10.31.2012

Happy Halloween: "Candy Fest"

Just wanted to check in and tell you that I hope you all had fun on Halloween. I don't love this holiday (there is candy EVERYWHERE!), but I do love seeing my kids so happy! We had a fun day! I thought my little Halloween "Candy Fest" might give some of you an idea of what to do with ALL of that candy. I cant stand the thought of having bags of candy everywhere- I have to hear "mom can I have candy?" ALL DAY LONG! SO- here is what we do! 
We keep the bags on the counter in the kitchen- they get a candy a lunch and one at dinner- anything they want- for the days immediately following Halloween (if week days). Then, I wait for the weekend and we have "candy fest" on the Saturday after Halloween. I wait for the weekend so that it doesn't effect anything at school. The girls get their bags out- search through the bag and pick 10 of the BEST items in the bag and eat them all! They get to eat them all at once with a tall glass on milk and we have a dance party or something fun with "candy fest". At the end of "Candy Fest" the candy goes away (we donate it or whatever we do) and the bags are no longer laying around stuffed with candy. Of course I keep a secret stash of the good stuff but otherwise we go candy-free. The girls really love it and get excited for CANDY FEST! We really play it up as exciting! I have no idea how long that will last- but for now it is delightful! 
Here are a couple of pics from our Halloween:




SLEEPING, SLEEPING, SLEEPING!!!

Hello! I feel like I need to address a few little issues so that I can move on from this tornado of a week! I have some delightful nail products to share for crying out loud! :)
I woke up yesterday morning, fed my sweet baby girl, snuggled with my other two girls, got up and fixed them all breakfast while we listened to worship music and chatted away about the day. I grabbed my cup of coffee and took the girls upstairs for our morning routine of books/sight words/a little Sid the Science Kid/bed making/getting dressed, etc... and opened my computer to find a message which said "You are a heartless beast of a mother" followed by several other posts/comments/facebook feeds/blog articles, etc.. calling me similar names along with telling me I am abusive and should have my children taken away. WOAH. At this point in my fun little blogging "hobby" I thought- is this really worth it? I am happy as can be, hanging with my precious gifts from the Lord and open my crazy computer to be attacked by strangers who do not even know me. (In case you have no idea why people would be saying these things about me, I have an article I wrote back in February called "Newborn: Sleeping Through the Night"). I went about my day, in an obvious funk, which I told my husband- "if those things would not upset me, there is something wrong with me"- and had some time to really think through this whole "thing". The article is the sole reason why I receive 4000+ hits a day as opposed to my previous 100 hits- so that is a blessing. I receive precious comments all of the time from moms who really seem to be helped by that article- another blessing. I love getting comments from other moms who used the same plan and they really loved it as well- fabulous! It is always flattering and a blessing when moms ask my advice and I am able to help them with a little issue- so fun! SO...am I going to let some "haters" get me down and make me second guess the decisions that I have made and continue to make for my family...ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! However, this being said, there has been a lesson in all of this madness and I wanted to share it with you. All of this "hate" has inspired me to really look over the article and my article on naps and evaluate how it would sound to someone who does not know me or who is a first time mom trying to figure it all out. I will humbly admit that I needed to soften my nap article- I must have been on fire that day :) It was also meant, at the time, for my 50 followers who know me and know my "tone". I also have read some of these other blogs who strongly "disagree" with me and comments of moms on those sites and I feel like I need to clarify a few things (maybe get a few things off my chest, haahaa)...not for them...but for you moms who read my blog and trust my advice. I am speaking to you- but I am speaking to myself as well! Since I ADORE bullet points, here you go!


  • MY CHILDREN ARE NOT PERFECT...they do not sleep through the night EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, if my babies need me in the middle of the night...truly need me..I am there! I think we have been given beautiful instincts as parents to know when our babies need us vs when our babies need to be left for more sleep. 
  • I want to re-state I do not think you should be really rigid with this or any plan- take one day at a time and do what YOU think is best- YOU were born with amazing mothering skills and instincts- use them! 
  • I absolutely believe in research- if scheduling and parent-directed feeding feels yucky to you- there are so many plans out there. I simply believe you will be more relaxed if you have a plan- even if it is to wake up and do what the baby says all day long- that is a plan! 
  • Check out "Attachment Parenting" I promise if that sounds delightful to you, you will not like my ideas. HOWEVER, I honestly believe we can still be friends. I frankly don't care what plan you use with your babies- there is just more to life! I am not going to tell you all of the reasons why I disagree with that type of parenting plan- YOU do your thing! 
  • YOU ARE NOT A BAD PARENT...you know who is? The many many many mothers who are getting their children taken away from them because they choose drugs over there babies. Or the moms who smoke and drink (I am talking more than 1 glass of wine) while pregnant knowing they are harming their babies. You get the idea- YOU are not a bad mom if your baby doesn't sleep at 8 weeks or if you don't want to "wear your baby" or  if you don't want to breastfeed.  Be confident that God chose you to parent your babies. 
  • If you try Baby Wise or Attachment Parenting or my little version of BW- or another idea and you do not feel at peace and comfortable with what you are doing- STOP! You have been given the freedom to stop and change directions. Babies are very resilient. You will know when you are at peace with the style of mothering you choose. Does that mean every day is peaceful and easy...um, absolutely not. But you will stick through those days knowing you are doing the right thing for your family. 
  • Do not feel like you have to follow every tiny detail in any plan you use- I think that is when people go crazy- they think there is a formula. There is no formula, every baby is different, every mother is different and every day is different!
  • I am not in any way, shape, or form perfect. Neither are you. Neither is Mrs. Duggar. Neither is Octomom. Neither is Dr. Sears. Neither is Gary Ezzo. Every mom has an issue- maybe yours is sleep- mine is food- you will never catch me writing an article on "how to get your kids to eat fish and veggies" there is no book, online seminar, blog, etc.. on the planet that has helpful wisdom for me on my #2 eating! I bet you cant find a mom who doesn't have an issue!  
In conclusion, cant we all just get along? I mean really- there is just more to life than how we view infant sleep. It is a REALLY BIG DEAL when you are in the "season" but it is no reason to be mean or judgmental toward others. Another thing this has taught me is that I probably have been a little judgmental of others. I might have looked at the "Attachment Parenting" people and had all sorts of "opinions". I am blessed to learn this lesson, me being hateful or arguing with someone over a mothering issue is ineffective! 


