Advent: Days 12-16 2017

I know I’ve been off my game this year. It’s ok. I’m letting it slide. I want to let you all in on a little secret. I don’t have it all together. I know it can seem that way so many times. We see each other once a week or so, or only through social media, and everything seems perfectly in place. I’m not saying my life always looks like that (in fact, I feel like it seldom does), but that’s often (almost always) how I view other people. It’s this lie that the enemy likes to whisper in our ears, “everybody has it together except for you….you are not enough…you’ll never own up, so just. stop. trying.” It’s super embarrassing to post this for all the world to see, but I had a little meltdown Sunday night. We had a fun, busy weekend, and we came home to a disastrous house. After we got the girls in bed, Blake went down to the basement to finish up some work that he had and I spent the next hour or so cleaning our pit of a house. The whole time I kept asking myself, “How on earth did it get this way?…I try so hard all day long, and this is still what I end up with?…Why can all the other moms out there get this, but I just can’t?…I will never be enough. I can’t do it. This is too hard.” And on and on and on. I cried myself to sleep that night. That almost never happens.

I tell you this, not because I want your sympathy or your pity. I tell you this because I know every other woman out there has felt this way at some point or another. It seems as though we are always in some sort of unspoken competition with each other. I see it in my daughters already and I try to fight those kinds of thoughts out of their sweet little heads. The enemy we face is real, he starts to prey on us while we are young, and he never stops.

Truth be told, I have a lot of good reasons for not being on top of things. We’re homeschooling, which is awesome, but we’re only in 1st grade and I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m 30 weeks pregnant. The aches and pains and limitations are real. And with our history, I’m taking every precaution possible. I refuse to push myself too hard this time. Blake just started his own company a few moths ago with 3 other partners. Everything is new, and exciting, and hard. He works 50-80 hour weeks every. single. week. It’s just a season, it won’t always be like this. But it is the season we are in now. And it’s hard. Raegan had her tonsils out a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. And while she was recovering, she came down with this awful virus that made her recovery 10x worse-and longer-and harder. We had sick kids for basically a whole month. Life. Just. Happens. Things fall through the cracks. Sometimes we can’t keep up. And that’s ok. But it is oh so hard to remember that in the moment.

I was “off” for a couple of days after that. I just felt so defeated. Then Eleanor fell off of our rocking ottoman just before bedtime on Tuesday and I rushed her to the ER so she could get stitches. The waiting room was jam packed and we were there until just after 1am. She got 3 stitches in her tiny little eyebrow that night. When I got home, the other 2 kids had woken up and didn’t go back to sleep until 4am. It was the second night in a row they had done that. Needless to say, this week has been more than exhausting. Then on Thursday morning, Blake paid for me to go get a (very much needed) prenatal massage. We went out to eat that night for my Mother-in-law’s birthday. It was so nice. Just what I needed to turn my week around. I’ve been ok since then. I still have to fight to press down those lies that I get fed all day long. But it’s a battle that I feel like I’m winning right now. The counters in my kitchen aren’t clear from the clutter that’s on them. Our laundry room needs picked up. Our floors could be mopped (even though I’ve done that just about every day this week). But our room is clean, the girls picked up their room, I’ve kept the playroom clean for 10 whole weeks now, and our dishes are washed. I’m counting my wins. Trying to focus on what I’ve accomplished instead of what I’ve not. And tonight, I am going to post what we’ve done for the past few days-it may be late, but I’m doing it, and that’s a win.

SO, all that to say, on Tuesday, we made a gingerbread house. I learned something that day: gingerbread house making is not my strong suit. Next year, I’ll probably buy an already constructed one for us to simply decorate. 😅 You guys, the struggle was real. My mom was actually able to come over for a bit to help us out with the project-so that was really fun!

 

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And 30 minutes later, this is how it ended up:

Wednesday, we went through the drive-thru at Starbucks so momma could get a Chestnut Praline Latte (my absolute fave), and so the girls could each get on of those snowmen cookies they are always begging me to get for them. We had some errands to run, so this was the only picture I got.

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Thursday, I gave the girls some really fun, incredible Christmas activity books from Usborne. Those books kept them occupied for the longest time.

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Friday, we decorated those plastic ball ornaments with the girls. We pulled the glitter out again. It was a HUGE hit. I should have taken some “after” photos, but Blake and I had to rush out before they were done for a Christmas party. My parents helped them finish up, but I never snapped any more photos. IMG_0780IMG_0783IMG_0781IMG_0782IMG_0779

And this morning, Saturday, we had our second annual Ron Swanson themed Christmas party with another family. We were having so much fun, I forgot to take pictures. But we had bacon, and eggs, and ham, and we exchanged gifts. The kids played and we parents got to talk. It was such a good, refreshing morning.

