Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!













Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A better way...

I've felt a bit down the past few days. Nothing big. I'm sure most of it has to do with pregnancy hormones raging through my body. This sweet love inside me is certainly worth it! But, I am in charge of my attitude and to take every thought captive to Christ. I am responsible for repenting and seeking Him and savoring who He is. As I go about my day today, I choose a better way. I choose His way, to be enveloped in His love, forsaking things of this world. This is not easy for me. Too often, I bow to creation or to seek fulfilment from worldy things. This is idolotry and is sinful. With the Lord by my side giving me grace for the moment, today I choose the Way. I will sing Christmas songs with joy and do housework unto the Lord. This is the Way!

~This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.~
Psalm 118:24

Monday, December 20, 2010

Family Pictures

One of my best friends from high school, Suzanne, captured some sweet family moments for us. Here are a few of my favorites. I'll add more soon! (Blogger is acting funny tonight.)





Wednesday, December 15, 2010

He Makes Me Laugh

I love this little goofball to pieces!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two good, easy recipes

Last night I found Delighting in the Days through Frugal Granola, which is one of my favorite blogs. I quicky skimmed through two of her recipes and landed on this and this to try out quickly. Both are so yummy and healthy. I'm a pretty big fan of coconut milk/oil as it has many healthy fats and antimicrobial properties. It's especially good if you battle any sort of chronic illness. I'm trying to get more of it into my daily diet.

I would slightly modify both recipes next time:
* Add a bit of salt and vanilla extract to the Dutch puff. The texture reminds me of French toast. We enjoyed ours with real maple syrup. You just can't beat it! (Sorry Aunt Jemima!)
* Cut back to 1-2 Tbsp. cocoa powder for the drink. It's yummy as is, but if you make it, I would add the cocoa incrementally and see what you like.

Both recipes are incredibly easy and filling. Enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Doing well


My finger is healing nicely. It's still swollen and hurts a bit, but that's to be expected. I left it unwrapped last night and continue treating it with ointment. The stitches should come out Monday!

Monday, December 6, 2010

For coffee lovers...

This article on quitting coffee came in my Reader today. I rarely drink it now and can testify to much of the data, especially #12. I've always had shaky hands, but as soon as I cut coffee out of my diet, I noticed a huge improvement. My mom even commented on it. Last week I had a few cups of coffee and the shakiness was much worse. I know it affects me negatively. As much as I enjoy a good cup of coffee, I think there are plenty reasons to avoid it as much as I can. If you love coffee or are addicted to caffeine, read through the article and see what you think. Maybe a few small changes will help you feel better, too!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Battle Scars

I can't type well, so this will be quick. While opening a bottle of wine for beef bourguignon, I got a little rough with the bottle. I was using a broken corkscrew, which was a very, very bad idea. What's sort of comical is that this was my first time opening a bottle of wine, and I had no clue that it was broken. I jammed into the cork so far that the metal end of the corkscrew actually broke through the neck of the bottle. The bottle split into two large pieces, slicing deeply into my right index finger. It was bad, and I knew it needed wrapped ASAP. I trailed blood all through the kitchen and managed to grab a towel to wrap around it. I called 911 and then Matt. The paramedics bandaged it tightly enough to stop the bleeding so we could make it to the ER. It was not a fun way to spend the afternoon, but I'm thankful it isn't worse than it is. Seven stitches later, I'm home and feeling okay. I plan on steering clear of wine bottles for a long time! Not the best way to earn a battle scar! (I'll update later on the ER visit and how I'm doing.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A good story

As I prepare my heart for the coming Messiah this Advent season, I love reading stories that make me say, "Thank you, baby Jesus" for your life. He gave it all that we may live. Do we even realize the cost of His life? I mean, will we truly ever get it? What He really gave up for us? I want to cherish Him more than anything in the whole wide world. I want to cherish Him every day of the year, not only at Christmastime. He came for me. He came for you. And, He gave His life for the sins of the world.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

O Christmas Tree


Can you guess who decorated this? Hint, hint: he's in the picture. I love it!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Soaked wheat bread

I've tried three different sourdough or soaked wheat bread recipes. The first two were not so great. The sourdough didn't rise properly and the soaked version was very heavy. After finding this recipe and tweaking it a bit, I have a winner. We all enjoy it, and it's especially yummy slathered with butter and a little cinnamon sugar for that nostalgic feel. Matt brought this childhood favorite back into our home last week. I couldn't resist it!

