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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Don't Run on Empty!

I have been on a accidental hiatus lately! I am adjusting to life with a toddler and a now very mobile 9 month old! He is super busy and into everything! His favorite activities include sneaking up the steps (heart attack!), playing in the dogs water bowl and on the rare occasion I forget to put the toilet seat down, he quite enjoys splashing around in it (I know... gross!). I clearly need to put this kid in a water sport!

Right at this moment, I have two beautiful babies taking a nap... at the same time! Shocker! So I wanted to take a moment to write about "running on empty." Honestly, I feel like I am running on empty most of the time. I work hard all day to meet the needs of my family and at night my children do not sleep well at all! It is exhausting and at time discouraging when I see the sun begin to peer through my window in the early morning... already?



No matter how busy it is on a daily basis, I am reminded of Proverbs 11:25 " A generous person will prosper, whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." I find this to be so encouraging. It is a great reminder that God wants us to purposefully pour into and love our families, friends and neighbors. We can be sure that when we put the needs of others before us, God does not forget us, he takes care of us. It also reminds me to take care of myself. I want to feel refreshed spiritually, mentally and physically that way I can serve my family on a day to day basis feeling refreshed and ready pour out to others. Remember, if your cup is empty you cannot pour out to others, make sure you have some time during the day to rejuvenate yourself.



This post was written by: Veronica HurstauthorI am the author of Wonderfully Live Blog, I am a follower of Jesus, a wife and a mother of 2 amazing children. I love spending time with my family, writing, reading, baking, and gardening. I strive to use the talents God has given me to bring people to Him, and to glorify Him. I am so thankful for my family.
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Monday, August 1, 2016

Willow & Luna FREE Sponsored Giveaway Awesome Leather Tote!!!


In celebration of Wonderfully Live's 20,000 visitors and subscribers, I am conducting a giveaway! We have an awesome sponsored giveaway from an amazing company called Willow and Luna!
Erin is a fabulous military wife, mother and is the owner of Willow & Luna.

"Willow & Luna started while we were stationed in Wilmington, NC! My husband and I had just moved cross country, had our son and I felt the need to create something, anything. Armed with my sewing machine and several trips to the fabric store, I sewed my husband a memory quilt. From there my quilting obsession grew and grew fast. I was looking for any and every reason to make quilts from new babies to birthday presents. As time went on, I began to sew bags. The store is now centered more around bags and wallets then when it began. I still love to make quilts and will make custom requests. This Etsy shop allows me, as a military wife, to have a business that can move along with us.

Prior to opening up this little Etsy shop, I was working in an office for forty hours a week counting down the days until my husband came home from his last deployment. It was a transition to go from the workplace to the nursery. This store offers me the possibility of staying home with my little guy and being able to continue sewing. I love to share my love of sewing and making great products with your family and friends."

I am so excited that someone will receive this beautiful handcrafted bag! All you have to do is enter your email address here:

Enter your email address:


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You will receive an email in which you will have to activate the link I order to qualify for the drawing. If you are already subscribed by email, you automatically qualify for the drawing!


This beautiful handcrafted tote features leather sides and a linen main exterior. It has one zippered pocket on the outside and a pocket on the inside. The bag measures appox. 13.5” W x 2.5” deep across base,12” tall.

The winner will be picked at random by the computer and sent and email announcing the big win the week of August 15th!

Be sure to check out Erin's shop, Willow & Luna

Are You That Negative Person?


Do you know a “Negative Nelly”? The person in your life who is always highlighting the terrible things on the news, sharing information about who is ill, dying or just died. The person who is quick to cast a shadow on well…anything and everything. Have you ever been a “Negative Nelly” when you are out with your family or friends? We all go through difficult moments where we experience loss and it is perfectly acceptable to grieve. However, have you considered that a person who is constantly focusing on the negative on an ongoing basis, when a person is not grieving, may not be following God’s plan?

 As Christians God has called us to be the Light of the World. A light shines the way for others. Christians are to be examples of joy to others. Have you ever noticed the light in someone’s eyes when they smile or laugh? The Bible instructs us to “rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). It can be very difficult to rejoice, when our goals do not seem obtainable. God does not promises us happiness on this earth, yet he does ask us to focus on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). We need joy, especially in the bad times. I think of the apostle Paul singing in jail. He could not have been happy to be shackled hand and foot in cold dark surroundings with little if any nourishment or comfort (Acts 16:25). Yet, in his dark hour he was praying and singing to God. It was such a witness to those around him that all the incarcerated felons wanted to stay near Paul and Silas even after they had the opportunity to go free. Paul was a light of joy and I want to be a light of joy to others during the rough times in life, look for something to praise and thank God for.

