Friday, August 15, 2014

Maternity Favorites

Right now, I'm feeling some powerful kicks coming from the little 24 week-old-baby in my tummy. Each pregnancy is different and this one is no exception! I haven't been sick like last time, nor have I been so tired that I could fall asleep standing up like I was with my first. This pregnancy has brought along a whole different set of new experiences. So today I am sharing with you some of my favorite maternity items that have helped me in my previous pregnancies and with this one. :)

Redeeming Childbirth: Experiencing His Presence in Pregnancy, Labor, Childbirth, and Beyond. Enjoy reading? Oh friend, you must read Redeeming Childbirth! This book has been a huge blessing and comfort to me during this pregnancy. The website also has some fantastic tools, further encouragement, and a sweet community of like-minded momma's.

Maternity SPANX. I found this gem during my second pregnancy. I had never used SPANX before, but I had heard great things about their maternity items, so I purchased the Power Mama and hoped for the best. Not only does it smooth some of those *ahem* soft spots, but it gives my back a lot of support! Double whammy.

Epsom Salt. I love bubble baths and I seem to take them more regularly during pregnancy. They help my body relax and with each bubble bath I take, I add about 1/4 cup of Epsom salt to the water. The natural benefits are wonderful. The magnesium and sulfate in Epsom salts are absorbed through the skin and help reduce inflammation, improve oxygen use, help muscle and nerve function, flush toxins and ease migraine headaches. I use Dr. Teal's brand which can be found in your local Wal-Mart or Target.

Lavender Essential Oils. I also regularly add a couple drops of Lavender Essential Oil to my baths. Obviously, lavender is known for relaxing the body. It can also be used topically or aromatically. There have been plenty of nights already when I have dabbed a little behind my ears before bed to calm my mind and my body and help me rest better.

Red Raspberry Leaves. My secret weapon. :) This stuff will always be in my house. I love how it makes me feel and the nutrients that help prep my body for labor. And it's delicious! You can buy it in tea or pill form.

Full-Panel Capri Jeans. With it being my third pregnancy, I started feeling bloated very early on and began showing by the third month. I've had crazy dizziness too and so one day while out shopping, I tried on these capri jeans and fell in love with the comfort. My tummy isn't restricted or bound and they feel wonderful. Worth every penny.

Music. I love music anytime, anywhere. :) But through reading Redeeming Childbirth, I have been challenged to truly worship through this pregnancy. With two little ones undertow already, I have found myself overwhelmed and fearful in the moments when I let my guard down and am tired and vulnerable. In those moments, if I am unable to grab my Bible, I put on my "Pregnancy & Delivery playlist" on my phone and let the truth of God's promises wash over me. Some of my favorite songs on repeat have been:
         Be Still My Soul/What a Friend - Selah
         Here - Kari Jobe
         Restless - Audrey Assad
         Part the Waters/I Need Thee Every Hour - Selah
         Be Still My Soul - Kari Jobe
         I Can Trust Jesus - The Collingsworth Family
It's your turn! What are some of your favorite maternity items?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Where Joy Is Wednesday #18 and a Link-Up

Welcome to
 Where Joy Is Wednesday!

Yesterday, the kids and I spent several hours playing outside. We washed the car, we colored on the sidewalk, we played ball, slid down the slide, and ran around getting sweaty and smelly. And loving every minute of it.

I have been challenged to get on the same level as my kids. When they talk to me, I am working to make eye contact with them and truly show them that I am listening. Sometimes my daughter is running around screaming and I am tempted to treat her like a big kid "who knows better" instead of understanding that she's only little for a short time. How I wish I could run around screeching and screaming sometimes! :)

It's easy to be a grown-up sometimes. Today I challenge you to find the joy in the crazy moments of your life, whether it be a wild toddler, a stressed-out husband, or an irritating co-worker. Find the joy there. Laugh. Giggle. Do something fun that you would normal shrug off and replace with "more important work."

Take joy.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Our 3-K Curriculum

I've always known I would homeschool my children and so when my husband and I were planning to build our house, we both really wanted a room especially devoted to studying and teaching our kids. We painted it bright yellow and I stocked it with fun learning tools and lots and lots of books! :) This year, we decided to begin 3-K with Nathan and introduce him to a school schedule. So today I am sharing with you our 3-K curriculum for 2014-2015.

I am a big fan of dry-erase. Nathan has a few dry-erase books and I made him a binder (see above) where I can print off what I want for him, slip it into a page protector, and he's free to work on the same thing over and over again. Definitely cuts down on the stacks of paper and the ink in my printer! However, I also bought a few colored folders for those papers I want to keep forever. :)

Math: For a three-year-old, math is simply learning numbers. Currently he can count to twenty, but what we are now working on now is his visual recognition of each number and his ability to trace it, then write it on his own. This Match-It game has been a fun way for him to recognize each number as he counts.

Shapes and Colors: Opportunities to teach your child shapes and colors are easy. For colors, I grabbed a stack of paint color samples to use. We play with play-doh and talk about each color, we have used paint to mix and create variations. It's simple to find inexpensive ways to teach your child colors. For shapes, I printed out pages of different shapes and put them into his binder. When he was a baby, he received these blocks which I've used. Plus, things can always be found around the house to further teach him shapes and colors. Tires on the car, plates, books, etc.

