~Baby Dreams~

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

A question we often ask little children. There’s usually a lot of answers like policeman, fireman, ballerina, and princess. However my answer was always 2 things. I wanted to be a writer and a mommy. As I got older dreams of being a famous writer faded but I never wavered on being a mom. From an early age I was more of a nurturer. When my little brother would get turned away from sleeping in my parents bed, he just came to his big sister’s room. When he couldn’t sleep at night because our parents were going through a divorce, I would scratch his back and comfort him until he fell asleep. It’s just how God made me. A care taker.

Fast forward to getting married at 23 and being a mom was now a dream that would be coming true very soon! I couldn’t wait for the growing bump, the nursery, the stroller shopping, and the precious moments of excitement with my husband. He would kiss my belly and feel the kicks with me. It would be nothing short of blissful ♥︎

We decided to wait a couple years to enjoy married life as just the two of us and to save up for a house. We wanted to be smart about starting a family. The house came and we decided to start the process. After almost a year I finally got the positive pregnancy test. Phew! I was relieved that we were able to get pregnant because after 11 months of trying I was starting to worry.

After just a few days, the relief went away and fear settled in. I was spotting and it wasn’t going away. I became sick with worry and called the Dr.’s office several times to try and get in. I needed them to tell me everything was okay and I was worrying over nothing. I needed to hear a heartbeat. They kept telling me it was too early and I’d have to wait. The ultrasound appointment finally came and I just knew that it would make me feel better. I would see that baby on the screen. I was sure I was worrying over nothing.
However my fears came true that day. No baby, no heartbeat. Go home and miscarry they said. Call us when it’s over. I was in shock and terrified. How could they be so cold? To them, I was just another patient. Just another woman miscarrying. To me, this was a nightmare and I had no idea how to handle it. When would it happen? How would it happen? How painful would it be? Both physically and emotionally. Would I know when the baby passed? My head was swimming. I wanted to scream “NO! You’re wrong! This is my baby, my dream come true. You have to stop this.” Little did I know, this would be the first of many heartbreaks to come.

To make a very long story a little shorter, that miscarriage ended up being a molar pregnancy. In a molar pregnancy the tissue that’s meant to become the placenta overgrows, becoming a mass of cysts. In some cases there is no accompanying embryo, while in other cases, a partially formed fetus is present. This is called a partial molar pregnancy. According to the Dr after doing a D&C they determined it was a partial molar pregnancy. Because of the rapid growing mass of cysts they had to scrape out, I was at risk for the cysts returning and developing cancer. We ended up at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center to resume treatment. They were able to treat me with weekly shots of a low dose chemo medicine. Once I was cleared, we were ready to put it behind us and get pregnant again. This would be a distant memory and I was determined to make it a distant memory as quickly as possible.

Fast forward to 8 months later and we started seeing a reproductive Dr. to see if some fertility treatments were needed. I hadn’t had a cycle in 8 weeks but according to all the pregnancy tests, I wasn’t pregnant. He put me on Clomid and we did some IUI treatments (IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination).
No luck.  I eventually found out I have PCOS. I went to another Dr. and tried more IUI treatments. We ended up doing 7 IUI’s all together. Nothing.

Well, it was now time to talk about IVF.
Oh boy. The big guns! Wow, we really thought we’d be pregnant by now. Were we really discussing IVF? We also talked about adoption. We went back and forth. What path do we take? We landed on IVF and sought out CCRM. This is a reproductive center in Colorado that is one of the top rated in the nation. Their success rates are very high! Women come from all over, even other countries to seek treatment from them. And they were right here in our own backyard.
Once we started the IVF process, we were overwhelmed but full of hope again! Our baby dreams would finally be coming true! We went through the endless tests, the medications, the hormones, the large amounts of money. It was all going to be worth it though when we heard that heartbeat and felt that baby growing!