Perhaps it is your health, your job, your family, your friends. Look around in nature to find a bird, flower, or shining star. Or better yet, look at those less fortunate than yourself. Look at the homeless on the street corner, those in the hospitals, neighbors who are struggling. It doesn’t take much to find someone you know who needs our prayers. Often when we focus on ourselves we can be discouraged but when we find things we are thankful for, we are encouraged. Another great Bible text that illustrates this point is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Keep track of all the things you are thankful for and see if it lifts your spirit. Many times our friends can encourage us, if we share our struggles. Ask a friend to share what they are thankful for. Don’t be afraid to admit your heartache. It’s only when we are vulnerable that we can receive the help we desperately need.

 I recently read a little book entitled Finding Joy: Developing patterns for a joyful life by Jill Briscoe. This easy read is filled with biblical examples of God working in people’s lives. Briscoe suggests that there are “joy snatchers” eager to rob the blessing of joy God desires to instill in you. Recall Jeremiah 29:11 which says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” God wants us to be joyful with hope for a bright a glorious future (if not immediate than in the future New Jerusalem). Whether you are constantly faced with a “Negative Nelly” or you are struggling to find a light, hope, and something to be positive about, there is joy all around us if we take the time to look and talk about it.




author
 This post was written by: Monica Nudd I am a wife to a wonderful husband and a teacher since 2005. I previously taught in Maryland and Virginia before coming to Indiana in 2013. I enjoy challenging my students and planning inquiry-based lessons that engage my "kids." I earned a master's of education degree from University of Maryland with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction, teacher leadership, and mathematics. I previously earned a B.A. in elementary education from Washington Adventist University. I enjoy camping, cooking, traveling, and board games.
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Monday, July 25, 2016

Simple Humble Advise From a New Mom of Two

I am a brand new mom of two! My son made me a first time mom in 2014 and I just had a darling little girl towards the end of may! So first and foremost, I don’t have everything figured out, my life is one hot mess so don’t worry about judgment! This is just what I have found to be true for me and I hope this post finds you well and can help bring a little peace and sunshine to your day!



Know what you need to be all right each day, and get it!

What I mean by that is, we all have one thing or a few things that we need on a daily basis that makes us feel human and sane. For me that is a shower and coffee…. now that does not have to be a 45 minute shower and a Starbucks coffee. Rather it’s actually usually a 5 minute really hot shower (sometimes with one or both kids sitting on the bathroom floor waiting for me!) and home-brewed coffee in my favorite hot pink travel mug! Don’t get me wrong I do love lattes and iced coffees from my favorite local coffee shop but that is just not feasible every day or even every week. When I don’t have these things I am not okay, I can’t function well and for that my family suffers. After all as a mom you set the tone for the household. If you are happy, the family is happy and the house is a little calmer! So take care of yourself first so that the family can be a family. In saying that, this isn't selfish, this is simply finding "that thing" that makes you feel like you can make it to the end of the day in one piece with your kids in tow. That may be having breakfast alone, washing your hair each day, or even sweeping your floors, but whatever it is for you do it! To accomplish those things, you might have to get creative. For example, make a weeks worth of breakfasts and put them in the freezer for you or wake up before the kids get up to sweep the floors, then maybe even climbing back in bed before they wake up!

Share Openly and Honestly

Lets face it being a mom is hard messy work! It doesn’t look perfect all the time, you don’t look perfect (skinny jeans, cute top, heels and hair all done) all the time, and your house certainly doesn’t look perfect all the time. If this is not true for you, then you hold the secret that no one else holds! I have found that the more honest I am about things the better I feel about them, and the more helpful feedback I receive. I used to hold tight to the notion that if I show flaws and problems that I was showing weakness, but I have found that to be very untrue! Admitting you need help or that things are not okay is a sign of strength. As a mom of a two year old who is way to clever and wise and a newborn with belly issues, I need help, advise, friendship, and kindness. What I don’t need is to look perfect on social media and at church on Sunday morning! Now as a side note,  on Instagram or Facebook, just looking at my pictures is deceiving! I am a photographer so it kills me not to take or use a good picture but take a bit to read the caption and you will see! I still find myself going over my newsfeeds seeing pictures and comments about how amazing this persons new baby is doing, and all the things that mom got done with her 3 kids and then thinking to myself wow they have it all together or it must be nice to have a child that sleeps 8 hours for you at 2 weeks old. I just have to tell myself that they are showing their best things for the world to see and they have troubles and flaws too! Don't stop sharing the good things that happen to you, because you need to do that too! Just don’t only share the good and the perfect, show the real!



