Showing posts from 2016

'Tis the Season of Giving.....and Greed

A lot of nights at bedtime it is just my son and I, so we listen to Keys for Kids on my phone (a short devotional) and sometimes Adventures in Odyssey through Tonight, after my boy fell asleep, I started scrolling through Facebook and came across this video:

Tears silently fell down my face. Not just because of the story itself, but because of an incident that happened yesterday in my own life, with another person. 
My son and I had just left one of my OB appointments, and usually when I'm in the cities I grab groceries at my favorite stores. One of those stores is in Vadnais Heights, so we were headed there. I saw a man at the corner with a sign right off of the exit and saw the car next to me give him something and in my head I was so negative. I hate admitting any of this, but since moving here it is such a common sight and not knowing whether or not the person truly is in need or if they are just panhandling does eventually make me stupid when it comes to helpin…

A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada

A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada with Larry Libby is a daily devotional that is meant to be encouraging, especially to those living in hard times or going through them. Each day starts off with a verse to look up and read, followed by the author's take on it or a story relating to it and then a short prayer. 
I found that a lot of these have come from Joni Eareckson Tada's own life experiences. If you don't know anything about her, she is a quadriplegic and is founder and CEO of Joni and Friends, a Christian organization that is an outreach to the disabled community. She is a great inspiration seeing all that she has been up against in life and I find great respect in her ability to overcome the obstacles that have been thrown her way.
The devotionals don't really inspire deep thought and are very simple and to the point. The short prayers are also more her prayers, which I would suggest saying a prayer that means something to you, these just help end the de…

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes is a widely popular New York Times Bestseller. Given the chance to actually read such a popular book I have heard so much about, I had to take it! 
The edition I received is the 20th Anniversary Edition with a new afterword - some thoughts from Frances Mayes herself on the book she wrote 20 years ago. I have to agree with everyone, that it is a beautifully written memoir that really brings you into the life in Italy, the remodeling of an original home, and my favorite - the food. I absolutely adore that she included recipes in the book. There is actually a chapter called Winter Kitchen Notes that contains quite a few recipes including Wild Mushroom Lasagna, a variety of Bruschette and Chestnuts in red wine. 
Under the Tuscan Sun is said to have inspired many into taking journey's of their own. To take a risk and travel and learn about something out of their own ordinary. I really can see that through the beauty of the pages and how detailed she…

Devotions For A Deeper Life by Oswald Chambers

I thoroughly enjoy devotionals that make me think. Devotions For A Deeper Life by Oswald Chambers does just that. The author, Oswald Chambers, is a world renowned theologian and well known for his other book, My Utmost for His Highest, which is also a great read. 
Devotions For A Deeper Life by Oswald Chambers is a beautiful hardcover devotional book with an attached ribbon book mark for keeping one's page very easily. This is a daily devotional, starting with January 1st and ending on December 31st. Each devotion starts with a scripture, followed by a short devotional and ending with a prayer thought and suggested reading from the Bible.
Whether keeping for yourself as a beautiful devotional, or giving as a gift, I really think anyone looking for a great devotional would enjoy this as much as I do. It really is gift ready and perfect for the nightstand, whether doing devotions in the morning or evening. You can purchase it here  Zondervan Publishing or at your local bookstore or f…

Christmas Card Season ~ AdoramaPix Has You Covered

AdoramaPix is an amazing company that lets you create beautiful, extremely high quality Christmas cards. The prices are fabulous and the quality! I cannot say enough about the beauty of these cards. This is our second year getting them and I couldn't be happier. Photo cards can look cheap and quite frankly, can be pricey for the quality you get. These will not disappoint! I have never been disappointed with anything I have purchased from AdoramaPix, so I can put these on mythe "I highly recommend this" list!

I was more than thrilled to open my cute little AdoramaPix box this afternoon when the mail came. I LOVE sending out Christmas Cards, and it is the only time of year we do family pictures. It has become a tradition for us, so I was definitely looking forward to it. The experience to create the card was a good one. It is so easy to create your own personalized cards, whether using a template they already have on the site or making your own from scratch.

There are four…

KidCreate Studio ~ Introducing Kids to the Wonderful World of Art

I am always looking for fun things to do around the city, whether it be cultural, educational or just plain fun. One of the most recentFun and Educational things I have found is Kidcreate Studio- not just any art studio, but somewhere that children can express themselves through their own creations.

My son and I participated in a Thanksgiving Craft Party class and had so much fun! The kids made their own clay turkey - just in time for Thanksgiving - as well as some Goo Gunk, which was a fun science lesson.

The class was led by Kendra, along with her helper Linnea. Upon walking in, the atmosphere was bright and happy. Kendra was extremely welcoming to the parents and their kids, which is a great way to set any environment for learning.

She started us off by having the kids sit on a mat while she went over the simple and easy to follow rules of the class and introduced us to Ferdinand, her clay turkey (who was just adorable!). As an ode to Thanksgiving, she also asked each child what t…

Bedtime Read and Rhyme Bible Stories by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

Bedtime Read and Rhyme Bible Stories is a beautifully illustrated book and is the perfect addition to the family night time routine. I keep this on my son's dresser and we read a few stories every night before bed. They are short and written in poem form so are easy to read and fun for kids to listen to. 
As you would imagine, the stories aren't thoroughly detailed but are great to get your child started on a variety of Bible stories, or supplement one's already known to the child. Stories include the Creation, The Ark, Daniel and the Lion's Den and Queen Esther for the Old Testament stories among many others. The New Testament stories go beyond the life of Jesus and into the gift of the Holy Spirit, Saul's change of heart and even touches a little bit on Heaven in the book of Revelations. Each story/poem (over 90 altogether!) ends with a short prayer, so this can be a complete, short devotional for kids before bed. 

The illustrator, Robert Dunn, does a fabulous jo…

The Dates I Will Never Forget

You know how you have to write down people's birthdays on the calendar so you don't forget about it? Or even sometimes special days in your life, like your own birthday, or God forbid, your Anniversary! It happens all the time to me with a lot of things. But there are two dates I don't need to write down. Two dates that are burned into my memory so much so, that the days leading up to these dates are full of the memories they hold. Those two dates are 7-17-13 and 11-9-15; the days we lost Adora Ruby and Theodore Andrew.

As Theodore's "birthday" is approaching, I can't help but remember those horrible days. I started spotting on Halloween; right before we went out for trick-or-treating I saw it. Nine days later I was in the hospital being told I wouldn't be going home, that in fact I had an ectopic and they would be doing emergency surgery that night. The numbness I felt can't ever be matched. I vividly remember asking for pain medicine, not becau…

Legend by Eric Blehm

Legend by Eric Blehmis the inspirational story of Green Beret Sergeant Roy Benavidez. Within the first few pages of this book, Eric captures the readers attention with the bravery and the heroic actions of this great hero. Just those few pages made me HAVE to keep reading. Thanks to Eric Blehm, Fred Barbee, The Associated Press and Brian O'Connor the story of Roy Benavidez has not been lost.

This book begins with the childhood of Roy Benavidez. His early exposure to war through the newsreels at the local theater regarding World War II struck a sense of adventure in Roy. I can totally picture how he would pretend to be one of the paratroopers he watched in the newsreels to fight the Nazi's, almost like my own son pretends to be a super hero. Those feelings of heroism don't die easily, and with Roy that proved to be more than true.

What eventually got him into the military was his hot temper. He wasn't a tall man and not big either, but strong and fit from hard work. You…

Homemade Apple Oatmeal

It really is that time of year for the taste of apples and cinnamon! The other day I wanted something hearty, filling, yet healthy for breakfast. The chilly mornings leave a desire for something warm as well so I concocted this delicious yet simple recipe that is ready within minutes! 
Homemade Apple Oatmeal
1 apple, peeled, cored, cut into 8th's, then sliced thinly into a small saucepan 1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant) 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (add more if you like more) Dash of nutmeg, cloves and salt
Stir together in the small saucepan. Add 1 cup water of milk (I used water) and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the pan. Once the apples are soft it's done!  
Delicious, filling and fairly healthy. Enjoy! Oh and this is one serving :)

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Carlson's Llovable Llama's ~ Fun For the Whole Family!

One of our favorite things this year in the homeschooling world is our group, Field Trip Friday. We have done a few cool things already with our group, but so far our favorite was visiting Carlson's Llovable Llama Farm. Located in Waconia, MN, it is just West of the Twin Cities and was well worth the drive! As you can see in the above picture, Benjamin thoroughly enjoyed himself.

We started off with an info session with proud owner and operator Rick Carlson. I have never heard someone so passionate about what they do and the love he has for each and every Llama he owns. I cannot remember the exact amount of years Rick and Joan have been doing this, but it has been for quite some time. The Llama's and Alpaca's on their farm are very well taken care of and extremely friendly.

One interesting fact we learned was that they make good guard animals. Who knew that Llama's would go after a bear if necessary to protect what they are put in charge of. That is pretty bold!


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What No One Told Me About Conceiving After Loss

When we found out we were pregnant in early June, we were ecstatic! If you've been following my story, you know we have been trying to have another child for over 3 years now. With losing Adora in July of 2017 and Theodore in November 2015 it has been extremely difficult for us. And finally we have our rainbow. But it isn't all unicorns and butterflies. Not at all.
See, from the experience I've seen from others, they get pregnant with their rainbow and seem to forget about their other babies. So naturally I thought getting pregnant and feeling the baby start moving and going to the appointments would be so exciting and ease the pain, if not eliminate it, from our loss. Boy was I wrong.
Here are 4 things no one told me could happen when conceiving after loss:
1. It is scary Everytime I go to the bathroom I wipe and look. I am absolutely terrified of what might be on that tissue. It may sound gross, but if you've experienced loss, I bet you can relate. I half expect to se…

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Luv Michael ~ Locally Sourced Organic Granola That Gives Back

Do you enjoy granola? It is delicious sprinkled on yogurt for a great morning breakfast, as a snack to bring hiking, or something easy to grab and go with. I love the flavors granola has and the different varieties out there.

Recently I was lucky enough to try Luv MichaelOriginola Granola. What is unique about this brand, and personally my favorite thing about it, is that they train, educate and employ people with Autism! Check out their About Us page for more detailed info. I know you'll love what you see.

Your purchase enables Michael and thousands of other with Autism realize their true potential. (copied from Our Mission page)
The other thing that is terrific is the ingredients. They use 100% organic whole grain granola using the finest organic ingredients. This granola is gluten free, nut free and dairy free.

The flavor is delicious and light. It isn't doused in spices or flavors, giving the natural taste of granola and the organic dried cranberries and raisins inside. It i…

Precious Knit Blankies from Leisure Arts

Remember the awesome Loom Knitting Kit I told you about in early July? Well here we are again, thanks to Leisure Arts, with another great product for those just learning to knit or other's who want some new patterns.

Precious Knit Blankies for Babyis that product and boy is it a fun book! The skill level ranks from Beginner to Easy-Plus so they all are doable for the beginner! I had never tried creating a blanket before, only hats from my the Loom Knitting Kit. I was very excited to try my hand at some sweet little blankets for our bundle of joy due in February. Jean Adel from and the Managing Editor for Lion Brand Yarn Company created this as her second book and she did a wonderful job.

In Precious Knit Blankies for Babythere are 16 blanket designs to choose from. I started with the Ribbed Blankie on page 40. The design is rated Easy, which I would agree it is! With the General Instructions on page 67 and Knitting Basics on page 73, I was able to start my blankie! On…


If you have a kid in sports, are a runner yourself or work out in any way, some sort of electrolyte drink is probably in your fridge or cooler. Rehydrating is EXTREMELY important after a workout or being out in the field or track for any amount of time in the sun or heat. My husband told me about BODYARMORone day in the grocery store as he was training for a half marathon at the time and he knows I enjoy healthier electrolyte options as a runner myself.
So I gave BODYARMORa tryfor myself, and was VERY happy that I did. I took the time to compare labels on both bottles of BODYARMOR as well as Gatorade, which is one of the most popular athletic drinks. Here is what I found:
Gatorade Ingredients for Frost Glacier Freeze Flavor:
Water Sugar Dextrose Citric Acid Salt Sodium Citrate Monopotassium Phosphate Modified Food Starch Natural Flavor glycerol ester of rosin blue 1
Note that it has artificial color (blue 1) and modified food starch, which can be difficult for those with gluten and wh…