Tomorrow, Tomorrow....

Tomorrow (11/30/11) at 10:30am is the scheduled time for us to meet our sweet baby girl! We are so excited to meet her and see a picture of our complete (biological) family! It would have been delightful to have 3 natural births, but that is not how it worked for me. So, I am grateful for the c-section- for a planner like me, it is a huge gift! I have completed all of the necessary appointments- waxing, hair, nails, lunches, dinners, grocery shopping, Christmas shopping, laundry, journaling, packing- you name it, it is complete! The girls are scheduled to be in the loving hands of my precious cousin Allison- who is even taking them to "mommy and me" gymnastics tomorrow! The recovery would not be doable without my amazing mom, who has set aside December travel to hang with us and help with "the chix"! My cup overflows with joy for this next phase- I want to soak it all up- lots of "firsts" and "lasts"! I will say, Praise the Lord this is the LAST pregnancy- I will not miss any part of it- and will gladly donate the maternity clothing the moment they are no longer necessary! 
We would be extremely humbled and blessed by prayers tomorrow around 10:30am CST- I am so grateful that I have complete trust and faith in the One who is truly in control of every detail- you could drive yourself crazy with all of the "what if's" in child birth- and I have complete peace that the one who knit her together is in complete control of everything- there is such freedom in faith! Stay tuned for pictures! 

Psalm 139:13-18

Today's New International Version (TNIV)
 13 For you created my inmost being; 
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
   your works are wonderful, 
   I know that full well. 
15 My frame was not hidden from you 
   when I was made in the secret place. 
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 
 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. 
All the days ordained for me 
   were written in your book 
   before one of them came to be. 
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! 
   How vast is the sum of them! 

In case you are not up to date on the Miracle coming tomorrow- here are my previous posts on Baby Milly! The Announcement and The Name 

Introducing Eddy!

Well, we have a new family member- Eddy! He is our special elf friend who arrived last night and will be leaving us Christmas Eve. Frankly, I have been avoiding this whole "Elf on the Shelf" phenomenon- I like to downplay Santa as much as possible. I don't love the idea of lying to my children about a jolly man who sneaks into the house and leaves gifts...if you act nice for a month. I would rather tell them that we celebrate Christmas because God gave us the ultimate gift of Jesus Christ sent in human form to save us from our sins and just like we do not deserve this amazing gift, they- in no way- earn their Christmas gifts. It is a blessing from God, he provides for us so amazingly and because we love them, we bless them with a few special presents under the tree as an outpouring of God's perfect love.
However, my girlfriends basically told me that I am no fun and I need to get "the elf"! So, I compromised and we are doing the elf and Jesse Tree (previously mentioned) so I can teach them about the real meaning of Christmas and still have fun with a new tradition. Can I just say...the girls are obsessed with Eddy! We got the package with the book and they were mezmorized as we read the book and learned about our new friend. Ellie has been chatting with him since he arrived, even requesting gifts for her new baby sister Milly. I am not going to lie, I even told her that he would not come back if she wakes up too early in the morning- he doesn't travel when she is awake. And it really worked well, she stayed in her bed until I came to get her this morning! (Thanks Eddy!) The bottom line is, the girls LOVE this new tradition, I love seeing them have so much fun with it and lets just hope Dave remembers to move him around while I am in the hospital this week- they will be devastated if he stays put! Izzy woke up this morning and said "where's the elf?" Don't you love good friends who remind you to loosen up a bit!
I am sure I will be posting more this week- Baby Milly is coming Wednesday....so much to do...hair, nails, laundry, eating out- we are so excited!


Great Deal/Great Movies/Great Gift Idea

Everyone knows about Veggie Tales, I thought I would list our favorites since there are so many to choose from. Honestly, we love them all, but here are the favs! 
1. Princess and the Popstar
2. Royalty Collection
3. Little Joe (story of Joseph) Moe and the Big Exit (story of Moses)
4. Jonah 
5. Heroes of the Bible
6. The Holiday Pack (we watch these all year!)
7. Rack, Shack and Benny 
8. All of the "knock off" movies are great- Wizard of Ha's, The Pirates that Don't Do Anything, Lord of the Beans, Pistachio
9. Its a Meaningful Life
10. The new Christmas movie this year is Little Drummer Boy - we are excited! 

