Yarn Along: Crocheted Adjustable Diaper Cover and Matching Frog Hat

I love it when new crochet patterns are easy to follow, mostly because if they are too difficult I get annoyed or frustrated. However, I am looking forward to making more of these easy crocheted adjustable diaper covers before Rebekah is born. I may even spring for some expensive wool and go high quality on a few . . . If you are looking to make some cute baby hats or diaper covers, this is a great book of patterns. It has several cute ideas, and the patterns are easy to follow! ***This post includes affiliate links. There is no additional … Read more…

5 Organizing Tips for the New Year

I am avoiding what seems to be a highly debated topic this year: whether or not to make a New Year’s resolution. I do not feel particularly passionate about either side of the argument. However, I do believe in making intentional choices to be healthier and happier. For me that means daily fighting against the urge to eat junk food constantly by replacing it with fresh fruits and vegetables, going for daily walks, affirming my husband, allowing myself the luxury of a nap, praying more consistently, and staying plugged into God’s word. These are ongoing goals that I strive for every day … Read more…

Breaking the Silence: Miscarriage Support

***Disclaimer: This is an account of a miscarriage we had back in April 2014. Thankfully, our Rebekah is growing, kicking, and developing just as she should at 6 months in the womb.  Dedication: I would like to dedicate this post to Cadence, the child we lost early on in our pregnancy last April. I know we will meet you someday. I also want to dedicate it to every woman who has struggled through loss, specifically miscarriage. I want to break the silence. At the turn of the New Year, Mitch and I decided to start trying for a baby. It was … Read more…

Keeping More Cash in Your Pocket: After Christmas Sales

Have you noticed how much Christmas lights, ornaments, trees, gift wrap, Christmas cards, and decor cost? It’s ridiculous. If you wait until last minute to buy those items, you will have no choice but to pay the high costs or go without them altogether. Fortunately, there is a wonderful way to get what you need for 50-80% off. You guessed it! After Christmas sales. Major stores like Hobby Lobby, Walmart, and Dollar General slash their prices drastically to clear out 2014 inventory. It is a great time to stock up (if you have budgeted to do so) on every thing you … Read more…

Sharing the Story of Jesus

We used to read the nativity story aloud from the Bible every Christmas as a family. It was a small gesture, but enough to always remind us what the focus of Christmas should be. When I was young, probably 4 or 5, I would “help” my mom decorate the house and the tree by dressing up in towels like I was Mary, swaddling our cat in another towel (you can imagine how that went) to pretend he was baby Jesus. I guess all my dolls were girls? I would sit under the Christmas tree and reenact the nativity story, to … Read more…

What are Your Christmas Traditions?

There is something special about family traditions at Christmas time: baking cookies for Santa, caroling, driving around to see lights, decorating the tree, reading the nativity story, and playing games together. Traditions are what your kids grow up remembering and wanting to pass on to their children. Consistency with traditions is difficult for us since we are normally traveling for Christmas. But since we are staying home this year, we’ve had ample time to think about and rekindle some of our personal Christmas traditions. Growing up, when we were not visiting my Dad’s side of the family on Christmas Eve, … Read more…

Practicing Peace

This month’s character trait has been a real challenge for me. First of all, I have a hard time relaxing and being at peace physically unless I feel like I have marked everything off my to-do list–which happens like once in a blue moon! Also, I am a worry wart, or at least I used to be. This is something I have intentionally worked on throughout the year. I have made some positive strides, but some days the worries sneak up and ambush me. Like last night. I had been struggling the past couple days with what I am pretty … Read more…

Yarn Along: Crocheted Hats and Diaper Covers for Babies

Christmas projects are done. Hurray! {Insert sigh of relief}. Well, all of them except for Mike’s socks. He may get those in a couple months. I realized today that almost all my posts thus far in Yarn Along have been about my Christmas projects. My apologies. Though I still have one more late birthday present to make for my dear friend Leah in North Carolina, it was time for something new. Plus, I am getting a bit of baby fever. It hit me that next week we will be beginning our third trimester! I am not sure where the first six months … Read more…

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix and Spice Tea Mix

I find warm beverages pure bliss. Maybe it’s good marketing on the part of coffee companies, but I find a hot mug of coffee, tea, hot cocoa, cider, etc. very romantic. Many mornings it is what lures me out of bed. I will drink warm beverages all year, even in the 120 degree weather, but I find them most delightful during the cold winter months (or if you also live in Phoenix, the cool winter months). 😉 However, I have grown more particular about my warm beverages. For example, I use Natural Bliss creamer or half n’ half, because it … Read more…

