It's a....

Thursday, July 28, 2016


It's a...GIRL!!!!!!!









We are beyond excited over here!!!

I know you are too!!!;)

I was preparing myself for a boy but was so surprised to find out that we were indeed having a girl! (Just so you know I have nothing against boys, I just have 4 of them;)

We decided to take all the kids into the ultrasound today. The technician looked at us like we were crazy and said there wasn't enough room for everyone but we insisted and crammed them in. It was the best ultrasound visit by far! They were all in awe as they say the tiny perfect life growing inside me. I count that as a homeschool field trip!! So amazing how God forms life in our wombs!

Josh thought he saw something that indicated boy but when it was time to look for the certain parts...it was definately girl!

I had a rough day yesterday as I had one of the worst head colds of my life and on top of that was rudely woken up the night before by Luke throwing up all over me. So I was up all night with him. Thankfully Josh was able to stay home yesterday. I didn't think I was going to be able to make it to my appointment but after lots of tea and honey and some much needed rest I made it! Needless to say it was such great news after a couple of hard days!

I have already had a couple of friends offer to give me all their girl baby clothes so this girl is going to be set, though I know I will not be able to resist buying some clothes also.

I am just so excited not only for the baby stage but for the future days to come. Having a daughter has been so wonderful and I know having 2 will only be better. I am especially excited for Ellie. She has been especially praying for a sister as you can imagine with 4 brothers! She told me today that now the boys won't mess with her as much now that she will have a sister;P We'll see.

Those balloons are already long gone but we sure had fun celebrating today! Not only are we thankful that it is a girl but that it is healthy and growing!



Linking up here!


Kindergarten Stepping Stones Curriculum Review

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

This is a sponsored post for Kindergarten Stepping Stones Curriculum a product of Kendall Hunt RPD. All thoughts and opinions are uniquely and solely my own. I was provided with the Living Things/ Deep in the Forest Unit in exchange for my honest review.

"Mom, can we do school... really, really fun school?"

That is the question that I have been hearing more and more often from my daughter who is 6 and  going into 1st grade and my son who is 4 and going into pre k.

I love that they want to learn, but I often don't feel like trying to get lessons and crafts ready for them when I am so busy with my older boys( 11 and 9) not to mention my 2 1/2 year old!

We finished our curriculum for the year but are still doing some school during the summer so when I had the opportunity to review Stepping Stones, I jumped at it. I knew my kids would absolutely love their Living Things/Deep in the Forest Unit as they love anything to do with animals and nature and since I didn't have anything in particular planned for the summe, this was perfect!

Stepping Stones Curriculum is developed for Seventh Day Adventist Schools and though I don't agree with all of their theology, after looking over the curriculum I was pleasantly surprised that I did not find anything that would conflict with my beliefs. I found that this curriculum would be great for faith based homes and schools despite differences in doctrine.

I loved that at the beginning of their books they make this statement,

"Kindergarten Stepping Stones: A Journey to Excellence through Discovery is an integrated kindergarten curriculum that utilizes literature based themes with strong spiritual connections so children may get to know God better and love Him more."

"It is the primary purpose of this curriculum to help make the invisible God visible to each child, guiding them into a loving relationship with Jesus so that through service they may each uniquely reflect His love to others."

This is what I want for my children also. This faith based curriculum has so much to offer!

The curriculum for this unit included a comprehensive teacher's manual, a daily lesson guide, 4 beautiful hardcover books that each section is centered on and a CD with printables and  digital resources that correspond with each book.

With each story book at the core of the studies, the lesson guide includes target skills that you will cover while studying each book; such as Bible, Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Physical Education, Art, Music and Technology.

Though the curriculum seems to be mainly made for a classroom setting it could also be tailored for homeschool purposes and  I was excited that the format fit well with teaching both my Pre Ker and 1st Grader.
I loved that each book had so many projects, activities to incorporate into each subject. The manual gave so many great ideas and ways to teach children in a way that causes them to interact, explore and discover for themselves. I am always searching for activities to incorporate into our studies so I loved that they had everything laid out for you!