Letters: Nathan has two dry-erase books, "I can Print!" and "My ABC's" which he loves. I like how he can use them over and over. I also have a notebook called Learn to Letter with raised pulling that helps him write his letters on his own. We have a poster on our wall where we go through each letter in the alphabet and so he can see the upper and lower case letters and identify each letter with the proper sound it makes.

Science: With Nathan being so young, I wasn't stressing about introducing him to a full curriculum at age three. But I did want to begin teaching him Science in a way that he could understand. I happened upon this book on Amazon that not only teaches Creation Science for his age group, but has thirteen 6-in-1 curriculum lessons inside it. For $12, you can't beat that. And what I love most is it is very solid, Biblically, with scripture memorization for each lesson (in KJV and NKJV translations, which we prefer).

Geography: I saw this wooden puzzle of the USA on Zulily and immediately bought it! Nathan loves puzzles and is beginning to identify a few states already.

History: Like Science, I really wanted to start teaching Nathan a little history in a way that he could not only understand, but enjoy. I did a little searching and found the whole series of Liberty Kids on Amazon marked down to $5! He loves it and I've enjoyed how it makes each story to come to life.

Bible: For Bible, we have two charts of Bible scriptures we go through. We also sing Scripture Songs a lot! On a trip to Mardels book store, I picked up this poster where we learn the books of the Bible and the category each one falls under. Along with that, we have lots of Bible story books and DVDs like Theo that we enjoy and watch often.

What about you? Do you homeschool? What age do you begin teaching your little ones?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Where Joy Is Wednesday #17 and a Link-Up

Welcome to
 Where Joy Is Wednesday!

If I could sum up my goal in life with one quote (I love quotes), it would be this:


This portion of my favorite poem by C.T. Studd always gives me profound perspective. As a wife, I am constantly working to make my home a beautiful, neat, orderly place for my husband. As a mommy, I am consumed with training, disciplining, and loving my kids. I hold the roles of wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend, cousin, mentor, teacher, chef, housekeeper, and probably a dozen more I can't think of. And often, I lose sight of what truly matters when it all comes to an end. I can do all my work and I can do it well - but only what is invested in eternity will matter in the long run. Only what is done in the name of Christ will go on when I am no longer here.

Colossians 3:17 says, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." 

Whether I'm wiping my children's snotty noses, reading one more story, putting dinner on the table for my husband, or folding a mountain of laundry, if I do it all with Jesus Christ in mind - my first priority being to serve Him through serving others - then my work, however small it may be, will last. :)

There is joy in that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Our First Day of 3-K!

Yesterday we started 3-K! Nathan was so excited to be starting School and I think I was just as thrilled. :) Today has been our second day and it has gone quite well! I will be posting our curriculum soon, but for now, I will tell you a little of how our first two days of school have gone. :)

We began the day with prayer and our Bible reading, then went to work learning to write numbers and letters. Nathan loves writing his capital A and has been working on it for months now. So we began letter identification and practiced writing our upper and lowercase A. Then we moved on to Math. We counted everything we could find in the school room. We did number recognition, used our Math puzzle, and we also practiced writing the number 1. After that, we worked on Art to give him a brain break. Nathan loves drawing and coloring and so while he was having fun creating pictures, we brushed up on identifying each color. :)

Science came next and I absolutely LOVE his Science book. Nathan has a general knowledge of God making everything in the world, but we will be going a little deeper learning songs about creation, and doing projects to learn more about what God created on each day. We ended our school day with a fun puzzle of the USA and then it was free time/play time! Nathan has loved his first two days and I am equally pleased with his enthusiasm and his eagerness to learn. Here are some highlights!

His first day!

Hard at work writing his numbers.
Letter writing and recognition
I set up a chair for Selah in the corner near the children's
books and some puzzles to keep her occupied. :)
Loving his Match-It Math puzzle

Currently, our plan is to have school 3 days a week and it usually lasts about two hours each day. What about you? Do you homeschool? Have you started the school year yet?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Latest News and Baby #3 Gender Reveal!

Things have been busy in my world lately. Last Friday, we dressed in pink and blue and went in for the gender reveal ultrasound for baby #3! My little boy, Nathan, was so excited when we told him he could come in and see "the cool camera that can take pictures of the baby in mommy's tummy." We gathered together in the exam room and patiently waited....and waited.

We watched as my doctor looked and checked measurements and Nathan had many questions about the weird pictures on the TV screen. :) Finally, she looked at me and said, "It looks like a girl!"

To be completely honest, I was stunned. We had been convinced this baby would be a boy. However, it's funny that upon learning I was pregnant, we immediately had a girl's name but never could decide on a boy name. God always knows. :) I am overjoyed to have another little bundle of sugar and spice to dress up and be girly with.

Two days later, I packed up and headed to Missouri with three of my sisters to speak at a Purity conference. What a joy! We had a blast and I loved meeting young girls who love Jesus and have a desire to honor Him with their lives. We spent two days there fellowshipping and digging into what God's word has to say about purity, purpose, beauty, modesty, and living a set-apart life in today's culture. It was a blessing!

Now things are settling down to normal and I am enjoying time with my little family. We have much to do in the coming months. We have baby prepping, more canning, organizing, a few trips, Church, our prison ministry, getting Nathan started with his 3K and, of course, lots of fun raising and training my little rascals.

As you live your life, don't forget to live it for the One who gave it to you. May we always be mindful of His goodness and His love.


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