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Prepping for my IVF retrieval

We had the IVF embryo transfer and waited 9 days for the results. The call came and the nurse said, “Congratulations! You’re pregnant!”
Sweet relief and ecstasy filled my body. This was it! All our heartache had come to an end. We entered the ultrasound room at 6 1/2 weeks pregnant, so eager to see that sweet baby. But instead, we were told there was no heartbeat. The baby had stopped developing.
We were shocked and confused. So confused. Why was this happening? The Dr. said it was a fluke. The eggs were healthy and I was pretty healthy. Besides the PCOS, there was nothing else that seemed to be in the way. After some more testing, they did find that some of my numbers were off in my blood. My blood was thicker than normal. So I was put on strong blood thinners. 2 shots in my stomach everyday that left nasty bruises. We crossed our fingers hoping this would be the answer. We did the IVF process 2 more times. Each time being told I was pregnant. And each time the ultrasound revealing no heartbeat.

I never blamed our CCRM Dr. He, unlike many other doctors we encountered, was very compassionate and sensitive with us. We knew he wanted us to be successful and grieved with us when we weren’t. He was knowledgeable, careful, and very good at his job. I would recommend him to anyone seeking treatment! In fact he and his wife went through IVF to conceive their own children. He understood the difficulty and the heartache.

I can’t tell you how devastating it is each time you get the negative pregnancy test or the news that the fertility treatment failed. It just screams failure at you over and over. And my sweet, strong, stable husband didn’t deserve this. He wanted to be a dad as badly as I wanted to be a mom. I kept thinking, “if he had married anybody else he’d be a dad by now. Hell, he might be a dad to 3 or 4 kids by now. But instead he got the short end of the stick. He got me.”
I felt shame, rejection, grief, failure. I had sacrificed so much and done everything in my power to make this happen. But still, here we were. No baby.
I had even held on to my faith, to God. I just knew if I kept trusting God and doing the right christian things, He would bless us. Everything I had believed in and been taught in church was all crumbling. My world was crumbling.

Our friends and family stood by while we went through each miscarriage, each failed treatment. They prayed for us, they cried with us. They even shouted angrily at God with us. I remember thinking God doesn’t care about me. I’ve dreamed of being a mom my whole life and He keeps ripping it away from me. Why would He do this if He loved me like He says he does?

Within a week I had 4 (not 1 but 4!) incredible women come to me and say they felt God telling them to offer surrogacy to me and my husband. They wanted so badly for us to be parents and didn’t understand why this was happening. But they knew God had given them the gift of fertility and that He wanted them to offer it to us.

BAM! There it was. I felt it clear as day. This was God telling me, showing me, that He did indeed love me and care about me so very deeply. He put this strong desire in me to be a mom for a reason. He had plans for the future of our family.

My beautiful, compassionate, amazing, selfless, Christ-like, and dear dear friend Liz is now carrying our baby. She has been sick and nauseous and tired beyond belief carrying that little miracle and yet she still shows nothing but happiness to do it. The connection we have is unexplainable. She is giving my precious baby life! Something I could not do. It is a gift we will never be able to repay to her. She is a true example of Christ’s sacrifice for all of us. A gift we will also never be able to repay.

After 6 years our baby dreams are finally coming true. We’re having a baby boy! And that little boy will be loved so deeply and so gratefully. He will know how much he was prayed for and desired. He will know it took a whole village of people to get him here.

And he was always part of God’s plan.

Beforeyouwere

 

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Low Carb Dinners

I’m a carb lover. I’ll admit it. Give me all the bread, pasta, potatoes, and fried foods! Gimme Gimme!
But don’t really because I’ll be miserable and bloated afterwards. If you’re looking to cut out carbs like I am, here’s a list of dinners (that then make good leftovers for lunch) you can enjoy but without the carbs. Links posted below the pictures.

Turkey Sausage & Veggies– I used a few different vegetables than what was listed in the recipe including sweet potatoes in place of red potatoes. Still turned out delicious!
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Link:One Pan Healthy Sausage and Veggies

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Bruschetta– You’ll be surprised at how filling a portobello mushroom is! This is my go to stuffed mushroom recipe.
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Link: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Bruschetta

Zucchini Lasagna– Replacing lasagna noodles with long zucchini slices may not sound like a good substitute but it actually is! And you won’t feel guilty afterwards.
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Link: Zucchini Lasagna

Bell Pepper Nachos– These are amazingly good! I wasn’t so sure I would like them but I LOVED them

Link: Bell Pepper Nachos

Creamy Parmesan Mushroom Chicken– One of our favorite meals because the sauce is so creamy and flavorful! The chicken turns out nice and juicy too. Plus you get to feel good about throwing in some green spinach.

