Free Kitchen Printables: Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free

As promised, here are two printables made for our dining room wall. I know they’re a little unorthodox.  But so are we.

Are you gluten-free?  Grab this one:

daily bread

Are you sugar-free?  Grab this one:

Agave syrup


Valentines: printables for kids

What are you doing for Valentines this year?

Lucy goes to preschool two days a week and is very specific that she wants to give her school friends “smarties” candies for valentines. That’s my opinionated 3 year old. What will I do when she’s 13?

My Pinterest search gave me this cutie from


So, that’s what we’re doing this year. Last year, she was one of two girls in a classroom with 10 boys. So we went with simple “love bug” valentines. We folded this design over and attached it to a snack bag full of gummy worms. Click on the design for the free printable.


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Wall Decorating: 4 Happy Considerations

Our dining room wall is a mix of frames and stitchings from grandmothers and great aunts, printables, and family photos (mostly eating!) The mirror was my husband's grandmother's but painted our color. My dad crafted the small wooden rose next to Live Laugh Love and I placed it all in a carved frame brought from India. I painted old frames and the pot to fit our decor.

Our dining room wall is a mix of frames and stitchings from grandmothers and great aunts, printables, and family photos (mostly eating!) The mirror was my husband’s grandmother’s but painted our color. My dad crafted the small wooden rose next to Live Laugh Love and I placed it all in a carved frame brought from India. I painted old frames and the pot to fit our decor.

When you have a blank wall in your home, do you just nail up art you have? I beg you to hesitate and take time for these four happy considerations:


Printables that are “us”: Give us this day our daily (gluten-free) bread, You’re the Agave Syrup to my Pancakes, and Spoon full of Coconut Sugar.

1.  Make sure it’s “You.”  There are a ton of cute printables on the web you can print and hang, but choose wisely.  There may be great art on sale this time of year, but just because it’s cute doesn’t mean it fits you and your family.  The more uniquely-you an item is, the more it belongs on your wall.

2.  Blank is better than blah. Make sure what you hang is not just there to cover the blank. Don’t put it up if it doesn’t make you happy. Just because something made you happy 10 years ago doesn’t mean it still belongs in your home.  Your home is your refuge and the place you need to feel the most joy and peace. Why hang something that doesn’t make you or your family smile now?  Hang photos to reminisce or a piece of art that lifts your mood.

3.  Don’t get caught up in what your friend did.  In my world, matchy-matchy isn’t necessary.  But in the world of one who is calmed by clean lines and matching frames, it’s perfect.  Does the eclectic collage above or the clean collage below give you more calm or happy feelings? For my friends, the clean lines won.  For us, we’re sometimes all over the place, but there’s still room for clean lines, too.

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Happy February: 4 Free Love Printables!

When the calendar turns to February, everything in me giggles. Pink and hearts are everywhere. It’s my birthday month. And everyone acts a little more lovingly. So in honor of my favorite month, here are original, free 8×10 love printables! Just click an image for the printable version.

PerfectLOVEDrivesoutFEARPutOnLove Continue reading

Stop Cough: Put Vicks on your feet


I’d do anything for my kid. Sometimes that leads me to try lots of home remedies to make her feel better.

Over Christmas break, Lucy got ill while at my grandmother’s. Our large, fun family + my Mamaw’s house = six of us sharing a room (Bryan, Lucy, my brother, my sis-in-law, my niece and me).  When sweet Lucy coughed all night, I felt bad for her . . . but also for the others in the room. Her natural honey cough syrup that typically worked, wasn’t. Mom mentioned that lathering Vicks Vaporub (or the equivalent) on the bottom of feet can calm a cough. With nothing to lose, I rubbed a lot on the base of her feet, put on her socks and put her to bed. Lucy slept! And so did the rest of us. A few nights of that and Lucy was on the mend.

I just googled this home remedy out of curiosity and apparently there’s controversy about it, including a snopes report that it’s a lie. But I don’t argue with obvious results. And this obviously worked for us. I hope it can help you, too.

Banana Bread: in a mug (gluten and processed sugar free)


When I lived overseas I had a gas oven hooked to a propane tank.  More than once, in the middle of baking, the propane would go out. Being a foreigner, getting a replacement tank wasn’t easy and sometimes took up to a week.

So what does one do when the gas runs empty and you’re standing over half-baked banana bread?  I frowned in disappointment, then I half-heartedly turned to the microwave.  And it baked.  Not as beautifully as the oven, but it definitely saved the day.  And I was a genius.

