Meal plan for the rest of the month. + Yummy Recipe!

So, I wanted to share my meal plan for the rest of March. It is pretty simple. I Also am going to share my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE chicken parm soup recipe, it is delicious!

March:

Monday 18th- Chicken Parm Soup + Stuffed mushrooms + Salad

Tuesday 19th-  Baked Salman (with lemon, Old bay & pepper) + baked potato + Broccoli

Wednesday 20th- Shrimp Lo Mein

Thursday 21st- Sausage Burgers + Raw Veggies

Friday 22nd- Chicken Tacos

Saturday 23rd-  Ham+ Cheesy Potatoes+ Green Beans

Sunday 24th- Baked Cod+ Brown Rice+ California Veggie mix

Monday 25th- Spaghetti with ground beef and veggies

Tuesday 26th-  Vegetable soup + Corn bread

Wednesday 27th- Whole wheat Pancakes + Bacon

Thursday 28th- Hot ham & cheese + left over Vegetable soup

Friday 29th- Grilled meat (not sure what kind) + Roasted sweet potatoes + Steamed Carrots

Saturday 30th- Roast + Potatoes+ Carrots+ Celery + fancy bread

Sunday 31st- Green beans + potatoes+ Ham (left over ham)  soup

This is what I am planning for the rest of March!

Chicken Parm Soup Recipe:

Ingredients:

1T Olive Oil

3 cloves of garlic

3T tomato Paste

1t crushed red pepper Flakes

1 (15 oz) can diced or crushed tomatoes

6c Chicken Broth

8oz dry pasta

2 cooked chicken breast (can do breaded or not breaded)

1 1/2 C shredded Mottz cheese

1C freshly Parmesan cheese

Parsley to taste

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook onion in oil until soft. Add garlic cook one more minute. Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Add tomatoes & broth, bring to a simmer. Add pasta cook 8-10 minutes. Add chicken, cheese, Parsley, Salt & Pepper. Let cheese melt and serve.

This is so yummy! I hope you like it 🙂

Please comment what you think of the soup if you make it. I think the recipe is from Delish. There is probably a video on their website.

 

 

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Guard Your Heart

0001Proverbs 4:23  Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

When Solomon speaks about guarding your heart in Proverbs, he is talking about your thoughts, feelings, words spoken, and people we surround ourselves with, anything that alters your heart. As importantly, things we allow ourselves to see. So in modern time this would refer to the music, movies, television shows, magazines and media we allow ourselves to watch, read or listen to. It is really important to fill our minds with wonderful, pure and joyful things.

I have been trying really hard to be very intentional about what I expose myself and my family to. I truly believe we are happier when we filter everything we take in. Our minds and hearts are not made to deal with all the negative, evil things in our world. With most things we have a choice of if we will expose ourselves to it.

If something doesn’t bring my family and I joy and fill our hearts with good things, then why be involved? One area I am thoughtful of is movies, tv and media. We watch wholesome family movies full of good news and wonderful lessons. I really enjoy watching children’s movies or wholesome romances (not like fifty shades of gray! My children can watch the romances I like haha). My husband does enjoy some ‘shoot em up movies’ after the children are sleeping, but they do not bother him, he enjoys them. As for TV I enjoy watching Call the Midwife and When Calls the Heart. They are really wonderful clean shows. They are full of old fashion values and coziness.

Maybe the most important part of this for me is the people we surround ourselves with and the activities we participate in. So if someone does not bring us joy and fill our hearts with good things I try not to be involved with them. This does not mean someone has a bad day so we never speak to them again. But just making sure that generally the people in our life are a positive addition. My favorite kind of people to be around are the people who are always encouraging me to be the version of myself possible. I would really love to find an older married couple to look up to! So find like-minded people to surround your self with! 🙂

As far as activities go I am really picky. I want everything we do to be a positive experience for everyone. I also want to gain something from these experiences and activities. For example, one activity we regularly participate in is baby time at the library. We love it! The women who leads the class is a doll! The other parents and babies are very sweet! All the babies play really well together during play time and they do some really great activities. The women who leads the class reads three books and does a few songs, then the babies play and parents chat! So fun, and we get to socialize haha. I am so picky about not doing things that do not add joy to our lives I even grocery shop in a way that brings my heart joy and peace. Walmart makes me sad, the lights give me a head ache and the quality of their products are low. So to avoid this not so fun situation I never shop there, even though it is more convenient. I shop at Amish markets bursting with fresh produce, homemade goods and locally raised meat. Then everything I cannot find at the Amish markets I get at Aldi. I really enjoy Aldi, I find some really neat things. A lot of Aldi food is really clean also!

