37 week bump update

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It's getting real people!

I am going to have a baby in the next couple of weeks!

Even though I have done this before, I think I am going to be in shock. It's always so crazy going from being pregnant to having a little human on the outside to take care of.

Life has been pretty crazy around here these days and I honestly have had so much else to preoccupy my mind. I haven't had much time to worry about labor or figure out how I am going to be the mom to 6 little and not so little people. Which is probably a good thing. I know that it's all going to work out somehow and am just really excited to meet this new little addition to our family.

November is already a busy month for us and you can be sure it has been a whirlwind. Not only have we been selling our honey at craft fairs almost every weekend but we celebrated our 13th anniversary, Thanksgiving, our son Simeon's 5th birthday, our son Luke's 3rd birthday and my birthday. And on top of it all we are in the midst of an addition on our house, I have still been homeschooling and my mom has been in the hospital. I have had my fair share of stressing out this month to say the least.  I would probably have had a nervous breakdown but I haven't had time for it.

I confess that I have absolutely nothing ready for this baby. By this time I am usually nesting like crazy, washing baby clothes, getting everything organized but nope...not this time. Instead my house is messier than it's ever been, is covered in construction dust and dirt and there are boxes piled up everywhere.

Even though I feel nowhere near prepared to bring a baby home, I know that somehow it will all work out.

In order to help motivate me to get started on some things I need to do I thought I'd share my before baby comes to do list with you.

Before the baby comes:

*Register at the hospital
*Pack hospital bag
*Organize baby clothes
*Wash baby clothes
*Get out bassinet
*Wash car seat
*Install car seat in van
*Get a pedicure ;)

I am sure there are a lot more things I need to do but this all I can think of that I can realistically do now until the addition is done. Right now I am just trying to focus on getting enough sleep and trusting God with everything.

I go late in all of my pregnancies and I am relying on that this time also. Though I usually would welcome having my babies on time or early, I am in no rush this time. She can stay in there as long as she wants. I have too much to do! I am looking forward to my little hospital stay though. I always enjoy being pampered a little bit and just focusing on recuperating from birth and getting acquainted with my baby.

I am actually looking forward to sleeping better after I have the baby. I know that sounds crazy but this insomnia  and having to pee every 5 minutes is really getting to me. I wake up most nights from 3-5 and then go back to sleep. I feel so groggy and messed up in the morning and tired during the day. I know when I have the baby I will be up but I usually sleep deeper after I have the baby if that makes any sense. And I feel like I need a crane to lift me up out of bed so it will be nice to be able to maneuver out of bed without feeling like a whale and having the bladder the size of a bird.

Well pretty soon this will be a memory and though it's getting uncomfortable, I am so so thankful for this amazing crazy time. I can't wait for the day to come when I will be smelling sweet newborn smells and wishing my baby could stay a baby, a little longer.

p.s. If you haven't already be sure to enter MY GIVEAWAY for an amazon gift card!!! It ends 11/30!

p.s.s. Oh and in the midst of everything else I changed my blog design. I liked my last one but it wasn't mobile responsive so I found one that was a little bit better with a font that I have wanted all along. I went back and forth about switching to wordpress but just don't have the strength right now;) Anyway I really like it but what do you think?? Let me know!
Linking up here!

DIY Child size Sling

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I love having a daughter! She wants to do everything just like me!

With the birth of her brother about 3 years ago, she had a new found love for all things baby.

 I always wear my babies in slings. My sling is my all time favorite baby essential. It truly is a life saver. I can get so much more done, all while keeping my baby snug and happy in my arms.

Ellie also has her babies to take care of and I knew she would love a sling of her own. I have made slings for myself in the past and knew that I could make her a little version of mine. There are so many different variations of slings out there but this kind is my favorite for newborns.

I actually made this sling and took the pictures about 2 years ago! I can't believe how much Ellie has grown but I am happy to say that she still uses her sling and it is still in tact! I am not sure I can say the same for her baby doll. Having 4 brothers who destroy everything is not the best environment for baby dolls.

I made this for a Christmas present for Ellie 2 years ago, and as Christmas is fast approaching again I know that it would be a great gift for some of you to make for your mini me! ( If you are so inclined to be a little crafty.)

I promise that this is absolutely the easiest sewing tutorial! You just can't mess up! Believe me I am not the best seamstress and I only attempt easy these days!

