34 weeks !
Yesterday, I turned 34 weeks! I am so excited that I only have 2 weeks till I am in the "safe zone" of being full term. I have always had my babies a few days late, so my midwife said that I should expect the same with this one. Yesterday was my pre-natal visit, which was wonderful. I am still the same weight from 2 weeks ago, which is odd to me. There were other ladies having their pre-natal visit around my appointment, as well. (Normally, I don't see any other families coming and going.) One lady who went in to have her check up before me had 4 precious sons, and was expecting her fifth child in August. She was very sweet and it was so nice to see her hubby with her too! Two couples were in the waiting room after my appointment. One couple was holding their 6 week old baby! I just wanted to run right up to them and ask them all about their birth experience, but I tried to contain myself. It is amazing to see the difference between how joyful mothers can be, who are having their pre-natal appointments with a midwife, rather than at a stuffy doctor's office. Every time I went into the doctor's office, I would get stares for having two children and one on the way. Now, I see families of various sizes and it is such a blessing.
I got my blood sugar tested, which was low (110), even though I had just eaten supper about an hour and a half before. My midwife said I needed another meal, even though I did not feel hungry. My hemoglobin level was 9.2, and my midwife said that anything below a 10 is anemic.So, I am needing to take iron supplements. She asked me if I was more tired than usual, and I told her that I usually need a nap a day. She said that was normal, though, for being in one's third trimester.I always eat eggs and I try to have a steak every day at lunch. Hopefully my iron levels will go way up.
Thankfully, baby is in the proper position of being head down and feet up. I always ask my midwife to check to make sure that the baby is still in the right position. He/She has been this way for many weeks now.
I am really excited about something else which God has provided for me. I have been interested in having the aid of a doula, but having to pay for a midwife right now, we did not have the funds to hire one. My midwife told me about a young girl (17 years old) who lives in my town. She is a homeschool graduate, and she has several siblings. Her mama homebirthed 5 children, and that is why this girl has such a passion for natural birth. She needs to attend a certain number of births in order to get her full certification as a doula. So, she has agreed to be my doula at no cost to me. My midwife said that the doula can even help watch my children, if we need her to. Isn't it amazing how God just works things out? At my next appointment (when I am 36 weeks), my midwife and doula will come to my house.
I appreciate your continued prayers for the health of my baby and for a safe and sound labor and delivery.Blessings to you, dear sisters in Christ!
Thursday, May 31, 2007
34 weeks !
Posted by Christine at 2:55 PM
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
During the labor of my daughter, I realized just how much I could use some Carmex for my lips. They got so chapped that they were bleeding and swollen. It is amazing how the little comforts during labor, can make things much more bearable. The following items can certainly be useful during labor and delivery. Include a few treats, you deserve it!
- tennis balls for massages
- a Birthing ball (exercise ball): It is useful for bouncing on, and laying your chest and head on it. If you sit on it correctly (with your legs spread somewhat) it actually helps to open your cervix and bring the baby down correctly. Some women actually enjoy bouncing on it during labor.
- Bottles of Water for mother, daddy, and birth attendants
- Gatorade or Laborade
- Honey in a spoon or honey straws
- Washcloths for soaking in a crockpot with herbs such as lavender (These feel great on the back or face)
- Popsicles or lollipops to keep mouth hydrated.These look really good to me!
- Massaging oils or lotions such as here. One of my friends gave me a set like this after Lily was born, and it was lovely! Lavender is best for promoting relaxation, which is essential for the first stage of labor.
- Power Bars for busy mommy, daddy, and birth attendants. Don't let your blood sugar drop!
- Fruit: Some women find that eating one piece of fruit during a difficult time in labor, helps them to carry on.
- Water: If you are not going to use a birthing pool, many women recommend soaking in your tub or taking a shower as a way to soften your skin and make the pain more bearable.
- Scripture booklet: Many women compose a scripture booklet prior to labor with scriptures which they can focus on during labor.
- Perhaps, have a movie on hand, which you really want to see, and save it for the early hours of labor. What a good distraction. It may help you to remain calm.
Posted by Christine at 8:31 AM
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
On our date nights at home, I love to make delicious orange slushes for Stephen and I. We love picking up some food, and watching a movie together, as we sip our drinks. Last night, Lily and Stevie sampled some for the first time, and they absolutely loved it! I found this recipe from my Taste of Home magazine. You may already have all the ingredients on hand! On the whole, it is pretty healthy since it contains milk, vanilla yogurt, water, and orange juice. We used 1/4 cup of sugar, last night, rather than the 1/2 cup it calls for. It tasted just fine that way. (you could taste the zing of the orange juice better this way.) For an even healthier rendition, substitute stevia or honey for the sugar. If you try this recipe, I would love to hear what you think about it. It is worth firing up the old blender for this tasty summer treat!
1 cup water
1 can (6 oz) frozen orange juice concentrate
1 carton (6 oz.) vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
10-12 ice cubes
In a blender, combine the water, orange juice concentrate, yogurt, sugar, milk, and vanilla; cover and process until smooth.While processing, add a few ice cubes at a time until mixture achieves desired thickness. Pour into chilled glasses; serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.