Now, in a world where it’s popular to bake cakes, breads, brownies and cookies in mugs in the microwave, it may not be genius, but it sure is yummy.

So if you’re looking for a recipe for a gluten-free, processed sugar-free banana bread in a mug, here you go:

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One Thousand Gifts: embracing {moments}


“In a world addicted to speed, I unfortunately blur the moments into one unholy smear.”

“Do not disdain the small. If we miss the small moments, we miss the whole.”

“And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.”

“As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible.”

“I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment. “

“Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives.”

-Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

Tell me you’ve read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp.  If you haven’t, stop reading this and go download it. Or order it. Or grab your car keys and drive to the bookstore. For real.

The read started out rocky for me (I still have some imagery from the first chapter in my mind and wish I didn’t) but the rest is changing me.  It’s this idea that thankfulness leads to joy, to miracles and even to salvation that is sweeping a serious, daily, attitude of gratitude across the nation.  I’m not the first to volunteer to jump on a bandwagon, but when the destination is a fuller, deeper relationship with the almighty God, I’m on board.

To acknowledge tiny moments throughout your day and thank God for them does something amazing.  It softens your heart.  It clears your mind of stress.  It makes your life revolve around Christ completely.

Have you taken the dare to count up to 1000 gifts this year?  I have.  Join me in counting the gifts God gives you.  Embrace moments throughout your days and draw closer to our Creator.  Write them in a journal or record them on the free One Thousand Gifts app.  I’m using the app and recording my one thousand gifts through pictures and words.  Do it daily.

“Manna today or I starve.”Ann Voskamp

For this free 8×10 printable pdf I designed to remind myself to simply embrace {moments}, click here or on the image below.


Home sweet Home: Returning to the blog

home-sweet-homeI like to write. I enjoyed blogging, writing my thoughts and sending them into the universe to echo off of the like-minded. But it’s been a while, a LONG while. Is it silly to begin blogging at the same web home after years away? If so, I’m okay with being silly.

Journeys are never straight lines, are they? Since I blogged last, I’ve been through zillions of twists, turns, roundabouts and u-turns. But I beg my soul that with every turn is growth and with every circle is new understanding. One foot in front of the other can get us pretty far.

(If you’re interested in more details and didn’t receive our family’s 2013 Christmas newsletter, email/facebook/comment here and I’ll send you one.)

As in the past, I will bring here anything that I hope can inspire happiness, from stories to recipes to home remedies to things that make my home happy. We no longer live in India, one of the most interesting places in the world, but everyday offers oddities of its own, no matter where you are. I’ll record some of mine here.

Happy new year to you. May the goals you create be realistic and the motivation you have remain! And may every effort revolve around who God is and bringing him glory.


Yes, it’s true.  The objects in this mirror are probably closer than anyone in the western world can imagine. India is our home.  It’s a place of beautiful colors, loud noises, hospitality, pungent smells, rich culture, animals everywhere and most importantly lovely people.

And I can’t believe we’re about to say good-bye.

We moved to India in January 2007 and it’s been an adventure we wouldn’t trade for over 5 years.  God has led us to move on from India at this time.  Are we crazy to know we’ll miss this place a ton and want to move back in the future?  Maybe.  But we never claimed to be perfectly sane.

What’s the plan?  We’re still seeking God daily to know what he wants that day.  We’re trusting him with today and tomorrows.  We’re excited to learn more about our next adventure.

As of now, we board a flight this Thursday night and head to the US for an undefined time to get medical care. Then, we’re headed to Toronto, Canada where we’ll continue to live in a South Asian community. How cool is that?

We journey on.

You can thank my hubby at randomismynormal for the great photography of India I use.

Chocolate Cake: in a mug (gluten and sugar free)

MugBrownieI feel so guilty for not sharing this guilty pleasure earlier!

I ran on to the newly popular “mug cakes” in the fall.  They’re just individual servings of cake made in a mug in your microwave.  It takes less than 5 minutes and you have something to curb your baked-good craving!

So, I went to work on cakes and breads for us sugar-free, gluten free folks, and I succeeded!  I carried around my paper with my recipes hand-scribbled on it as I traveled throughout the states at Christmas, knowing one day I would sit down and share them with you all . . . and then somewhere along the way, I lost the sheet :(.  Sad day.

BUT, be happy again, because I have re-created one and boy is it yummy.  I’ve done everything from brownies to pumpkin bread, but let’s start with a basic chocolate cake.

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