Super-Easy Bento-Style Lunches!

We tried something new! Dave and I are having fun creating Bento-style lunches! Here's a look at what I've been putting together for my dairy-free self:

Veggie straws, whole grain fruit bar, chicken salad (one rotisserie chicken cut up, one cucumber peeled and diced, cashews, sliced grapes, and vegan mayonnaise)
Crackers with peanut butter, veggie straws, peas, and dried pineapple slices
Baby carrots, trail mix, crackers, and salami
Cashews, chicken, lettuce, and dairy-free cheddar style cheese
Chicken patty, green beans, honeydew melon, and trail mix

Do you make Bento-style lunches? Share your favorites or ideas below!

Letting go of the shame of being overweight

This post is for my lady friends.

I was inspired by this TedTalk from Whitney Thore, who suffers from PCOS and has learned to embrace her size in a culture that shames women for being overweight.

As women, we face so much pressure, don't we? We have messages thrown at us all our lives that thin=pretty. And that if we're pretty, we'll be happy.

I have struggled with my weight over the years, and have gained a substantial amount of weight since starting four years ago on the medication that helps me manage my Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Even though losing weight isn't all that likely right now, I have managed to stabalize myself at about the same weight for a year now, which feels like a victory in itself!

If you look at the charts, I would fall under the category of "obese", not just "overweight". I would like to lose weight to take some pressure off of my joints and so forth, but my weight is not the end-all-be-all of who I am. I would like…

Shoeboxes for Boys Ages 2-4

We packed our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes early this year! We went shopping as a family today to pick up the final items. I'm looking forward to carrying this on as a tradition as our little boy grows. Our plan is to pack shoeboxes for boys "close" to our son's age, and at this point, that's the 2-4 year old category!

Here's what we picked and packed in each box for boys ages 2-4:

- beanie baby
- two toothbrushes
- bandaids
- toy car
- sticker book
- three plastic dinosaurs
- shirt (size XS 4/5)
- washcloth
- bandana
- 24 count pack of crayons
- sketch book

We're looking forward to getting these shoeboxes shipped out later this year, and we are praying that these simple gifts help show the love of Christ to the boys who receive them. Learn more about Operation Christmas child here.

Reverse Bucket List

I've made reverse bucket list: a compilation of some of the amazing things I've had the opportunity to experience! Making this list was a great exercise in gratitude, and maybe I'll keep adding to it as I remember more things down the road! What would you have on your list?1. Learned to make paper cranes.
2. Saw the Taj Mahal in person.
3. Observed a surgery in the Dominican Republic.
4. Got married.
5. Adopted a child.
6. Read all of Jane Austen's novels aloud with my sister.
7. Started a blog.
8. Played violin in the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony.
9. Acted in multiple plays.
10. Adopted a rescue animal.
11. Volunteered in the dementia ward at a nursing home.
12. Taught English and shared my faith in Poland when I was a teenager.
13. Trained for and kept up with everyone on a 4-day backpacking trip in Manistee Forest the summer before my senior year of high school.
14. Paid off my car and student loans.
15. Participated in writing a pilot sitcom episode with other coll…

My Little-Known Talents - Part 2!

I have some leftover "talents" that I acquired while in elementary school. Really it's just a bunch of memorization that stuck with me for decades! ;)
Do you have anything memorized from a long time ago that's still easy to recite to this day?

Reciting the alphabet backwards
Reciting the books of the Old Testament in one breath
Reciting the 50 states in alphabetical order

My Little-Known Talents - Part 1!

I have a small, random assortment of talents that just don't belong on a resume. And they're not things I generally show off to family and friends in person ... because let's face it ... that would be a little weird. Haha!

But I've decided to be brave and do a little blog series honoring these little-known talents that I possess. I'm starting off with a couple of odd things I can do with my fingers! Let me know if you can do either of these, or if you have any strange talents of your own you'd like to share.

Bending my thumb to my arm

Triple crossing my fingers

50 Things That Instantly Make My Day Better

Dairy-free chocolate (this is my fave)Weightlifting at the gymWorking out on an elliptical machineHearing my son laughSoft blanketsHearing people I love say "I love you"Reading a good novelSpending time with GodExploringGlow-in-the-dark stars and planetsShoweringBeing an encouragement to someoneSinging, especially in harmonyListening to Owl City musicWatching Ellie and JaredHugsWritingCatching up with an old friendMaking a new friendHaving a meaningful conversationThunderstormsBeing at the beachWalking, especially in the woodsVideo chatting with family/friendsJane Austen moviesEating a healthy breakfastSnuggles from our dogs, Molly and BellaWatching not-yet-trampled-on snow sparkling in the sunShoulder massage Date with my husbandSleeping in Going to bed on timeChecking things off my "to do" listThings with bright colors, polka dots, or sparkles (or all of the above!)Eating at my favorite restaurantLove's Ice Cream. The best.Dancing!Using Pilot G-2 PensAttendin…