Well that’s it! Thanks for sticking with me! Even though it’s been crazy, I am truly enjoying this holiday season, and I hope you are too.

 

Advent-Day 1 2017

I’m baaaaaaaccccck! It has been a long, crazy season here at the Behr’s. I always have this little blog in the back of my mind though, even when I don’t have time to dedicate to it. This post is two-fold: 1. A list of ideas for advent, and 2. what we did today for advent. I was really hoping to get on last night to post the list of ideas, but I was making a dress for Raegan, and said dress and I got into a fight. So the dress ended up taking ages longer than it should have. 🙄 Anyway, moving on…

In case you’re new to the blog, every year for the month of December, our family participates in a fun advent calendar. We have a cute little wooden house with numbers on it, and every night I slip a little piece of paper in it for the girls to open and read the next day.  It’s something I did growing up and I love passing the tradition on for my girls to enjoy. I always come up with a list of things we can do, and then I decide a day or so in advance what we will do. I’m not enough of a planner to plan everything out for the whole month, so it’s much easier for me personally to do it this way. If you are an excellent planner and would feel better having every day/activity in place before the month starts, then go for it! I always like to put more than 25 things on my list, too. That way, I can pick and choose as the days go on. 😊 So here’s this years list:

  1. I bought matching pjs for everyone in the family-that one is for tomorrow!
  2. A popcorn tin
  3. Decorate ornaments
  4. Make a gingerbread house
  5. Drive around and look at Christmas lights
  6. Get Chick-fil-a for lunch
  7. Make spicy cider
  8. Make Grandma’s nut roll
  9. Make a Swedish tea ring
  10. Make a garland
  11. Get Long’s donuts
  12. Go on a date with Daddy
  13. Have a tea party
  14. Make Chex mix or puppy chow
  15. Go to the Children’s Museum
  16. Go to the Zoo
  17. Read the Christmas story from Luke
  18. Noodle wreath craft
  19. Have a hot chocolate party
  20. Make Swedish pancakes for breakfast
  21. Do a Christmas craft
  22. Go downtown to see the big tree
  23. Do something nice for somebody else in the family
  24. Make Christmas cards to mail to our friends
  25. Go to the store to buy a gift for our siblings
  26. Surprise some friends with lunch
  27. Christmas mugs
  28. Christmas coloring party
  29. Visit an indoor playground
  30. Make and decorate Christmas cookies
  31. Christmas animal crackers

I always like to do a combination of gifts/experiences, plus a mix of traditions/new things. So our list looks a little different every year. My mom always like to pitch in too-which is awesome. She usually contributes the popcorn tin, gingerbread house, etc. So there you have it! This year’s advent list.

 

Now onto what we did today! This morning we woke up and made Swedish Pancakes! This is one of my absolute FAVORITE breakfasts ever. The very first time I had them, I was just a little girl in an American Girl Club summer camp. We made them, along with another host of American Girl Doll recipes. This particular one was from Kirsten. They have been a favorite in our family since. My sisters and I requested them for every special occasion. And I’m pretty sure we did them for our advent calendar every year as well. I have no idea why I hadn’t thought of doing them with my girls sooner! They were a HUGE hit! Plus, the older two are old enough to spread the jelly on their pancakes, roll them up, and sprinkle the powdered sugar on themselves-which made a tremendous difference. Lane actually mixed everything up, and I cooked them. They had so much fun and raved about the new treat. I was far too hungry to think about taking pictures of every step to share with you all, but I do have the recipe. So I’ll share that below. I hope at least some of you try these and enjoy them as much as we do!

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SWEDISH PANCAKES

-6 Tbsp. butter

-3 eggs

-1 1/2 cups milk (divided)

-1 cup flour

-1/4 tsp salt

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1 Tbsp oil

-Jam

-Powdered sugar

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet. Turn off the heat.
  2. Crack eggs in a medium mixing bowl and whisk.
  3. Add 3/4 cup of the milk to the eggs and whisk together for 2 minutes
  4. Add flour to the egg mixture all at once, and beat until it is smooth.
  5. Beat in the remaining 3/4 cup of milk. Then add the melted butter, salt, and cinnamon.
  6. Heat oil in the skillet.
  7. Drop about a tablespoon of the thin batter into the skillet for each pancake.
  8. After about a minute, the edges of the pancake will be lightly brown; flip and cook for another minute, then remove from the skillet.
  9. Scoop a spoonful of jam onto each pancake, roll it up, sprinkle on some powdered sugar, and ENJOY!