Yes, my hands are full

Friday, February 20, 2015


Growing up, one of my worst fears was that I wouldn't be able to have children. My fears might have been a bit premature but all I wanted to be was a mommy when I grew up, so you can see how my fears were justified!

When my wedding day finally came and my husband and I were happily married for over a month, I started to panic when I found out I wasn't pregnant yet. Silly... I know but we were just so anxious to start our family.

Three month's later my husband and I were overjoyed to find out we were expecting!! We couldn't wait to be parents...obviously. Unfortunately 12 weeks into my first trimester I had a miscarriage. We were devastated at the loss of our first child. This is not what we had ever planned or imagined. The pain of having to go home from the hospital empty handed was unbearable.We were broken hearted, yet God in his sovereignty truly comforted us and carried us through that difficult time.

We cried out to God in our sorrow and asked him to fill my womb once again. God graciously heard us and quickly answered our prayers three months later! We were ecstatic to be blessed yet again with a new little life. He came into the world quickly, painfully and perfectly! We were so thrilled to be parents; to hold our son in our arms and take him home with us. Since that day we have welcomed four more children into our hearts and home and one into the hands of our father yet again.

I know there are many of you who have known the pain of coming home empty handed as we have. I pray that you have cried out to God also and felt him carry you through when you couldn't go on.

Losing a baby was one of the hardest things my husband and I have ever had to go through together, but being empty handed has only made us even more thankful for when our hands are full.

If I had a dollar for everytime someone said to me, "Your hands are full!" or "Boy, are you busy!" "Those aren't all yours are they?"... I would be loaded!

Every time I am out with all the kids or even half of them someone remarks on my full hands, to which I answer, "I would rather have my hands full than empty!" I think I take them by surprise and all they can do is agree. There are those that look at me and think I am crazy; shaking their heads in wonder. I have to admit though that most people I encounter are very friendly when they see me with my little brood.

I am not gonna sugar coat it though, I often avoid going to the store or anywhere with my little peoples. I don't always enjoy being needed 24/7 or have the best attitude when not getting as much sleep as I would like but even in the midst of the hardest days I love being a mama and know God has called me to this.

So to those of you  in the grocery store who wonder or don't understand why my husband and I would choose this life of self sacrifice, I say:

Yes, my hands are full.

Yes, it's a lot of work.

Yes, I get overwhelmed.

No, I don't do it all by myself.

Yes, my husband and I know what causes this.

Yes, we want more.

No, I am not super woman.

Yes, they eat a lot.

Yes, we can afford it.

No, I am not crazy.

Yes, I get time by myself.

Yes, they are all mine and no...I wouldn't have it any other way.


We live in a day where it's all about me, myself and I. Children are God's way of making us more like Jesus and less like ourselves. When people see you with a lot of children who must obviously take away from caring for yourself; they don't always understand. Have patience with them. It's up to us to re-educate them; to use every opportunity to show them the love of Christ and how much he loves children. For the ones who tell us how blessed we are, just nod your head and agree..we are very blessed to have our hands full!

Looking down on children as a burden is not something new though...

"And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, 'Let the little children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.' And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them." ~Mark 10:13-16

Jesus loved children, he gladly welcomed them into his arms and laid his hands on them...blessing them. When you see children as Jesus sees them, you will see that children are the kingdom of God. When you start to see your children as a burden instead of a blessing remember that your hands are full with kingdom work.



I came across this saying the other day and felt it captured my thoughts exactly, "If you think my hands are full you should see my heart." Yes, my hands are full; I don't deny it. I admit that I even resent it at times when I'm in my selfish mode but God has filled my heart with so much love for my children that I think it might burst at times!


To those of you who have known the pain of having your hands emptied, I pray that God would comfort you with his healing touch and fill your heart and hands once again. 

To those of you with full hands; give thanks and ask God to give you strength and grace to hold on tight!

How has God filled your hands?

