God is My Strength

Yesterday was "one of those days." Both of the boys had colds - Jack was worse than Ben - and I was absolutely exhausted. They were uncomfortable, fussy and had MANY more runny noses and diapers than normal. Jack's eyes were crusted shut in the morning and his cough was heartbreaking. Both boys automatically started moving away when they even saw a tissue or even worse, the nasal aspirator. I was by myself and felt very frustrated.

It was rough.

But all through the day, two thoughts kept running through my mind: "God is my strength" and "The Lord will never give me more than I can handle."

It's amazing how much our thoughts can control our attitude.

The only way I can get through any situation is knowing that my Savior has given me the strength to do it. Looking back on the past eight months, it is only because of the Lord that I made it through.

Those nights that I only got two hours of sleep, God was there. The days that I didn't think I'd manage until my husband got home, God was there. The times when two hands just doesn't seem like enough, God was there.

This is the same God that gave me these two beautiful blessings. He knit them together in my womb and made them unique from any other person on earth. He gave them hope for a future. And He entrusted them to me. Not to be care for by myself, though. With His help. He gives me the strength I need to scrape their eyes clean or the patience and wisdom to know how to react to each of their needs. That's the Lord.

And that strength is freely given; we just need to ask for it.


The Best Present EVER

Ben and Jack: my two BEST presents EVER!


Amazing Recipe

My friend, Mary, made this for a Christmas brunch at MOPS last week. It was AMAZING! If you haven't already made a casserole for Christmas morning, you should try this one. It'll be on our table tomorrow!

Creme Brulee French Toast

1 loaf French bread (or any crusty bread), buttered then cubed
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons light Karo syrup
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt butter, brown sugar and Karo over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir until smooth. Pour mixture in a 13x9 casserole dish. Place bread on top, squeezing it in if you need. Whisk eggs, half and half, vanilla, Grand Marnier and salt in a large bowl until combined. Pour mix evenly over bread. Chill in the fridge overnight. In the morning: Let casserole come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake uncovered 35-45 minutes. Edges will be puffed and golden.


Letting Him Help

This idea came from a friend in my MOPS group.

She suggested that we allow our husbands to spend time with our kids every so often. I know. Doesn't sound difficult to do, especially when there are so many things our husbands do for us! But she pointed out the fact that many women don't allow their husbands to help care for the kids so when they need help, the husbands don't know what to do! We need to let them practice.

Go grocery shopping for an hour or walk around the block. Meet a friend for coffee or visit with your mom. You are the mother, wife and primary caretaker and that comes with great responsibilities. Your kids and your husband rely on you for everything - the cleaning, the cooking, moral and emotional support - everything. But before you can take care of your family, you need to take care of yourself first.

Now, I'm not saying that you should neglect everything and leave because "Gosh, I need to take care of ME!" That is unhealthy. That attitude is the beginning of a downward spiral that will only lead you to frustration and feelings of entrapment. When you give yourself little moments to breathe, however, you are better able to take care of those you love most.

It's alright if the house is trashed when you return, or there is maple syrup on your rug. It's okay if your kids have junk food and spend the majority of the time wrestling or playing video games with dad. While these may not be typical "mommy" activities, they will not have a negative impact on their development as a stable human being. What's more important is that your husband is spending time with his kids, getting to know them, and building lasting memories... and YOU can get out of the house.

The other 'side' benefit my friend mentioned is the fact that your husband may come to really appreciate what you do everyday. Not only do you care for the kids, but you also manage the laundry, prepare dinner, help with homework and write out your Christmas cards ALL AT THE SAME TIME! That can only happen if he's allowed the chance to see life through your lens.

So don't be afraid to get out the house every so often. Your whole family will thank you for it (and you'll be glad you did!)


Letter from Jesus

Someone posted this on Facebook today and I thought it was worth sharing.

Letter from Jesus about Christmas

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival. Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day, if you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that, let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santa’s and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, go look up John 15:1-8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up on your promise; it will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit-picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families.

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of Mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. and I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love, and remember: I LOVE YOU.



Remember When

Christmastime is a time for reflection. Appreciation. Gratitude.

