Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

It's Christmas night and I can hear my boys playing in their room. It's getting close to bedtime but right now they are playing sweetly and I'm just going to let them. I'm exhausted, going on 5 hours of sleep last night and I pretty much wake up every hour to roll over. I know my body is getting ready for this baby to be up at all hours of the night, but every hour.. really? So, needless to say, I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning. Thankfully, my boys are not early risers. I've trained them well!

The boys finished Truth in Tinsel Tree!

We had a wonderful brunch (sounds so fancy, right?) this morning with the grandparents and my sister and brother in law. It's become a fun, family tradition that we all enjoy! After everyone leaves we do nothing! I literally laid in the bed and snoozed and played online all day. My feet needed it! They have been swelling a little, but the past two days they have been especially swollen! Lots of water and lots of rest today has been much needed! The Hubs watched TV and napped, too, while the boys played with all of their new things.

I've been spending my awake hours pondering this thought by Ann Voskamp...
"And if there is no cross in my Christmas, then my Christmas has lost Christ, and what is the manger if it not for the Messiah, the one who saves us with the scars?"

It's from this blog post by Ann from last year. We actually listened to Ann read it after we all had eaten this morning. As a believer, we know that we should daily remember the cross. After all, we're told to die daily to ourselves. But if you're anything like me, that thought often escapes me in my daily busyness. So, I wanted to take the time today, especially today, to remember the cross of Christ. He came to die. That tiny, baby, Immanuel, came to grow into a man that would die a brutal, bloody death. The Word became flesh (John 1:14). Yes, God became one of us, with us. It really is too much to understand. My prayer as I lay down tonight is that I will continue to think upon His death. The cross is not elementary, Christian. It is the gospel that we should daily preach to ourselves. And for those who don't know Him, oh my heart aches. Seek Him while He may be found.

My heart sings tonight of His great love, His closeness, His glory...

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
~O Holy Night~

Monday, December 17, 2012

Week 30 ~ Update!

Happy 30 and a half weeks! I only have a little over 9.5 weeks left! Isn't that crazy and exciting!? I just finished eating 3 Baby Cuties (that doesn't sound right, does it?) which are my new obsession. I love them. I have to confess that I haven't been as good as I was in November with my no sugar. I've done okay but not what I'd like, so I'm making a resolution to eat no sweets until Christmas Eve. That's just a week, so I can do it! And so I'm sure I'll be eating more of those Cuties in the next two weeks to help me with my cravings!

I'm feeling pretty good. My ankles have started to swell and while I was hoping to avoid that (I did with Eli), I know it's pretty normal! I'm drinking tons of water and still exercising 3-4 times a week. I'm measuring perfectly and Jude is moving around in there all the time! Any time I start to get fearful, I just think about him (and pray, obviously). I can't wait to meet my sweet baby boy, who I get to hold soon! He will be here before I know it! Emotionally, I'm doing okay. I've been extra overwhelmed with things lately. I think it's just being tired and round, raising two boys, teaching 1st grade, feeding a family, keeping a house.. you know those kind of things! I'm really trying to pray through my frustration and stress because I know it doesn't help anyone! I'm so thankful for my hubby! Bless him for enduring with me! My energy level is low but I do get bursts of it every now and then and I try to take advantage of that when it comes! Currently, my home is in need of a little TLC, so I'm praying for one of those bursts, soon! I'm sure this is just God's way of preparing me of the days ahead, new baby and messy house!

We had a meeting last week with our doula. She was such a blessing! In January we will have a few labor/birth classes with her. I was so encouraged after our meeting, not only by her but also by listening to my husband ask questions and also just share his support of me and my choices for this birth. Not only does he support me but he believes this is the right path for us as well. When you live in an area where people look at you like you're nuts for attempting a natural VBA2C, it's nice to get affirmation, especially from your husband. As I learned in my breastfeeding journey with Eli, words of support and encouragement do a world of good. I am thankful! Continue to pray that God will give me peace during these last two months! I'm still confident in His leading me in this direction. I'm fully trusting Him!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday ~ December 17, 2012

Since becoming pregnant, I've kind of fallen behind on posting my menu's. I still make them, but only in my head. I would really like to get back to it and even try some new, easy recipes over the next two months. I'd like to find some meals that I can freeze and some easy crock pot dinners. That's sometimes not easy to do when you want to make things with real food.

So, I'm starting to officially menu plan again but I can't promise anything! And even though it's the week before Christmas, we have a very laid back week. We're doing school all week but we really have no other plans! I LOVE it! Here is my easy menu plan for the week:

Taco Soup, Cheesy Corn Bread

Sloppy Joes (I double the sauce in this recipe), Green Beans, Roasted Potatoes (I've made this recipe twice and we love it. I leave out the pepper flakes because of the heat and marjoram because I don't have it. We all love it... well, Luke tolerates it but that's Luke. Eli had three helpings the last time I made it! I've made it with sweet potatoes only and also a mix of both sweet and white! I just use what I have!)

Spaghetti, Green Salad w/ Carrots and Cucumber and Homemade Ranch Dressing (I'm using these noodles now. I changed mainly because I'm trying to use less and less wheat in packaged goods. The Hubs said this was way better than the whole wheat I usually use.)

Thai Noodles (We had Thai food for the first time last week and I loved it. The boys had Chick Fil A, but they will be trying this! I'll definitely be lowering the spice, using coconut oil instead of veggie oil and adding shredded chicken!)

Southwestern Chicken and White Bean Soup (I add extra beans and use homemade taco seasoning mix), Cheesy Corn Bread (from earlier in the week, from frozen!)

It's been a while but maybe you remember I usually only plan 5 meals. The other two nights will be leftover nights.. or breakfast/sandwiches... something simple!

Speaking of breakfast, this week I'm planning a Dutch Baby Pancake and trying out this cranberry orange bread! Both will go well with fruit. I'll let you know how the bread turns out! I made it tonight but I'm a little skeptical! The other mornings will be eggs, fruit and oatmeal. Lunches will be sandwiches and leftovers! I might also whip up some stove top mac and cheese if I get a wild hair! Add a green veggie and it's lunch!

Linking up with!

Have a fansastic week!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

There's no place like home..

We're 3 months into our new home and it's starting to feel like my home. Just this week, I've put out pictures and done some decorating. Seeing these familiar pieces that have been in our past homes (we've lived in 6 in the 8 years we've been married!) has just made things feel better. Oh, it's still a mess and a work in progress but I'm starting to feel the warmth that comes with making a home. Christmas is also coming and I adore Christmas decorating! I see decorating for Christmas just a big part of the celebration that is Christ' birth! It builds the excitement and creates lasting memories in the minds of our families. I have fond, fond memories of Christmas in my childhood home and I pray my boys will have the same.

