Monday, March 24, 2014

Muffin Monday

I started a fun little tradition with my family on Mondays that I thought would be fun to share with others...Muffin Monday. It's the simple things of life really. When I ask my kids what they like about each day of the week, there is always a resounding "Muffins!" for Monday. I try a lot of things with my family and not all of them stick or are a hit like I hoped, so it's really rewarding when something works (and it's actually sustainable)!

Yummm!!!! Apple Cinnamon Muffins

It all started last year after having been on a journey of healthier eating for sometime and thus desserts and other sweet treats had become few and far between (which is a good thing), but one does still crave a special treat here or there. So I found muffins to be a good middle-ground of somewhat healthy but also a bit of a sweet treat too! Also, though I would love to be a good baker, especially homemade bread like my Mom, I'm just not (yet). However, muffins and I get along so it's the one baked item that doesn't overwhelm me and turns out great almost every time.

I made muffins once in awhile and my family always enjoyed them, but I didn't make them on a regular basis until my oldest started school in the fall and I wanted to try to have a regular snack routine for when he got home. I experimented with a different kind of snack for each day of the week and so that's when I stumbled upon making muffins on Monday and it has stuck. Everyone has come to expect them, so if I don't make them, it's just not Monday! In fact this week my 4 year old, Kayli, was already asking me on Saturday what kind of muffin we were making today. I asked her what kind she wanted and she came up with the idea of Apple muffins and so that's what we did. I found a fabulous sounding recipe and it turned delicious. Kayli is very proud that it was her idea. I will post the recipe at the bottom.

My little muffin helpers

Some muffin tips: 

  1. Make according to the recipe the first time and then experiment with substitutes, additions, etc. the next time (unless you're confident the first time around...sometimes I am and it has worked out okay). For example you will see the recipe below isn't totally healthy, so I did use whole wheat flour and next time I will even experiment with the applesauce substitute for butter and oil.
  2. Definitely use cupcake liners...These are my favorite from amazon. That makes for less mess all around and easier transportation. My other favorite new tool is the pampered chef large cookie scoop. I've always used the medium one but the large is perfect size. Other than that, the tools are pretty obvious...cupcake pans (2), cooling rack (1-2), mixing bowl, etc.
  3. Once you find a favorite recipe, make a big batch and freeze half for using later so you don't have to bake every week if you don't want too. I can post a few of my favorites later.
  4. Plan your recipe ahead of time to make sure you have the ingredients on hand, although my go-to recipes are things I almost always have on hand.
  5. Make sure to save some back for your husband or for the freezer...otherwise they just might all get consumed right away and that would be a sad sad day for the spouse who might not say so, but they too get really excited about muffin Monday!
  6. If you have kids, get them involved! It's hard to mess up muffins and there are some perfect kid jobs to do (lining the muffin pans, pouring, stirring or scooping...of course taste testing too).
My favorite tools

Easy Apple Cinnamon Muffins
"A really easy apple cinnamon muffin recipe."
Yield: 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable oil (or applesauce)
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1/4 cup white sugar
2 1/2 Tbl. all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat)
1/4 cup butter, soft (or applesauce)
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
Stir together 1 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix in oil, egg and milk. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
In a small bowl, stir together the topping with a fork and sprinkle over unbaked muffins.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Wish you could smell them...

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Can Just Be Me

It's a normal Friday, or so it seems to me. I have a LOT to get done today! I'm already flooded with thoughts of what I need to do, leaving me overwhelmed and tired before the day has even begun. Thankfully I knew what to do first (well, almost first...first, that is after getting dressed, chugging fiberwise, eye drops for the post-lasik eyes, french pressing the coffee, eating almond milk softened fiber one honey squares, packing a lunch [which I rarely do, but desperate times required it this morning] and trying to motive the crying child who didn't get enough sleep but needed to get dressed and off to school, kissing a few extra times the freshly-shaved Sean and sending him and the almost composed son out the door, checking and replying to a few texts, looking at my menu and grocery lists)...go sit with Jesus and tell Him all about it and listen to Him. I grabbed my hot coffee and my favorite blanket and sat in quiet (well, almost quiet...I hear a little one whimpering but he can wait just a couple minutes), ready and waiting.

I began to write down in my journal the thoughts that were on the forefront of my mind, stemming from a conversation I had last night with Sean as we dealt with some unpleasant attitudes coming from the back seat (and from within ourselves). What do I do with these attitudes?!!? My own quote was racing through my mind...Replace ATTITUDE with GRATITUDE. I began working through the various attitudes and and practical strategies for helping my kids (and me) find gratitude in those areas, God let me on a journey that started with gold (that's a blog for another day) and ended somewhere totally different but beautiful.