I have to admit that there was a bit too much curricula for my liking. I get easily overwhelmed with too much information. I would have liked it to be a bit more streamlined, but so many great ideas and activities nonetheless! For those who want everything outlined for them, this is the curriculum for you!! I really loved all the great printables that correspond with each unit! So many great projects and learning activities!


In this Deep in the Forest Unit the books we covered were:

When the Rain Falls by Melissa Stewart
Where would I be in an Evergreen Tree by Jennifer Blomgren
Good -Night Owl by Pat Hutchins 
When We Go Camping by Margriet Ruurs

Each theme of the  curriculum is intended to be covered in a month but I felt as if we could have stretched it out quite a bit longer.

There is an extensive planning overview to help you plan what you want to incorporate into each week. I scaled it down to this routine:

Bible
Bible Story
Memorizing Bible verse

Language Arts
Sound letter activity( using work pages)
Read book/ Discussion/ Comprehension Questions
Name writing practice
Writing Activities (using work pages)
Journaling( drawing pictures that correlate with story)

Math
Counting Activity
Calendar/ Weather
Math worksheet/activity

Science
Nature walk/PE
Game/Activity
Animal Classification
Nature Journal

Art
Activity
worksheet

I was so happy to see so many great activities and hands on crafts to incorporate with each lesson. I know I will be coming back to all the great ideas long after we are done with this unit. 

I am so glad I gave it a try and the kids and I have really enjoyed the great animal/nature themes, activities, crafts, and comprehensive learning materials!!

Check out their site to get more information about their curriculum!

Linking up here!

Seeing homemaking as a labor of love instead of drudgery- With FREE PRINTABLE!

Saturday, July 23, 2016



There is a view in our society that is catching fire.

It is a view that sees homemaking/housework/motherhood as drudgery. (Drudgery: boring, difficult or unpleasant work. )

I should know because I often add my approval and voice to this view.

Before I was married I dreamed about the day when I would have a husband and children to do laundry, make meals for and a home to decorate and clean.

Little did I know how those dreams would come back to haunt me!

Not only do I have all of these, but they are neverending!

I do about 2-3 loads of laundry every day!

I cook 2-3 meals a day and clean in between... constantly.

I clean and clean and clean and my house does not look magazine worthy; just liveable!

Now that all my dreams have come true I complain most every day about them.

Why can't I go 20 minutes without cleaning up a mess? 

Why do my children hurt themselves every 10 seconds!? 

Why do we have so many dirty clothes???

Why do my children destroy everything they touch!!? 

I definately go through seasons of absolutely loving caring for my home and family and then seasons of despising it. I will often do anything I can to avoid doing dishes or making dinner and other times I just thrive in it. I have times when I will be on top of everything and everyone making sure not a crumb is spilled and a  toy out of place. I can get a little OCD at times. Though I love a clean house, I know it's not worth getting all bent out of shape about, even though I often do.

Then there are seasons when I get disillusioned and just try to get by with what I can, wondering to myself, "Why even try, it's just going to go back to the way it was?" When I get in a funk of thinking what is the purpose of it all, I start to view homemaking as drudgery. I get bogged down with thoughts that I am really not doing anything important or of worth. I start to think of my days as insignificant as a stay at home mom, if all I did was clean, cook, do laundry and supervise my children. Nothing spectacular there.  I give into the lies that I didn't really accomplish anything of worth.

Deep down in my heart I know that this is so not true.

Even if I all you and I did was feed our children, clean and keep the peace, we have done an amazing job that is vital to our family's well being...that only you and I can do as our husband's wife and our children's mother. 

The thing is that I need God to constantly work on my heart and help change my perspective to see the job I have been given as one of great value and worth. I need him to give me a cheerful and giving heart in serving my family; desiring to do it as unto him. This is the difference... doing it as unto him!

When we are reminded that our lives and our families are not our own, that he has given us this wonderful and most important of positions; our perspective changes and we can see homemaking as a labor of love instead of drudgery.

I love this quote by Harold B. Lee. It really helps to remind me that I am doing a very important work. A work that no one else besides God and my family might see. A work that is vital not only to the foundation of my family but of the whole of society.