I slightly modified the recipe:
* I added more water to the soaking period b/c mine was too dry.
* I also added more honey, probably a half-cup total and used butter as opposed to coconut oil.
* I proofed the yeast in a bit of water and added a tsp. of cane sugar.
* I kneaded the bread by hand after it came together in the KitchenAid mixer. I think this is critical! If you don't knead by hand, you might end up with a heavy loaf. (The bread in the original post looked too dense for my liking.)
* Baked for 40 minutes.
This recipe is simple and takes very minimal time to prepare. I hope you give it a shot because it's just that good!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A follow-up from yesterday

I had a mom-fail moment in the department of patience this morning. I clearly was exasperated with Isaac, and my stubborn will reared its ugly head. I apologized to my sweet boy for speaking unkindly and losing self-control after he cried and said, "But vat's not a very nice voice, Mom." He was completely right - I knew it. I knew I missed the mark. It hurt my feelings that I hurt his feelings and went against God's commands. Dumb, dumb me moment. (He did forgive me, so that's good!)
Also, the Lord's timing is incredible. I went to Apex sans Matt and Isaac and heard a wonderful sermon on repentance. Not only am I thankful for how the Lord equips us as moms, but I'm also thankful that His grace is sufficient to cover my hang-ups. I fail all.the.time. Praise the Lord for forgiveness and restoration; He is the God of endless chances.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Part of being human...

...is that we run into conflict on a daily basis. I don't think three-year-olds are exempt from this predicament. This past week Isaac had a nasty double pink eye infection. His poor eyes were all gooey and goopy. He had a minor cold as well, which meant that he was not his playful, cheery self. During times like these, I have no problem as a mom letting him watch as much television as his heart desires. It's also pretty cute that he wants to snuggle with me more than usual!

As any mom out there knows, whenever we "give in" a bit more to our kiddos, it's often hard to break them of a certain habit. We normally watch a minimal amount of television in this house. We purposely keep it in the basement so we're not tempted to bow down to it. It's a safe guard for all of us and helps us guard our hearts. I like shows and am easily enthralled with stuff that has no lasting value. (Just a little confession time, I guess! Now you know a weakness of mine!)

Isaac got pretty used to having full reign of the television this week. He watched episode after episode of Sid the Science Kid. I kinda like it, too! The characters are a bit fruity and quirky, and who can resist Grandma's laugh?! This afternoon he watched it a few times and wanted to keep watching it!

Matt is now feeling under the weather and decided he needed to simply veg in front of the television for a while. I have no problem with that. It's what you want to do when you're ill. Much to Isaac's dismay, Matt was going to watch television. Period! Isaac sulked and whined his way upstairs to tell me, "Mom, I want to watch my show, and Daddy wants to watch his show." Really? Well, therein lies a problem, right buddy?

It's easy and convenient to get exasperated over our children's selfishness. After all, we train and instruct them to put others first, to do all things without grumbling, to respect others and serve joyfully. Yet as I sat while Isaac told me his problem (and to him it is a big dilemma), I quickly reminded myself that this moment is a teaching moment. I told Isaac that indeed it was a problem since he and Daddy both wanted the same thing at the same time. It simply wouldn't work for them both to watch their shows. I could see the struggle for power, the struggle to exert his will over our will, the struggle to be right, the struggle to persuade me into telling Daddy to let him watch his show, the struggle to give up something to make someone else feel better. It happens to adults and children alike. We are gripped by self-centeredness, and we often need gentle guidance toward "other-mindedness".