Take a moment and think about a favorite memory you have with your husband. When thirty-five of your relatives came to the restaurant to meet him. When your mom accidentally called herself his mother-in-law after you had only been dating four months. The awkwardness of your first kiss. The moment you first knew he was the man for you.

Then find a quiet moment alone with him. Perhaps it's in the car on the way to church, at the dinner table or in front of the glowing tree after the kids have gone to bed. Tell him your memory. Laugh. Reminisce. Chances are, the feelings will all come flooding in again, just as they did so many years ago.

We need to remember those little things, the stories that brought us together. It's another small way to keep the spark alive between a husband and a wife, especially when our focus is constantly being pulled in different directions.


Remembering My Priorities

Christmas is a busy time. Presents, cookies, gift exchanges, parties... those things are fun, but they can also get very overwhelming.

This year, I'm making a conscious effort to enjoy the season with my family. Especially my boys, who will be experiening it for the first time this year! I don't want to be so busy trying to make cookies and wrap gifts so I neglect the very ones I'm doing it for.

I'm trying to remember my priorities... my husband, my kids, my family. If something gets in the way to challenge those top three spots, it's gone. It's not always easy - especially when there are so many things I WANT to do - but it's that important. That line between "want to" and "have to" is a lot bigger than we may realize.


Enjoy the Moment

Enjoy the wonder of the season, as seeing it for the first time.



I was just introduced to a great website called Starfall:

It's an excellent source for kids learning to read using phonics! It has interactive games with letters (uppercase and lowercase) as well as TONS of different activities your child can do online for each holiday. Check it out!


MOPS Cookie Exchange

We had a cookie exchange at MOPS today. Here are the delicious cookies and (some) of the recipes that were shared!

Orange Blossoms
2 sticks butter, softened
1 c. orange juice
1 c. sugar
4 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond
Mix all together. Drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes.
3 c. confectionery sugar
2 T. butter, melted
3 T. milk
½ orange rind, grated
1 tsp. almond
Mix and frost cookies when warm.

Peanut Toffee Chip Cookies
2 c. flour
2 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1-1/2 c. butter (3 sticks,) room temperature
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. toffee chips
2-1/2 c. chopped peanuts
     Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment. In small bowl, mix flours, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine sugars and butter, add eggs and vanilla, beat until combined. Add flour and mix just until combined. Stir in peanuts and toffee chips. Form 1-1/4” balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cherry Winks
1 c. sugar
¾ c. shortening
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
2-1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 c. chopped dates (optional)
1/3 c. chopped maraschino cherries, well drained
1-1/2 c. coarsely crushed cornflakes cereal
15 maraschino cherries, quartered
     Heat oven to 375°. Grease cookie sheets. In large bowl, combine sugar, shortening, milk, vanilla and eggs; beat well. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, dates and 1/3 cup chopped cherries; mix well. (If desired, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for easier handling.) Drop by teaspoonfuls into cereal; thoroughly coat. Form into balls; place 2” apart on greased cookie sheets. Lightly press maraschino cherry piece into top of each ball. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until light golden brown.

Jello Cookies
Step One:
Cream the following together in a small bowl:
¾ c. butter
½ c. sugar
1 and 3 oz. pkg. Jello
Step Two:
Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla to the above mixture
Step Three:
Mix together in a separate bowl:
2-1/2 c. flour and 1 tsp. baking powder
     Mix flour into the creamy mixture and form into ball. Press with bottom of glass onto ungreased cookie sheet. Top with sprinkles, coconut, chocolate chips, cherry chips, etc. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Mix together thoroughly:
½ c. shortening
½ c. peanut butter
½ c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
1 egg
Sift together and stir in:
1-1/4 c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
     Chill dough. Roll into balls the size of large walnuts. Place 3” apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten with fork dipped in flour. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set.