I love my family so much! Even though I desperately need time away from them sometimes, I still always can't wait to get back to them. They are the ones that I truly want to be with the most. Yes, they are a lot of work but I would so much rather take care of them then be out in the world taking care of someone else's children or doing a job that would take me away from my husband and them.

It's sad that we often think that it's only when we are serving outside the home that we are being used and doing an important work. I know that everyone is in different seasons and situations then I am in, but whatever our jobs are... as mothers, our families should be our priority as we seek God 1st. #preachingtomyself If you are doing a job outside the home, know that I am not trying to downplay that. If you are in God's will then there is no better place to be. But if God has called you to be home then he will make a way and give you joy in it!

When I start to listen to God's voice instead of the world's and thrive where he has put me, I delight in serving my family. As I am obedient to his calling on my life and cherish the season I am in, I start to see keeping the house liveable, clothes cleaned, dishes washed, children trained and loved, husband admired and respected as my highest calling. Not only does it become fulfilling, but it affects everyone in my family. When all I do is complain to my husband and children they will start to feel insignificant, like they aren't worth my time and effort.

We as mothers and wives need to set the example in our home. How can we expect our husband to want to come home if all he will hear from us is complaining?  How can we expect our children to do their chores without complaining if that is all they hear us do?

Of course there are those days when we have just had a hard time putting anything on the table and keeping the house looking decent and we need to vent  and give ourselves grace, and that's okay.
But when we do take the time and effort to make our homes presentable, to prepare good meals for our family with a good attitude; our husband and children will notice and appreciate our hard work and give us praise better than any worldly achievement or acknowledgement!

I don't know about you but I am tired of being tired of housework. I want God to change my heart. I want him to give me joy in being faithful with the little. I know that this will be a continuous work and that I will go through many different seasons, but this is my prayer: to see homemaking as a labor of love to the ones that I cherish the most.

I am so excited to share this beautiful printable that I made with you! Please download it for your  own personal use! ----> FREE PRINT And if this post encouraged you I would love for you to sign up to recieve more posts like it --->Here!!

How about you? Do you struggle with taking care of your home and family with joy?

Do you often feel like you didn't do anything of worth during the day?

Do you find yourself having a bad attitude towards homemaking?

Do you feel like you are only doing something of value when it's outside your home?

Linking up here!






18 week bump update

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I can't tell you how relieved I am to be here at 18 weeks!!

Like I have shared in my first trimester update I have been stepping on eggshells through this pregnancy after my miscarriage last year.

By God's grace this has been one of my best pregnancies. Despite tiring easily( though that's nothing new) and feeling unmotivated, I have been feeling so good. Really, no complaints! I hardly had any nausea in the first trimester and don't feel as hungry as I did at first. I have gained about 18 lbs already. I always gain a lot in the first trimester. It's just how it is. But if you consider a lb for each week, I guess that's okay. I usually even out in the end somehow.






Someone told me the other day that I looked like I was having twins when they knew I wasn't. Arrghhh..;( I had to try really hard not to hold a grudge against them and forgive them. I have always struggled with gaining weight during pregnancy. I really don't like it, but I have really embraced this pregnancy and have been so excited that there is a little life growing inside of me. I am still sensitive about it my growing body though and no pregnant woman wants to hear that she looks like she is carrying twins when she is not. So be warned!

I started feeling the baby move around 16 weeks and love feeling it's little kicks and movements. I have been actually been sleeping really good now. Yay!!! No more insomnia!! At least for now. If we go out to the beach or somewhere I am usually done for the rest of the day. If it was a tiring morning I usually can't function and have to take a nap in the afternoon and am still able to sleep at night.

I am starting to want coffee again. Woo hoo!!! I still can survive without it but there is just something about a nice cup of coffee in the morning to get you going. Especially since I don't get up early anymore and I wake up all groggy. I'm looking forward to more coffee dates now with my friends!

I still can't go too long without food in my stomach and have been wanting sweets more of late which I never did with most of my pregnancies. I have been really good about not drinking a lot of soda this pregnancy. Normally I hardly ever drink soda but during pregnancy I always crave it. But this time around I haven't been really craving it:) I have been trying to guzzle down water. I have found that I drink way more when I have a straw. I know it sounds silly but for some reason it works. So I got one of those plastic cups with the built in straw.