Isaac understands that Daddy doesn't feel well. He gets it. I need to always be mindful of helping him recognize how to put others first. In this case, Daddy needed a break. The kind thing to do is allow Daddy to relax and unwind as he wishes. Maybe I made it out to be a bigger deal than it was because Isaac immediately said, "Well, let's pway Reader Rabbit!" Works for me, kiddo!

I guess my point is that teaching and training never end. We consciously make a choice in how to react to our kids' actions and what their hearts reveal. It's my job as Isaac's mom (and Malayna's too!) to gently guide him by the truth into what is best for him. Instead of getting frustrated and unleashing anger, I need to remember that he is trying to make sense of his world. When his stubborn will shows itself, it is my job and calling to lead him to repentance. We're going to face larger mountains than small disagreements in our home. The principle still remains: train him, teach him, gently and lovingly guide him always, and rebuke him in love when needed.

That small moment in our day spoke volumes to me about the kind of mom I desire to be. Do I want to be remembered by my kids as some hot-headed, strong-willed, not-willing-to-listen mom? Or, do I want my kids to share openly with me about their struggles whether they be large or small? I choose the latter.

Conflict in inevitable and is actually a sign of a healthy relationship. Today, I choose to help Isaac when conflict arises in his life. Truthfully I can only do this by abiding in the love of Christ. My impulsive nature rears its ugly head when I'm not remaining in the Vine. Moment by moment, I must choose patience. I pay for it when I don't and so does Isaac.

How about you? What kind of mom do you want to be for your kids? How are you doing in those tough areas? Where have you grown? Let's rejoice in knowing that the Lord guides us into mothering our children. We can rest assured knowing that He lovingly leads us in this amazing yet challenging calling. Let's follow in His steps.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Photo link

I'm not sure why the photo link isn't working. I'll talk to Suzanne to see if we can get it up and running!

Oh, Baby!

Malayna Hope wants you to know that she's a very healthy baby girl! She's expected to arrive sometime late March. We can't wait to meet our sweet, sweet baby!

Here is a picture of my small baby bump. One of my best friends from school took some amazing photos for our family. I'm looking forward to seeing all of them!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/46676096@N08/5147400580/

Friday, September 24, 2010

and just one more...

LOVE this picture of Isaac taken shortly after his birth. I still can't believe my sweet lovin' is three!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Isaac!


My little boy is growing into a big boy day by day. He is three today, and I couldn't be more thankful for the Lord blessing us and choosing Matt and me to be his parents. His sweet ways melt my heart, and he cracks me up every single day! I think of the verse when David speaks to the Lord with humble gratitude, "Lord, who am I and who is my family that you have brought me this far?" David, I'm with you, brother! Who am I that the Lord would bring me this far? Really!

As many of you know, motherhood in the beginning was no walk in the clouds. I struggled to be content in all circumstances. I griped and moaned and had a bad case of the grumps when my sweet baby was not performing just as expected. I often told the Lord, "Lord I really do love you, and I want to be joyful, but I'm just not right now." Oh, how thankful I am that the Lord can handle all of my hang ups and bang ups! The Lord certainly used Isaac's first year of life to teach me to rely solely upon Him for my every need, to not compare myself (what a scheme of the devil), and to love irrespective of how I feel. Motherhood is no easy feat; we all know it! BUT, what a precious and humbling gift it is to be called Mommy each and every day. I now wake up with joy to be at home serving my family. I'm not always on top of my game, yet I do it so much more gratefully. Knowing that motherhood is my calling and that God equips me and anoints me with everything I need to live a life for Him, makes this vocation all the more delightful and possible.

