Thursday, March 28, 2013

What Every New Mama Should Know

Hey Hey Bloggs!

Once a month the bloggin' gals from the (in)courage community group's new mama's group (aka(in)motherhood) join up together to blog about the same topic. This month our topic is "One thing that you think every new mama should know" or if you're a first time mother-to-be "Your biggest question about becoming a mom for the first time". If you're visiting from outside of the (in)motherhood group feel free to join in! We're happy to have you! Go to Hand Me Down Grace to see the link up!!

I was so unprepared to be a mother, scared to give away my selfish life and lose my beauty sleep. I tracked down every mom I knew for advice, how to do it, how to survive. Mostly I just heard "Sleep when baby sleeps". Ugh. How about I sleep when baby sleeps AND sleep when baby doesn't sleep?? (I was so naive!). So here is my list of advice I wish I had received before giving birth. 

1. Babies are boring. Yup. They don't like to play, much less help you scrapbook and discuss literature with you. Don't feel as if you should stare at your child ALWAYS. Let them hang out and go read a book/magazine/side of cereal box.

2. Don't have a 'plan'. Well, make a plan but do not be surprised if things don't go according to plan. Plan to give birth naturally, but hey, if you change your mind and get an epidural, no biggie! Baby is safe, you are safe, end of story. Plan on swaddling, but if baby absolutely hates it, don't keep forcing it on them! Let baby flail freely! She will be happier that way! It is OKAY when plans change! Go with the flow!!!

3. Don't stress about the dust bunnies. I just looked under my bed the other day.....and quietly backed away and have ignored it ever since. I used to LOVE vacuuming (strange I know) and could keep up with housework with my handy dandy color coordinated chore chart (one for monthly, weekly, and daily of course). But babies take up A LOT of time! I can't vacuum or empty the dishwasher when she is napping for fear of waking her up, but when she is awake I am feeding her, changing her, bathing her, entertaining her, and everything else under the sun. Let the housework slide. Watch an episode of "Hoarders" you will feel much better.

4. Take breaks. Frequent breaks. Know ahead of time that YES there are times it gets overwhelming being with this wailing child 24/7. Throw baby at hubby and run to Caribou. Put her in her pack n' play and watch Doctor Who on Netflix. Feed baby, then take a long shower. Sing loudly to drown out any lonely crying :) Don't feel mommy guilt about this. You may be a mom but you are still human and we all have limits. Please, please, please get out of the house every now and then. You will feel heaps better and thus, be able to love baby better!!
Let me know your best baby advice!! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Christian Mama's Guide

Hello Bloggy Bloggers,

Oops! I am a day late! It is always harder for me to get stuff done on the computer when Hubby is on his days off. I am sad I couldn't post yesterday because I just canNOT wait to share with you about this wonderful book! 

The Christian Mama's Guide series by Erin MacPherson (check the blog here!!) is a set of four books covering everything a parent needs to know from pregnancy to first year of school. Can I please just pause to note how ADORABLE the cover art is for each book???

I received The Christian Mama's Guide to Baby's First Year: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Your First Year as a Mom I got it in the mail on a Friday and had devoured it by Sunday. Which for me (even though I ADORE reading)and Baby Girl, is a big feat these days. I choose the baby book over the toddler book (TOUGH decision!!) because I wanted to be able to compare her tips to what I have already experienced. I felt relieved about a lot of things and still picked up some new tricks.

The book starts with the predictable baby chapters covering items such as postpartum healing, breastfeeding, and sleeping tips. Having a five month old, I was tempted to skip some of these chapters but MacPherson drew me easily with her quick humor. I can't count how many times I laughed out loud and even wrote 'LOL' in the margins. 

Here is an example for the chapter two "The Christian Mama's Lying-In Period":

"Now, your husband will probably offer to come along to this appointment (six-week postpartum check) with you, feigning an interest in how your body is healing after childbirth. But the truth is that he's going along for one reason and one reason alone: he wants to find out when the doctor will give you the go-ahead to have sex again" (pg. 30) (italics mine).

My favorite chapters really started towards the second half of the book. Chapter 10 "It's Playtime" was perfect for me. MacPherson's confession were words straight from my mouth:

"...sometimes being a mom is boring. There. I said it." (pg 132)

Yes and Amen! Why don't people ever tell you that before you have baby??
I highlighted sentence after sentence, list after list. Another particular favorite of mine were her ideas about how to introduce babies to Jesus. This is what really sets this baby guide apart from others. Peppered throughout the book are "Time-Out for Mom" sections that include a verse and a prayer. This was a fantastic reminder for me; I don't just want to be a mom, I want to be a Christian mom!! 

