Nine Tips for Nine Months

I’ve been asked to participate in American Recall Center’s project, “9 tips for 9 months”; sharing some things from my experiences with pregnancy discomfort and how to deal with it.
-By the way, this is not a pregnancy announcement. Just lettin’ you know. :)

I’m going to try to address issues that are common in pregnancy, but of course I won’t be able to cover them all. We’ll look at natural ways to help your body do its best work of growing that sweet little baby inside of you! Of course I am not a doctor, this is just my opinion, knowledge and experience.

I believe that women were created to give birth, and that treating a pregnancy as an illness is not the way to go. There are plenty of ways to help with those discomforts without resorting to drugs, and you’ll feel so much better knowing there are no potentially harmful side-effects. Plus, your body will thank you!

So here we go! This is kind of a long post, but keep reading because there’s a wealth of information in here.

Issue #1: Fatigue

This is always my first indicator of being pregnant, especially with my second baby since I was chasing a toddler around. I was SO tired ALL the time and felt like I just needed to lay down and sleep….Then after the second baby came the third and I was chasing two kids around… oh the fatigue!

Just pretend it's sunset...and rest.

Just pretend it’s sunset…and rest.

Tip #1: So lay down and sleep, Mama! The best way to deal with fatigue is to REST. Obviously if you have a toddler or other kids you are chasing around you can’t sleep the day away, but if your toddler naps, you can nap too! Or just lay on the couch and put a movie on for the kids. Or snuggle down in your bed all together and read stories with them- even if you can’t sleep at least you’re laying down, resting.  Also have your hubby help out more with the housework and laundry, or hire someone to come clean the house or ask your mom or a friend to come over and watch baby/kiddos while you rest. Go to bed earlier. Don’t do as much. Your body is going through a lot of changes really quickly so it needs to be pampered and well taken care of to grow that tiny little baby. Also, make sure you have a good, food-based prenatal vitamin that you take every day. Getting enough B vitamins will help with energy levels and it is vital that you are taking at least 400-800 mcg of folic acid daily to help guard against birth defects. Rainbow Light is a good brand to use. I use it as a women’s daily vitamin even when I’m not pregnant.


Issue #2: Nausea

You know. If you’ve been pregnant before, you know.  Women experience differing degrees of nausea during pregnancy, from a constant icky feeling for the first 12 weeks (my experience) to vomiting several times a day for the entire nine months. For those mamas, oh how I feel for you!

Tip #2: I am blessed in this area because while my stomach feels unsettled during the first trimester, I don’t ever really get sick. I figured out pretty quickly that if I ate some food every two hours- just a little bit of something with protein in it like some nuts or crackers and cheese or yogurt- that I’d feel pretty okay.
As far as constant vomiting goes, there are homeopathic remedies that you can take for morning sickness. Here is a good article on different symptoms and the corresponding tablets that may work for you.  You can get “Preggo Pops” from stores like Walgreens to help with that icky feeling. Ginger in small doses can also help. (Tea is a good way to get it in your body.) Make sure you are getting enough fluids, even if you can’t hold down any food so that you don’t get dehydrated.
I strongly advise against taking the medication Zofran- it isn’t actually designed for pregnancy at all; its for cancer patients experiencing nausea from chemo, radiation or surgery. (source)  Zofran can cause birth defects in babies if taken during pregnancy, especially heart defects. (source)  The risk of the baby being born with a cleft palate also more than doubled after taking Zofran. (source)
I know it can be tempting to try anything that seems like it will work, but definitely try the natural route first. Essential oils are great- peppermint or lemon helps with nausea. Just inhale a bit, diffuse it into the air, rub a few drops mixed with coconut oil on your wrists or neck, or if you are comfortable with ingesting oils, one drop in a glass of water will help keep that tumultuous stomach under control. Just make sure you are using 100% pure, therapeutic grade oils.

Crackers help too- munch a few here and there and always have them with you in case you start feeling icky. Rice cakes work well for the gluten-intolerant.


Issue # 3: Back Pain

As your belly starts to grow, you more than likely will experience some kind of back pain because your center of gravity is changing and your muscles are stretching and rearranging to  create room for the baby.

This is me at probably 6 months along with my 3rd baby.

This is me at probably 6 months along with my 3rd baby.