Link: Creamy Parmesan Mushroom Chicken

Chipotle Pulled Pork and Southwest Cabbage Slaw– The pulled pork is marinated overnight and slow cooked in the crock pot. Topped with the cabbage slaw it adds a perfect topping flavor.
*You could eat it with a low carb corn tortilla or no tortilla at all

Slow Cooker Chipotle Pulled PorkSouthwest Cabbage Slaw | Whole30 recipes | paleo recipes | vegetarian recipes | perrysplate.com

Link: Chipotle Pulled Pork
Link: Southwest Cabbage Slaw

Grilled Fajitas – Grilled veggies are one of the tastiest ways to eat them. That summer grill flavor just can’t be beat! Grill your peppers and onions along with the chicken for that great sizzling restaurant fajita flavor.
*Eat with a low carb corn tortilla or lettuce cupBell pepper halves and red onion rounds on the grill.

Link: Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Sausage Alfredo With Zucchini Noodles– This is a super fast meal to make! You use already cooked sausage so you’re just heating it up in the skillet along with zucchini noodles and then adding some flavor.
Sausage Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles (Low Carb, Keto, THM-S) #trimhealthymama #thm #thms #keto #glutenfree #lowcarb #zucchininoodles #alfredo #sausage #sausagealfredo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link: Sausage Alfredo With Zucchini Noodles

 

 

 

 

If you’re also looking for some low carb sides here are a few ideas:

  1. Sautéed Asparagus
  2. Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
  3. Roasted Broccoli
  4. Zucchini- steamed in microwave and topped like a baked potato (butter, salt, pepper, shredded cheese, sour cream)
  5. Salad – other than traditional you can mix up cucumber salads, chickpea salads, corn salads, or avocado salads

Do We Really Know What Jesus Would Do?

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Photo by Sharefaith from Pexels

In bible times Jesus was not what anyone expected Him to be. The religious leaders hated him. He condemned their self righteous way of life. He told people to love their enemies, to respect political authority, to turn the other cheek. He shocked people with His solutions to the worldly conflicts. In almost every aspect of His life, He did the opposite of what people expected. He came into the world poor and surrounded by animals in a barn. He didn’t rise up, become an earthly King, and give the Romans their just punishment! His teachings left people a little confused. We want revenge, an eye for an eye! We want to cast blame on others and for everyone to like us. We surround ourselves with people just like us and avoid people who are not. And yet, these are the opposite ways in which Jesus lived his life.

And now I wonder if Jesus were walking the earth today, what would He say to us?
What would He do? We may think we know, but honestly we don’t. I think both Christians and non believers alike would be speechless and humbled if He were here speaking to us now. He might tell us things we wouldn’t expect (or want) to hear. Just like He did when He walked the earth 2,000+ years ago.

With recent events, I have seen people twist scripture to support their opinions on the conflicts going on in the world. What I see again and again though, is Jesus NEVER supported hate towards ANY group of people. Remember the good samaritan story? Samaritans and Jews hated each other. And yet Jesus told them no matter who your “neighbor” is, you treat them with love and mercy. The Samaritan not only helped the Jew, he went beyond! He showed such compassion for this man he was supposed to hate that people were in awe. This was Jesus’ example of how we are to treat everyone we come into contact with.

It makes my heart ache when Christians use the Bible to try and support their skewed and hateful opinions. This is not how we shine our light in the world. This is how we push people farther from the truth and love that they could experience through a relationship with God.

Next time you engage in a conversation, whether its face to face or online, ask yourself:

Am I showing truth and love in a surprisingly different and impactful way?

Or

Am I discouraging people who need Him most from being drawn into a life changing relationship with the one who taught us to love above all else?

It’s easy to get caught up in arguing your points and beliefs. Unfortunately it quickly turns into wanting to be right so badly you turn to insults, scare tactics, and ugly words. Even when other people resort to these things, we cannot. Jesus stood his ground and fully lived out an incredible and unconditional love, even when others were malicious towards Him.

We cannot be perfect. We are human. But we can do our best to live out the many examples He gave us. It’s a tough world out there friends! The bible tells us this. Being a christian doesn’t mean a life of worldly peace, worldly prosperity, and everything we desire. It means heartache, trials, and trusting God when all else fails to make sense. But we know when this life is over, we will go to be with our Heavenly King in heaven where pain is no more.