Choose your Response
We all have those days that we are awoken by a child earlier then normal so the day just starts off on the wrong foot, you didn’t get your shower and you didn’t get your coffee before the chaos starts. So you skip the shower for now and you make the coffee with the baby screaming in your arms. Its in those moments when the thought of choosing joy for the day comes by hard, or maybe it isn’t even a thought at all! It’s in those moments I am learning to stop, breathe, say a prayer and decide that it’s a good day. I still get to drink my coffee, and at least I have a child to hold even if she is a screaming one! Or maybe the struggle for you comes later in the day when your toddler only wants to bounce all over you couch and reek havoc on your living room. You are ready to scream at them and send them crying to their room to think about how to behave, but what if instead you put aside whatever you were trying to get done and pull the pillows off the couch and play hot lava with them! The tone of your afternoon and your toddler just shifted into a laughing fun game which is sure to exhaust them for naptime, giving you the afternoon to finish the task you were trying to get done! Trust me this is not something I have perfected or are even remotely good at, it’s just something I am working on and have felt upon my heart to pass along. It brings me back to a quote I have loved forever and I am not sure who even said it, “everyday can be a good one if you choose it to be”. Yes! bad, annoying, sad, and frustrating things happen everyday, but there is something good that does too! It’s where you choose to find the emphasis and which moments you choose to live in. Real life example: I took my son and daughter out to a little coffee shop for lunch the other week, we ate outside at a little table watching the cars go by! I think I often take for granted how well my son behaves for being a 2 year old but that is beside the point. He finished eating and was just sitting watching the cars while I finished up. I was throwing the trash away and grabbing his hand to leave when a man siting also eating lunch stopped me and said “I just wanted to take a second to tell you how well mannered and behaved your son is, that is so refreshing to see these days, so keep up the good work”. So I get in the car in very good spirits, arriving home thankful and happy! Well that "well behaved"child didn’t last longer then a minute once we got home, in the hour before naptime we had 3 tantrums over nothing. My mindset when from a 10 to a 2 in less then 15 minutes! I put him in for nap and just sat with my daughter wondering how we can go from one extreme to the next, but you know what I stopped myself from going down that long dark rabbit trail which will ultimately ruin my happy day, and choose to hold onto the moment of joy when the man told me to keep up the good work! Don’t worry he woke up from his nap happy as can be.

I will end with a little word of encouragement that I use as my phone screensaver a lot of the time, because so often I find myself saying I have no clue how to raise these children, or that they are to overwhelming; this has got to be more then I can handle! It’s a Quote by Karen Ehman,

“God knew what kind of mother our children would need long before they were even born.”
Thanks for reading, now go choose joy for your day!

-Ashlee



This post was written by: Ashlee Zimmerman
authorI am a wife to Galen and mommy to Haidyn (2.5) and Lincoln (2 months). A little about me… I love to create in all forms (photos, cakes, dinner, painting, weddings, and the list could go on and on), Coffee is my favorite food group, I love the color yellow, Sunflowers are my favorite flower. Being neat and tidy is not my strong point, I love people, and most of all I love being around my family!
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Follow Me

Below are some of my thoughts that came to me this morning during my worship. I know that every mom has the whole world on her shoulders.  But God has never asked us to take on those burdens, He only asks us to take that one step, to follow Him, and he gives us all the strength and guidance to make that possible. "Take MY yoke upon you." We can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us!



I am so thankful for the rod of discipline! We have a shepherd who looks out for us every moment. A shepherd who is leading us to green pastures. The road is treacherous and narrow. There are vipers in our path; but our shepherds rod keeps us moving, prompting us, return to the way of rest and salvation (Is 30:15). When we veer to the left or the right His rod is a voice behind us saying "this is the way walk in it" (Is 30:21). As His sheep He bids us "Trust in the Lord with all your heart lean not on your own understanding, in all your way's acknowledge me and I will direct your paths"Prov 3:5)

The stinging strike from that rod fades away as the light shines and we see the jagged rocky precipice that we were about to walk over to sure death. We thank our shepherd and try to listen more attentively to his voice. We trust a little more that he knows the way and His rod is for our safety. As we get closer to the green pasture we are no longer able to navigate on our own, it too confusing, every path seems so right and so wrong all at the same time.  We throw our selves at our shepherd mercy depending on his rod to keep us, loosing all confidence in our own steps we quietly put our confidence in Him finding a strange strength to press on despite the worsening conditions. A peace that passes all understanding covers us like a blanket.