I opened my phone to look for something I had read on a blog recently about gold-mining in your children and I "stumbled" across a link to Laura Story's song "I can just be me." I began to listen to it and it was like God "walked" into my house and was right next to me. I didn't even know how to say what I felt, but she did for me. Through tears I just let the words pass through me and be my prayer. In such a beautiful and simple way, my normal day turned into a special day...that God can be God and I can just be me today. The attitudes seem so small in comparison to the power of this truth. I'm only left with gratitude and peace. I know I still have to live the rest of my day, but I'm starting from such a better place...I think I will be playing this song ALL day today. Maybe you can too.

"I Can Just Be Me"
by Laura Story

I've been doing all that I can
To hold it all together
Piece by piece.
I've been feeling like a failure,
Trying to be braver
Than I could ever be.
It's just not me.

So be my healer, be my comfort, be my peace.
Cause I can be broken, I can be needy,
Lord I need You now to be,
Be my God, so I can just be me.

I've been living like an orphan,
Trying to belong here,
But it's just not my home.
I've been holding on so tightly,
To all the things that I think
Could satisfy my soul.
But I'm letting go...

So be my father, my mighty warrior, be my king.
Cause I can be scattered, frail and shattered,
Lord I need You now to be,
Be my God, so I can just be me.

Cause I was lost in this dark world
Until I was finally found in You
So now I'm needing, desperately pleading
Oh Lord, be all to me

And be my savior, be my lifeline, won't You be my everything.
Cause I'm so tired of trying to be someone
I was never meant to be
Be my God
Please be my God
Be my God
So I can just be me
So I can just be me
I can just be me. 

List to the song here!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

He chose. I choose.

The boy who chose to follow Christ and be different even at a young age when few were walking the paths he did, didn't know that a girl next door was praying for someone just like that.

1.      He chose Jesus instead of the world.
2.      He chose purity instead of selfishness.
3.      He chose to explore, understand, create, build, design, instead of laziness.
4.      He chose to seek out and listen to wisdom instead of pride.
5.      He chose to work hard and save his money instead of spend it all.
6.      He chose to use his musical talents to worship God instead of the applause of man.
7.      He chose to enjoy his family instead of be too cool for them.
8.      He chose to work doing what he loved instead of what could make him the most money.
9.      He chose to do what he said he would do, instead of good intentions.
10.  He chose to find the good in a situation instead of pessimism.
11.  He chose to laugh, and laugh a lot, instead of taking life too serious.
12.  He chose to make jokes instead of boredom,
13.  He chose adventure instead of contentment.
14.  He chose to embrace a bigger worldview than himself.
15.  He chose to repent and turn instead of stubbornness.
16.  He chose to hide God's word in His heart instead of sin.
17.  He chose to care more what God thought than what people did.
18.  He chose to be real instead of fake.
19.  He chose to take care of his body instead of abuse it.
20.  He chose to invest in what matters to him and God instead of what's cool.
21.  He chose to dare to dream big instead of doubt.
22.  He chose to travel the world instead of settle.
23.  He chose to try new things instead of get "stuck in his ways".
24.  He chose to learn people instead of judge.
25.  He chose to be bold instead of passive.
26.  He chose to be weird instead of normal.
27.  He chose to think before he acted.
28.  He chose to live instead of die.
29.  He chose to give instead of take.
30.  He chose to receive instead of resist.
31.  He chose to be Sean Douglas Rassi instead of someone else.
  32.  He chose me, Kristina Kay Rassi, as his lifetime friend and lover. With all of the choices he made that led up to that day, how could I resist? I couldn't and I still can't. He still chooses these choices every day and they have helped make him into the man that I love sharing life with. God uses him every day to show me Jesus. I'm so thankful he chose.
I chose Him.
He chose me. 
I chose him.
I choose Sean.
I will always choose Sean.
Little choices take us big places.

32 Choices and a Happy 32nd Birthday to my man!

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you."        

 John 15:16

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Steal my joy or my toy?

After a fairly normal week of life with three kids, I was fed up with all the toy clutter! I mean FED UP! I was in tears, angry tears, fed up. I wasn't so much angry at my kids but at the toys. How did they, little inanimate objects, have such power over me? Why did I feel like their servant? Aren't they here to serve ME? Something had to change. I felt like I was paying way too much attention to them than they deserved...constantly picking up toys, buying tubs to organize them, shouting out orders about picking them up or siblings not to fight over them or yelping because I just stepped or stubbed my toe on me. Where was the fun, the joy, in these toys...where was the joy in life?