 

Summer Science with Kiddos🔬

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If you don’t know already, I am a nanny for 3 crazy, wonderful kiddos. The 2 oldest are boys and ages 5 and 7. So this summer I wanted to do some cool (but easy) science experiments with them. They were all pretty cool and super simple! And I enjoyed seeing the boys’ faces light up! Here are the ones we did.

Side Note: They all came from Pinterest so don’t hesitate to look them up on there

1) RAIN CLOUD EXPERIMENT

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I think this one was their favorite! They asked to do it again several times lol

You need:

•Shaving cream

•Food colors

•Water

•Medium sized container (one for each child)

•Small cups

•Eye dropper or medicine syringe

What To Do:

1) Fill medium container(s) with water.

2) Mix up your food colors with water in small cups.

3) Squirt shaving cream over top of water filled container to make “clouds”.

4) Give droppers or syringes to the participants and let them fill it with a color, then squirt into shaving cream clouds.

5) Watch it come through the shaving cream and down like rain into the container.

6) Repeat with different colors

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2) CRYSTALIZED SHAPES

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We did an airplane and a train shape but star shapes look really cool too. This one requires some patience because it takes up to 24 hours for it to be done crystallizing.

You Need:

•Mason jar/large pickle jar/something similar

•2 cups Boiling Water

•1/2 cup Borax

•Popsicle Sticks

•String

•Pipe cleaners

•Cookie Cutter Shapes of your choosing

What To Do:

1) Wrap your pipe cleaner around the cookie cutter shape of your choice. Then twist the ends together so it keeps its shape.

2) Tie a string around the shape so it hangs from the popsicle stick.

3) Place popsicle stick with hanging shape on top of jar so that the pipe cleaner shape is now hanging inside.

Here is a great picture of how it should look from https://onelittleproject.com/how-to-make-crystal-stars/

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4) Pour boiling water into jar (adults only) and then pour in borax and stir so it dissolves. Depending on the size of your jar, you might need to adjust the amount of water and borax. But it’s a 1/2 cup of borax to every 2 cups of water. You want your shapes to be totally submerged.

5) Now wait ….Within 6-8 hours you should see crystals forming on the pipecleaners. After 24 hours, remove and place on a paper towel to dry.

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Hang them somewhere the light can glisten on them 😊

3) POP ROCK BALLOON

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Putting pop rocks in soda creates a gas that fills up the balloon. I bought all the items at the Dollar Tree to save $. Yay for Dollar Tree!

You Need:

•Pop Rocks

•Unopened Soda Bottle

•Balloon

•Funnel

What To Do:

1) Fill balloon with bag of pop rocks using funnel.

2) Attach balloon filled with pop rocks to the top of the opened soda bottle. Be careful not to dump the pop rocks in yet.

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3) When ready, tilt ballon up so pop rocks slide into soda bottle. Watch balloon expand!

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I bought 2 sodas so we could do it twice. Then we blew up the extra balloons in the bag and drew silly faces on them lol

4) MINI COLORED VOLCANOES

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This one was fun! You take a muffin tin, put a different colored drop of food coloring in each tin, then cover it with a spoonful of baking soda.

I gave the kids a squeeze bottle full of vinegar.

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When they would squirt the vinegar into each muffin tin, it would erupt into a pretty color!

They had fun guessing which color it was going to be before squirting it in. Super simple, super fun!

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5) MAGIC MILK

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The supplies you need for this one are probably around your house! The only thing I didn’t have was q-tips but I made my own with toothpicks and cotton balls.

You Need:

•Shallow dish

•Milk

•Food coloring (the liquid drop kind)

•Dish Soap

•Q-tips

What To Do:

1) Pour a little milk in the shallow dish.

2) Drop different food colors in various spots on top of the milk.

3) Dip your q-tip in dish soap and then into the milk.

4) Viola! Beautiful swirling colors

If you pick up your q-tip and put it down again in a different spot, it will continue to swirl. We did this experiment 3x. The boys loved it!

And that was our summer of science experiments!

Weeknight Spinach Tortellini Soup

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I love tortellinis! I used to ask for them for my birthday dinner with alfredo sauce. Pasta filled with cheese. Can’t go wrong there! Today I wanted to add some veggies and put it in a soup to make it a healthier dinner for us. I read through some soup variations and came up with this. I was pleased with the outcome, so here it is! Oh, and big bonus. It’s quick and easy!