"The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."
~ Thomas Moore

I've always said that I am not good at decorating. And admittedly, it doesn't come naturally! But I do enjoy it. And guess what? It can be done inexpensively, too! That is a huge bonus for me! My desire is to make my house a home and in doing that, a part (even small) of my job is to work on creating a place for my family to live. I want it to evoke feelings of comfort and security for my family. I want my boys to feel safe and happy here. I want my husband to come home and know this is his place of rest and I have made it for him. Will it always be spotless? Ha! I have two boys and one on the way. You can figure out that one on your own! But I can work at creating a lovely place that is ours.

"God made woman to be a maker, to open her empty places and let life be knit from within her. Creativity, it’s good theology; it’s what God did in the beginning." Ann Voskamp

I've found a lot of great frugal, decorating ideas on Pinterest.  I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. I think the concept is great but I think that, as women, if we aren't careful we can leave Pinterest feeling completely discontented. So, I share this tip and at the same time to say, be careful! Guard your heart against discontentment! I've also been attempting to look around my home and see if there are things that we have that I can use in decorating. For instance, I love jars and typically keep any that I get (especially my honey jars!). So, this week I thought, "Hey, I can use that!" Here is what I came up with:

Obviously, these are for Christmas but you could fill them with anything and use any type of ribbon for year round decoration. I got the ornaments, ribbon and candy all at the dollar tree and the jars were already mine! I know this kind of thing comes easy for some but not for me! I think they will look great sitting on an counter or an end table!

Once I get the house decorated, hopefully, I'll have more pictures to share! I'm still trying to come up with some creative ways to decorate our hall bath. I'm thinking about letting the boys do some art on a few canvases! Is that crazy!? Maybe, but it will be fun! I also have an idea of what I want to do on the back wall of the homeschool (den) area. It's a little bit of a bigger project and one I'm going to need some artistic help with! Oh and I am having a baby (28 weeks today!) so his room is kind of a priority too! It's all a work in progress!
May we seek to glorify God in all we do, the big and small, the glorious and the mundane! Let it be all for Him!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pumpkin Bars


Up until Thanksgiving I had been without refined sugar for 4 weeks! I was going to definitely have some dessert on Thanksgiving... and turns out, the day after too (I'm weak!). But today that ends, until Christmas! These little beauties are sort of legal because they don't have refined sugar, they have sucanat! It's still sugar, yes, so you should enjoy in moderation. I have quite a bit left from Thanksgiving (I made two pans!), so I'm putting what I have left in the freezer for the boys for treats (and maybe I'll have something when I'm craving something sweet). I thought they were great and the boys really liked them! I made them to take to both Thanksgiving meals and I'm wondering if anyone knew they were made with whole wheat flour and sucanat. If so, no one told me! You of course can make them with all regular ingredients.

Pumpkin Bars
(adapted from this recipe)

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sucanat (If using regular sugar, I would use half brown sugar to give it a deeper taste. Oh and when I make them again for us, I'm going to lower the sugar amount some. It's just what I do. I like to see how low I can get!)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together. Add spices and salt and mix. Next, add eggs and pumpkin puree and mix well. Last, add flour and mix just until combined. Fold in pecans. The batter will be thick. Spread batter into pan evenly and bake for 30-35 minutes. They should start to brown slightly on top and the edges should start to pull away from the pan. Let cool and cut into bars.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Dutch Pancake with Sauteed Apples

A while back I posted that I was trying to get away from my kids eating cereal every day for breakfast. While I choose healthier cereal options, I wanted to try some new things to get away from that box! So, here is one of our newest, easiest breakfast options. I came across this dutch pancake when I was going through my cookbooks. I found a Sesame Street cookbook that I had received from WIC last year. It actually has some really good recipes in it! I changed the recipe up a bit to avoid bad oils, low fat milk and white flour. It turned out really well and the boys loved it! The boys even helped me mix it up and enjoyed watching it puff up in the oven.

Dutch Pancake with Sauteed Cinnamon Apples

2 eggs
1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
2 tablespoons of sugar (I used sucanat, and did a scant 2 TBS)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 large apples, peeled and sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease an 8 or 9 in cake pan (I used 8 inch). Mix together eggs, melted butter and milk. Add flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir until smooth. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake the pancake for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350. Bake another 5-8 minutes. I actually baked mine another 10 minutes. The smaller pan and whole wheat is more than likely what caused it to need extra time baking. I took it out and tested it with a knife to make sure it was cooked through! While the pancake is baking, add butter to a large skillet. Add apples and cinnamon (I didn't measure, just sprinkled) to pan and stir. Cook until apples are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Slice pancake like a pie and serve apples on top! Easy and delicious!

*Here's a tip that I've probably said before but I always sift my whole wheat flour before measuring. WW flour is heavier than white flour so I whisk it in the bag before measuring it. It seems to help make things come out better. In the past I've used King Arthur White Whole Wheat but I recently have been using Hodgson Mill because it's GMO free. It's heavier than the white wheat but it's working!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Happy 26 weeks today! I'm thisclose to being in my third trimester. Most say it starts between week 27-28. I have people constantly ask me how I'm feeling so I thought I'd tell you! I feel great! Honest! I have been blessed beyond measure with great pregnancies in the past and so far this one has been the same! Other than some hip pain during sleep and a little sciatic nerve pain late in the evening (which I just take as my body saying "sit down"), I feel wonderful!! I'm so thankful! 

Jude is growing! I can tell because I am growing! This past week is the first week I've felt literal growing pains. I can feel my tummy stretching and have had some round ligament pain. Again, nothing big, but I can feel it! He's very active late at night and early morning. That should be fun come February! I'm still going no refined sugar (3 weeks tomorrow!). Although, I have had small amounts in cereal. I do sometimes crave a bowl of cereal! It's Kashi Island Vanilla (so good!), which is organic sugar and much lower than most other brands but it's still more refined than I'd like. So, I'm not really counting those 3 or 4 bowls I've had as a snack! It would be different if I were eating Lucky Charms or something. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving because I am having dessert!

I have finally picked out a nursery theme. I'm excited about it and hopefully we can start working on everything soon! Since we moved two and a half months ago, that room has become the storage room and so we're slowly going through it all! We've got a baby coming in 3 months, so we've got to get it ready! Although, it's a little silly as all my babies stay in my room until they are several months old. I like to have my babies close and well, they like it too! We're using white, crimson and gray for his room. When we get it finished I'll share pictures!

Speaking of the house, we're still working on getting every done! My mom has been helping with the trim work and it's getting close to being finished. The Hubs and my father in law moved the TV again and we rearranged the living room. It looks much better but now there is more painting to be done from where the TV was moved! The next projects (I hope) are to sand and stain the table and cabinet for the den. This is where I will store much of my homeschool stuff. I'm praying for a nice day to get that done outside! My job has been sorting through things. I've been working on it in small amounts, going through stuff and getting rid of what we don't need! I've also been doing some organizing and today I'm heading to the Dollar Tree to see if I can find some plastic baskets to help organize the bathroom drawers and cabinets. Growing a baby, teaching a 1st grader, feeding and cleaning for a family doesn't leave much time for anything else! But I love it!

