Sharing the Cheesh

Wow, this has been one busy week!  I can’t even call out one thing that has made it more busy than usual, but it’s still been 90 to nothin’.  I started at least 2 posts and then ended up scrapping them because I saved them as a draft and then completely lost my train of thought.  Oops.  :) I have some random things floating around in my brain so I thought I’d just put them out here in no particular order since typing out a cohesive post is apparently not happening!

*We reached 32 weeks yesterday which officially means I’m 8 months pregnant.  I’m feeling it, too.  The insomina, wildfire heartburn, endless trips to the potty (sorry if that’s t.m.i., but it’s just the way it goes) ;)   Braxton Hicks contractions every 3 seconds… and on and on.  The thing that has baffled me most though, is that I seem to be revisiting some first trimester nausea each afternoon.  I’ve never done that before with any of my other pregnancies so I’m not exactly sure why we’re going there, but..well, I’m not a fan.  My feelings wouldn’t be hurt if that stopped today.

Other than that, Baby Girl seems to be getting on just fine.  She’s moving and kicking and developing just great in there, so I’ll take all the ailments in stride if it means getting her here safely and not too soon.  I felt her little bottom poke out right under my rib cage last night as I laid in bed in the wee hours, and I just patted it and thanked our gracious God for yet another little soul that we already love with every fiber of our beings.  I can’t wait to meet her when the time is right {wow, I’m so pregnant, because typing that just made me cry}. :D

I’m just so glad that God gave me this job.  I’ve always heard the worldly advice in regard to a career to “find what fulfills you and then do that”.  Well, I have.  It’s hard sometimes, but anything worth it is going to be, and what better thing to pour my life into than my children and my husband.  They {Lord willing} will most likely be the ones that will always be in my life as others come and go, and I don’t want them to remember me as always having something more important to do.  All of everything else will be gone one day, but when I’m 90 years old and about to breathe my last, I want to know that these people had the best of me.

*I’ve been reading a book recently that has been one of those where you just want to highlight every other sentence because it’s SOOOO chock-full of truth.  In other words, I simply cannot recommend this book enough.  It’s called The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Tim Keller and it. is. golden.  I wish every single Christian who has been raised in this self-esteem driven culture {and I daresay that’s all of us} would read this thing.  It’s short -only like 50 pages in the paperback edition-, but it is directly to the point, and I really like that.  Here is just one little snippet:

“True gospel-humility means an ego that is not puffed up but filled up.  This is totally unique.  Are we talking about high self-esteem?  No.  So is it low self-esteem?  Certainly not.  It is not about self-esteem.  Paul simply refuses to play that game.  He says ‘I don’t care about your opinion but, I don’t care that much about my opinion either’ – and that is the secret.

A truly gospel-humble person is not a self-hating person or a self-loving person, but a gospel-humble person.  The truly gospel-humble person is a self-forgetful person whose ego is just like his or her toes.  It just works.  It does not draw attention to itself.  The toes just work; the ego just works.  Neither draws attention to itself.”

The great thing is that it’s only $.99 if you get the Kindle edition which can be downloaded to any old PC if you don’t have a Kindle.  It is WELL worth the download.  I have been reading and pondering this all week and I’m grateful for how God has used it.  Please realize I don’t get one red cent or chocolate cake or anything for linking up to this.  I just genuinely  think it’s something to pass along.

*Isa has been saying “cheese”, which really sounds more like “cheesh” every time I have my phone in her sight.  It’s all my fault since I’ve been snapping her picture constantly since she’s been born, and I usually tell her to say that.  It’s so funny and I seriously can’t resist snapping away when I have so willing a subject {especially when I have teenagers that might poison my Wheaties if I don’t “quit with all the pictures”}.  Anyway, I will leave you with one that I snapped at some point this week while we were snuggling on the couch.  Ignore the lighting and the pregnant nose. :D

Hope you’re having a great week,

A Few of My Favorite Things ~Pinterest Edition

Pinterest makes me happy.   I actually avoided getting an account when it first became “all the rage” because I wanted to guard my computer time and everyone swore it was addictive.  Well, as is the story of my life, I finally caved some time later because I simply had to see what all the fuss was about.  But, I was altogether unimpressed.  I couldn’t figure the thing out to save my life!  It was giving me all kinds of trouble logging in and pinning, ect..  so, I kinda decided that most of my friends were crazy and didn’t give it another thought for many more moons.  :D

Then, one day, my curiosity piqued again and all the stars aligned when I re-opened my account and saw all kinds of fun things in front of my face.  Recipes, cool DIY’s, useful school stuff and oh-so-much more….  I gingerly pushed my first “Repin” button, and it’s been a love affair ever since.  It’s actually a productive place to be, because it’s given me tons of inspiration.  For example:

1)  I see all this uber-yummy food.