Finally, I am glad I memorized this verse last Easter- it has been ringing in my head! 
1 John 4:7-12, 19-21
Week 1: 
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 


I PROMISE you- that we will be moving on from this madness- I truly hope this is my last "article" like this- thank you for letting me get it off of my mind. I hope that any guilt or defeat you might have felt from my "tidy" little article has been diminished a bit from this. Have a great rest of the week!

10.29.2012

Recipe Monday: Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce

Good Morning! My Sister-in-law posted a picture of this recipe to Instagram last week and said it is their new favorite- so I had to get the recipe! She said I could share it with you- so here you go! Happy Monday! 

From Brittany
Here is the recipe. As with anything I made a few changes, I left off the parsley (no need to scare the kids away from the chicken with green on it...) and I cut my chicken breasts in half so they really cooked in the 4 mins per side.

And I served it with mashed potatoes b/c the boys don't do polenta. And a side of creamed spinach- and they still said it was the best dinner ever!  ;) 

Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce 
Photo by: Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce

This family-friendly chicken recipe is sure to please. Serve with polenta or orzo to absorb the balsamic-honey sauce.
Cooking Light MARCH 2004
  • Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast and 2 tablespoons sauce)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 (5-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • Chopped parsley (optional)

Preparation

Combine broth, vinegar, and honey.
Melt butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat.
While butter melts, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour; shake off excess flour.
Increase heat to medium-high; heat 2 minutes or until the butter turns golden brown. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add shallots, and sauté 30 seconds. Add the broth mixture, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil, and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Serve sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
Note:
To assure the chicken gets done, use breasts on the small side, about 4 to 5 ounces each.

10.28.2012

Sunday Recap!

This is my new "Weekly Recap"- If you follow me on Instagram you might see some repeats- but here is our week in a nutshell (in no order!)


{That is right, I exercised my right to vote this week- very excited! Don't forget to vote on or by November 6!) 

{I am IN LOVE with this onesie I asked my friend Maggie to make (LilyCole Designs)

 {This is a sneak preview of our Halloween gear- Many more pics to come on next Sunday's recap!}

{Sometimes we need a full on "Fancy Dance Party- this was 9am on a Wednesday- and we all put on fancy dresses (they have to "spin") and high heels- we crank up the music and DANCE!! Here is our attire from this week-}

{Mid-Dance party- we just really let loose!} 

{I looked over and saw this today- I just LOVE it- my three girls playing together in the play kitchen! I am so excited to watch these three play- as sad as I am that Milly is not an infant anymore- I love that they are starting to play!}

{SO proud of herself for playing in the kitchen!}

{I think the best pics are when I shove the children in the back of the car at the carwash- it is the only way to vacuum the carseats- and I lift the window- they love it!}

 {Ellie's buddy Addyson had a princess party- I love "Princess At My Party" it never gets old for the girls- they LOVE it!}

 {The girls were SO excited to go to my Cousin's daughter's wedding this weekend- they love weddings- they get fancy, they get to dance, they get cake, they get to see a bride and groom- and Dave is not excited about this...but they love "THE KISS"}

{This is the ONLY reason Izzy is Elmo this year- she likes that the dress is fuzzy and IT SPINS- she loves to sit like this in it! She was Big Bird last year for the exact same reason- she does not even like Elmo or BB- just the spin dress!} 

There is our recap- Have a GREAT week! 




10.27.2012

God's Will and Your Giftedness: Purpose Driven Connection

I just love the daily emails I get from Purpose Driven Connection- this one really blessed me today. There is such peace in walking in your giftedness- it is truly the sweet spot. Hope you enjoy this today as I did!

Saturday, October 27, 2012
   
"Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out." (Hebrews 10:24 MSG) 
Long before he was a superstar, I was blessed to spend an hour or two with Bob the Tomato.
Well, actually, it was Phil Vischer, the voice of Bob the Tomato and creator of the very charming VeggieTales. During our conversation, Vischer said, “There is no happier place than the intersection of God’s will and your giftedness.”
Pastor Rick teaches that the way God S.H.A.P.E.s you reveals a significant portion of his will for you, and that brings you to the intersection of his will and your giftedness.
S.H.A.P.E. is an acronym Pastor Rick explains in "The Purpose Driven Life":
  • Spiritual Gifts: God gives you spiritual gifts to use in ministry (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 8, Ephesians 4).
  • Heart: As Pastor Rick explains, the Bible teaches that your heart determines why you say the things you do, why you feel the way you do, and why you act the way you do (Proverbs 4:23).
  • Abilities: These are natural talents God gives you so you can accomplish his purposes. In Exodus 31:3, God gives “skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts ...” (NLT).
  • Personality: Your personality affects the way you use your gifts. For instance, two people may have the gift of evangelism, but if one is introverted and the other is extroverted, that gift will be expressed differently.
  • Experiences: There are five common experiences that influence your service to others: educational, vocational, spiritual, ministry, and painful experiences.
Ask other Christians who know you to help you determine the things you do best and how you may use your giftedness in ministry.
Talk About It
Pray through these questions:
  • What am I good at that I can offer as a ministry to other people?
  • What do I know that I can teach to others?
  • What can I give to someone as a blessing?