Happy Birthday, Isaac. The Lord has truly blessed me to be your mama. I love you more than life! I love how you love to learn. I love when you ask me to pray for you. I love watching you sleep so peacefully. I love that we play Duck, Duck, Goose and you chase me all around the house! I love how you care about everyone around you. You never want anyone out of site! I love when you want me to snuggle you. I love watching you fly down the sidewalk on your tricycle. I must say, you're a pro now! I love how you love music and always ask to hear Matt, Melissa, or Olivia on the Apex c.d. I love how you get so excited when Daddy comes home from work. I love having Barnes and Noble dates with you. I love going to the Sunrise Cafe in Yellow Springs with you and Daddy. I love how you kiss the baby and gently pat my belly. I love how you tell me, "But, I'm the big bruver!" I love that you know all of our family and enjoy seeing your cousins. I love when you want to be my big helper. I love when you get me with your shark attack hands. I love watching you trace letters and watching you learn how to hold a pencil. I love when you ask to do your "schoolwork"! I love when speak kindly to others and don't whine to get what you want. (You might be able to talk your way into anything when you're polite!) I love when you give me hugs and kisses. I love when we walk to see the fountains and the weeping willows. I love watching you dance to the Wiggles. I love watching you run into your MOPS and Apex classes with such enthusiasm. I love how you always want to go to Landen's house. You would live there if we let you! I love how you come into Mommy and Daddy's room every morning to greet us. I really love it when you hop into bed to snuggle with us! I love watching you be all boy, all the time! I love being home with you every day. I love your beautiful blue eyes. I love giving you "kissy nudgies" all over your face! I love when you grip onto my index finger when we're walking. I love how excited you get to see the dog at Old Navy! I love how you love to trick me. I love when you ask me to read Dr. Seuss books to you. We really like Solla Sollew right now! I love that you enjoy helping water the plants. I love hearing you play in the living room. I love all of your many questions! I love going to the library with you. I love when you ask me to help you with something. I love when you make your scrunchy face. I love watching you clap. I love when you tackle Daddy. I love when you find the cow at Trader Joe's because you get so excited to ask for a sucker! I love when you run around in your jammies. I love that our house gets messy due to your toys being scattered. I love when you clean up your toys! I love your "tight and loose" squeezes. I really could go on and on and on and on....

Isaac, I love you because you are God's gift of life. I love you through all circumstances... even when you're a rascal! Always remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. The Lord has good plans for you; I'm excited to watch them unfold this year. You make me smile, cutie-pie! Have a very Happy Birthday. I love you!

:)) Mommy

Thursday, September 16, 2010

His Many Blessings

Today I've been overwhelmed with the Lord's goodness in my life. How often I take for granted things like a home, clean clothing, nourishing food, access to the Internet, a loving spouse, supportive friends, a driver's license, a car (two cars!), rain and wind (LOVE thunderstorms!), and so many, many, many other things.

Matt has been gone this week for an engineering conference. (I wonder if I can find a domestic engineering conference in the area?) tee hee hee! The Lord always uses these times to increase my thanksgiving. It gets a bit lonely around here by the end of the week, yet He shows me that He is my all in all, He is my joy, He is my strength, He is my shelter, He is my strong tower, He is my delight, He is my Prince, He is my True Love, He is my provider, He is my protector, He is my Lord, and I rest in Him.

After a week without my hubby, I'm definitely excited to see him. But, I'm thankful that the Lord uses all things to work for my good. I revere Him more and trust Him more knowing our lives are but a vapor; we're here today and gone tomorrow. It is only by God's grace and His love to have my family in my life. What grace He desires to lavish upon His children!

So, as my week winds down, I humbly thank the Lord for Matt, Isaac, and sweet-pea Baby Nelms. I thank Him for blessing me when I deserved nothing of the sort. I thank Him for allowing me to be wife and mommy in this house. Above all, I thank Him for equipping me for anything I will ever go through and for helping me to hold loosely to the things of this world.

He holds our lives in his hands. Every breath. Every heartbeat. Every movement. Life is a gift, and I cherish it deeply. Thank you, Lord Jesus.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yummy Muffins

Lindsay has a recipe on her site for some fabulous raspberry muffins. I made two batches last week and decided to double up again for this week. Matt says he will never complain about having too many muffins and says these are now his favorite. He can do some damage, let me tell ya!

These muffins are incredibly moist and flavorful. The coconut oil is an easily adaptable alternative to vegetable oil and works really well. If you only have vegetable oil, I think that would work as well, but you might need to adjust the amount. I reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup and they were still plenty sweet. The mixture will seem slightly dry/crumbly, but once you mix in all the other ingredients it comes together. You just need to work it a bit. You can also make these without soaking the dough; however, soaking the grain will help to reduce anti-nutrients. (Can also use buttermilk or kefir as a soaking agent.) I made them with spelt flour today, and they have great texture and flavor. (1 cup wheat = 1 and 1/4 cup spelt.)

