Friday, January 30, 2015

Thoughts on Prayer

Thoughts on Prayer - Prayer is an action of talking and listening to God and there are 4 types of prayer: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  St. Therese Quote:  Prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus.  - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com




My biggest goal for 2015 was to improve my prayer life.  And earlier this week, we had a major disappointment in our adoption journey when we got news that our match with the twins has fallen through.  (Going through something challenging can really be an eye opener into what you need to work on in your life, that's for sure!)

These things have really got me thinking about prayer itself a lot lately and how I truly need to grow in this aspect of my life.


So I was thinking...what is prayer exactly?   

Prayer is talking and listening to God.


The first 2 things that come to my mind when I think of prayer are memorized prayers and asking God for things need.  But really, there is a lot more to prayer than that!

First, prayer is not only something that is just memorized, like the Hail Mary.  I should try to pray to God just like I'm having a conversation with a friend.  He is my truest Friend after all!  

I need to talk to God in my own words, telling Him whatever comes to my mind and making sure to listen to what He is telling me as well.  (I wouldn't like it if a friend just talked and talked and never listened to what I had to say.)  Talking is the easy part; listening can be hard.  So I need to try to be as open as possible - open to what God's will is in my life, no matter how difficult it might be, like our adoption fall through - and truly listen and follow where He's leading me.

Thoughts on Prayer - Prayer is an action of talking and listening to God and there are 4 types of prayer: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  The Lord came and stood there, calling out as before: Samuel, Samuel!  Samuel answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:10 -  www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
This can be so hard sometimes!

And I'm not trying to say that memorized prayer isn't good at all.  It really is great!  But it shouldn't be the only way we pray.  In my Catholic faith, I should use the beautiful things that God has given us - the Mass, the Sacraments, the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic Adoration, the Sign of the Cross, memorized prayers, novenas, other devotions, etc. - to help me to pray.  

But with memorized prayers, I can't let them become commonplace or say them without truly meaning what I say.  What I need to do is pay attention to what I'm saying and doing when I pray this way.  So what I guess I'm trying to say is that action needs to be involved when I pray using memorized prayers! 


Second, there is more to prayer than asking God for things.  There are four kinds of prayer (I learned this easy way to remember them from a wonderful priest):


A - Adoration - praising God for His power, wisdom, and love and acknowledging my total dependence on Him
C - Contrition (Expiation) - showing sorrow for my sins and asking for His mercy and forgiveness
T - Thanksgiving - showing gratitude for what He has given me and others
S - Supplication (Petition) - asking God for things I need


In my human frailty, I tend to forget about the first 3!  (I'm sure I'm not alone here!)  So the big challenge is to incorporate all the ways to pray into my prayer life.  But I really do have a good start in my everyday life when I think about it: 


- My family thanks God when we say grace before meals 
- When I make the Sign of the Cross, I'm praising God by showing I believe in the Trinity.   
- When I receive Jesus in the Eucharist, I should be adoring Him, thanking Him for coming for us, and expressing sorrow for my sins. 
- When I say an Act of Contrition or make an Examination of Conscience I'm asking for mercy and forgiveness.  
- When we say our bedtime prayers as a family, we ask God for special intentions for ourselves and others
 

I'm sure there are many things I'm forgetting that fall under these categories of prayer that I do or should be doing everydayI can't let these fall by the wayside - I really need to seize these opportunities to pray and grow closer to God every single minute of every day!


Thoughts on Prayer - Prayer is an action of talking and listening to God and there are 4 types of prayer: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.  In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com




For my February resolution (and for the rest of my life!), I'm really going to focus on improving my prayer life.  I don't want it to be something I only focus on when something bad happens.  My prayer life needs to be a sincere and constant action that's lived out in every part of my life.  So I'm going to use what I've talked about here to set out a game plan to follow, not just for the month, but for my whole life!

I'd love to know some of your thoughts on prayer - especially on how to incorporate the 4 types of prayer into our everyday lives as busy women, wives, and mothers.  Please share!