We remember what it was like trying to find our own way, the worry, the stress, the anxiety and pressure. The responsibility of the world resting upon our shoulders. We remember how it felt to be so pressed on all sides we could barely breath the thick air. We remember standing frozen in the darkness unable to progress as fear gripped our hearts. 

But now with faith we look into the kind eyes of our shepherd. We placed the world back on his shoulders and treasure the simple task he gave us in return.  With tears of love in our eyes, filled with thankful hearts we marvel as we hear the shepherd calls, FOLLOW ME.




This post was written by: Kathryn Stryer
authorI'm a wife and mommy of 3 girls ages 5,7,11. They get to see my real self and love me anyway. I believe in a simple, minimalist life with no clutter but you would never know that if you walk in to my house. I'm passionate about Jesus and the work he is doing for us in the Sanctuary. I love to teach people about that healing work through group classes and one on one. I long to do a better and better job of that as he works on me. I believe Jesus is coming super soon and I wan't to take everyone there with me.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Welcome New Blog Contributors!


Hello everyone! I am so excited to introduce to you three new blog contributors that will be joining me! I am so thankful and excited about the growth of subscribers to this blog over the past two years . I am grateful for the encouraging emails I receive saying that you look forward to reading the blog posts sent to your emails. With the additional authors, I will be able to keep up with the content and gain awesome new posts for the girls! I want this to remain a God glorifying blog where we can interact together and learn more from each other about life, faith, and family, and I am sure these ladies will do just fine here! Let's give a big welcome to...




Monica Nudd I am a wife to a wonderful husband and a teacher since 2005. I previously taught in Maryland and Virginia before coming to Indiana in 2013. I enjoy challenging my students and planning inquiry-based lessons that engage my "kids." I earned a master's of education degree from University of Maryland with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction, teacher leadership, and mathematics. I previously earned a B.A. in elementary education from Washington Adventist University. I enjoy camping, cooking, traveling, and board games.





                                                                                   

                                      
                                                                                     
Kathryn Styer I'm a wife and mommy of 3 girls ages 5,7,11. They get to see my real self and love me anyway. I believe in a simple, minimalist life with no clutter but you would never know that if you walk in to my house. I'm passionate about Jesus and the work he is doing for us in the Sanctuary. I love to teach people about that healing work through group classes and one on one. I long to do a better and better job of that as he works on me. I believe Jesus is coming super soon and I wan't to take everyone there with me.






Ashlee Zimmerman Hi, I am Ashlee a 27 year old, wife to Galen and mommy to Haidyn (2.5) and Lincoln (2 months). A little about me… I love to create in all forms (photos, cakes, dinner, painting, weddings, and the list could go on and on). Coffee is my favorite food group, I love the color yellow, Sunflowers are my favorite flower, neat and tidy is not my strong point, I love people, and most of all I love being around my family! Back to the husband, we were married in 2008 and have lived in the same little rancher ever since, I love him dearly and he is truly my best friend! As for the kiddos, I have two spirited children so they keep me stepping! After my daughter was born I have gained a whole new appreciation for mothers with more than one kid, this is hard stuff!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Spiritual Life of a Busy Mom


It has been quite a while since I posted anything! Between a 2 year old that is super busy during the day, and a 6 month old that has sleep issues at night,I have been struggling! I'm so tired, not sure coffee does anything for me anymore! It's been a challenge for me to find time to spend with God. I know that sounds terrible to say but it's true. I've been slowly learning how to spend time with him in this busy season of life. It can be tough to find a balance between busy kids, housework, spending time with God and your spouse too.

First, I recognize that children are such a blessing and a gift. They are not an interruption, a mistake, or a hindrance to God's will for my life; they are God's will and for my life and part of his plan. With that being said, here are some tips to spend your time with God. It looks different but remember you will be in different places in life and need to adjust to make room for what's important, and we all know Jesus is the most important!

Electronics
Facebook, Twitter, TV, texts. These are all great resources to keep in touch with loved ones, but be careful, it can consume a lot of time. I have a small retail store on Poshmark and I make a constant effort to make sure it isn't taking time away from my kids and husband. You could also use some of those times to read a short devotion.

Read Outloud
Lately, my 2 year old has been interested in reading. She has some great devotional like books and bibles created for her understanding. I like to read them to her, it benefits us both.

Nap Time
If I'm lucky enough to get both kids asleep at the same time, I usually go nuts cleaning the house, but I'm doing that less and less. Instead of every day, maybe every other or every 2 days I keep up with the basics of cleaning.The truth is the house will be a disaster again after they wake up anyway. Instead, I try to relax and rest and read during this valuable quiet time. I can always mop the floors later.