You’ll need:

  • half an onion, diced
  • 2 Tbl olive or avocado oil
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 4 cups (or 32 oz) vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp basil
  • Tri Color Cheese Tortellini, 19 oz bag
  • 3 cups fresh chopped spinach (no stems)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup half and half
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pour oil into large stock pot and sauté diced onions. Once tender, add garlic salt.
  2. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, and basil. Let come to a boil on medium heat.
  3. Then add the tortellini, spinach, and parmesan. Once tortellini is soft, pour the half and half in. Crack fresh pepper to your liking. Let soup come to a boil again.
  4. Serve and enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years

I turned 30 a couple months ago.

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Not quite as fun as turning 16, 18, or 21! You learn a lot in your first 30 years and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more in the next 30. Anybody feel like they’ve learned TOO much and kinda wish you could go back to being naive and full of young hope? Haha! Yeah me too! I came up with a list of 30 things I’ve learned in 30 years. Some of these may resonate with you as well.

  1. Most things are out of our control (despite what we tell ourselves lol). Roll with it and make the best of the situation.
  2. Anger will pass. Be slow to react so you don’t regret what you did/said in the heat of the moment.
  3. It’s okay to be honest and stand up for yourself. As long as you’re calm, rationale, and polite, most people will receive it well.
  4. Give an animal a family and loving home. They will give you unconditional loyalty, love, and comfort in return. They are part of your life for a short time, but you are all they will know for their entire life. Give them a good one. Take them places, play, give them treats, and cuddle.

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    My sweet boy Gunner ♥

  5. Plan fun things to look forward to. They don’t need to be big week long vacations. They can be small weekend getaways, a girls’ day/night, a movie, a play, a nice dinner out, etc.

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    Our weekend in Winter Park

  6. Give compliments often, especially to your spouse and the people you love.
  7. Make fun memories with your kids or the special kids in your life. They will remember spending a fun day with you (like baking cookies) and look back on it fondly.
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  8. Be supportive and encouraging. You may be the only person they will get it from.
  9. Smile at people. You never know what they’re dealing with.
  10. Get involved in groups, bible studies, or clubs. It will help you meet people that could become very good friends.
  11. Find something that you enjoy doing.
  12. Don’t be afraid to try something new. If it interests you, give it a go and if it doesn’t work out or isn’t as enjoyable as you thought, oh well! Onto something else.

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    I tried cookie flooding and ended up loving it!

  13. Be a good listener. Make eye contact, nod, and ask questions. Being heard always feels good.
  14. When things in life get hard, talk to a trustworthy friend or family member. When you isolate yourself and become distant, the problem and feelings can get too overwhelming.
  15. You’re never the only one going through something. There will always be other people struggling with the same thing.
  16. Treat yourself! It’s okay to get that special Starbucks drink sometimes or take a hot bubble bath for some relaxing alone time.
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  17. Spend time with people that build you up and want what’s best for you. If you’re around people that do the opposite, you’ll start believing things about yourself that aren’t true.
    If you have a spouse, you also need to be around people that want your marriage to succeed. Hearing negative remarks about your spouse will create problems and make you view your spouse negatively too.
  18. Don’t put God in a box or into a formula. It will shake your world up when He breaks it. We will never figure God out. His thoughts are higher (and much different) than our own.
  19. Don’t console people with clichés or advice. When someone has experienced loss or pain they just need to know you care and are there for them. You don’t need to say much more than “I’m sorry” or “I’m here for you”.
  20. Be silly and laugh at yourself. One of the greatest pleasures in life is laughing until your sides hurt.
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  21. Send sweet texts. It will make the receiver’s day.
  22. Do small acts of kindness for people you love. Bring your mom flowers, drop off coffee or lunch to your spouse at work, make your sibling their favorite cookies, or bring dinner to a friend having a bad week/day. You’ll feel good and they’ll feel very loved.
  23. Call your grandparents and send them cards. Everyone likes to get a special card in the mail for birthdays, Valentine’s, Christmas, etc. This is especially true for grandparents and they’ll love knowing you thought about them.