Jon Walkers new book, "Breakfast with Bonhoeffer," is a message of hope for anyone longing for another chance at life as God created it to be. It is a story of God’s faithfulness, even through job loss, home loss, economic uncertainty, divorce and an incurable disease. Structured like a novel, it reveals how God works through our often messy and inconsistent faith.
This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

10.23.2012

FAQ: Sleeping Babies!

Hi friends! I have received an ENORMOUS response to my sleeping article- What a blessing to know that in some way I am able to help some people through my experience with sleeping babies. The article, of course, has come with some criticism- you can't please everyone- but overall it has been a huge blessing and people have been so kind to encourage me and seek my advice. THAT BEING SAID...I am slammed! Between working from home, being a full time mom to the 3 chix, blogging, spending time with the Lord, trying to maintain a clean home...or at least clean laundry and a husband who works 50+hours a week- I cant keep up with all of the emails asking for help...AND I REALY WANT TO! SO...since a lot of people ask the same questions- I thought I would do a little FAQ on here and hopefully answer some questions- or give people a start while they are waiting for me to respond! I am truly happy to help, and I know everyone has circumstances that are unique- every child is truly different- so send me your questions- but know it might take a bit to respond! Once again, I am honored that you would seek my advice and will do my best to help you out! Of course, let me know if you try something that worked well!
(**I have to say it- I am NOT an expert, I am a mom of 3 girls with a communications degree and lots of event planning experience- I think that has helped- sleep training, potty training- all big events with logistical challenges! :)

Here we go:

1. My baby wakes up 30 minutes into nap time every day: (or they will not take naps)
This is the #1 question I get, I think for some reasons babies either wake up 30 minutes in..or that is their "active" sleep period. (I discussed naps HERE.) I have found, if I leave my girls to nap, they will go back to sleep or settle back into restful sleep MOST of the time. Of course there are times of teething or sickness when it just doesn't work out- but most of the time, they go back to sleep. When you go with the philosophy of: Naptime starts when mom says it starts and ends when mom says it ends- it gives you a good frame of mind to allow them to fall back asleep.
Make sure:
a) they are getting really full at feedings
b) they are not waking up because of a prop- if the binkie comes out or swaddle comes loose and that is waking them- time to kick the habit (better now than later..I think!)
c) They are stimulated right after eating, nice and awake and they chill right before naptime- nothing too stimulating right before sleep.
d) Make sure they are not going too early...or too late. Sometimes they are so over tired that they wont sleep. Also, sometimes they are acting very alert and not sleepy at all...and it is nap time so we hesitate putting them down- that is when the "nap time starts when mom says" comes into play- weeks 1-13 they should eat every 3 hours and nap every 1.5hrs after eating. Weeks 13 on they eat every 4hrs and nap 2 hours after each feeding. When it is nap time, lay them down to nap.
e) Establish a routine (here is mine): Walk in the room, turn on a sound machine, snuggle for a minute (maybe sing a little song- not rocking, just standing), lay her down (now my #3 likes her tummy- she is all over the place) and walk out of the room. I return when nap is over.
f) If they are crying..(or screaming) of course think of what could possibly cause them to scream and are you certain they are safe in the crib (no blanker over the head or anything) (a video monitor is handy for you to know without going back in- although, I personally am not a fan of the video monitor- we can discuss that later!) Anyway- if the only reason they are screaming is they are tired- Let them sleep! So...have in mind how long you are willing to let them cry.. start at 15 minutes. Turn off your monitor, do whatever you need to do and let them work it out. Push that time back every nap as long as you feel comfortable. BUT..when you set that time, do not go back in until that time is up.
g) I read a post by Elena at Vegalicious - she used her husband's shirt (with his smell on it) in the crib so her baby could have comfort from that familiar smell- it seemed to work for her baby- I say try it! As long as your baby is old enough to not get it stuck over their face or something horrible- try it out!
h) Use your instincts- if your baby is screaming and it is "not working" just get them up, feed them and start fresh! Every feeding is a chance to start fresh. If you have a bad nap- your baby is not a bad sleeper- they just had a bad nap!
i) Babies act hungry when they are tired...do not let feeding be your first response if you know it is nap time!

2) My baby is XX weeks/months old and still wakes up at night: 
Once you know they CAN sleep through the night, nutritionally, it is a lot easier to let them.
- I said it in my article- DO NOT run in the room every time they cry at night. Lets call it "delayed response"...really delayed. Allow them to have some active sleep (my 5 year old still has active sleep some nights).
- Same thought as above: set in your mind (before you go to sleep- we do crazy things when we are tired!) how long you will let them cry or talk or fuss or whatever they do- start with 15 minutes or whatever you are comfortable with- and DO not go in until that time frame is up. Push it back each night- turn off the monitor or turn it really low if you need to- whatever it takes!
- Make sure they are REALLY full before bed- I like rice cereal before bed for older babies- whatever your method is- make sure they are getting enough food. I also like sound machines- loud!
- Really focus on the daytime schedule while you are trying to establish sleeping through the night. Do not let them go more than 3 hours (1-13 weeks) or 4 hours (13-...) without waking them to eat. You can be flexible on this once the routine is established.
- Take 2 weeks and focus on that daytime routine being wake, eat, play, sleep- I have found that my babies sleep better at night when they have good daytime sleep- it is opposite from what you would think. The later you keep them up...does not mean the later they sleep- I promise on this one!

