Fearless Faith

And through the brokenness, God had a plan for us…

Today is a day of emotion and heartache. I hate that it’s been a month since I last posted… but today I am desperate for the writing therapy and I’m jumping right in.

Two years ago today I lost my dad in a car accident. He was 57 years old. He was leaving our house and headed home after a Friday evening spent with family.  I will forever remember him leaving our house that night. “Remind me tomorrow when you’re out to get the Kreg Jig out for you. Love you. See you tomorrow.”

For months I cried myself to sleep…. cried out to Jesus… buried myself in my bible. I cried in the shower when I felt guilty about making my husband pick up my broken pieces. I cried in the bathroom stall at work as silently as I could.  I cried every time I was in the car driving by myself.  I even remember crying while walking out of a grocery store because the clerk asked me “how are you today?” and it took everything I had in me to put a grin on my face and say “fine”.  It’s a crazy limbo of wanting everyone to know that you are absent because you’ve lost a piece of you and not wanting to talk to anyone because it hurts to talk about it.  I have never been so broken.  I prayed daily… throughout the day… in meetings… while driving… while laying in bed awake all night. I have never been so reliant on God to heal me… to take away the pain… to make me whole again.  Could that ever happen? Would I ever feel normal?

And through the brokenness God had a plan for us…

After the loss of my dad we truly recognized how little time we have on Earth and we were committed to making the best of all the time we had left.  We stopped pushing off goals and decided to make them happen.  We decided there was no reason to wait to have a baby… our lives are too short… let’s just do this.

I was pregnant 3 weeks after our decision to try for a baby.  Wow! Not what we expected.  My doctor said to expect at least 6 months.  Then 8 weeks later I went to my first doctor’s appointment.  My doctor excitedly announced “Oh! There’s two in there”.  That’s right, TWINS.

Our world changed… our prayers changed. And I realized what God was doing for us.

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In all of my pain and brokenness I turned to Jesus.  I remained hopeful that life would someday be good again.  And even though it was easy to ask “why?” it was never easy for me to blame God for the tragedy that turned our lives upside-down.  He took our heartache and blessed us with two… He helped us mend our broken hearts by filling them with more love.

The twins were born 6 days after my dad’s first birthday in heaven. Everyday, I look at our twins and praise God for the love and fullness it has brought to my life.  And while I desperately want my children to have their Pawpaw in their lives, something tells me they’ve already met.

Grief is a strange thing.  It comes in waves.  Sometimes they are little gentle waves that brush upon your toes.  And other times, they are unbearable waves that knock you down and swirl you around in the undertow.  Grief is never something that is “healed”… it is something you bear… sometimes easy… sometimes debilitating. The truth is, I’ve never gone back to feeling “normal” in the way that normal felt at the time of his passing. There’s a new normal… and honestly I carry guilt with me all the time when the new normal feels okay.

But as a stay-at-home mom to Pawpaw’s favorite little twins, I have never felt so fulfilled… so alive in Christ… so grateful for the blessings we have.

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I know this one was heavy. But thanks for being my therapy on an emotional roller coaster day.

Mom Must-Haves

Life hack: Non-Slip Toddler Booties

My 13 month old toddlers will NOT keep socks on. They pull them off by the toes of the socks and just giggle. It’s been so cold here and I hate them having bare toes, especially on our tiled kitchen floor. 


I bought some booties off of Amazon…. because I buy everything on Amazon. At the time that I purchased them the description said they had a non-slip sole. But the striped version that I bought didn’t have the non-slip bottoms. I complained in a review and they’ve since changed the description. I considered sending them back but they’re just too stinking cute. I came across a “life hack” option to use fabric paint on the bottom of toddler socks to add a non-slip texture. A lightbulb went off… the adorable booties can be saved!!! 

I had some 3D fabric paint on hand that I used for our Christmas stockings, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. The fabric paint cake from Hobby Lobby and I paid $1.29 for 1 fl. oz.  

Happy Homesteading

Winter Egg Hunting

Just before it started to get cold, a friend gave me 6 hens.  Her mother was moving out of state and couldn’t take her beloved chickens with her so I agreed to take them.  Weeks passed and I was convinced that they were duds… old hens that were too old to lay, too old to sell, and too old to eat.  I was disappointed because I had approximately 57 egg cartons I was so eager to fill with eggs…. and twins that will go through 4 eggs a day if I let them.  In 3 months, my 6 old birds had yielded 3 eggs total.


A few months later, I got 5 more hens and 2 roosters.  They were 6 weeks old when I got them. We made arrangements to keep them separate from the old birds but still in the same barn. 


Within 2 weeks of having our new chickens, our old birds began laying.  I’ve been getting 3-4 eggs per day… and the best part is I get to go hunting for them each day because I have one or two hens that lay in the most peculiar places – between wall studs, behind boards, and behind feed barrels.  