So we have a really wonderful, fulfilling life. We have the things we have to do just like everyone else (doctors appointments, things like that). But overall, our lives are filled with lovely things that bring our hearts joy and peace. Our hearts are being filled with wonderful things. It is so important to fill our bodies with good things. So next time you dread going to an activity or visiting someone ask your self does this bring me joy? Fill my heart with good things? If not cancel! Next time you watch something and afterwards feel yucky, ask yourself is this something I should allow in my heart? If not stop, it is really simple. So Fill yourself up on wonderful things today! Guard your heart, it is so important.

Please share ways you guard your heart in the comments!

 

 

 

Making your house a home.

Image result for cozy farmhouse living room

Making your house a home is so important. You want to have a warm cozy place for your family to come home to. A place that is peaceful and inviting. I love having my home nice and tidy (it isn’t always), stocked with ingredients to whip up just about anything, so that I am always prepared to warmly welcome guest. There are lots of little things that go into making your house a home.

One of the most important things for me is keeping things clean. It is so stressful for me if our house is not tidy. I cannot seem to focus on anything if our home is not nice and clean (or at least cleanish). I have two babies one and under, so to have any chance of keeping things clean I have to schedule my day. Lately I have found that block scheduling my day really works well for me. I don’t follow it perfectly, but it gives me a general idea of what I should be doing.  Right now this is generally what my day looks like, although I think I will be altering it a bit soon. Also I do not follow this on days when we have to leave the house.

Weekly block schedule

From the time babies wake up until 9am: Change babies, Sippy cup and bottle time, Facebook/YouTube, breakfast and coffee.

  • 9am-9:30am: Get ready
  • 9:30am-11:00am: Pick up house (daily tidy)

Monday-Sweep and mop, wipe and organize counters, clean mudroom

Tuesday- Clean kitchen

Wednesday- Sweep and mop, clean guest bathroom and children’s room

Thursday- Wipe and organize counters, clean our room and our bathroom

Friday- Clean living room, Toy room and sweep and mop

Saturday and Sunday- general pick up

  • 11:00am-12:00pm: Lunch time
  • 12:00pm-2:00pm: Play and rest
  • 2:00pm-5:00pm: food prep and start dinner
  • 5:00pm-6:30pm: Dinner and clean up
  • 6:30pm-8:00pm: night time animal chores and showers/baths
  • 8:00pm-8:30pm: get babies ready for bed
  • 8:30pm- Bed time for babies, Bible time for my husband and I

Right now this schedule is working really well for me. There are some things I would like to move around. Babies are napping a little differently and summer is coming so we will be out side a ton more.

Another way to make your house a home is to always have yummy, healthy food prepared for your family. There is nothing cozier than walking into someone’s home and smelling delicious food cooking. This doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, could just be a simple soup simmering on the stove. Or I love to make things that will last all week for snacks. I usually make a couple batches of granola bars each week and I like to make healthy muffins as well. I try to prep food so that there are always healthy easy things to grab. A really easy thing is boiled eggs!

Another way I like to make our house lovely and welcoming is to decorate. Decorating does not have to cost a lot. You can paint the walls pretty cheaply. Some stores even have an “OOPS” section of paint that wasn’t the right color someone ordered. They always have lots of fun, sometimes funky colors for lots cheaper in that section. So paint your walls fun colors. Also go to garage sales, and thrift stores for decorations I find great stuff when I do. Also when hobby lobby is having a large sale they have reasonably priced things. I also like to add rugs to our hardwood floors, they make the floor a more inviting place to play! My favorite type of decorations are plants!! I have them everywhere. I have plants all through the house, hanging in front of windows. It makes things look so lovely! Plus they help oxygenate and clean your air! Plant do not have to be expensive I find them really cheap in the fall when they are all on sale. I got this huge house plan (not sure what kind haha) that was thirty dollars on sale for $3.44 three years ago and it is doing so well. Another way to add plants to your collection is rooting plants and making more. I do this a lot with different types of ivies and spider plants.

Although having a lovely home is ALOT of work, it is so worth it! I absolutely love our home and being in our home which is good for everyone. Being home is such a lovely thing. So much bonding and good things come from being home. So make your home a place you and your family love to be, and invite other to join you!! And staying home saves money so that is always a plus!

Please comment ways you enjoy making your house a home!

 

 

Co-Sleeping/Bed sharing, the good, the bad, the ugly

So let’s talk about co-sleeping! My family has been co-sleeping and bed sharing since my oldest son was born. He is 15 months old. Now that our youngest is here we co-sleep and bed share with two babies.

So let’s break this down:

Bed sharing- Sleeping in the same bed.