Decadent Brownie Bars
Pastry Layer:
1-3/4 c. flour
½ c. sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
1 egg
Brownie Layer:
½ c. unsalted butter
3 T. unsweetened cocoa
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 T. dark rum
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. flour
¾ c. raspberry preserves
¼ c. chopped pecans or hazelnuts
     Preheat oven to 375°. For the pastry layer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and blend them together with a fork. Add the softened butter pieces and work them into the dry ingredients until the mixture represents small peas. Add one egg and stir with the fork until the pastry is well blended. Press the pastry into the bottom of an 8” square ungreased pan, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake-tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
     Meanwhile, prepare the brownie layer. First melt the butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over moderately low heat. Pour the butter into a mixing bowl. Add the cocoa to the butter and stir until blended. Stir in sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the rum, flour and salt.
     Remove the pastry from the oven briefly. Using a metal spatula, spread the pastry with raspberry preserves, then with brownie batter. Sprinkle the top evenly with hazelnuts and bake the confection for another 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool. Cut the brownies into bars before serving.

These shortbread cookies were delicious, but we could not find a recipe. Please email me (mindyjoy1999@yahoo.com) if you have the recipe for it. Thank you!

Buttery Spritz Cookies
1 c. sugar
1-½ c. butter (3 sticks,) softened
1 egg
4 c. flour
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. baking powder
Food coloring, optional
Colored sugar and decorating candies, optional
     In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and other ingredients. Gradually add to creamed mixture; mix well. Tint with food coloring if desired.
     Using a cookie press fitted with the disk of your choice, press dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Decorate as desired.
     Bake at 375° for 6-8 minutes or until set (do not brown). Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 7-1/2 dozen.

Thumbprint Cookies
1-1/3 c. margarine (2-3/4 sticks,) softened
2/3 c. brown sugar
2 egg yolks (save whites)
2-2/3 c. flour
2 tsp. almond
finely chopped nuts
strawberry/cherry preserves
     Cream margarine and brown sugar, egg yolk and almond extract. Gradually add flour until all ingredients are mixed well. Roll dough into balls. Dip in egg whites then finely chopped nuts. Put index finger in cookie and fill with favorite filling; options include strawberry, cherry, black berry and green jelly. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until set (do not brown.) Remove to wire racks to cool.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
2 c. butter, softened
1-1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 c. packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. water
4-1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped walnuts
     In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, vanilla and water; beat until smooth. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Press into three greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake at 375° for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.


Why Jesus is better than Santa

Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh.
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year.
JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies.
JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited.
JESUS stands at your door and knocks.. and then enters your heart.

You have to stand in line to see Santa.
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap.
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"
JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly.
JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO.
JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry."
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you..."

Santa's little helpers make toys.
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree.
JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.

It's obvious there is really no comparison. We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about. Jesus is still the reason for the season! :)

Taken from http://www.share-christmas.com/poems/santa_jesus/


Meaning of the Candy Cane

The birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ are signified through the elements of the candy cane.

our Good Shepherd (staff shape) ~ 1 Pt. 5:4
our Rock (hard candy) ~ 1 Cor. 10:4
our Sinless Savior (white) ~ 2 Cor. 5:21
our Sacrifical Lamb (red) ~ Eph. 1:7

The STRIPES symbolize pain inflicted upon Jesus before his death on the cross and a bold stripe to represent the blood he shed for mankind. The three stripes can also represent the power and presence of the Trinity (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

The smell and taste of PEPPERMINT relate to the herb hyssop. Psalm 51:7 states, "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow."

The candy cane is meant to be shared -- broken into pieces for all to share. That reminds us of Jesus' words, "This is my body which is broken for you" (1 Cor. 11:24).

What a sweet way to share the Gospel!

Taken from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fourplusadragon/3098847287/


Sarcasm Cuts Deep

My husband and I love to laugh. I think that's one of the healthiest things about our relationship. You have to be able to poke fun at the silly parts of your day to help you maintain sanity! But we have to be careful to be sure that sarcasm does not enter our jokes.

Wikipedia defines sarcasm as "a form of humor that uses sharp, cutting remarks or language intended to mock, wound, or subject to contempt or ridicule, generally saying the opposite of what the statement really is."

Ouch. Sarcasm may be funny, but not to everyone. It's very purpose is to make someone sound ridiculous in an effort to make ourselves sound better. Imagine if someone made a sarcastic comment after everything you said.

"I'm going to try and wake up a little earlier tomorrow." Yeah, like that's gonna happen.

"What would you like for dinner?" Oh, you're actually going to cook?