Sciatica, a shooting pain or achy feeling from the lower back down the leg; is common.
With my first pregnancy, I experienced a lot of back pain pretty much through all 9 months. I was working, and on my feet all day and my back was in terrible shape.

Tip # 3: Find a good chiropractor. I know there are some bad ones out there, and it’s hard to know the good from the bad, but a chiropractor can do wonders for those sore joints, not just in your back! Try to find a chiropractor who specializes in whole-body wellness, not just cracking your back. Throw away all the excuses you have and just try it. Chiropractic is THE BEST thing you can do for that back pain. If your spine is out of line, your body can’t function at its best and no matter what you do to alleviate the symptoms, if you don’t find the source it won’t get better.
You can also do stretches to help with pain, but like I said, a chiropractor is your best bet. Search for one in your area here. 

Issue # 4: Moodiness

Ah, the hormones of a pregnant woman! They’re like PMS on crack. Laughing one moment, crying the next, you never know what is next.  I tend to get angry really easily when I’m preggo, which is no fun for everyone around me!

Tip # 4:
Prenatal vitamins will help a lot with this- and if you still feel stressed out or angry, taking extra vitamin B will make you a bit less crazy.

I like drinking herbal teas- peppermint, lavender, red raspberry leaf, vanilla rooibos. The warmth of the tea helps me relax.

Essential oils also come in handy.
Citrus oils- grapefruit, sweet orange, lemon; all of them help with a feeling of well-being.

Lavender oil helps calm the body, as well as peppermint. Ylang-Ylang oil is great too. Diffuse it in your home for immediate mood-boosting and a wonderful scent.

When you overreact to something or someone, take a minute and recognize that this is not who you are- it is your hormones. This helps with not feeling so out of control and crazy. Acknowledge that the moment will pass and even though it FEELS like a HUGE deal at the time, in all likelihood it is not at all. Take a minute to breathe, apologize if needed and pray through it. It helps me a lot to get by myself for a few minutes and think through the issue and ask myself, “Would I react this way if I wasn’t pregnant?” This helps me separate hormone craziness from real issues.
Not that hormones can’t be issues, but you can’t let them rule your life.

Issue # 5: Heartburn

Ouch. I had the most terrible heartburn with my first pregnancy! It seemed like I couldn’t lie down without my chest becoming a reservoir of fiery indigestion. I wasn’t eating well and I sure paid for it!

Tip # 5:
Watch what you eat. If you eat hot dogs, pizza, chinese food and other junk foods, you will suffer from heartburn because these foods have more acidic properties in them. The reason heartburn occurs is that the esophageal sphincter actually relaxes during pregnancy and this lets stomach acid splash back up the esophagus. Also because your uterus is growing it just pushes everything upward which can contribute to heartburn.

Try not to eat super spicy foods, and don’t lie down directly after eating. If you have heartburn at night while you’re trying to sleep like I did with my first baby, use pillows to prop yourself up a little bit to help the acid stay down where it’s supposed to. Of course, if you’re near the end of your pregnancy this will cause your back to hurt, but at the end there is not really a lot you can do to be comfortable when sleeping anyway. Just do the best you can. Drinking milk helps sometimes as well.

Issue # 6: Swelling or Water Retention

Cankles. I swelled so much with my firstborn, I had cankles; that lovely phenomenon where you can’t really tell your calf from your ankle. It was summertime in the south, and 100+ degrees many days. I was still working 30 hours a week at Starbucks and I retained SO much water!
A sweet nurse told me that it’s good to retain a little water, especially at the end of pregnancy because when you lose all those fluids and the blood during birth, that extra water is sucked up to make more blood, pronto. Without having excess water reserves, you could die. I felt a little better after that, but I am sure I had way more water than my body needed for replenishing my blood supply!

Tip #6: I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but drinking a lot of water actually helps reduce swelling and water retention! Especially drinking lemon water, which is so refreshing to a big pregnant mama. I recommend about a gallon a day- which sounds like a LOT but I just keep a quart mason jar with me all day and make sure I drink about 4 jars full.
Limiting your salt intake also helps- when you eat a lot of salt, your body retains extra water to dissolve the salt, so if you eat less, you retain less water!
Also, not being on your feet all day and making sure you elevate those tired feet helps keep those cankles at bay.