If they are empty, ask him to fill them with what He wants you to hold.

How do you respond when people remark on all your offspring?



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To the Mom who doesn't have it all together

Monday, February 9, 2015


When I first started reading mommy blogs I always wondered how these super mama's managed to not only make beautiful, time consuming homemade foods and body products, keep a perfectly organized home, homeschool a bajillion children and blog about it as well; all with a smile on their face and a great attitude. Though I was truly inspired and encouraged by them, I felt like I must not have it all together since I was barely able to get anything thing done throughout the day... let alone blog.

Lo and behold here I am today...blogging and doing all those things I thought I could never do; though I only blog when I can since I have a 14 month old that is my siamese twin, have to homeschool two boys in grade school and a daughter in kindergarten, put food on the table and keep the house somewhat liveable...you get the picture!

Since feeling led to start this blog I have a new perspective on life behind the blog. Though I try to be as real and transparent as I can, there are many things I can't always share or really don't want to. It's much easier to share my accomplishments and success rather than my failures and catastrophes.

I love taking pictures of my kids, projects and recipes and try to make them look as nice as I can but for every picture I show there are 20 that didn't turn out right and lots of messes cleared out of the way to get at least one decent shot. Because who wants to look at dirty messes and failed recipes? There is also usually a lot of crying and whining in the background that thankfully you can't hear!

Looking at other mom's (their homes and blogs) and comparing ourselves is unfortunately a part of the mommy culture, but it's not how God calls us to live.

"When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves by themselves; they are not wise." 2 Corinthians 10:12


Somewhere on my journey as mom and wife I chose to stop comparing myself to everyone else.(though I still struggle at times) As mother's and wives we are all going to do things differently and have different priorities for our families. There is not a one fits all rule for motherhood. Yes, there are many times when I am not doing it right and neither are you, but that is a part of the learning and growing process. Sometimes we have to figure things out for ourselves and our families.

I am so thankful for those wise mama's who saw me doing everything wrong and never told me, who gave me advice when I asked and encouraged me when I failed.

When I start to think that I have it all together God quickly reminds me that I most definitely do not. On one such occasion this week God showed me how super human I am not. Read here.

 We all are going to mess up and fail; we are flawed beings. Yes, it's pretty depressing but let me encourage you dear mama with this truth...we serve a perfect Savior who is able to take a our messes and failures and redeem them and use them for his glory!! He has grace for us every day. Don't you feel better now? I know I do! It's so freeing to admit that we don't have it all together... but we serve the One who does!

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."( NIV 2 Corinthians 12:9)

When you start to feel bad about all the things that you don't do right remind yourself of the things you are doing right!

Your house may not always be clean but you let your kids make forts in their rooms.

You may not blog but you are writing stories of joy, inspiration, encouragement and love on the hearts of your children, husband and friends.

You may not always make gourmet, organic, homemade meals but your husband's and children's tummies are always full.

You may not be be crafty or organized but you find your own ways to be creative and make the most of your time and home.

You kids may not always be wearing clean clothes because you let them play in the dirt.

You may feel like you are always an emotional wreck because you care so much for your family.

You may not always have time to get all the laundry put away because you play with your kids when they ask you.

You may not always act out of love and have the best attitude but you ask for forgiveness and humble yourself when you need to.

You may not know how to teach math or english well to your children but you teach them about Jesus who does all things well!

Do you ever feel like you are the only mama who doesn't have it all together or know what she is doing?

Do you tend to view blogger mom's as superhuman and compare yourself to them?

How do you keep your perspective and not get caught up in comparing yourself to other moms?


How to make a beeswax candle

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Have I told you my husband and I keep bees? Well we do! Or at least my husband takes care of them, I take care of the kids. I think that is a fair trade! (He helps with the kids too;) We all enjoy the rewards; like the delicious honey and the versatile beeswax. We have even started our own little cottage food operation and sell honey, lip balm, beeswax, soap and lotion from our home. Yeah, we are the bees knees!