If you and/or your family like muffins, give these a try. You might come back for more!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sweet Words from my Sweet One

Today Isaac said two of the sweetest phrases I've ever heard him say, both of which were completely unprompted and timely. The first one he said to Grandma as he was getting ready to leave her house, and tonight at dinner his sweetness shined even more. I offered him some of my potatoes, but he politely declined! Here they are:

"It was so nice to see you again today, Grandma!"

"No, but fank you for offering. I'm having cheese puffs."

Sometimes he's just too much for me! I'll take all the sweetness I can get!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

One more highlight...

Guess who went pee-pee and poopy today on the potty for the first time ? Drum roll.... ISAAC!

Over the past few weeks, he really showed strong signs of being ready. I'm definitely not one to push the potty-training issue and certainly didn't want to draw it out for months and months. Isaac knows that when we get back from the beach, it's potty-training boot camp time! He's been very squirmy when he needs to go number 2. We've put him on the potty a few times when we knew for certain he had to go. He seemed a little timid. But today Matt made him sit there until he went because he was just in so much pain from holding it. (Such a stubborn one... wonder where he gets that trait? He he!) He finally relaxed enough and was so proud of himself.

We're throwing him an ice cream party to commemorate such a monumental milestone and to encourage his own initiation of going on the potty. So long diapers. Hello big guy underwear!

Myrtle Beach!

We are chilling at the beach this week with Matt's Dad's family. His grandma, Loyce, and two of his aunts live here. What a great life, right?! The whole family is renting a beach house right on the beach, and we're essentially having a great big slumber party. The kids are loving their time together. Watching them play and interact brings us so much joy.

Isaac did wonderfully well on our drive. He is such a good traveler; he's always been a good "car baby". I'm so thankful that he doesn't mind a long ride! His mama and daddy needed to stop a few times for potty breaks. Okay, coffee breaks, too!

We did have one scare, in which I thought my heart might jump through my chest. We came exceedingly close to getting into a serious accident on the way here. On the highway, someone's engine blew, which created a thick, foggy smoke. We could not see anything. We maintained our lane, but a humongous RV swerved into the middle of the road, and we could not see him. Praise the Lord that Matt was driving and had quick reaction time. We literally missed nailing the small concrete median by inches and are so fortunate that we didn't collide with the RV or any other vehicle. On our way out of Dayton, we prayed specifically for the Lord to be our hedge of protection and hem us in on every side. We know He protected us and kept us safe in unsafe conditions. It reminded us that He truly hears our prayers and has His hands on our lives. All of the time. We're here safe and sound, soaking up as much sun as possible and enjoying our time together as one family. Here is a recap of our first day at the beach!

Matt put Isaac in this raft so he could investigate the seashore.

Silly boy! We don't eat seashells!

Matt's brother, Chris, was really into building his drip sandcastle. He is very protective of his creations.

Our nephew, Derek. He is the poster child for cuteness and is super sweet!

Our water-boy nephew, Austin. He and Derek are brothers. He loves to boogie board!

Grandma Loyce is hiding.
Waterfall on Isaac!

Our niece and nephew, Alex and Kory

There she is! I'm not kidding you at all when I tell you that Grandma is the sweetest, kindest, most joy-filled person I know. I'm serious. You just have to be around her for a few minutes to feel her love radiate for Christ and others . She is a treasure!

My sweet lovin' playing with the beach toys!
May we stay here forever? I love beach time! Hope you all have a great week, too!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Turtle Boy

This is how I found Isaac this afternoon!
video

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Food Dehydrator Giveaway!

Passionate Homemaking is giving away a nice food dehydrator. Simply visit her site and leave a comment stating why you would love to win it and how you would use it. It's worth a shot!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We Heart Camping!

