Saturday, March 28, 2015

Some of My Favorite Things

Hi friends! Hope you are having a great Saturday and (if you are just finishing up your spring break like we are) a great spring break as well! Since my Hubs is a teacher we get the privilege of having him home for a whole week in the midst of one of the busiest seasons of our whole year. It has been so good to get some good family time and one-on-one time as well! Anyway, all that to say, blogging has not been in the forefront of my mind this week! BUT I did want to throw out some of my recent favorite things (because who doesn't love talking about their favorite things!?!) just for fun!

Some of my current faves...

Listening To: Green River Ordinance, they are some of my go-to tunes and I just love them. I love that they are a little bit folksy but keep it down-to-earth with a little bit of country meets light rock. I don't know...I'm not really a musical person and don't know how to describe what I'm thinking. All I know is, if you need some good background music, you should check them out!

(Re)Watching: Royal Pains, a clever-quipping show about a doctor who loses his job and becomes an on-call doctor to the rich socialites of the Hamptons. This show isn't exceptionally deep but it makes me smile, and if I just need something fun and light at the end of a long day this is my current go-to. (Watch it on USA or Netflix)

Reading: Jesus Outside the Lines by Scott Sauls. This is turning out to be a very thought-provoking read. I find myself chewing on it throughout the day (which I consider an attribute of a good book). Scott puts into writing some of the things I've thought over the years about how we sometimes try to keep our picture too neat and tidy as Christians, and how, perhaps, Jesus would do things differently. Only on chapter 3, but so far it is really good!

Cooking: THESE granola bars from sugardishme. Wow. WOW. They are so good I cannot even tell you. And they are a filling snack that makes me feel far less guilty for eating them. Not to mention they are beyond easy to make, healthier than most store-bought kinds, and are made with probably-already-in-your-pantry ingredients. Triple win!

New Habit: Since the weather has turned really nice my family has been trying to get out for a walk every day. That's been great. Also, I have committed to eating no fast-food for the whole month of April. I don't eat a ton anyway, but I need to get back to some healthier habits I've been letting fall by the wayside, and this is one of them!

So that is all I have time for today, but I would love to hear some of your faves AND if anybody has an absolute favorite lip-stain, I am on the search for the perfect one so let me know what you wear! ;) Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 9, 2015

That Pregnancy Glow (and other fables)

 "Pregnancy is the best thing ever!" I've heard it said. "It is magical, it is surreal, there is nothing like it!" All that may be true...but I am here to tell you, friends, that it is not the whole truth. Because while pregnancy is an amazing phenomenon of God and perhaps one of the most miraculous of feats (I mean, hello, you are literally growing a baby! I can't even grow a tomato plant!) it also holds some of the least feminine and least attractive moments that you may ever have in your entire life.

Morning sickness is a misnomer ladies. Let's call it for what it really is, shall we? The three-months-of-hell. Or, for some of my poor sisters out there, the nine-and-a-half-months-of-hell. I mean, really, morning sickness? It almost sounds cute! Just a little upset tummy to remind us of the miracle growing inside of us. No. No! It is more like a three month boat-ride on turbulent waters--with more time spent giving mouth-to-mouth to the ceramic bowl than basking in the glow of being a new mom. Also, just for fun, your favorite foods will likely be the ones that cause said never-ending-nausea. And that beautiful caffeinated beverage that kept you going each morning? The smell of it alone will send you running to spend yet some more quality time with your new bestie the Ceramic Bowl.

Now, lest you decide this pregnancy thing is not for you, take heart. For many first-time mamas it gets better from here (for the next few months). There is a lull in the storm, if you will, and the second trimester is almost blissful and euphoric. You beat the nausea and aren't yet as large as a station wagon so you can, once again, find delight in this season called pregnancy. However, heed this warning sisters--the second time around may not be so easy! As my obstetrician told me (honestly and truly, this is what she said), "Your body is saying, 'You're going to do this to me again? Screw it lady--you're on your own!'" Well that is certainly encouraging. I thought we were in this together, body, but apparently you are holding a grudge.

