Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The mom they always Wanted

Welcome! Be sure to enter our giveaway for doTERRA essential oils!

"Mommy, did you know that even before I was in your tummy, you were the mommy I always wanted?" My three year old asks me.

"Yeah, and do you know that I will never stop loving you?" My six year old asks.

These were the comments made to me the other night by two of my children. Completely out of the blue.

I am far from a perfect mom. I get frustrated and overwhelmed easily. Sometimes I let my kids watch too much tv.

I also allow myself to feel guilty about so many things. Things that really don't matter that much, but I still let the guilt creep in anyways. Like the fact that I make my kids all take an afternoon quiet time, or that I'm not doing more crafts with them. Or that I don't have them in any extra activities. On any given day, I could be feeling guilty about these things plus about a hundred others.

And yet, they love me. They don't have a clue what pinterest says I should be doing, or what their friend from church's mom is doing. They don't know, and they don't care. The only thing they seem to care about is that they have a mommy who loves them.

It's the same for you, friends. Let go of the guilt, stop worrying about what you "should" be doing with your kids.

Smile at them. Tell them about Jesus, and point their hearts to the only One who can completely fulfill us. Listen to them.

Give yourself some grace, and remember that most of the guilt you're feeling is a lie straight from the enemy.

Because at the end of the day, even if I'm sure someone else could be doing a much better job, God has given me these children. And He's given you yours.

f you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or"liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Be sure to enter the giveaway for doTERRA essential oils!

Linked to Raising Arrows, Wise Woman Builds her home, Proverbs 31 Link up,Modest mom, A Mamas Story

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Week of Sickness

Welcome! Be sure to enter our giveaway for doTERRA essential oils!

Some of my kids spent this past weekend looking like this:

While others spent it looking like, this: 

Unfortunately we've had a wave of sickness hit our house this last week. So last weeks goals and menus really did not happen(although I did get plenty of practice on last weeks goal of using my words for kindness and building up in the midst of my sleep deprived state! :) I also did get to do some freezer cooking last week, too. It feels so wonderful to have a freezer full of meals!

I think everyone is finally on the mend, so hopefully this week is a little more productive. And even though I felt so bad for my sickies, I did enjoy the extra snuggles.


1. Start working more intentionally with Lily on preschool work. She really wants to do school with Anna and Jack, but I keep putting her off. Last night I buckled down and printed off some of Raising Rockstars curriculum, and am hoping to do some of that with her.

2. Detox children from the television. We watched way too much tv last week(for good reason), but it's definitely a habit we are going to need to break this week!

3. Take kids to library(that is always an adventure!) Continue reading In Grandma's Attic, and working on Catechism and memory verses.


Breakfast- cereal, eggs, toast, and muffins

Lunch- Nutella sandwiches, peanutbutter and jelly, salads, and leftovers

Dinner- Tortellini Soup, Tacos with guacamole and brown rice, Three cheese garlic chicken pasta(from the freezer-woot!) Fried chicken with sweet potato hash browns and green beans, Spicy Sausage pasta, pancakes and eggs.

How was everyone else's week? Anyone have anything really yummy(and simple!) on their menu this week?

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you followed my blog via email or "liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Be sure to enter the giveaway for doTERRA essential oils!

Linked to Growing Home, Titus2 Tuesdays

doTERRA Essential Oils Giveaway!

It feels like every time I get online, I hear something about the amazing uses of essential oils. I have wanted to try some for a long time, and finally got the chance when Laura from Laura's gluten free pantry sent me some to try.

I really had no idea where to start, and honestly was a little skeptical about all the hype I kept hearing. I finally decided to try the peppermint oil first, because I deal with sinus headaches quite a bit, and was shocked when my headache went away almost as soon as I tried the oil! I'll take drinking a cup of coffee with a splash of peppermint any day over popping tylenol!

Shortly after that experience I got well acquainted with the usefulness of essential oils when all 5 of my kids got sick last week. They all had coughs, runny noses, and fevers, so I gave them lots of baths with orange, lemon, and peppermint oil. When they couldn't sleep, I rubbed some lavender oil on their wrists, and when the coughing got particularly bad I rubbed some peppermint oil(mixed with coconut oil) on their feet, and watched in amazement as they got some much needed relief.

