Ever feel SUPER busy? Ever feel like the world is going NON-STOP all around you? Ever feel overwhelmed or consumed by this task or that?

I know I have. I had one of those moments the other day.

After breakfast, we had a full day of schooling; we ate lunch and right after that, I had a doctor's appointment; then I came back home for about 2 hours, enough time to assist my husband with a project and to prepare dinner; only to leave to take the children to swim lessons. By the time we were in the van on our way back home, I was feeling tired and overwhelmed; my back was hurting and I was having a few Braxton-Hick's (practice contractions); it was cold outside and the maternity jeans I had on just weren't comfortable anymore. My children were happily chattering to each other, my husband was going over with me his goals for our children's swimming skills, but all I wanted to do was just sit. still. and. breathe.

At that moment this song came on the radio, and my husband paused to turn it up. . .



And, I said to myself,  "Take a deep breath." Sounds too simple in the midst of a busy season, huh? But guess what? I took a deep breath, then another one, even deeper, on purpose.

And I began to relax, and listen to soothing sounds of the song. And I remembered that it's okay to pause, right in the middle of it all, to take a deep breath. And slowly take it all in.

And breath, breathing, is life-giving. Deep, intentional breaths, filling my lungs with air, so they can provide what is necessary to the rest of the body. Deep breathing. . .

And as I type this post, I am reminded of our wonderful God, Who breathed life into mankind. When I stop what I'm doing, pause to take Him in. . .stop to meditate on Him. . . . oh, is He life-giving. He is the very Keeper of my soul. . . why not breath Him in?

So sisters, when life is busy and it begins to weigh you down, pause right there in the middle of it, and BREATHE. Deep, intentional, slow breaths. . . calm your thoughts and focus on Him. It really works. Give it a try!

Linked with:


Growing Home



In my life this week…
    It was a tough, long, hard week. There's not much more to be said. But I am grateful that God gives grace and new mercies each morning.
In our homeschool this week…
    Kids are doing well and giving great effort. I love it when they tell me they are enjoying their school work. One thing I did this week was end a few of our school days by playing games. Not a "learning" or "educational" games by design. Just plain old, laugh-and-have-fun-doing-it games. We played Bingo one day and then the kids played Monopoly on another. 
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
    The advice I've been given, as a mom who's about to deliver baby 5 is: R E L A X! :)
My favorite thing this week was…
    My sweet husband was home from work on Monday and Tuesday. I love it! I love him! What made my heart melt is when he turned to me and said, "I like being home and spending time with you guys." Awww! My prayer is that the Lord would continue to show me how to cultivate a home life where my husband finds rest and peace and contentment with his family. It reminds me of this great quote. . .
What’s not working for us…
    The children have swim practice year round, which is great. They are becoming quite the swimmers and could "out-swim" me any day! BUT, my son has class on Monday and my daughters have class on Tuesday. Both are in the evenings: Monday just before dinner and Tuesday right after dinner. And the classes meet weekly. And I have to tell you, it's wearing on me. I'm praying that for the next session, we're able to get classes on the same day, around the same time. The challenge is making sure each child is in the correct age-appropriate, skill-appropriate class and that is what sends our schedule for a loop!
Questions/thoughts I have…
    When will the baby come? Will I get all of my plans fleshed out before he arrives?
Things I’m working on…
    Rearranging the boys' room. So far, so good--but, so slowly!
I’m reading…
    My reading is in bits and spurts lately. So, I'll share with you what my kids are currently reading. . .
    
