What I’m Reading

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As I look back on the previous year I can see that we have been reading lots of books. I’ve wanted to share many of those books here and I may even form a book list for this year since I have my eye on a couple of really good ones. Lately My husband and I have been on a quest for a good book to read to our children every night-a chapter book that we could trek through together aside from the bible. It is another chance to be together and read to them which is an idea that we love.

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We are currently enjoying these books. Nightly after bed time routines and the night slows down, our little people pile into our bed to read Christian mother goose and Caleb’s story. So far Caleb’s grandfather has come back to the farm, Anna has gone to school in town and a huge snowstorm in happening. We cannot wait to read the next chapters!

Parenting from your strengths is a great book for parents who want to understand the personalities of their children and how to best help them. My husband and I are looking forward to adding the LOBG (lion, otter, beaver, golden retriever) model of personalities to review our children along with their character. We identify so much with the information in this book and it is extremely helpful for a mother who is total opposite of her boys. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to learn to love and understand the differences about their children and how that relates to themselves.

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(I received this book in exchange for my review)

This book is full of really cool paper crafts! It has things for me and the children. I cannot wait to use this for our Valentine’s Day family fun night!

So what are you reading?

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Shabby Rustic 1st Birthday

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Let me set this scene for you. I’ve dreamed of this day since I think the day I was born. Sweet eyes, puckering cries and a whole lot of purple. My girlie Q. I never thought I’d be blessed with the moment of cuddling with her. I guess the boy mom syndrome took over. But then the Lord allowed this miracle to flop into my arms One early morning in December. Unshaken by my sleeplessness and warranting comfort. I’ve been in love since that day and I’ve vowed to try to be a great model of following Jesus. I fail at this. Being her mama has allowed me to see life through her eyes, with lots of giggles and half eaten crackers.

I did not grow up in Christian home yet Jesus was so evident. I did not grow up with a model of healthy womanhood. But I hope to give her this. I often don’t know what I’m doing but by God’s grace and wisdom I pray she remembers the race that I ran. How I love Jesus more than anything and how we play tea party every afternoon after cuddling baby dolls. For me this is the beginning of a journey I’ve yet to even dream of. My baby girl. My best partner in a home full of burly men. She’s so fun and full of life and I hope one day she gets to share that in love with Jesus and his people. I’m so blessed by her daring personality and unwillingness to give up. She’ll never know how much she has caused me to repent and grow up.

I love all things old and worn.

I am a sinner, so is she. God has made us beautiful in his sight.

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We had such a darling time celebrating Sweet Pea!

I did not do very much though it may look like it. Over the years there have been parties and things have been collected.

I just bought ingredients for food.

Hot turkey, roast beef and ham sandwiches in a roaster.

Butterfly lemon, strawberry and peach finger Jello.

Baked potato soup, chili, and chicken and noodles.

Blueberry Applesauce.

Veggies and dip.

Chips and pretzels.

Shabby chic cupcakes.

Hot chocolate favors.

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I made a tutu from the fabric I already had.

Cut out a #1 from one of the fabrics and Steam-a-seamed it.

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Can you imagine how much my heart was racing with excitement! I haven’t had a party in a long time! Much too long.

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21 Weeks and Counting

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I haven’t talked much here about my pregnancy with baby D much other than occasionally mentioning my aversions to food and all things smelly. I just hit my twenty something week mark about a week ago and the nesting is on! I enjoy cooking again and food is my friend.

I’m sure you guys and gals want to know what’s keeping me away from my usual blogging. Life has been so hectic for my family these last weeks with a death in our family and traveling. I just couldn’t mentally gather my thoughts or look at a computer; my brain was exhausted. But I’ve been wanting to let you all in on the secrets of my pregnancy.

So here are a few things that I’ve been wanting to share with you all.