(I like to put my drinking glasses into the freezer while I whip up this concoction.)
Posted by Christine at 12:38 PM
Monday, May 28, 2007
We had such an enjoyable day together, as a family. We enjoyed delicious breakfasts together at Cracker Barrel, my favorite restaurant. Stephen and I tend to order larger meals, and ask for plates for the children, so they eat free! I had the delicious strawberries and cream pancakes meal. Afterwords, Lily and I went to Barnes and Noble, and Stephen and Stevie went to a special military museum. (This way, we could both spend time with a child, one on one.) Lily had so much fun playing with the train set, having mama read her books, and sharing an Italian soda with mama. Then we got some snacks and supplies at Walmart to go fishing. Nothing was biting, but it was fun, nonetheless. I was occupied with my carrot sticks and fresh peaches. Even though I was getting really sleepy, as long as there were snacks, I was just fine. When we got home, I made beef stew, and the little ones played in the sprinkler. It is a blessing to spend these family days together.
Posted by Christine at 4:56 PM
Sunday, May 27, 2007
I am sure it can seem puzzling why I would seek to learn how to birth naturally, after having two medicated births. But there are so many reasons for this. I consented to drugs with both of my children's births, after quite a while of struggling in pain, and not knowing how to deal with it. I am so grateful for the privilege of attending classes, which better equip me for dealing with the pain. It will still be painful and difficult, of course, but I feel like it is more "do-able". One interesting thing, which my Bradley teacher mentioned this weekend, is that the more drugs/interventions one receives in childbirth, the more suffering has to be endured after birth. I had a lot more medication with Lily, than with Stevie, and there was a huge difference. I popped up so much faster after Stevie was born. Keep the pain where it belongs, before the birth, not afterwords. Drugs basically delay the pain till later. Avoid unnecessary c-sections, as they result in a very long recovery time. After having a baby is not the time to be suffering. My teacher has birthed naturally two times, and both times, she was able to scoop the baby up right away and walk around! What a blessing! Also, the birthing drugs are dangerous and can have dangerous side effects.Demerol, Stadol, Nubain, etc. all are very similar to heroin (they are opiates). The drugs used for epidurals, Marcaine, Carbocaine, lidocaine, etc., all are very similar to the ingredients in cocaine. (Notice the "caine") These are very dangerous and that is why so many medicated newborns are so lethargic and are not as responsive as non-medicated babies. By the way, I have learned that it is normal to cry out for drugs during labor. Almost, if not every woman, says that she wants drugs at some point during her labor. That is usually when she is in transition. Her body is going through so many changes and the baby is about to come. If one can keep that in mind, it makes it that much more bearable. I know of a woman who homebirthed (and loved it), who used to beg her hubby for a c-section while she was in transition. Transition is usually 10-30 minutes, and you just have to remember that you are almost there. With the right support, you can do it. (And with Christ, we can do all things!) That is why the Bradley method works, because your hubby is trained to encourage you to make it through, rather than telling you to take drugs. He helps you to focus on one contraction at a time. I encourage you, that whether you are expecting your 1st child or your 10th, to really learn all you can about birthing naturally. It is worth it.
Posted by Christine at 10:42 AM
Being Good Stewards of our Bodies
In this era, it is so easy to just do into "auto-pilot" zone regarding what we eat, drink, and even how we take care of our bodies. Pregnancy always makes me a little more aware of what I am putting into, and on my body. With so many processed foods and carbonated beverages, which are full of preservatives and odd sounding words, it is amazing that our bodies don't break down faster. I think a really great rule of thumb is that if a product which you are using contains a really large word which you don't understand, to avoid it. Nancy Campbell, the director of Above Rubies, stated in a talk, that she was horrified by the way American children consume sodas. In Australia, it is simply unheard of. Many sodas and even so-called juices have no redeeming value. Several months ago, a friend of mine really helped me when she suggested that I look at the ingredients in my coffee creamer. Back then, I was loving my cup or two of coffee with those deliciously scrumptious creamers. But the ingredient list positively scared me. There was nothing redeeming about that creamer.I have been trying to avoid coffee and creamers, like the plague. I also try to be more aware of what I am eating, and what ingredients it contains. Now, I admit, there are times when I still occasionally have something which I know is not healthy, such as fast food. But I try to cut back a lot more than I used to, and to make the best choices I can, while I am there. I also try to be more health-conscious as I prepare meals for my dear family. I do not like the ingredients in Cream of Chicken soup, but it is called for in a few recipes, which I enjoy. I am hoping to find a healthier way to make it. (I found one recipe, but it would have cost about $10 to make one can's worth of soup!) Getting organic/healthy meats, eggs, and milk (when we can afford it) is a good start towards better stewardship of our bodies. One good rule of thumb is to eat living foods. Ideally, we should only consume things that were once living. Veggies, fruits, beef, and chicken, are created by our Maker. Something like a twinkie, for example, has a myriad of preservatives and no one really knows what it is. Supposedly, it has taken one twinkie 50 years to break down, in a laboratory. Imagine the repercussions of consuming one, and it taking a very long time for it to be broken down by your body. I am also wanting to learn more about Sprouting seeds, which is so healthy for us. I also try to drink several cups of filtered water, all day long. As a busy mama, just filling up a large water bottle at the beginning of the day, and carrying it with me, really helps to keep me hydrated. (This is extremely important for pregnant or nursing mothers!) Supposedly, if you are already thirsty, you are dehydrated 1 quart already.