Co-sleeping- Sleeping in the same room.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO BED SHARE PLEASE FOLLOW THE SAFE SEVEN. (You can find more details on La Leche website)

1.A nonsmoker
2. Sober and unimpaired
3. A breastfeeding mother and your baby is:
4. Healthy and full-term
5. On his back
6. Lightly dressed
and you both are:
7. On a safe surface (firm flat surface. Not couches or water beds)

We do both co-sleeping and bed sharing. My oldest slept in our bed all the time from birth. We had an Arms Reach Co-sleeper that he refused to use. Even in the co-sleeper I felt like he was too far away anyhow. After we found out we were pregnant with baby number two we started trying to transition Elliot into his crib, which is in our room. It’s been a long transition, he still sleeps with us most of the time. But we love all the cuddles, he will only be little for a little while so I am not complaining.

As for our youngest he loves the co-sleeper most of the time. Isaiah loves to be swaddled and in his co-sleeper. This is a blessing because I would not feel super comfortable with both babies in our bed. My oldest loves to hug his little brother, but when he does he kind of lays on him, so that would make me nervous that he would try to cuddle him in the middle of the night.

As a mama who has bed shared and co-slept for almost a year and a half I can say there are many benefits! First being the closeness. There is nothing better than cuddling your children. Bed sharing allows for so many cuddles. When your child is close to you they feel so secure and sleep better. Another benefit of the closeness is convenience.  Moms who bed share sleep better. No need to get out of bed when baby is hungry just nurse them right back to sleep. If you are a mama who is not nursing maybe have all the bottle making supplies in a little caddie by your bed (although the safe seven says bed sharing babies should be breastfed). Another benefit is you are there to respond to your child right away. If your baby is burning up, coughing, whatever you will wake up and be able to tend to them immediately. If a child is in another room you may not notice these things.

While I truly enjoy bed sharing with my babies, every once in awhile I would like to go to bed and have my own space. Sometimes is sounds so nice yo just sprawl out in bed and sleep alone. When I feel this way I just remind my self that these babies will only want to sleep with their mama and daddy for so long, and then I will have the rest of my life to sprawl out in bed. And I will miss these days terribly when they are over. So I soak up every cuddle.

One comment I (rudely) get alot after someone hears about our sleeping arrangement is, “I guess you wont be having anymore babies”. Not to fear, there are more rooms in your home than one and more time during the day than just night time. So you can make alone time with your husband happen. Although you may need to be a little creative you can make it work!

Over all I truly love co-sleeping/bed sharing with my babies. I could never imagine them being all the way in a another room. I would be so worried I wouldn’t be able to sleep. What if there is a fire and we cant get to them, or someone breaks in? These are scenarios that would keep me up all night. So our babies will be in our room, and our bed ,if they want, until they really want to be in their own room. My husband and I are in no rush, we will let the children lead the way with moving to their own room. For right now I will just enjoy cuddling my babies as long as they will let me.

Please comment your experiences co-sleeping and bed sharing!

Saving Money, Shopping locally at the Amish Markets!

So I have been loving our local Amish markets lately, and saving a ton of money!

In addition to saving money I have been stocking my pantry with bulk food. The local Amish store sells huge bags of flours, oats and beans! I bought 25 pounds of pinto and red beans along with 50 pounds of wheat flour, 25 pounds of white flour and 10 pounds of oats! Everything I’ll need to whip up just about anything up. It is so much cheaper to buy foods in bulk. The 50 pound bag of wheat flour was only 20$!!

Another way I am saving is on produce. Our one farm market grows vegetables in their green house all year, so, I can get locally grow vegetables in the middle of winter! The other really cool thing they do is they put straw over the root vegetables they grow outside and then they can dig them up all winter. So I can buy locally grown carrots, potatoes and onions all winter long,  It brings me such joy when I ask for carrots and the man just goes to the field and digs some up for me in February (we live in Ohio).

These same people make their own honey and maple syrup, which is at least 5$ cheaper than everywhere else. It is the best honey I have ever had. So good that I  buy 6-10 pounds of it in the fall so we have enough to get through winter! My husband and I are hooked on this honey! The maple syrup we haven’t tried yet, I just bought a jug of their first batch! So I am excited to try it. I guess I should add pancakes to the menu this month!!

Another awesome thing is at the one Amish market they have a section of discount produce, and most of it is perfectly fine. My last trip there I got two big bags of vegetables for 7$! It was all still pretty fresh!