Shower Time
I love taking long, hot showers in the evening while my husband hangs out with the babies. It's so relaxing to me and it's a great place to think, plan and talk to God. It's true you can talk to Him anytime and anywhere but the shower is a nice, quiet place to reflect on your day.

Just Ask Him
Ask God to show you discernment and what will work for your family. Every family is uniquely made.. Since it is God's will for you to know Him, ask Him to enable you to create new ways to work with this season of your life. Houses, cars and other stuff will all pass away. We won't regret time invested in His Word and in raising our kids to love Christ.

I would love to hear your suggestions too! I find that most people like to email me instead of posting in the comment section. You can do either or!


This post was written by: Veronica HurstauthorI am the author of Wonderfully Live Blog, I am a follower of Jesus, a wife and a mother of 2 amazing children. I love spending time with my family, writing, reading, baking, and gardening. I strive to use the talents God has given me to bring people to Him, and to glorify Him. I am so thankful for my family.
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Friday, June 3, 2016

Proverbs 31: Physical Appearances


"Our loved ones are taking mental snapshots of us to build memories"



Once again, it's that dreaded bathing suite season! Ever since the pools opened over Memorial Day weekend, I've stood in front of a mirror almost daily, staring at my reflection less than pleased! My second child did a number on my body, specifically my thunder thighs! Would I do it again? Absolutely, in a heart beat. Still, I like to feel good about myself! I'm thankful that beauty is not just skin deep, beauty reaches to your soul. Characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman never mentions anything related to physical appearances. It's great to try and stay healthy and well kept, and take care of our temples (bodies) but it isn't healthy to obsess over our flaws.
 "Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman who feareth the Lord, she shall be praised" Proverbs 31:30.
One thing that helps me not obsess, is to remember that every moment we spend with our loved ones, they are taking pictures of us. Not necessarily with an actual camera, but with their mental cameras. They are taking mental snapshots of us to build memories. How will they remember us? What will they learn from me? Will my kids and husband remember mom looking sadly in the mirror, or mom sitting in the shade with all of her clothes on because she doesn't want to wear a bathing suite? Or will they see snapshots and memories of mom jumping in the pool and playing with them or mom demonstrating the things that are important in life? Allow your beloved memories and snapshots to be centered around love, don't let society make you feel as if you can't enjoy yourself or make you feel bad about yourself because your not a size 2. 

Physical appearances will inevitably fade away. What won't fade is what we offered to the ones we love and to those around us. We should be concerned about what God thinks of us and our families. We can start by striving to be a woman after Gods own heart, a proverbs 31 woman.

Check out the characteristics of a Proberbs 31 woman blog post.

This post was written by: Veronica Hurst
authorI am the author of Wonderfully Live Blog, I am a follower of Jesus, a wife and a mother of 2 amazing children. I love spending time with my family, writing, reading, baking, and gardening. I strive to use the talents God has given me to bring people to Him, and to glorify Him. I am so thankful for my family.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Cilantro Lime Dressing


After a cold and rainy spring, it looks like summer weather is here to stay! I love everything about summer minus the mosquitos, ticks and spiders... See a trend here? This year, my daughter and I had a blast planting herbs in our back yard. They have grown tremendously and we have an overabundance of all of them, especially cilantro. We have made salsa with the cilantro, but I wanted to post a delicious cilantro salad dressing recipe that you can also enjoy. It tastes just like summer in a bottle!

Cilantro Lime Dressing
1 large avocado
1/2 cup of cilantro with stems removed
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tbsp of olive or coconut oil
1-2 fresh squeezed lime (taste to see how strong you want it)
1/4 cup of water (add slowly depending on what consistency you want)

Place all of the above ingredients in a food processor. Keep in an air tight container for a little over a week.

Hope you enjoy it! Feel free to leave your favorite dressing recipe in the comment section below!




This post was written by: Veronica HurstauthorI am the author of Wonderfully Live Blog, I am a follower of Jesus, a wife and a mother of 2 amazing children. I love spending time with my family, writing, reading, baking, and gardening. I strive to use the talents God has given me to bring people to Him, and to glorify Him. I am so thankful for my family.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Road Blocks and Detours

It seems like roadwork and construction never ends in the state of Maryland! There is always a road block preceding a detour. You're cruising along in your car when you come to a sudden halt and that dreaded detour. With detours, you never know exactly where you are going, the only thing you may know is that you will end up back to the road you originally left. Back to where you need to be.

