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Family Movie Night & The Best Topping for Popcorn

Relationships, Recipes, LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple Alps21 Comments

With summer upon us and school out, I feel I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. But not really. It's only about to get busier as the next couple of months are some of our most full ones!

A few days ago, my husband and I were reminiscing about childhood family-fun traditions we had growing up.  For me, it was getting take out some Saturday nights and getting to choose DVDs from Blockbuster (they still had those then!). It was always so fun and we looked forward to those nights as a family. Game night wasn’t as fun to everyone since there would usually be the more competitive of us left up at 2 am still trying to win Monopoly. Those games could last days, I tell you!

Family Fun & The Best Topping for Popcorn | www.maplealps.com

As we move on from participating in family fun nights to having to be intentional about planning our own, these fond memories still play in our minds. Even when life gets hectic, we know how important it is to set aside time to bond and relax. For us, a family fun night isn’t complete without some kind of fun food and an activity we can do together - whether it be a rad board game or a great movie.

When it comes to a fun movie night, we like to get creative to switch things up. Once we find the perfect movie (that usually takes a while), we start getting cozy. Sometimes we set up a blanket fort, and sometimes we use a projector to get a theatre-type feel. Blankets and snacks are a must, whatever we do.

We are pretty picky about the movies we decide to watch and always go for true stories that are inspirational. If you like a good family-friendly movie too, be sure to check out Pure Flix for some wholesome, Christian and educational movies. You can try Pure Flix free for a month, which is a good thing since it might take you longer to decide on a movie than to watch one!  You can pair your subscription with Plugged In Movie Reviews from Focus on the Family to get some in-depth and free reviews.

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And then, of course, we need snacks. We take snacks very seriously.

We LOOOOOOOVE popcorn. We recently got a new stovetop popcorn popper and it has been put to good use! I personally like sprinkling (okay, dumping!) nutritional yeast flakes on mine. If we have time, we even cut up some potatoes and throw them in the oven for homemade "fries!" Depending on the night, we might even whip up a homemade pizza or pop some frozen stuff in the oven. It’s a seriously good time. Here's what we do with our popcorn:

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Easy Popcorn Topping

what you need:

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels

  • up to 1/2 TBSP olive oil (or vegan butter)

  • a bit of salt to taste

  • nutritional yeast flakes (in my opinion, you can never have to much, so it's up to how much you want!)

what to do:

1) Pop your popcorn by whatever means you do so (we have a stovetop popper right now, but I do love air poppers!)

2) Add (sparingly) your olive oil or vegan butter and sprinkle a bit of salt

3) Go to town with adding your nutritional yeast flakes :) 

Now that it’s summer, we hope to spend more time outside on the porch or around the fire pit making s’mores and roasting hot dogs. It's so much fun just hanging out outside and enjoying the heat of the fire.

Family Fun & The Best Topping for Popcorn | www.maplealps.com

Hope you've been inspired to set some time aside to enjoy an evening with your loved ones. I’ve decided to share some favourites with you so you can get started right away with your family-fun movie night - and don’t forget the popcorn! I'd love to hear about your family fun nights too!

Family Fun & The Best Topping for Popcorn | www.maplealps.com
 
 

What do you do for family fun? I'd love to hear about it!


 
 

Adult Friendships: The Art of Keeping Friends

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps14 Comments

Friendships are sometimes harder as an adult. In school, you are automatically with most of your friends every day. You study together, you eat together, maybe you even meet up once school is over, or on the weekends. Sometimes you even live with your friends. But life moves on, and in this globalized world, you likely are finding yourself in a completely new place with completely new people.

This is a reality for many of the people I come across. Making friends is not the easiest, but it's not impossible. We talked about making friends, but now what?

You've made a new friend, or you've moved away from friends you already had. What now?

Adult Friendships Made Easy: Maintaining Friendships (+ Free Printable!) | www.maplealps.com

 

Check in once in awhile

There is no way to maintain or cultivate a friendship (especially a new one) if there is no communication at all. I know there are those friends where you can live your own lives for long periods of time, but when coming together again, it is like no time has elapsed. But seriously, check in once in a while. Both parties will come away feeling refreshed.

 

Be intentional about making time in your schedule

There are few true cases of not having enough time. Prioritizing your friendships is important. Make time in your schedule to meet up with friends, or if they are too far away, to FaceTime or Skype.

 

Related: Adult Friendships Made Easy: Making Friends

 

Send cards. Not an e-card or a text. A card in the mail.

Nothing quite shows that you are thinking of others like a card in the mail. Mark down birthdays and other special dates, or send cards "just because." It doesn't have to be extravagant or long-winded. I've never received a card I was not happy with.

 

Ask good questions, and really listen to the answer

Practice the art of communication. Ask good questions, but also listen and remember details. When people feel known, they feel loved. 

 

Pray 

Pray for and with your friends!