"Thank you for taking out the garbage." I'm surprised you even noticed.

It's like having Dr. Greg House (from the show, "House") following you around all day! Those little comments - no matter how innocent they may seem - do a lot in damaging someone's very being. It spreads negativity and could easily discourage anyone. Especially our family. Even an eye roll communicates idiocrisy and boredom.

I encourage you to laugh with your husband and kids, but be careful of the messages you may be sending. We want to build up our families, not tear them down.


Spritz Cookies

Spritz Cookies are among my favorite for the holidays! You do need a hand-held cookie press for it, but it is SO easy!

1 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Food coloring, optional
Colored sugar and decorating candies, optional
     In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine flour and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture; mix well. Tint with food coloring if desired.
     Using a cookie press fitted with the disk of your choice, press dough 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Decorate as desired.
     Bake at 375° for 6-8 minutes or until set (do not brown). Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 7-1/2 dozen.


Love, Jack and Ben

Dear Mr. Santa Claus,

This is our first Christmas, so we're not really sure how this whole thing works, but we're willing to give this whole Letter to Santa thing a try.

We do have a fireplace, but it's just for show. You may want to use another method to drop off our presents. Just do whatever you do for kids who don't have a fireplace, like make yourself liquid and slide in through the cracks in the window. Whatever you decide to do is fine with us. Dad won't mind.

Please keep your reindeer quiet while they're waiting for you on the roof. Mommy is a really light sleeper and would probably wake up if she heard them. We really need her to be happy on Christmas morning and getting sleep seems to make her happy.

We will leave cookies and milk for you, but please act fast. Daddy likes cookies and might eat them if you're not here before he goes to sleep. He usually doses off after he watches Fox News.

We don't mean to be picky, but please get both of us the same exact gifts. The same color, everything. We always want the toy my brother is playing with anyway. Mommy also asked us to say that she prefers toys that have an "off" button. And don't worry about spending a lot of money on us. We usually prefer playing  Tupperware, spoons and empty water bottles anyway.

If it matters, we are now sleeping through the night. This seems to make mommy and daddy insanely happy, so we thought we should mention it. We also eat solid food, roll over and can sit up (mostly) by ourselves. We make some good diapers and enjoy our baths, too. We do pull eachother's hair sometimes, but not in a naughty way. We're just getting used to the fact that our limbs are connected to us and they move! (Plus, have you SEEN how much hair my brother has?!?)

Thank you for reading our letter. We'll probably see you at the mall sometime, but please don't be offended when we burst into tears. That beard and jolly laugh can be very intimidating to us infants! We're sure to get used to it over the years.

Love your friends,
Jack and Ben
7 months old


Believing the Best

How much would your attitude change if you always believed the best in people? Not to be naive, but optimistic. You'd be surprised by how much it affected your day!

Rather than getting mad at the guy that cut you off in traffic, be understanding. Maybe he was on his way to the hospital to see his dying mom. Maybe he was worried he'd be late for work because his 4-month old spit up all over his shirt. Perhaps you were in his blind spot and he sincerely never saw you. Rather than getting angry (and taking it out on the next person you see,) be grateful you and your loved ones are safe.

This way of thinking is especially important to do toward your husband.

Don't get mad at him for being home late for dinner until you've heard his side of the story. Maybe his boss kept him late for work, or he stopped for gas. Maybe his cell phone battery died and he couldn't call to tell you where he was! There are multiple things that could have happened. It's so easy to get ourselves so twisted that we fail to give the other person the benefit-of-the-doubt. We know our husbands love us and would never do anything to hurt us. So why do we always jump to conclusions? We can at least give him a smile and a "welcome home" before assuming the worst.

When we were dating, my (now) husband said he would call me later in the evening. I waited and waited for his call and became extremely frustrated when I heard nothing. The later it got, the more mad I became. Uh, how inconsiderate! I had my whole speech outlined when I talked to him the next day, but let him talk first. Come to find out, he fell asleep! How innocent is that!? That was when I realized how important it would be to always believe the best when it came to the most important man in my life.

Sometimes, it helps to have a good imagination!