I think it's safe to say that I'm no longer skeptical about essential oils. :)

Laura has generously offered to giveaway a Doterra introductory kit(which contains lavender, peppermint, and lemon oil), an audio cd explaining how to use the oils, and a large bottle of wild orange oil to one of my readers. All you have to do is enter below!

Also, if you'd like to go ahead and purchase a kit, green living ladies is currently running a special where if you a buy a kit, you get another one for free! 

Good "luck!"

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Congrats to Marcie!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Freezer Cooking Extrazaganza!

Welcome! Be sure to enter our giveaway for DrinkBands!

This week is turning into the week of sickness. Monday morning Jack woke up with a fever and a cough, and today Anna woke up with it. Lily, Max, and Luke all have coughs and runny noses, so I'm kind of anticipating everyone catching this virus by the time the week is over.

So, instead of sticking to our normal schedule this week, we are just focusing on taking it easy and getting everyone better.

Since the kids are just wanting to lay down, sleep, and watch movies, I decided to try and do some freezer cooking today.

I decided to make applesauce bread, blueberry muffins, chocolate chip breakfast cake(because some mornings you just need chocolate, am I right?!), and chicken stock.

{If you look closely at this picture, you can see Lily's portrait she drew of me. :)}

Muffins and bread are some of my favorite things to freeze. I just let everything cool, then put the muffins and sliced bread in freezer bags, and they're ready to go in the freezer. When I'm ready to use them, I'll just pull out however many muffins or bread I need and stick them in the oven for about ten minutes. You could also microwave them, but our microwave is broken, so I just use the oven for everything.

For the breakfast cake, I wrapped saran wrap tightly around the pan, then I just wrapped some aluminum foil over that. When we're ready to eat it, I'll probably let it thaw on my counter top overnight, then put it in the oven for about 20 minutes the next morning.

{20 cups of broth just waiting to be frozen}

I get asked quite a bit how I make my chicken broth. There's a lot of ways to make it, but typically I just fill up a stock pot with water, throw a chicken carcass in the pan, and let it cook for 24 hours. When there's a few hours left before the 24 hours is up, I add some carrots and onions to the pot. Right before I turn the oven off, I add some salt(I've heard a good rule of thumb is 1 tsp of salt for every 2 cups of broth.)

Once it cools(which will take awhile), I strain out the bones and vegetables into big mixing bowls. Then I measure out 4 cup portions and place them in freezer bags. I've tried to use mason jars before, but every time I do the mason jars end up shattering, so I stick with freezer bags. I'll usually label the portion size on the bags, and mark the date.

When it's time to use the broth, I *try* to remember to set it out that morning, that way it's thawed and ready for dinner. However, there are plenty of times I forget to do this, and I end up pulling out a bag of frozen broth at the last minute, cut the bag open, and melt the broth on the stove. Hey, it works.  :)

Do the rest of you enjoy freezer cooking? What are some of your favorite things to freeze?

Be sure to enter to win some DrinkBands!

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you subscribed to my blog via email, or "liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Linked to Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Walking Redeemed, Raising Arrows, Raising Homemakers

Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentines Day, Busy Weekends, & Thai Food

It was such a busy and full weekend.

On Valentine's day our church offered childcare to all the families at church.

I may have been one of the first people to sign up, ahem.

We went out with another couple for Thai food, and then coffee. I was extremely grateful to our church for offering this service, and we had such a nice time. However, the kids didn't get to bed until after 10, which normally wouldn't have been too much of a problem, except we had to get up and go back to Church for a community group leader's meeting the next morning.

When I dropped the kids off in the nursery, I warned the nursery workers what they might be in for. I think I apologized about ten times before being assured that they could handle it, and would come get me if there was any problems.

Thankfully there wasn't while we were at church, but I had to go grocery shopping after the meeting, and Erik had to stay even longer at the church for praise band practice. That's when things got, shall we say, interesting. 

We just had to go to Aldi, but it was still pretty rough. At one point I was carrying a sobbing two year old and ten month old through the store, all while attempting to push a shopping cart and directing the older kids. I think the people there were glad to see us go!

Oh well, had this been four years ago I would've felt horribly guilty and like a failure as a mother. Now I realize that this is how kids act when they're tired, and it's kind of my fault that they weren't able to get enough sleep(but that's a soap box for a different day!)