Overall, this book is a fantastic read, and a quick read which is perfect for new moms. MacPherson provides a ton of info that I will be constantly referring too, wrapped up in layers of fluffy humor. All her lists are practical; several of them are being coped to hang on my fridge as I write this! 

I don't think I could recommend this book any stronger. Beware all my future pregnant friends! You will be receiving copies of CMG series in your gift bags!! I totally lamenting that I don't have the toddler book as well. Yet. 

Check it out at Amazon and her Facebook page here. Erin is hosting a launch party for the series Saturday April 6th on her Facebook page with giveaways, games, and more. CHECK IT OUT!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

FMF: Remember

Howdy Folksies--

Time for Five Minute Friday. I am linking up with Tales from a Gypsy Mama. Today our word iREMEMBER.


Remember, Remember, what do I remember? What will my daughter remember?

Will she remember sparkling floors and oven aromas? Or will she remember super snuggles and goofy play sessions? Will it be quick, biting words or gentle, patience gently guiding?

I am scared thinking about what my daughter will one day look back on, her memories of me.

I want her days to be sun filled warmth, giggles, and wet kisses, but fear that one short moment will stick tough like glue instead. 

All I can do is pray knees sore hands clenched that my love will seep through; that HIS love seeps through my messy love to make it TRUE LOVE. 

That above all else, she REMEMBERS Him first, second, always.


Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

M&M Cheesecake Squares

Hey Hey Bloggs,

Well, its time for another Pinterest recipe! After spending too much time on Pinterest, I realized I should make my time there more worth while by actually making and reviewing the recipes and DIYs I have pinned. You can find the first recipe I tried here and my Pinterest Baking Board here.

This week I made M&M Cheesecake Squares!! NUM! Find original recipe here.

M&M Cheesecake Bars

1 8oz cream cheese package, softened
3/4 cup M&M candies
1 egg
1/3 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
Optional: handful of sliced almonds, or other chopped nut

1. Preheat oven to 350 F

2. Beat butter and brown sugar with mixer until fluffy. Add flour and almonds if using; mix well

3. Set aside 1/2 cup of crumb mixture. Press the remaining mixture into a greased 8" or 9" square baking dish

4. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes

5. Combine the cream cheese, white sugar, and vanilla using mixer until well blended. Add the egg and mix well.

6. Layer 1/2 cup of M&M candies over the baked crust, then top with the cream cheese mixture.

7. Combine the remaining candy and reserved crumb mixture. Sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture.

8. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes

9. Cool completely before serving. 

**LOOK at those nummy M&Ms!!**


DEE-licious!! I tried one right out of the oven and thought for sure Hubby wouldn't like them. FALSE. Of course, he didn't get to try them until he came home several hours late when they had already cooled. They tasted much better when cooled. It was fairly easy to make, although it did have multiple steps. I want to share one more picture; I wasn't sure I was even going to add any nuts because I thought it would interfere with the delicious sugar-y flavor. At the last second I decided to add a handful just to keep close to the original recipe. Thus, I just added a handful of sliced almonds on the top of the base crust. It was a great idea because it added just the slight crunch the crust needed. Here is what I did:

Lastly, I am sure this recipe could be easily customized. For example, instead of M&Ms using regular chocolate chips or taking them out all together for something more healthy, like nuts or berries. You could also add more flavor to the *pretty boring* crust by adding cinnamon and oats! MMMMMmmmm boy does that sound good! 

Leave me a comment if you give these a go, or if you are trying any Pinterest recipes for yourself!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Baby Update + Graphic

Hello Bloggy Blogs,

My baby girl just turned 5 months and I think everyone deserves to see an adorable picture of her!


She accomplished A LOT this month. Uff-da.
  • Rolled over in both directions twice, but of course won't repeat it!
  • grabs her feet
  • sits almost on her own, up to a minute
  • raspberries. WOW did we like raspberries!!
  • Our tummy time strength has really improved
Baby girl is also just now outgrowing her 3 month one piece outfits!

For me, I am slllloooooooowwwwwwllllyyy learning patience through baby tantrums. This past month was a toughie. The baby tantrums could be the result of all that learning, a cold, or the beginning of teething. I am also trying to fight and find my way to learning how to be a mom, but also still be me at the same time. 

Going forward: we are looking at giving baby oatmeal cereal a go sometime soon. Baby G is showing a lot of signs of being ready, so we will be trying it sometime soon. I was going to start with avocado, but since she still might not be ready, I didn't want to waste one until we were sure. I also didn't want to start with boring old rice cereal since it can possibly cause constipation, and sweet baby child doesn't need any more of that!! 