As I reflect on my own life, I see God’s hand in everything. Discovering God's plans for your life starts with accepting that your life is not your own, and that detours can and will happen. Life without detours can be appealing, but what would we ever learn? What would build us and bring us closer to our creator?

Life with detours that lead us to back roads and new discoveries are the roads that grow our faith. Detours can be frustrating and confusing, but they take us to places we never imagined. Expect and accept detours. Learn and grow from them. When life brings unexpected changes, surrender your own plans and take a detour that will lead you closer to God.

"For whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it".
Matthew 10:39









This post was written by: Veronica HurstauthorI am the author of Wonderfully Live Blog, I am a follower of Jesus, a wife and a mother of 2 amazing children. I love spending time with my family, writing, reading, baking, and gardening. I strive to use the talents God has given me to bring people to Him, and to glorify Him. I am so thankful for my family.
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Monday, May 9, 2016

8 Baby Products That Are Amazing!


There are so many products out there for newborns, from wipe warmers to bottles that look and feel like the real deal. We all want whats best for our babies, but it can be hard to determine what is useful, cost efficient and liked by other moms. I have a two year old and a four month old and I wanted to create a list of what I think is worth buying. Again, this is just my opinion and it is based off of what I use the most that I have purchased myself or received as a gift. This does not include the obvious items you need such as a car seat, stroller, clothes, diapers, etc. You can click on any of the pictures below to view the product details.


Totally Worth It!

1. Aidan + Anais Muselin Swaddles
I absolutely love the Aidan and Anais muselin swaddles. They are extra large, and light weight and very soft. I used them for swaddling (without overheating) , as a nursing cover, changing pad and burp cloth. My two year old still likes to cuddle with her's too. They come in a pack of 4 and all of the colors and designs are cool.



2. Boudreaux 's Butt Paste
I have never had a rash that this butt paste did not cure within a few hours, even the really bad diaper rashes. It has natural ingredients and it smells good, unlike Destin! I received this as a gift for my baby shower and I have been using it ever since. My son has sensitive skin and this works well on him.



3. Fisher Price Rock and Play
I had everything I needed before my baby was to arrive in March of 2014... or so I thought! Little did I know my poor baby would end up having terrible re-flux! She was unable to lay flat for the longest time. My sister in law bought us a Rock and Play to see if it would help. It was amazing! We were finally all able to get a good nights rest. The Rock and Play is slightly angled so that your baby is lying down on a slant, with his or her head elevated. The Rock and Play also cradles the baby so that he or she will feel as if they are being held still, and it fits closely to your bed for easy night time access. My son currently uses it too.

4. Diaper Genie
I know not everyone is fond of the diaper genie, but I stand firm on my decision to include this in my top 8 list. The diaper genie truly prevents your house from smelling like dirty diapers. By the time your baby starts solids, trust me, you do not want to smell their diapers! I only have the very basic model in which you have to push down the diaper (manually) into the diaper pail. It is kinds of gross, but well worth it, just wash your hands afterwards and move on with your life. There are newer models that are censored to open automatically, but they are more pricey. You will have to buy the special bags for it, but I get them at Costco, they have 4 diaper tubes for $19. Not bad at all, and they last forever. I think my husband and I cram at least 30 diapers into the pail before it needs changed.


5. Medela Steam Bags
This steam bag is wonderful! It disinfect's your breastpump breastshields, accessories, breastmilk bottles, nipples, pacifiers and more in about 3 minutes. If you need to pump at work, just toss the pump parts into the bag afterwards and disinfect it. As mentioned above its also great to sterilize bottles and what not on a regular basis. I believe you can use each bag up to 20 times. Experts say you don't need to sterilize anything, but I feel better doing it.


6. Sophie the Giraffe
Yes, Sophie the Giraffe has lived up to all of it's hype. This is an all natural latex teething device. It is easy for babies to grasp since their motor skills are still developing. Both of my kids went to town on this toy when they were teething (actually my 4 month old is currently gnawing on Sophie the Giraffe). Does it look like a dog toy? It sure does! But that's ok, because one day you will catch your child with a real dog toy in his/her mouth anyway. I know it's disgusting but it will happen my friend, just you wait!


7. White Noise Machine
It wasn't until we had our second baby that we purchased a white noise machine. Every night we turn on "ocean waves" to create a soothing background noise for our two year old. We live in a townhouse, its not loud but at times you can hear noises from the neighbors house (dog bark, running up steps, etc.) this blots out the noises as well as the sound of our youngest crying in the middle of the night. Make sure you buy one that plugs into the wall, instead of one that needs batteries, since every thing else requires batteries! Here is the one I have:


8. Pacifiers
I think nipple confusion is overrated. Babies are super smart, trust me they know the difference! That being said...if you don't want to become your infant's personal human pacifier, work on finding a brand your baby will take! They will sleep better and you will too, plus pacifiers has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. If your baby wont take one right away, keep working on it.