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    You can make your own cards at low cost with some pretty paper and stickers

  24. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask questions at the doctor’s office, when you’re learning something new, at a job, anywhere! It’s better to ask and know for sure, than to guess and make mistakes that affect people.
  25. Follow through with your commitments. If you commit to doing something and then later change your mind, you still need to do it. Otherwise people will see you as unreliable.
  26. Say no to commitments if you know you can’t follow through with them. It’s better to say no upfront than to put someone in a bad position at the last minute.
  27. Make yourself reminders. I used to always feel like I was forgetting something. And I usually was! Now we have phones with calendars and reminders. Use them and give yourself peace of mind.
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  28. Health is important. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  29. It’s all about balance. Too much of anything isn’t good.
  30. Money isn’t everything, but be wise with it. Financial problems cause depression, relationship issues, stress, anger, and anxiety.
    Thinking about a budgets can seem difficult, but they’re really not. And when you realize you have enough money in the bank at the end of the month, you’ll feel so good! I’ve fallen off the budget wagon many times. It’s never too late to get back on it.

These are things I’ve learned from making mistakes, going through hard struggles, and seeing other people do it right. My favorite things on this list are the ones that love on other people. I’ve been on the receiving end of some incredible people who showed me great kindness and unconditional love ❤️ It really is a key thing to remember in life.
One of my favorite versus in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

 

How to Say Goodbye to the Grumpy Grinch

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Christmas is a time for holiday cheer, giving, and all around good spirit. However not every Christmas feels this way. It might be because we’re just going through the motions year after year. Or maybe life isn’t feeling very good right now so it’s hard to be in a cheery Christmas mood.

As the holidays were approaching, I certainly wasn’t feeling warm, fuzzy things. I thought, “Can we just get this over with?” I didn’t like that I felt that way, but there it was. I’ll be honest. My husband and I have been going through a lot of loss and grief. So being told it’s a happy time of year wasn’t jiving with how I felt.

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I couldn’t be the only one who felt the way I did. I got the idea to start making a list of ways I might be able to bring some joy to others. Doing something (even small) could help bring a good feeling to someone’s heart. And in the process I just might enjoy the holiday I was hoping would be over quickly.

Here are some of the things I came up with:

•Pay for someone’s coffee in the drive-thru ☕️

Optional: Leave an encouraging note for the barista to give them.

•Bring cookies and a card to elderly friends/family members 🎄

•Give out cookies and chat with people in an assisted living or nursing home 🍪

•Pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child or another organization that does something special for those in need 📦

Note: you can pack a shoebox virtually online if the time has passed to drop them at an OCC location

•Plan some fun Christmas activities with the kiddos in your life ❄️

I’m a nanny for 3 children, so I have some fun activities and baking for us to do together on their winter break

•Plan a fun outing with your spouse, good friend, or a family member so you can make a holiday memory together 💚❤️

Some ideas might be ice skating, a Christmas train ride, a special show or play

•Bring goodies to a neighbor 🍭

Maybe pick a neighbor you haven’t had a chance to meet

•Try to go a more sentimental route for some of your gifts 🎁

Buying gifts can be stressful and hard on your wallet (which makes it more stressful). But if you know a gift is going to mean something special to someone, it’s a little more exciting.

•Invite someone over for hot cocoa and a movie 🎥

This time of year we will usually hear “Christ is the reason for the season!”

But the meaning behind that saying doesn’t always sink in. There’s a lot of people dealing with grief, loss, and sadness right now. I think its time I put more thought into how I can show others the love Christ has shown us, instead of grumbling about my To Do list.

Merry Christmas! May you find some joy this holiday season. Hugs ❤️

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Christmas Gift Ideas for Everyone

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Every year when the holidays roll around I get this mixed feeling of joy and fear. The fear comes from the realization I have to start racking my brain for 100 different Christmas gifts. Slight exaggeration but you get it. You’re faced with the task of coming up with a gift for each and every person that meets all these requirements:

*thoughtful
*unique
*inexpensive
*something they don’t already have
*not cheesy
*decent quality
*something they would use
*is cute/cool

That’s a lot of pressure.

I’ve done plenty of searches online for gift help. So to help my fellow gift searchers, I’ve put together some ideas I’ve used successfully.