Before heading out, I wanted to leave you with a graphic. This verse has meant so much more to me know that I have experienced the gift of life firsthand, and I am sure the same is true for a lot of new moms! Feel free to enjoy it/use it however you want! Right-click and select 'save-as'

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Good Sunday Reads

Hello Bloggers!

I normally don't post on Sundays, but there are some really awesome blog posts out there this week that I just couldn't NOT share with you :) Check 'em out!

*To the Parents of small children: Let me say it out loud at the Actual Pastor

*Dating Without Dying by Pastor Peter Haas. Even if you are married, it is a great read. Check out part two and part three for more great laughs.

*Finding Rest by Crystal Stine. REST. So important.

*5 Tips for Managing Your Growing Book Pile by Growing in His Glory. Helps me! I am down to 6 books in my pile :)


Friday, March 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Rest

Hey Hey Bloggy!

Time for Five Minute Friday. I am linking up with Tales from a Gypsy Mama. Today our word is REST.


Crap. I think the LORD is up to something. 

It started last Sunday at the sermon my Pastor was giving about trying to fill our God Shaped Hole with something other than God. At the end he quoted Psalm 62:5 "My soul finds rest in God alone". At the time I thought, 'wow, how true is that! I am trying to fill my God Shaped Hole with Baby, Husband, Chocolate, Coffee when the only thing that can give me the True Rest I am looking for is God'. 

Then I went about my Sunday. 

Wednesday rolls around and I see this picture shared on my Facebook Feed:
Photo: I read this verse at the beginning of the day yesterday, not knowing I would really need to hear it at the end.

Exhaustion, emotions, hormones, and situations can really throw us for a doozy some days. A mountain becomes a molehill. Words get exaggerated into something they weren't meant to be. Feelings get hurt, and you are left a hot mess-- disappointed and frustrated with those around you. 

But our hope must not be in our husbands, our friends, our co-workers, childeren, or even the scale! It's in God alone. And that's where we find true REST for the soul. I am so thankful for scripture to guide me when I'm exhausted and my emotions/hormones are out of whack and am thankful for a Savior who hears and comes close at my time of need!

I reposted it and wrote "Maybe its time I really listen...'
But then the baby threw a fit.

And now REST just happens to be the word for FMF?? Yup. God is up to something, and He needs me to listen!

I am a mommy. But I am also an introvert. Having to hold baby and play and rock all day is exhausting to me. I need downtime to recoup. I need rest. I try to fill my tank again with Netflix, reading blogs, reading books, doing puzzles.....but perhaps I will never truly feel rested again until my soul can find rest in God alone.

I may be slow but I am not dumb. God is trying to get me to notice, so... I NOTICE GOD! And this time, I am not looking away.


Five Minute Friday

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I am a Nerd (And You Should Be Too!)

Hello Bloggy!

I confess loudly and proudly that I am a NERD. And I don't just mean 'book nerd', though I am surely that as well. I mean SCI-FI nerd!

It probably started when I was a wee young lass watching Disney movies. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow bet they are fantasy movies!!

Soon, I graduated into Star Trek watching Voyager episodes with my dad. Then it migrated into my reading--The Animorphs Series, then Terry Brooks' epic fantasy series Shannara. The true goldmine came in 6th grade when Harry Potter was first published. I devoured them, and the movies.

As you can probably guess, it escalated from there. I can't continue being a closet nerd any longer! So feel compelled to share my Top Five Fave Sci-Fi shows with you so that you may love them too!!

5. What Sci-fi list would be complete with out the Twilight Zone?? Created and narrated by Rod Sterling, its five seasons feature everything from the scary exotic to the just plain weird. Check it out, if you haven't already, on Netflix. Also, every year for New Year's Even and New Year's Day they show a marathon of all the episodes on the Syfy Channel! Check out "Living Doll", "Eye of the Beholder", and "Time Enough at Last" for a good taste. 

4. Firefly. This show was cut short after only ONE season, upsetting viewers and creating a cult following. The story follows Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds and his motley crew as they frequently run from the law in their ship the Serenity. It is a dystopian future that features a blend of Old West and Chinese cultures. It is totally unlike other 'space' shows out there. Because it is so short, there is little reason for you NOT to watch it!! Check it out on Netflix today. 

