to:

Start with a rectangle of wood prepared however you would like.  We used boards from old pallets that had been cut down, lightly sanded and then stained.  Painted wood would look cute too!

Take two strips of fabric or burlap, cut about 4 inches longer than the length of your board, and center the first strip lengthwise on top of your board.  Holding the fabric in place, turn the board over and wrap one end of the fabric over the top edge of the board.  Staple the end of the fabric strip securely to the back of the board, then wrap the other end of the fabric strip over the bottom edge of the board and staple that end securely as well.

Turn the board over so you're looking at the front.  Using a 5-6 inch piece of clear fishing line, gather and tie the fabric where you'll want the intersection of your cross to be (about 3/4 way to the top).  Cut off excess fishing line.

Position your second strip of fabric across the front of the board, crossing over top of the first strip where you want the intersection of the fabric to be (where you've gathered & tied the first fabric strip).  Again, holding fabric in place, turn board over and secure both ends of the fabric strip with staples.

Turn the board back over to the front and repeat the gathering/tying process with the second fabric strip, taking care to position the second tie over the top of the first tie.  Hot glue a decorative detail (button, fabric flower, etc.) over the intersection of the fabric strips to hide the ties.


Lisa Fields, the founder and director of Heath's Haven was back to speak to us and we just LOVE HER!  Heath's Haven exists to provide tools for healthy relationships and you can click here to find out more about the resources this organization provides.

Lisa started off by asking if any of us feel like we are living in a zoo?  (um... YEAH!)  That's because we are!  She explained that there are 4 different personality types (all made by God) that can be characterized by different animals (lion, otter, golden retriever & beaver).  Most homes have a combination of several different "animals" living in them so it makes perfect sense that your home might just feel like a zoo! 

The key to NOTICING GOODNESS in these different "animals" (your children) is to realize that each personality type is God-given.  Don't try to turn them into anything else (no matter the gender).  You may need to work on some hard edges and refine personality traits, but your goal as a parent is to help them to be the best, well-balanced type that they are created to be.  In other words, we are trying to appreciate the personalities our children have been given, and then help them become the best version of themselves that God intended. 

Lisa mentioned 3 elements needed to parent the family zoo:  Self-awareness, Observation, & Flexible Response.  She also explained that one of the greatest benefits of learning about personalities is the relief you feel when you can understand why another person acts and reacts as they do.  If you'd like to take the animal personality quiz click here to be directed to Gary Smalley's website.  He's got lots of great info on personality types as well as resources for strengthening marriages and families. 

We appreciate Lisa coming and always look forward to the the wisdom she shares with our group!  May we all notice the goodness in our children's personalities and have a little better appreciation for our family zoos!!! 

Friday, April 8, 2016

March Devotion

At our meeting last month, Megan shared the following devotion with our MOPS mamas.  She addressed the struggle that is so very common to moms of young children and we wanted to post her wise words here.

Luke 10:38-42
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? 
Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 
42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Have you ever felt like one of those circus performers that spins plates on sticks? One false move and everything comes crashing down around you. This is me.  There is so much required of us as mothers that the job can be daunting at times.  We serve our families, many of us serve our church, our community, our children’s schools, and in MOPS.

Over the past few weeks, I have been planning for MOPS, serving on youth staff, planning birthday parties, and various other jobs and responsibilities. Many days, I feel like I am in a constant state of motion shuttling kids, shopping, planning, and trying to be everywhere that I need to be. It is stressful and overwhelming.  I am Martha.  She was there with Jesus, she was serving others, she was doing good things, things that she felt needed to be done. But she was angry, stressed and overwhelmed.  She was distracted from the one thing that was most important at that moment:  the presence of Jesus.

We can’t disengage from being mothers and wives.  There will always be dinner to prepare, children to tend, bills to pay…but we must find balance.  I don’t want my children remembering me as the mom who did lots of stuff, but was always hurried and anxious.  God doesn’t desire this for us either. 

What do we do?

1. Choose joy - My husband recently called me out on this. He said that I spend so much time trying to be supermom and make everything perfect, that I miss out on the joy in the process. I really hate it when he’s right.  I am a perfectionist.  I put ridiculously high standards on myself and cause a lot of anxiety in the process.  Stress and anxiety will rob you of your joy.  As mothers, we can become so focused on the job, that we miss out on the moments. Life is going to happen.  I don’t want to waste that time angry or stressed. I want to choose joy.  Psalm 118:24 says...This is the day that the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it. It doesn’t say the day will make us happy, but that we must make the decision to rejoice in it.

2. Get in his presence - Martha was there with Jesus, but she wasn’t in his presence.  Jesus said, only one thing is needed.  We need his presence.  We need His word.  This is a really hard priority to make when you are a mother of small children.  You don’t have to read the whole Bible in a year. Just carve out a few moments a day to meditate on Him. It will breathe life into your soul and give you strength to face the day.

3. Rest - Part of our theme this year is to embrace rest. I am a musician, so I often think in musical terms. The literal definition of a rest is a beat of silence, a pause.  Sometimes we have to cut out all of the noise and the unnecessary distractions. Put the phone down, turn off Netflix, and rest. (Still speaking to myself here, by the way) I feel like God is telling me to STOP! Be still! Sometimes this means saying no to things that are causing me added stress and worry. Getting rid of distractions allows us to focus on the things that matter most…our relationship with God, our spouses, and our children. Jesus said, only one thing is needed.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Fun for moms & kiddos - March MNO & MOTT

Last month we had a couple of really fun outings in addition to our morning MOPS meeting!  Each month we have a Mops On The Town (MOTT) and a Moms Night Out (MNO).  You can find information on these on our calendar page and this extra time together is a great way to build relationships with the fun mamas you meet at our MOPS meetings!

MNO - Bowling

MOTT - Happy Cow Creamery