Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow Days & Cookies (& winners announced!)

sledding with kes

kestan in the snow

sledding with ash
And more...
chris and kes in the snow

We've been playing in the snow a lot these past few weeks.  And with snow days comes making soups and baking cookies.  I've been experimenting with more gluten-free and vegan cooking and I have some yummy soup recipes I want to share with you.  Until then, here's a really good gluten-free, vegan chocolate cookie that I think you'll like.  

chocolate chip cookies

Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Bites
2 1/2 cups of gluten free flour 
(I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Mix)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 cup all  natural peanut butter (optional)
2/3 cup agave
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 T vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

gluten free cookie dough

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Then, mix the agave, sunflower oil and vanilla together, and pour into the dry ingredients.  Mix for about two minutes until the ingredients are combined.  Finally, add the chocolate chips.  Form small balls and place directly on a cookie sheet.  I bake these at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes.   At 7 minutes I check them and press them down with the back of a spoon to flatten them while warm.  Then I bake them for another minute or two.

cookies and milk

I love these cookies because they are simple, very low in sugar and everyone in my house can eat them.

yummy cookies

And for a kid who doesn't get to eat dairy and eats very little sweets, well, you can see these cookies make him very, very happy!

Your Personal Reflection:  What kind of fun are you having this winter?

And...the winners of Megan's "Rooted" e-course are...

Angela of Peach Coglo
Trisha of Miscellany
(Megan will be in touch with you soon!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Express the Free Spirit in YOU

Free Spirit Spotlight Graphic

I asked the lovely Megan Monique to participate in this next Free Spirit Spotlight.  I virtually met Megan last year on Twitter (@meganmonique) and I had the privilege to meet her in person this summer when she stopped by my Kansas home as part of her Magical Eyes Tour.  She's bold, she's cool, she's funny and she's kind.  (Her photos say it all, don't you think?)  I know you will find her outlook on life to be quite honest, refreshing and super inspirational.

How did you come to a place where you embrace yourself as a creative being?

Truly, I have been creative my whole life.  However, for most of my life I never called myself an artist.  I was always comparing myself to other people.  The real shift came when I started to embrace my own creative instincts.  I noticed people would come to me for feedback on certain things.  It was then I began to notice my niche and then really finding ways to utilize it in my business and to others who needed the creative boost.  I believe what calls to me most now is doing what FEELS good.  If it feels good to my mind, body and soul - then I dive right in.

What's your favorite art medium for self-expression?

I have a few.  Lately I have enjoyed working with pastels (I love getting messy with art).  There is something about having my hands covered in color that makes my life feel complete.  Hehe.  Also, anytime there is a glue stick involved - I am a happy camper.


What is a free spirit to you?

To me, a free spirit is someone who listens to their Inner Goddess (mine is named Fiona)!  Our Inner Gods and Goddesses guide us through our path.  They are our intuition, passions and light.  When we can tap into that free spirit, that Inner Goddess - we can follow what we are most called to do in life - which essentially leads to peace and happiness.

Where do you get your inspiration?

What a great question!  I hadn't thought about this.  Color provides me with most of my inspiration. I love shiny things, especially glitter.  Another great fuel for my inspiration is fashion.  I love seeing people dress how they feel inside.  It's like wearing your soul on your skin.  Beautiful.  Honestly - inspiration pops up for me in many different forms throughout my day.  But my greatest creations come from looking inward.


How do you manage to find time and make space for your creative projects?

Unlike a lot of your readers, I don't have kids. (cheers to the moms!)  So it isn't as challenging for me to make time for creative play and since I work from home - it's even easier.  However, I do find myself seeping into a funk from time to time and when I do that I make sure to schedule time for creative play.  Whether that is with friends or by myself - I take an hour or so to explore my imagination and see what comes out.  Even though most of my creative projects are shared digitally, I still love venturing into the unknown of my imagination.


What would you say to those who want to live a creative life and find their artist within, but don't know where to begin?