You can't go wrong with any of them, the sets with multiple movies are the way to go (like Heroes of the bible or Royalty Collection) you get several DVD's in one. Happy Shopping and Happy Thanksgiving! 


Guest Blog: Early Reading!

My sweet S.I.L. graciously offered to share some wisdom today- she is a darling mom of a 7-year-old boy, 4-year-old boy and 3-month-old baby girl! I love getting ideas from other moms- I know you will too! Thanks Britt! 

Early Reading Tools: Guest Blog by Brittany
Since my favorite mom-blogger is very busy preparing for the arrival of another beautiful niece of mine, I offered to write a guest blog about some of my favorite tools to help with phonics and reading.  
If you have a preschooler and have not discovered www.starfall.com, I encourage you to check it out.  The site introduces little hands to letter sounds, while allowing them to be exposed to using the keyboard and mouse.  Some kiddos (like mine) may find it challenging to use the mouse now that they’ve been introduced to touch devices, like smart phones and tablets.  The songs and videos are so catchy and help them remember helpful rules, like the role of the silent e, and who talks when a and e take a walk.  The interactive nature of the site keeps them entertained and learning at the same time. May be helpful as you try to get some things done this holiday season!
Bob Books are another incredible tool for early readers.  Each book focuses on a letter sound and uses repetition of short words using this sound. For instance, one book uses bag, rag and tag.  Starting with this group of books allows early readers to experience that great feeling of accomplishment as the get to repeat and master one skill at a time. Check them out at http://www.bobbooks.com.
Kids love to be active!  And there is no better way for learning than through activity, especially if you have boys! Some great tricks that we’ve used to keep letter and sounds fun are to use word blocks or flash cards and create games that keep them moving. One game that works for us is to put out the cards in the middle of the floor and then call out letters or sounds to be found.  Another is to line them up in a line and have them take different steps or animal walks to get from one letter to another. 
Every child has their own path and timeline to master reading and I hope these tools help to keep the learning fun on your journey to create little readers.
I’m sure you could dedicate post after post to great books, but I have to share a favorite in our house is The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen.  There is a sweet song that a dad/musician has posted online that puts the book to song. You have to check it out. http://truesongwriter.blogspot.com/2010/07/pout-pout-fish-song.html


The Dump...Part 2!

Since I am scheduled to have baby Milly two weeks from tomorrow, I have a lot to share and I don't have the energy for separate posts- so here is all I've got, random as it might be! (click here for the Dump: Part 1)