Another realm where it is important to be a good steward, is what we put on the outside of our bodies.I have been using Jason Natural Deodorant for a few months now. I switched from my favorite Lady Speed Stick because I was worried about putting aluminum into my body. When we ladies shave under our arms, and then proceed to swipe aluminum under our arms, it cannot help but get into our blood stream. Aluminum is such a toxic metal, and I worry about my precious baby receiving it, even in utero. Now, sometimes, it is hard for me to get used to just using a deodorant. It never seems as powerful as an anti-perspirant. But it is against our nature to never perspire, which can cause a myriad of problems, later. The deodorant helps with the smell, somewhat, and our bodies still do what they were meant to do. I just try to put several swipes of the natural deodorant on. One thing which Jason deodorant advertises is that their products do not contain "propylene glycol". I felt that I was doing well, by making this one baby step, until I looked at my body wash and shaving creme ingredients. They were not only inundated with propylene glycol, but also with Red 40, Blue 3, sodium benzoate (a cancer causing preservative) and many other dangerous ingredients. Ahh! What could I do? So hubby and I started switching to Dr.Bronner's Organic Soaps.* We can share these, because their scents are neither masculine nor feminine. They are gentle enough to be used on babies. We are using the Lavender and Peppermint soaps, as body washes. There is nothing as soothing as these amazing organic, Castille soaps! I challenge you to take a look at These ingredients, and compare them to the soaps which are in your bathroom. I used the peppermint soap as a facial and a body wash this morning, and my skin literally tingled for about 10 minutes! You can even use these as a shampoo. I am wanting to do this, but I am still addicted to my favorite shampoo, which does contain some ingredients, which I am concerned about. I am also wanting to investigate buying healthier Sunscreens, as hubby stated that he is more scared of certain sunscreen ingredients giving him cancers, even more so, than the sun! There is so much more which I have left to learn regarding becoming a better steward of my body. Baby steps really are the key to living a healthier and more vibrant life! Do not be overwhelmed, just start implementing a few better things into your life, and you will have done so much! What items do you enjoy using in helping you to be a wise steward of your body?
*These soaps are incredible, but I must warn you that they have some weird philosophies on the containers. I ignore what they say, and use these wonderfully organic items. Blessings!
Update: I used Dr.Bronner's peppermint soap as my shampoo today and I liked it even better than my favorite shampoo! Hooray!
Posted by Christine at 9:11 AM
Friday, May 25, 2007
Posted by Christine at 7:25 AM
Fun At Chuck E Cheese
Lily and Stevie had a blast at Chuck E Cheese last night. Dear Hubby bought $10 worth of tokens for the children to enjoy. We had already eaten dinner at home, so this was a fairly inexpensive reward. Stevie loved celebrating his sister's diligence in completing her math studies. He has been (overall) very good at sitting and working in his own workbook (mainly pretend), while Lily does her lessons, so he deserved a reward , as well. As for me, I had to keep sitting down at a booth each time Stevie got on a ride. (I was watching him.) I am feeling very worn out. I probably would have been more energetic if our darling dog had let me get a nap. (She whimpered the whole nap time to get out of her crate. Ahh...she feels much more comfortable with us now. I am not sure if this is a good thing? lol) Anyways, we are saving our ticket receipt so that Lily can pick out a bigger prize sometime. (We will just keep saving them till she can actually get something decent.) She was not too thrilled about that, but in time, she will be. (Hmm... a tootsie roll or a fun outside toy....that is a hard one!) I am so proud of my little darlings. I often marvel at God's amazing kindness in bestowing such kindnesses upon me. My babies truly are my joy.
Posted by Christine at 7:10 AM
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Way to Go, Lily!
Today, my sweet little Lily finished her Horizons Math Kindergarten Book, which she started this past January. As we promised, we are taking her to Chuck E Cheese, as a reward for her diligence. This book is really advanced, and it ended with her counting to 80 and doing many challenging problems, for her age. (They even had her adding 45 + 3) I am not sure where to go from here regarding her math. I like Horizons, but it is just so advanced. I want to make sure that she thoroughly understands the fundamentals before moving on. I am interested in Math U See but I am not sure if it is just too much work for the teacher.I have heard of many people who just adore Math U See. I have gotten the free demo dvd, which is available from their website. It looks like a terrific program. It is a little pricey, and it is selling high on Ebay, right now, as everyone gets ready for the upcoming school year. Even my dear father-in-law has given me a math recommendation for Saxon math. I am just a bit overwhelmed by that curriculum, though I know it is quite good. In the meantime, I will be making sure that Lily is counting well, skip counting, adding small numbers together with tangible objects, using fractions in baking, and using dominoes for addition. Right now, I am torn between purchasing (with some of my saved birthday money from the past couple of years) Math U See or an Ergo Baby Carrier (for my upcoming addition). Why are there just too many goodies for us mamas? Have a blessed day! If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear from you!