I would suggest that you begin with your childhood.  Look at the things you loved to do when you were a kid and how they made you come alive.  Even if it seems ridiculous to do it as an adult - that is where you need to look - there in lies clues to your passions.  Although the activity may look a bit different as an adult there is something in the way it made you FEEL that will lead you to your passion in this time and space.  Another important thing to remember is there is no box for creativity.  It doesn't look any one way.  When we stop comparing our work to that of others, we are able to see that we are all creative geniuses.

Click HERE to see a recent video interview I did that talks about creativity.

Thank you, Megan, you free spirit, you.  (To learn more about Megan, visit her blog.)

Also, Megan is giving away two spots to her upcoming e-course called Rooted.  Simply leave a comment here by Friday 10 a.m. C.S.T. for your chance to win! 

Your Personal Reflection:  How do you express the free spirit in YOU?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Making Space for What Matters Most

Jumping on clothes

So far the beginning of 2011 has been really insightful.  I've taken some time away from blogging mainly because I've had to be honest with myself.  (I've missed you all!)  I have about 553 ideas, projects, goals, and dreams that I want to pursue all at once and I've had to come to terms with the fact that it just isn't possible.

I've had to slow way down to enjoy some concentrated time playing with my sweet boys.

Ash at 12 weeks

And also to clear my head.  I'm still learning how to run a creative business from home while being a full-time stay-at-home mom.  And I'm learning a lot about my limitations.

Keeping my children out of daycare and being fully present during their foundation years is extremely important to us.  My husband and I have made some sacrifices to make this happen and we feel an enormous sense of gratitude that so far our choices are working out pretty well.


there are days when I think, "How can I do all this and stay sane!?"

How can I nurse, change diapers, potty train, keep up the house, cook healthy meals, blog, run an e-course, paint, workout - all day and night - without going just a little big crazy?

Well...I. can't. do. it. all.

So I have to let some stuff go, pick the things that are most important to me, and find peace in the middle of the challenging and chaotic times.

My mom laughed at me the other day when I told her I was staying home because going out would involve taking a shower.  (Along with doing my hair, finding pants that fit, getting the boys dressed, packing up the diaper bag, getting snacks ready, trudging through the!)

Being a mom is hard work.  We get very little breaks.  We love our children and we love what we do.  But we MUST, for the sake of our own inner peace (aka: sanity), nourish our creativity and personal dreams, and this may mean having to let go of other things to make sure it happens.

Living Room Mess

I may not have the cleanest house on the block, but I know that when I make time for my art, for inspiration, and for playing with my kids, I am much less likely to feel overwhelmed, frustrated and stressed out.  Of course we still put our toys away at the end of the day, but to me that's just as important as carving out space to nurture my creativity.

Reducing clutter and creating space was my theme for 2010.  My theme for 2011 seems to be reducing MORE clutter to create MORE space for what matters most.  I'm learning how to let go of the stuff that doesn't matter, so that I can fully embrace the stuff that does.

Playing Dress Up

So in between jumping on beds, adjusting to a new baby, messing up the house, and playing dress-up, I've been preparing space for the fourth session of my e-course, Inside Out: A Creative Adventure of Self-Discovery.

My heart is exploding with excitement as the explorers who have signed up this time around have already been sharing their introductions in our private community forum.  Their energy is contagious and they remind me why nourishing our creativity and connecting with other like-minded souls is so important.

I do have limitations.  I can't do it all.  But, with a little practice and an open heart, I'm dedicated to living NOW and making space for what matters most.

Family Sign

This is a plaque that my husband made me for my birthday.  It's the first thing I see when I wake up now and it offers a great reminder for me as I start out each new day.  

Play, be silly, laugh and create!

Your Personal Reflection:  Are you making enough time and space in your daily life for what matters most?  Do you have a theme or intention set for the new year?  Now that we are a few weeks into 2011, how do you feel and are you staying focused on the change you've set out to make?

(psst...There are a few spots left in my art-journaling adventure - wanna join us?  Inside Out starts Monday, January 17th!)