Our first overnight wilderness excursion proved to be both successful and exciting. I must admit, I was slightly hesitant to sleep in a tent for two evenings. Not because I'm scared - I'm no sissy! I simply wanted to get adequate rest, and lets face it, air mattresses and birds chirping all night do not accommodate those desires! I was pleasantly surprised to find out just how much I enjoyed the wild outdoors. I slept relatively well and only woke up when Matt said, "Trace, Trace! Here, put this on your head!" He was afraid his sweetie was getting cold. Good intentions, right? I love the way he looks out for Isaac and me even when it means interrupting our peaceful sleep! Isaac loved sleeping in the tent and told us that was his favorite part about our trip. Truth be told, I actually can't wait for our next camping trip. If it weren't so hot and humid, I would plan something for this month. Fall is just a hop, skip, and a jump away, so I think I can wait it out a couple more months.

Here are a few highlights of our trip:

One of my absolute favorite pictures of Daddy and Isaac!

We had a picnic and let Isaac play for a while.
After settling into our campsite, we hopped on our bikes and explored the area.
Isaac is ready for bed and seems to like the tent!

They light up my life!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 (and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!)

If you have never read Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 by Bill Martin Jr., then you must! What a great children's story. Isaac reads this book probably ten times a day right now. At this moment, it's his absolute favorite book. Today he read it to me completely by himself. It was one of those times I wish I had the camera ready because it was seriously adorable. He did not miss one word and read it fluently with correct intonation. (Granted, his reading right now is more accurately called memorizing,!) He is my "information lover" child, soaking up words, language, numbers, letters, sounds, details, etc. He is a natural communicator, and this book is wonderful for engaging his mind during this stage of his life. Here are a few things I appreciate about this book and how you might use it to teach your child and interact with him or her throughout the day:

* It's sequential - the numbers begin with zero and go up to one hundred.
* The pictures are bright and cheery.
* Zero doesn't have a place and is sad. He doesn't "fit in". We can talk to our kids about how this makes them feel and what they can do to show love and kindness to everyone. It's no fun to feel left out. (Isaac covers Zero b/c he says he doesn't like that he's sad! Then, he gives Zero a kiss - melts my heart!)
* Zero finds his place at the end of the book!
* Combing literacy and math stimulates both sides of the brain.
* You can ask deeper level questions as your child's comprehension grows. I'm sure the possibilities are endless!
* The cadence and rhyming patterns help children develop strong fluency skills, not only in reading but also in verbal communication.
* The numerals, zero to one hundred, are located in the back of the book for reinforcement. As children learn to count and read them, they gain confidence in their new abilities. The "light bulb moment" happens, which makes them feel good about themselves. (And it makes us, moms, smile!)
* You can talk about the numbers throughout the day, what problems occured, and how they resolved them.
* As a craft idea, you can make an apple tree (all of the numbers climb the apple tree) and have your child post the numbers and apples onto it.

The sister book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!, is also exceptional. It parallels this book with the alphabet. Isaac equally enjoys this one, but we didn't check it out from the library this time. Yesterday he spotted it in Barnes and Noble, and we read through it twice. This book is great for developing phonemic awareness. The full alphabet, both upper and lower case, is in the back of the book as well.

If you're familiar with these books, please share how you use them to teach your children. I think they are just too cute! Do you have any favorite children's number/letter type books?

Also, our local library has a database called Bookflix where you can read these books online while watching a video of the illustrations. They have all sorts of genres and plenty of selections. If you want the link, email me, and I'll help you get there! Happy reading!!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weekend Time!!

