Thursday, January 31, 2013

Of first kisses

Our wedding day
By God's grace, Ben is the only man I've ever kissed. When Ben and I shared our first kiss, we were in a courtship with the blessing of both of our families and had long known we would spend the rest of our lives together. I am so thankful the only man whose lips mine have ever met is the man I am covenanted to 'til death parts us.

There is a general attitude among young people today, even many Christians, that kissing is not a big deal.

I think back to the first time Ben and I held hands, the first time Ben kissed me on the cheek, and that awkward first real kiss (the first for both of us). I am so thankful these are memories we share, and that years later these are still meaningful expressions of our love for each other--expressions neither of us has shared with anyone else.

In a culture that tries its hardest to rob children of their innocence so early in life, a culture that glorifies pre-marital s*x and balks at the sacredness of intimacy, I'd like to encourage you mamas to teach your children to cherish and save even "lesser" forms of physical intimacy. And if there are any single young ladies reading here, I'd like to encourage you, too. It may not be easy to wait when everyone everywhere is doing it differently, but your husband, wherever he may be and whenever you may meet him, is worth waiting for.

Disclaimer: I am in no way saying I think you're an awful person if you did things differently than we did. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Menu Plan, January 28-February 3


We have had some cold (at least for me) weather lately. I am so looking forward to a few warmer days this week! Last week was a busy week. Besides a day away from the house tomorrow (picking up a side of grassfed beef which we're splitting with family!), this week is looking like it will be a little more normal.

Here's what I'm planning in the kitchen:

Breakfasts:
::Fried eggs with breakfast potatoes or whole wheat sourdough toast, fruit
::Oatmeal
::Breakfast casserole, fruit

Dinners:
::Whole wheat sourdough cheese pizza, salad
::Dinner with family
::Pepper Jack & Green Chile tacos, fruit
::Chili
::Quinoa Greek Salad (Ben will be out with some friends--having a girls' night with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law)
::Filets with pepper cream sauce, potatoes, salad
::Sunday dinner with family at the farm

We're having leftovers or snacks for lunch every day except tomorrow when we'll be having lunch with some friends at their house.

What are y'all cooking this week?

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday.

Goals for This Week (January 28)

It's a goal 


Last week was kind of a big fat flop. Our pipes were frozen Wednesday and Friday and I was gone all day Saturday. I can only check one goal off of my list from last week. I love the fresh start a new week brings--and I'm super thankful I'll have some help tomorrow to make it through the massive mountain of clean laundry I have.

Last week's goals:
Personal:::Stay caught up on Bible reading
::Memorize Psalm 119:13-16
::Do Postnatal Boot Camp, Week 2 three times
Parenting:::Take photos at least 6 days
::Do chore chart daily (we already missed yesterday, but here's hoping for a smooth rest-of-the-week)
::Continue reviewing Books of the Bible song and catechism daily (see this post for information about the catechism we use)
Household:::Choose a cleaning project daily [vacuum, dust, bathrooms, etc.] (missed yesterday)
Education:::Finish reviewing Unit 15 of Family Herbalist Course
Work/Blog:::Work 7 1/2 hours for my work-at-home job
::Post 4 times here
::Write 3 posts for my new blog (Hint: It's a blog about natural health!)

With that, here are this week's goals (many of them repeated from last week):

Personal:
::Stay caught up on Bible reading
::Memorize Psalm 119:13-16
::Do Postnatal Boot Camp, Week 3 three times
::Finish reviewing Units 15 and 16 of Family Herbalist Course

Marriage:
::One at-home date (done already! Yay for sleeping babies, raw milk hot chocolate, and great conversation)

Parenting:
::Take photos at least 6 days
::Go through chore chart daily
::Books of the Bible song, catechism every weekday

Household:
::Do one cleaning project per day
::Upload/organize January photos

Blog/work:
::Work 7 1/2 hours for my at-home job
::Write 3 posts to save in the queue for my new blog
::Post at least 3 times here

I know a lot of people hate Mondays. I love them. What about you?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Goals for the Week (January 21)