Here's what you'll need:

*1/2 yard of two different patterned fabric. =(1/4 yard of each pattern) Or you could do the same pattern. It's up to you, but they need to be cut up so that you can sew them together. You can adjust it to your child. Mine ended up being about 40 inches in length to fit Ellie who was 4 at the time.
*sewing machine
*measuring tape


1. Double fold edges of fabric at length and width on the edges.

2. Pin right sides together. Leave a few inches unpinned.

3. Sew together.
4. Trim sewed edges and pull through opening.                                                                                                                          

5. Reinforce stitching by sewing around edges of the whole sling about an inch.                                  
6. Iron
7. Overlap bottoms, pin together and sew about 2-3 inches wide across the width back and forth.  Make sure to backstitch to reinforce stitching.
You are done! Now all you have to do is fold it in half (length wise)and let your little mommy fling it over her shoulder and slide her baby in!

As you can see mommy and baby are very happy with the new sling! With the soon to be arrival of a new sibling, I have a feeling this sling will be seeing even more use!

I hope this tutorial was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions!

Do you love baby wearing?

What kind of sling is your favorite?

Linking up here!

100 gifts for kids that inspire creativity and learning ( and $100 GIVEAWAY!)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Every year at birthdays and Christmas I get tired of bringing more stuff into our home that will be played with for a little while, then be totally forgotten and eventually in the back of my car on the way to the thrift store.

Over the past couple of years I have been investing in gifts that I know my children will not only love but will inspire creativity and learning.

Whether you have boys or girls, older children or younger this list will be sure to have something for everyone.
Disclosure: Links in posts are to amazon. I recieve a small commission every time you click on a link and purchase a product. Thanks for supporting our home and homeschool!

With my children ranging from 11-3 I try to find gifts that they can all use together or at least share.

Not only do I want to encourage my children to be always investigating and discovering on their own but I want to give them the tools and resources to do so.

Here is a comprehensive list of a 100 gifts that will be sure to light up any child's imagination and creativity!

Nature Lovers

I am so thankful that my kids love to be outdoors! They especially love studying nature and catching creatures. Here are some gifts that my children never tire of using to explore and discover.

 1. Butterfly Nets

2. Butterfly Habitat

3.  Spider and Insect catcher

4. Critter Habitat

5. Bug catcher and viewer

6. Grown your own butterfly kit

7. Binoculars

8. Terrarium/Habitat

9. Backyard Safari Field Kit

10. Rocks and Minerals Collection

Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Enthusiasts

My husband is an avid hunter and fisherman. You can be sure that my kids are following right in his footsteps. They love being outdoors and love catching wildlife, whether it's to eat or just observe for a while. Usually every year they ask for one of these items for gifts and use them till they can't be used anymore. I feel like they learn so much through being outside, catching critters and studying the outside world! I am pretty sure one of my kids will be a biologist some day.

1. Fishing Pole

2. Bait Bucket with bubble box

3. Fishing Net

4. Cast Net

5.Compound Youth Archery set

6. Wooden Bow and Arrow

7. Junior Swiss Army Knife

8. Head lamp

9. Compass

10.Kids Tent

 Nature Books

My kids can not get enough of nature books. Whether it's a nature encyclopedia or colorful nature picture book; I love finding them pouring over these books for hours. All of our nature books are dog eared and ripped from so much use!

1. Nature Anatomy

2. Animalium

3.Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies

4. Fun with Nature

5.Trees, Leaves and Bark

6. The Animal Book

7.Birds, Nests and Eggs

8. First Nature Encyclopedia

9. Botanicum

10. Natural World

Little Scientists

My kids got a microscope last year and continue to find things that they want to take a closer look at through it. I often find them running in the house with a bottle of dirty water, butterfly wings and even bugs to put under it. I am so glad that they love to discover what's unseen to the naked eye and dig under the surface to find out information for themselves. I am sure your kids will love these gifts as well if they are as inquisitive about our world as my kids are.