While those beautiful first-time mamas often have that gorgeous pregnancy glow...vibrant and full of life with a cute little baby bump to show off....bask in it first-time mamas, because each consecutive child afterwards our bodies apparently feel the need to join a contest to see how fast they can pop out our bellies (as well as various other body parts) as far as they can go. And the fun doesn't end there. Oh no...did you know that you can get a hernia in your pelvis? I did not, ladies, and frankly I would have been okay never knowing that piece of medical information. However, I had the privilege of experiencing it firsthand and while the OBs seemed to think it was no big deal (I mean, it wasn't their pelvis that was ripping out of their bodies in the middle of pregnancy, was it?) I had some google-research sympathy when I discovered that many a mama has had this very uncomfortable and sometimes painful addition to their blissful pregnancy. Good news though, in case you were wondering. The hernia goes away once baby comes out...until you get pregnant again. Then, apparently, it comes back even worse! Thanks for that epic news Doc...I will add that to my list of reasons it would be crazy to ever consider doing this again.

There are so many other fantastic experiences that may await you in the third trimester, I almost don't want to spoil the surprise. I mean, you may get hemorrhoids (very sexy), have excruciating back pain (super great when you are working or have older kids to lug around), and develop insomnia (which, I'm sure, is paired along with having to get up eighteen-million times a night to pee, all generously trying to prepare you for being up with baby once you give birth). Oh, I forgot to mention the pension for having to fart all the time. Did you used to hold it in around hubby? No more! You couldn't even if you wanted to, so don't even try. If you are not peeing as you walk, I'd say you're doing a-okay! (But, on that note, don't wait to go to the bathroom because one swift kick from baby and you will urinate right where you are standing.)

As beautiful as pregnancy is (and I do, honestly, think it is a glorious thing) I have to laugh-out-loud when I hear the inevitable, "Oh my goodness, this is going to be the best time in your whole life!". Because whoever is saying that to you is probably delusional. Unless they are a sadist who really loves to vomit and fart while simultaneously being in pain and possibly having a body that is so swollen it looks like you are allergic to being pregnant. In that case, you might want to run (waddle) away as quickly as possible. At the end of the day (or, in this case, nine-and-a-half-months) the majority of mamas will do whatever is in their power to get that baby out. And then the time comes. Baby exits womb and enters world and you hold that tiny, wet, wrinkled thing for the first time and nothing has ever been more beautiful. Or more worth it.

And despite the discomfort, the pain, the hormones (and let's not even talk about the labor), you just know that you would do it all over again.

At least...that's what I've heard. ;)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Children's Book Review #2: One Sentence Storybooks

 I had the privilege of reviewing One Sentence Storybooks: Bible Favorites (Nancy I. Sanders) for Tyndale Publishers this month and I was pleasantly surprised. The set of beginning-reader books comes in a cute little box that is great for storing the ten stories that come included. My two-and-a-half year old is obviously a pre-reader, but she really enjoys the simple storyline and the variety contained in these books. I like that these stories are an opportunity for my daughter to "dip her feet in the water" both in terms of reading and tasting Biblical truths.

The books are perfect for beginning readers, with each page adding one simple phrase to the previous, concluding with one full sentence. I will use my daughter's favorite book, The Sad Son (based on the story of the Prodigal son), as an example. The first page has the simple phrase: "The sad son" along with a colorful illustration. The next page adds "The sad son came back home" and so on, until the final sentence reads, "The sad son came back home to his dad for a hug."

If you are looking for theological depth, this is probably not the product for you. They are very simplified stories. However, though this threw me off at first, it turned out to be something that drew my daughter into the Biblical truths more than some of our more complex Bibles and Bible stories do. In The Sad Son my daughter grasped the concept of a repentant son coming back home to his welcoming father. She hadn't seemed to grasp that concept in other renditions we had read. The simplicity of the story drew her in, and she often talks about "the sad son getting a hug from his daddy."

Each book concludes with a Truth to Learn, Verse to Say, and Prayer to Pray that correlates with the story, as well as a bonus section that has little activities children can go back through the story to do. I love watching my little one delight in these books, and love how I can have simple yet meaningful conversations about God and His truths through the catalyst of these single-sentence stories.

I was given a copy of this collection from Tyndall House Publishers for review. All reflections and opinions are my own. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Goals

~More Laughing, More Praising, More Face-to-Facing, More Contentment, More Serving, More Joy~

So I have to ask...what happened to February!?! Am I the only one who felt like the whole month flew by in a blink! I mean, I know it gets gypped a couple of days but seriously, I feel like a whole two weeks are missing at least! It seems like I didn't accomplish anything at all that I had hoped to check off my list. (Now this could be in part because the whole state of Idaho should be quarantined what with how many people have had the cold and/or flu the past two our house we've had the flu once and colds like four times or more in the past eight weeks! Who's sick of being sick (and having sick kiddos)? This girl!