Validating the Quiet Ones

Do you have a child that doesn't require much attention? Quiet? Reserved? Introverted? Content?

Don't make the mistake of thinking they don't need you as much as your other kids. If anything, they may need you more.

Introverts have a tendency to internalize everything. (Believe me, I'm one of them.) If there's a fight, they *feel* it. They try to figure out what they did wrong. If a parent invests in the more demanding siblings, the reserved, "low maintenance" child may feel as though they are not as important. That they need to be a certain way to obtain their parents' approval and time. They may feel that who they are isn't as interesting and in order to obtain their parents' approval is to be different. More demanding. More difficult. They may act out and cause trouble, all in an effort to gain attention.

Every youngster craves for acceptance from their parents. One of the biggest gifts we can give our kids is the gift of time. (That's the most valuable thing we have most days!) Time to talk, time to play, time to do things we enjoy. When we know that our parents love us enough to invest in our development, real maturity happens.

I am so grateful that my parents invested time into me - time to validate who I was - even though I wasn't as vocal about needing it. Because my parents showed me that I was just as valuable as my other siblings, I feel confident in who I am. I feel comfortable in my own skin. And I think there is nothing more powerful we could give to our children.

Even the quiet ones. :)


A Day in the Life

Here's a funny picture from this afternoon. Ben's asleep and Jack continues to play around him.
A day in the life with twins. :)


Long Lost Love

I used to be a huge Diet Coke fan. Then I married my husband, another HUGE Diet Coke drinker, and I was forever hooked. Getting pregnant with twins, however, changed things a bit.

Caffeine did not sit well with my boys. Well, I'm sure my boys loved it in utero, but mommy did not. It felt like they were doing jumping jacks! Woh. Very uncomfortable. I had to sit down when they both moved around because I felt like they were going to tip me over! So I gave up my beloved drink for the good of... well, me. I'd crave it every now and then, have a sip of Andy's, and I was fine.

My boys are now almost seven months old and I have not had any Good Stuff in quite some time. My boys are still drinking breastmilk and so I try to stay away from the caffeine, but I also need to be drinking more water anyway. After all, I'm providing for TWO! So it's been a year since I enjoyed a nice cold can of Diet Coke.

This afternoon, a cold drink of my long lost love sounded really good to me, so I grabbed one of Andy's caffeinated drinks from the refrigerator. I took a few sips and surprised myself with how little I enjoyed it. It tasted different to me. Not the same. Apparently, my time away had altered my tastes and now it didn't seem as appealing.

I drank the whole can anyway (I didn't want to waste it) and although it did improve as I continued, I felt like I had satisfied my need for this tasty beverage for some time. I'll stick with my water. It's better for me anyway, right?

But here's the thing: I cannot stop BURPING! My boys think this is hilarious (especially since I have seemingly forgot how to do it quietly) but I'm not sure my husband will be as entertained. Let's hope I'm all burped-out by the time Andy comes home!



Think of something you appreciate most about your husband.

Now... tell him.


Finding Simplicity

The holidays are always such a busy time. Today at MOPS, however, we talked about ways to simplify during this Christmas. Here are some ideas our table came up with:
  • Bake cookies ahead of time and freeze them
  • Organize/participate in a cookie exchange to get a greater variety of treats
  • Read the Christmas story the night before
  • Give your kids only 3 gifts (reasoning: that's how many gifts Jesus received)
  • If you set up a manger scene, don't put baby Jesus inside until right before you open presents
  • Make a birthday cake for Jesus and sing happy birthday
  • Celebrate the advent season with a daily devotional and other activities
  • Buy any gift cards for mailmen, delivery persons, bus drivers and teachers ahead of time
  • Use the US Postal Service's partner website to create your Christmas postcards - upload your address book and photo, choose the design and they do they rest!
  • Use Kodak, Shutterfly or Walmart.com to create your own personalized ornaments, calendars, mugs, blankets or bags for friends and teachers
  • Exchange names among the adults in your family so each person is only buying one thoughtful $50 gift
Be sure to include your husband in your planning. Ask what things "make" the holiday for him and then try your hardest to accomodate his wishes. It's a lot less stressful when your spouse is on your side!

And if all else fails, plan a vacation and getaway to escape it all!