3) Am I being mean or not responding to my babies needs by letting them cry it out?
Ok...God gave us instincts as moms to know what our babies need- so listen to those! He also filled us with love and mercy for our babies- so how precious that you are concerned about this! It is horrible to listen to a baby crying and not be able to do anything- so hard! Here are my thoughts: (you will find a TON of people to disagree with me!)
- When your baby is on a schedule and you KNOW it is nap time, you are absolutely responding to their needs by letting them sleep. You are simply teaching them to soothe themselves into sleep instead of you soothing them to sleep.
- If you do a little sleep training or "sleeping boot camp" I have found that your baby will cry a lot less than if you do not. It is a fact that babies get cranky and cry when they are tired...if you do not allow them to nap...guess what they will be doing all day?
- I believe that 2 weeks of being strict with a schedule and letting them cry it out a bit will save you a lot of tears down the road. I think it takes 2 weeks of strict schedule to establish a new routine.
- Take one nap or one night at a time- try your best and if you need to feed and start over...do it!
- I PROMISE it is easier to sleep train a baby than to sleep train a toddler- I promise!

4) What if my baby wakes my other children when "crying it out"?
This is tough- really tough! I honestly do not have any experience with this- I am blessed to have my girls in different rooms and my older two are really sound sleepers. Here are some ideas:
- Hopefully you have a situation where your baby can be in a different room from you or your other children. I would say, if not...purchase a divider or something so the baby cannot see you or their siblings- it is really hard to let them soothe to sleep if they are starring at your face :)
- Sound machines for EVERYONE! Make sure you have them in the siblings rooms and the baby's room. Don't be afraid to crank it up. (Any sound machine is fine, I use this one LINK)
- If you absolutely NEED to put the baby in a Pack N' Play or something in a different room for the 2 week boot camp (as mentioned above)- you might need to do that- or put the other kids in another room? But, I would try to leave them in their room or wherever you want them to sleep. I would bet your other kids will sleep right through it- Pray a lot! :)

I will keep adding to this- these are just the 4 questions I get A LOT. You can feel free to comment below...as usual, I will not respond to hate mail and will gladly delete anyone who is negative- if this isn't for you...move on!

As always please make sure to follow on Facebook or Twitter.












10.19.2012

The Transition: From 1-3


This is just a funny little post- I am seriously exaggerating- however, this is how I feel like my transition from 1-3 children has gone down (most days!):

Bed Time:
Baby #1: Bath, clean Pj's, lotion and book every night
Baby #2: Bath, clean Pj's, lotion and book most nights
Baby #3: Perfect- the Pj's from last night are still on- off to bed!

Food:
Baby #1: No white sugar, no white flour, all organic and homemade
Baby #2: A little sugar never hurt anyone- fruit loops are great finger foods
Baby #3: Did I feed the baby any solid food today?

Laundry:
Baby #1: Laundry once a week on Saturday, put away the same day in the color coordinated closet with those cute little "size separators"
Baby #2: Laundry 2-3 times per week, delivered to the room the same day but not hung up or folded until the next day.
Baby #3: Laundry every day, we have no idea what size the clothes are because child #1 or child #2 at some point screamed about the tag and we cut it out- so they are all in the drawer together- if they get put away.

In the Car:
Baby #1: Fully strapped in the 5 point harness, shiny new carseat, double check the latch system at every oil change appointment to make sure it is secure, little hanging toys on the bar of the carseat to stimulate the baby at all times (and I spent serious time researching those little toys to find out which ones are best for development and stimulate as many senses as possible) oh and- good thing you have the mirror attached to the headrest so that you can see every move that happens when they are facing backward
Baby #2: Fully strapped in the 5 point harness, "where are those little toys again?", "#1 tell me if #2 is okay"
Baby #3: #1 will you strap the baby in? What was the weight to turn them forward? Girls, hand your sister a toy please.

Shopping Cart:
Baby #1: Shopping cart cover- washed at the end of each day, first wipe the cart with the sanitary wipes, then cover over that (just to make sure) and a bag loaded with toys or snacks- just in case!
Baby #2: Shopping cart cover still ready to go- washed once a month but better than nothing!
Baby #3: Aww I bet the metal on the shopping cart handle feels good on her teeth!

Binkie:
Baby #1: Multiple Binkies fully sanitized in the little microwave sanitary bags ready to go at all times (2 in the car, 2 in the diaper bag, 2 at the changing table, 2 in the living room and a stash in the closet...just in case) If one drops- there is another one and a wipe to ensure no germs!
Baby #2: Oh...30 second rule- wipe it on my shirt and she is good
Baby #3: "Girls, grab one of those binkies out of your toy box and lets see if the baby wants one"

Diaper Bag: 
Baby #1: Beautiful new bag with all of the little "extras" (changing pad, bottle holder, pacifier clip) fully loaded with everything under the sun: hand sanitizer, diapers (labeled with the name just in case), wipes, kleenex, extra binkies, toys, snacks, burp cloths, nursing cover, swaddle blanket
Baby #2: Crusty bag with the same stuff leftover from baby #1 including burp cloths with the older sibling's name on them, but left in the car most of the time
Baby #3: "Girls look way under the seat, do you see any diapers back there?"