1. Beginner Microscope

2. 4M Kitchen Scientist Kit

3. Thames and Kosmos Crystal growing kit

4. 4M Magnet Science Kit

5. The Magic School Bus- Chemistry Lab

6. The Everything Kid's Science Experiment Book

7. 4M 3-Dimensional Glow-in-the-dark Solar System Mobile making Kit

8. The Curious Kids Science Book- 100 + Creative Hands on Activities

9. 101 Coolest Simple Science Experiments

10. The Way Science Works

Brain Teasers

Lately my kids can not get enough of trying to stump me and each other with brain teasers and hard to figure out. This is a great list of brain benders that will make you and your kids push your brains to the limit. 1. Solid Wood Brain Teasers

2. I Q Challenge Set

3. Tetris Cube Brain Teaser Puzzle

4. Ultimate I Q test metal Brain teaser puzzles

5. Riddles and Trick Questions for kids and families

6. Perplexus Epic

7. Magikon Snake Cube wooden brain teaser puzzle

8.  Educational Insights Kanoodle  (brain teasing puzzles)

9. Of Course! The Greatest collection of riddles and brain teasers for expanding your mind

10. Brain Quest: 750 Questions and Answers to Challenge the mind

Puzzle and Building Enthusiasts

My kids love doing puzzles. The big ones have been obsessed with the rubix cube and the little ones love regular puzzles.

1. Rubix Cube

2.Underwater Ocean Floor Puzzle

3. 60 piece Dinosaur jigsaw puzzle

4. Lincoln Logs

5. Solar System Floor Puzzle

6. Lego Classic  Large Creative Brick Box

7. Dinosaur wooden puzzle toy

8. Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears!

9. Animal memory matching game

10. Melissa and Doug Suspend game

Crafty Kids
On a daily basis my kids ask me to do crafts with them. I have to admit that although I love getting crafty, time doesn't always allow for me to put a lot of time into coming up with great crafts every day. This list has some books and crafts that they can do on their own as well as with an adult. I try to provide them with the resources they need and then let them go to town(within reason) crafting! Lately my kids have been obsessed with origami. They have already made every origami project in the books below and have even invented their own. Give your kids the supplies and watch  them create!

1.Fun with Origami Book

2. Origami Paper

3. Animal Origami

4.Creating Really Awesome free things

5. Craft a day: 365 simple handmade projects

6. Sewing School: 21 sewing projects kids will love to make

7. Alex Toys craft my embroidery kit

8. Creativity for kids Do art- Pottery Studio

9. Simple Needle point kit

10. Woodland Animals Craft Kids Sewing Kit

Little Artists
We have a house full of artists. I have always loved art and am so glad my kids have been given such amazing God given talents. They constantly ask me for new supplies to feed their need to create. We have invested in a lot of paper and art supplies over the years but I can't think of a better investment. This list has some great quality supplies that will last your little artists for a long time to come.

1.Sketch Pads

2. Watercolor Pad

3. Art Journal

4.  Winsor and Newton watercolor sketchers pocket

5. Lyra Rembrandt polycolor art pencils 

6. Stockmar primary watercolors

7. Paint Brush set

8. How to Draw Cool stuff

9. Art for Kids Drawing book

10. Acrylic paint set

Techy Kids

Kids love to invent and get technical. It's been so cool for me to learn alongside of them about how things work. Here are some great tools and kits to push you and your techy kids in the right direction if they are curious as to how things work and want to make their own observations and inventions.

1. 3D Doodler Create 3D Pen

2. Makey Makey Invention kit

3. Electronics Base kit

4. littleBits Steam building set

5. Kids First Robot engineer and storybook

6. MudWatt Grow your own fuel cell

7. The Way Things Work Now

8. VTech Kidizoom Action Cam

9. The Kid's Book of Simple Machines

10. Steam Kids: 50+ Science/ Technology/ Engineering/ Art/ Math Hands on Projects for kids

Fun and Educational Games 

Games are so great for bringing our family together. Educational games are even better! I love when my kids learning and don't even realize it because they are having so much fun! 1. Brain Freeze

2. Brain Quest Smart Game

3. Trivial Pursuit: Family Edition

4. Deluxe 7-in-1 Game set

5. Nature Board Bingo

6. Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game

7. Animal Trivia Challenge

8. Nature's Food Chain Game

9. Scrambled States

10. History of the United States Trivia Card Game

We have so many great resources right at our fingertips. Let's make the most of them and use them to encourage our kid's creativity and learning!

I am teaming up with some amazing bloggers to give 2 lucky winners $100 each with their choice of paypal or amazon gift card! AND!!!...also giving away a $15 amazon gift card here on my blog!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click on over to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY and check out some other great posts on 100 things!

Milk and Honey soap with lavender and oatmeal

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I have a confession to make.

I am a soap snob.

Since starting to make my own homemade soap last year I just can't go back to the cheap soaps I was buying. I honestly used to buy whatever was on sale and didn't really think much about it. I bought a couple of Dr. Bronner's soap and though I really liked them they were pricey for our large family.