What I’m craving: lately chocolate, water ice, and hotdogs, “spicy”, string beans (baby has let me know they don’t like spicy)

What I’m hating: Fast food, Chinese food, heavy sauces

How I’m sleeping: Great! Which is weird. I’m usually up til 4am and falling asleep just before I have to get up

Pregnancy Symptoms: Feet swelling, heartburn

What I miss: Coffee, energy and being able to sleep on my stomach

What I’m looking forward to: Honestly. Making baby food (I’ve been freezing stuff and writing down things to try), new memories of bumps and bruises, and holding baby

Best moments so far: My hubby takes these moments to talk to baby D throughout the day. The baby goes wild kicking and tossing when he/or she hears him. Hulk smash randomly rubs my tummy and whispers, “hi baby!” Kid hero holds my hand frequently and tells me I’m beautiful (gotta love boys)

What baby is doing: kicking more throughout the day and sliding limbs across my belly

Baby’s gender: We are not telling until our gender reveal so you will have to wait for the deets 🙂

The nesting process: So far the cradle, changing table and rocker are up, clothes are washed and we are waiting to score some good deals on vintage baby toys and an old window.

I am looking forward to preschool and getting back to the school flow with my second grader. So far I have our year mostly planned and am working to be more organized. I feel like a light switch has been clicked on.

I’m always wanting to know what other women have gone through with their pregnancies and things they are doing differently. Let me know!

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Linking Up With:  Playdates with God,  Titus TuesdaysLiving Proverbs 31Joy Dare

Meal Plan Monday and Week-end Randomness

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By now cabin fever has totally hit me. We’ve had so much snow here where I am. I’ve been crafting like crazy, reading between the mayhem and cooking to stay sane, but I digress.

Today  I am sharing a recipe that has excited me every time I know I will make it. This recipe is a family favorite. Even so that we’ve had our regular Chinese food from the place we love and prefer to have this one. In my efforts to keep my family healthy, that has included eliminating fast food. More work? yes! But totally worth the work. Hopefully you will love it as much as I do. Here’s a recap of our week-end.

Eating

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Creating

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Homemaking

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I made my own ricotta and with it made these lemon poppy-seed muffins

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Ingredients: Recipe Adapted from Damn Delicious

7-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs. (trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch cubes)

1 1/2 cups corn starch

1/2  cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 large egg whites; beaten

Canola oil for frying

sesame seeds for garnish

3 cups cooked rice

1/2 tsp ginger

Marinade:

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 Tbsp brown sugar

3 Tbsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp  grape seed or sesame oil; divided

3 tsp minced garlic divided

1 Tbsp ground ginger

Instructions:

For the Marinade, whisk together broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, 2 tsp garlic, ginger, 1 Tbsp grape seed oil and 1/2 cup of water in a large bowl. In a gallon Ziploc bag, dump chicken and 6-8 Tbsp of the marinade; marinate for 30 minutes or longer. Lay bag flat in the refrigerator and make sure chicken is doused in sauce. Reserve the rest of the sauce.

Drain chicken from marinade and discard marinade.

Heat the last Tbsp of grape seed oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp ginger and cook until fragrant 1-2 minutes. Stir in two cups of reserved marinade and stir until thickened; keep warm.

In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, baking soda and remaining marinade slowly until you get a coarse meal. (1tsp-1tbsp)

Heat canola oil in a pan on medium-high heat.

Work in this way. Dip the chicken in the egg whites then press it into the cornstarch til covered and fry. Toss chicken in warm sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

Enjoy the fruit of your labor!

Love on purpose,

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Linking up with:  playdates with Godlivingproverbs31, Titus2sday

You Might also like: Meal Plan Monday: Red Beans and Rice Meal Plan Monday: Garlic Honey Baked Chicken WingsMeal Plan Monday: Chicken PillowsTen Mixes You Can Make at Home

I Confess I’m an Imperfect Mother

It’s so funny how this came about. Years ago I had plans to write a book titled Confessions of A Teen-aged mom. Don’t ask me what happened, I guess life took its toll and the book got lost. It may still come about one day.

I had plans of writing how my first child came and living through the pain of being shunned from my previous church. There were chapters on midnight feedings and how I was too tired and fell asleep breastfeeding. Along with many other chapters like anger and children, confessions of a single mom, suicidal roller-coaster and the like.

I feel like I’ve been through it all. I’ve got battle scars to prove my journey. Two failed relationships, one failed marriage, custody battles, living paycheck to paycheck paying for daycare and private school on my own and fears through the marriage I am in.