Clothing:
Baby #1: Beautiful new clothing, many from loving family members so when she wears an outfit- we do a little "photo shoot" and send an email and a note to whomever gave us this treasure, never leave the house without the proper headband (because I will cry if one more person says- HE is adorable), and who cares if she doesn't walk- the gold gladiator sandals are adorable!
Baby #2: AWW, remember this cute outfit- it is still adorable with the stain on it, #1 please stop ripping the headband off of your sister, I should probably put socks on her to keep her feet warm?
Baby #3: Shoot- I never changed her out of her Pj's today- at least her diaper is clean!

Treasures/Documenting: 
Baby #1: Every gift has their name inscribed on it, and the date of birth, a tooth box, my first curl box, silver music boxes- all beautiful, all inscribed..all treasures! A full baby book- fully filled out with height and weight at each appointment, first giggle: got it, first roll: got it, first step: fully documented!
Baby #2: A few books with her name on it, a baby book mostly filled out- but never made it past the rolling over, "dont we have any pictures of her without her sister in it?"
Baby #3: "How much did your baby weigh at birth?" ummmm "When did she roll over?" Well, hmmm      -Someday she will ask "mom, why does all of my stuff say "Ellie" on it?- well....hmmmmm haahaaaa

Ok- there you go- I am not sure why I thought you needed to read this- but I had fun writing it! I just love looking back on myself with 1 child- I am convinced I was over the top! Good thing I am not having #4- can you only imagine! haha No wonder there are traits we have based on our birth order! I will say this...I ADORE all 3 of them EXACTLY the same!

Have a DELIGHTFUL weekend!


10.17.2012

My Soap Box: Formula vs Breast

Hi friends- Sometimes, I get an issue in my mind and I simply need to share my opinion- it is just bursting out of my mouth! I have been very good at practicing my "tongue taming" during this election season (are you proud of me..no political posts!) but this is an issue I just need to discuss...and since I have a blog...I am discussing! 

I will start by telling you a little story! When my second daughter, Izzy, was in the hospital, she needed to be in the ICU because she was "Coombs Positive" (my 3rd daughter, Milly, had the same scenario). I breastfed my first daughter, Ellie, exclusively for a year and knew that I wanted to do the same with my second. However, when Izzy was in the ICU, her coombs was so bad that I could only take her out from under the lights for 20 minutes at a time every 3 hours- which, with a newborn, is simply not enough time to establish nursing. The only way she was going to get rid of the coombs was by pooping and peeing- therefore they needed to give her formula to flush it all out. I continued to pump and nurse when I could, but I was so grateful for the option of formula in the hospital to meet the needs of my baby and ultimately expedite the going home process. When we got home, I did have to really work to get her to breastfeed- but we did it and she nursed exclusively for a year. I was SO grateful for all of those samples they sent me home with from the hospital- it really helped our transition home. Fast forward to my 3rd baby, who had the same situation- Coombs positive, ICU, etc.. I was able to nurse her more but felt such a peace knowing she could take formula if needed to get well and SO glad to have so many samples on hand if needed! 

I am going to move on to the article that has me all "hot and bothered" not the article itself, but the proposed ban in which it discussed. Here it is: LINK Apparently there are groups trying to ban formula from hospitals, saying it does not promote breastfeeding and somehow this option is encouraging mothers to choose formula over breast milk. (they have been successful in Oklahoma, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island) I MEAN REALLY? I clearly think Breastfeeding is delightful- I do think it is good for babies, but if you ask me why I have nursed 3 babies for 1 year each (that is 3 years of my life nursing- whew) it is not necessarily for the health benefits. I do think it is better for babies- that is clearly why God made us to lactate- however, I have done it because it is a) easy b) convenient c) cheap and d) mess-free! I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom and it is just a lot easier for me to nurse than to mix the formula, warm the bottle, feed the baby, wash the bottle, etc.. THAT BEING SAID...it is not for everyone. My sister-in-law chooses to work outside the home and for her, formula is an awesome option when she goes back to work. She nurses as long as she can and then makes a wise choice to move to formula. I say wise choice because I dont know if nursing is better for the baby if the mom is all stressed out about...nursing and pumping. I believe babies are happier and thrive when the mother is happy and thriving. I also have friends who cannot breastfeed for one reason or another and people have made them feel so guilty that they are literally miserable. I have seen it ruin friendships and I have seen mothers try so hard to nurse (unsuccessfully) and the babies are crying and not sleeping...because they are HUNGRY! Give the baby some formula and move on- I wish people would stop making others feel guilty about this issue! My sister-in-law who used formula has very healthy children, none of them are obese, they are not picky eaters, they are very smart and are loving wonderful children. My kids get colds just the same as they do, my oldest had so many ear infections they suggested tubes, they are the pickiest eaters I know, they are smart- but no smarter than their formula-fed friends- I just think there are more factors to consider than what type of milk we give our babies. I am clearly not "pro-formula" I am just "pro-healthy, peaceful, happy mommies".

SO, in conclusion I have a few bullet points- (because I love bullet points)! 


  • If you cannot breastfeed or do not want to, please do not feel guilty or like you are not a good mother. God chose YOU to parent your baby and you are wise enough to know how to feed them. You just love them and provide for them the best way you know how. 
  • I wonder how many of these activists trying to ban "A Women's Right to Choose Formula" are also activists for "A Women's Right to Choose Abortion" I dont think I need to elaborate on that hypocrisy at this time- you are smart people! 
  • I am very grateful for the samples of formula at the hospital- formula is extremely expensive and I have to think that these samples help many families who are already struggling to afford their new bundle of joy and the hospital bills that come along with that bundle. Any little bit helps! 
  • Finally, I have loved breastfeeding my babies, I highly suggest trying it. I am always happy to help if you have any questions or are having trouble with it. It is such a special time between mommy and baby and if you are able to- try it out and just take one feeding at a time! 
There you go, my Soap Box for today! Thanks for listening- lets stop judging one another and making others feel guilty and start encouraging one another and supporting one another! I say...take all the free samples you can get- I LOVE samples!!! 

10.15.2012

Recipe Monday: A DELIGHTFUL(ish) Fall Evening!

Saturday was one of those days...it was rainy and cool and just felt like the perfect night for "family night". I decided to head to the store (even though I didn't want to leave the house) and get stuff to make a "comfort food" dinner- I searched through my Pinterest "food file" and found a recipe for Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes (I took the advice of the comments below the post and did not make the cheese sauce, I just melted Provolone cheese)- YUMM, and perfect comfort food! I had the highest hopes for this evening- fire lit, comfort food, pumpkin ice cream for dessert, family games by the fire after dinner, a little glass of wine with my man- perfect (I even took a few pics in anticipation of this "perfect" evening"). WELL...This is how it went down: 
{I settled into the kitchen- turned just the chandelier on for "cozy mood lighting"- I love watching the rain out my window- I also had worship music blaring in the room- really setting my mood!}

{Even though it is not winter, I couldn't resist lighting my favorite winter candle- I LOVE this one!}

{I poured a little hot tea while I did my cooking- I love love love tea!}

 {Another favorite thing about fall..pears- we all love them and do not eat them unless it is fall for some reason (well.. for good reason, that is when they are best)!}

{The "Joe's" turned out perfectly- YUMM YUMM YUMM- and so easy- I Highly suggest!}

 {All was going well.. fire-check, wine- check, comfort food- check, family-check}

{At this point...the pictures END and so did the "perfect fall evening"! The girls refused to eat- 1.5 hours later we were still at the table forcing them to take bites- I LOST IT, I mean LOST IT- I absolutely could not reward them with games or ice cream after this display of disobedience- and DARN IT...it was messing up my perfect evening!!! So, we went up for baths, read some books and off to bed- my lonely little fire still blazing down stairs! Isn't that just the way it is with kids- you can plan and plan and sometimes it works out just how you want it to...but most of the time- they do not get the memo about mommy's perfect fall evening idea and refuse to eat the meal I just spent all day planning and making thus making mommy need a little bit more wine and a bed!!!} 

{Moving on...I never got my Pumpkin Ice Cream- however, you should check this yummy treat out- they always sell out at Trader Joes- because it is DELIGHTFUL! I am begging Dave to eat it so that I can continue to fit into my new Baldwin Denim Legging Jeans!}

{After a full weekend of frustration over eating (and homework...that is another story but how can Kindergarten homework be stressful?) I found this pic on my phone- I am OBSESSED with her little stick people- she gives them eyebrows and glasses and they usually have curly hair- those sweet little arms and legs coming straight out of the head- I LOVE IT- and LOVE them!}


10.12.2012

Crank It Up!

Something occurred to me recently- I am in a music rut! I love music- specifically I love worship music... more specifically, I love non-cheesy worship music if I am being honest! Since moving into our new home, I have a morning routine of turning on our IPod with my worship playlist and it just plays all day (when we are home). I think it has been such a positive influence in our home- sure we still watch TV upstairs and we are known to crank Beyoncé at full volume and shake it- but anytime we are in the kitchen or living room- worship. It makes my heart burst when I walk in on one of my girls in the kitchen singing along to a song- just by themselves- every word sweet as can be! I figure, if they get a song stuck in their heads to leave the house with...might as well be worship! I have been stuck in a little "Shane and Shane" rut- I love that they sing scripture, I love that a lot of it is just a guitar and a voice, I love that they don't tell me when to raise my hands (that is a strange issue I have- it is the grown up rebel in me- I can figure out when to raise my own hands, thank you very much!!!) - they are just great- they are always my fav! However, time to branch out! A few weeks ago my sister-in-law's dad was diagnosed with cancer (prayers are welcome for Bill) so I sent her one of my crank it up with the Lord songs- Without You by...none other than..Shane and Shane! For me, that song is just an awesome reminder that we can get through anything and find joy in everything as long as we are in the presence of the Lord- anyway, that started a conversation and she sent me a list of her "turn up" songs- and I was just revived when I went to listen to them. It was like a breath of fresh worship hit our home. I am not good at staying on top of "the music scene" and we do not attend a church that is on the cutting edge (sadly) therefore, I have just been missing out! SO...it occurred to me that some of you might not have discovered these awesome artists/songs and you could use a breath of fresh worship as well! I am going to share some of my favorites and some of her favorites. If you have favorites- please share, there is nothing like a new delightful song you can crank up with the Lord!