Family Devotional on Peace

Intro for parents: Sometimes we are guilty of simplifying the idea of peace to a quiet, nice feeling. The truth is that peace is powerful. Teaching your children the power of peace enables them to face the challenges of life with an anchor and a strength, not born out of the hardness of sorrow and failure, but rooted in a relationship with God, where they are living in the presence of their Lord and Savior. Our children need to not only learn what peace is and how to experience it, they need an example of peace in their lives, both from the … Read more…

The Star of Bethlehem

The Star of Bethlehem documentary was not on my to-watch list. I heard about different groups watching it at church while we lived in York. But to be honest, I just thought, boring! I didn’t think I needed science to prove anything to me about the star for me to believe it was true. Fast forward two years and we are in Missouri attending church with my in-laws over Christmas. And what video is their Bible class watching? The Star of Bethlehem . . .  Within minutes, my interest was hooked. About halfway through I was tearing up. Both my husband and I were so … Read more…

10 Hand-Crafted Gifts That I Love

Hand-crafted gifts are a beautiful part of Christmas for me. Whether I am making or receiving a hand-crafted gift, I know there is special thought put into it, from the color chosen, to the time they took to make it. I am always trying to expand my abilities, so my gifts are not too predictable. I want to crochet and knit socks. I just started attempting and it has been slow going . . . but it my goal to be flawless at it by next Christmas. This list contains 10 of my favorite tried-and-true hand-crafted gifts that either I have … Read more…

8 Tips to Stay on Budget This Christmas

Christmas cheer can disappear when your post-Christmas shopping credit card bill appears. It is no secret that Christmas is expensive, mostly because of the the presents we buy. But it doesn’t have to break the bank and set you back financially! Here are eight tips to help you stay on budget this Christmas: 1. Actually Make a Christmas Budget I know this tip is rather obvious. Nonetheless, many people fail to actually make a budget, which leads to more spontaneous spending, credit card bills, and a not-so-happy-January when you must pay it all off. I recommend next year deciding how … Read more…

Ah, the Elusive Character Quality of Peace

What do you think of when you hear the word peace? No war/world peace? Serenity? Yoga? An early morning hike? An undisturbed cup of coffee? We all attach different connotations to the idea of peace. Yet, it is something God tells us we can possess through Him. He calls us to pursue a life of peace, especially in our interactions with others. Confession: I decided last week that peace would be a fitting character quality to focus on in our families during December because the chaos of the holidays can sometimes leave us thread-bare and caught in the snare of materialism. However appropriate … Read more…

Why We Chose to Do a Home Birth With a Midwife

When people learn that we are doing a home birth with a midwife, we are met with a variety of reactions: enthusiasm, confusion, wariness, understanding, and anger. We hear a lot of “That’s interesting . . . {insert awkward silence}” “Why did you decide to do it that way?”  “More power to ya, I’ll take my epidural!” Even though more and more women are returning to midwifery, home births, and natural births in general, there are still a lot of misunderstandings and confusion circulating about these practices, especially in the medical world. Now, I am not a doctor, or medical … Read more…

Teen Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daugther of Smoke and Bone is the first book in a series by Laini Taylor that falls into a currently popular genre for teens: Fantastical Romance. I must admit my bias against this genre. In fact, my dislike of it is so strong, that I almost quit reading this book after chapter one. I felt like I was reading Twilight. At times, I had to laugh, and sometimes gag, at the overly dramatic, sensual language. Bias aside, I have friends and family who genuinely enjoy reading this genre. I will not judge you, or hold it against you in any way if you like … Read more…

Letters to Rebekah

My friend Natasha recently encouraged me to start writing letters to Rebekah (the name we chose for our daughter, due in April) in a journal. I brought the idea up to Mitch, and he latched on to it immediately. This past weekend while we were shopping, a simple but beautifully elegant journal caught my eye for Rebekah’s letters. We plan to fill it with prayers, letters, verses, memories, wisdom, encouragement, and affirmation. Our prayer is that we can affirm her that she is as a beautiful, strong, daughter of the King. We also want to remind her often of our constant love for her. The … Read more…