Posted by Christine at 1:09 PM
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The Best Carrot Cake Recipe Ever!
My favorite cookbook ever is Joy in the Kitchen, because of the fun variety of family recipes. It was composed by the sweetest family, The Welches, who are moving to Ecuador next month to be missionaries to children at an orphanage. The Welch family created this scrumptious recipe with a delicious cream cheese frosting. I was inspired to make a homemade cake, when I saw the gorgeous cake which my dear friend,Kelli, made for her hubby last week! I am bringing it to share with extended family tonight, as I am making supper for everyone. The only bad thing is that I am sure it won't be big enough! Next time, I will need to double the recipe. Blessings!
2 medium carrots (peeled and grated)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and pour into 8 inch square pan that has been greased with butter. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or till cake tester inserted in the middle of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan. Frost after completely cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 T. butter (at room temp)
4 oz. cream cheese (at room temp)
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
Mix butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. Add powdered sugar , vanilla, and salt and beat on low speed until smooth and fluffy. Frost cake and serve at room temperature.
Posted by Christine at 3:38 PM
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Large Families: A Gift to the World or a Burden?
Isn't it something the way that fallen man can come to his own erroneous conclusions about things? According to this article, having a large family is an absurdity, which only "messes up" our planet. God's Ways truly are not our ways, for His Word states, "For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else." (-Isaiah 45:18) (The emphasis is mine.) He did not create this earth to be barren, sterile, and empty, but to be full of life. The same God who created the earth will provide for all the needs of those who dwell therein. May we always renew our minds according to His Holy Word, and never according to the erroneous trends of our times.
Posted by Christine at 1:41 PM
Though I know it will be a while before I am up to traveling far, I cannot wait to visit here with my family. I know it will be an incredible experience! God is so amazing! Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 1:33 PM
Monday, May 21, 2007
Menu Plan Monday
This past week, we enjoyed Mock Ihop Swedish Pancakes. They were so scrumptious with some peach preserves on top! I love learning new recipes.
Monday~ May 21~ Beef Stroganoff, Creamed Spinach, and Salad
Tuesday~ May 22~Kielbasa Casserole (we did not use this recipe last week)
Wednesday~May 23~ We are cooking Chicken Stir Fry , bread, and a homemade carrot cake (with extended family)
Thursday~ May 24th~ Spaghetti, Salad, and Green Beans
Friday~ May 25th~ Homemade Pizza
Saturday~ May 26th~ Amish Skillet with Brown Rice
Sunday~ May 27th~ Breakfast foods for dinner! (muffins, pancakes, eggs, hashbrown casserole)
For more menu plans, visit Laura.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Our House Has Grown By 4 Feet (Paws)
On Saturday, we adopted a "jeagle" or a "jack-a-bee", Grace, from a humane society outside of Kmart.She is a mix between a Jack Russell and a Beagle.I was a bit reluctant to adopt her, as I know dogs are a big commitment. Stephen has been patient with me for the 4 years that we have lived here, since I have asked for time before getting a dog. I let him make the decision to get her. Now, at first I was worried, because most beagles tend to bark A LOT. But they said that she rarely barks, if ever. I still have not heard her bark, even though she was around several dogs and cats yesterday. She seems to have gotten mostly good traits from her two breeds. Jack Russells are supposed to be good with children. She is not high strung and she likes staying away from confrontation. She is so petite, weighing only 16 pounds, and she is full grown. She already has had all of her shots, is de-wormed, and is spayed. She is allowed in only the rooms in our house which have wood floors or linoleum. We put a baby gate up to keep her off of the carpet in the bedrooms. She is one year old, and is already pretty good at being crate trained. (That way, when we go out, she can stay in the crate in the laundry room, so that she doesn't get into anything, which might be harmful for her.) She actually goes in the crate quite often for a little down time. (She needs a breather once in a while, because Lily is all over her, trying to "mother her".) Lily is a riot, though, she only asked 20 times if she is ours to keep. Grace does remarkably well with children. I cannot believe her patience! Hopefully, things will continue to go well.
Posted by Christine at 11:54 AM
Posted by Christine at 11:23 AM
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Last night, Stephen's family was gracious enough to watch our children, as they have been for the past few weeks (on Friday nights). It is easier on them if we drop the children off on Friday nights rather than early on Saturday mornings. (They babysit for us so we can attend our Bradley class) Stephen and I are so blessed by his parents' generosity. We don't like being away from our sweeties (at all), but we really feel that this class is God's Will for us.After we dropped them off, we rented two movies and got some Chinese take out to eat at home. (I know... not the healthiest...but it was a treat.) I used to always love going out to eat and shopping, but these last few months of pregnancy have really slowed me down. Now, a movie and food at home sounds great to me! We watched The Last Sin Eater, which was really good! I absolutely love these great Fox Faith movies!