 

Just be yourself

Be yourself. As an adult, you have no more time to waste by pretending to be someone you're not (and don't waste the time of others!). On that note, though, continue to grow in excellence, making yourself the best version of you through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 
 

Adult Friendships Made Easy: Making Friends

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps6 Comments

The last few years have been a little tough when it comes to friendships. Being in school, you are automatically with most of your friends every day - or at least with peers who could become potential friends. You study together, you eat together, you might live together, and maybe you even meet up once school is over, or on the weekends.

I have found that, for me, being an adult (a married adult even more so!) has done something to my friendships. Everyone goes their separate ways in separate places and making friends also takes a lot more intentional effort. In this age of cellphones and internet, staying connected may be easier, but it is not always ideal for cultivating true friendships. This is not to say that making or maintaining friends as an adult is impossible. Quite the contrary! It is possible but does require some extra effort.

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Be intentional about starting conversations

Do not wait for others to approach you wanting to be friends. While this may happen, if you truly wish to start a friendship, take action! Make the first move! The worst that could happen is that it doesn't work out. Do not, I repeat, do not, sit around feeling sorry for yourself because no one will talk to you!

 

Do not limit yourself to those in the same stage of life as you

People from all walks of life have things to offer you. I personally have friends who are much younger than me and friends who are older than me as well. I also have friends who are single, those who are married, some with kids, and even empty nesters. I learn from those who have gone before me and share my knowledge who come after. 

 

Find others with similar passions

Befriending those with similar passions creates an automatic topic for discussion! Make friends at your workplace, or those at the craft store you frequent. Talk to the people who share your pew each week at church. Meet friends in the dog park or the laundromat (everyone does laundry, right?)

 

Just be yourself

Be yourself. As an adult, you have no more time to waste by pretending to be someone you're not. On that note, though, continue to grow in excellence, making yourself the best version of you through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Accept that long-term friendships take time to cultivate

The friend you made last Tuesday is not going to have the same connection with you as the friend you have had since the 5th grade. Deep friendships take time to cultivate

 


Do you find it easy to make friends as an adult? Why or why not?


 

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps11 Comments

With Valentine’s Day over and boxed heart candy at 75% off, I have caught myself giving a little sigh. You see, I just love Valentine’s Day (VD). It’s something about the pink and hearts everywhere that makes it impossible for me to be mad at anyone, reminds me of how much I am loved (and love!) and allows me to embrace my inner “girl.” Though I’ve never done anything extra special on February 14, I have always thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere it provides.

When my husband and I first started dating, he made some remark about every day being Valentine’s Day with him. While he was saying it somewhat lightly, there was definitely truth to his statement. Why should a day (regardless of the history and background of it) predominantly celebrating love, be the only day we think about sharing with those we care about how much we love them? It just doesn’t seem right.

If you, like me, are feeling a little sad that the holiday has passed us by already, you can hold your chin up a little higher. Some of my blogging friends have helped me out with a fun project to share with all of you some great ideas to keep the VD feelings all year long!
 

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day + Free Printable | www.maplealps.com

We can make every day "Valentine's Day" by performing little acts of kindness for the people around us that we love: our spouses, friends, neighbours, and families. We can serve them, meet their needs, and show them just how much we love them!
- Abbey of Small Town Soul

We can make every day Valentine's Day by remembering why we love in the first place and being intentional! I love Jim Elliot's quote - "Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God." So in daily life, whether I'm spending time with someone or doing something, I strive to focus on them (instead of checking my phone, wondering what to say in response, going for efficiency over caring) and love them to the best of my ability, depending on God's grace to help me best love and serve them/perform the task at hand!
- Jessica of Duly Noted Ink

Have a quiet moment together like seeing the sunrise or sunset, viewing the ocean, sitting on a hill and embracing earth's natural beauty together or even sitting in front of a fireplace with some hot chocolate. Just being around each other is something wonderful.
- Martika of Coffee Time With Him

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day | www.maplealps.com

When our girls were 4 and 6 we started a new tradition for Valentine's Day. I set out 4 boxes, one for each family member. I had paper, pens, pink and white doilies, and lots of stickers available. Each person got to write out qualities they liked in each family member, things they appreciated, and favourite memories. It was to be a secret. On Valentine's we took turns reading them out loud. Because of their ages, they needed lots of coaching, memory jogging, and help writing/typing. They are 27 and 25 and we still do this, though sometimes it's through cards or texts throughout the day. It's really a skill I wanted to encourage--to find things we love about each other and what makes the other person feel loved.
- Terri from Terri Fullerton

I make every day Valentines Day by learning my hubby's love language and making sure I'm using it!
-Susannah from Simple Moments Stick

I'm such a weirdo but, I don't care much about Valentine's Day. It's sorta man-made and regimented. For years, I've told my husband to love me throughout the year and he can just go "light" on Valentine's Day. My love language is gifts so he sends flowers often, buys me things, surprises me with gifts all year. So I kinda feel like every day is Valentine's Day. Should he ever slack, then I might put more emphasis on that one day in February. 
- Teri of Godsy Girl

It's not something I do all the time, but every now and then I will make dinner for my kids (before an early bedtime) and then make dinner for my husband and myself after the kids go to bed. I'm also known for making treats and snacks for after the kids go to bed. Truffles anyone?
- Erin from Momma's Living Room

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day | www.maplealps.com

By writing little "love notes" filled with words of appreciation for our loved ones on a regular basis. You never know how much a kind note might mean to someone.
- Rachel from The Random Writings

We need to know how we are loved. I like to leave notes for my family that tell them I love you because . . . . your are brave, kind, considerate etc and then tell them how I saw that in them.
- Kim from Day to Day Adventures

My boyfriend texts me every morning "Good Morning Beautiful!" which puts a smile on my face and starts my day off right. 
- Pamela from Bible Geek Lifestyle

We can make every day Valentine's Day by constantly pushing ourselves to serve our spouse. Valentine's Day is great because we all seem to want to make our significant other happier. What if they had a hard day at work and it wasn't Valentine's Day? The probably need our love and support more at that time.
- Courtney from Happy Little Shopping Secret

I would say to make everyday Valentine's day we could ask ourselves, "How can I make today a little bit brighter or easier for my spouse?" It could be by doing something simple or leaving them a little note or just taking an extra minute to tell them how much you love and appreciate them.
- Kaitlyn from Lily and Mama

How to make Every Day Valentine’s Day | www.maplealps.com

We can make every day Valentine's day by having quick morning cuddles before starting the day! I love resting on my husband's chest and kissing him on the cheek with his arm around me! It's sweet and simple. Just a little way to say "I just woke up, and you're on my mind!"
- Elizabeth  from Wanderlust + Heart

From a relationship standpoint, I think making a conscious effort to do something nice for or compliment someone you care about can make each day Valentine's Day for you and that other person. From a personal standpoint, taking a few minutes each day to reflect on your life and give yourself a nice little pamper session, pep talk, or general treat can make each day Valentine's Day for you.
- Jessi from Roses in Ink

It might seem over simple ... But ... To make every day like Valentines, touch your spouse. A loving caress - a neck rub, a hand placed gently on a forearm, "footsie" under the table, a kiss on the cheek, etc. As husband and wife, we can be together all day and never touch. It happens all too easily - especially if we have children to nurture.
- Lori from Encourage Your Spouse

Meet your spouse's love language
- Audrey of Life with Little People

 

How would you make every day Valentine's Day? Let me know in the comments below!


 
 

One Year of Marriage.

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple Alps24 Comments

Guys! I can absolutely not believe that just a year ago today I married my best friend! The year went by so fast that I was scared to blink at times.  Time is a strange thing.

Almost everyone told me the first year of marriage is the hardest. While I am not sure if I've found that to be true (the transition was strangely smooth and natural for us), there were definitely some adjustments that needed to be made when joining my life with J's. If you were around six months ago for my recap on six months of marriage, you'll know that I had already done a lot of thinking about these things. Today, I invite you to see what's changed - or stayed the same - after another six.

One Year of Marriage | www.maplealps.com

In marriage, you share everything but your toothbrush

And even that may not be true. Mix-ups, confusion, and emergencies do happen...Oh, and when your spouse makes the most disgusted face ever when he realizes he's grabbed your toothbrush instead of his, try not to take it tooooooo personally ;)

The first year of marriage doesn't have to be hard.

Yes, there are adjustments that could be difficult, but approaching marriage intentionally and with open communication and a humble attitude will make these much more manageable. Make good habits that will stick for life now.

Marriage won't fix your personal problems.

Need I say more? You're not going to be suddenly selfless or never spend another wasted cent after you say, "I do." You may even still struggle with other things. Marriage is not a fix-all for personal issues. Continue growing in grace. 

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Everyone has an opinion on your marriage and advice for it.

All you have to do is smile, nod and say, "Thank you for sharing." Then, really think about it. Don't be too proud to listen if it is really sound advice - even if it hurts. If it's completely ridiculous and uncalled for, still smile, nod, and say, "Thank you for sharing." THEN RUN AWAY!

Don't Assume...

...I'll let you finish that one ;-)

Appreciate Eachother

Taking each other for granted is not a good thing. Appreciate one another - and let the other know how much you appreciate them - and why! Thoughtfulness goes a long way.

Live-in accountability is usually a good thing

Until that morning you literally get dragged you out of bed to work out ... But no one regrets a good work out, right? But seriously, having someone right there to keep you accountable in different areas of your life is amazing. Plus, being and having a personal cheerleader is a fantastic.

Everything I learned in the first six months still applies today.

You can head over here to read what I learned in six months as a refresher if you read it already, or for something new if you haven't. It turns out love is still a decision, prayer is still necessary, and cuddling is still a challenge. Go figure.


Marriage is grand, but as with every aspect of life, it needs to be approached intentionally for the greatest success. I'm still learning that myself. 

What about you? Any marriage tips for a newlywed?

PS: We'll be celebrating today, so be sure to follow along on SnapChat and Instagram (@MapleAlps)