Issue # 7: Cravings

Its 3 am and you wake up and you just have to have some fried chicken. Or chocolate. Or something really weird like peanut butter pickle sandwiches. Or huckleberry crisp.


Tip: 7:

Think about what might be the reason for your cravings. Sometimes it seems like there’s really no rhyme or reason, but in my experience most of the time there was a base need that my body had and that craving was trying to fill it.

If you crave chocolate, you’re probably low on magnesium. Try soaking in an epsom bath and eating lots of leafy green vegetables. Your body will thank you.
For me, I craved cheeseburgers and tacos with my first, grilled meat with my second and third. All of those things are made up of protein and iron, which are super important for creating that baby and having enough blood and strength during pregnancy. So think through your cravings and find out what your body really needs. And it is okay to go get that ice cream sundae- once in awhile. Just not every time. :)


Issue # 8: High Blood Pressure (aka Hypertension)

This can become a really serious condition if you let it get out of hand. Because your body has so much extra blood in it during pregnancy, your blood pressure is naturally going to rise but you don’t want it to get over 140/90 or  dangerous complications can occur.

Tip #8: Thankfully, you can prevent or treat high blood pressure by adjusting your diet and exercise, as well as making sure you are not stressed out constantly.
A good diet to help keep your blood pressure within normal levels is  high in vegetables, low in carbs (especially wheat and bread products) . A good checklist for keeping track of your nutrition is at  Blue Ribbon Baby, as well as a wealth of other information about a healthy pregnancy. Nutrition is key! If you are working with a midwife, they are usually really good about focusing on nutrition to make sure you have the best pregnancy possible.
Also remove any extra stresses from your life. Sit down, have a cup of tea and do some knitting, or reading, or something that you enjoy.


Issue #9: Insomnia

This is a common issue in pregnancy, especially at the end when you’re so big and uncomfortable and can’t seem to find a way to get situated so that nothing hurts or is squished at bedtime. Or your body is dead tired, but your mind is racing with a thousand thoughts. I’ve been there.

Tip#9: There are several natural and herbal options out there to help with insomnia. First, limit your caffeine intake. If you’re pumped full of coffee or caffeinated drinks, of course you aren’t going to be sleeping! Same with sugar- it is a stimulant and can keep sleep from coming.
Once you have those things under control, you can try drinking a cup of chamomile tea at night to help your body and mind relax and get sleepy. A nice warm epsom salt bath can help- the magnesium in the salts helps with aches and pains too and is so relaxing.

If chamomile doesn’t help, an herbal tea with skullcap or valerian will. Just be careful because these herbs are stronger so use them with caution and in small doses to begin with or you might sleep the next day away! Earth Mama Angel Baby has a nice tea for relaxation, as well as Yogi teas that are safe and effective.

There are your nine tips for nine months!I had a lot of fun doing this. Writing about these things has made me want to write up a post on herbs for pregnancy and maybe a tips for post-partum series to help with issues that arise after baby comes.  Stay tuned for that!

Ideal vs. Real: Food Edition


I’m looking at another “Ideal vs Real” situation that happens a lot in our house, every day in fact. Probably in yours, too. At least, I hope so. :)



Delicious chicken and black bean chili over rice

You know how it is trendy and hip these days to only buy organic, locally- sourced foods that are free-range and GMO free and soy free and probably gluten free?


My blog IS called “Live Simple Natural” for a reason, so I’m not going to bash on any of those choices. I agree that food should be as chemical and preservative free and locally sourced as it can be, if at all possible. Food can be healing, or harmful, depending on the choices you make. But at the same time I have to confess; in reality I don’t always follow my ideal rules for choosing and buying food.

My Ideal:
~Organic (or grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals even though it may not be “certified organic”)

~Fresh and/or local

~Free-range (for eggs and meat)

~Grass-fed or pasture raised (for meat)

~Soy and High Fructose Corn Syrup- free

*Side note- I heard the FDA is now re-labeling HFCS as “fructose” to try and sneak it into foods still- just a head’s up. Not sure if it’s true, but I wouldn’t be surprised. They had relabeled it as “corn sugar” before that.*

~Low sugar. NOT fake substituted sugars like Splenda or Sweet n Low, but stuff that doesn’t have a lot of sugar in it to begin with.