I call the bees Josh's girls(the females are the worker bees) but don't worry...I am not too jealous. In fact I love that my husband is a beekeeper/apiarist. We have raw, local honey right at our fingertips! We use it in everything from smoothies to homemade bread. I can't imagine not having it at my disposal. Not only are the health benefits of local honey tremendous but the taste is beyond compare to the store bought stuff that comes from who knows where.

I am always looking for recipes; sweet and savory to incorporate the honey into and have been using the beeswax in most of my homemade body product; lip balm, lotion and deodorant to name a few. I can never go back now! I love how it works!

I recently decided to try making candles from the beeswax and I am happy to say the results were great and it was so easy to make! I know you're dying to know how I made them but sorry that's none of your beeswax...I know...I know, so cheesy but I just had to fit that in here somewhere...lol!

So why make a beeswax candle rather than buying a candle at the store? I am glad you asked! Besides the fact that beeswax is 100% natural; beeswax candles burn brighter, longer and cleaner than any other candle! It cleans the air by emitting negative ions that filter out dust and allergens and is even know to help people who have allergies and asthma!

Learn more at beeswaxco.com. You will be amazed at all the benefits of beeswax!!!

So yes, you are going to want to make beeswax candles for yourself and give them as gifts for your friends because they are too good to keep to yourself! They will think you are the bees knees!;)

What you will need:
* A kitchen scale. I bought mine (where to buy).
*about 10 oz( I eyeballed it) Beeswax. We do sell beeswax and honey if you are local! (harrishoney.com) if not you can order some (where to buy). I used some beeswax that wasn't filtered and that we didn't melt into molds.
*12 oz Glass jar ( I used a candle jar I had from a candle I bought at Ikea) but any jar will do.
*Cotton Wick(where to buy)
*Fragrance(optional)
*stick/pencil or anything to wrap wick around( I used a spoon)
* Pot and glass bowl that fit together to use as double boiler.




How To Make Your Candle
1. Weigh your beeswax. You can always melt more beeswax depending on how many candles you want to make.  1. Melt beeswax in a double boiler/ a pot filled halfway with water over medium heat. I use a glass bowl that I use exclusively for melting beeswax but if you clean your bowl while it's still warm it should come off.
2. When completely melted add fragrance of choice ( I used about 30 drops; give or take) I used Chestnut and Brown sugar fragrance that I got from a local bulk herb store. It smells so delicious I wish I could eat it. But you don't have to add fragrance if you don't want to because the beeswax is already naturally scented by honey!
3. Put your wick into your candle jar. I put the bottom of the wick into the beeswax and then put it in the jar so it would stay put.
4. Use a pencil or stick to lay on top of jar and wind the wick around it.
5. Pour melted beeswax into jar.
6. Let cool for about an hour.
7. Cut the wick about an inch above the jar. If you cut it too small it will burn too quickly before it gets to the beeswax. I know because I cut it too short.

 Light and enjoy the steady flame and the sweet fragrance that fills your home.







I don't know if you can see it but a bee came to to check out the beeswax while I was taking pictures outside!

I think the bee approved of how I was using the beeswax that it and the rest of the hive worked so hard to make!

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Whole Wheat Sour Cream Doughnuts

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Doughnuts have always evoked memories of lazy saturday mornings and special occasions for me. There is nothing better than biting into a fresh baked doughnut that is crispy and sugary on the outside and fluffy and warm on the inside...well maybe there is but I can't think of it right now.

I started making homemade doughnuts a couple of years ago to satisfy my sweet addiction. I wander out once in a while to our grocery store's bakery and through the dunkin' doughnuts drive through but since making my own they do nothing for me anymore.You just can't top fresh, hot homemade doughnuts.

Doughnuts have always sounded like they would be a lot of work but somehow the thought of the fried goodness to come always makes the time fly by and really from start to finish they only take about half an hour. My kids were fighting over who could cut out the doughnuts so don't be surprised if yours offer to help. I know there are recipes that allow you to bake the doughnuts but come on, we all know they are not really doughnuts.

Anytime I tell the kids we are having doughnuts they start jumping up and down for joy, giddy with excitement. When my kids are happy I am happy so yeah, I guess you could say doughnuts are one of my happy places.

Though they make me happy they don't always make my body happy; they have a tendency to stick around a little longer then I would like to certain parts so I tried making them with whole wheat flour and honestly, I don't miss the bleached white stuff. Don't worry though I didn't leave out anything that still doesn't make them a decadent treat! I know there are recipes that allow you to bake the doughnuts but come on, we all know they are not really doughnuts. So yes, there will be some frying going on!

So without further ado here is how you can bring this tempting but still good for you sweetness to your family, from your own kitchen. Before you know it you will have your family giving you accolades of praise without having to even leave the house!


Whole Wheat Sour Cream Doughnuts
makes about 20 doughnuts plus holes

Ingredients

2 eggs
1/2 c. of sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2Tbs. honey
4 Tbs. melted butter
1/2 c. sour cream
1/3 c. buttermilk( I have also used kiefer)
oil for frying( I used about 3 cups.)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 1/4 c. whole wheat flour (plus more for dusting)

1. Mix eggs, sugar, honey, vanilla, sour cream, buttermilk and melted butter. Mix together dry ingredients and slowly add to wet mixture.
2. Roll out on to floured surface a 1/2 inch thick.
3. Cut out with doughnut cutter.( I didn't have one so I used a mason jar top and a little spice top)
4. Heat up oil and carefully drop in when hot enough. I dropped a tiny bit of water in and when it sizzled it was ready. Israel timed it and it took about 15-20 seconds on each side till they were done. 5.Place on a plate with paper towels.

 They are best hot out of the frying pan, but I don't think you will have any problems with leftovers;)
  If you do have leftovers you can reheat them for 10 minutes in a 350 oven.

Brown sugar glaze

Heat 4 Tbs. butter(I used Kerrygold) 3/4 c. brown sugar then add 1/2c. milk( you can use heavy cream for a thicker caramel like glaze if you want) Let boil for a minute.




When you have a toddler...

Monday, February 2, 2015

When you have a toddler... you count every moment they are sleeping as sacred.

When you have a toddler... you anticipate spills so often that you keep a towel in the kitchen just for  sopping up the latest mess.

When you have a toddler...you become a human pacifier and punching bag.

When you have a toddler...your attire is accessorized with smears of boogers, pieces of food and possibly the residue of vomit.

When you have a toddler...you savor every sweet snuggle because it will only be about 10 seconds before they are up and running.

When you have a toddler...you find yourself swaying even when no one is attached to your hip.

When you have a toddler... peek a boo is the most entertaining game in the world.

When you have a toddler... you cherish every minute that you get to eat a meal in peace.

When you have a toddler... you don't even flinch when you hear something crashing in the other room.

When you have a toddler... you laugh when people say they don't know how you do it, because you don't either.

When you have a toddler...you learn how to make dinner with a little person wrapped around your legs.

When you have a toddler...you learn sign language, because that is the only way you can communicate with them.

When you have a toddler..mama is the sweetest word in the world; next to dada of course.

When you have a toddler... you develop lightning fast reflexes to minimize some of the falls of your fearless babe.

When you have a toddler...you sound like a record because you repeat every phrase of gibberish they speak.

When you have a toddler...you bring out every toy in the house to occupy them for a few minutes but they only want you.

When you have a toddler...you heave a sigh of relief when you open up their diaper and find it's not a poop.

When you have a toddler... you want to jump up and down for joy when they actually eat their food instead of flinging it.

When you have a toddler...one minute you are crying and the next you are laughing because even though they drive you crazy; their smile melts your heart.

When you have a toddler...you wish time would slow down because you love every minute with them.

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