Sunday was spent at church, then we all came home and crashed for a couple of hours. When the kids woke up we decided to have a movie night and just eat popcorn and ice cream for dinner. Definitely not the healthiest dinner, but it was still fun. :)

I completely bombed all of last weeks goals. Here's hoping this week will be more productive!

1. Continue reading My Father's Dragon to the kids, and hopefully start In Grandma's Attic later this week.

2. Exercise 4 times.

3. Continue memorizing Philippians 2.

4. Make some freezer meals(I started this today. So far I have two chicken casseroles in the freezer, plus some extra cooked chicken, and tomorrow I'll have a batch of broth made.) I've been seriously lacking in motivation when it comes to meals lately, so I'm hoping this will help. Jack said to me last week,"Mommy, we sure do eat a lot of peanut butter and jelly." :)

5. To be kind, and focus on not complaining, but using my words for building others up.


Breakfast- Eggs & toast, breakfast cookies, Oatmeal, blueberry muffins, applesauce bread

Lunch- salads, left overs, and, yes, peanut butter and jelly(sorry, Jack!)

Dinner- Melt in your mouth chicken with rice & carrots, Cheeseburger Soup, Tortellini Soup, chicken pasta casserole(from the freezer), feta-turkey burgers, cheeseburger casserole

How was everyone else's weekend? What goals or menu plans do you all have going on this week?

Be sure to enter the giveaway for DrinkBands!

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cut down on Dishes!{Drinkbands giveaway!}

This past week we have had a birthday party and a Valentine's party. As with any party, there has been cake, games, decorations, and dishes.

Lots and lots of dishes.

I easily run my dishwasher twice a day on a normal day, but throw in a couple of parties and some more people in the house, and I might run my dishwasher four times in one day!

Thankfully, Drinkbands recently sent me a set of their bands to review. Each set comes with twelve different colored rubber bands that you can place around cups in order to ensure each person in your house only has one cup they are using.

The kids love them, and are so excited to pick out the color they want on their cup every day. I love them because not only am I able to keep track of the kids drinks, I also don't have as many cups going through the dishwasher.

DrinkBands has also offered to giveaway a set of bands to one of my readers. If you would like to win a set, and hopefully cut down on your dishes, just enter below.

Hope you win! :)

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Great is His Faithfulness

Welcome! Be sure to enter our giveaway for DrinkBands!

Photo: Some mornings you just don't care if your son wants to wear a diamond sweater vest, your girls are wearing swim suits in the winter and your 2 year old insists on wearing his dragon costume (and throwing a fit about it all at the same time) .. Oh and definitely didn't notice the bow in Luke's hair until after I took the picture #crazykids

These last several years have been difficult.

Unemployment, husband not walking with Jesus, trying to sell a house,  husband going back to school, having a third baby, husband becomes a Christian, selling a house, moving, having my fourth baby in three years, job change for my husband, moving again-this time away from friends and family, beginning home schooling in a new town, starting a new church, having baby number five, and now trying to balance being a wife, mother, homeschooler, and friend.

As I'm sure you can imagine it's been just a little stressful. Obviously people have walked through much worse, but it's been stressful nonetheless. .

However, if I hadn't gone through these things I never would have experienced the peace of knowing that God is in complete control. That He is sovereign.

There have been so many times in the last few years that I've felt at the end of my rope. I just couldn't see how things were possibly going to get better. There have been many times I've felt incredibly lonely, either because I hadn't made any friends yet, or because I felt alone in some of the trials we were walking through.

But God has been so incredibly faithful, friends. I look back on all the ways that he has faithfully provided in every possible way-from finances, to rest to an encouraging word, and I am completely amazed.

Many of the ways that he has provided for us has been through other people. Our family has been incredibly helpful during all of this. There have also been many times, especially when Erik was in school, that people would randomly leave diapers on our front step, or leave anonymous envelopes of cash in our mail box. Twice now complete strangers have paid for my groceries at the grocery store- just because they saw me with my kids and wanted to do something kind for us.

 Since we've moved loneliness has been a pretty big struggle for me, yet even in that struggle there have been encouraging cards and emails from friends in my old town, and new friendships starting to form here. God has been showing me that He is the only one who can fill me, even though I still fight it and try to find my joy in other things.

