above all...VOTE.

Elections and politics make my head hurt.  The truth is that you don't know the truth about any candidate.  They are excellent at pretty words and promises.  Personally, there is no earthly man's name that I want to put on a sign and plant in my yard, or cover my bumper with, or give money to or trust with my (or my kids) future, regardless of what party they claim.

Did you know that over 6 billion dollars will be spent on this election before it's all over and done with?  SIX BILLION DOLLARS.  Imagine all the good that money could do if we relied on facts, history and based our choices off of that and not commercials, spin and propaganda.  Imagine the food it could buy, the kids it could clothe and the homes it could build if our world wasn't so screwy.   
The election seems less about who will be best for the job and more about who can put on the biggest show and fool the most people. 

The party lines are blurry, people flip-flop overnight, they say one thing and mean another, they make promises they can't keep...so what's a voter to do? 

Pray.  And pray some more.  And pray again.  Do your own research and pray again.  Read and seek out truth and pray.  Know that we live in times where the truth is that the world will only get worse until it gets 100% better. 

I do believe that God cares about this election, just as he cares for all of the events in our world.  I believe that exactly who he wants to be elected, will be.  I believe that he calls us to take our right to vote seriously.  It's not a frivolous treat, it's a hard earned right to have a say in who God wants to govern our land.  

I realize that writing this will open up the doors to criticism but one day my kids will read this and I want them to know that I voted with open eyes, an educated mind and a heart open to doing what God wanted me to do.    

So how will I vote?  Who will I vote for?

I will vote for the most pro-life candidate, because God hates the shedding of innocent blood (Prov.6:17).  I believe that a woman's right to control her body ends where another body begins.  Human life should never be disposable.   

I will vote for the most pro-debt reduction candidate, because the borrower is servant to the lender (Prov.22:7).  If our country can't lead by example what hope do we have for a future?

I will vote for the most pro-
work candidate because God says if a man not work, let him not eat. (2Thess.3:10).  Teach a man to fish...there is much pride and good to come from a hard days work.  Our country is becoming too entitled and demanding in things they haven't earned. 

I will vote for the candidate who most closely believes a government's purpose is to reward the good & punish the evil (Romans 13).  We should be taking care of each other and not demanding the government to do it for us.  

I will vote based as close as I can on God's Word (2Tim.3:16) because in the end I will be answering to Him and no one else. 
I will vote knowing that whoever gets elected, God is the one who puts all men in authority (Dan.2:21).  There is peace to be found in that no matter what party you place yourself behind.  
Above all, I will vote.  I will make the sacrifices of those who made it possible for me to do so worth it. 

Above all, vote. 

And remember, they won't know we are Christians by how we vote but rather how we LOVE, so be kind on election day too! 

cake fun...

I've been enjoying some creative time via cake making lately.  It started some time this summer and it's been growing since then.  It's been fun to plan a cake around someones likes...
This one was for my nephew Jack who turns one this week.  He loves a bath. 
I've learned that a series of simple tricks often makes for a good result.  Anyone can make a beautiful cake...just break it down to simple steps.    
This one was for my brother in law Eric, who like us, loves his Norwegian heritage.  This one was chocolate, raspberry filled with coffee frosting, covered in marzipan.  I wasn't thrilled with my marzipan cake coverage so I made a quilted pattern to cover my mistakes.     
The little viking was my favorite...his tiny little flag was too cute!   
The best part is that I've managed to make a cake that's cute AND tastes good too!   
And this one was for my niece, Casey who turns 4 soon.  
I'm told that this is a good representation of a "Bubble Guppies" cake.  I wouldn't know, I've never seen the show but she loved it and that's all I cared about. :) 
It's been fun learning something new...next up is an ugly sweater cake for my sister in law...

babies and travel - a huggies post

I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

It's inevitable, unless you're a hermit or everyone you know lives next door to you, that you will have to do some long distance traveling with your new little bundle! While the thought of it can be daunting just remember to breath and start planning as soon as you can! It's never too early to start a list of things you don't want to forget!

When it came to traveling with my little bitty babies, I found that it was better for everyone if we over planned, over packed and yet were prepared to go with the flow.

If you are traveling to someone's home for the first time I would suggest that you bring your own pack and play or bassinet for baby to sleep in. Sometimes just the sight and sound of something familiar to baby helps to continue on your usual routine away from home. And really, you never know what you will find when you get to someones home. For me it was always better just to throw the pack and play in the car with everything else. You know it's clean, safe and up to date!