God bless,

Thoughts on Prayer - Prayer is an action of talking and listening to God and there are 4 types of prayer: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

               



These are my thoughts on prayer as a Catholic.  I hope that we - people of all faiths - can grow closer to God by encouraging and inspiring one another with love and respect, no matter what we believe.



 Linking up with
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 Women with Intention Wednesdays with Jenny,  
The Shine Blog Hop with Jennifer,  
Make a Difference Mondays with Sybil, and
Capture Your Journey Wednesday with Amber

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Adoption Update: Fall Through #2

The Emotions of an Adoption Fall Through - Trust in God's Plan - Philippians 4:6-7, 13 - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com


The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions.

It's now fairly clear that our match with the mother due with twins has fallen through.  (There is still a very slim chance she may place, but it is highly unlikely.)

Right now, we are grieving the loss of these babies.  We've dreamed about these two and pictured them in our family.  We gave them names and started getting the house ready for them.  The kids know about them and have already begun to love them too.  But it was not meant to be.

With every adoption, one thing we always pray for is whatever is best for the baby.  Even if that means it is not with us.  It's such a hard thing to pray for and truly want....because ultimately, in our hearts we want this baby/these babies to come home with us.  But in the end, we know God's plan is best.  And no matter how hard it is sometimes, we cling on to that truth with everything inside of us.

We are sad about the loss, but we know God loves us and has the perfect little one out there who was always meant to be in our family.  He's proven it so many times before - just like what happened with our adoption of B - and we know He will do it again.  

The Emotions of an Adoption Fall Through - Trust in God's Plan - Philippians 4:6-7, 13 - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
B's little hand...he was always meant to be with us!

I know that for some reason, we were meant to cross paths with this mother.  And who knows why?  Maybe it was so that we would always keep her in our prayers.  We will probably never know in this life.  But He has a reason and purpose for everything, including every difficulty we face.

We will be ok in the end.  It's just hard when we're first going through it.  So will you please keep these 5 intentions in your prayers?: 


Pray for the agency for wisdom and guidance in their counseling.

Pray for our future birthmother for peace, strength, and guidance.

Pray for our future baby for whatever is best for him/her and for his/her health.

Pray for my family for peace and strength and that we trust in God's will.

Pray for the mother of the twins and for her babies for peace, strength, and God's grace.


Your prayers truly matter and have already helped us all more than you know.

I think my favorite part about blogging so far has been the tremendous support and prayer cover we have received from all of you.  You are all truly amazing.  Thank you.  We greatly appreciate your continued prayers for us and all of our intentions, especially during this difficult time.

God bless you, my friends,

The Emotions of an Adoption Fall Through - Trust in God's Plan - Philippians 4:6-7, 13 - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

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Edit (3/30/15):  We now have a son!  You can read more about his whirlwind adoption here!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Game Day Favorites

If you've followed us for awhile, you know that Jess and I both love football. This is the worst time of year for me...football is over. We are big Colts fans, and sadly, our season has already ended. After all the drama of "Deflate Gate", we are ready to move onto next season!

Even though we aren't having a huge party, I still like going overboard with food for the Super Bowl. Here are some of our favorites for game day:



Chocolate Cupcakes - perfect for a fun dessert
3 Ingredient Meatballs - great slow cooker appetizer
Sub Sandwiches - love the football shaped buns :)
Homemade Salsa - freezer friendly, so stock up for the whole season!
Taco Dip - made this for the first time this year and highly recommend


We typically graze all day long on Super Bowl Sunday, so I like to have a variety of food. We sometimes make chicken wings and mini pizzas too. I am going to be trying out Whitney's 10 Layer Baked Nacho Dip this year - sounds delicious!

What do you like making for Super Bowl Sunday?  Check out some more of our Game Day Party Ideas!! :)



                       



Now, onto the party! :) Each week we pick some of our favorite posts and pin them onto our Tuesday Talk board on Pinterest. Make sure to check it out and follow along!


Follow Sweet Little Ones's board Tuesday Talk Features on Pinterest.





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I'm linking up here today!

Monday, January 26, 2015

English Muffin Pizzas

English Muffin Mini Pizza Recipe: Perfect for Parties - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com


Pizza is always what we crave while watching football or basketball.  And this is the perfect way for every person in the family to get exactly what they want in their own personal pizza.  It's so easy - the kids can help too!


English Muffin Mini Pizza Recipe: Perfect for Parties - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
Go Irish!  Go Hoosiers!  Go Colts!  Go Peyton!


English Muffin Pizzas

Ingredients:

English muffins (we also use tortillas (pictured above) for our son because of a food allergy)
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Pizza toppings: pepperoni, onion, peppers, sausage, olives, whatever you like!
Garlic salt
Red pepper flakes
Italian seasoning

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Break English muffins in half lengthwise.  Lay desired number of muffins (outer side down) on a cookie sheet (or on a large piece of foil if you're going to freeze them).

English Muffin Mini Pizza Recipe: Perfect for Parties - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com


3.  Spread on pizza sauce.  Place desired toppings on each one.


English Muffin Mini Pizza Recipe: Perfect for Parties - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
Very carefully and precisely I might add ;)


4.  Sprinkle on cheese and gently press to flatten.  Sprinkle a little of all the spices if desired.


English Muffin Mini Pizza Recipe: Perfect for Parties - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com


5.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

6.  Serve hot and enjoy!

Notes:  These can also be made into mini frozen pizzas to save for a rainy day.  Complete directions #1-4.  Lay flat on a large piece of foil (enough to be brought over the top of one layer of mini pizzas).  Bring foil up and around pizzas pinching very well at all the seams and making sure pizzas stay flat and in 1 layer.

English Muffin Mini Pizza Recipe: Perfect for Parties - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com


Label foil with contents and date, or label freezer bag and place wrapped pizzas inside.  Freeze flat on a cookie sheet.  When you're ready to eat them, get them out the night before to completely defrost in the fridge.  Then continue on with #5 above!

I've never taken the pizzas straight out of the freezer and put them in the oven.  If you try it, you will probably have to add more baking time.  And if it works well, let me know!


English Muffin Mini Pizza Recipe: Perfect for Parties - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com



We always have these English Muffin Pizzas for little "parties", like for football games, the Super Bowl, New Years, March Madness basketball games, or just for a fun winter "picnic" inside the house.  These would be really fun for a kid's birthday too.  Every kid could make their own pizza with the toppings they like.

What a fun, versatile recipe!


English Muffin Mini Pizza Recipe: Perfect for Parties - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

            


P.S.  I found this recipe on Pinterest so long ago that I have no idea where I got it from.  So that's why I don't have a source.  If someone knows the original source, please let me know, and I will absolutely give them credit.




I'm linking up here today!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Indoor Activities for Toddlers

Anyone else have cabin fever like us? The month of January has been pretty cold, so we've been stuck inside a lot. I'm thankful we haven't had a blizzard like last year, but I'm still feeling stranded here. We've been trying to come up with some new boredom busters - this is what we've been up to:


Cardboard boxes - we've played in them, made them into castles, decorated them...for whatever reason, it keeps them entertained forever. In the picture above (taken first week of January, that's why my tree is up :), we made it into a train and I pushed them around the room. Nice exercise for mom! ;)

Cooking - Abby is obsessed with cooking and baking. We've been stocking up our freezer with meals, cookie dough, and muffins/breads. Her favorite request: brownies ... I can't complain! :) She also likes putting on her apron and washing the dishes afterward. Just make a nice bubble bath for the dishes, give the girl a sponge, and she's a happy camper for awhile. :)



Sensory play - I found a lot of ideas on Pinterest that are made from items around the house. We did a lot of measuring, color sorting into ice cube trays, pipe cleaner activities... I like how it keeps Abby entertained and she's learning too! For more ideas, see our board for Sensory Play.


I cut different shapes into boxes and had her sort items through the holes. Then she got to decorate the box with stickers. :)


Blanket forts - we have been making lots of forts with old sheets. We do puzzles, color pictures, and read all the time, so it's a nice change of scenery inside the forts. Plus, Tim finds it hilarious to rip down so he can watch us rebuild it! ;)



Messy play - we've made play dough and cloud dough (pictured above). Cloud dough was insanely messy, but Abby loved it. It is really easy to make - 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and 2 cups of flour. Mix together and enjoy!! I like how it's made from food, so if your little one wants a sample (because you know they will!), it's safe to eat! :)


Any other fun ideas for indoor play? What are you doing to keep sane this winter?



   


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The Pick with Astleigh, Intentional Parenting Link Up with Keri, Friday Faves AndreaErika, and Narci,  Jennie  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday Talk #3: Whipped Lemon Cake with Berries

Happy Birthday, Buster! 

Our son's birthday is the day after Christmas, and we had a blast celebrating this year!  Yesterday, I posted about the incredible airplane birthday banner (which you can partially see in the pictures below), but today I'm going to share with you our son's amazing cake.

So last year, I came up with this cake out of necessity after an egg-substitute cake-crumbling disaster.  Cue a trifle cake to the rescue!  And it was sooooo good.  Now, it's his traditional egg and peanut-free birthday cake.

We've made it as a trifle cake and a regular cake...it's great either way.  I just know you're going to love it too.  So without further ado...

Whipped Lemon Cake with Berries Recipe - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

Whipped Lemon Cake with Berries

Ingredients:

Cake:
1 Lemon Cake Mix
Whatever ingredients that the mix calls for, except eggs
Substitute 1/3 cup of Applesauce for every 1 Egg*

*This is not the egg substitute I tried that didn't work.  Applesauce works great as a sub for eggs!  It does, however, make the cake a little more moist and dense than normal.  But it tastes great!

Toppings:
1 - 8 oz. Cool Whip tub (not frozen)
1 - 3 (or 4) serving size Instant Lemon Pudding
1-3/4 cups Milk

1-2 pints Blueberries
1 lb. Strawberries


Directions for a Trifle Cake:

1.  Make cake according to directions, substituting applesauce for eggs.  Bake in a 9x13 baking dish.  (When using applesauce, the cake may have a longer baking time - it's 15 minutes longer for me.  Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean.)  Let cake cool completely.  Next, cut into small squares.  Divide into 2-3 equal portions of cake squares, depending on how many layers you would like your trifle to be.

2.  While the cake is baking, beat Cool Whip, pudding mix, and milk on low for 2 minutes.  (It will be very runny.)  Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour or til it just starts to set.

3.  Rinse, clean, and lightly pat dry the berries.  Slice strawberries.  

4.  Once topping is partially chilled, layer trifle cake in this order:  cake, whipped layer, berries, making sure to end with the berries.  Cover and return to refrigerator until pudding layer is set.

5.  Serve chilled and enjoy!  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Whipped Lemon Cake with Berries Recipe - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
We had the Trifle version for his 1st birthday last year!


Directions for a Regular Cake:

1.  Follow directions for #1 above, but do not cut the cake into squares.

2.  Beat Cool Whip, pudding mix, and milk on low for 2 minutes.  (It will be very runny.)  Once cake has completely cooled, pour pudding mixture over top of the cake.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

3.  Rinse, clean, and lightly pat dry the berries.  Slice strawberries.  Once topping is set, cover the top with the berries.

4.  Serve chilled and enjoy!  Store in the fridge.

Whipped Lemon Cake with Berries Recipe - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com
That face (and hand!) says it all: "As soon as they aren't looking, I'm digging right in!"

I'm so glad my first attempt at using an egg substitute failed miserably because it led to this incredible, delicious - and now my favorite! - cake!

Maybe I should call it my Happy Mistake Cake. ;)  Enjoy!


Whipped Lemon Cake with Berries Recipe - www.sweetlittleonesblog.com

               



Please follow the Tuesday Talk Features Pinterest board and check out some awesome posts that you'll definitely want to pin!


Follow Sweet Little Ones's board Tuesday Talk Features on Pinterest.


Ok, now on to the link up!  Please grab the button below and put it in your post!  We're excited to see what you have to share with us this week!

Sweet Little Ones






Linking up with Jennifer, Shelly, Megin, Katie, Erin, and Marie for DIY Sunday Showcase, Thoughts for Thursday with Natalie and Annie, and Friday Faves with AndreaErika, and Narci
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