The down side of these local, small markets is they do not have everything I need so I have to make multiple stops. One stop for lunch meat, another for flours and beans, one for fruits and vegetables and one for dairy and other small things. So if you are someone who is looking for quick and convenient maybe it would not be for you, but I would take inconvenient, but lovely over Walmart any day. When I used to just run to Walmart for groceries I would always leave upset. Their lights give me a head ache, a lot of the people are really rude and someone was always being mean to their child. I leave the Amish markets feeling lovely! Worth the extra trips? I think so!

So check out your local farm stands and Amish markets for locally grown cheap food! It is good for everyone when we buy small and local! I love knowing where my food comes from and supporting local businesses! It is also such a joyful experiences shopping at these places as opposed to Walmart or somewhere like that. I really love the old fashion feel of these places. It is so nice to watch the Amish’s slow passed, peaceful life style. It helps me to be inspired to try to do the same with my life. So at the local market I get cheap bulk food, fresh local produce, and a delightful shopping experience!

Moving to a Farm

 

We have a lot of new and exciting things happening. The first thing I would like to share is that we are moving to a farm! I grew up on a farm, and after moving out of home I always hoped we would end up back on a farm. My husband had the same dream, he loves to farm. He started work for my parents, on their farm in high school, and still does around his full-time job schedule.

Two years ago, an amazing opportunity arose. A lovely lady was looking to sell her farm but wanted the right to live in her home until she passed away. She was 101 when we first looked at the farm, everything was beautiful, the farm, and the old farm house. We decided this was the home for us, and we were happy to let her stay in her home as long as she wanted. Thank God, we won the bid and signed the papers a few weeks later.

Sadly, the sweet lady passed away earlier this week at the age of 103. We are sad for her family, and pray she is at peace. This lady was ready to go be with her creator, she lived a very full life. She missed her son and husband who both passed away years before her. We feel so honored to move into the home that an amazing women had filled with love for so many years, we plan on doing the same. We pray she looks down and see us making her home our home and is pleased. 

Now that she has passed, we must start planning. We must sell the house we are living in now and move to our new farm. Before we can move in the kitchen and bathrooms need remodeled. So, we will be staying in our home while that is getting done. I have lots of planning to do, what do I want the kitchen and bathroom to look like? So much to pick out, it is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. The thought of moving with two babies has me a little crazy haha!

I am so excited to get started making this old farm house our forever home. I want to dig up the flower beds and plant beautiful flowers and herbs. I am also really exciting to dig up some of the back yard and start a garden. Another thing I want to do once we move is dry our cloth on a clothes line. I am just so excited to live a slow simple life on our beautiful farm.

 

Isaiah’s Birth Story

*This could be a trigger for anyone recovering from a traumatic birth experience

I am not looking forward to writing this, although my second birth gave me an amazing, healthy little boy, it did not go as planned.

When Isaiah’s due date drew near, I asked my sister-in-law, Valerie, to print off our birth plan, the same exact birth plan I made for Elliot’s birth. Being the doll she is, she printed it for me. I felt confident in my ability to deliver Isaiah naturally with one of the wonderful midwives I saw, just like I did with Elliot. I thought my birth plan, again, would be followed perfectly and sweet little Isaiah would be born into a peaceful environment and be directly placed on my chest, where he would stay for the first couple hours of life. Boy was I wrong, unfortunately lots of health issues and surgeries led to a midwife not being on call two days in 2018, one day being the day I delivered Isaiah.

The morning of December 27th, five days after my due date, I woke not feeling well. I was crampy and tired. My sweet Elliot had as much energy as normal. When my other sister-in-law, Katie, woke up (she and her brother live with us) I asked her to watch Elliot while I took a bath. She did and it was a life saver. So, I soaked in the tub, which always helps me when I am not feeling well. After I got out of the tub, I was so tired. So, I asked her if it was okay if napped for a little while, she said, “sure”. I woke up feeling as yucky as I had before napping. But I headed out to the living room to resume my motherly duties, I always feel guilty putting my responsibilities with my children on someone else. By this time, it was mid to late morning. The cramping got worse, so I timed the mild contractions to see if there was a pattern, there was they were about seven minutes apart lasting thirty seconds or so. I decided to call my husband Ben, luckily, he was finishing up early at work anyways, and would be home soon.

When Ben was on his way home I asked him to stop at our local Amish restaurant to get me soup. I knew if this was labor, I would need some nutrients and energy. When Ben got home, Elliot was playing with Katie again while I laid in bed. The contractions had gotten stronger. Ben checked on me, then brought me soup. I ate as much of the bowl as I could, but I really had no interest in eating. After checking on me, he packed Elliot up and took him to my parents, where he would stay until we returned from the hospital.

