Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Countdown Ideas for Kids

The holidays are here! In just a few days, we will celebrate Thanksgiving and then the Christmas countdown will begin! Now that I am a wife and mommy, I have began building traditions with my own little family and I dearly love making memories with my husband and my kids. Today I'd love to share with you the Christmas countdown activities for this year. We won't necessarily do them in this exact order, but the goal is do them all and have fun making memories that will last for years to come. So here we go!

1. Read the Christmas story
2. Unwrap new Christmas PJs and a new Christmas book/movie 
3. Have hot coco and cookies

4. Open your special ornament to put on the tree 
 5. Mail Christmas cards 
6. Shop for one special gift for a family member 
7. Make a Christmas CRAFT with Mom 
8. Have a family Christmas movie night with treats!
9. Polar Express night! (Look at Christmas lights in PJs, with hot chocolateLink to ticket here
10. Decorate Christmas cookies
11. Gather old toys to donate to charity
12. GRINCH night! (Grinch punch, Grinch cookies, and Grinch popcorn!)
 13. See Santa at the Mall
14. Go on a hunt for Mistletoe
15. Make Christmas pancakes (with cookie cutters and sprinkles!)
 16. Go to a Christmas play or party 
17. Take a Christmas bubble bath!
 18. Make a Gingerbread Nativity
 19. Have a living room Christmas dance party!
 20. Color Christmas printable pages
 21. play a board game together as a family!
22. Have a picnic by the Christmas tree
23. Make Candy Cane syrup!
24. Sing Christmas carols together
25. Have a birthday party for Jesus!

What about you? What are some traditions and fun activities you do each year with your family?

Monday, November 17, 2014

37 Weeks and Third Trimester Favorites

I am 37 weeks which means I am officially full term! According to my doctor, baby is head down and I'm already starting to dilate, so it's possible that we'll have ourselves a little November baby!

Here's the latest:

  • I'm very uncomfortable and very tired. I definitely feel like I am carrying around 20 extra lbs...which I am. :)
  • My appetite is becoming nonexistent, which usually happens when I'm "done." I haven't had extreme cravings this pregnancy, but the cravings I have had have been similar to Selah's. I've wanted lots of fruits and sweets, especially McIntosh apples, peanut butter and chocolate. I think maybe the weirdest combo I have wanted was an apple, a slice of red velvet cake...with a taco.
  • No swelling. No varicose veins. So cystic acne. But plenty indigestion and headaches.
  • I became anemic during this pregnancy so I've been taking Iron supplements and have tried to add lots more spinach into my diet as well. The results have been great. I'm still tired, but I don't hit a brick wall every single day at 1 p.m. I have a little more energy and clarity of mind. Along with Iron, I've been taking the Garden of Life Oceans Mom prenatal vitamin, B-Complex, Calcium, and a low dose of Red Raspberry Leaves. I have felt significantly better this pregnancy than the last because of it.
  • I'm already starting to dilate, so hopefully it will continue to progress and not stall. :)
  • Baby is measuring well and weighs somewhere around 6 lbs. So anxious to meet the little petite angel that will soon be here!

It's unreal how fast pregnancy goes by, and yet how ridiculously slow it is too. :) There are lots of discomforts that come with growing a life, especially when that little bundle grows into a good size bundle that prefers to sit directly over your bladder or cuddle into your rib cage. The third trimester is the hardest trimester for me but I'm thankful that there are things that provide relief. Here are some favorites of mine that have helped me in these final weeks.

doTERRA Deep Blue Rub This stuff has helped me tremendously! With my second pregnancy, I experienced some intense pain in my hips and this time has been even more painful. doTERRA Deep Blue Rub almost instantly soothes the aches and pains. It's worth the price.

Peace & Calming Essential Oil has helped with difficulty sleeping. Usually by your third trimester (sometimes before!) you begin having trouble getting comfortable. Then the closer you get to delivery, your mind starts to go crazy and it's hard to calm down and truly rest. I've used Lavender EO for years and it's great, but Peace & Calming blend just calms me quicker and I usually sleep lots better when I use it.