I realize that these won't be the only trials we ever walk through. There will be plenty more refining, and we will make plenty of mistakes in the years to come.

However, it's good to write some of this down and remember how faithful God has been,  so that I can know how faithful he will continue to be in the years to come.

If you are walking through a difficult trial or season of life, take heart. God is good and he will faithfully carry you through those times.

{Print this free  here}

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Be sure to enter our giveaway for DrinkBands!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Making Ponies & Wearing Wings

Welcome! Be sure to enter the giveaway for Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil!

Photo: Happy fourth birthday Lily! And yes she's wearing wings and a crown..#dontjudge :)

Saturday marked the beginning of the birthday madness we have around here. From now until September we will have at least one birthday celebration a month. It gets a little crazy, but we really love celebrating birthdays, so it's fun.

My sweet and feisty Lily turned four this past weekend! We had so much fun celebrating her special day. The night before her birthday Erik and I took her on a date. This is something we try to do with the kids for their birthdays. It really is such a sweet time. I love seeing their personalities shine through when they're alone.

Friday night, we took her out to dinner at Chik fil a, and then headed to build a bear for her birthday present from us. She decided to build a Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony. It was really funny because the entire time we were out with her she kept talking about Anna, and what she wanted to get Anna for her birthday. I think it's safe to say that those two are best friends. :)
Photo: Me and the birthday girl!:)

My parents were here for Lily's actual birthday, so we spent the day celebrating with them. She got some princess dress up, and a little baby doll that she immediately named "Flower." She also declared her baby doll the "perfect present!" We finished the birthday festivities off with some pizza, strawberry cake, and chocolate milk.

On a completely different note, don't you love how kids ask for such simple meals?! :)



Breakfast- Eggs, cheerios, Nutella on toast, pumpkin oatmeal

Lunch- Grilled Cheese, Salads, peanut butter& jelly, carrot sticks, sweet peppers, and apples and oranges for sides

Dinners- Tacos, Tortellini Soup(although I won't get to make this in my crock pot. Both of mine broke last week.) Homemade cheese pizzas, Red velvet pancakes with eggs and candied bacon(because I feel like showing some valentines day love), whole chicken with mashed potatoes and broccoli/salad,


1. Give the kids a really fun and special valentines day(more on that later.)

2. Exercise four times this week, and continue to track points on weight watchers.

3. Read My Father's Dragon to the kids.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you subscribed to this blog via email or "liked" my facebook page! Thank you so much for stopping by!

Be sure to enter to win a quart of coconut oil!

(Amazon links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from amazon using my links I get a small percentage back. Thank you!)

Linked to Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Treating Our Kids with Respect

Welcome! Be sure to enter the giveaway for some tropical traditions coconut oil!

"Mommy, I wish you wouldn't laugh at me." My six year old said to me the other day.

I had just finished telling my husband something funny that he had said earlier that day, and we were having a good laugh over it. But his request to stop laughing at him stopped us.

I explained that we weren't laughing at him, we just thought he was funny, but if it hurt his feeling we wouldn't do that anymore. 

He seemed relieved with that answer, and didn't seem to be bothered anymore, but his assumption that we were laughing at him got me thinking.

I remember several years ago seeing this quote on Sarah Mae's blog that said, "Respect your child more than your closest friend." Ever since then, I've had it in the back of my mind.

How would I treat my best friend?

Would I sigh in annoyance that she asked to help me make dinner? Would I angrily snap at her in front of other people? Would I walk out of the room while she was telling me a story because I'm just so busy I can't possibly stop to look her in the eyes and give her my full attention?

Of course not. I'd laugh with her and say thank you when help was offered. I'd listen to the story, and give her my input.

In all honesty,  the hard truth is that I'd probably give an acquaintance, or even a stranger more respect than I sometimes give my own children.

And it has to stop.

Because yes it's hard to listen when you have a to do list chasing you and other children vying for your attention, but our kids need to know that they are important to us. That we are their biggest fans. That when they tell us that we are hurting their feelings, or that something has upset them that we will listen to them.

I don't want my kids to think that they are a nuisance to me. I want them to know that our home is a safe place for them to be themselves, and that they will be loved and respected here. Because at the end of the day they are my priority.

Be sure to enter for the chance to win some tropical traditions coconut oil!

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Giveaway!!!