Anyway...January was like a major win in the goals department so I guess February's lack balanced it out, haha! In January I chalkboard painted my kitchen pantry door, read a couple of books, took the littles to the aquarium and went to breakfast with my husband alone. I also cut down on sugar intake (until I got sick) and that was a great experience--one I will absolutely try again (and hopefully go through a whole month next time!)

March is now here and I was talking with Hubs last night about what our goals are this month. There is something about setting goals that gives me butterflies (and, yes, I am aware that this may be a tad nerdy). I think the anticipation of completing things I have written down gives me extra fire to get r' done. Plus, let's be honest, the post-kids brain is not always the most faithful when it comes to remembering stuff. If I don't write things down there is a 75% chance my hopes and dreams will vanish like Cinderella's gown at midnight. So lists, notebooks, and my faithful i-phone all bring a sigh of relief (and twinge of joy) to yours truly.

March Goals
Project: To do something about our garage. ANYTHING is an absolute disaster. Like, when we have the garage door up I am embarrassed because it is just chaos. Plus, the Hubs would really love to have a place to work on projects--a "man cave" of sorts--and somehow I don't think buckets of barbies and craft supplies and sewing gadgets really fit in well to that man-cave picture. So I need some major organization stamina to take that project on.

Reading: I am reading a handful of books right now and want to get at least two finished. I would like to finish reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp and Pursue the Intentional Life by Jean Fleming. Also, I will be starting Beth Moore's Bible study on James called "Mercy Triumphs. I really want to keep up on the weekly studies for this one!

Something Fun w/ the Kiddos:
I want to take the littles to Planet Kid Indoor Playground for a fun-filled afternoon sometime this month. I went with a friend to a great indoor playground on base this past month, and my daughter had a BLAST and has been asking to go again. Problem is, it's on base and I am not military so unless I go with a friend, it's a no-go for us. Planet Kid is a similar indoor play-place a bit of a drive from here, so I'm hoping that will be great fun to!

Something Fun w the Hubs:
 Fun fact about me. I am a Divergent FREAK. I stinkin love the movie...and the books. (Thank you, Veronica Roth, for being born. And writing.) I am a straight-up dystopian nerd. Well the sequel, Insurgent, comes out in theaters on March 19th. So the Hubs and I will totally be going (and, might I add, it will be the FIRST movie I have seen in theaters in over two years!) Bring on the giant bowl of popcorn...and the overpriced candy! It is going to be GREAT!

Mini-Goal of the Month: 
February was a rough month attitude-wise for me. I'm sure a lot of it was lack of sleep, but I battled ungratefulness, frustration, and straight-up meanness at times throughout the month. I want March to be a u-turn from all that. I am trying to verbalize things I am thankful for throughout each day, and I want to continue this practice in March. Soaking in the moment from a long hug with the Hubs, a snuggle with my babies, or simply a quiet second to sip on some coffee--I want to memorize these moments with a thankful heart.

Recipes to Try:
  1. Cauliflower Tater Tots...these look absolutely amazing! 
  2. Okay, this is a little strange but I have been intrigued by Good Girl Moonshine and have been wanting to try it for a while now. (It's not alcoholic, it is a Trim, Healthy Mama recipe.)
  3. This paleo Chipotle Chicken recipe that I have been meaning to try for two months and STILL haven't made! 
  4. I have also been wanting to try my hand at Cauliflower-Crust Pizza for we go March, bring it on!
  5. Lastly, these Granola Bars for snacking on...just hoping they aren't so good that I want to eat twelve in one sitting. That would defeat the purpose, I think. ;)

What are your goals this month???

More ~More Laughing, More Praising, More Face-to-Facing, More Contentment, More Serving, More Joy~ - See more at:
~More Laughing, More Praising, More Face-to-Facing, More Contentment, More Serving, More Joy~ - See more at:
~More Laughing, More Praising, More Face-to-Facing, More Contentment, More Serving, More Joy~ - See more at:
~More Laughing, More Praising, More Face-to-Facing, More Contentment, More Serving, More Joy~ - See more at:
~More Laughing, More Praising, More Face-to-Facing, More Contentment, More Serving, More Joy~ - See more at:
~More Laughing, More Praising, More Face-to-Facing, More Contentment, More Serving, More Joy~ - See more at: