When Papa Comes Home

Life at my house I was standing at the kitchen sink filling Taylor’s bottle with water. Behind me both boys were throwing fits. Taylor was starving hungry, Jaxon had refused to eat his supper. Gerry was working late and so I had evening baby duty by myself. Why can’t there be peace in this house even when he isn’t here? That was what went through my mind in some form or another. Don’t get me wrong, there are peaceful times at our house even when Papa isn’t home. It’s not all chaos. But there is just something about the end of the day that brings all of the fatigue and stress to me and to the babies all at once and evenings can be rather hectic.

Until Papa comes home. When he walks in the door, there is almost instance calm. Maybe it’s just my heart that is instantly calmed…either way, I feel such relief when I see his truck coming up the lane. That’s not to say that I only look forward to his homecoming so that he can give me a break from tending two littles all day. But let’s face it, it sure is nice not to have to do this parenting thing alone. When Gerry walks in the door, I instantly have his support. More often then not, he will take Jaxon outside with him to mow or do yard work. After supper Gerry will often give both boys their baths while I clean up the kitchen. Sometimes even give Taylor his bottle.

I am so blessed to have a husband who is so willing to help out with the babies, even after he has had a hard day at work himself. I love the peace and calm that comes over all of us when Papa comes home. It’s the best part of our day.

P.S. There are some exciting changes coming to the blog!!! I can’t wait to show you so stay tuned!!!!

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I Am A Woman

Life at my house  Today I am going to share a poem that I came across in the latest issue of Daughters of Promise (May/June 2015). I’m not much into poetry, but this poem touched me; it speaks of being a woman and the sacrifices that women make especially as mothers. If you would like to read the full article that included the poem, click here and subscribe!

I Am A Woman by Christiana Moss

My willingness to carry life is a revenge-

the antidote,

the great rebuttal of every murder,

every abortion,

and every genocide.

I sustain humanity-

deep inside of me life grows;

I am death’s opposition.

I have pushed back the hand of darkness today

I have caused there to be a weakening tremor among the ranks

of those set on earths destruction.

Today, a vibration that calls angels to attention echoed throughout time;

our laughter threatened hell today.

I dine with the greats of God’s army-

I make their meals,

I tie their shoes.

Today, I walk with greatness, and when they were tired,

I carried them.

I’ve poured myself out for the cause today.

It’s finally quiet, but life stirs inside of me-

gaining strength.

The pulse of life sends a constant reminder to both good and evil

that I’ve yielded myself to Heaven and now carry its dream.

No angel has ever had such a privilege, nor any man.

I’m humbled by the honor;

I am great with destiny-

I birth the freedom fighters.

In the great war, I am the leader of the underground resistance.

I smile at the disguise of my troops, surrounded by a host of warriors.

Destiny swirling-invisible yet tangible and the anointing to alter history.

Our footsteps make our land for conquest;

we move undetected throughout the common places.

Today, I was the barrier between evil and innocence.

I was a gatekeeper, watching over the hope of mankind, and no intruder trespassed.

There’s not an hour in the day or night when I turn from my post.

The fierceness of my love is unmatched on the earth,

and because I smile instead of frown, the world will know the power of grace.

Hope has feet; it will run to the corners of the earth because I stood up against destruction

I am a woman

I am a mother.

I’m the keeper and sustainer of life here on earth.

Heaven stands in honor of my mission.

No one else can carry my call.

I’m the daughter of Eve, and Eve has been redeemed.

I am the opposition of death;

I am a woman.

A Lesson In Sharing

Instagram Play Date

You know those times when you tell your friends “We should totally do that!” or “We should totally do this!” but no one ever gets around to actually planning anything? Yeah…that’s how it usually goes with my friends and I. In this case, it was the brilliant idea to take our kiddos to the park for a play date. After weeks of agreeing that it would be fun to do, I decided to just do it. 

We met at the park in town close to the library and let our kids run around. Of course, it turned out to be a scorcher of a day and while we mothers baked in the open sun, the kids found some refuge under the playground equipment. If it wouldn’t have looked completely ridiculous (especially with three pregnant ladies) we mothers probably would have joined our children!

As a mother, one of the things that is important to me, is getting my children used to social interaction, especially with other children. I feel like as a first born and the only grandchild on my side of the family, Jaxon gets so very little interaction with other small children. He hardly knows how to play with them. I love play dates like the one at the park where he can get involved and make friends with all of the other little kiddos that he usually only sees at church. High on the list of lessons to be learned through social interaction? Sharing. Let me tell you, Jaxon has zero knowledge of the concept of sharing. Well, maybe not zero…he tries to share his toys with his baby brother, but that doesn’t go over so well with Taylor most of the time because it usually involves throwing the toys down on Taylor’s head. I know the day is coming when Jaxon and Taylor will be fighting over their toys, but for now, I want to try to instill in Jaxon a heart for other children and to learn to be self-less and maybe even curb some of that future selfishness. That’s why I want him to become accustomed to playing with other children; so that he learns that the world doesn’t revolve around him and so that he can begin to build relationships that will hopefully last him his whole life.

How do you encourage your children to share?

Slobbery Kisses+Snotty Noses

Life at my house Motherhood

You have seen a lot of DIY projects on here lately. I love a good DIY project. It’s my goal as I decorate and organize my house. But let’s be honest. My days are not filled with one DIY project after another. Oh no…rather, my days are filled with wiping snotty noses, dirty behinds, laundry, cleaning, cooking, slobbery kisses, silly giggles, and moments where all I want to do is sit down and relax without someone crying for me to do something for them. I am in the trenches of motherhood. More often than not, I don’t even have time for all the projects that are swirling around in my head.

I would like to go beyond the fluffy Pinterest-y things and also talk about real life. Maybe it’s time for something different on the blog scene. You can find a tutorial for just about every project you can think of under the sun, so who really wants to read another DIY/home decor blog? Well, honestly, you’re still going to get a bit of that here, because part of the purpose of this blog is to document our home renovation so that we have something to look back on. But besides decorating and organizing, a few other things that I am passionate about are my family and motherhood. There are times where I wish I could talk about my experiences, share my perspective on motherhood and what it’s like on those hard days. And maybe, just maybe that’s what you want to hear too. Maybe you are a new mother and you have no idea what you’re doing (trust me, I don’t either!), maybe there are very few young mothers in your church/community and you feel alone, maybe you are a single mom without the support of a husband and maybe even without the support of family members. Or, maybe you are a mom of 6 and just want to sit down and relax and read about someone else’s mothering experience. If this describes you, then welcome. I know that it is the most wonderful feeling to join with other women who are in the same situation in life and to just communicate and share about your experiences.

I would like to do just that here. I want you to feel comfortable enough to share with me too.

DIY Mason Jar Money Bank

DIY Mason Jar Money Bank

Growing up, we kids always had our own money bank. Mom would give us empty mason jars and we would embellish them with stickers, glitter glue, and anything else that rocked our boats. We hoarded our quarters and dimes and nickels and pennies and the occasional dollar or two. Every so often we would decide to be miserly and dump all our money out and count it.

I decided to do the same thing for Jaxon and fill his jar with our pocket change. Then when it gets filled maybe we can start a little savings account for him and by the time he’s old enough to really care about money he should have a nice little chunk stashed away. All thanks to his thoughtful parents of course.

All you need is a mason jar with a lid and the embellishments of your choice. I chose paint and stickers with a little extra color in the fabric that I glued to the lid.DIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled Recycled I decided to paint the inside of my jar with enamel paint. This is totally optional; if you’re kids are a little older, they might prefer watching the money slowly build up inside their jar. I followed the directions on the back of the paint bottle and painted on two coats of paint with an hour of drying time between each coat. I thought about putting the stickers on as I waited for the paint to dry, but then I remembered, “No can do, cracker jack” (quote: Night At The Museum). I wanted to cure the paint by using the baked method (versus letting it cure for 21 days) so adhering the stickers beforehand would probably have been fairly disastrous. Simply set your jar in a cold oven and turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Let it bake for 30 minutes and then turn the oven off and let the jar cool in the oven.DIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled RecycledDIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled RecycledDIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled Recycled

To make the lid of my jar, I simply hot glued around the edge of the jar lid and then pressed it into the jar ring. To adhere the fabric, I hot glued around the top edge of the lid and pressed the fabric down onto the glue. I did the same thing around the sides of the lid, putting little folds in the fabric as I went so that it would hang nicely.DIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled RecycledDIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled RecycledDIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled RecycledDIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled RecycledDIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled RecycledIf you like, you can cut a slit in the top of your lid to stick the coins into. I used a kitchen shears to cut through the lid. Be sure the sharp edges are pushed to the underside of the lid so that they don’t cut little fingers!

DIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled Recycled

Once the jar was completely cool, (I waited till the next day; no particular reason other than I just didn’t get around to finishing it up on the same day) I had Jaxon help me apply the stickers to the outside of the jar.DIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled RecycledDIY Mason Jar Money Bank Upcycled RecycledAnd that’s it! A fun little project for your kiddos this summer if they want to earn a little money! There are really countless things you could do with this. You could use chalk paint on the outside of the jar for them to write their names on, they could use glitter glue to write their names, they could cut shapes out of magazines and mod podge them to the outside…just have fun and let them get creative!!

Strawberry Iced Tea

Summer is upon us and as the days grow hotter and more humid (if you live in the south/southeast that is!) you will be looking for easy ways to cool off. I thought I would share this recipe for Strawberry Iced Tea that I came across.Strawberry Iced Tea Recipe

I made it as my contribution for the “Team Recommends” section of the Daughters of Promise magazine that I am a staff member of. (Check out the website here for more info.) Use your favorite method for making regular iced tea. If you don’t have a method for making iced tea, use the recipe below that my mom always makes.Strawberry Iced Tea Recipe

Strawberry Iced Tea (sweet)-makes 1 gallon

Fill a small sauce pan with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. When boiling, remove from heat and put in 3 family size tea bags or 8 of the smaller regular size bags, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove excess liquid from bags and add ¾-1 cup sugar to hot tea. Stir till melted. Pour over ice in 1 gallon pitcher. Add water to fill.

For strawberry iced tea:

Blend 2 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries in blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into pitcher with the already made tea. Add water to fill. Squeeze in 1-2 limes.Strawberry Iced Tea Recipe

This makes a refreshing beverage that would be perfect for relaxing on your front porch or in your hammock. You could also serve it at picnics and BBQs.Strawberry Iced Tea RecipeWhat do you do to stay cool and refreshed during the hot summer months?

Why I Meal Plan + Tips On How To Do It

Why I Meal Plan Tips On How To Do It

As I write this, my office window is open letting in the most delicious spring breeze. My hubby is outside putting down the decking boards on our front yard patio/pergola (future reveal!). The babies are sleeping. *sigh* A moment to sit down and relax…yes, writing a blog post can be relaxing! I always feel so accomplished when I have another post completed, so it feels relaxing and productive at the same time.

Today I want to share with you the reasons why I meal plan and plus some tips on how to do it. Everyone meal plans differently and you really just have to find what works for you. It may take some trial and error, or just a few weeks to really get into the habit of sticking to it.

How I really got started meal planning: I meal planned off and on ever since we got married. I don’t know why I couldn’t keep at it for more than a few weeks, other than the fact that maybe I got lazy because it does take a little bit more of an effort to do, although the benefits far outweigh the extra mojo needed to stick with it!

At the end of last year, I was heavily pregnant with our second baby (sweet baby boy!) and I was honestly too tired and too fat to really come up with nice dishes to serve for supper. As a result, most days I didn’t know what I was going to make for supper until an hour or two before hand. Hence, some very slapped together meals that you could obviously tell were…well…slapped together. I made the executive decision that when baby was born, I was going to start seriously meal planning and coming up with nice, tasty dishes to serve my family.

Why I Meal Plan: Meal planning helps me cook intentionally. I wake up in the morning and I already know what’s going on the table for supper that evening. This means that I can pull out my meat to start thawing earlier in the day or, if I have a really busy day, I already know what I’m throwing in the crock pot. Cooking intentionally makes meal prep more enjoyable for me. When I had no idea what I was going to make for supper, I didn’t enjoy the cooking as much. But when I know what I’m making, I enjoy the process so much more. And eating it afterwards is rewarding too when I hear my husband praise me for the meal I just made.

Meal planning also helps me plan my shopping list. I plan my meals for the whole week and then form my grocery shopping list accordingly. This helps so much because I know I’m going to use what I buy instead of just aimlessly shopping for something that I don’t really know if I’m even going to use. I plan for everything when I make my shopping list. I plan my suppers, baking days, fellowship meals at church, snacks I need to take to social gatherings, everything. Nothing gets left up to chance. This way, I’m organized and I know exactly what I’m making for different events. It also helps me plan my week so I know if I need to start making something a day in advance.

Why I Meal Plan Tips On How To Do It

Tips On How To Meal Plan: I started by investing in a couple good cookbooks. Up till then, most of my cookbooks were of the “homemade” variety with no photos and, in general, not very tasty dishes. I decided that to do my meal planning right and to get the most enjoyment out of it, I needed to have new cookbooks. If you need some ideas on great cookbooks, check out my reviews on The Girl Who Ate Everything and A Year With Six Sisters’ Stuff. My goal is to continue to expand my library of cookbooks just to have a variety of recipes to choose from. (I just ordered a new one the other day! I will let you know how it rates!) Pinterest is also a wonderful source for recipes, although I don’t use it as much simply because I find that I don’t think of it as often since I have to search through my phone to find the recipes. (Easier to page through a book, ya know?)

Invest in a day planner. If you already have your life centered around a day planner anyway, great! I also use mine to write down my scheduled meals for the week. I plan my meals according to the day and whether or not it’s a busy day, or a more slow-paced one. If it’s a busy day, I may plan a crockpot meal, or it will be a meal that is quick to throw together. On days where I’m not as busy and have more time to cook, I’ll plan a meal that may be a little more involved. Using my day planner helps me see at a glance what meals are upcoming. If I’m planning a crockpot meal that has meat in it, I know that I’ll have to thaw the meat in the fridge overnight to have it ready to go in the crockpot in the morning. As you plan your menus, be sure to source each recipe so you know exactly where to find it and don’t have to search through all your cookbooks.

I hope this is helpful and inspiring for you in getting started in meal planning. Maybe you’ve been meal planning for a while now and have some tips you’d like to share! Comment below!