Some things you can pray with me about concerning the pregnancy: a doula. Goodness, they are expensive. My Dr wants me to have one for labor and I'd like to have one. But the money is the problem. So, I may be doing this labor on my own and that will be okay. My prayer is that God will provide if it's something I should have. I'm trusting that if it's not, He will see me through! Secondly, continue to pray that this labor will happen naturally and the VBA2C will be successful!

 "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19


Monday, November 12, 2012

Battling the List

We are reading through the book of Romans in our Thursday night Bible study at church. I am enjoying it so much. The Word truly is bread and I am filled when I leave on Thursday nights. I think book studies are great, in fact we just started Lord, I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur with our ladies. But I don't think there is enough deep, genuine study of God's Word alone. God's Word alone is sufficient. So, we're taking a portion of scripture, observing it, getting correct interpretation (There is only one interpretation and that is the correct one!), and then applying application.

Two weeks ago, we went through Romans 7:1-6. The verses are speaking about being bound to sin and the law and then being bound to Christ, which brought up a great discussion about legalism. Legalism. Such an ugly word. What is legalism? My favorite definition from those that I've read is this one: "the judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws." So, how did this apply to me? I have personally struggled with legalism and admittedly, still do on occasion. In my past, in churches I have been to, it seemed that there were certain sins spoken of often in sermons or in teaching. It seemed that those sins were 'worse' than others. Some of them were what you would expect but some were not. Some weren't even really sins but more of opinions about what was right or wrong without biblical backing, which is scary, dangerous stuff. This lead to thoughts that if I was doing these things, God was not pleased with me. If I didn't do these things, God was pleased me. It also lead to thoughts of "if I do this, God is not happy with me, so He will punish me." What terrible, wrong thoughts about God! And it still plagues me to this day. I'll explain later more of how I fight those thoughts.

At the same time, there were also things that were spoken of often about what I should be doing. I needed to be at this, this and this. I also needed to be doing this and that at home. Oh and I needed to make sure I was doing this too. And if I wasn't, God was not pleased. If I was, God was happy with me. So mentally, in my mind, I had a check list. If I did all of these things, I was a good Christian. If I didn't do them, I was backsliding or a 'carnal Christian' (which is not even a true term).  So, my check list of what to do and what not to do decided whether or not God was happy with me. Essentially it decided whether or not God loved me. My list became my idol and my relationship with God was pretty much non-existent. My outward walk became more important than my heart for God, my worship of God, and my relationship with God. It took me a while to even realize what was going on! It was such a part of my life. I was living for others. Unfortunately, this can also cause us to become very judgemental of others and even begin to think highly of ourselves when we are doing more or seemingly doing better than someone else, on that 'list'. Oh, isn't it so horrible?
It sounds a lot like the Pharisee in Luke 18!

Let us remember this, "For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, the Lord looks on the heart.”

So, how do we stop this? For one, it's very dangerous to speak against specific sins from the pulpit. When preaching a text, of course, preach the text. But to pick and choose specific sins to harp on is just dangerous. Also making laws about what you should be participating in and such is the same. Personally though (since I'm doubting many pastors are reading my blog! Ha!), what can we do? My answer: Preach the gospel to ourselves. Remind ourselves of grace.

Grace. Christ came to cover our sins. Because of my trust in Christ's sacrifice for my sins, God sees me as His. He loves me because of the blood of Christ. It's His righteousness, not mine! Because I am in Christ, I am reconciled with God. My standing with God does not change! Romans 8:1 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." No condemnation! What a glorious thing! So, I remind myself of grace. I remind myself of His love. I remind myself of what He did for me.

So now, let's ask the same question as Paul did...  "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?" (Romans 6:1) and then his answer.. " By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" (verse 2). What a great question! Do we keep sinning because of grace? Of course not! We can never justify our sin because of grace! We have died to sin and come alive in Christ! Will we sin? Of course, we will battle our flesh until we are out of this earthly body! But grace, the gospel, compels us to love Him. J.C Ryle writes, "If we love a person, we like to please him. We are glad to consult his tastes and opinions, to act upon his advice and do the things which he approves... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!" When we dig deep and know grace, our heart is overflowing with love and gratitude. And when we love Christ deep, the only way to love him, we desire to obey Him!

So, my friends, let go of those chains of legalism and live your life in the grace you're already covered in! Erase that mental check list and just spend time with your Father. Ask Him to help you break down those walls. It is still a fight for me. He is always faithful to remind me of His grace and I know He will do the same for you! He loves you abundantly!

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, November 2, 2012

Beef Tips and Gravy Over Rice

I try to always plan my menu's but on tight budget weeks sometimes it's just whatever I can come up with! This past week was one of those! I had some chopped stew meat in my freezer. Typically I make beef stew with this but I didn't have any potatoes. A quick search on the internet landed me at a crock pot beef tip recipe. Well, I didn't have time to use my crock pot at this point and was missing some ingredients but it gave me enough motivation to come up with something! The recipe turned out so good! Eli cleaned his plate and that rarely happens! It's easy and very frugal since stew meat is one of the cheapest meats you can buy!

Beef Tips and Gravy Over Rice, Serves 4

1-1.5 lb stew meat
1 onion, sliced thin
3-4 TBS soy sauce*
3-4 cups of water*
1/3 cup flour, plus 3/4 cup water
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Oil for cooking (I used refined coconut oil)
Salt and pepper
Cooked Rice (I used brown)

Heat oil in stock pot. Add beef stew meat with the sliced onions and brown (I peppered them lightly, be careful with the salt though, especially if you are using beef broth or full sodium soy sauce. I didn't salt mine at all until the end!). Once the tips are browned add 3 cups of water, plus 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook on low for 1.5-2 hours or until tender. I added one more cup of water with soy sauce at about the 1.5 hour mark, so just watch your liquid. It wasn't absolutely necessary but it made more gravy, which we like! :) Mine took right around 2 hours. Once the beef tips are tender, add in your parsley and garlic powder and turn the heat up to a low boil. Make a slurry with the 1/3 cup of flour, plus 3/4 cup of water. What this means is to mix your flour and water together with a fork until the flour is incorporated. Once your beef mixture is at a low boil, add in your slurry stirring constantly. Continue stirring until you get the thickness you desire and to cook out the flour taste (about 5 minutes). You may have to add more slurry if you want a thicker gravy. Taste to season, add salt and pepper as needed. Serve over cooked rice.

The Hubs doesn't like rice so I made these whole wheat drop biscuits for him to have with his! They were really yummy, too! I'm sure the first part of this recipe could be made in the crock pot and then thickened right before dinner. I haven't tried it yet but will soon!

*Soy sauce sounds weird but I read a tip somewhere that if you don't have beef broth (and I rarely do!) you can use 1 cup of water and 1 TBS of soy sauce. It doesn't taste like soy sauce, but gives it that deep flavor. You can certainly use beef broth if you'd like. I use MSG free, low sodium soy sauce!