I have still been trying to work out regularly but it's been hard. I am so used to working out early in the morning and now that I have been sleeping in it's harder to get to it during the day. We have been especially busy with family in town so it's been hard to do it but I have forced myself these past few days to fit it in and I always feel so good when I do.

My sonogram is scheduled for 2 weeks!!! I have tried a couple times to wait till birth to find out the gender but I just haven't been able to. It's just so hard when you are there and they can tell you. And this time we are so anxious to know. We have 4 boys and 1 girl smack dab in the middle and would love another girl. I  know she will be fine without a sister but I would so love for her to have one. I know I love having a sister and I just picture doing things with her and another daughter as they grow up. I doubt my boys will call me up and say, "Hey mom, you want to get together?" Maybe but I know sisters are so special. I am so thankful for my sister and all the wonderful sister in laws I have been blessed with. They are some of my best friends! Ellie has some girl cousins her age so I know she will be okay but still. And girl stuff is just so stinkin cute!!!

I have never had mothers intuition. I am always wrong so even though I am hoping for a girl I am not even going to try and predict what we are having.

Anyways it's not in my hands and I am glad God is in control. I trust his choice for us! He has already determined who this little person will be and know he has the best plans for him/her!


Anybody have any guesses as to what I'm having? 

What's the worse thing someone has said to you when you were pregnant?

Do you find out what you are having or wait till the end? 

Linking up here!



Life is Beautiful book review

Sunday, July 10, 2016

                   I was given a copy of Sarah's book in return for my honest opinion and review.

Life is never what we plan or expect it to be.

There is a lot of pain, sorrow, unexpected twists and turns that we could never anticipate.

We imagine and plan out what we would like our lives to be like but in reality our perfect plans are far from perfect.

Though we think a life free from worry, pain and sorrow would be great it is just not possible in the fallen world we live in. We would never plan for tragedy to strike our lives yet it often does. God is able to take hard and tragic circumstances and make them beautiful.

In Sarah M. Johnson's book, she shares just that; how God took her broken and tragic life, redeemed it and made it beautiful.

Her book starts out with the pivotal event of a plane crash in the jungles of the Guatamala. Sarah's family was on a mission trip together; she, her mother, father and brother. Sarah giftedly writes of the trauma that ensues as she tries to save her mother after realizing her brother and father are already dead.

Prior to the plane crash her family was very dysfunctional. Her father had been hiding his drug addiction of smoking meth. After his arrest and release from jail he has to go through rehabilitation and gain back his family's respect and trust. Though her father tries to rebuild their relationship Sarah struggles to let him back in her life. She is hurting and seeking for something to fill the loneliness and pain and turns to partying and drinking. Her brother Zach is a constant source of comfort and true friendship through all of the Sarah's ups and downs. She always turns to him and he always speaks the truth to her even though she doesn't listen or want to hear it.

As her father finds his way again and tries to rebuild his family and opportunity opens up for them to go to guatemala on a mission trip which he hopes will restore some unity with his family as they all serve together.

Sarah deftly goes back and forth between the plane crash and the events that led up to her family going on the mission trip. In amazing detail she tells the story of her initial shock and pain from the plane crash. All the crazy emotions and trials she had to endure in a foreign country. Now back in the states she is left alone as her mother is in critical condition from her burns. She ends up going to college and finds herself on a destructive path of drinking and partying.

She meets a guy who shares with her about God and the Bible but definitely does not live out a life of faith. She is intrigued and goes on her own search for God. She knows she can't go on as she is any more and seeks professional help. Her therapist helps her work out all the pain of her dad and brother's death that she has been burying down deep inside of her.