Have you ever seen the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding? There's a scene in the movie that shows the dad proclaiming that if you have an ailment you should "put some windex on it." Any problem or injury can be cured, in his opinion, with windex. 

What does that have to do with anything, let alone coconut oil you ask? Well sometimes I feel a little bit like coconut oil is the "windex" of the real food community.

Your baby has diaper rash? Put some coconut oil on it.

Can't afford expensive facial cleansers? Wash your face with coconut oil, instead.

Can't lose weight? Add some coconut oil to your tea to boost your metabolism.

Have a toddler who won't obey? Give him some coconut oil.

Well, maybe, no one says that last one, but I think you get my point.

Coconut oil is pretty amazing.

Recently Tropical Traditions sent me a quart of their Gold Label coconut oil. Tropical Traditions sells the highest quality products, so I was super excited about the chance to review some of their coconut oil. Their gold label brand is only produced in small batches, and it's the highest quality they offer.

I was so excited when I received this in the mail, and the kids and I have been baking our hearts out this week with it(and adding it to our oatmeal..and smoothies...and frying vegetables..and using as hand lotion..)

I have to say that I was super impressed with their coconut oil. You can definitely taste the coconut, but it's really mild, and actually enhances the flavor of foods. I especially loved it in blueberry muffins(blueberries and coconut, yum!)

If you'd like to find out more about their coconut oil click here.

And if you're curious about how to use coconut oil click here.

Tropical Traditions has also generously offered to give away one quart of gold label coconut oil to one of my readers. All you have to do is subscribe to their newsletter, and leave a comment letting me know you did!

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

If you enjoyed this post I'd be honored if you subscribed to this blog via email or "liked" it on facebook. Thank you so much for visiting!

Giveaway is now over! Congrats to Jayme!
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Lazy Weekends & Weekly Menu Plan

Max enjoying his magnifying glass.

This past Saturday was a cold and rainy day, but thankfully we had no where to go. It was certainly appreciated, because this week is gearing up to be busy, and then this Saturday we will be celebrating Lily's birthday, so there won't be anything lazy about next weekend!

I spent most of Saturday morning cleaning up the house while the kids took baths, wrote/drew stories, and watched an episode of veggie tales. Erik worked most of the day from home, but having him home working is still way better than him going off to work and not being home at all.

Then Saturday afternoon I got take a nap when the rest of the kids did. It was a-mazing. :)

Saturday night, I took Anna with me to Aldi to run some errands. She was so excited. She kept telling everyone around us that she was getting to run errands alone with mommy, and about how happy she was about this. It was so sweet, and it helped confirm in my mind that taking my kids out one on one is so important. It doesn't even seem to matter what we're doing, they just seem to thrive on a little alone time.

After we got the kids to bed Saturday night Erik and I had a little date night in, we got some take out and...did our taxes. Yep, we know how to party. :)

Sunday we went to Church, and when we got home we all took a long nap(yay for naps!) We didn't even turn the Super Bowl on, but we still managed to have a good Sunday. :)

In other news, I seem to have become a little obsessed with changing my blog design. Sorry about that, I just can't seem to find something I really like. Hopefully soon I'll settle on one. :)


Breakfast- Eggs, Pumpkin Oatmeal, toast, and cinnamon rolls(birthday girl breakfast)

Lunch- Peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, salads(for me), and leftovers

Dinners- Sandwiches and salads(me salad, everyone else sandwiches), homemade pizza, blueberry pancakes and eggs, chicken enchilada casserolex2(one for dinner one for the freezer), candy soup, tacos with refried beans, and turkey burgers.


Play some board games with the kids this week. They love them, but I don't really enjoy them that much. This week is suppose to be cold and snowy so it'll be perfect for staying inside and playing some games.

Get up between 5 and 5:30, and go to bed by 10.

Exercise 4 times this week.

Continue working on Philippians 2:1-2 with the kids.

Get at least 2 meals in the freezer(this week I'm hoping it'll be the broccoli cheese soup and chicken enchilada casserole.)

How was everyone else's weekend?

If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you subscribed to my blog via email, or "liked" my page on facebook. Thank you so much for stopping by!

Linked to Modest mom blog.

Be sure to enter the giveaway for tropical traditions coconut oil!

Linked to Growing Home.

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