MARRIED COUPLES/PARENTS:

  • Date Nights
    -get a variety of gift cards they can use for date nights
    ie: coffee, movies, ice cream, restaurants
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  • Tickets to an Event
    ie: play, comedy show, concert, musical
  • A weekend or Night Away
    ie: bed & breakfast, a nearby town/city with fun activities, spa
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*As an added bonus if you gift someone a special night or weekend away, you can also offer to watch their kid (s) or dog sit

  • Matching Pajamas and Mugs
    -you can find a lot of cute Mr. & Mrs. items
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  • Get Local
    -if you live in a different state than the gift receiver, put together a variety of products specially made in your state.
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  • Hobby Accessories
    -Are they really into something right now? Camping/RVing, hiking, house projects, etc.
    My in-laws bought a camper and they take full advantage of it in the warm months. So we put together some things we thought would come in handy for that.
    ie: a personalized bag to store things in, scented fire starters, and a shark steam mop (there’s a lot of foot traffic in their camper).

SINGLES/COLLEGE STUDENTS:

  • Subscription to Hulu
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  • Crockpot (include some good recipes)
  • Funny t-shirt, Mug, and/or Movie
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  • Wine, Beer, Whiskey (as long as they’re 21)
    -I have a brother in college and one thing I’ve learned is that he and his friends appreciate a good local beer or whiskey. Any gifts that go along with that are usually a hit also.
  • Gift cards
    -This might seem like the easy way out. But when you’re on your own, gift cards are like gold! If you’re not sure what type of gift cards they’d like, ask for a list of 4 or 5 to pick from.
  • Just ask
    -Maybe they’re trying to cook more and would love some new measuring cups and spoons. Maybe they’re trying to save up for a trip and would love to just take the money and put it towards that. No harm in asking!

LADIES IN YOUR LIFE:

  • Pedicure
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  • Facial or Massage
    -a morning or afternoon at a spa getting pampered?! That’s a great day
    *My favorite place is Brookside Gardens located in Berthoud, CO. If you don’t know of a good place, ask around!
  • Tickets to a Fun Event
    -ie: concert, play, dinner theater, etc
    *If you choose to get someone tickets to an event, make sure you find out if they’re available that night.
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  • Favorite Things ♥
    -I started making a list of things I’ve come to love in the past year. If I love it, I have a feeling other people will too and it could make a great gift!
    For example, I bought a Pampered Chef tool that chops up ground beef like a pro and makes cooking so much easier. It’s a game changer! So for Christmas I ordered some for several women in my family. And guess what? They loved it too 🙂
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MEN IN YOUR LIFE:

  • Wood Docking Station
    -My husband has this and we both really like it. It looks very nice and holds everything from his phone and wallet to watches, sunglasses, and keys. I got it from Palmetto Wood Shop. You can choose from a variety of colors.
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  • Whiskey, Beer, Favorite Liquor (21+ of course)
  • Whiskey Accessories
    ie: whiskey ice cube molds, whiskey glasses, or other accessories. I got my husband a death star ice cube mold because he’s a Star Wars nerd 😉
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  • Beard or Shaving Stuff
    Beard- beard oil, lotion, beard kit, beard comb
    No Beard- grooming kit, homemade or good quality shaving cream, shaving brush
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  • Travel Bag
    -I purchased personalized travel bags for some of the guys in my family. They’re good quality and can hold all their bathroom products when traveling. This one is from Thirty-One and they call it the “24/7 Case”.
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KIDS:

  • Creative Gifts
    ie: chalk, crafts, new art supplies, play dough  (just not anything that creates too much of a mess or has a lot of small parts)
    *mom and dad will love if you include an organizer with it too
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  • A Fun Outing
    ie: movies, zoo, bowling, mini golf, etc. Kids tend to look back and remember experiences more than toys
    *If you want them to still be able to open something, you could wrap a small item to represent your outing
  • Imaginative Play
    ie: Dr. kit, tool kit, baking set, dress up clothes
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  • Stocking Stuffers
    -For the kids I used to nanny I purchased a fun Christmas burlap bag and then filled it with small items I found at Michaels and Hobby Lobby. You could also check out the Target dollar section.
    ie: putty, play dough, crafts, small toys, supplies, candy, books

DOGS:

  • Dog water bottle
  • Bark Box (these usually come with 2 toys, 2 treat bags, & a jerky stick)
  • Car seat belt
  • Blanket
  • Poetry poo bags

Do you like to give things with a more personal touch? Sites like Etsy and Shutterfly are great for helping you with that!

HOMEMADE/PERSONAL GIFT IDEAS:

Adults:

  • Handkerchiefs with their initials
  • (Shutterfly) Picture magnets, blankets, mugs, photo books, personalized calendars
  • (Etsy) Kitchen aid mixer decals, fun shirts, instant pot covers, pot holders

Kids:

  • Personalized pencil cases, lunch boxes, backpacks, personalized crayons, aprons, jewelry
    -I gave my nieces and nephew pencil cases with a fun picture of them on it and a fun design I knew they’d like. Then filled it with brand new colored pencils

I hope some of these ideas helped you check some people off your list!

Shape Hunt & Scavenger Hunt

A few ideas for keeping small people busy! The boys are loving these 2 games right now. And the great part is there’s not much prep to them.

Shape Hunt – The object of this game is to find the shapes hidden or placed around the room. Draw some shapes, cut them out, add tape, and BAM! Endless fun 🙂

Try to “hide” the shapes at eye level for younger ones

I traced the shapes onto another paper so they could put them in their place as they found them. It helped them to see what shapes were left to find too.

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Steps to Play:
1) Cut out shapes
2) Trace shapes on another paper
3) Add tape to cut out shapes (painter’s tape works great)
4) One person counts to 20 0r 30 while the other person puts the shapes around the room
5) Person counting finds shapes and matches them to their spot on the paper

Scavenger Hunt – The object of this game is to find the listed items. Here are a few examples. The boxes at the end are for the boys to check off when they’ve found that item.

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I’ve found that this is a great way to talk about textures, patterns, shapes in everyday objects, and using your senses. Depending on the age the scavenger can be made easier or more difficult.

Have fun!!!!

 

Breakfast Burritos-bacon, egg, potato, & gravy

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Bacon, eggs, potatoes, cheese, and gravy wrapped in a tortilla. It’s a pretty good way to start the morning. And it can last many mornings if you make extra, wrap them and store them in the freezer. Here’s my burrito assembly set up:

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It’s burrito making time!

Now I know that breakfast burritos really aren’t that hard to make. But there are many options and ways to do it. So since I was making a batch, I thought I would share!

To start I cooked up the potatoes. I used diced potatoes found in the frozen section, but shredded would work too! Once those were browned and cooked, I added in beaten eggs. Stir into potatoes until scrambled. Turn heat off and add shredded cheese. It will melt as you stir it in. It’s nice to have the potatoes and eggs in one skillet. Less dishes, less mess.

And Bacon. Yes bacon. The salty, meaty, crispy goodness that completes every good breakfast meal. Cook it until crisp and crumble into a bowl.

I chose to top it off with bacon gravy. I grew up going to my MiMi’s house for biscuits and bacon gravy, so its definitely a comfort food for me. You could choose a different gravy or green chili. Both are great options.

Wrap up the leftovers and store in a zip lock in the freezer.

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Breakfast Burritos – Bacon, egg, potato, and gravy
Yields 7-8 

Ingredients:

  • Diced potatoes – half of a 32 oz bag
  • 8-10 large eggs
  • 7 slices of thick cut bacon
  • Shredded cheese for sprinkling on top of potato/egg mixture
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Gravy or green chili
  • Large tortillas

Directions:

  1. Follow directions on the diced potatoes package. Add in salt and pepper to taste. I started cooking the bacon at the same time as the potatoes. (In a separate skillet of course ;))
  2. In a separate bowl crack your eggs and beat. I like to add a little bit of milk to help fluff them up.
  3. When potatoes are cooked, pour in the eggs and stir until scrambled. Take off heat and sprinkle cheese on top. Stir to melt it into the mixture.
  4. Crumble bacon into a bowl. If you’re making bacon gravy, don’t forget to save some of the bacon grease.
  5. Heat up your green chili or gravy of choice. This is the bacon gravy recipe I used:
    http://www.unclejerryskitchen.com/recipes/southern-white-gravy-just-like-moms/
  6. Set up your breakfast burrito assembly and go to town!
    1-tortilla 2-potato/egg mix 3-crumbled bacon 4-gravy or green chili 5-wrap it up
  7. Saran wrap and freeze in a zip lock