Here’s what I think made a difference in their egg productivity:

  • Roosters: even though they are young fellas, I think the old gals were inspired by the handsome youngins.
  • Heat Lamps: In the corner of the barn I’ve mounted a heat lamp. They can definitely avoid it, but they’ve made a pile of hay near the heat lamp and have created a cozy place for egg laying.
  • Oyster shell: I was offering oyster shell to my hens from the beginning, but I recently started putting the oyster shell into their crumble food. I don’t mix much in.  I think the recommended ratio is 1 lb oyster shell to 20 lbs of crumble.
  • Scraps: But I really think this is more about me than it is about the food.  They are much more comfortable with me coming in and out of their space when I bring them snacks.  Some of their favorites include veggies or noodles that the kids don’t finish, apples, leftover biscuits and dinner rolls.
  • Space to roam: I used to lock up my birds at night and let them have free range during the day.  Now that the youngins are locked up full time until they get a little bigger, my old birds are free ranging all the time.  The kinda like having the freedom to roost anywhere they want… in fact one of my gals enjoys the barn rafters.

I’m still new at this but based on my flock, happy chickens with the prospect of young love, warm nesting spaces, calcium supplements, tasty snacks, open spaces and high ceilings produce the most eggs.  This spring we hope to put build a chicken coop for them so they can have their own private space and get them out of the horse barn.  But hopefully we can keep them just as happy.  We should have 5 more egg layers by April 1 and we can’t wait to fill up all of our egg cartons!

I can’t wait to share some of my favorites egg recipes with you soon so stay tuned!

Happy Homesteading

Favorite Holiday Recipes

My friend and I have an annual holiday cookie/candy making get together. Sometimes we make the same recipes and often times we try some new things. My friend has a 5 year old and we’ve been doing it for 4 years so we’ve always done kid friendly recipes like chocolate covered pretzels and peanut clusters. 


Here’s what we made this year:

Chocolate covered pretzels – melt almond bark according to instructions on package. Dip pretzels and lay them out on wax paper. Sprinkle with Christmas sprinkles. 

Peanut clusters – melt chocolate flavored almond bark according to instructions on the package. Pour dry roasted peanuts into the almond bark. Use cookie dropper to drop onto wax paper. 

Sugar cookies – these are probably the best I’ve made. I was in a pinch for time and was looking for a recipe that didn’t require the dough to chill. 

Sugar cookie icing – I usually just make my own with a stick of butter, about 2 cups of powdered sugar, a 1/2 tsp of vanilla, and a splash of milk until the texture is right. Usually no more than a couple tablespoons of milk. 

Chocolate chip cookies – we use the standard toll house recipe at our house. 

Peanut butter fudge -this is a deliciously silky fudge and super easy. I’ve made it so many times and never had a failed batch. 

Here’s what is on my list in the near future:

I’m looking forward to having 4 extra hands next December…. although wrangling two year old twins in the kitchen might be more fun than I can take on. Dad has a whole year to build my kitchen helper stands

Happy Homesteading

Chocolate chip peanut butter cookies 

Well, happy New Year! It has only taken me 8 days to publish my first blog of 2018. And while many of you may have resolutions to eat healthier… I’m still stuck on the delicious cookies I made 2 weeks ago. So for those of you who are avoiding cookies, check out the recipe below for protein balls and save this blog post to your Pinterest recipe board and come back to the cookie recipe in a few months! Haha!

For those of you that aren’t in the Kansas City area, HyVee is a grocery store chain. We had some HyVee brand mini-chocolate chips. They were originally intended for no-bake oatmeal protein balls – but the cookies won. We had a Christmas party to go to and I was assigned to bring a sweet treat. I ended up following the recipe on the bag of mini-chips and OMG they were so delicious. And they just happen to be the most beautiful and uniform cookies I’ve ever made! They were worthy of a share.


Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

1 c.  unsalted butter, softened

¾ c. granulated sugar

¾ c. packed light brown sugar

½ c. creamy peanut butter

2  large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 ¼ c. flour

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 (12 oz) pkg mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 c. honey roasted peanuts
Directions

Step1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step2

Cream butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with a electric mixer.

Step3

Add peanut butter and mix well.

Step4

Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Step5

Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Gradually stir into sugar mixture.

Step6

Stir in chocolate chips and peanuts.

Step7

Drop by tablespoons onto greased baking sheet.

Step8

Bake for 11 to 12 minutes.

Step9

Let cookies stand on baking sheet 2 to 3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.
Since I rarely follow a recipe, I thought I’d list the changes I made. I didn’t use the honey roasted peanuts, I didn’t grease our cookie sheets and I added a bit more flour than the recipe called for… I probably used 2 1/2 cups of flour.