Epsom Salts I love this stuff. I soak in a bath with about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of Epsom salt every chance I get and I always feel wonderful after!

Comforting books This pregnancy I read Redeeming Childbirth by Angie Tolpin several times and it is definitely a book I highly recommend, especially while pregnant. I was encouraged and challenged on so many levels. Along with Redeeming Childbirth, I also read Set-Apart Motherhood by Leslie Ludy which gave me an extra "oomph" as I disciple and train my kiddos.

Pregnancy and Labor playlist I shared a small list of songs earlier in my pregnancy that spoke to me. Since then, I've added more and have claimed a few for the birth of this little one. The ones I have seemingly kept on replay have been:
          Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer - Keith and Kristyn Getty
          Be Still My Soul/What a Friend - Selah         
          Jesus Paid it All -
Aaron Keys
          Part the Waters/I Need Thee Every Hour - Selah
          Here - Kari Jobe
          All the Way My Savoir Leads Me - Various (Classic Songs from the Hymnal)

Not much longer now!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

10 Gift Ideas for Men Under $50

The holidays are right around the corner! Have you begun your Christmas shopping? With baby #3 due in a couple of weeks, I have been slowly buying up gifts for the past few months so I won't be completely overwhelmed when little bit gets here.

Many women confess that they struggle finding gifts for the men in their life. By far, my husband, is the most difficult person to buy for. Last year, I shared a list of 10 Gift Ideas for Women Under $50. Today, I'm sharing a manly version! So here are 10 Gift Ideas for the manly man in your life.

1. 16-Ounce Insulated Travel Thermos. I actually bought this for Grant last year and he loved it. In the winter months, it kept his coffee hot for a good 5 hours. $20.00 + shipping.

2. Beard Pack - If your man sports facial hair, this will make a fun gift that he may just actually use! $39.95 + shipping

3. MagnoGrip Wristband. This doesn't seem very cool, but it has received great reviews. If your guy likes tinkering with tools or doing DYI projects, this is sure to come in handy. $6.28 + shipping

4. Books. Is your guy a reader? Check out Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill, No Compromise by Melody Green, or The Bravehearted Gospel by Eric Ludy. These books are some that will ignite the spiritual fire in any man.

5. Gun SoapNeed a stocking-stuffer idea? These gun-shaped soap bars should be a hit for any man proud of his right to keep and bear arms. :) $6.00 + shipping.

6. SmartTouch Gloves. I want a women's pair of these gloves! If you own a touchscreen phone, you know it can get irritating in the wintertime when you can't do anything on your own unless you remove your gloves. Then your hands are left freezing. No more! These gloves are awesome and range from $20 to over $100! This pair is only $17.70 + shipping and the reviews are good.

7. All-In-One Emergency Safe Hammer. This gadget is pretty neat. It can be used as a standard flashlight, but it is also a rescue tool. It works as a hammer, a LED flashlight, cell phone charger, has an emergency blade, and several other things. For only $18.99, I may get one for myself!

8. Monogrammed Forged Steak Brand. My man's favorite food is steak. This authentic miniature version of the cattle brand used for years will bring a fun touch to your meat. :) $39.99 + shipping.

9. Sermons on CD. I have given my husband several sermon series on CD and it's always a great gift for the guy always on the go. He can listen and be encouraged on his drive to and from work or on business trips or even vacation. I have fond memories of my Dad playing sermons in the car on long drives and Grant and I have enjoyed it on our trips together as well. Some good sources for sermon downloads or purchases are: or Love Worth Finding Ministries.

10. Saddleback Leather is an awesome place to buy macho-leather gifts for your man. Most of their merchandise is very expensive, but there are a few options that are $50 and under. Wallets, belts, iPad and iPhone sleeves, Bible covers, are just a few. And you can count on very good quality!

What about you? Do you have any great gift ideas for men? :)


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