I can relate in part to Sarah's story as I lost my Dad to cancer when I was 14. I had to deal with a lot of hard things before and after his death that I would have never foreseen for my life. Through it all though I have seen how God does work all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose( Romans 8:28 paraphrased) He turns ashes into beauty ( Isaiah 61:3)

Though Sarah shares about her faith I was disappointed that she didn't use the opportunity to go into deeper depth of how God comforted her and gave her hope and meaning or shared some scripture that really spoke to her. I felt like she was kind of vague about it. She talks about God a lot as her higher power but I took away from the book the sense that she tried to pull herself out of her addiction and sorrow by herself and talks a lot about being a "better person" when we are all sinners in need of God's grace and redemption.

Granted I did not go through anything like she did but I know that it is only by Jesus working through us that we can do anything. We are strongest when we admit our weaknesses and allow him to use us despite them. She shares about how her therapist says she was strong enough to do it on her own. I guess this just confused me because I have never found that I can do anything in my own strength. Again I may have misunderstand her use of wording and phrases.

Over all I know so many will be able to relate to Sarah's story of finding hope and healing after tragedy and the unthinkable. I love that she wants to use her story to encourage others that life can be beautiful despite life's hard circumstances.

Though Sarah's story was so sad to read it was also a very easy book to read as she is a very good writer and takes you right to that moment in time and gives you a clear picture that she paints with her gift of writing.

I would love to write the story of my Father's death and how God used it to bring me closer to him and experience the comfort that only Christ can give as he relates to our sufferings here on earth. Sarah's story definitely inspired me to not give up on that desire.

 I hope you will be inspired also by Reading Life is Beautiful to find hope and healing to become who God has called you to be and take the hard that you have experienced and allow God to turn it into something beautiful and good.



Linking up here!



Inspiring and encouraging christian books for every woman

Thursday, July 7, 2016


I love to read!

If I had more time I would be devouring books every day.

As it is I am thankful for the books that I am able to find time to read. Since I don't have a lot of time I really try to read books that will be edifying to me in my walk with the Lord and encourage me as a wife, mother, homemaker and homeschooler. I can use all the help I can get and love gleaning wisdom and encouragement from those who have blazed a path before me.

The summer is a great time for me to read some of those books that I have had on my list for a while to get to. I usually get out with my brood in the mornings and then try to have quiet afternoons at home; catching up with housework, taking a nap or snuggled up reading.

I have compiled a list of books; some of which I have read and some that I want to read that I hope will inspire and encourage you this summer in your walk with the Lord, as a wife, mother, homemaker and homeschooler.

I hope you find a book that speaks to you and keeps bringing you back to it for words of truth, life, inspiration and encouragment!

Please head over to My Joy Filled life to read the whole list and post!!!

Have you read any of the books on my list?

What books have you read this year or are reading now that you would reccomend??
Linking up here!

Exercising during pregnancy/ tips and modifications

Sunday, July 3, 2016


Disclaimer: Please, please talk to your health care professional before attempting any kind of exercise during pregnancy. I am only a mama that likes to exercise and am sharing from my own experience of exercising during my own pregnancies and what my midwives and doctors have informed me of. 

One of the hardest things for me about being pregnant has been not being able to exercise like I usually do and gaining weight. I know it's silly but these are the things I have struggled with.

Exercising has not only been a way for me to stay in shape but has been so good for my state of mind.

Now on my 6th pregnancy I am coming to terms with my changing body and learning how to still exercise while embracing my growing body. I have always been driven to excel in running and working out and have found my groove now in letting go of my competitive side during pregnancy yet still making time for myself to exercise in moderation.

If you are pregnant and wondering if you can still exercise I hope to answer some of your questions. Remember I am not a healthcare professional or fitness expert. ;)

Can you exercise/lift weights/ run during pregnancy??

When you find out you are pregnant your Doctor or midwife will usually tell you that you can safely exercise if you have already been maintaining a workout routine. If you haven't been doing any kind of exercise before pregnancy it's probably best not to start lifting weights and going running now. ;P Your heart and your body will not be used to it. Walking, swimming or light workouts would probably be the best thing.

Because I have had a routine of working out regularly up until pregnancy my midwives have always given me the clear to keep up with my workouts and running. In terms of lifting weights, 20 lbs is always the maximum for pregnancy. I have 2 10 lb. weights that I have been using and have continued to use but never go above that. There are some crazy body builder women who lift more then that but I am sure they had to get approval from their doctors. There are of course times when I lift my little ones who are over 20lbs but I am not doing it consecutively or at a fast pace. But I try to only do it when necessary.