Usually, I am at my Bradley class on Saturdays, but my teacher called this morning, to cancel, due to her husband getting bitten by a spider, which may have been a brown recluse. She wanted to accompany him to the emergency room. I am very grateful for my Bradley teacher, who threw this class together after moving from the west, so a group of North Carolinians could learn to birth more confidently. It truly is a blessing to learn how to work with one's body during labor. One of my favorite things about the Bradley method is that it is not a way of escaping your birth, but rather, a way to cope and to relax through your contractions. They give very clear instructions (which aren't too complex) on how to handle each stage of labor. It is amazing how much knowledge can equip you, when it comes to giving birth. When you have a gameplan for each stage of labor, though no labor goes exactly as planned, at least you have a framework to know what you are dealing with.
Later, we are going to be celebrating two of my nephews' birthdays with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. My children are very excited. Hopefully, I will have some fun pictures to post soon. I hope that you have a very blessed Saturday!
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one to another;
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not."
Posted by Christine at 8:19 AM
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Recently, we obtained my medical records from the doctor's office. We thought that everything was just fine with this pregnancy until we read the ultrasound report. A few months ago, we were urged by our doctor to go in for further ultrasounds, but at the time, she said that the initial ultrasound was fine. (They always try to get me to go for a million ultrasounds, as part of their protocol.) (I do not understand the discrepancy between what I was told, and what the records state. ) Anyways, I really covet your prayers for my little sweetie. This ultrasound was done before 20 weeks, so the problem may have cleared up by now. It is very difficult not to worry right now. I feel that God is just asking me to lean on Him and to trust in Him completely. Thank you so much for your prayers, dear friends. Blessings to you!
Posted by Christine at 9:30 PM
Posted by Christine at 9:03 PM
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
A Lovely Visit with Sweet Friends
Today, our family was blessed to receive a visit from my dear blogging friend, Jamie, and her family. We had a great time chatting and our children had a wonderful time playing together. The picture did not quite turn out the way we wanted, but our dear husbands were both taking pictures at the same time. We did not know which camera was going to take our picture first. Anyways, she is a real dear sister-in-Christ, whom I am blessed to have gotten to meet.
Posted by Christine at 9:17 PM
I am 32 weeks today and I am getting very excited to meet this little person in two months! I had a prenatal visit today, which went well. I am starting to pack on the pounds...I am..... gasp.... 128 pounds. I felt fine about my weight because nursing always takes a lot of poundage away, post-baby. But my husband's co-worker (a little petite 100 pound girl) asked him, "How is Christine ever going to get all of that weight off?" Talk about giving me a complex! She just isn't around too many pregnant or nursing mothers. I am just trying to not let it bother me. Nursing is an absolute Godsend. When I wean my babies, I am usually right around 95 pounds. Anyways, it isn't all about me or how I look...but doing everything for His Glory. I just pray that this little sweetie will arrive happy and healthy. I covet your prayers in that regard. Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 9:06 PM
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Homebirth After 3 C-Sections (simply amazing)
Bonnet tip to Stephanie.
Posted by Christine at 2:09 PM
When labor starts....Bake!
At my Bradley class on Saturday, my teacher gave ua a really great tip, which I wanted to pass along to you. If you want your nursing staff at the hospital to be kind to you, it never hurts to bring in some goodies for them. Most nurses are so overworked, and often underpaid. They are often asked to pull in 12 hour shifts, and they often do not get a "coffee break". So by the end of a shift, they are quite tired and their blood sugar is often rather low, and that can result in crabbiness. It never hurts to make some cookies or treats in advance to raise their blood sugar, and help them to feel better. In return, they will often treat you better. If making some goodies is out of the question, just buy a box of chocolates in advance and bring it to the hospital with you. Just write "compliments of room 112". She said there are many laboring women who were amazed at how doing just this one little thing made such a difference. My teacher made cookies for the hospital staff when her first child was born, and nurses kept doing little "favors" for her. She had delivered really late in the night, and there was no food available. But two nurses managed to sneak away and get her and her husband a nice plate of food each. If you have tried this before, what did you bring and how were you treated? Have a blessed day!
Posted by Christine at 9:23 AM
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Menu Plan Monday
The children generally help me make pizza on Friday nights. (unless we go out to eat) Stevie put the cheese on and Lily put the pepperoni on top. They had so much fun and did a great job. These really are precious memories with my babies.
Weekly Meal Plan
Monday~ May 14~Mexican Rice Casserole
Tuesday~ May 15~ Kielbasa Casserole
Wednesday~May 16~ Beef Burritos
Thursday~ May 17~Amish skillet and creamed spinach
Friday~May 18~Homemade Pizza
Saturday~ May 19~ Off~ Birthday Party with cousins
Sunday~ May 20th~(Church Fellowship Meal) Pasta Salad (with chicken, tri-color rotini, green pepper, cubed cheddar cheese, and Italian dressing)
For more menu plans, visit Laura.
Posted by Christine at 8:08 PM
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Wishing you a very blessed and joyful Mother's Day!