~Also, no food colorings. (red 40 and yellow lake, I’m looking at you!)
Now, these are not bad guidelines. Obviously I want our food to be as natural and healthy as possible, because the less processed a food is, the more nutrients it has and the more healing it is for our bodies. But there are those ‘every once in a while’ times where I throw caution to the wind, for various reasons. So I’m gonna get real and confess my food crimes, ya’ll.

~We ate lunch at Arby’s over the weekend and had (gasp!) POP. (aka soda, aka coke, aka root beer)
HFCS  and caramel food coloring all up in here! And I have to admit, it was delicious. Terrible for you, but delicious. I sucked my Mug root beer down and savored every last foamy drop. I may have even let Olivia have a sip of foam. And she loved it too. She’s probably messed up forever now.

~I don’t buy organic everything. It’s too darn expensive! We try to stick to organic meat and dairy. We buy local eggs. I only buy organic fruits like peaches, berries, apples, tomatoes and veggies like lettuce and zucchini. But avocadoes, bananas and oranges, asparagus and potatoes? Conventional, unless the organic ones are on sale. Like, really on sale.

~Sometimes, if something has soy leithecin (or however you spell that) in it, and I really want to eat it (like chips or crackers or something like that) I still eat it, even though soy is one of the most genetically modified crops in the US. And also even though it messes with your estrogen levels.

~I bought vitamin C that has food coloring in it. I couldn’t find one that didn’t have any in it! Oh, the humanity!

~We eat ice cream with corn syrup solids in it. And it is super yummy.

~Sometimes we buy frozen pizza for dinner.

I figure if we eat really healthily for about 80% of the time, its okay to go all out and eat those bad foods every once in a while. Because really, if you have a diet that doesn’t have a little bit of indulgence, you’re not going to stick to it for a long time. It’s gotta be a lifestyle that you can stick with, right? I also don’t want my kids to be so deprived of a food that they over-compensate and eat way too much of it later in life. Balance is key.

So in a nutshell; I have ideals that I don’t live by. I bet you do too. But I think its better to have ideals and at least sometimes live by them than not have any at all and throw caution to the wind. There are so many levels I could go on with that thought right now…but we’ll stick with food-wise here.
So, mama (or dad or whoever) :
if you have food ideals and don’t always live up to them, it’s okay. You are human, you can’t be perfect.
(This is coming from an ex-perfectionist- I know how it is!)

Just do the best you can at that time and have grace for yourself and others.

Because food is about nourishment and family, and community and sharing life together, not calories or sugar content or GMO vs non GMO.

Focus on the whole picture, not the details. :)

Herbal Remedy:Plantain Oil For Irritated Skin

Today we’re talking one of my favorite herbal remedies for any kind of skin irritation: Plantain. Or Plantago Major, scientifically. It’s not the banana-ish kind of tropical fruit at the grocery store; (which was what I thought at first.) Plantain an herb that has been used for centuries to soothe and heal skin irritations, burns, cuts, rashes, anything that hurts on your skin. I heard about it a few years ago from a dear friend who is into herbal remedies and am so glad she told me about it! Plantain is not hard to find. You should be able to get it for free because most likely; you have it growing in your back yard. If not, it’s probably growing on the side of the road, or in your friend’s back yard. It’s known as a weed in most circles, yet it has such strong healing properties it should be a well known herbal super star! There are actually several  different kinds of plantain plants: one with broad leaves that kind of look like spinach and one with longer pointy skinny leaves, as well as a rough edged one. We’ll focus on the broad-leaved and skinny-leaved variety here.  The leaves are tough, with smooth edges and have kind of stringy veins running down through them. The flower of the skinny leaved variety is on a long stem with a fuzzy oval-shaped middle that gets tiny white flowers ringed around the middle. The broad-leaved variety  has long- stemmed seedpods that grow out of the center of the leaves. The broad-leaved kind seems to grow more in shady areas and the skinny leaved kind seems to grow more in the sun, from what I’ve observed.

click for source

Above is the broad-leaved variety, below; the narrow- leafed.