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Full-Color Collector's Edition)
    My oldest daughter was thrilled to know
    that this wasn't just a movie, but a book, too! LOL
    Farmer Boy (Little House)
    My youngest daughter has enjoyed reading some of the "Little House" books
    and was happy to know there was one about Laura's husband's life as a child.
    Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective
    My son is having a ball reading this book.
    He wanted a chapter book to read, that was "for boys only"
    as he says. This seemed to hit the spot. :)
    {It seems like there are so many series books for girls out there,
    but not a lot for boys--at least not that are appropriate content matter for
    a 5 year old who reads pretty well. So far, so good for this one!}
     
I’m grateful for…
    my family. I love them so very much. . . .and for snow. It snowed 2 times this week (very little snow), but it made my children so happy!
    And I'm also thankful that, even though this was a tough week, God sprinkled sunshine all through out. His is faithful.
I’m praying for…
    all of the thoughts swirling around in my head. . .baby stuff, homeschool stuff, husband's work stuff, etc.
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
    This is what my 5 year old son said this morning, as I came downstairs to make breakfast: "Mommy, I turned on all the lights so you could be impressed with me!" Why yes, son, Mommy is impressed, however, I don't think Daddy will be so "impressed" with the light bill! LOL
     

Tough Week, With Bits of Sunshine

by on Friday, January 25, 2013
In my life this week… It was a tough, long, hard week. There's not much more to be said. But I am grateful that God gives grace and ...




So Ladies, Valentine's Day is quickly approaching and love is in the air! I've decided to join a marriage challenge which focuses on building our husbands up. All too often women tear their husbands down through rude remarks, disrespectful attitudes, ungratefulness towards their contribution to the family--and the list could go on and on.

I have learned in my little bit of time being married (11 1/2 years!!) that none of those things work: it does not please God, it frustrates and belittles the husband, and it does not create a loving environment to raise a family in.

"The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands."
~Proverbs 14:1


I am very thankful for the loving relationship that my husband and I share. Of course it has not been without its challenges, but we keep trying and we keep going at it together. It is a sweet blessing to be committed to loving and honoring your spouse because you are committed to the Lord.

But, even still, I know that I can always improve and strive to let my husband know how much I love and admire him--be more intentional where he's concerned. Any body want to join me??

Here is the task for the week. . . .go first. Take the initiative to tell him what he means to you and throw some verbal praise his way. . .just because.

Here are a few of my ideas for the week:
1. Send a few emails to my hubby just to let him know I love him. Here's a picture I sent him today via Facebook.

Photo Credit
2. Give him verbal praise in front of our children.
3. Surprise him with a love note on the bathroom mirror so he sees it before he goes to work.
4. Out of the "blue" just say, "Hey honey, I'm in love with you" or something like that. (I'll have to be smooth with it--LOL!)

So, hopefully Ladies, you are inspired to love on your husbands a bit more and tell them how much they mean to you. Build him up!!!

~Blessings~


Also linked with:
Growing Home



Nope, not talking my age here. . . I've been in my 30's for a few years now!

But, I am finally in my 30th week of pregnancy! They end is nearing. . . . :o)

Me at 30 weeks pregnant
 I am doing well, praise God. So far, so good. There was some concern about the position of my placenta, whether or not it was too low, or covering the cervix. The last ultrasound exam showed that it has moved up as my uterus grows--God is good! I'll have another ultrasound in 2 weeks to see how it's coming along. The doctors will also examine the baby again, via ultrasound for his size. According to my OB, she thinks I'm on track to have another 8 pounder (JD--last baby born--was 8lbs. 8oz.), which is fine with me.

{I do realize that this size baby may not really seem large to some, but because I'm barely over 5 feet in height--5'2" thank you very much!--it always gets the docs extra excited!}

We've just been taking this pregnancy day by day and enjoying the journey and thanking God along the way. But all of a sudden it seems like excitement is kicking it. My husband and I are like, "It's getting close!! We've got to start thinking about this or that!" LOL It's starting to hit us that I'm just weeks away from delivery, if God says the same. I've only carried one child to the full 40 weeks of pregnancy, my first born. She came just 2 days after her due date. The rest of my children have all been born between weeks 37 and 38. So, we're starting to get a bit excited!

But, I still have lots of planning to do by way of rearranging closet space and gathering little newborn clothes that the current baby of the family can no longer wear. I also am beginning to feel the need to clean EVERYTHING! And, I'm sure you can imaging that my "baby belly" can hinder cleaning in a number of ways. . .so I'm trying to pace myself.