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." -Titus 2:4-5
"Notwithstanding, she shall be saved in childbearing if she continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." - I Timothy 2:15
"I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." -I Timothy 5:14
"It would not be easy for some of us to recall the hour when we first heard the name of Jesus. In very infancy that sweet sound was as familiar to our ear as the hush of lullaby. Our earliest recollections are associated with the house of God, the family altar, the Holy Bible, the sacred song, and the fervent prayer. Like young Samuels, we were lighted to our rest by the lamps of the sanctuary, and were awakened by the sound of the morning hymn. Many a time has the man of God, whom a parent's hospitality has entertained, implored a blessing on our head, desiring in all sincerity that we might early call the Redeemer blessed; and to his petition a mother's earnest "Amen" has solemnly responded. Perhaps the first song we learned to sing was concerning the children's best Friend. The first book that we began to read contained His sweet name, and many were the times when we were pressed by godly ones to think of Jesus, and to give our young hearts to Him." -Charles Spurgeon
"Fathers and mothers are the most natural agents for God to use in the salvation of their children. I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother; neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring. A man with a soul so dead as not to be moved by the sacred name of "mother" is creation's blot. Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me." - Charles Spurgeon
Imagine how even the Creator Himself values motherhood! Women alone are blessed to bear the children He creates in the womb. It is a sacred and a precious calling. I am so thankful and unworthy of my sweet blessings from heaven!
Image At the End of the Front Porch available from www.art.com
Posted by Christine at 8:25 PM
Thursday, May 10, 2007
The Joy of Hospitality
Romans 12:13 entreats us to "be given to hospitality." Galatians 6:10 states, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them that are of the household of faith." It is obvious, therefore, that hospitality is an important biblical practice for all of God's children to undertake. As homemakers, we are to do most of our hospitality in the home. If this is not possible, our hospitality should flow from the home, unto others. If others cannot come to us, we ought to go to them, cheerfully.
Hospitality in the home is so rewarding, and is a blessed thing for our children to observe and to practice. When having company over, whether we have a grand and ample feast prepared, or a few light snacks, we ought to remember to be joyful Mary's to our guests. Then, no matter how simple the fare is, it will seem as though it is a great banquet, for the company is so grand.
Practically speaking, it is always helpful to have snacks on hand , particularly for traveling guests. They won't feel like leaving to grab some extra food to eat, so it is important that we, as hostesses, meet their needs. Fruit or vegetable trays offer delicious and healthy sustenance to visitors. Some fruits which do well, prepared in advance, and neatly arranged on a tray include pineapple, strawberries, orange slices, and grapes. Carrots, green pepper slices, and celery work well on a vegetable tray. You may also want to slice some different kinds of cheese and arrange crackers on a plate, for another simple, yet tasty snack.
After a car ride, it is so lovely to enjoy a refreshing beverage. Have available (if possible) a nice selection of drinks, such as milk, sweet tea, filtered water, lemonade, and juice. Sweet tea can be made very frugally. For lemonade, I often buy the concentrated cans at Aldi for .50 cents and mix up a pitcher full. If you cannot afford many beverages, simply make/buy one special drink, and serve it joyfully! Many guests enjoy coffee or hot tea, so having one or both ready to serve, is a kind gesture.
When serving meals, it is often easier to prepare something in advance, and pop it into the oven right before your guests are due to arrive. Lasagna is a lovely dish, as you can make it earlier in the day, refrigerate it, cook it, and not have the dishes all over the place when company arrives. That way, you can spend time with your company when they arrive and treasure every moment.
There are times when others cannot come to our homes to visit with us, and we ought to find ways to share kindness with them. Psalm 128:3 refers to the wife as "a faithful vine by the sides of her house." Our hospitality flows from and is fostered in our homes, but it does not stop there. It ought to pour out to others, everywhere. Are there shut ins or lonely people around you? Ask God to lead you to helps others who need a manifestation of His Love. Perhaps you can surprise a wife, whose husband is deployed, with some oatmeal cookies and some lemonade. Send some goodies to your husband's workplace with him in the morning, so you can bless him and his co-workers. Coffee cake muffins are a lovely touch for a morning meeting at work. So many of my husband's co-workers never get to sample homemade foods, so it is nice to treat them, once in a while. You might bring goodies or dehydrated fruit to an elderly person or a couple. Lily and Stevie and I had a lovely time, last year, when we visited a dear friend at her house. We made and brought lemon bars, and she made the best Southern sweet tea ever! We sat out on her deck enjoying our goodies and having a delightful time.
There may be times when you may feel led by God to make a meal for a family. There are many expectant mothers who are so sick in the first trimester, that their families are left to scrounge up whatever they can find for supper. It was a true blessing when I was so sick at the beginning of this pregnancy, when my pastor and his wife made us a meal for supper. They made bean enchiladas, corn, 2 loaves of bread (1 chocolate chip and 1 whole wheat), and roasted pumpkin seeds. To frugally make meals for others, try doubling whatever you were making for your family, for supper. Then, simply divide it, and share it. If you are making bread dough, simply double the recipe and make 2 loaves. Making meals for moms with a new blessing is also so helpful.
I pray that God will lead you to living a fruitful life of hospitality. I have so much to learn in this regard; I hope we can learn more, together. I would love to hear what you love to serve to your guests. Though we have many Martha tasks as Christian women, may we always have Mary hearts. Blessings!
My Favorite Lemon Bar Recipe
(Almost every time I make this, I am asked for the recipe. It is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Joy in the Kitchen. These are very hearty and rich.)