click for source

Look familiar? I make plantain oil out of the leaves, but if you had beeswax you could also make a salve or if you know how, even a lotion. Maybe I’ll try that sometime, but for now, the oil works great. Here’s how you make Plantain Oil: Find some plantain and pick the leaves. You can usually find them from spring to late fall. By wintertime they are mostly dead, but they come back again next spring. A handful of leaves will make a whole jar of oil. This would make a great gift for your crunchy mama friends- a little goes a long way too! :) Wash and dry the leaves- you want them completely dry. It is a good idea to set them out in the sun for a day or two, or stick them in the dehydrator or on your kitchen windowsill to get some of the moisture out  because if there is a lot of moisture on the leaves, they will mold. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Once your leaves are dry, put them in a pint size jar or a recycled salsa jar you have hiding in your cupboard and fill the jar with olive oil, pushing the leaves down so that they are completely covered in the oil. Make sure they’re completely covered- you don’t want to go to get out your plantain oil and find that it’s moldy. That happened to me the first time I made it and I was SO disappointed! Put the lid on, label it so you know what it is a month from now and stick it in a cupboard to steep for at least 3 weeks. I usually just leave a batch in the cupboard and forget about it- the last batch I made steeped for over a year and is fine. The olive oil preserves the leaves. You can take a bit out and put it in a smaller bottle and remove the leaves when it’s done steeping. When you need the oil for an owie, just take a small amount (like a few drops) and rub it on the affected area a few times a day. It is safe to use on babies, kids, grown ups, even animals. We once had a kitten that had gotten attacked by something and had a huge bite mark on her neck. Between using peroxide to disinfect it and putting plantain oil on it, the wound healed up very nicely. Plantain oil is my go-to remedy for when anyone in my family (or anyone that I know that isn’t weirded out by natural remedies) gets hurt. It stops the swelling and itching of bug bites and nettle stings, soothes burns (including sunburn!)  and helps heal scrapes and cuts, acne, rashes, hemorrhoids, chapping of lips or hands. If pretty much anything is wrong with your skin, most likely plantain oil can help it. It works great for diaper rash too! Olivia had these open sores on her bottom (ouch!) and I tried Burt’s Bees diaper cream and powder and they helped them not get worse, but didn’t make them better. Then I used plantain oil and within a few days the sores were all healed up. I haven’t ever had an instance where anyone reacted to it negatively, but of course I  am not a doctor and these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA so don’t sue me if plantain oil doesn’t work for you. ;) So, if you want to try it out, go plantain hunting! Its really fun to show your kids what it looks like, then have them hunt around the yard for it. Chances are, if you live anywhere that has grass and weeds, you’ll find some. Have you ever used plantain oil? I’d love to hear about it! :)


Eating Seasonally: Summer’s Bounty and a CSA Update

Summertime is winding down here in the Pacific Northwest; the days are starting to get shorter and the mornings and evenings have a bit of crisp chilliness to them. 
Its raining today, which is welcomed! It seems like we’ve had a pretty dry summer and its nice to see rain. I know the plants appreciate it too.
Interestingly enough, my 4 year old daughter Ellie is out playing in the kiddie pool even though its raining. She sure loves the water!

We didn’t do a garden this year,but decided instead to participate in a CSA with a local organic farm. With baby Olivia joining our family in March I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get any seeds in the ground or take good care of them. I’m so glad we made it a priority to still have fresh vegetables every week!
Its been so much fun trying new veggies and learning to eat things that I NEVER would have tried otherwise.

Here are a few new veggies that we’ve eaten:

Hakurei salad turnips. I had never even had turnips before, let alone put them in a salad! I absolutely love these turnips! They are crisp and fresh and sweet and seriously I can just bite into them and eat them like an apple. They’re that good. If we plant veggies next year, these will be one of the must-haves.

Beets. I’ve had pickled beets before and they weren’t my fave, so I was kind of scared to try fresh beets and had no idea how to cook them. It turns out, they are good peeled and sliced in salad, they add a really nice flavor to stir-fry (although they turn everything pink!) and are also yummy roasted with other root veggies.

Asian Greens.  This includes bok choy, pak choy (they’re two completely different things- pak choy is smaller), and this other really good one that I can’t remember the name of. They add such a nice flavor to stir-fries and soups! And of course they are good in salad too. 