Continue to add to the list in the comment section to help all moms (including myself) see what products you think are great! Next week we will go through products that are a waste of money. 



Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mother's Day FREE Jewelry Set Giveaway!



I am conducting a free giveaway in honor of Mother's Day (you do not have to be a mother to qualify). If you are already subscribed to my FREE blog newsletter, you are automatically enrolled for the contest drawing. Contest will run from May 5th- May 12th.  If you are not subscribed, or know of a friend that would love the beautiful set below, share the link and simply subscribe and confirm in your email. Subscribing simply means when I make a post you will get it in your email inbox, you wont be bothered with anything else.

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After you subscribe, you will qualify to win this gorgeous jewelry set!  Each piece is made of Howlite, a natural stone dyed to resemble turquoise. The earrings and necklace are minimalist style that would look great on anyone. The necklace is made of leather with silver plated details and stainless steel clasp.



About the Designer

I have the privileged of receiving sponsorship from a well know jewelry designer Jennifer DV. Jennifer is the founder and designer for DTailsULike. Jennifer DV is an artisan from Puerto Rico living in United States since 2004, creating unique jewelry pieces. Most of her jewelry designs are inspired by the Caribbean and nature's beautiful colors. Jennifer DV designs are made especially for  Latin woman but her jewelry have been worn by women around the world. Her jewelry line features original designs that are simple, elegant, casual, timeless, unique and have been worn by many celebrities. All pieces are hand crafted by Jennifer DV using natural stones, leather, pearls, contemporary chains and beads.

Jennifer DV created the name using her view of jewelry and combining her family initials. For her, detail in her pieces are important (DTail) to enhance your natural beauty. It has her last name initial (D), her husband's last name initial (T), and her son’s initials (UL) that is the reason for so many capital letters on DTailsULike!

Jennifer DV in association with The Artisan Group has gifted her original designs to:
  • The stylists of popular and hit TV series and independent films 
  • Worn by Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez
  • Worn by Chelsea Kane on Season 5 episode 13 of Baby Daddy
  • Worn by actresses Stephanie Drapeau, Ashley Hume, Jolene Purdy, Adina Poter, Soni Nicole Bringas, Laura Slade Wiggins, Courtney Hope, Kelly Dowdle, and Cary Deuber. 
  • Gifted to the media press at the GBK Golden Globes Luxury gift lounge 
  • Celebrities and VIP's at 2016 MTV Movies Awards. Both at GBK's Luxury gift lounge
The awesome thing about DTailsULike is that 10% of DTailsULike annual sales goes to charities that serve people with autism. All of their sales support therapies and services including: Alianza de Autismo de Puerto Rico, Autism Chalk Festival, Kindling Studios, and Celebrate Autism. Its a great shop that supports a great cause. Check out the following links to shop and learn more about DTailsULike.

https://dtailsulike.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DTailsUlike
https://www.etsy.com/shop/DtailsULike

Thought's for Mother's Day

The first Mother's Day took place on May 9, 1914. President Woodrow Wilson asked all Americans to say "thank you" to their mothers. Ever since that time, we have been celebrating mothers and everything they do for us. Mothers day may be an emotional time for some. Maybe your mother is no longer around, or maybe you want to be a mother too but for some reason, you are not able to right now. This just goes to show how special mothers and being a mother is, and the tremendous impact they have on our lives.



It is hard work to be a mom, I know this because I am one myself. I am also one of five children and my mom made it look so easy! My mom was pretty "strict" growing up. I guess you have to run a tight ship when you have five kids! When she said "no" boy did she mean it! Back then I viewed this as "I'm not allowed to do anything" but that was far from the truth. I had a wonderful childhood with wonderful memories and just for the record, everything she said "no" to, is the exact same things I will say "no" to when my children ask me!



As a child I never noticed my mom putting everyone else before her. I never noticed her selflessness and deep love for her family. Even as adults she still is concerned for us and now I see that the worry never ends! From checking on your infant in the middle of the night to make sure he/she is still breathing, to wondering if your grown up children are doing alright.

I honestly will never know how she kept the house so clean, or how the heck she totted us around to all of our dance and sports classes all while looking glamorous. She never looked tired of us and was always happy to see us.  My mom never looked rattled or like she had just had the longest day unless we really pushed her buttons. She usually could get us to stop anything we were doing with her ever so famous mom look. You know exactly what I'm talking about! This is a super power that I am still trying to master. When I give the look, my two year old laughs because she thinks its hilarious... go figure!