Mission Motherhood

I can wear a baby, but my shoes have to come off?

Navigating airport security is a bit of a cluster with little ones. Since Christmas will soon be here and many of you may be traveling I thought I’d share my perspective on flying with babies. My family recently took a week long trip to Orlando, Florida with our 11 month old twins. This was our first experience flying with them and I have learned a lot about how to make the process easier.

Things to keep in your carry on bags:

  • Change of clothes for mom and dad – if a baby has a blow out while they’re in your lap, you’ll need a change of clothes too. 
  • 2 extra outfits per baby
  • Extra pacifiers 
  • Snacks – we used the 3 compartment formula holders for a variety of snacks (gold fish, corn Chex and Cheerios) 
  • Empty baby bottles and extra bottles of water (Make sure you take them out of your bag and put them in a separate bin when going through security. Tell them you have water for babies and they will allow you to take it through after testing the outside of the bottle.)
  • Sippy cups if your babes are drinking water – it’s easy to get dehydrated while traveling. 
  • Books and small toys – preferably something they haven’t read or played with in a while. 
  • Changing pad for airport bathroom diaper changes. 
  • Gas drops. Our girl has a tendency to get gassy and squeals about it. So for the sake of the other passengers keep some on hand if your babes are prone to belly bubbles. 
  • Tylenol in case of unexpected teething pain. 

Tips and tricks for navigating the airport:

  • Have your travel partner or a family member drop you off curb side rather than parking in long term parking. My husband dropped us curbside and then took our car to long term parking and rode the shuttle to the terminal. It was easier for him to ride alone than it would be for us all to lug babies and luggage onto a shuttle bus. 
  • Take a stroller that will hold your infant carrier car seats (if you’re going to have to travel with car seats). We took the Baby Trend Snap n Go for easy airport transport and rented a double jogger stroller at our destination. 
  • Take wearable baby carriers. We used the Ergobaby carriers. As you near security strap those babies to your chest. Security will want the car seats and stroller to go through the x-ray machine so it’s easier to already have the babies out of the stroller when you get to that point. 
  • Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off because getting shoes on and off while baby wearing can be annoying. 
  • Put the babies back in their car seats/stroller while navigating to your gate. 
  • When you get to your gate, make bottles up and have them ready for takeoff because it’s is obnoxiously cramped on the plane to try to hold onto a baby and fix a bottle. We wanted our babies to have bottles for take of to aide with releasing pressure and easing ear popping. 
  • As soon as your flight starts boarding, get the babies back in their wearable carriers. Put your stroller and car seats into their “GATE CHECK” bags
  • Board as early as they let you. (We flew Southwest which we loved, but we didn’t check in ahead of time because we assumed we could board first with family boarding. With Southwest families board after zone A boards. If we checked in ahead of time we may have had the opportunity to load in group A.)
  • Sit accross from the aisle from one another or in front of/behind each other (depending on the size of airplane). We were on a 757 and they have 3 seas together on either side of the aisle. There are only 4 oxygen masks for the 3 chair groupings so they won’t let you have 2 lap children in the same row.
  • Keep your diaper bag with toys, snacks and bottles between your feet. 

Happy traveling, Mommas! Stay calm and go with the flow. Things can go awry even when you’re prepared. Although it still helps to be mentally prepared! 

Happy Homesteading

Winter classic: Ham ‘n Beans with Cornbread

I decided to pull the leftover Thanksgiving ham out of the freezer yesterday so I could make a winter classic at our house (yes we had ham for thanksgiving because very few in our family like turkey). I had the last little bit of a spiral cut ham that was perfect for a crockpot of ham n beans. 

And you can’t have ham n beans without the cornbread. I accidentally stumbled upon my favorite way to fix cornbread. I went to get the milk out of the fridge to mix up my Jiffy box of cornbread and the milk was expired so I found an alternative – sour cream. Let me tell you, sour cream does amazing things to corn bread. I’ve made some alterations since and here is what I’ve settled with. If you like a light fluffy, moist cornbread give this a try. If you like a denser cornbread this probably won’t be your favorite. 


Here’s the recipe

Sour cream cornbread

1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix

2 eggs

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (you can substitute milk too)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix all ingredients. Grease an 8x8in Pyrex or small casserole dish. Pour batter into greased Pyrex. Bake for 15-18 min. 

When it comes to ham n beans, I like thick hearty ham n beans. Watered down ham n beans will completely saturate my cornbread and I just can’t have that. My go to recipe is a no frills, easy crock pot recipe that I found in Pinterest. 

Check it out here!

If I have onion on hand, I dice up half of an onion and add it instead of onion powder. I also add some garlic powder.