Rainbow Chard. I was nervous about being able to find ways to eat this one as well, because I’d tried steamed chard before and hated it. But its super yummy in stir fry (see a theme? we have stir fry at least once a week now and love it!) and also good in salad. The lovely bright colored leaves and stalks are so pretty! 

Of course we have gotten all of the “normal” veggies that are usually front and center at the grocery store- carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, radishes, green beans, peas, spinach, kale, lettuce, basil, parsley, dill and many more. 
I’ve even been able to put up a few baggies of extra green beans and peas that we couldn’t eat, as well as some chard and kale for fall and winter soups. If you’re thinking of participating in Consumer Supported Agriculture, I definitely recommend it! Our CSA ends at the end of September and I’m already kind of sad that its almost over. If we can afford it I’d love to do it again next year, I really enjoy getting a nice big bag of delicious surprises every week. 

Honestly, there hasn’t been a vegetable that we’ve gotten and not liked. There are definitely favorites that we each have, but overall every single vegetable has been super fresh, flavorful and delicious.  

My grandpa has been giving us zucchini and cucumbers and potatoes and squash and corn from his garden as well, so my mom and I have been putting those up, blanching and freezing and making pickles and zucchini bread. 


Lemon Cucumber Refrigerator Pickles

Now the apples and prunes are getting ripe and the blackberries are just finishing up- which means jam and pie and applesauce and maybe cider. Eating with the seasons has such a lovely rhythm to it. I love it!

What do you think about eating seasonally? Have you tried it? Did you like it, or would you rather just go to the grocery store and get what you want year round? I’d love to hear your thoughts!




Summer Favorites

I was thinking this morning about all the things I love about summer and thought I’d share with you. Not that any of these are groundbreaking or anything, but I enjoy them immensely and there are just certain things about summer that you don’t have the rest of the year. 

So, here we go!



Duh. Here in the Pacific Northwest, this isn’t always a given even in the summertime, so I’m super thankful when the sun peeks its face out! The weather has been great lately and we’ve been really enjoying it. Which leads me to the second thing…


I mean, who doesn’t love the beach? Since we live on an Island, the beach is well, surrounding us and we can walk down to it from our house. Spending an afternoon with my toes in the sand and listening to the waves softly lap on the shore while gazing across the water to the mountains is pretty close to paradise. 


Fresh Fruit 


I love fruit. I also love that so much of it is locally available around here. Peaches (not super local but from the same state anyway), cherries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, plums…and non-local but so good I buy it more than I should- WATERMELON!!! I love watermelon. SO much.


Picnics in the Backyard


It’s just so sweet to sit in the soft grass in the shade and leisurely munch on fruit and veggies and salads and other yummy things while having unforgettable conversations with my kiddos. 




I guess this isn’t exclusively a summer thing, but I love all the flowers that show their colorful faces all throughout the summer. We have zinnias growing outside our back door and they always are so cheery and bright, even on a cloudy day they bring beautiful color to the world.


Being Barefoot


I really hate wearing shoes. And socks too…barefoot is just so much better! Except on cold fall and winter days of course, which is why I’m glad it’s summer. So what if your feet get dirty? They also wash well. ;)


I know there are several more things that are good about summer, but those are my top favorites. What are yours? 

Yogurt Parfait in a Mason Jar- An Easy, On-The-Go Breakfast

Our family took a camping trip over the weekend and we left pretty early in the morning, before breakfast.


Sunrise over the water- gorgeous!

In order to avoid the unhealthy regrettable decision to just grab a quick breakfast at McDonald’s,(which is, sadly our usual fall-back on road trips- even thought I loathe the place, it’s usually the easiest thing to grab and go.) I decided to be proactive this time and make something for us to eat on the way that was easy to transport, would sustain us for a while and was healthy. Plus it didn’t cost us any extra money. And we weren’t eating icky chemicals and supporting a business I loathe. Anyway, before I rant…

Yogurt Parfaits!

In a Mason jar!!

It was perfect for holding the yogurt without spilling. And it looks pretty!


We ate breakfast on the ferry ride across the water, as the sun was shining its beautiful way through the window.


The kids didn’t finish all of theirs at once, so I just put the lid right back on and we saved it for later. I’m definitely doing yogurt parfaits again next time we go on a road trip or just have to be out of the house before we eat breakfast, it worked so well!!