Pack more diapers, clothes, wipes and food than you think you will need. This will keep you from running to the store for that one thing that you ran out of or from panicking when you run out of clothes. Keep your diaper bag stocked with bum cream, any medication you or your little one may need, a first aid kit, nursing pads, etc. I'd rather carry a little bit of everything than forget something.

Always bring a jacket and long pants. Always. It never fails that the one time I forget or choose not to do it, is when we need them!

And take it from my personal experience, even if a hotel promises you a crib for your room, don't count on it being there. Take the pack and play EVEN if you reserve a hotel crib or in lieu of one anyway.

If you're driving, prepare for extra stops to change and feed. Being able to take your time is a lot easier than having to rush at break neck speeds! Having plenty of time adds to good moods, happy babies and good attitudes!

If you're flying, try to plan fly time during nap time and feed baby as you take off - this can be done with baby in a carrier!
The important thing above all is to relax! Make the travel part of the trip and it becomes a lot more fun. Be prepared for disasters and good times alike!

How about you? What's your best baby travel advice?
Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.

Halloween and the Johnsens 2012

If you've been here for a while (five years old this blog is!!), you've read our ever evolving stance on Halloween and how it fits in with our love for Jesus.  This past year has probably been my biggest growth ring (so far) when it comes to being a parent.  I've learned more this last year than all my years combined.  Which is great considering that parenting just keeps getting harder.

Yep.  You mothers of babies.  I'll tell you something no one ever told me.  Babies are easy.  Easy.  Easy.  Looking back, the baby years were a breeze.  Basic needs met and simple comforts could solve all problems.  Each year my boys get older, the more complex their problems are...the less likely a kiss from mom can cure the world.

Thankfully, I've been blessed with the will to always learn and this last year I read "Grace Based Parenting".  It changed my views on my entire parenting life.  I approached Halloween with a much more simple lens:  Is this a heart issue?

No? No.  Proceed.

That's it.  I know that in our house Halloween comes down to dressing up for fun and getting candy because of it.  That's it.

No demonic worship, no gore, no guts.  Just pure and simple fun.

Many Christians today choose to make it a heart issue.  If it is for them then by all means, proceed according to your hearts convictions but don't shake your finger at me while you do it.

Consider this in Romans 14:5-9 Say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.
What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.

That about sums it up doesn't it.  Approach it with God and see what he says to you about it.  And then keep it between you and your family.  

And do some research...the History Channel has a great summary on Halloween and there's a lot of good that can be pulled from it's history. 

For example...Moses has been fascinated with mummies this Fall.  Instead of fleeing from them because of their "yuck" factor we turned it into a history lesson.  Moses and I talked about why mummies exist and what they were all about.  As we made all of our pumpkins into mummies we talked about how when Jesus died he would have been wrapped in a similar way, about becoming a new creation and what happens when you die.  Sounds deep for a pumpkin craft but Moses loved it and now he can tell you a short history on mummies instead of that they're "gross".

So we choose to be open to lessons as they approach, to look at the issue behind what we are approaching and to keep our decisions between us and God.  
And this gnome and hulk had a great time, a sugar high and immediately after were excited to look forward to Thanksgiving. :) 
And I had to include my adorable nephew.  Maybe the cutest tiger ever.  

"One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up. That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons--marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who use them, he has taken the wrong turning."- C.S. Lewis

planning babies - a huggies post

I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

When we got pregnant with Aaron it was on purpose. Moses was at a good age, independent enough to do a lot on his own, but still young enough that we felt he would be most adaptable to having a brother around. Part of our reasoning in the age spacing of our kids was that we wanted the boys to grow up as friends, not too far apart in age that they couldn't relate but close enough that there would be a great span of time where they could share, play and get along.

For the most part, it's all going to plan. The boys are usually great friends and have hours where they get lost in each others imaginary worlds. We feel like this connection is a partial result of how we prepared Moses for Aaron's arrival.

Our first preparation, as I've mentioned, was timing. We felt like Moses, almost two when I got pregnant, would be ready for a little brother nine months later. We felt like he was mature enough to talk about what would be happening, what to expect, etc. We also wanted him young enough to feel like his brother has always been part of his life.

Next, we talked about Aaron all through my pregnancy. We called him by name and as I began to show talked to Moses about the baby that was growing inside my tummy. By the end of my pregnancy with Aaron, Moses talked about him on a regular basis.

We took Moses shopping to buy things for the baby, we read books by his favorite characters (ie. the Berenstain bears) about a baby coming into the family, we talked and talked about as much as we thought his little self could handle.

We also made sure that before, during and after Moses got plenty of attention from both Doug and I. We took him on dates with just mom or just dad, we did not run immediately to a crying baby but did our best to let Moses feel like he was still important to us, which he of course was and is.