Thankfully I was able to "run away" from the toy monster and think in one of my favorite places...the shower. I let the water wash away my angry tears as I cried out to God for wisdom. "God, where has my joy gone? It's lost somewhere in this chaotic clutter of toys. I am so distracted from what I love...that which brings me the most joy. Help!" His answer? Craziness! Well, at first it seemed crazy, but the thought that popped into my head was to go through the whole house, gather up ALL the toys and put them away in my storage room and not buy any new ones for an entire YEAR! Then, instead of all the time it took to deal with them, we would focus on spending time together as a family doing crafts, reading books, playing games and all the things we truly loved in life.

At this point I began to get really excited. The anger at the toys began to fade as the excitement of what could be gained began to rise in my heart, if they were not in the way. Joy. This is joy. The simple time spent with a child, with a spouse cuddling and sharing life together. Toys had nothing to do with that. There is nothing wrong with a toy in itself, only if it gets in the way of love. Then, that toy becomes my enemy. It was meant to be a tool...a tool to learn...a tool to laugh....a tool to bring joy. If it's not doing that, then something needs to change. If my toys were becoming more important than people...than God, then they must go. If I have to choose, then I will choose the later.

Is she reading?!? What else do you do without toys? Apparently kids will still be kids, because her room is still messy with clothes, Kleenex's, shoes, decorations and anything else her little imagination can work with! :)

 So, that's what we did! Although, we decided to start with a month and see how that went. I explained to my oldest two (the ones who could maybe understand) that Mommy wanted to be able to do more of the things that brought me joy and less time cleaning up toys. I asked if they would rather have toys or have my time? They chose toys. Just kidding! :) They, thankfully, caught my heart and chose time with me. They caught my excitement apparently because they wanted to start right then, that very night. It was amazing to see how all of our attitudes changed (well, except for Mr. Squawker, my 18 month, who couldn't understand why we were taking all of his toys away :( ) as we unified towards a goal...a goal of making time for what was most important to us.

We are still chipping away at our mountains of toys, deciding what we can do without completely, what we will store and what we can give away. Each child got to choose one toy (or set of toys) to keep out for the month. We are discovering the joy of giving away our toys as well as the peace that comes from a clean home and time together. I'm looking forward to the rest of this month to see how it goes and the impact it has on our family. My prayer is that the God of all wisdom would guide us in our adventure.

The mountain of toys that is now in my laundry room!

So, the moral of the story is...go ahead, steal my TOY, just don't let my toys steal my JOY!

Why are your hearts filled with Doubt?

"Why are you frightened?" he asked. "Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Luke 24:38

This is my memory verse this week through my Proverbs 31 online Bible study. It seems like a simple question, but it really has me thinking. 

The context is when Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples inside a room where they were meeting. Okay, so legitimately I too probably would have been a bit frightened as well if a person suddenly appeared in the room with me without opening a door and coming in. However, it was the doubt they had that it was really the Jesus they knew, that has me puzzled. How could they, the ones who had touched and talked with Jesus, the son of God, have any doubt? Especially now that they had seen him raised from the dead?

Jesus patiently begins to help them with their them convincing reasons why they could believe.

"Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. (Luke 24:39-40)

They were a bit emotional and still couldn't quite think clearly, so he decides to seemingly drop the subject and just hang out with them for a bit...

"And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence." (Luke 24:42-43)

Then, as one on a very intentional agenda, he gets right back to their doubt, by reminding them of what he had told them before about Himself and His purpose on earth.

"He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:44-45)

BOOM! Incredible. Did you notice that? "Then he opened their minds so they could understand scriptures." Were they filled with doubt because they were human and unless God opens our minds to understand Him and His ways, we just don't get it, EVEN if we, like the disciples, could see him face to face, touch Him and talk to Him? Is doubt a natural part of our sinful DNA? Is the only cure for doubt, a divide revelation and understanding God puts into our hearts? Given by grace alone? Wow. I'm humbled.

What is doubt?


verb \ˈdat\
: to be uncertain about (something) : to believe that (something) may not be true or is unlikely
: to have no confidence in (someone or something)
It's true, I doubt. Just like the disciples, I doubt. Even though I have seen God's love, truth and goodness pouring out in my life over and over, I still doubt. Why? My heart is naturally filled with doubt...especially about something really good. I struggle having confidence in someone if they seem "too good to be true". I doubt their honesty. I figure they might be trying to get something from me. After all, many "good" things in my life didn't turn out to be so good, so I have "reason" to doubt. Why do I put on God, what I put on people though? Do I dare to trust Him? 

The antonym of doubt is trust.


noun \ˈtrəst\ 
: belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.
The cure to my doubt is trust. Trust in God's word (aka scriptures). Lord, please open MY mind so I can understand the Scriptures and not live in fear and doubt any more. Fill me with the power you promised the disciples and is still here with me today, the Holy Spirit, so I can be a witness for you. 

Here are Jesus' ending words to his friends...

"He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:46-49)

Listen to this song if you have time! It's been a constant song on my tongue lately as I choose to trust God and not "worry and fret".