Don't let yourself get out of breath

A good rule of thumbs is to not let yourself get too out of breath while working out. Yes, you will be breathing a harder but when you stop you should still be able to talk. The same goes while running. You should be able to talk without deeply huffing and puffing. If you are, then you are going to fast or pushing yourself too hard. I never ever sprint during pregnancy, that is a big no no. If you feel like you are going to pass out after a run or workout you have probably pushed yourself too hard. I have done that a couple times and always freak myself out so I really try not to overdo it.

I have slowed down a considerable amount since before pregnancy. My pace before pregnancy was about 8 1/2 -9 minutes per mile and is now about 10 1/2 -11 now that I am in my 2nd trimester.  I can't physically go any faster so I am fine with my slower pace. I love still being able to get out and move! Once I get to my third trimester I probably won't run at all and slow down to a walk.

Stay hydrated and nourished

It's already so hard for me to remember to drink water so I have to be especially diligent to stay on top of my water intake. I have been keeping tally of how many glasses I drink a day to make sure that I have been getting my daily quota. Make sure to drink water before, during and after working out.  I sometimes workout before eating but I usually eat a protein filled meal or snack right after or space my workout in between meals. I love drinking these protein filled chocolate shakes right after a workout.

How to modify workouts?

I do many of the same exercises I do pre pregnancy but many I have to modify.  I don't really do any ab work. I modify any kind of exercise that calls for jumping. For instance jumping lunges I will just do lunges for and burpees I just stand up instead of jump up.

I don't go to my normal early bootcamp regularly as sleep is a priority for me right now so I have been doing most of my workouts from home when I am able during the day. I love fitness blender! They have so many great diverse workouts with warm ups and cool downs and always include modifications.

How often should you work out?

I try to work out at least 3-4x a week. ( notice the emphasis on try) Sometimes it happens sometimes it doesn't. The main thing is to find out what works best for you. If you feel good working out every day and have the time go for it, if not do what you can.

Warm up and cool down

It's always a good idea to warm up and stretch before any workout and even more so during pregnancy. Your body is stretching and doing all kinds of crazy things so it's best to warm up and stretch your muscles before going into a work out. It's also really good to cool down afterwards and slowly get your heart rate back to normal.

What are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy?

I believe that still making time for myself during pregnancy has been key in keeping me sane and helping me to feel prepared for childbirth. There is no reason that just because you are pregnant you have to lose all your muscle and be a couch potato. Yes, I get tired a lot more easier these days but I always sleep better if I have worked out that day and feel more motivated to get things done after a good workout.

 To recap here are some more reasons to exercise during pregnancy:

*Energizes you
*Helps keep you in shape/not lose all your muscle
*Clears your mind
*Helps you sleep better
*Prepares you for birth
*Helps you get back into shape faster after birth faster
*Shorter labor( I have all very quick births and have worked out right up to birth)
*Helps with constipation;)
*Lowers your risk for gestational diabetes (source)
*Less likely to gain as much weight

I don't always feel like working out normally let alone when I am pregnant but if I make myself do it I am always glad I did and feel better afterwards. I feel strong for the task ahead of me as well as the task in front of me of taking care of my family.

Remember to enjoy this new season of your life. Yes, our bodies are changing but it's for the best possible reason. It's so amazing and beautiful! Always err on the side of being cautious instead of pushing yourself too hard.

Though it might seem like you are pregnant forever, you will have a permanent waddle and that you have gained 100 pounds, it won't last forever and those pounds will eventually come off. Give yourself a lot of grace during this time and do what you feel is best for your body and baby. Don't compare your growing body to other pregnant mamas. Believe me it's inevitable that you will find someone that you think looks way better than you. We all carry our babies differently and were not meant to look all the same.

Embrace this beautiful time and if you are able enjoy the benefits of staying fit and exercising during pregnancy!

Do you exercise during pregnancy?

What do you like to do to stay active during pregnancy?

Do you find it hard to get motivated to exercise during pregnancy?



Linking up here!












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