I think the biggest difference maker was communication. We informed him as much as we could, included him where appropriate and still to this day we don't make them compete for our attention and love. We try to meet both boys where there are and for who they are. It seems to have gone a long way for them forming a life long friendship.

How about you? How did you prepare older siblings for a new baby?
Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app and find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.

20 minute crafter - chapstick cozy - {five minute edition}

Need to make a bunch of gifts for not much and in a hurry?  This craft costs pennies to make, uses scraps of fabric and takes less than five minutes to make.  Package them cutely and they would make great teacher, neighbor, secret santa gifts and more. :) Wanna make some? 
You need two pieces of heavy weight fabric measuring 2in by 9in each.  If you want to use quilting cotton just strengthen them by adding a layer of heavy weight iron on interfacing OK?  You will also need a d-ring in 2in size (search etsy for "d-ring").  
With the right sides together sew along three sides of your pieces using 1/4in seam.  Clip the corners. 
Turn right side out, push out corners using scissors or chop stick, press with iron, tucking in the un-sewn end by about 1/4in but not sewing closed yet.  
Fold up closed end about 2 1/2in.  Press with an iron. 
Sewing as close to the edge as you can (I think I used about 1/8in) sew along the three sides as shown. 
Fold the open end down an inch.  Press with an iron.  
Slide d-ring into place and using your machine sew along the open edge.  
Add your favorite brand of chapstick and you've got a great little gift in less than five minutes! Keeps your chapstick handy on your keys and keeps you from having to dig around in your purse!  :)

what i made for monday - surpise cookies

I actually made these a couple weeks ago...according to Doug's coworkers these made the top three list of things I've made for them.  So...I'll let that speak for itself.  Make these...they're great! 

Surprise Cookies
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally or three mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Add egg, milk, and vanilla. 
Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.

Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto un-greased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from oven, and place marshmallows, in the center of each cookie, pressing down. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begin to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Place cookies on cooling rack and allow to cool completely before next step.

Using about a 1 tablespoon of frosting cover each marshmallow.  Once frosting is set, store in a cool place for 3-5 days.

Recipe via Martha!

what I made for Monday - Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Oh my word...the baking world just keeps getting better and better.

I could eat this frosting by the spoonful.  By itself.  Don't judge.

Now it does take a little bit of work.  First you'll have to go make my salted caramel sauce.

Really it's worth it.  So go do that, then come back to this.  The bonus is that you'll have more caramel than you need for this recipe and just think of the things you can do with the extra...eat it with a spoon, ice cream topping, the spoon thing,  etc...

So once you have the sauce made...make the frosting.  Are you ready?

Salted Caramel Frosting
3/4 cup salted butter (room temp)
1/4 cup salted caramel
3 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tbls whipping cream

Using your mixer whip butter and caramel together, slowly add sugar until combined, add whipping cream one tablespoon at a time until frosting reaches good spreading texture.

Enjoy.  By the spoonful.  Or on a cupcake.  Whatever.

If you're going to put it on cupcakes put it on ones using my favorite recipe.

Moses, the string and the door knob.

Moses woke up this morning with a very loose tooth and the memory that my friend Pam had told him about tying a string to his tooth and then to a door knob... Guess what we did before school this morning? 

Tying a string to a tooth that tiny is tricky business...
I must have said a million times, "Are you really sure you want to do this?".  
Can you tell hoho was more than willing to slam that door? 
And it worked!!! 
Moses dubbed this "The best morning ever!!".  

Now we're all ready to fill out our paperwork for the tooth fairy to come tonight! 

What's the going rate in your house?

my little Gnomie. {how to DIY a gnome costume}

Since my boys were born just about, every year I've asked them if they wanted to be a gnome for trick or treat time and every year I got shot down...until this year.  I asked Aaron what he wanted to be and he said "I don't know, you pick"...yesssss!  I got to work!
The best part is that if you really want to...you could get away with only making the beard...but I bet with some looking you could find one of those if you wanted.  I just knew that I wanted to spend as little as possible.  
The shirt and pants, I found at Target and can be used like normal clothes after trick or treating. 
The flower is a clip on and the belt is just some vinyl and velcro.  You could totally find a belt to use without making it. 

I made the beard with some fur fabric and felt but you could use just felt to make it easy.

For the boots I just spray painted some old rain boots black. 

The hat is just some felt and the stiffest iron on interfacing I could find.  
Simple, easy and most of all inexpensive.  Most everything can be re-used.  Clothes can be worn and the extra items will be added to our dress up bins.

And there you have the cutest gnome on the block! :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips