Moments 01.2018 JoyFoodSunshine. Birthday Cake with Homemade Vanilla Frosting

“I can’t remember all the times I’ve tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass.”

Welcome to “Moments” here on JoyFoodSunshine. At the end of every month I share a recap of all the shenanigans that went down in crazy town (i.e. my life in a nutshell).  So here it is for January 2018!

Recipe love:

Here are a few must-share recipes from the month of January from my favorite spots around the web!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Bars from Feasting on Fruit {this is my kind of magic}! 

Simple Cinnamon Rolls from Wife Mama Foodie {the beauty of simplicity}.

Veggie Ranch Turkey Meatloaf from Paleo Running Mama {Whole 30 too}!

Blood Orange Chocolate Cake from The Cupcake Chronicles {absolutely stunning}!

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cakes from The Kitchen McCabe {healthy + chocolate = <3}

New Recipe Videos

Here are the videos we produced for you in January! We were busy this month and have more coming in February!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal 

Paleo Banana Bread 

Black Bean Brownies 

Dark Chocolate Puppy Chow 

Immune Boosting Tea

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Pancakes

Life with my tribe:

Mara Hope

Mara now has FOUR teeth! She grew this little fang before her other top teeth came in and looked hilarious for a while there. I’ve never had a baby grow a K9 before their other two front teeth came in, so once again, in true Mara fashion, she is breaking the mold and doing things her own way!

Moments 01.2018 JoyFoodSunshine

She also started climbing the stairs. One night I ran upstairs to switch out loads of laundry, and I looked down to see Mara halfway up the staircase! I knew if I walked towards her she’d stand up and fall backwards, so I called to Ritch {who was reading with the other kids and didn’t even know that Mara had mastered this skill yet} and he ran and grabbed her! Phew. Now it’s time to teach her to go down. 

Mara has also started shrieking even more than before. Like literally screaming at the top of her lungs while she sits in her high chair during dinner. She’s just playing and always cracks herself, and the rest of us, up when she does it! If you follow my Instagram Stories then you’ve seen videos of it…just too to funny!

Bethany turns 7!

My baby is 7 {S-E-V-E-N} years old. The sweet little girl who made me a mommy and has enriched our lives more than we ever could have imagined is no longer little. She is my beautiful young lady who has her own thoughts, feelings, desires, fears, hopes and dreams. Now, this didn’t just happen the day she turned 7 {obviously} but the accumulation of moments over the past few months has made me acutely aware of the fact that she is growing up, and fast. 

Moments 01.2018 JoyFoodSunshine Birthday cake with homemade vanilla frosting!

First, can we talk about her missing front tooth?! She lost her two front bottom teeth a while ago, and while it was a huge milestone, something about this one coming out just makes her look so much older. It took me a few days to get used to her new, older look! Where did my baby go?!

She also had her 7 year well-check and while I watched her interact with the doctor I was blown away. His compliments were met with shy eye rolls instead of smiles. When he made silly faces at her she acted a little “too cool for school.” Don’t get me wrong, she was respectful, but she reacted like a big kid, not a little one! She is reading like crazy, playing every game she can get her hands on {including but not limited to Ticket To Ride, Phase 10, Skip-Bo, etc.} and is the best big sister and helper with Mara!

On her birthday I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and age opened her presents in the morning  then we went downtown, rode the train and went to Village Baker for lunch.  She chose burgers and fries for her birthday dinner. And we ended the festivities with cake & ice cream and a movie!

Moments 01.2018 JoyFoodSunshine Birthday Cake with Homemade vanilla Frosting

Sandy Visits! 

My little sister is like my favorite person in the entire world {minus the ones I grew in my body and the one I’m married to}. She came to visit and celebrate Bethany’s birthday with us and it was a blast. Each kid had something different they wanted to do with her when she came. Bethany wanted to color with Aunt Sandy, Naomi wanted to read books with her, and Gabe wanted to play games and show her his remote control car. They all adore my sister so much, and Bethany felt so special that her favorite Aunt came just for her birthday! 😉

I was super excited to sneak away for a couple hours to go on a sister coffee date sans kids. It was so wonderful to get to sit across the table from her and just talk and be together. I miss her so much and wish she’d move here {hint hint sister and Matthew}, but  I try to not to think about our geographical distance, and instead enjoy every moment we do get to spend together!

Moments 01.2018 JoyFoodSunshine

Family Read Aloud Time

This started with Jotham’s Journey in December, and we loved it so much we decided to keep reading out loud together every night. Ritch is SO great at reading out loud, and chooses special voices for every character. Right now we’re reading through the Narnia series. We finished The Magician’s Nephew and have moved on to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. The kids know the stories because we have listened to them on tape, but it’s quickly becoming my favorite family pastime.

We all snuggle up and listen to the stories together. Naomi usually wanders off and starts playing by herself, but the rest of us enjoy it! It’s a perfect evening activity to do in the winter when it’s too cold to play outside!

Around our house:

Entertainment Center

Ritch finished the TV stand at the beginning of this month. He is an amazing woodworker and has built most of the furniture in our house. He got the itch to build this entertainment center and it is absolutely beautiful. We are kind of neat freaks, and we weren’t a fan of the way toys were just piled in baskets under our old entertainment center. Ritch designed this to be both practical and pretty!

We store toys and games in the drawers, and the sides are bookshelves. I love everything about it. It really lighted and brightened up our living room in the best way! Now we’re just trying to decide how to decorate the wall around it. Our old unit (that Ritch also built, by the way) was much larger with tall shelves. I feel like the wall looks pretty bare, and we’re trying to decide if we like it that way or if we need to add something more! I’ll gladly take suggestions in the comments on this post! 🙂

Moments 01.2018 JoyFoodSunshine Farmhouse Entertainment Center with Barn door hardware. Herringbone wood

A few of my favorite things…

Wet brush

I don’t know why this brush is so amazing, but it is! My mom bought one for Bethany for Christmas, and after I kept stealing hers from her room I finally ordered one for myself! It brushes my thick hair easily without any pain! I love it!

Rusk Blow Dryer

My old blow dryer died, so it was time to get a new one! I really love this Rusk professional blow dryer and saw a difference in the health of my hair after just a few uses!

These Slippers! 

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before…but I wear slippers all day every day all year long. I can’t stand the feeling of my feet touching the floor, so I put on socks and slippers in the morning and, as long as we’re home, they never come off. Winter, spring, summer and fall if you knock on my door you will see me sporting cozy footwear. However, since I wear them all the time I need to replace them at least twice a year. SO, it was time and I bought these and love them so much! A dark color is absolutely critical for me (they’re much darker than the photo shows), since I’m in the kitchen so much and spill quite a bit!

Moments 01.2018 JoyFoodSunshine

Recipes I’m Making on Repeat

Here are a few recipes I made quite a bit in January!

Homemade Vanilla Frosting

Since there were so many celebrations for little Miss Bethany, I made this Homemade Vanilla Frosting a handful of times! She brought these cupcakes to share with her class at homeschool co-op!

Puppy Chow

I all of a sudden had an insatiable craving for puppy chow this month! My friends at Sunspire Chocolate sent me basically a lifetime supply of their chocolate chips, {and carob chips, and peanut butter chips} and I am IN LOVE with this 65% cocoa variety! Seriously they are my new favorite chocolate chips!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Are you tired of seeing these yet?! I sure hope not. I eat one every day and it was the very first recipe I ever posted on this little blog of mine.

Well that’s all she wrote! I’d love to hear a highlight from your January! What are you looking forward to in February!?

If you want to stay connected or you make something from JoyFoodSunshine I would love to see your creations! #joyfoodsunshine

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