"Shop Local"....the gift that keeps on giving.

Now that the gifts have been given, I thought it would be a good time to share a little about how we did our shopping this year. A few months ago I told Adam that I would really like to only shop locally for our Christmas gifts this year. In the past I've just simply logged on to Amazon and found the "perfect" gift for each person on my list.....easy peasy. But you know, there was an emptiness in that for me. Yes, they were good gifts and I think the recipients were appreciative but there was something impersonal about them. And since I happen to have lots of friends who are small business owners, I asked myself why would I NOT want to support them and give unique gifts to my friends and family? So.....here's my rundown of the awesome small local businesses my family supported this year.....you should really check them out!

Our Last Sabbath

Yesterday was a nice day....all afternoon I sat on the porch swing rocking Travis while Adam cooked on the fire pit and the girls played in the yard. Those are the best Sundays. The Sundays our family has learned to crave and try to protect from all distractions or other engagements. No cell phones. No computers. Just enjoying each other and the beauty of God's creation.

This is Sabbath.

Up until this past year, I don't believe I grasped Sabbath. But now I think I get it. Sabbath is designed to mimic God's rest following the six days of creation. Jews and Christians observe it on different days. I believe that up until recently I have thought of Sunday as a day of physical rest....almost in a selfish way. Like, "I'm going to get my nap on Sunday, or else!" Physical rest is good but I don't believe it's the point.

It took several of these porch sittin' afternoons for me to realize Sabbath is a "heart rest."

Barren or Bearing?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 
Galatians 5:22-23

I was standing in my bedroom bouncing Travis to sleep for the 5th attempt at laying him down for his nap when I looked out the window and this tree caught my eye.

The Joy in Hard Days

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk 3:17-18

The Lord sent me right to this passage this morning and I'm so glad! I love how the footnotes read, "Habakkuk has learned that he can trust God, and with trust comes great joy, not in circumstances but in God himself."

In Limbo

Like this flower, I'm in limbo.

Life is very uncertain right now. And for this self-professed "planner" this is a huge deal. Our house has been on the market for almost 2 months now, and while we've had some promising showings, no offers as of yet. I'm also approximately 4 weeks away from the birth of our son. I'm so excited I can't stand it! And at the same time, I'm terrified.

Natural Face Wash Recipe

So I'm a huge fan of "natural" beauty products and I'm a super huge fan of Organic Coconut Oil . I really haven't found anything that I don't like about it. I would go so far as to say it is a miracle product, but more on that in another post sometime.

Marriage....And Being Broken Together

"We (should not) make the mistake of thinking that marriage will provide the ultimate satisfaction for which we all hunger. To assume so would be to be guilty of blasphemy. Only God satisfies the hungry heart. Marriage is but one of the channels He uses to enable us to taste how deeply satisfying His thirst-quenching grace can be."
-Sinclair B. Ferguson

Baby Registry Must-Haves

I am quickly approaching the birth of our 3rd little blessing! I don't know what happens to women in the last trimester but I could be as cool as a cucumber thinking I'm completely prepared and then about week 30 hits and I feel completely unprepared! I start to doubt my current selection of blankets and bibs and before you know it, I feel like I'm starting all over with nothing.

Which is not true, and irrational. I need to stop.

BUT, I do loooove baby/maternity/nursing items so I've asked some of you guys to help me come up with a list of your favorite items. Thank you for your input!! I have also added some of my favorites, and they are nicely listed here for you.

Reading big books to little people...

I'm a big fan of reading. And I'm a really big fan of reading to children. I've been reading a novel from one of my favorite authors, LM Montgomery, to the girls for the past couple of weeks and I've been so surprised at how much my oldest is retaining. The language is a bit difficult to read and understand but she's doing great.

The Story of Our Old House

This will be a scrapbook sort of post. I don't remember the details of all of the renovations we've done over the past 6 years, but I've got pictures! It's amazing to look back. Many of you have asked why we have decided to sell and that is explained a little in my post, Change is Good. Hope you enjoy these as much as I did.....

Easy Burlap Rose Tutorial

Dress up your home with these beautiful burlap roses! They are SUPER easy and inexpensive to make on your own!

I've had several friends ask me for some help in making these burlap roses that I've become obsessed over lately so I thought a tutorial would be appropriate. Until I tried it I had no idea how easy they were to make, so now I'm kicking myself for not trying it sooner and you will be too!

Crock Pot Potato Soup

This is a variation of my mom's yummy crock pot potato soup....thanks, Mom!

Chocolate Pan Cake

Mama needs chocolate these days! Know what I'm saying? Good. Here goes.....

I actually used to hate homemade from-scratch cakes (aside from my grandma's pound cake).....(gasp).....I know. I had no idea how yummy they were until fairly recently. I made this one gluten free with Betty Crocker Baking All Purpose Gluten Free Rice Flour Blend but feel free to use your flour of choice. And enjoy!

Stella's Favorite "Smoovy" (Smoothie)

If you need a yummy way to get some nutrients into yourself or your kids, this is a great recipe!

So my awesome father-in law gave me a Magic Bullet Blender for Christmas and we've been making smoothies every day since then! They are healthy and help us to get some good nutrients in every day, plus some much needed energy for this expecting mama! (And it helps me get crushed up vitamins into my 18-month-old....the 4-year-old is a little trickier).

If you need a yummy way to get some nutrients into yourself or your kids, this is a great recipe!
This is what I get when she hears the word "smoothie" lol

Stella gets the most excited over "smoovies" and so I thought I'd share her favorite recipe.

Grace From Babes

If I've learned anything today, it's that my 4 year old is a much much much better person than I am. I actually already knew that. "Grace" could have more appropriately been her name instead of Sydney because she shows me so much grace every day. I want to be just like her when I grow up. 

Preparing for Motherhood times 3

One of the hardest things but also one of the most important things I've learned about motherhood thus far is that I don't have all the answers, I'm not going to have all the answers, and I'm not meant to have all of the answers. I have to remember to give myself much grace every single day. Forgive myself and move on. That is really hard for me. I don't forgive myself well but He does. 

More of You, Less of Me

If it were up to me, I'd be the most important person in my little world. I would be admired, respected, revered. But guess what, I will screw things up royally every single time. And divinely so. I am not HE.