Matt was TDY in Orlando all week, and I'm happy to have him home! I look forward to simply relaxing this evening and catching up on a few things around the house. Isaac and I played a lot this week, which means this mama slacked on some of her domestic duties. I wouldn't trade it though; my youngster is growing up way too quickly! Here's a quick layout of our tentative weekend plans:

* Fettucini alfredo for dinner tonight, followed by an evening bike ride.
* Sourdough pancakes (oh, sooooo yummy!) and scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow. Shh... don't tell Matt; it's a surprise!
* Painting a few things for our guest bedroom. It's slowly coming together!
* I'm trying out a new sloppy lentil recipe sometime this weekend. I've heard rave reviews, so I'll link you to it if it's successful!
* Maybe a trip to the base pool?
* Apex 11:30am service on Sunday. We're going through the book of James.
* Finish laying our new mulch in our flower beds. So we're only just shy of 2 years behind!! Better late than never!
* Mainly I'm looking forward to being w/my two faves. I hope this weekend is full of love and laughter!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Counter-Culture

One of my favorite sites for nutrition is Weston Price. Over the past few months, I've delved deeper into researching nutrition, disease prevention, and healing. I read this and this tonight, and it seems like our modern society does things completely opposite of well-documented research. Do you ever wonder what our lives would be like if we went back to "Grandma's cooking"? It is no secret that our ancestors were healthy, thriving people free from cancer, heart disease and all sorts of other ailments. Most doctors want to give us pills to take, but could it be (just perhaps!) that our problem is how we process our food to death and what we eat now as opposed to what people used to eat even just 100 years ago? Call me crazy, but I'm willing to do what I can within my limits to make my son's generation a healthy one. And to make my grandma proud.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Coconut Oil - It's quite good for you!

Recently, I began incorporating coconut oil into my diet on an everyday basis. The benefits of coconut oil are just too amazing to not use it.

During the onset of my sophomore year in college, I had a serious Crohn's flare. The symptoms began long before the flare ensued and were extremely painful. I did not eat. I did not sleep. I dropped weight rapidly. Many outsiders assumed I was anorexic. (What I would have given to simply eat a cracker!) I could not sit up straight due to the excessive amount of inflammation in my gut. I waddled around, rightfully earning the nickname "Penguin". I remember literally punching my mom's bed frame as I tried to fall asleep; the pain too cumbersome to mentally bear. Finally, I had surgery at Mt. Caramel in Columbus and took a quarter break from college.

This is a small glimpse of my story, but I want you to know why I'm passionate about it. Over the past 11 years, I've managed Crohn's disease to the best of my ability. Once I accepted Christ, I sought the Lord on how to care for my body. I know my life is in His hands. He has an allotted number of days for me. I believe this with my whole heart, and I trust Him. I can do nothing to add to the time He has set for me. Yet, I know He calls me to be a good steward of all things, including physical health. By nurturing my body, I'm better fit to serve and honor Him and hopefully prevent future flares. So here I am now in 2010 researching ways to actually heal my gut as much as possible. It may seem radical to some, but to me it's totally worth it. If I can use natural remedies to aid in better digestion, absorption, and immunity, you bet I'll take it! I've been able to reduce medication by 50% and hope to eventually stop taking it altogether. Will you hope with me?

I've read so much lately, but what I really desire to share with you is what I've learned about coconut oil. Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid, which means it's easily digested and absorbed. Many people who suffer from Crohn's disease or Ulcerative Colitis claim that coconuts/coconut oil is a miracle remedy. While I'm not sure that this will actually cure my illness, I honestly believe it helps control symptoms including fatigue, weight loss, abdominal cramping, gas, frequent bowel movements, etc. This article lays out many benefits of using coconut oil. Coconut oil is healthy for us, and if you're human, you probably will benefit from using it on a regular basis. I incorporate it into my smoothies, and it is wonderful on pancakes or toast topped with some honey. I also use this recipe for homemade deodorant, and it is fantastic! Vitacost has great prices on coconut oil as well as other natural/organic products. If you're looking for a healthy boost to your diet, add some coconut oil. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Friday, May 21, 2010

I think you'll enjoy her

Meet Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking. A friend recommended her blog, and I have thoroughly enjoyed all that I've read. She loves the Lord, which evidences itself in her respectful and wise manner of writing. She has some really great tips. Make sure you read some of her posts, and check out her recipes as well! I hope you glean some great insight from her experiences in the kitchen and in the home!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

For your digestive health...