It's a goal 



Last week's goals:Personal:
::Stay caught up on Bible reading::Memorize Psalm 119:9-12, continue reviewing 1-8::Do Postnatal Boot Camp, Week 1 three times
Marriage:
::Have one at-home date night (complete with three sleeping children)
Children:
::Take at least one photo each day, Monday-Saturday {missed one day}::Sing Books of the Bible song and review catechism daily
Household:
::Go through Katie's chore chart with her every day (yes, this helps me too--ha!)
Education:
::Finish reviewing Units 14 & 15 of Family Herbalist Course {Only made it halfway through Unit 15}
Blog/Work:
::Get 6 new posts onto my new site (write three new, move three over) {Only did 4}
::Post 4 times on Covenant Homemaking::Work 10 hours for my work-at-home job {Only did about 7}
This week's goals:

Personal:
::Stay caught up on Bible reading
::Memorize Psalm 119:13-16
::Do Postnatal Boot Camp, Week 2 three times

Parenting:
::Take photos at least 6 days
::Do chore chart daily (we already missed yesterday, but here's hoping for a smooth rest-of-the-week)
::Continue reviewing Books of the Bible song and catechism daily (see this post for information about the catechism we use)

Household:
::Choose a cleaning project daily [vacuum, dust, bathrooms, etc.] (missed yesterday)

Education:
::Finish reviewing Unit 15 of Family Herbalist Course

Work/Blog:
::Work 7 1/2 hours for my work-at-home job
::Post 4 times here
::Write 3 posts for my new blog (Hint: It's a blog about natural health!)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Menu Plan, January 21-27


So, this week started off with a somewhat lazy Monday (the children were all in bed until almost 9:30!), so today sort of feels like Monday even though it's not.

Better late than never, here's my menu plan for the week.

Breakfasts:
Scrambled eggs with fruit, and sourdough toast or breakfast potatoes
Oatmeal
Easy Breakfast Casserole, fruit, toast

Dinners:
Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, salad
Out (for a business meeting)
Pepper Jack and Green Chile Tacos (on sourdough tortillas), pineapple
Chicken noodle soup, salad, sourdough bread
Chili
Sourdough pizza, salad
Dinner with family at the farm

Lunches are leftovers every day. This simplifies my life tremendously!

In other menu planning news, we're splitting a side of beef with Ben's family and we'll be picking it up next week. I am so looking forward to re-stocking our freezer with delicious, local grass-fed beef (for only $3/lb!).

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

These days aren't mine

There are things I know but still need to be often reminded of.

Our church has a prayer meeting every Wednesday night. I used to always go, but since Joshua was born I typically stay home and have some quiet, alone time to rest (with Joshua, of course). It's a time I look forward to every week.

Last Wednesday, a certain 3 year-old woke up from her nap in an awful mood. She didn't want to eat dinner or change her clothes and there was no convincing her to snap out of it, even when Daddy threatened to leave her home. When Ben and Benjamin headed out the door without Katie, she wasn't the only one who felt like crying.

I was looking forward to *my* quiet evening and instead I was stuck with a grumpy preschooler. 

You know what? Katie and I had a lovely evening together. She calmed down, ate some dinner, watched a little DVD (and I still managed to fit in some of my "quiet evening" stuff) and we cleaned up her room together before ending the night with stories, and snuggles, and kisses.

After I tucked in my sweet girl, I couldn't help but be struck with the reality that I have carefully laid out plans (most of the time!) but the Lord can cause them to change whenever He sees fit. And it's always for our good and His glory.

I may not have had my cherished quiet, alone time last week, but I'm so thankful to have been reminded once again that my days aren't really mine at all. They are His.

This post is linked to Finer Things Friday.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Goals for This Week

It's a goal 



As soon as we got home last week, I made out a list of goals hoping to start chipping away at my goals for this year. I managed to complete all but one of the ten goals I wrote out. It was so encouraging to see progress that I took some time Saturday to make out a list of goals for this week.

I've been making a to-do list every day of no more than 8 items, consulting my weekly goals as I make it. This is a great system for me to make sure I'm focusing on things that matter to our family in the long-term as I go about my days at home with my littles.

Here are my goals for this week:

Personal:
::Stay caught up on Bible reading
::Memorize Psalm 119:9-12, continue reviewing 1-8
::Do Postnatal Boot Camp, Week 1 three times

Marriage:
::Have one at-home date night (complete with three sleeping children)

Children:
::Take at least one photo each day, Monday-Saturday
::Sing Books of the Bible song and review catechism daily

Household:
::Go through Katie's chore chart with her every day (yes, this helps me too--ha!)