My Favorite "Crank It Up" Songs: (in no order)
- "The Earth is Yours" by Gungor
- "I Will Worship You" by Aaron Gillespie
- "How Sweet the Name" by Delirious?
- "Heaven Fall Down" by Phil Wickham
- "At Your Name" by Phil Wickham 
- "Revelation Song" by Gateway Worship
- "Highest Praise" by Kathleen Carnali 
- "Your Love is Strong" by Jon Foreman
- "Pour Your Spirit" by Oaks Worship
- "Holiness" by Coffey Anderson 
- "Father I Adore You" by Coffey Anderson 
- "Sanctuary" by Coffey Anderson
- "Hosanna" by Christy Nockels
- "Bring it All Together" by Natalie Grant 
- "What Can I Bring" Jeremy Riddle
- "Precious Jesus" Jeremy Riddle
- "Wake Up" All Sons & Daughters
- "All the Poor and Powerless" All Sons & Daughters
- "Everything to You" Bethel Live
- "This is Amazing Grace" Bethel Live
- "I Really Love You" Bethel Live
- "Liberty" by Shane and Shane (based on one of my favorite verses *2 Corinthians 3:16-18)
- "Grace is Sufficient" by Shane and Shane
- "Your Love" by Shane and Shane 

Albums worth every penny:
- All Sons and Daughters- Season One
- Bethel Live- For the Sake of the World (the videos are awesome too!)
- Phil Wickham- Response
- Shane and Shane- Psalms, The One You Need, An Evening with Shane and Shane


*2 Corinthians 3:16-18

New International Version (NIV)
16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory,are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.



10.09.2012

It's ALL Delightful...and Random!

I am in a random mood- and I have a lot to share..apparently! So here you go- everything delightful on my mind! 

{Thanks to my new app Beep & Boop (read my article HERE) the girls have been HAPPY to do little things around the house to earn their "beeps"- I have not folded one towel since downloading the FREE app- love it! Ellie is working toward 15 "beeps" and would like new markers and a coloring book and Izzy is working toward 15 "beeps" for chocolate ice cream!}

{This time of year I get dry itchy skin! I wrote about my routine HERE- I like the body brush in the shower and I still LOVE Trader Joe's "A Midsummer Night's Cream" (but any lotion will do) and in the summer I love Vitamin E oil with lotion- but I just started mixing a bit of Aquaphor with my lotion right after shower and it is awesome! The Aquaphor alone is greasy and hard to rub in- but a bit with your lotion...delightful!}



{Random side note, look who is climbing on EVERYTHING (Busted!)- the only thing exciting about the "into everything" phase is I have high hopes to fit in my pre-baby jeans soon- because there is no sitting down during the next year!}

{Moving on...I get sick of giving juice- I usually don't despite being asked at every meal- so lately, I keep a pitcher of water with "something yummy" in it and we drink it during the day. That way I know how much water we are drinking AND it is YUMMY! The girls like it as much as juice- I like to use oranges, lemon, limes, cucumbers, tangerines, fresh mint- you name it!}


{I just think this is such a pretty cake- from thecakeblog.com...I think I would like to learn how to decorate cakes someday- I mean...fully go to school and LEARN! stay tuned...maybe I will do a blog about it when my kids are grown- delightfulcakestuff.com, hmmm- ha!}

{Finally...we lived with my parents for a period of time and there is one item I am literally grieving- I honestly believe I might start dipping into my children's savings accounts to afford this item- because I cant live without it! (ok...I am not going to dip into their very minimal savings- but if they had enough..I would be tempted, haahaa wait...do I sound like the Federal Government? OH, JUST KIDDING! 
Anyway, if you have $500 sitting around I need you to know that the Vitamix is worth EVERY PENNY! It is amazing- yes, it is just a blender- but it is amazing! My girls had no idea they were drinking spinach because this machine grinds it so finely- it is just wonderful! That is all I am going to say about that...if you can...get one! PS my mom doesn't know this (well, she does now) but I secretly borrowed her's this week while she is traveling and will have it clean and ready for her to return- but ahhh, so delightful!}



10.08.2012

Scripture Memory for October!

Our little chalk wall in the garage has really come in handy (SEE POST HERE)- we decided to memorize Psalm 23 during the month of October- (the whole chapter). So, I wrote the first 3 verses on the "chalk wall" to remind us to work on it this week. Every time we enter or exit we sing our little Psalm 23 song. I would say the majority of scripture I have memorized is from my childhood when I went to a Lutheran school and they forced us to memorize a lot of scripture. I am so grateful for that now- I am not as good at memorization these days- so I am grateful to have that scripture hidden in my heart. This is one of those chapters I memorized as a child- and I want to make sure that even though we don't have the luxury of sending the girls to a Christian school right now- they can still memorize when they are young sponges!  The responsibility falls on me to teach them... and that is what I plan on doing! If your family would like to join us this month, we would love it! 
Here is Psalm 23:

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.


10.04.2012

10 Months and A Pedi!

Milly turned 10 Months old on Sunday, so I thought I would share some notes on 10 Months.

1) I now remember why I did "Pack 'N Play (PNP) time" once they become mobile- watch out! She would just crawl right down the stairs if I would leave her for 5 minutes. Thankfully this time I have two VERY cautious and responsible older girls who wont even let her leave the room- but a lady needs to potty occasionally- so I have a "PNP" set up where I can set her in a safe place and go about my business! :) I had the other girls do up to 30 minutes of PNP time where they learned to "self play" and I would rotate toys in and out- with Milly, we are never landed long enough to do PNP time- I consider her carseat the alternative (since we are always running her sisters around).