If you or someone you know suffers from any type of digestive disorder, this article might interest you. Jordan Rubin was literally on his death bed due to Crohn's disease. He is the author of The Maker's Diet and wants to help others learn how to heal their digestive tracts naturally. I hope to incorporate as much of this into my diet as possible. I know it can only help, and hopefully I can kick medication to the curb for good!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Glenn Helen

Over the past three weeks, we've enjoyed the wild outdoors! We hiked through Glenn Helen last week after stopping for breakfast at the Sunrise Cafe in Yellow Springs. This is my very favorite breakfast spot. You really need to eat here. The food is fresh and delicious and filling enough to sustain you while you hike and explore!

Here are a few of shots of our outing. (We returned today from a three day trip to Hueston Woods. I'll post pictures and video soon!)
Smiling... sort of!

Daddy and his son - two sweethearts!

Wiping off his hands so we can head back home!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Soaked Oatmeal Recipe

As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been reading up on health and wellness topics. Overall, I try to steer clear from as many preservatives, dyes, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, etc. as possible, but I think there is always room for improvement in what I buy and prepare for our family to eat. (Especially, when it seems like every grocery store in America is chock-full of enticing processed food!) I haven't always been overly health conscious, but over the past three years I've read enough to convince me that some of our eating habits needed revamped. In general, I enjoy learning new things, and for some peculiar reason, health topics constantly pique my interest. And, to be honest with you, one of my goals is to eventually stop taking maintenance therapy drugs for Crohn's disease. I'm not quite ready to make such a drastic jump, but I have high hopes that sometime in the future I might be able to control this disease through diet alone. I hope so!

The week I read that 70 percent of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Crohn's is considered an auto-immune disease, which in a nutshell means that my body's immunity overreacts and works against itself. Although I'm almost certain genetics plays some part in Crohn's (my brother and I both have it and were diagnosed only three months apart), it's interesting to know that I can make small changes in my diet to gain more nutritional benefits and absorb vital nutrients. I think my digestive tract might be happier with me if I change a few things!

So, this week I'm focusing my attention on whole grains. Whole grains naturally contain an anti-nutrient called phytic acid, found in the hull or bran of grains. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of minerals including zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper. Soaking or sprouting grains helps reduce the amount of phytic acid, therefore enabling the body to absorb and easily digest the grains we consume. This is a wonderful site where you can learn more about traditional cooking and why soaking grains is beneficial. Not only is it beneficial, it's simple, too!

My first experience with soaking grains proved successful! I soaked oats and pecans (it's also good to soak nuts - here's why) in water with a little lemon juice for this tasty oatmeal. We all enjoyed it, and I'm making more this evening. If you and your family enjoy oatmeal, give this recipe a shot. Play around with it, and feel free to share your modifications with me. I'm always up for a new, tasty, and healthy recipe!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Snow, Air Force Museum, Graduation... and this and that!

Here are some recent snapshots of our family. Matt is officially a graduate of the Air Force Institute of Technology! He's on vacation for a few weeks, and we enjoyed our first visit as a family to the Air Force Museum. I've included some other pictures as well including Isaac enjoying our blizzard-like weather this past winter and just being plain cute!
Family fun in the... SNOW!

I LOVE his smile and the way he's snuggled deep in the snow!

Helping Daddy shovel

Our first trip as a family to the United States Air Force Museum

Checking out artifacts from the Korean War era

Just stopping to get some "head nudgies" from Daddy!

We liked this plane - it has "big teef"!
Graduation! Matt in line for his diploma!
It's official! (I do not like this pic of me, but it will have to do!)
Lisa and Jorge, our best friends from Boston (now they live in Montgomery, AL!), came to celebrate with us!

Monkeying around :)

Isaac loves wearing sunglasses... rain, shine, or inside!

Reading to Isaac, Dylon, and Ethan (he's standing up.) We watched the boys while my friend, Christine, and her hubby packed for their PCS to South Carolina. They just finished AFIT as well!
Baby Dylon needed a good nap, so I put him in the hotsling. He is such a cuddle bug, and I enjoyed every minute of it!
That's our family in a nutshell over the past couple of months. I'll update more this week!