2)  I get hungry for it.

3)  My family gets fed really well so they all rejoice and beg me to get on Pinterest some more.

See?  “It’s a good thing”, as Martha Stewart would say.  Only she’s probably being ousted by this little website, so maybe she wouldn’t make such a claim.  I dunno.  Anyway, here are a few of the things that I’ve tried this week that have gotten rave reviews from the Crew:

This is a  pork tenderloin marinated in olive oil, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, dry mustard, pepper and garlic.  I tried to click the link when I went to make it, but it was closed.  Thankfully, the caption had the ingredients for the marinade, so I figured it out for myself.  I just kind of “dumped” things in, and then let the meat sit in it awhile.  Then I threw it into the slow cooker along with the marinade and  it. was. incredible. 

Alongside the tenderloin I made this roasted cabbage (picture is a clickable link).  It was sooooooo good.  The entire Crew enjoyed it.

You simply slice the cabbage (I did wedges even though the recipe calls for them to be sliced into 1 inch rounds),  then place them onto a baking sheet that has olive oil on it.  Drizzle the wedges with more olive oil, sprinkle some salt, pepper and whatever “seeds” you have on hand.  The recipe called for fennel or carraway, but I only had celery which worked very nicely.   Then roast them at 400* for about 45 minutes.  Easy-peasy!

I served all of the above with rice.  The whole thing couldn’t have been any simpler and it tasted great.  We’ll definitely be making this again!

Finally, I remembered this link:

This is called Hot Vanilla, and it looks incredible!  It’s a great alternative to Hot Chocolate, but I didn’t have a few of the ingredients on hand, so I went on to make my own thing that was kind of based on this.  I just heated some milk, added some honey to it (maybe 2 spoonfuls?), put a splash of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon in it, curled up on my comfy chair, and FELL IN LOVE.  Oh y’all.  It was so good!!  I put it on my Facebook page and one of my sweet friends later texted that those are exactly how Vanilla Steamers are made at Starbucks.  I never got away from the coffee long enough to try anything else on their menu when I lived near one, but I must say, I’d have much preferred one of these on a late-night stop rather than my go-to decaf latte.  They are just so comforting and warming and obviously void of any caffeine, so no worries about being kept awake.  This is my new favorite drink when I’m winding down for the day.

There are several other recipes that I want to try on Pinterest, and I will share any great finds, but the DIY’s are next on my list.  I’m really hoping to get my hands on some Chalkboard Paint to make a cool board for one of my bare walls in the eat-in area of my kitchen.  I’m hoping to get around to it in the next few weeks before Baby’s arrival, and I will definitely post pics when I do.

Have you tried anything that you’ve pinned and just loved it?

27 Weeks! (and a great find)

Yesterday, I went to my OB appointment and other than having to wrestle little miss Isabella, and drink that grody stuff for my glucose test, it went very well!  I was shocked to find out that I am already at the point of having to be seen every 2 weeks!  I can’t believe next week will be the start of my 3rd trimester.  Even I will say that it seemed to arrive fast.

I don’t think I’ve taken one single pic of my pregnant belly this time, so I grabbed Jake and had him take a shot of “us” this morning:

In other news, I am always amazed at how many new and wonderful things that have come out since I started having babies.  When I first saw these, I remember thinking “wow, that’s kinda cool”.  Boy was that an understatement.  Isabella is teething her head off right now (she cut 3 on the top all at once last week), so I went and bought a pack.  I tried some frozen banana in it to help soothe her gums and she L-O-V-E-D it.

It is such a perfect way for them to get good, unprocessed food without the risk of choking because of the handy-dandy mesh.  Someone was a genius when they created these!  Now, every morning as part of her breakfast, I give her a piece of fruit (blueberries were the fare this morning) along with yogurt or something else and she gnaws to her heart’s content and I know that she’s getting nutritious, vitamin-loaded food in that little tummy.  Peach slices are her absolute favorite, and I’m about to try some avocado, too.