So, if you wanted to make your own yogurt parfait, what would you put in it?
Yogurt, of course! I used my homemade yogurt, which is super yummy and doesn’t have anything extra in it. Just plain goodness.

Maple syrup or organic cane sugar- because the homemade yogurt is unsweetened. If you have sweetened yogurt, skip this step if you want

Organic Strawberries, cut up nicely

A mixture of rolled oats, flaxseeds and chia seeds

If you are bringing this with you on the go, be sure to wait to add the oats and seeds until you are ready to eat it, or you’ll get a gooey, weird consistency of yogurt/oatmeal as the oats absorb the moisture from the yogurt.


You could also add nuts, jam, other fresh fruit or whatever you think would be yummy-this is just what I had in the house.

Stir it all up and enjoy!!

Yum. :)

A Painted Piano

I mentioned on Facebook a few weeks ago that we were given a piano.


Well….we painted it!

It was a pretty piano to begin with, however both my hubby and I have always thought that painted pianos just look super cool and we wanted a nice bright color pop in our living room.

Enter the paint.

We chose Pratt &Lambert’s No VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint from our local Sebo’s Do It Center. VOC’s are the elements in the paint that stink and give you a headache if you don’t have proper ventilation when painting. You know, the poisonous stuff. Don’t want none of that in my house, especially with a new baby. It was a little more expensive, but definitely worth it.

I LOVE this color!! It’s so bright and fun and cheery. It’s called “Delightful Aqua” and it is in fact, delightful.



First, the kids and hubby sanded the piano a little. It didn’t have very much of a finish on it, so we just did a light sanding with fine grained paper.


Then, the painting began!

Ethan got bored painting pretty quickly, but Ellie just loved it. She has a super artistic personality and really enjoys painting of any kind.




We taped off the keys and the pedals and the kids weren’t allowed to do around them at all- they had to stick to painting the sides and front of the piano.


It took two coats of paint to get it mostly covered- we did leave a few spots where the wood is peeking through just a tiny bit, for character. I would like to give it a sealing coat of wax or finish of some kind to make sure the paint doesn’t get scraped off easily and we still need to get it tuned, but it makes a very nice addition to our living room.










I love it!!!

We also still need to paint the piano bench- by the time we were done with the piano it was too late at night to start on the bench, we needed our sleep! There’s still a lot of paint left too, so  you just may see it appear on some other things in the future..who knows?

Have you ever painted a piano? Would you if you had one? Or are you a piano purist? I’d love to hear from you!

Ideal vs. Real: Home Edition

Hey all,

I thought I’d start writing about the ideal vs. reality a bit- kind of going along with my dreaming or discontent post.
Today’s subject is more light-hearted though-


Home should be a refuge, a place to unwind, a relaxing atmosphere. It also is a place to be yourself- the good, the bad and the ugly. A place of acceptance, a place of (hopefully) unconditional love.

A place that gets messier than ever imaginable. A place that I wish was clean for longer than 12 seconds. :)


This is what my house sometimes looks like:

For 12 seconds. If the kids are watching a movie, maybe it stays like this for an hour. Or if we are not home, it stays like this longer. You know, till we get home.  ;)





This. This is what it usually looks like.


You get a sneak peek of the piano here…we were painting it. But other than the painting mess that is not normally there, the rest is quite common.

Three kids ages 6 and under, lots of cooking stuff from scratch/artistic endeavors/crafty inspiration/imagination based play/homeschooling will do this to your house. Every single day.

Sometimes there are an excess of library books strewn everywhere across the floor as well.

Or a fort built in the living room with about 1,000 stuffed animal dollies “camping” in and around it.

Or fossils and fossil tools spread out everywhere for paleontology study.

This is what our kitchen looks like every evening.


The moments where it is clean are few and far between but you know what?

It is home.

And it is wonderfully, beautifully messy and lived in and happy and loved.

The mess is completely worth it because it means I can spend time with these guys:


To be here to see their growth and failures and firsts and kiss their hurts and feed them and make sure they learn about God’s love and our sinfulness and life’s responsibilities is worth a messy house. And for those moments where the house is clean, I just savor them and look forward to the next time. :)