One day we were all in the car and my youngest brother was in the drivers seat, I was in the passenger seat, and my mom was in the back seat (behind the drivers seat). We were impatiently waiting for my oldest sister to get into the car so we could leave. My brother kept honking the horn and my mom told him to stop. He honked the horn again. My mom said stop and added the look to her request. Again, my brother boldly honked the car horn. We all looked directly at my mom, just waiting to see what she would do. For a split second it appeared that she didn't know what to do, but a moment later she reached over and pulled my brothers hair pretty hard and said "I told you to STOP!"
I remember laughing so hard with my youngest sister! To this day my sister and I still laugh at this when we talk about it. It is one of the only times my mom almost lost control...but almost doesn't count.
There she is, "mama bear" with the whole family before my wedding.
All jokes aside, mothers have an important and unique role in the lives of their children, you will always play a role in the lives of your children and influence them to some degree. Your children will have many lifelong memories, perceptions of you and lifelong lessons they will carry with them. There are several verses that direct parents on how to raise their children in Christ. Let's take a look at the Bible, and what is commanded of a mother.

Availability
Be available to your children. Help them grow by spending time and guiding their hearts towards God."These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Teacher
Guide your children, teach them scripture and a biblical worldview.
"Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children" Deuteronomy 4:10

Training
Help your child discover his/her spiritual gifts, and develop/ strengthen them to glorify God. Train your child to know and serve Jesus. "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Nurturer
Mother's are to provide a nurturing environment where they care for, and encourage growth and development while loving unconditionally."Then they can urge younger women to love their husbands and children." Titus 2:4

Integrity
You are a role model to your children, they will mimic you starting at a young age. Model a Godly lifestyle for them."Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Deuteronomy 4:9-10

Children are a gift from the Lord  (Psalm 127:3) and as you can see from the few verses above, it is an important and serious role. I absolutely love the quote by Andy Stanley. He says "Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise."

I want to thank my mom for taking her calling to be a mom seriously, and for guiding me and loving me through good and tough times while building great lifetime memories. Love you mom, and Happy Mother's Day!

Don't forget to tell your mom, or the wonderful women that raised or influenced you "Happy Mother's Day!"


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Accepting the Unexpected

I love structure! I love schedules, predictability, symmetry, parallel lines (haha) and everything else that goes along with structure! I might even be a little bit on the obsessed side.  There is something about checking off completed tasks that make me feel so happy and accomplished. A day filled with schedules, efficiency and routine sounds amazing, and also unrealistic. for the most part, my days are organized and somewhat follow an outlined agenda, but I definitely do not complete everything on my "to do" list. Especially with children! Yesterday I planned to do a load of laundry, dishes and clean the bathrooms during nap time, but silly me, my kids wouldn't nap yesterday!


I wake up (ever so slowly!) with the greatest intentions of making the most out of my day but there are always unexpected twists, bumps and curves. I am currently learning to "embrace" the unexpected. God is training me to accept any disturbances in my "schedule" with the expectation of a cheerful and trusting heart. I am learning that when I am faithful and joyful despite circumstances, the Holy Spirit brings strength and peace to my soul.

It is good to be organized and prepared, but also to go with the flow of changes that occur. I am learning daily to surrender my day, and how I think my days should go and letting God direct my steps. His ways are always best! Things will change at any given moment, sometimes they are good changes and sometimes they are not (at least not in that moment) but remember when things aren't going as planned that God "withholds no good from His children "(Psalm 84:11) and try to use every moment as an opportunity to be obedient to God and rejoice in Him.



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Couples Scripture Challange



Do you remember memorizing verses as a child? Why is it that most of us stop when we become adults? Memorizing scripture is the number one tool we have to resist temptation.



Chuck Swindoll wrote, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified” (Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], p. 61).
Today I wanted to provide a challenge for couples to memorize scripture together. There is one assigned verse to memorize a week, that's super easy! Even I cant find an excuse not to participate! On the link below, I have two months worth of verses you can memorize with your spouse, and or boyfriend/girlfriend (I choose verses that pertain to couples, although anyone can participate even with a friend!). Follow the chart, memorize the verse, recite the verse to your significant other and pray together after!

I hope you are willing to participate in this two month long challenge. Let me know how it worked out for you and if you noticed any changes in your relationship (use comment section below).

Click here to download the memory verse challenge: Couple's Two Month Scripture Memorization Challenge

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