On a side note, that picture makes me laugh my head off because of how her little fuzzy hair is sticking STRAIGHT up in the back.  She’s in the “growing it out phase” as we women like to call it…. haha!!  It has really started to grow like crazy lately, but there’s not enough weight to it to keep it down, so straight up it is until it gets a little more length.  SO funny!!

Alrighty, I’ve got to get the Crew some lunch.  Happy Thursday!

Pool Time

Today I told the kids that if they hustled with their school we would head to the pool.  I know that the days of swimming are fast coming to an end, so I am hoping to eek out these last few visits before it’s nothing but fires,  s’mores and Pumpkin Spice lattes (although those all sound divine!).

This time, it was just Juju, Andrew, and Isa because The Big Boys got a little too much sun from working outside recently.  It was nice because we had the whole place all to ourselves!

This picture (below) cracks me up because getting this floppy fish to be still long enough to snap a decent photo is practically impossible.  I think he might have actually been asking me here, through his teeth, if I was finished yet.. haha! :D

The weather was just perfect!  It was not at all blistering like it usually is at the end of August in Mississippi.  I don’t know why we’re having this fantastic weather, but I’m sure happy to take it.  Usually, at this point in the summer, everyone is suffering in very high temps and humidity and flat-out wishing for a cold front, but this is perfecto!

After Isa was done splashing around, I bundled her up in this soft and cozy cover-up.  I love this thing!  It’s majorly on sale right now along with the reusable swim diapers that I use, too, if you’re interested.  You can even get the cover-up monogrammed, but I chose not to since I will pass it on to her baby sister once she outgrows it.

It was such a sweet day.  The morning started out with the kids outside on the trampoline, in the fresh air, to do their reading and ended with us enjoying some last remnants of summer.   Good stuff!

Tomorrow, I have a my OB appointment, and I think it’s the glucose test one.  Thankfully, those drinks have much improved over the years, but I’ll still be kind of happy when it’s over.  ;)

Pregnancy Necessities

There are a few things that I have found I cannot live without during this pregnancy, so to say that I am grateful for them would be a gross understatement… haha!   Here they are, in no particular order of importance (because they are all highly favored!).

My Body Pillow

I can’t even imagine sleeping without this glorious thing now.  As my belly has grown exponentially, naturally, so has my sleeping discomfort.  My hips ache very badly if I can’t wrap all around this thing at night for extra support.  It is quite the earth shaking event when I change sides during the night though because, not only do I flip, but my great big ole pillow comes with me.  The funny thing is, I usually have a regular sized pillow stuffed up against my back, and one nestled just so under my head, thereby creating a nice little “nest” effect.  It’s quite the ordeal and I can’t believe Mark hasn’t relocated yet.. hahaha!

Next on my list is this little sweetie:

This is my mini-massager.  One of the kids got this for me at the beginning of my pregnancy and I. LOVE. IT.  It is great for those lower back massages because you can push the little button and it vibrates, so with some pressure, it really seems to ease up some of the soreness of your hip/lower back area while pregnant.  I know it will be a gem for around the shoulder blades after the baby is here, too.  The best thing is, they are CHEAP!  I think this thing was only $5.oo!

About a month ago, I started to get heartburn like I have never experienced.  It was even making me very sick to my stomach and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to chill.  A friend of mine suggested this:

It has been a LIFESAVER!  It is the ONLY thing that has touched my heartburn and I am so thankful.  You only take one a day rather than 50 like with Tums or whatever, and it does the trick like nothing else.  I even introduced Mark to it and he is a believer now, too (maybe that will make up for all the rolling at night? :D )

Finally, I was told about these recently and I am loving them alot, too:

It is the Gilligan & O’Malley Nursing Tank from Target.  They are cut for maternity wear, too so they don’t feel extremely tight around my belly like the regular tanks do.  I wear these constantly and they will obviously be worn after the baby is here to nurse with.  Everyone swears by them because they add a layer over your stomach while nursing allowing a little more modesty.  I’m a fan already!

There are a few other things like bottled water that I can’t live without, but these are the big dogs.   What was on your list of ”must-haves” when you were expecting?