Baby belly from the side
I also am tyring to think through how we will adjust our schooling routine during this time. God willing, when the baby comes, we will officially go on Easter/Spring Break. But, I don't want to break from school too long, so I'm trying to think of some creative ways we can continue school without too much strain.


Last year, when my son was born, we took a whole month off--more like 5 weeks. He was born just before Christmas and it our first year of homeschooling. Coupling a newborn with the holidays was a lot on a new homeschooling mama, so when I say we took a break, I mean we took a break--no school work at all!

But, what a difference a year can make!

My school-aged children are, of course, a year older and are accustomed to mama as the teacher and what my expectations are. They are also working more independently than last year. And the biggest plus is that I am more comfortable with homeschooling being a "normal" part of our lives. (One of my readers recalled that I seemed a bit more nervous about homeschooling last year than I do this year! LOL I think she's right.)

Anyway, that gives me confidence that there will be some things we should be able to continuing working through while I recover and the family adjusts. I'm thinking we can continue by doing lots of read-alouds, videos, and "learning" games; even more projects/subjects completed together rather than divided by age. What do you ladies think? Any suggestions????

Well, that's it by way of my little update. If you feel so inclined, please pray for my family, as life is not without its challenges, even during such a precious time as this.


Linked with:

My Joy-Filled Life

Growing Home

Finally, I'm In My 30's!!!

by on Monday, January 21, 2013
Nope, not talking my age here. . . I've been in my 30's for a few years now! But, I am finally in my 30th week of pregnancy! Th...



In my life this week…
    I had my homeschool portfolio review with our county. All went well, praise God. I am feeling blessed and appreciative. I learned from my reviewer that I can now do my portfolio reviews via Skype or Google Chat. I am thrilled about that because lugging all of my materials and samples to the library (our mutual meeting place) is getting harder to do as the number of children in our family grows.
In our homeschool this week…
    We've had some fun! My son has been growing bean sprouts (from red kidney beans) in science. We started them off in a jar with moist paper towel. . . .
JR is really proud of his sprouts
     . . .and planted them on Sunday and are letting them grow. They grow quickly . .
    The kids got a kick out of learning new words, including the following: despondent (sad), haberdashery (hat store), and panache (style and flair). The words came from this fun book:
    13 Words
    My daughters started some crafts for art this week. SJ is making a "no-sew" pillow and TM is making a small hand bag on a little weaving loom. They will have to complete these crafts over time, so pics will come later. (Plus, the pics I did manage to take I left on the computer in our school room and I'm not going back out there tonight! LOL) We also watched Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech, "I Have a Dream." It is interesting to listen to my children's perspective on this time in our nation's history, as they get older .
     
I am inspired by…
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
    Husband and my oldest son are going to help his sister and her family move this weekend. My daughters will start tennis lessons this weekend as well. I hope they like it!
My favorite thing this week was…
    Husband surprised us all by taking us out to dinner on Monday after our son's swim practice. This little restaurant in our neighborhood has a $5 burger deal on Mondays. But, the reason that it was my favorite thing this week was because it helped lighten my load a bit. I'm officially at the "waddling" stage of my pregnancy and my regular daily tasks can be challenging some times. I love that man of mine--thanks, Husband!
Questions/thoughts I have…
    I wonder when my baby boy will be born. . . I wonder what he'll look like. . . I wonder how we'll all adjust. . .I wonder what color baby blanket to make for him. . . Just a few thoughts, among others. I'm not quite ready to have him yet; we have a little more time to go, but I'm just wondering. :)
Things I’m working on…
    Now that the homeschool portfolio review is complete, I'm shifting more of my attention to preparing for the baby. I'm trying to get a handle on the boys' room now to carve out a little space for baby. I need to go through the things JD (the 1yr. old) has out grown so I can set them aside. I need to actually make a "to-do" list and get going, because right now most of it is just mental. But, I'm getting excited!!!
I’m reading…
    Various resources on breastfeeding. Never knew that oatmeal could help increase milk supply. . .I love oatmeal! What tips/advice/information do you have on breastfeeding?
I’m cooking…
    I made a meatloaf this week. . . using Stove Top stuffing! Doesn't it sound weird???? I thought so too--at first. Here's the story:
    Back in the fall, our grocery store had weekly Thanksgiving specials. If you spend $15, you could get a free pack of butter or cream cheese or a carton of eggs and the like. Well, my husband went once and he came back with Stove Top stuffing. Well, I made our dressing (stuffing) from scratch for Thanksgiving. So, it's been hanging out on the pantry shelf for months and I've been wondering what to do with it because frankly, there's nothing like homemade stuffing. So imagine my relief when I came across this recipe! LOL Finally! A use for the Stove Top! It tasted pretty good, too.
    If you try this recipe, my only recommendation would be to either add less water--say maybe 1/2 to 3/4 C--OR to cook it longer than 1hr--maybe 1 1/2 hours.
     