2) With this newfound mobility there are also curious hands- meaning she touches everything she is not supposed to touch. I have always had success using 2 methods of training them not to touch something 1- the hand squeeze and 2- the "pat pat". My older girls learned very quickly what not to touch- because I never let it be an "option". SO, the squeeze is simply- they approach something "illegal" (the cord from the computer lets say) I say- "MILLY, DO NOT TOUCH" if she proceeds to touch, I go to her and squeeze- I mean really squeeze- the hand that touched. You might have to do this 1000 times- they will get it. Next is the "pat pat" if there is something nice in your house that you dont mind them touching, but they need to be gentle- you say- "MILLY, Pat pat" and go to them and lightly pat the object- and maybe even take their hand and lightly pat. (the Pat Pat is courtesy of my mom!)



3) Books Books Books- My girls all love books at this age- again, I love the Karen Katz Books- Milly's book of the moment is Where is Baby's Mommy?

4) I mentioned videos on the 9 month post- but Boz the Bear is our favorite at this age- Fun website too: HERE. One more thing, I say if you want a video on (say in the car or something) go ahead and start the Preschool Prep videos- Shapes, Colors, Letters and Numbers


5) Eating depends on the baby at this age- my other two were eating "people food" on their tray and Milly strongly dislikes texture and just downed her first graham cracker yesterday- everyone is different. If you dont know about Puffs, Baby mum mum or Lil' Crunchies get to know them- your dining experience will be much more delightful with these little gems!

6) If you haven't been using Amazon Subscribe and Save for diapers- check it out- they ship to your door whenever you want at a great price- best I have found in fact.

RANDOM "Stuff": 
{I believe that next to the first laughs...the clapping is the best! I love it, I go to get Milly out of bed from nap and she is sitting up in bed clapping when she sees me- even on baby #3 that never gets old!}

{Thats right, you saw those sweet little piggy's are red! We gave Milly her first Pedi today!}

{The big girls got mani's- Ellie wanted red and blue for the KU Jayhawks}




10.02.2012

STORYBOTS...Must Check Out!

Hi Friends, I am checking in quickly to tell you about a new website I found- StoryBots-
Here is what you will find:
1) Darling robot videos teaching the ABC's and words that start with each letter
2) This site is owned by Jib Jab (I have already discussed Jib Jab HERE and Jib Jab Junior HERE) Anyway- they have darling videos with the kids face in the "robot" character- Jumping on the Bed, Row Your Boat, Alphabet Song and Mulberry Bush- SO MUCH FUN!
3) They have a Beep and Boop App, where you can reward kids with "Beeps" or "Boops" Fabulous idea!
4) Activity Sheets- tracing letters, coloring sheets, word finding and connect the dots
5) You can make a custom Story book- there is a free App you can download for this

Bottom line....Please go check it out- my girls LOVE it and there is nothing on there that is in any way inappropriate- which is refreshing! SO SO SO excited about this! AND...ITS FREE!!!





10.01.2012

It's Delightful: Findings...and Some Party Notes!

I have some random things for you today- so here it goes:

 {So proud of my brother and his clothing line Baldwin GQ featured his Camo pants on their front page today: Check it out HERE. Yes...this is JayZ wearing his pants- so fun!}


{Look what I found stashed in Ellie's backpack- apparently she has been taking her Bible with her to school every day- I LOVE that!!}

{Ellie has become an expert in friendship bracelet making- and she is really good! I am not going to lie, I loved making friendship bracelets, so it is fun to go pick out the thread, etc.. Occasionally I get on a roll and she has to remind me that it is her bracelet..oops!}

{Here is my fall porch, thanks to my mom- I had a big pile of pumpkins and mums on the porch and she came over and arranged it in 5 minutes...I just love being festive!}

{Here is my chalk pumpkin, I wanted it to still look like a pumpkin so I didn't paint the whole thing with chalk- I think it is cute!}

{Here are the girls arranging their pumpkins for painting, we spray painted them white before painting- I dont think that was a necessary step. Yes, Izzy is wearing a gymnastics outfit (and sparkle shoes)...no we are not taking gymnastics right now}

{This is literally the only picture I took of the painting party- the aftermath! It was fun, we set up tables in the garage (it was supposed to rain) and poured paint on paper plates and let them go to town!}

{The food was a hit- here are the leaf cookies and cinnamon pita chips- in my mind cinnamon=fall!}

 {these are the cookies}

{These are the pita chips...YUMM!}

{I served my version of a Peach Bellini- just champagne and peach juice- it was DELISH! Everyone loved these!}

{Moving on to the birthday party for Dave- I was too busy cooking and chatting to take pictures..as usual! But here are some notes}

{My grandma and Aunt came up from Wichita for the party- so sweet! The kids loved seeing her!}

{Here is the cake I made Dave- it was really yummy..I am not going to lie :) }

{Few Cake tips: Substitute Buttermilk for water in the box mix. I make homemade icing- 1 (2 lb) bag of powdered sugar, 1 stick margarine, 3t vanilla, 1/4 cup milk (then add to for right consistency) I put it in my KitchenAid and whip away. Then I take my pastry bag with whatever tip I want and put it like the pic below to fill it with the icing- that is a really helpful tip from my SIL Courtney. Refilling the bag is a PAIN and this makes it really easy!} 

{One more tip- I love 7 layer dip...well who doesn't? Anyway, my friend Heather gave me this tip FOREVER ago- layer: beans, guac, sour cream...BUT mix in taco seasoning with the sour cream before layering it- makes all the difference!!! then cheese, green chilies, black olives, etc... Its all about the sour cream/seasoning layer!}


Was that random or WHAT!?! Happy Monday- have a great week!

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