Let me know if you try it!" >
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So, do you celebrate Halloween?

It's fall! And I love it! I think I've mentioned it before but I really do love fall! I especially love October! October is my birthday month and the month the Hubs and I got married. I love the weather, football, food... all of it!

So, what about Halloween? Well, I've read a few articles online about it from various perspectives, did my research (you know I like to research!) and had many conversations with the Hubs about it. And yes, I've prayed about it! There is a lot of confusion on how Halloween and it's origin truly started. It has roots in paganism, yet it also seems the church (as it's known for doing) attempted to counter it with it's own holiday (All Saint's Day). In the past those days were separated (one on October 31, one on November 1 or 2). Anyway, you can do your own research! It really is a bit fuzzy (or at least that's how I felt after reading about the history). My thoughts are that it's kind of mashed up into this American holiday. I know there are many out there who choose not to celebrate it at all, like they don't even mention it and pretend it doesn't exist. Then there are those who do celebrate it in some forms, as in allowing their children to dress up and go to a fall festival or two. (If you allow your children to participate in the traditions -dressing up, getting treats, even if they are from a church- whether they are on October 31 or not, you're still somewhat participating in the holiday.) Then there are those who allow their kids to dress up and actually go trick-or-treating on Halloween Day. So, what category do we fall in?

We fall in the third. And before I go any further, I fully respect the choices of other families. These types of things fall in the "liberty" areas. I appreciate their viewpoint and hope to receive the same from them. I'm just sharing our decision. So, yes, my children dress up and they go trick-or-treating. I'm not a fan of skeletons, ghosts, and the other more gory aspects. We avoid those aisles at the store and we avoid those types of houses as well! So here is how our night looks:

The boys dress up (Star Wars is the pick this year!) early in the evening. By 5pm we're ready to leave the house. We make three or four stops visiting the Hub's family first and then we head to my mom's. My mom's neighborhood is a very busy trick or treating neighborhood. Most years they get close to 200 trick or treators! My mom always makes a big pot of chili along with hot dogs. Once we get to her house, about 6pm, we let the boys take a trip down the street to a few houses that we are familiar with. Several of their church members live in their neighborhood and we usually stop by those houses and then head back. We eat dinner and the boys enjoy giving away candy to other kids who come to their door (we always hand out million dollar bills too). Some friends of ours always stop by with their boys and they get to play for a bit and we always get their picture together. Around 8:30 pm we head back to the house and that's it!  Luke was curious why some people don't celebrate Halloween and I just told them it was a personal choice. We do take the time to talk about the evil aspects in basic terms that he can understand. That's unfortunately something we have to deal with every single day of our lives. Evil is everywhere and every day. But we also don't focus too much on that at this point and at his age. I told him that if anyone asked him if we celebrate Halloween to answer, "We dress up to have fun and spend time with friends and family!" And that's the truth! And I believe we do it in such a way that glorifies God!

My only issue with Halloween actually is the candy! We try to limit candy in our home as much as possible, although it's nearly impossible! So, we keep it as treats only. On Halloween night my kids get a few pieces and maybe the next few days they get a piece or two, then it magically disappears. We don't go to many houses, so we don't have a lot anyway.

One thing to mention and for us as believers to remember, is that no matter what you do and what your convictions are harping on or having a pious attitude on 'liberty' areas of scripture do nothing to soften the hearts of unbelievers and it also doesn't create unity within the body of Christ. So we must be careful in how we present our convictions and where our heart is on the matter!

*Just a side note. We do talk about Reformation Day during school and as a family. Some may be wondering whether or not we incorporate that and of course we do. Reformation Day is our history. Halloween is just like a fun little party we have. They don't even compare!

Have a safe and fun Halloween or day! ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In sickness and in health...

As a stay at home/homeschooling mom, I'm wishing today I had a sick day! :) No really, my boys are being great today and school only takes us at the most two hours to finish. But the thought of staying in bed all day does sound appealing! I've been fighting this cold since Saturday evening. My goal is to NOT go to the Dr. In the past my sinus infections have always turned really bad within 24 hours and I always ended up in the Dr's office. They have gotten better with dietary changes and also with some natural home remedies. I'm praying I can fight this one off! So, while I sit here stuffy (on my 8th wedding anniversary no less), I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite home remedies, all of which are completely pregnancy safe.

I love garlic. It's really my goal to eat a raw clove a day but when I was so sick with this little guy, that was the thing I wanted least! Now that I'm better, I'm back to it but I have increased my raw cloves to 2-3 a day for the cold. Below are some good links on the benefits of garlic (not just for colds!) and also ways to use them. It's best to take raw garlic with food as it can be rough on the stomach. I usually have it on a piece of buttered toast or in a salad.

Garlic's uses (and benefits)
Garlic for Colds And Flu and here also
Cream of Garlic Soup - haven't tried it yet but it looks yummy to me!

Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry syrup is great for warding off illnesses. It's especially good for warding off and treating the flu. I take a tablespoon daily during flu season but up it to 4 tablespoons (or more) when I have a cold. I get my dried elderberries from Bulk Herb Store and use this recipe to make my syrup. Super easy! Here is an excerpt from Bulk Herb Store on elderberries: "Dried Elderberries are tasty flu fighters. They contain compounds that inhibit the enzyme flu viruses from penetrating our cell membranes and also prevent the virus from invading respiratory tract cells. Taken early enough, as a tea or tincture, you may be able to head off an upcoming illness before it becomes a full-blown flu. They are especially good for bronchitis, colds, coughing, and influenza. Also contains substances that ease inflammation and pain and soothe the intestines, thus making them useful in all inflammatory bowel diseases."

Vitamin C
We all know Vitamin C plays a huge role in our immunity. It simply boosts our immune system function. The research I've read doesn't say vitamin c will help prevent colds and there also isn't much research on how it effects a cold. But I have read that it does help with the duration of a cold and that's good enough for me! The boys and I are currently taking a daily extra dose of C a day (me 500 mg and the boys 250 mg each). I have upped my dose to 1000mg but am probably going to up it to 1500mg since I'm feeling a little worse today. I have heard of people going MUCH higher than that! Just remember to slowly slack off so you don't have any ill effects! Vitamin C has also been known to help scar tissue (I just recently found that out) turn into healthy collagen and heal connective tissue... so bonus for me considering I'm praying for a VBA2C!. We are taking these vitamin C chewables. It's important with any supplement to use a good source. Typically what you can buy in the grocery store is not going to cut it because most is made in China and comes from GMO corn. :/ As with all of these supplements and treatments, know your source!

Here is a good article on treating colds naturally, especially mentioning elderberry and vitamin c. It also mentions echinacea which I haven't done much research on.

And while I'm at it, there are lots of amazing articles on how vitamin c is fantastic for cancer prevention and cancer treatment!