2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups sugar
5 T. lemon juice
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Combine 2 c. flour, butter, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Mix and press into ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Mix eggs, sugar, salt, and lemon juice in bowl. Fold in 1/3 cup flour and baking powder. Pour onto hot crust. Bake 25 minutes more.Cool and cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Image Summer Porch available from www.art.com
Posted by Christine at 12:06 PM
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Affordable Handwriting/Copywork Materials
There are so many lovely (and expensive) copywork/handwriting materials on the market. This is a very inexpensive journal, which I picked up for my daughter, at Walmart. It was only about $2.00. I give her words to copy into the journal, and then she can draw a picture illustrating what she has written. This can be so versatile. You can write Bible verses or poetry on every other line, and your child can copy them onto the next line. Copywork helps with memorization, spelling, grammar, handwriting, and a plethora of other great things. This is very helpful to me as it combines several studies into one. Use your imagination if you want your child to learn science, geography, or history facts this way. You can use any book as a copybook reference. One book that I would really recommend owning in your home library for copywork purposes is the Book of Virtues. It definitely works for me.
Posted by Christine at 12:03 PM
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
True Food for Thought...from a Godly Woman
"How often I have sat in a roomful of people and heard a wife contradict, criticize, belittle, or sneer at her husband before the rest of the company and I have difficulty restrained myself from leaping from my chair, going over and shaking the woman by the shoulders and saying, “Do you realize what you’ve got?” She doesn’t. She hasn’t my perspective, of course. If only there were some way for every wife to have the experience of losing her husband for a little time—even of thinking that he’s dead—in order to regain the perspective she needs for genuine appreciation." (Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be A Woman p.100)
Posted by Christine at 6:35 PM
Monday, May 07, 2007
Menu Plan Monday
The above is a picture of Thai Peanut Noodle recipe, which I made for supper last week. The sauce is zesty, which includes soy sauce, Italian dressing, honey, natural peanut butter, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
Monday~May 7th~ Sesame Chicken Nuggets (homemade) and squash
Tuesday~ May 8th~Amish Skillet, Brown Rice, and creamed spinach
Wednesday~May 9th~off~ Dinner with Extended Family
Thursday~ May 10th~ Beef Burritos
Friday~ May 11th~ Homemade Pizza
Saturday~ May 12th~ Off~ Churchwide Social at a Large Farm
Sunday~May 13th~ Beef Stromboli
Have a blessed week. For more menu plan ideas, visit Organizing Junkie.
Posted by Christine at 8:07 AM
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Epidural Turns Deadly
This story is just too sad! What really saddened me is that 1 out of 20 hospital patients pick up an infection in the hospital. That results in 99,000 deaths a year. The lady in the story probably had an infection on her skin, and it was put into her body when the epidural was put into her spine. It is just so heartbreaking. My dear grandfather (who is now deceased) had an epidural before surgery, and he became paralyzed from it. These are some very powerful reasons to seek other ways to cope with the pain of childbirth. Blessings!
Posted by Christine at 12:51 PM
Failure to Progress?
America has an average c-section rate of 33%. It is one of the highest rates of any industrialized nations. One third of those c-sections are done for the broad reason of "failure to progress". Perhaps some of these are necessary, but certainly many doctors use this term far too liberally. On Saturday, at my Bradley class, I learned about something very interesting for the first time, called the Natural Alignment Plateau. (NAP) The official definition of it is: A period of time during labor when the cervix stops dilating although contractions continue. It often ends with a quick dilation of the cervix. This can happen in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. For example, Sarah is birthing her sweet baby, and she has been in labor for 4 hours. She dilated 1 cm. each hour for the first two hours, and then dilation ceased during the next two hours. She goes through one more hour, not dilating any more. During the sixth hour, she rapidly dilates to 7 cm., and within the next hour, she is at 10 cm. (complete dilation) What happened here? Well, perhaps her baby was not turned in the correct position. Sometimes a woman's body realizes this, and stops opening the cervix (the baby door) till the baby turns into the position he/she needs to get into. Once the baby has gotten into the proper position, the woman's body will start opening the cervix again, and proceed to "go on with the show". Often, she will dilate rather quickly afterwords. Now, what would happen if we were dealing with an impatient doctor? He might suggest speeding things up with pitocin, which would not allow for the proper changes to be made, which your body was working on. Your baby will have a more difficult time getting in the proper position, because he/she was unable to get into position. Other possible reasons for a NAP include certain birthing muscles need to relax, hormones need to be made to prepare for milk production, and softening of cartilage. If your pelvis is not adequately opened, your body might need a little time to adjust properly. Our Creator made our bodies in such a marvelous way, and we need to let them do "what they need to do". I always thought that it was terrible that it took 24 hours for me to get to 6 cm. during my labor with Lily. But now, I realize that my body was probably just preparing itself for birthing a baby for the first time. It is so important that we listen to our bodies and let them do what they were created to do. The Genius of our Creator is very evident in birthing precious babies!