I’m grateful for…
    How God never leaves my side, He never abandons me, and I know that I am precious to Him.
I’m praying for…
    The communication between my household and some of our extended family members. Sometimes it feels much harder than ever imagined. Have you ever wanted to talk to someone, but they'd rather argue? Sometimes tough conversations have to be had, but that doesn't mean we attack each other or approach the subject with an argumentative spirit. It's hard, it hurts, and tears flow.
    Prayers are greatly appreciated.
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
    "For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name." -Luke 1:49
    I love the Word of the Lord.
Linked with:
The Homeschool Village http://hammocktracks.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/savannahbutton2.png




And the angel answered and said to her,
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you;
therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age;
and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
For with God nothing will be impossible."
 
Then Mary said, "Behold, the maidservant of the Lord!
 Let it be to me according to your word."
And the angel departed from her.
-Luke 1:37-38
 
Be encouraged, Ladies!
No matter what circumstances you find yourselves in, remember that our God is great and mighty.
He is a Promise-Keeper! He can do ANYTHING, but fail!
 
May we have faith in Him; may we humble ourselves before Him; may we be willing to serve Him!
 
God bless,
Stacie

Encouragement

by on Tuesday, January 15, 2013
And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; ther...



In my life this week…
I'm pretty much over my cold--Yay!!! I can breathe through my nose (most of the time) and I can finally taste my food!!

I went to the doctor this week for a prenatal appointment and overall, things are going well, praise God. The baby's heartbeat is strong and it is always a blessing to hear that sound.

In our homeschool this week…
We've been pushing forward. This was our first full week in the new year; we only had school on Thursday and Friday of last week. My son is enjoying his reading time and we've been studying the Vikings in history.

I got some art ideas from Pinterest and this is what we tried:
This is not one of our penguins--Blogger wouldn't let me upload my pics for some reason. (???) But, I thought it was too cute not to share. If you go to the link above, you'll find a template and instructions for making the penguin.


We also tried something new for music called:

Basically, I play a piece of music and the children must be absolutely quiet and unoccupied, so they can focus in on the music. While they're listening, they have to consider the following:
Source
It worked pretty well, give or take a few reminders to JR (5yr/o son) to keep quiet. But they loved the idea and asked to listen to the piece again. We listened to Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
I don't know about you, but I am not a naturally artsy/crafty person. But Pinterest has helped me with my, "What on earth will we do for art?" question of the week!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Just regular stuff: doctor's office, grocery store, swim practice, etc. Nothing fancy and exciting this week.

My favorite thing this week was…
My husband cooked dinner yesterday. It's the little things, ladies, the little things! :)

Questions/thoughts I have…
I'm trying to figure out the best way to organize the boys' room, especially with boy #3 on the way. I need to rework the closet and dresser space somehow. I have a couple of ideas swirling around and hopefully the will come to fruition. If these ideas materialize, I'll be sure to share them with you.

Mommy question: Does the "nesting phase" of pregnancy seem to kick in a bit earlier when you're having children close in age?

Things I’m working on…
My homeschool portfolio review is coming up next week. I've been compiling materials and filling out forms.