Probiotics are fantastic for good gut health. And gut health greatly (which is an understatement) effects overall health. Because of our mainstream diet our guts are out of whack! We need lots of good bacteria to help. I would love to do milk kefir or kombucha but at this point in my life I'm settling for a pill form probiotic. I buy mine from Beeyoutiful, a company I trust. From Livestrong:

"Probiotics are beneficial to health since friendly bacteria are essential to proper development of the immune system. They aid in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as protect against microorganisms that could cause disease and upset the balance of the microorganisms in the body. Probiotics are useful in treating many health conditions such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, speeding treatment of certain intestinal infections, reducing recurrence of bladder cancer, as well as preventing and treating certain conditions such as vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, eczema in children, as well as colds or flu."


Cod Liver Oil
CLO is great for your overall health it is full of vitamin D and A and Omega 3 fatty acids. Here is a great article on cod liver oil and it's history, benefits and other great info! We do not currently take fermented cod liver oil (which is the best form) but we do take Beeyoutiful's cod liver oil. Well, we meaning the boys and I. I swallow mine and the boys take theirs in a shot of orange juice since they can't swallow a pill yet. The orange juice cuts the oil. Luke just pops the pill in his mouth and then chases it with OJ. Eli has me mix it in his oj and then takes it out of a medicine dropper! The Beeyoutiful brand are relatively inexpensive and are screened for mercury and other impurities. Maybe one day we can take the more expensive stuff! Here is another great article on the benefits (and there are many, much more than just for colds!):

CLO: Number One Superfood by WAPF

Homemade Bone BrothChicken soup is good for the soul... and for the cold. It's an age old remedy but there is a lot of truth to the history! It's highly nutritional! It's also a great and tasty way to get extra hydration and vitamins in you when you're not up to eating much! Here is a great article on bone broths. Here is another great article from WAPF (Weston A. Price Foundation) but admittedly I don't follow all of their rules (like using vinegar), though I want to try! Today, I heated up some of my homemade chicken stock with some onions, garlic and ginger!

Stay hydrated!! Water helps your body rid itself of toxins. It's simple, staying hydrated will help your body heal best! Staying hydrated is especially needed when you have a fever, which causes your body to lose water quicker. Being well hydrated with a cold or the flu will also keep your secretions (lovely word!) thing and it will be easier for your body to clear them!

Saline Rinse
I love my SinuCleanse! I really should use it all the time because I am prone to sinus infections but I typically don't unless I feel one coming on. Here is a good article on how nasal rinsing helps clear colds and sinus infections. Saline rinse helps your nasal passages to stay moisturized which reduces inflammation. It also helps to thin mucus (another lovely word!) and keep the nasal cavity clear. Tips: ALWAYS use distilled water. Here's why. And make sure you use the right kind of saline mixture. You can make your own mix but I just buy the saline packages! It's a weird feeling when you start to use a saline rinse, but you get use to it!

I'm a weirdo and love all of this kind of stuff. It's amazing what God has so easily provided for us to help heal our bodies the most natural way. I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again), I'm not entirely against modern medicine. It's necessary in lots of ways but so often there are alternative ways to treat our bodies that do not harm it (like many Rx drugs do) in the long run. Not to mention being preventative by our diet. Oh, that is another post and a lesson I'm continuing to learn! Always praying for wisdom! :)

 "Be not wise in your own eyes;
  fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
 It will be healing to your flesh
  and refreshment to your bones."
Proverbs 3:7-8

Friday, October 12, 2012

Favorite Breakfast Recipes!

(Kale and Onion Breakfast Casserole)
I'm in the process of getting rid of our morning cereal! Yikes! I have to admit, I LOVE cereal. I love it for breakfast and as a late night snack! My current favorite is Kashi Island Vanilla. I just really want us to get out of the habit of eating it regularly. In this, I'm hoping to save money and eat healthier!

I'm not a morning person. So anything difficult in the morning is not going to fly. Something I can mix pretty quickly and pop in the oven is a good place to start. Or... something I can make the night before is even better! So, I've been mentally making a list of some of our favorite breakfast recipes and I thought I'd share them with you!

Our Favorite Pancake- Yummy, whole wheat buttermilk pancakes! I've added blueberries to these for blueberry pancakes and also Enjoy Life chocolate chips for special breakfasts! I'll also sometimes add a good spoonful of cinnamon for a different taste. I use Coomb's Organic Grade B Maple Syrup to top them! Oh and I don't use 1/3 cup of sucanat, I only use about a tablespoon in the batter. Double the recipe to freeze for later!

Maple Pecan Muffins- my boys love these! We actually had them for breakfast this morning. I use pecan chips because my boys don't like anything with large chunks of nuts! I tried out a new whole wheat flour for the first time with these. It's not as soft as the King Arthur White Wheat but it was still good. I bought it because there was no King Arthur and this new one is non-GMO verified.

Cinnamon Bun Muffins (with coconut flour)- The first time I made these it was my first time using coconut flour. It's different (softer, more cake like), but not bad and a great way to use less wheat (which I think we could all benefit from). Coconut flour is expensive so, one bag (in the freezer) has been used a handful of times over the past several months. I'm really hoping to try out some new flours in the future.

Spiced Pear Muffins- My very own recipe! Super good! I make half with no nuts (or chopped very finely) for the boys. I have several muffin recipes on the blog but didn't want to post them all. You can click the "Recipe" tab at the top to see them!

Sour Cream Waffles- So good! With butter and sour cream.. I mean of course they would be! As the pancakes, these are good to make a double batch for the freezer! I also use 100% whole wheat flour!

Egg in a Hole- Luke doesn't like eggs, unlike Eli who loves scrambled eggs! But when I make this, Luke will eat them! I guess it's the presentation of it all! It's perfect made with homemade bread!

Cinnamon Toast or Cheese Toast- Um, no recipe for these. :) I make a mix of sucanat (1 cup) and cinnamon (4 TBS) and keep it stored in the cabinet for cinnamon toast, which we have maybe twice a month! :) Butter, sugar and cinnamon.. yum!

Crunchy Granola Bars - When I make these I just chop them up and use them as granola! I usually leave out the chocolate chips and add cranberries, sunflower seeds or raisins (or a combination)! This is going to be my replacement for cereal! I love it with milk, the boys love it by itself!

Kale and Onion Breakfast Casserole- So the boys won't touch this but it's still good! Maybe you're lucky and your kids will! It's super good and super easy! The hubs and I love it!

I'd like to try a good baked oatmeal recipe that the boys might actually eat! I love oatmeal but they won't hardly touch it!  I recently made one on that I found on Pinterest (can't find it now!) but they wouldn't eat it. I loved it though! There are SO many to choose from though! I'd also like to try this muffin tin egg recipe (with full fat cheese and maybe some nitrate free bacon since my boys don't eat sausage). Luke might eat eggs in the shape of a muffin!

What are some of your favorite non-cereal breakfast?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just for some clarity...

I've been wanting to write this post for a while now just to clarify where I am in my 'real food/natural health' journey. I post a lot of information on facebook about food and health. Most of the food articles are about eating clean, real food and attempting to avoid GMO's, pesticides.. you know all the bad stuff. A lot of my health post deal with the dangers of vaccinations and alternative (more natural) treatments of illnesses (cancer being a big one). A lot of the reason I post these is for my own benefit. I like to read them and a lot of times I'll go back and re-read them or pin them on Pinterest so I can use them as a resource later. As far as vaccinating goes, I'm doing a lot of research on not vaccinating because that's the path I'm thinking about with baby Jude. I know you can't believe everything you read but when you start to dig and do your own research it's really amazing what you'll find out! I pray that God will direct me to the truth when I'm researching or learning about something. I know God is sovereign and some things we absolutely can't control. But there are so many things that we can and that is why I enjoy learning about so much of this stuff. I love my family so much and want to do the best I can for them. It's part of my job as a mother and a wife.

So, in saying all of that please know I'm not perfect. We don't eat perfectly. Just ask my family! We still eat fast food occasionally. My kids still get candy (thankfully, less and less). We don't eat all organic or all GMO free. We just can't get it here, nor can we afford it. For goodness sakes, you can look at me and know I have my fair share of "don't" foods. I wish I could give it all up but that's a battle I'm still fighting, I guess. Or maybe it's a battle I feel like I don't have to fight, as long as it's rare and a treat (rare is where my problem is!). I haven't figured that out yet either. It's a journey I'm on and it's a journey I so enjoy seeing others on. God's given us an amazing body and it's our job to take care of it as best as we can. For myself personally, I feel that if I'm given truthful, factual information about something I have a responsibility. What am I going to do with that information? My most recent thing is apples. I use to shrug them off. I can't afford organic (not to mention they are hard to find) apples but my kids love them. So, I knew they were bad as far as pesticides but when I started reading things about how they are one of the top cancer causing foods... well, I just couldn't do it anymore. I can't give them to my kids. So, no more apples for us unless they are organic and cheap! And well, that never happens. Don't worry, there are plenty of fruits and veggies on the "Clean 15" list. Pineapple being #3. We eat a lot of pineapple! As a matter of fact right now we have pineapple, mangoes and kiwi in our fridge all of which are on the clean 15 list. But please know, we're not perfect here either. Sometimes we just need some strawberries or grapes! I can't get those organic around here. Anyway, I'm going off in left field. "Land the plane," as the Hubs would say!

My point: I'm on a journey. I hope you are too! You and your family are worth it. But please don't think less of me if you see me and my family at Chick Fil A. Or if you see me get a slice of pie at the next church function. Let's learn from one another, give grace to one another and do it all for the glory of God!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Half Way!

Yesterday was the official half way mark of my pregnancy! 20 WEEKS! That is of course, if this little guy doesn't go over due! Both of the boys came on (Eli) or before (Luke was 3 days early) their due date. I'm hoping for the same this time!

I was feeling a little fear yesterday thinking about the upcoming birth. I have had my moments here and there so I sat down and read several birth stories for encouragement. Most of them I read from facebook page called "The Skeptical Mother" and were home births. Obviously, I won't be having a home birth (for many reasons) but mainly because it just wouldn't be safe considering my past two births. But these home births are so fascinating! Women are so amazing and it's really only because of God's design! It really did encourage me to read their stories. I can't guarantee how my attempt at an un-medicated, VBA2C is going to go, but I can trust in the One who's lead me in this direction. So, continue to pray for me, for my confidence in God, for my uterus to heal completely (He can do it!) so that I can birth this sweet baby boy.

Speaking of this sweet little boy.... we finally have a name! His name will be Jude. For obvious reasons I'm not going to share his full name. If you're important enough, you know it. We have picked biblical names for all of our boys. We always like to look at the meanings, the person behind the name and of course, whether or not we just like the way it sounds. In my mind I kept going back and forth between Jude and Asa. They are both great names! But the more I prayed and asked God what his name was the more I knew it was Jude. Jude means "praise or thanks"! We have been thanking God for this sweet little person as soon as we found out he was coming! I can't tell you how many people we had praying for us after our miscarriage and I praise God for hearing our prayers!

And lastly, a little update about how I'm feeling. The nausea is gone and has been gone for a month and a half! I am still pretty tired most days. I think that's just life with two active little boys. My iron is good and I'm eating well. My rest could be better. I have myself propped up on pillows most nights because I have lots of hip pain if I try to lay on either side. I have no real cravings... except a Wendy's frosty. And I have yet to have one. I've been wanting one for several weeks now haven't let myself have one. I get heartburn occasionally but mainly when I eat a big meal. I can feel this little guy more and more each day and have even seen him kick from the outside. No one else has seen it because well, you have to be super patient to see it! It won't be long though and it will be very visible from the outside! I'm exercising about 4 days a week, walking about a mile and a half per day. I haven't made it to two miles yet, maybe next week! I'm using my Walk Away the Pounds DVDs and just roll my eyes when the lady says, "Tighten that tummy! Tuck your belly button into your spine!" Um.. yeah, I'll do that! Haha!

So, things are going well and I am blessed. Really, the minor things that go on in life, like unexpected lab bills, broken washing machines and boxes still all over, really are just that.. minor. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I am blessed.

What a wonderful day. The Lord has been so good to me. Today we found out the gender of our sweet little baby number three! It was a little bit stressful actually getting the sonogram (long story!) but it all worked out and we were able to see what this little person is! So, without further ado... baby number three is.......

Yes! That will make me a momma of three boys! How fun! I can't tell you how excited I am! And honestly, throughout this pregnancy, I've thought "I would love a little girl." But now that I know, well, I'm just thrilled! He's mine and I am so abundantly blessed. God has been gracious to me and given me (and the Hubs) three little boys to raise. What a responsibility and an honor! This sweet little boy has two big brothers to look up to and an amazing Daddy as well. He has lots to look forward to! I could not be happier! I'm so, so thankful to the Lord for the family that He's chosen to give me. I am going to bed with a grateful heart!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Psalm 103:1

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Disease

What a week it's been. I'm finally feeling better after having a terrible crick in my neck and headache that accompanied it! I just wanted to take a minute and share a little about what God's been teaching me the past few days. I have been reading through the gospels because I just deeply want to immerse myself in the life of Christ. I need to know Him better and how better to know Him than by reading His very words?