Lakeside Lunches

Today, I had my 32 week routine OB visit and everything checked out just fine, as usual.  Baby Girl is measuring right on track and I have had no problems.  Here is a picture taken today after lunch:

 After my appointment, I took everyone out to the park so that we could enjoy a picnic lunch and the beautiful day.  Every now and then it’s good to break away from the normal routine to just “be” and enjoy each other.   The boys immediately went to “sword” fighting:

   

 And scavenging for stones to skip (which wound up turning into big rocks before it was over because the “KERPLUNK” noise is apparently so much more enjoyable)  ;) :

My sweet girl wasn’t as into all of that, so she did what comes naturally to her, and scavenged for much prettier, less destructive things:

Then, as is often the case, after a few minutes, I was presented with this:

These are so beautiful to me.  They are currently displayed on my kitchen sink along with a few of the brightest red leaves that we found, too.  I am hoping to do this with them later this week (you’ll really want to click that link for a fun and easy Fall activity!). 

How could I not be thankful today?   There are so many blessings in just the few hours represented here that they are too numerous for one post.

Grateful:

Sundays

My Facebook status today is “I love Sundays.  Love ‘em!”, and I really do mean that.  From the moment I wake up on Sunday mornings, things are just different.  Generally, I am the first one to rise and shine here in the Westie abode, and I really like to take that time to sip my coffee and turn on the television to listen a good sermon in an effort to prepare my heart for the day.  I will usually poke around the internet for greetings from those excited to fellowship with the Lord and other brothers and sisters, too, as the Crew wakes up and gets moving.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bliss.   Inevitably, there will be lost shoes, mismatched or wrinkled clothes 5 minutes before we are to walk out the door, or any other form of chaos that you could conjure up in your imagination that follows a big family trying to make it to church intact.  But, there is a sweet feeling that I think God gives to His children, despite all of that, knowing that we are about to enter into the sacred obedience of corporate worship.

I love my church family.  There is nothing more beautiful than being able to walk into a place knowing that you are yours are welcomed, needed, and treasured as part of that body.  It’s the way He intended it, afterall.  I love concentrating in prayer for brothers and sisters in Christ without the distractions of everyday life.  I love listening to the Word of God being taught and voices being lifted for His glory and honor.  I love watching the children from the oldest to the tiniest knowing that they are part of our extended Covenant family and that they are all blessings.

I love worshipping.  I love singing the songs that echo what my heart feels with the well-written words (even if we are called “the frozen chosen”, we still worship… ;) ).  I love learning something new from the living and active Word of God.  I love to feel the affirmation of what He has already been knitting within my heart, and I even love the sting of conviction because I know that it is only handed down because He loves me too much to leave me wallowing in something so foul as sin.  I love church.

Oftentimes, after the service, we will share a meal with various friends, where we linger over conversation that ranges from the very deep to the silly and frivolous, but it is nevertheless, highly treasured.  There is something so special about breaking bread with God’s people.

 Eventually, this happens:

And in stark contrast, this:

 But, I love all of that.  We mostly wind up our Sabbath Day by going right back to where we started:  church.  The evening service is so much more casual in appearance, but deeply steeped in fervent, unorchestrated, Spirit-led prayer.  Once it’s over, you will find the children running amuck outside and the adults taking in that last little breath of relaxation before the week begins again.

Tonight, after evening church, we are heading to our friend’s home for s’mores and flashlight tag.  Things went just a little differently than the norm here today because Mark and the boys were camping this weekend with the Scouts, so it was just the younger 2 and me that made it to the morning service.  It has been an afternoon of stinky camp laundry and chilling out while listening to the plethora of stories after such an eventful weekend, but I am still so thankful, nonetheless.  I imagine they will all sleep WELL tonight.. haha!

If you all are interested in participating in the 31 Days of… blog carnival, it’s not too late!  Here’s the link, and seriously, check out some of the entries.  They are really informative!  Happy Sunday, friends.

Hello, Internet Provider? Yeah.. You’re Late

There comes a point when you just have to laugh. Which is exactly what I’m doing as I sit here typing this post with my thumbs. :D
My internet is still not hooked up at the new house, so I’m using my phone to let you know that we did, indeed, survive the move (barely.. haha.. just kidding.. it was as smooth as it could have been).
I did take some pictures today that I want to post, but my phone won’t do uploads on here. Maybe it knows that blogging from one’s phone should be kept to a minimum. Smart phone. ;)
Alright.. I must be short and sweet because these boxes aren’t unpacking themselves.