1. My girlfriends asked me to share my favorite "deal finders"- so I will share them with all of you (I am sure you know about most of them)!
  a. Slickdeals.net and froogle.com 
  b. Apps for IPhone: Coupon Sherpa (my fav), The Coupons App, Yowza, Shopkick
  c. Amazon.com- everyone knows Amazon- I always check the "today's deals" tab- always good finds this time of year- black Friday deals are coming soon! 
  d. http://www.priceblink.com - this is my new favorite!!! Just download their link and it when you are shopping, on any site, it will pop up if it finds a cheaper option anywhere online. Go check it out- it is awesome!!
2. Shane and Shane has a new album out, "The One You Need"- I love all of their music, it is as if they write exactly what I want to say to the Lord. I also love that they turn scripture into a beautiful song and I don't even know I am memorizing The Word. I was pumped when I dropped "the chix" off at school this morning so I could have an entire morning with the new album. It is amazing- check this song out "The One You Need", especially if you have a daughter http://shaneandshane.com (the video is on the homepage- it hits the spot for a pregnant mom of 3 girls!) I also like "Because He's God"
3. I have been feeling a touch frumpy and large lately so I decided to do some research and find the best "glow" (I am talking self tanner friends!) I usually don't use any tanners in the winter- I have never been able to find one that is natural looking. I really have a few issues I was trying to avoid with my new product: 1. the smell (enough said) 2. the color- Im not trying to be orange 3. the application- I am way to lazy to make sure there is no streaking, I just want to apply and be done- I get really annoyed when a streak shows up 3 hours later. So I found this delightful product: Fake Bake I like the one for fair skin, there is one for darker skin- but I like the gradual idea. There are so many options by this brand, I like the face tanner as well. The box comes with gloves, which really work well to apply. You can see where the lotion is going, so you know if there is any streaking immediately. I am really pleased with this product!
4. I am doing the Beth Moore: 90 days on His Journey of Faith (Paul) study right now. I did the one on Jesus and David previously. I really like them all, they are perfect for the seasons when a full group Bible Study is not possible. It probably takes 20 or 30 minutes to do one lesson depending on the time you put in. I am SO excited for her new study on James I can't wait! 
5. I have mentioned before, but I am going to tell you again about my love for Dior Skinflash radiance booster pen  I am pretty sure it is my favorite product of the moment- the under-eyes need some serious help these days and this little beauty goes with me everywhere! 
6. My friend Amy is such a gem, she coordinated a "Jesse Tree" group. This is a great little devotional for Dec 1- Dec 25 where you can share the story of Christ with your kids during the Christmas season. I love the idea that we will focus, at least a little bit, every day on "the reason for the season". Everyone in our group is making the ornaments then we will swap and have them for future years. So excited to start this new tradition. 
7. My favorite Thanksgiving Cheaters: 1. Trader Joes Cornbread Stuffing (no chopping, no baking required- always trying to save oven space) 2. Williams-Sonoma Gravy 3. Williams-Sonoma Cranberry Relish 4. Williams-Sonoma Dry Brine 5. Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin Bread and Butter 6. Williams-Sonoma Pecan Pie Filling  Can you tell I like Williams-Sonoma! Make sure to grab any of these early- they sell out!
8. I just need to say it- my friends are sick of me saying it- I really really love Siri (on the IPhone 4S)- she really has changed my life! moving on......
9. I usually avoid topics like this- you don't really need to know the goods under the clothes- but Hanky Panky Boyshort panties are just plain delightful! Even for a very pregnant woman! I love them pregnant or not pregnant- very comfy! Ok...now that we have that in the open! 
10. I felt like I needed a #10 so I am going to share with you what is on my heart lately. I am really trusting the Lord for some big things for our family- we are down to the wire on our "prayer requests" and the only thing that gives us perfect peace is that God is in control and we have complete trust in Him alone and faith that he will take care of our every need. So here is the, very familiar, scripture I am claiming: Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Isn't it wonderful that we don't have to lean on our own understanding- things are just better off in His perfect hands, we don't have to stress about it, just lay it down at his feet and he will take care of everything! In one of the Purpose Driven Life devotionals Rick Warren posted, “Telling God exactly how you feel is one way to show Him you understand exactly who He is.” What I am grateful during this season: is that my Almighty God is trustworthy with every detail I bring to him, he has a plan and purpose for my life (Jer 29:11) and he is a God of Hope that fills me with joy and peace (Ro 15:13) no matter the circumstance. I pray that you will know his joy and peace during this wonderful season of busyness! 

That pretty much covers it, I might be a little M.I.A this next month- but I am sure I will be inspired to post a little something on a certain baby girl who is coming SOON! 


Healthy Pizza!

I am really on a roll with food lately- I suppose it is the pregnancy! I have a great little trick for healthy-easy pizza and I want to share it with you. My husband, who LOVES processed food and especially delivered pizza says he would rather have this than have delivery- which is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! 
So here it is- Pita Pizza! The best part is that everyone can make their own mini pizza with this and happily eat without complaining!

Here is what you need for Pita Pizza: 
- Whole Wheat Pita Bread (always try for 100% whole wheat)
- Grated Mozzarella cheese
- Pizza Sauce (I like organic, whatever you get, make sure it has very few ingredients & avoiding sugar- it is even better without sugar, I promise!) I like Mario Batali sauce- ( the only ingredients are: San Marzano Tomatoes, Fresh Basil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Sea Salt) 
- Toppings- whatever you like! 
* put the pita on a tray, brush with olive oil and place in the oven at 350 for 5 minutes or so- just to soften it up
* Take the pita out of the oven and apply the sauce around the pita leaving the edges to hold
* apply toppings (pepperoni, ground beef, veggies, whatever you like)
* apply cheese 
* Place in 350 oven until cheese is melted and pita is to your desired crispness

Here is our family run down:
Dave: mini Hormel peperoni's
Izzy: Plain old Cheese!
Jenica: Broccoli- lots of it! (I get the "Steam Fresh" broccoli bags and make that for the family and add some chopped up pieces to my pizza) 
Ellie: for some reason she doesn't like cheese- no idea where she got that- so she takes the pita out of the oven (with the olive oil on it) and puts hummus or bruschetta on it and cuts it like pizza- whatever floats her boat! 

There you have it- super easy and really yummy! 

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