3. Star Trek. For me this encompasses the original series, Next Generation, and Voyager. A fantastic creation! In the words of Captain Kirk: "Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before." Exploring new worlds, new stars, new races, what more could you want?? Although no longer televised on TV, you can catch up on the awesome world of Star Trek on Netflix OR go back to the original series with the new Star Trek movies. 

2. Stargate SG-1. Similar to Star Trek, but set in the current day and instead of travelling by ship the crew travels by Stargate. Birthed from a less than par movie, SG-1 quickly became a fantastic show with 10 season and at least 2 spin-off shows. It feels a bit more 'realistic' compared to Star Trek since it is set in modern day and they use 'regular' human technology and weapons. The character development is spectacular and gets better as the seasons progress. C'mon, Richard Dean Anderson?? You know it will be good!

1. Doctor Who. I would say don't get me started, but you already did! Doctor Who is BBC and first aired in 1963. The basic story line follows a Time Lord, known only as the Doctor, who travels through time and space in his ship the T.A.R.D.I.S. with his various companions. To keep the show running for so long, the Doctor has the ability to regenerate. Regeneration allows the current Doctor to transform into a new physical body and somewhat different personality whenever wounded or dying. Crazy sounding, I know.
The original idea behind Doctor Who was a show to teach kids about history, but quickly developed more sci-fi overtones and never looked back. Don't feel like watching 33 seasons of a TV show that started in the '60s?? The show actually went on an extended hiatus in 1989 and was revised with a new Doctor in 2005 to the present. The 'new' seasons (Doctors 9,10, and 11) are all you really need to watch. New season episodes are streaming on Netflix with the most current season airing on BBC starting the end of the month. 
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS SHOW! And tell everyone I come into contact with, including you now :))

I hope you decide to check out at least one of these awesome sci-fi shows and start exploring new worlds!
Also, check out The Sci Fi Christian for all things sci-fi, fantasy, and beyond!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

PB Graham Cracker Balls

Howdy Howdy Bloggy!

As part of a new deal with myself, I have decided to commit and actually make some of the recipes and DIYs I find on Pinterest. You can find my Pinterest home here.

For my first "Accomplished" challenge, I decided to pick an easy, quick recipe. One where I actually had all the ingredients on hand. Often times I find recipes that say "with ingredients from your cupboard", but then lists coconut oil. I didn't even know coconut oil was a thing, much less where to find it! Or even just the simple mint chocolate chips. Delicious yes, but not always something I keep on hand. For me, chocolate chips, peanut butter, and graham crackers ARE something I actually keep stocked in my cupboard!

So get ready for a MESSY recipe! This would be a fun one to make with older kids who enjoy fun textures and getting their hands sticky. I like to provide the original recipe, but make notes in red about my recommended changes.

I am going to include a picture from the website where I found the recipe, because *spoiler alert* mine turned out looking nothing like these :)

Peanut Butter Balls

Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Balls

1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 graham cracker crumbs (I used just about one whole package)
1-1 1/4 cup chocolate (I used semi-sweet, but would definitely try dark next time!)

1. Smash up your graham crackers to make 1 1/2 cup of crumbs (I just whacked them on the counter a bunch of times!). Add crumbs to 1 cup peanut butter. Mix it up really good. (I discovered using my hand worked better than any spoon). The mixture needs to be dry/wet enough to form balls. Add more crumbs or pb until you are able to do so efficiently (I needed to add more peanut butter than called for).

2. Form even sized balls with your hands and place on a wax covered plate/cookie sheet. Freeze for 30-60 minutes.

3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, stopping every 20 seconds to stir until completely melted. 

4. Using a toothpick or fork (fork works best. Toothpick just slides off or breaks the ball), dip the balls into the chocolate, one at a time. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. 

**The original recipe calls for mini chips or heath bits to roll the chocolate coated balls in, I completely bypassed this step because I knew it would make a mess. Taking a chocolate covered ball and dropping it into a bowl of candies is just asking for a giant clump! You could drop some mini chips on top of the balls, or for a contrasting effect, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

For me, the balls were completely difficult to form. Even adding extra pb, the balls were just to dry and wouldn't stick. I made about 16 or so before giving up when the recipe says it will make 24. Perhaps chunky peanut butter works better than smooth. 

I also had to use more chocolate to melt than called for. I tried to use a smaller bowl so that it would be deep enough to dip one of the balls in and completely cover it, but that didn't work out for me, so I had to use more. Even still, I had a difficult time completely covering the balls...which is why I don't have my own pictures :)) I am sure someone with more skill and better patience will do just fine. 

I wasn't sure what my husband would think, but he really does like them! And doesn't even care what they look like. Still, I think I would only make this recipe again if he asks for it specifically. And try it with oats. Mmmmm, oats.....