Posted by Christine at 12:14 PM
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Posted by Christine at 6:13 PM
Friday, May 04, 2007
Posted by Christine at 11:05 PM
Pregnant in America
Posted by Christine at 10:12 PM
Thursday, May 03, 2007
My 30 Week Picture
I took this picture yesterday, to share a shot of my ever-growing abdomen! My midwife said that I need to stop picking up Stevie. I had stopped picking Lily up, a while ago, but Stevie is another story. My midwife said to just sit down and let Stevie come to me. Those baby kicks and squirms get stronger by the day! Only 69 days till my due date! I want to make sure that I make it full term and don't carry too heavy of objects.
Posted by Christine at 5:36 PM
Posted by Christine at 5:30 PM
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
The Abundant Life
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) Our dear Lord wants us to abide in Him and taste of the abundant life. He wants us to be abundantly fruitful in all facets of our lives. It is the Enemy who seeks to cause us to wither and to dry up spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
One way that He has called women to a life of abundant blessings is by yielding our bodies to Him regarding our fertility. Rather than focusing on the difficulties of pregnancy and labor, we can resign ourselves to the Father's Will. In doing so, we will grow spiritually in the way that He has designed us to flourish.
One thing that is interesting is that many women consider pregnancy to be a "condition". But rather than being a medical problem, it is a marvelous time, brimming with life! I really appreciated something that my childbirth instructor, Heather, shared with the class a few weeks ago. She said that pregnancy is an amazingly profound time for a woman. By the time a pregnant woman is 40 weeks, her blood volume has increased by 50% of it's normal volume! She is brimming with life! Also, during pregnancy, one's senses are so magnified compared to her normal state. Now, while changing a stinky diaper, that may not always seem like a blessing, but it truly is when you can finally smell spring in all of it's glory. Because of the increased blood flow, many women even notice a difference in their sense of touch. Pregnancy is a blessed time when a woman is most fully alive! She breathes not just for one, but for two beings! (and sometimes more!)
What a blessed time to yield oneself to the Lord and live for His utter honor and glory. May we always remember to treasure the abundance which we can find in obeying the Lord.
Today, I am blessed to be 30 weeks pregnant. Woohoo! I am very grateful for the Bradley Birth classes which I am taking. I was very pleased to find out from my insurance company, that we should be getting at least a partial reimbursement for the childbirth classes! The classes were already worth every penny in my eyes, but it is always great to get some money back. Many insurances cover such things, because many women require far less interventions and drugs who have taken Bradley classes. 86-90% of Bradley class graduates give birth unmedicated. Of all birthing methods, it has the highest rates of natural births (unmedicated) We also learn in class about necessary and unnecessary c-sections. That way, it is easier for you, as a patient, to discern if you need one as a life-saving technique, or if the doctor is just trying to "get things over with". I have learned so much through this class and heartily recommend it!
Yesterday I met with my midwife for my second appointment with her. She could feel that the baby was growing. The baby has had his/her head down for at least a few weeks now! Yippee! My blood pressure is great and everything looks wonderful. The appointments are enjoyable because my midwife truly cares. My next appointment is in 2 weeks. I am getting excited about the countdown to holding my precious baby! Blessings to you!
German Mother and Child at the Piano available from www.art.com
Cool Dude !
This morning, Stephen got up before Lily, so he got to be my breakfast helper. He stirred the batter for the pancakes and then put on Daddy's shades. After I took this picture, he said, "Take a picture again." He is a crazy boy who always brings a smile to my face!
Posted by Christine at 9:20 AM
Posted by Christine at 8:22 AM
My Babies at Breakfast Time!
Every morning, I generally make eggs, toast, and turkey bacon for my littles. Yet, they still beg for more! You would think that I was feeding 250 pound army men rather than a 30 pound son and a 40 pound daughter! All I have to say is this mama always needs to be prepared!
Posted by Christine at 8:09 AM
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Though there are so many wonderful fruits from reading to littles including increased vocabulary, literacy, and food for the imagination, sometimes extra incentives are a true bonus. When I was in elementary school, I loved being part of Pizza Hut's Book It Program. Every time I completed reading a certain amount of books, I would receive a certificate for a free personal pan pizza. I assumed that as a homeschool parent, that this would not be an option for our family. Last night, I was speaking with a dear Christian homeschooling family, and they gave me the contact information for this program. They are enrolling homeschools right now, for the fall. For the link, please click here. I have already enrolled, even though Lily will only be 4 1/2 in the fall. I love how Book It encourages reading to improve vocabulary, spelling, and writing. That is why I keep Lily's formal schoolwork to a minimum so that we can find a lot of time to learn about many things by reading! The homeschool mom I talked to last night, also let me know about how most companies, such as Chuck E Cheese, give free game tokens when you present a report card with A's on it. This lady also gets 2 free rounds of golf when her sons have A's on their report cards. When they have A's and B's, they get one free round. Also, Krispy Kreme supposedly gives free doughnuts for A's. I know that most of these are not the healthiest foods, but should be fine as an occasional treat for diligent effort. (followed by thorough toothbrushing) I am also hoping that our local library has a good summer reading program, where we write down our reads and receive rewards. I always loved doing that throughout my school years. What other ways have you seasoned homeschool mothers found to cheaply (or freely) reward your littles? Blessings!
Image available from www.allposters.com "My First Picture Book"
Posted by Christine at 11:14 AM