I’ve been compared, knocked down, looked over, mentally and emotionally abused and what have you. Who hasn’t?

Nonetheless, this day I get up every morning with new hope and a greater vision to seek God’s best in my life and the lives of my children.

But I am not perfect. I just laid that out. I’m not the screaming mom that takes single leaps in a bound when my boy’s cry. I am not the super organized mom or the mom that has her child in 10,000 biblical activities through the year. I’m not the mom that never catches an attitude or wakes up super early to start breakfast. I second that. I am certainly not the mom who get’s all her house work done, home school’s perfectly, nurtures perfectly or loves perfectly but these are very broad subjects.

If the chance comes I’m making a pizza and calling it dinner. I try to limit T.V. but sometimes, when I’m tired, there are pajama days. Sometimes dishes are left in my sink and the dirt on the floor may linger a few weeks.

Sometimes I don’t get dressed or even brush my teeth (don’t judge me).

But who is all these things?

Who has it together all the time? And if you do, then you are your own Saviour because there is no need.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

I fail and I fall. You got me. But I’m still growing. That’s the important thing.

I’m so imperfect and yet so glad that I am. Because through these imperfections God shows me how to slow down and catch up on life, the fun free one. He shows me to depend on him for his strength, his wisdom and his control. Not to compare myself to another mother or woman and what he has set before them. What God has given me is for me.

My crazy busy life, my personality, my husband, my struggles, my children, my ridiculous strength, my annoying yet amazing family, It’s all for Nykiah, because it’s apart of his work within me and the end of the story.

I am imperfect but He is stronger when I am weak and greater in my vulnerabilities. I am exactly what he wants me to be and how he needs me now. So that his glory can be completed in me. I’m just a dented, chipped, puzzle piece learning how to fit in his plan and stand where he wants me on the stage. I’m dress rehearsing for the real thing when all my responsibility will be to bow down and worship the king of kings.

I didn’t use to can but I do now. I never made pizza dough but I do now. I don’t have any girls, but I have boys. I don’t have a huge house but I have one. I don’t have long hair, but it’s healthy. I don’t always say the right things but I’m working on it.  I love God and I love people. Isn’t that really the point of all of this? Aren’t these really what the Lord has asked of us?

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22: 34-40 (ESV)

So while I’m focusing on what I’m not and who I could be, He is looking at greater things.

Praise God if another mom does more than me, praise God if another mom does less. We all have one thing in common, Jesus, his love and his work; Or that we love what we do and we are crazy for doing it!

I hope you can see your imperfections as another reason to give Christ your life. For someone already perfect needing nothing, it wouldn’t be a lot.

Trust him today and walk on the path he has you. Whether crazy and blessed or worst and a mess. Trust Him. And by all means, rejoice with other moms and women for their strength, humility and work that they were called to! (In other words, don’t hate, congratulate!)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

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Linking up with: Wedded Wednesday and thebettermom

Ten Mixes You Can make at Home! {Roundup!}

I’ve been wanting to share these with you for sometime now! Today on meal plan Monday’s I’d like to share some great staples from my kitchen. I like homemade, do you? I like natural, do you? How about easy? Amen?

As you know, some of the things we buy in our local grocery stores contain some things that we might not want to digest. For example, Did you know that baking powder contains aluminum?

Some may conclude that homemade is better but convenience is gold. Me personally, I’d like to keep my family away from harmful chemicals and dyes that are put into foods today. I think that’s why God created stay at home mom’s, so that we can stay at home and keep it. My take is, there is more time for homemade if I am at home, no matter what my schedule looks like. It’s my thing. You can disagree. I don’t mind.

Any way, Here’s 20 things in your kitchen or pantry that you can make at home and love. I do hope you love it and find some to keep! We’re all in this together right?