With a family of 7, we go through soap really fast. I think my kids could hold the world record of going from clean to dirty. I am so glad that they love playing outside but the downside is that usually means they are covered in dirt in a matter of minutes. I have tried to control how messy they get but I soon realized it was futile to hover over them and keep them from making mud pies and digging in the dirt. Did I mention I have four boys? Though my 1 daughter can hold her own with the messiest of them.

I absolutely love the Rosemary and Tea Tree oil soap recipe that I came up with last year, but I thought I would try my hand at a different soap this year.

I still am using my amazing goats milk soap base but instead of rosemary and tea tree oil I am using honey, oatmeal and lavender...mmmm...doesn't that just sound so soothing and comforting? Well it is!

Goats milk is great for people with sensitive skin or who suffer from psoriasis and eczema. My son has eczema so I have really been trying to use body products that won't irritate his skin. And of course goats milk makes a moisturizing soap for those with normal skin. With dryer, colder weather upon us I know my skin could use some moisturizing!

Oatmeal is also beneficial for those that have skin conditions and helps remove dead skin cells. So not only is oatmeal good for you to eat but it's great on your skin. I sometimes make a bath with oatmeal and lavender but I love having it in bar form because let's be honest, I probably take a bath 2x a year.

Honey is just the best! Having our own raw honey business I just can not say enough about this stuff! So, so many benefits for inside and outside our bodies! Honey is naturally antibacterial and helps fight acne. Am I the only one that still suffers from breakouts and acne?? I know I can use all the help I can get. It's also full of antioxidants and deters aging...if that's really possible. It also is creates a glowing complexion! Not too bad!

And Lavender has such an intoxicating, soothing smell that I had to add it, though it of course has beneficial properties for your skin. It fights bacteria that cause inflammation and acne. It relieves and reduces itching from eczema! Yay! It also has a ton of other great uses that I just don't have time to expound on, but we all know that we really love it's aroma.

Here is what you will need:

 1 lb. Organic Goat's milk soap base This soap base comes in 2 lbs. I usually double recipe and make enough to last a while.

1 1/2 oz.Beeswax  I of course have our own beeswax that we use.

 1 Tbs. Honey Again I use our own raw honey but any honey will work.

2 Tbs. Almond oil

20 drops. Lavender oil You could also opt out from using the oil as the soap smells so good on it's own but I think it really adds to the soap.

2 Tbs. Oatmeal I just used old fashioned oats.

Measuring cup

Soap mold

Kitchen scale

Spoon( just for mixing soap)

Glass bowl that fits on a pot.

Pot to make double boiler.

makes 4 big bars

Fill a post with water and place a heat proof bowl on top that fits to make a double boiler. I have a glass bowl that I use just for making soap. Keep on low. Should be simmering not boiling. Cut up soap base in pieces and place in bowl. Add beeswax. Mix until melted. Add in Almond oil and honey and stir till dissolved. Honey has a tendency to want to sink to bottom so make sure you incorporate it well. Use a coffee grinder to grind up oatmeal. I just cleaned out my coffee grinder and placed oatmeal in and ground with a few pulses. You want it to be fine but not too fine so that you can tell it's still oatmeal. Add oatmeal to mixture. Remove bowl from heat and add in lavender oil. Carefully pour into pyrex measuring cup. Mix really well before pouring into molds.

If you want oatmeal to be incorporated throughout soap really well you will need to mix with a toothpick in molds until firm. I just didn't have enough patience for that so I poured mixture in molds and let sit until firm then I put them in the freezer to speed up the process. I kind of liked the oatmeal being on one side. Just a disclaimer that once you start using soap the oatmeal will start to come off soap but I really like it on my face and can feel it softening my face. The beeswax really helps to keep soap in tact for a long time. We have been using one of the soap bars for almost two weeks now and it's still going strong. The beeswax does tend to want to sink to one side so be sure to incorporate well.  You could also add in dried lavender but I just prefered not to as it sheds from the soap.

Make sure soap has solidified and is firm and enjoy pampering your skin and your senses. I use it in the shower and in our sink to wash our hands but my favorite use for it is for my face. The smell and texture is just so comforting and soothing!

With Christmas right around the corner I can't think of a better gift to give your loved ones. I absolutely love getting gifts that are practical yet indulgent!

Have you made homemade soap before?

Let me know if you have any questions?