If you decide to give these ago, let me know what you think!!

Monday, March 4, 2013


Howdy Blog Blog,

As I shared in my previous post, I am reading Prayer by Richard J Foster along with the Bloom Book Club, and boy howdy has it gotten me thinking about prayer. Obviously :)

Foster's words have been an eye opener for me. The words he writes are the words I think in my own heart. Right off the bat in chapter one, he starts describing me. "We today yearn for prayer and hide from prayer" (pg 7). My relationship with prayer wrapped up in a nutshell.

Prayer has always been hard for me. Where do I start??? There are so many things and people that need prayer I couldn't possibly cover them all! If I pray for myself, then I just feel selfish and petty. I know God is not a vending machine god. Just as Foster describes, I felt/feel that I cannot pray because I have to have everything just right to pray. Heck, isn't that why I am reading the book??

"We will never have pure enough motives, or be good enough, or know enough in order to pray rightly. We simply must set all these things aside and begin praying. In fact, it is in the very act of prayer itself...that these matters are cared for in due time" (pg 8).

Wow. This was like a major DUH to my heart. Doesn't the Bible say it is not by works that we gain our heavenly home? So why on earth do I feel like I need to WORK towards prayer??

Honestly, I guess it is because I feel it is difficult to hold a one-way conversation. Gulp. Honesty or transparency? Yipes.

So as I cruise through the pages of Prayer, I am reminding myself to pray more. Mostly I am praying Simple Prayer, with a little Intercessory Prayer thrown in. Simple Prayer is probably the most basic of all types of prayer and one that most people probably participate in. In Simple Prayer "[w]e do not try to sort things out, the good from the bad. We simply and unpretentiously share our concerns and make our petitions. ....we are the focus of Simple Prayer" (pg 9).

Simple Prayer is the perfect place to start praying. Just begin right where you are. Bad day at work? Tell God. Need help with the crazy kids? Ask God. Angry at your spouse? Yell at God. Thankful for that cup of coffee? Thank God. Just start. It can be quick, short, seconds or minutes. When I am frustrated, I just shoot up a quick prayer and it helps me refocus and reassess the situation.

Is it perhaps selfish? Yes. I am not going to lie and say it is not. But that is okay!! God knows right where we are, who we are, and LOVES us anyways! The point is that you are starting a prayer relationship with God and just like the quote in bold above, our reciprocating love will come in due time and we can move into those other types of prayer more effortlessly and with more confidence.

I am going to end with two more things (nope! I am STILL not done!!) First, a challenge of sorts. Don't worry it is not hard, but perhaps a bit uncomfortable. It is this: when you see on Facebook, Twitter, or even when talking face to face with a friend and they mention a reason for needing prayer, do NOT just SAY you will pray for them!! Stop what you are doing and type a prayer for them right then and there! Stop the conversation and say a quick prayer in your head or even aloud. How many times have we told someone we would pray for them only to forget or even not actually mean it!! Let's stop being THAT person, and actually  pray like we say we will! If I know I am not going to actually remember to pray for a person, I won't tell them that I will. I no longer want "I'll be praying" to just be words, I want them to be reality!!

Second, this lovely picture created by the girls at (in)courage with Foster's simple prayer :)
Prayer-Chapter 1-Simple-prayer


Friday, March 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Ordinary

Hey Hey Bloggy!

Time for my second Five Minute Friday! I am linking up with Tales from a Gypsy Mama. Today our word is Ordinary!


Ordinary. All my life I have only been just ordinary. Ordinary hair, ordinary clothes, ordinary grades. Ordinary. What an ugly word it has been in my mouth.

I wanted to be extraordinary, at something, at anything. Dreams. Aspirations. Fantasy.

Now as I grow up I dread being an ordinary wife or an ordinary mother. And now I am an ordinary blogger.  Can't I do better? Can't I be more? Can't I do more??

EXTRAordinary. Where the world notices you. Where the world cares about you, about your very existence. Instead I was left wanting.

But .... darn it all. Isn't ordinary exactly what God created me to be?? He knit me exactly as He intended me to be in my mother's womb. Isn't ordinary exactly what God loves to use?? He didn't choose princes or kings. God chose shepard boys, prostitutes, virgins to work through. Shouldn't He still be able to do EXTRAordinary things with ordinary me??  If I was EXTRAordinary, maybe God wouldn't choose me. More like, if I was EXTRAordinary, I wouldn't be able to see God clearly.

Suddenly I find ordinary a little more desirable.


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