Education:
::Finish reviewing Units 14 & 15 of Family Herbalist Course

Blog/Work:
::Get 6 new posts onto my new site (write three new, move three over)
::Post 4 times on Covenant Homemaking
::Work 10 hours for my work-at-home job

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Menu Plan, January 14-20



I am excited to be entering our first full week home from vacation. It's so nice to start fresh--and with a plan! My children all napped at the same time today (boys slept, Katie played in her bed), so that provided some nice refreshment for me even though I worked at the computer. The quiet mid-day sure does wonders for my state of mind. :)

We are getting ready to make a bulk meat purchase in the next couple of weeks, so I tried to plan our meals mostly around what we had on hand already to save some money. I just bought fresh produce and dairy to round out the pantry/freezer stash.

To simplify my life a bit, I'm planning for leftovers every day for lunch. 

Here's what I came up with for the week:

Monday:
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Dinner: Spinach Rice Casserole (made with brown rice and some chicken thrown in), salad, glazed carrots 

Tuesday:
Breakfast: Easy Breakfast Casserole; w/w sourdough toast; fruit
Dinner: Cheddar Cheese Soup with Broccoli, Zucchini, and Carrots; salad; w/w sourdough bread

Wednesday:
Breakfast: Leftovers from Tuesday morning
Dinner: Classic Beef Pot Roast (made with a lovely roast my Aunt gave us for Christmas!), salad

Thursday:
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Dinner: Dinner out to celebrate the wedding of some friends

Friday:
Breakfast: Hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, fruit
Dinner: Slow cooker chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, salad

Saturday:
Breakfast: Easy Breakfast CasseroleHashbrowns, fruit
Dinner: Chicken tacos (from leftover chicken) on w/w sourdough tortillas, rice and beans, fruit

Sunday:
Breakfast: Leftover casserole, w/w sourdough toast, fruit
Dinner: Sunday dinner with family at the farm

Need more inspiration? Be sure to head over to OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Benjamin's 2nd Birthday Letter

The only decent picture I got on your birthday--you're such a  busy boy!

Dear Benjamin,

I always get reflective around my babies' birthdays. As I write this birthday letter, I can't help but think back to that December night (well, technically early in the morning--1:48am)  we welcomed you into the world with a perfectly beautiful, peaceful home birth. Labor was rough, but I think back to your birth with such incredible fondness. And I can't believe it's already been two years.

You have grown up so much since your last birthday. You talk a lot--perhaps even more than your big sister did when she was 2 (which is really saying something). I've lost track of how many words you know, but I would guess it's at least 200 and your sentences are often 5-6 words long (more often, though, 3-4 words).

You weaned at 17 months, when I was pregnant with Joshua. Just like it did with your sister, weaning made me sad. You adored nursing and kept going until I had absolutely nothing left. The process wasn't traumatic at all, but the first couple of months after we finished, you would frequently pat my chest and say, "All gone?"

It has been so neat to watch you become a big brother. You're still learning to be gentle, but you love Joshua so much--and from the little grins he gives when you give him attention, he loves you too. I'm sure one day before too long you all will become the best of friends.

You also play really well with Katie. It has been so fun for me to watch your friendship with her grow over the past few months. The bulk of your days are spent together, and you get along so well most of the time. She plays cars with you (which is a good thing since you love playing cars and easily spend a couple hours each day on this one activity), you play dolls/stuffed animals with her--it works out wonderfully. The time you spend together is a blessing for the two of you and for your mommy!

You are such a sweet, easy-going little boy. You are sensitive and [almost] always eager to please. You obey well most of the time and don't require much in the way of discipline yet (though you certainly have your less lovely moments!). Despite your laid-back personality, you are a pretty rough-and-tumble fellow and definitely "all boy." It's fun to watch how different you are from Katie in that regard.

There was a time when I wasn't sure what I would do with a little boy of my very own. Two years into it, I can say I absolutely love being your mama, my sweet little man. Your sweet chubby face and adorable smile and personality make my world a more beautiful place. The fact that you look so much like your Grandpa makes me smile too. I am so, so thankful the Lord gave you to me, Benjamin.

Watching you grow, I can't help but think about the reality that one day I will look [up!] at you and see a big man instead of my little boy. Your soft, chubby cheeks will be stubbly, your toddler hands those of a working man, and your problems bigger than I can solve with a kiss.

On your second birthday, my prayer for you is the same as it has been since the moment I knew you were growing in my belly. I long for the Lord to grant you faith in Christ as a child and pray that He would cause you to grow into a godly man who pours out his life in faithful service to Christ.

I love you more than I can say, my sweet firstborn son.

-Mommy