I’m cooking…
See my favorite thing this week! ;o)

I’m grateful for…
Friendship. My friends, I mean the stick-by-me-through-thick-and-thin, I-can-laugh-cry-and-pray-with-you-about-anything friends, are few. But what a sweet blessing it is.
I am also grateful for the Lord showing me that to have friends, I must first be one. (Proverbs 18:24)

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Many marriages would be better if the husband & wife understood they are on the same side. - ZigZiglar



Hello, blogging buddies!

I am emerging from the depths of a winter cold that had me struggling for over a week. But I am through the worse and am definitely on the mend. Besides a bit of fatigue and a stuffy nose from time to time, I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER! (Thank you to all of you who prayed for me!)

Anyway, during some of my sleepless nights, I saw a very simple beauty treatment on Pinterest that I decided to give a try. I'm sharing because it's working for me.

You need just 2 ingredients:


I call it. . .
 
"Coconut Soda" Facial Scrub
  • 3 TBS Coconut Oil
  • 2 TBS Baking Soda
  • Mix well and store in a container with lid.
(I used an empty baby food jar and this recipe was enough to fill it.)

Directions:
  • Wet your face with warm water.
  • Take a pea-sized amount of the scrub and gently scrub the face (and neck area) in circular motions.
  • (Be sure to be gentle when scrubbing, as baking soda is a natural abrasive and you don't want any irritation.)
  • Rinse well.
  • After rinsing, apply coconut oil only to the skin to moisturize. . . just a small bit goes a long way.
  • Use the rinse 1 to 2 times a week, continuing to moisturize daily (or every other day) with coconut oil.
 
Some benefits:
Baking Soda--removes impurities and oil; helps to balance the skin; inexpensive cleanser.
Coconut Oil--provides moisture without clogging pores; contains natural fatty acids with anti-bacterial properties; conditions skin.
 
I hope it works well for those of you who give it a try. . .Enjoy!!
 
**Disclaimer: If you have an allergy or sensitivity to coconut oil or baking soda, then this facial scrub is not for you. If you are uncertain about using this scrub or have any questions, consult a physician. :)**
  
Linked with:

Beauty Tip: Facial

by on Thursday, January 10, 2013
Hello, blogging buddies! I am emerging from the depths of a winter cold that had me struggling for over a week. But I am through the wo...



I haven't been sleeping well lately.
Pregnancy + a winter cold = a sleep deprived lady!

In the wee hours of the morning, I turned on the TV and decided to watch QVC, as I snacked on mandarin orange slices. I watched as the host displayed a beautiful bracelet, decked with flowers of the prettiest garnet.


7.20 cttw Rhodolite Garnet Sterling Station Bracelet,6-3/4
Photo Credit
The picture just doesn't do it justice. It has the most beautiful purple tones, which I learned while watching, is rare for a garnet stone. At any rate, what I thought was that this bracelet was such a timeless, classy piece. I could imagine my mother wearing this, as well as myself and even my daughters (once they are a bit older). I thought, this would be a such a lovely, lady-like piece of jewelry that a mother could pass down to her daughters, from generation to generation. How sweet!

But, my reality is that my family doesn't have jewels and riches to pass from one hand to the other. . . we just weren't cut from that cloth. Besides an occasional ring or necklace, our family heirlooms are more of the personal sort: homemade pillows, lace handkerchiefs, crocheted blankets, photographs, hand-written letters, Bibles and the like.

So I began to think, I wonder what I will give to my children? What can I offer them?
(Now don't you love it when the Holy Spirit enters your thoughts that you thought were your own?) :)

The Lord's urging was, "Give them Me." And immediately this Scripture came to mind:

 
I don't have silver and gold, fancy jewelry, or great riches. But what I do have is Jesus. . .what I do have is faith in Him, Who is more than capable. . . what I do have is salvation, which is eternally secure. Jesus is what I will pass down, my heirloom gift to my children, because He lasts forever.

Linked with:

Silver and Gold

by on Thursday, January 03, 2013
I haven't been sleeping well lately. Pregnancy + a winter cold = a sleep deprived lady! In the wee hours of the morning, I turned ...
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