When Ben returned, I was soaking in the tub. I asked him to call the midwives’ office and let them know we would probably be heading there in a little while. Ben put the phone on speaker so I could talk to the nurse, she ever so sweetly told me there was no midwife on call. My heart sank, this was my worst fear.

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child I spent hours researching and interviewing doctors and midwives until I found a place where I felt I would be listened to and respected, where my dreams of a natural, unmedicated birth would come true. I interviewed all four midwives and felt so very comfortable having my babies with them. Then to find out that none of them were on call was so frustrating. The sweet nurse I talked with on the phone assured me the lady doctor on call was lovely and everything would be okay. After a few minutes of praying everything would go okay, I felt peaceful about the situation.

Soon after the phone call with the nurse we decided to head to the hospital, it was an hour drive and my first birth went really fast. We arrived at the hospital around 3pm. After going through registration, they took us to our room. The nurse came in and I handed her my birth plan, the same birth plan I used with Elliot’s birth. She told me she wasn’t sure the doctor would like but she would check with him. Him? I thought the doctor on call was a lovely lady. Well, he was not lovely nor was he a lady. This doctor came in and told me my birth plan would not work and I would probably need a C-section anyway. Where he got this idea I didn’t know, this was the first time I had met him. Met is an exaggeration, he never introduced himself.

After the nurse put the IV port in my arm, which I asked her not to do, I asked to get in the tub. She said she would ask the doctor, soon she returned and apologetically told me the doctor wanted me in bed with the monitor on. This was the opposite of what I wanted. After about 7 hours, (I had only spent about an hour in the tub because the doctor wanted me in bed) I asked the nurse to check my cervix because I felt like I was transitioning. She said I was wrong, and I was only 6 centimeters dilated. I was so disappointed, I should have known better than to have check me, it’s not an accurate assessment of timeframe.

She left the room and my water aggressively broke. All at once my body started pushing. Ben went to get a nurse, by the time he returned Isaiah’s head was born. The doctor rushed in and said to the nurse, “I thought she was only 6cm”. The nurse and the doctor caught Isaiah as he was born. The doctor just left him lay on the bed, he was not crying. Instinctively, I reached down and started rubbing my baby. He was born with cord around his neck, so he needed some encouragement. The doctor grabbed the clamps to clamp the cord, which my birth plan specifically requested he not do. My husband and I both asked him not to clamp and cut the cord, he did anyways. I was so upset and then he instructed the nurse to take him. She took him over to the table in the room. I told Ben to go with him. Soon I heard him crying, I asked them to bring him back, but they didn’t right away. While this was all happening, I was bleeding a little more than normal.

Although I was bleeding more than I suspected to be normal I felt fine. The doctor gave me a shot of Pitocin to help slow the bleeding, thankfully it worked. After what seemed like forever the nurse finally brought me my baby. At some point the doctor had left. I didn’t care to see him ever again. He was so rough with me and rude. He didn’t listen to anything I said. It seemed like his goal was to prove to me my birth plan wouldn’t work.

All the craziness was worth it though, God had blessed me with the most precious baby boy. After Isaiah was returned to me, he nursed for a long time. It was wonderful to bond with him. He nursed really well. After Isaiah was born the nursing shift changed and the nurses who came in were so nice, much nicer than any nurse we had had all day. The one nurse told me that they all called the doctor lots of nicknames such as: Doctor scissor hands, the cutter, ect. She told me I was lucky to have had a vaginal birth with him, his C-section rate was 50%, well above the national average.

Despite things not going how I wanted, I am very grateful to have been blessed with a healthy baby. Although I love my midwife, I think our next baby will be born at home with a homebirth midwife. I want to avoid ever experiencing anything like that again. Although I am so very blessed with my healthy baby, and I know this is all part of Gods plan (for what I don’t know) I am very sad about this birth. I feel as though a very special experience was stolen from me. I will probably go on to have more babies, but I will never get to experience Isaiah’s birth again. I will never get the special experience with him I had hoped for. His labor was full of fear, stress and sadness.

The next day my midwife came in and apologized. She also said how lucky I was to avoid a C-section with this doctor. She also said the hospital was considering terminating his contract because he got so many bad reviews and he was negatively affecting the hospitals C-section statics. I hope God either touches his heart, makes him feel compassion and respect for the women he takes care of, or he finds a place in the work force that better suits him. I hope another woman is never treated, by him, the way he treated me. I am still sad about the experience, but time is helping it not be a main focus of mine. I am also praying that I will feel at peace with how everything went. I am trying to focus on how blessed I am to have avoided a C-section and have a healthy baby. Trying to focus on the bright side.

Sorry for the long blog- so much to explain. Thank you for reading!