DIY - Baking Powder

Homemade Baking Powder via abrightandbeautifullife

Homemade bisquick via inlalaland and  Food.com

Homemade Taco Seasoning via rachelcooks

Post image for Apple Pie Spice

Apple pie spice via mybakingaddiction

Pumpkin pie Spice via mybakingaddiction

Homemade cream of anything soup mix via chewnibblenosh

Homemade Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix via teachthemtruth

Homemade pancake mix via CircleBKitchen

 Homemade Onion soup mix via moneysavingmom

Make ahead brownie mix

Homemade brownie mix via thrivinghome

(Every one of these mixes I’ve found has had something I didn’t want in it (i.e shortening,oil and the like). This was the closest to the original one that i like. chef-in-training is a favorite website of mine but her brownies use shortening. You could definitely omit the shortening and add coconut oil or butter! She is a very reliable source for cooking and baking!)

As always, with every recipe I post, I hope you’ll tuck this one away somewhere safe. Let me know how you love it!

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Linking up with: thebettermom

How to Homeschool A Preschooler

I guess the title tells it all. Although there is really no wrong way to home school your preschooler. I’ve suffered with this for quite some time as I am one of those freakishly “organized” moms. I put that in quotations because well, I like to plan to organize and sometimes I plan so much I’m just about too tired to actually do the project or whatever it is I am working on.

I’ve been researching for hours on methods to teach my little preschooler all he needs to know before his “big day” in an official school. Truth is, at this age, these little tikes learn best through interaction and play. My best curriculum should be focusing  on letter recognition, the language and phonics, cognitive tools, pre-reading and science.

My house is in chaos at this moment and we are still trying to organize from our move. For the most part it’s like my husband took me away from veggies and sat me next to candy! I’m enjoying the fruit of my labor and I absolutely love being home to care for our home, nurture our children and love on my hubby. So what’s a girl to do? How do you effectively and consistently home school a preschooler? My answer by my opinion is this: Be consistent. And there will be days that are rough….but persevere and be consistent. When my little Hulk Smash is getting antsy or fed up with his current activity I move to something else. I always engage him with his own world. But I never press him to work. I find opportunities for him to want to do school work.

I am no expert in homeschooling but I do have a plan. Summers been busting up our routine and it’s time to get back on schedule. Here are a few resources that I’ve found to be helpful.

Devotions- I plan to start a consistent devotion with my toddler to start our day. I want him to be aware that apart from God he is nothing, so we start with God. (I also plan on doing a scripture for the month for our family….Our favorite one is Isaiah 33:2. He can say it all by himself!)

Learning the alphabet/phonics- We have started to go through each letter of the alphabet. Each week we will work on a different letter and practice sounds and recognition. I found a wonderful resource here and I plan to incorporate Jamie’s ABC bag idea into our weekly activities. I also plan to incorporate her alphabet book because it’s a great keepsake for my children as they get older.

  • I also plan to make our own lap books as we progress through the year.
  • I keep a dry erase board also for practicing letters. Sometimes it turns into drawing mommy but he gets it.

My goal for the year is to have him recognize all of the alphabet and learn the sounds they make. Also to write his name or know the letters that make up his name. It’s doable. This year I’d like my Hulk Smash to learn to recognize the numbers 1-20 and at least write 1-10. I plan to incorporate a number book just like the alphabet book. I also think we will begin to make a number collage from old magazine cut outs.

Cognitive thinking and math- This is a problem area right now for us. I plan on using a basic I spy game with numbers and letters to get his mind going. Puzzles will be in the works as well as blocks,Lego’s and computer time games. (Jumpstart is a great resource)

Shapes and colors- My current goal is to link the number and letter of the week with a color. We will categorize colors with numbers. (example-sensory activities) I’m still tweaking this at this moment but I think posting a color of the week around the house will be helpful. I plan to teach him shapes in our everyday activities. Everything has a shape! This will also help with critical thinking when we look for things in the house.

Art and science- I put these two together because we almost always are doing some type of craft! Science can be an art in itself and I plan to do some hands on crafting and science projects this year.

Check out these cool ideas on my pinterest board.

Music is a must in our house. So move and groove will be in order!

We are currently in our third week of preschool and it is going wonderful!

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Check out these resources for preschoolers.

The Unlikely Homeschool

I Can Teach My Child

Mamas like me

Mud Hut Mama

Teacherspayteachers

Frugal Homeschool Family

These are some of my favorite websites that I refer back to for different ideas when I can’t carry out my own.

How do you homeschool your preschooler? I’d like to hear!

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