This past Sunday, my sweet hubby preached at church. And I'm little biased but I think he did a great job! He did a little overview of the first few books of Matthew and then preached out of Matthew 11. "Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (vs. 29). In his overview he touched on the verses in Matthew 9 about the woman with the discharge. It just so happened that I was almost to that story in my own personal reading in the gospel of Mark. I have always been fond of the story because of her words, "If I only touch his garment, I will be made well." But I have been thinking deeper this week about her story. I've wondered how must it have felt to be her. Today I read of the account in Mark's gospel and it gives a little more detail. First if you understand the way things were in those days you know that she was an outcast. Pardon me for being blunt but all woman at their 'time of the month' were considered ceremonial unclean. So, having a discharge of blood for 12 years, she was completely untouchable and shunned by society. Like a leper, if she were to go in public she would have to declare herself, "Unclean, unclean!" for all to hear. I can imagine she didn't get out much. Scripture tells us she had exhausted all funds trying to find a cure. She was getting worse and she had no hope. She would have to continue to live this lonely, isolated life.

Then she heard Jesus was coming. She had heard of Him, scripture tells us that much. She knew He was healing people. Maybe word had carried across the sea about the healing of the man called Legion. And maybe she had heard that the demons had called him "the Son of God". Maybe she had heard of Him speaking to the storm and causing it to be still. Only the Creator can speak to it's creation, right? I'm not sure what all she knew or believed of Jesus, but she knew enough to believe He could heal her. And she knew she had to get to Him. The language in the text suggest that her one line in scripture is one she said over and over to herself, "If I can touch even his garments, I will be made well." She was on a mission. She had to get to Him. At this point in Jesus' ministry, I imagine it was pretty difficult to get very close to Jesus. People of all kinds were flocking to see him, some for true need and some out of curiosity. Some wanted to find any fault in what He did or said. Just imagine the crowd. The Bible says, "A great crowd followed him and thronged about him." There were tons of people and they were pressing into Jesus as he walked. She put aside her shame and embarrassment. She pushed her way through the crowd. No longer saying, "Unclean, unclean" but rather..

"If I can just touch his garments, I will be made well...

If I can just touch his garments, I will be made well...

If I can just touch his garments, I will be made well... "

Oh her faith! And what happens? She comes up behind Jesus and touches his garment and immediately she is healed. Jesus turns and says, "Who touched my garments?" His disciples must have thought this was a crazy question because they pretty much say, "Um, do you see this crowd? I'm sure lots of people have touched you." But when the woman saw Jesus looking for her, she fell at his feet and told Him her story. Oh to have been there! I can't wait to find her in heaven and ask her about that first conversation with Jesus. And Jesus' reply to her is, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace. Your suffering is over." Daughter... Jesus called her daughter! She was no longer unclean or an outcast. She was daughter. She had been healed physically and spiritually and now was a daughter of the Most High. What a beautiful, beautiful picture of the gospel!

I am thanking Jesus today that I am daughter as well. I'm also remembering my hopeless, helpless days. My life was unclean and disease ridden. My disease was sin. It reminds me of this song..

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God's love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace!

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ

Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You!

And yes, today my heart sings... "Hallelujah! All I have is Christ! Hallelujah! Jesus is my life!" And my dearest friends, if you find yourself hopeless and without Christ, oh just reach out and touch His garment! He alone can heal the greatest disease that seperates us from God. He is faithful to heal and He is faithful to save! Glory to His name!"> alt="a-wise-woman-builds-her-home" border="0" src="" />

Monday, August 13, 2012

That's How I Want to Live

Can I be candid with you? I am so tired of being tired. I am so sick of being sick. I'm 12 weeks and 5 days pregnant and I am THRILLED beyond measure about this blessing inside me. Really and truly. I am just ready for a break. I have a few good days thrown in with mostly bad days. It's depressing, this day after day feeling of yuck. I felt great this morning when I got up. I even walked a mile. We did school and both Luke and Eli were very attentive. Shortly after lunch though it hit, that terrible taste in my mouth. That heavy feeling in my stomach. That "I must go lay down" exhaustion. When that hits, I don't want to do anything but just that: lay down. And so I lay and I think about the mound of laundry on the couch and the pile of dishes in the sink. I think about how I've been so lax with the boys that their play room hasn't been cleaned or their beds made in weeks. I think about how I've made a handful of real meals in the past 2 months and my kids have eaten way more junk than I typically allow. Add I'm thinking, how is all of this going to get packed away? And I've had sweet friends & family offer to help. And I appreciate it. But I can't let you see my mess. The mess that is my house and the mess that reveals this mess, the biggest mess: me.

And so, I want to hide under my sheets and cry.

But then I read this. And this rocks me. Read it, friend. It's worth every second.

".... because the good God is everywhere and provides for everything with love."

And so, I'm trying to pray in the midst of it all. Asking Him to help me live in light of His sacrifice and the great gift I've been given. And it's a battle because I fight myself. Because I relate to what Ann says, "I’ve been apathetic about grace and casual about Christ and you can lose your First Love faster than you can lose the 100 meter dash." And my sick and tired is not fighting to avoid death, like some dear people I know, but waiting for life. A sweet, new life. I am so thankful.

"One died for me that I might breathe this breath…

It’s all a gift."

It is all a gift. So, my prayer is to live that way.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

1st Week of 1st Grade

My handsome first grader!

We survived our first week of school! Everything went well, though we had a few bumps along the road. The first day went great! Luke enjoyed everything! He even told me I was the best teacher ever. Then Tuesday, I told him it was time for school and he complained. It was fun for one day, right? We worked through that though and by Thursday no more complaining. He really enjoys it once we get going. He just doesn't enjoy having to stop playing to do school. I know the change in routine will take some getting use to! So, our schedule has been kind of wonky but our perfect school day would look like this:

7:30-8:00am~ wake up
8 am~ breakfast
8:30am~ brush teeth and get dressed (going to add a chore or two to this once we get going)
9:00am~ play time (they also get to watch one tv show if they choose to, if it's nice they play outside)
10:00am~ school
10:45am~ snack
11:00am~ school
12:30am~ lunch

Remember that's the perfect day and no day is perfect. We loosely followed this schedule this week. After lunch we run errands, go to the library, play outside/inside, or finish any school work that didn't get finished. And sometimes if I'm tired, the boys watch a movie while I nap! Which happened several times this week. I am still feeling kind of yucky most days and especially tired. This week with school starting I was more worn out than ever. By about 2pm, all I could do was lay down. I also had a lot of afternoon headaches. Hopefully that will all pass soon!

Here are a few pictures from the week. I didn't take as many as I planned to!

We talked about the 7 continents on Monday and Luke and I put each name where they are located on the earth.

Here is Eli having his snack... contemplating something serious it looks like!

And Luke, probably talking about Star Wars!

On Friday, we read Psalm 18:1-6 and talked about how God is our shield! Then we made these really cool shields. They were a big hit!

Last year we took Luke out to breakfast on his first day of school. This year that wasn't possible for numerous reasons, so we took him out to lunch to celebrate his first week of first grade! He picked Cracker Barrel and of course had pancakes!

I'm looking forward to watching Luke learn and grow this year. I'm also looking forward to more energy in the coming weeks (please, Lord!). :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quick Preggo Update - 12 Weeks

I had my 2nd prenatal visit yesterday. It's always a little nerve racking when you know they are going to be searching for that heartbeat! I had prayed and prayed that this little person's heart would be easy to find and sure enough, it was. It only took about a minute for the nurse to pick it up. It was beating at 160 beats per minute. Hearing that sound is music to my ears. I just absolutely love this baby so much!

I did get to talk to my Dr about the VBAC which I had been praying about. It went surprisingly well! He was very positive about me being able to attempt a VBA2C after hearing about my labor/birth with Eli. I told him that I still wasn't 100% confident in what God wanted me to do and that we still needed time to pray over it. He encouraged me to do that and let him know what we decide. We have plenty of time! I was really encouraged by this visit and my Dr's response. I'm continuing to pray that God will give us clear direction and wisdom about the delivery of this baby. I'm trusting He will. I was also told that I can take cranberry pills instead of drinking that vile cranberry juice. That was music to my ears as well! Dr also wants me to drink a gallon of water a day. A gallon. 128 ounces! Seriously, that's a lot of water. I'm trying though because I don't want to have to take more antibiotics!

At 12 weeks, I was hoping I'd feel better but I still feel pretty yucky. I'm praying it eases up soon. I could really use some energy since we started school this week. By about 3 pm I'm completely worn out and pretty much can't do anything but lay down. So pray with me, friends.

God is good and I am abundantly blessed.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Menu Plan Monday- 8/6

Well, I still am not feeling up to cooking much but my family has to eat. So, I've decided to just suck it up and do it! Does that sound terrible or what? Well, it's the truth. I really do want to serve my family and it's been so hard to feel up to serving cheerfully! So, here is our easy menu this week:

Egg in a Hole, Fruit (Oranges and Nectarines)

Brown Rice and Broccoli Stir Fry... Hubby hates rice (weird, I know) but the kids and I love it!

Sloppy Joes, Green Beans

Spaghetti w/ Steamed Squash and Zucchini

Chicken Noodle Soup.. I'm going to TRY to cook chicken. Cooking chicken has been the hardest thing thus far. I can eat it if someone else cooks it. My mom made some yummy Italian chicken this past weekend and it was really good. I've been craving homemade chicken noodle soup. Who am I kidding? I'd love a bowl of Campbell's but my conscious won't let me. So, I'm attempting homemade. Hopefully.

Banana Muffins

PB&J, Grilled Cheese/Quesadilla, Leftovers w/ sides

For Snacks:
Homemade granola

Sunday, August 5, 2012

It's time for school!

I've decided to start school a week early because of lots of exciting things going on in our lives! So.... we start tomorrow! When I mentioned this to Luke he was excited! And I am too! I love homeschooling so much! It is just a blessing and I truly feel like I'm answering God's call to 'teach them diligently'. We chose to use Heart of Dakota again this year. I toyed with the idea of switching but I kept coming back to it! I really enjoyed it so much. It's enough structure for me but also gives me freedom to lay aside anything that isn't working and add in what is. Last year we enjoyed everything that was laid out in the curriculum except I sometimes switched up the memory verses and we used some of our own Bible study material. We are doing that again this year. I did some searching and found "Studying God's Word Book B" by Christian Liberty Press. It's a 36 week unit that goes through the 60 catechisms and scripture to help explain each one. I am really looking forward to doing this with the boys. I also added a Christian Liberty Nature Reader for us to read together.

Along with all that is pictured above we will also be doing handwriting (I'm a little late ordering that! Oops. Until we get it, I'll just have Luke do some copy work.) and phonics. We did not finish Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. But we will! We got through 3/4 of the book. We had a very slow start in phonics and I learned early on not to push it. After TYCTR, I plan on starting Phonics Pathways and I'd like to pick up some easy readers and see how he does with those as well. From my research Phonics Pathways is very similar to 100 Easy Lesson but is a little more in depth. It sounds like the perfect next step for us! I plan on us doing a lot of reading together this year before we focus on grammar and spelling.

Luke will also be involved in elementary choir. He really enjoyed it last year! He is also taking an art class through our local co-op. I think he's going to enjoy that too! I'm hoping to share more updates throughout the school year through the blog.

Well, it's time to get these kiddos in bed! I'm looking forward to a fun and exciting 1st grade year!

 "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pregnancy Update- July 17, 2012

Look at that sweet little thing. This was taken a week ago on our sonogram appointment. Everything looked great! We could see and hear his or her little heart beating. The heart rate was 164, nice and strong!  Our official due date is Feb 20th, 2013. I had already figured that out and the baby measured exactly at what I had figured! I had some anxiety leading up to this appointment, for obvious reasons, but in reality I was much calmer than I expected. God has just been so good to me in helping me stay calm. I am so thankful for that. I'm ready to be out of the 1st trimester though! For more reasons than one! :)

I'm already thinking about delivery. As many of you know my last two deliveries were c-sections. And you know that I tried with Eli to have him. That is called attempting a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). Well, I've been contemplating trying the same. I have been praying about it for some time and even prayed that if it were a possibility that my hubby would bring it up. And you know what? He did! I almost started crying! We had talked the past year about just going ahead with a 3rd c-section whenever I got pregnant and not dealing with trying again. For him to bring it up out of the blue was truly an answered prayer. But it's not that easy. Most doctors will not let you try for a VBAC after one c-section much less two. It is a 'higher risk' situation although the risks are not greater than any other surgery (umm.. like a cesarean). The risk is that there could be uterine rupture and that would require immediate emergency care. Chance of uterine rupture is very low, something like 0.9%. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists updated their guidelines which states that women who've had up to two cesareans- including those having twins-  can attempt a vaginal delivery, as long as the prior incision was low and horizontal (mine both were). Round-the clock access to emergency care is required to try a VBAC, as well. So, what am I saying? I ask you to pray for me. Pray for this decision. I honestly don't want to try and fail again. It's such a depressing thing to go through. I know I can't be guaranteed that it will work but I want to have the guarantee that it's the right choice for me. The hardest thing is going to be convincing my doctor and if I can do that, I'll be more confident that this is the right direction. So pray for clarity and pray for my doctor. I haven't brought it up to him yet and I am scared! He's already mentioned repeat c/section and pregnancy prevention since this will be my 3rd c/s. That makes me sad because what if I want more kids?! If I could successfully have a VBAC, I could for sure have more children and my doctor would be more confident of that as well.

How am I feeling? Yucky. All food sounds gross but I get super hungry and have to eat! I'm having a hard time drinking my water. Ew, it's so gross! I am exhausted. The afternoons are the worst. I pretty much lay around and do nothing. My motto right now is if we have clean clothes (even if they are piled on the love seat), clean dishes and food, we will survive! I'm praying that this will all end soon. With Eli, it started easing up around 11 weeks. I'll be 9 weeks tomorrow! :)

I give thanks for the blessings granted to me through the prayers of many (2 Corinthians 1:11)! Thank you!