What's your favorite soap combination?

Linking up here!

Addition update #1

Monday, November 7, 2016

So I realize you all have been holding your breath waiting for this update, right?

I know I have been so excited with all the changes that have been going on!

I can't believe it's been a month since I told you the news that we were adding on!! Where did the time go!?!?

It might have taken longer than we would have liked to get started, but once we did things took off fast. In my first post we only had the footer dug and the stem wall going up, but since then so much has transpired!

This post is way overdue!!! But you will soon be up to date on everything!

 So here is the stem wall going up and a lot of other things including the foundation and plumbing, that you can't see. The foundation was the hardest part to get right and we had lots of inspections in between different stages of it to make sure it was right. It's been so cool getting to see a house being built from the ground up. It gives me such a great picture of Christ as our foundation and each part of the building as the church.

Not only that but our church has been so amazing, truly being the church to us and helping us out with so many aspects of this addition.
 After all the concrete was poured and dried they finally got to work with some wood and started putting up the floor.

 The kids have been making their own structures with all the piles of dirt, concrete and wood. Unfortunately most of this dirt has found it's way into our house but leftover construction supplies really makes the best toys!

 There is always a child perched at the window...watching.

I was pretty amazed that Josh and our contractor made these frame walls and put them up... all in one day!

 The next day they got two more guys to come help and got the third/back wall up!
 I just have to brag on my husband for a little bit. I knew that he was going to be helping out with building our addition because he has a background in construction, but I had no idea how much. If I haven't told you, he is a full time associate pastor at our church. Not only that, but he is a bee keeper and has built our honey business (harris honey)from the ground up, all by himself. In between working at church and beekeeping, he has been building this addition when he gets home from work, on the weekends and taking off a couple days that he saved up here and there. I am just so proud of the gifts that God has given him and that although he is tired and sore at the end of the day he is just so happy to be able to be working hard for us. He is such an amazing husband and father, and the kids and I are so blessed to have him!!

 I don't know all the right words for all that is going on but this is the start of the roof going up.

 You can't see it from here but Josh and the guys finished boarding up the roof and the roofers came the next day and we now have a roof! Those big openings you see are going to be french doors!!!<3

This might just look like a framed in square to you, but it is the window that will be over my kitchen sink!! I have always dreamed of having a kitchen sink looking outside and I am so thankful for this beautiful view; albeit into my neighbor's yard, but I love it! Much better than where my sink is now, looking into a dirty wall with cabinets right over it. I spend hours over this sink everyday but I have a feeling I won't mind as much anymore! 

So this is where we are right now after a month of work. The kids and I could just park outside and watch the guys work but we have tried to stay out of the way, though the boys have been helping when they can. Our kitchen window has been their perch lately, as they look out on all that is taking place.

There is still so much more to do and I am trying not to get anxious, as I feel like a ticking time bomb with this baby due to arrive next month. I so want to skip to the part where the sheetrock goes up and do all the fun stuff like picking out paint, flooring, tile, hardware and appliances. I can't wait to reorganize our living space and bedrooms and get everything ready for the baby, but I am trying my best to hold off my nesting instincts, and just do what I can in the other parts of our home to get things ready.

I can't wait to show you our progress in the next couple of weeks! I am just blown away that they have actually gotten so much done already.

God knew exactly when we needed this to happen and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Not only has the weather been perfect but it hasn't rained at all. Any rain would have been really bad while they were putting up the frame work.

There are so many things I am looking forward to about this addition but one that we absolutely need ASAP, is a another bathroom. Now that Luke is potty trained, someone is always in the bathroom! I kid you not! Everyone always has to do their business at the same time, and someone is always screaming for the other person in the bathroom to hurry up and get out. It is definitely not a place for any of us to escape and have any privacy these days!

Now that the walls are up, it looks so big and I have a feeling that when some of our interior walls are knocked down it's going to feel huge. I think one of the big blessings of learning to live in a small home with so many people and make the most of it, is that any added conveniences are going to be so appreciated, because we have gone without some of them for so long.

I have felt like I have been in a dream state lately. All the days seem to blur together and I feel like I need to wake myself up to the fact that this is really happening. There is so much backstory (that I hope to share with you soon) as to how God allowed this to take place. It really feels like a miracle!

I have been making a video of the whole process as it happens and can't wait to share it with you when everything is done, but until then I have been sharing some videos over on instagram stories if you want to follow me there!

Till the next update!!

Linking up here!
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