A Few Great Finds

Recently, I found a GREAT gem that I’ve already posted about on Facebook, but I wanted to share here, too.  It’s called Bible.is and it’s basically just the Word being read aloud in a dramatic way.  There are distinctive voices for the “characters”, background noises and music, ect.  We L-O-V-E  listening to it around here.  It even has an app for any phone with a data capabilites so that  you can listen on your device, as well.  As I was driving home from Memphis very early on Sunday morning, I listened on my phone for a good part of the ride.  I also enjoy putting it on when I’m doing dishes or folding laundry because it gives me that extra time with His Word when I have to be working on something else.  Check it out (the picture is a clickable link)!

Another awesome find is this book:

It’s called Proverbs for Parenting and I think it’s another GREAT must-have for parents (or even personal use now that I think about it).  Its a tool that you can use to hide God’s word into your child’s heart when you are training, correcting or encouraging him rather than just regular language.  It’s so much better to say “The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall”  rather than “obey me because I said so”.    It has 7 ”Parts”:  Reverence for God, Wisdom and Instruction, Self Control, Control of the Mouth, Relationships, Wrong Doing, and Godly Characteristics.  Then, those parts are broken down into specific instances such as “faithfulness” which falls under “Godly Characteristics”.  For each sub-category there are at least 10 scriptures to choose from when training your children.  SOOO good!  And it would be perfect for copywork or dictation, too!

Two things:  1.  The picture is a link to Amazon, but the title is a link to a lady I bought it from at the Convention.  I hope that you’ll buy from her (she is actually almost a dollar cheaper) to support her family’s ministry.  I’m all about helping out the smaller businesses when able.  2.  The only thing I don’t just love about this book is that it’s in King James Version.  I don’t hate that version or anything (I did buy the book!), but I’d prefer it in the version that I use.   Amazon offers a  different version but I don’t know which one it is;  I’m assuming it’s NIV, though.  Are you thoroughly confused, yet?  :)

These are two resources that, while new to our home, are being used left and right.  I hope they’ll be useful to one of you, too!  By the way, no one is paying me or asked me to review these.  I just rilly like em!  ;)   Muchas Gracias!

Staying Well

HI!!

I can really go forever between posts, huh?  I hated to leave that sad one up for so long especially since we really did have a blessed time during our trip back home, but we wound up getting THE FLU.  Before I go into all of that though, I did get the opportunity to spend some time at my grandparents graves and it was a very special.   It was a very nice Christmas despite some of my anticipation.

Last Sunday night, however, I woke up just knowing that I had a fever.  Ack!  Pretty soon, we were all dropping like flies, so we had to cancel our much anticipated trip to Ohio, to the Creation Museum, and make the long trek back to MS.  I would say that there was great disappointment, but we were seriously too sick to even care!  I was never so happy to be home in my entire life.  There is nothing like having your own bed and surroundings when you are not well.  Graciously, God spared Mark from all the germies, though and he has been a million kinds of awesome for taking care of all of us.

I have joked that we should have some rock-solid immune systems after all the virus-hosting that we’ve been doing over the last month, but the reality is that I’m about to really ramp up the offensive strategies around here, too.  We are so over being sick right now!  I am a huge proponent of taking a good vitamin and have really enjoyed this one for years:  Mega Multi by Above All Health  It’s loaded down with all of the B vitamins and I’m pretty convinced that I may have had a deficiency in that arena before I started taking them.   For the kids, I usually just give them the standard Flintstones or whatever, but I am looking into something that may be a little more effective? 

We are not into eating a ton of processed foods in our home, but we could improve things even more so I am planning to start evaluating over the next week in order to implement a few changes.  Same thing with sugar.  I have even thought about nixing the beloved creamer that I put into my coffee in the mornings.  I’ve had a sneaking suspicion for a LONG time that this has been a huge source of my calorie overload during the day and my sugar crash mid-morning, sooooo, it’s on the chopping block.

My laptop is about to die, so I need to wrap this up, but I am wondering:  What do you do to keep your family healthy?  Is there a big no-no, or conversely, something you can’t live without either food or supplement-wise?

Oh, and Happy 2011, friends!