Encouragement for Busy Moms

Do you sometimes long to have more time to just read a good book, talk to a friend about life, or grow in your walk with the Lord? Sometimes mom’s need a little encouragement during the week, and it can be tough to find time to read, or call a friend, or get involved in a Bible study. It’s hard to find quiet time, and once I finally have it (usually during my daughter’s naps), I’m usually trying to catch up on cleaning and laundry and cooking.

While I was pregnant with my daughter, I discovered a wonderful way to gain some encouragement, listen to some parenting advice, grow in my walk with the Lord, and learn about hobbies that I’m interested in. I discovered the world of podcasts! I could be encouraged in motherhood, marriage, faith, gardening, etc. all while cleaning or cooking dinner for my family. I’ve been listening to several great podcasts since becoming pregnant, and still listen to them today (I actually just finished one on motherhood just ten minutes ago while cooking).

I thought I’d share my top favorite podcasts, so that you can be encouraged in your walk with God, gain wisdom with parenting, or just enjoy learning more about managing your household (gardening, cooking, homesteading, etc.). While I enjoy all the baby talk conversations with my little one, sometimes it’s nice to tune in and hear from other moms or godly role models. These podcasts have actually made me look forward to certain cleaning duties that I would otherwise dread. I hope you find encouragement from some of these as well!

The first podcast I began listening to, was Dr. James Dobson’s familytalk. My parents used to read Dr. James Dobson’s books on parenting when they were raising me, and I’ve been enjoying learning from him as well. I love the wisdom he shares, and enjoy the wide variety of topics discussed on each different broadcast. So many different topics are covered, from parenting, to marriage, to health, to politics, and so much more. I’m constantly feeling encouraged and growing in my walk with God through this great program!

I really enjoy learning about homesteading, as we have recently purchased a home with more land than we previously had. Homesteading is a dream of mine, and I love learning all about it! Melissa K. Norris’ podcast helps me learn about homesteading, as well as ways to build up a natural pantry, how to can foods, make broth, and so much more! Her podcast is so much fun to listen to and easy to learn from. I love the knowledge she shares about her homesteading journey.

Since we’ve moved, I’m so excited to have a larger garden than we’ve ever had before. Specifically an all organic garden. The Organic Gardener Podcast has been great to listen to for tips and wisdom on having an organic garden.

I love learning all about how to feed my family nourishing, organic foods. I believe that the desire to nurture our bodies, comes from the Lord. Dr. Eric Z has so much knowledge about eating and living healthy, and puts a complete Biblical perspective on it. You do have to sign up to gain access to the podcasts, but it’s totally free and well worth it!

The God Centered Mom podcast is my newest discovery. I’ve been really enjoying going through some of these podcasts, and can totally relate to the busy life of a stay at home mom. I enjoy listening to the different mothers that are interviewed, and hearing the journey’s that God is taking them through. I’ve already found myself in tears after listening to an interview with September McCarthy. This is truly a wonderful podcast!

I like to hop around through these podcasts depending on what mood I’m in, but I definitely am not able keep up with all of them! I enjoy having a variety of great options to listen to during my cleaning and cooking times. These are all great podcasts, and I encourage you to listen to one next time you’re dreading cleaning the bathrooms or scrubbing the floors. What podcasts do you enjoy listening to?

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I Love Sugar

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As my daughter’s first birthday approaches, I have been realizing how much sugar our culture consumes for holidays, birthdays, and everyday life. (I’m also realizing how much sugar I consume.) Birthday parties are usually full of cake, candy, ice cream, and other sweets. The amount of sugar most of us consume, should actually make us sick. But our bodies have become somewhat adjusted to the unhealthy amount of sugar we eat.

My daughter has never actually tasted sugar at this point in her life, outside of the natural sugars that are in fruit. We feed her lots of bone broth, grass-fed meats, wild caught salmon, organic fruits and veggies, dried fruit, pastured eggs, and homemade yogurt. We will soon be introducing grains, but only ones that have been prepared properly (organic, non-gmo, and soaked or sprouted grains).

I recently began preparing muffins with icing for her birthday party, and followed some wholesome recipes that only used natural sweeteners (no actual sugar). My husband and I strongly disliked the first batch of icing I made. There wasn’t anything to sweeten it besides a banana. Our daughter on the other hand, enjoyed it a lot! At first we wondered how she enjoyed something we so strongly disliked (and we aren’t picky eaters). Then it dawned on me, she hasn’t been exposed to sugar and wasn’t used to the amount of sweetness that we’ve become so used to with foods. It was probably just the right amount of sweet for her. Needless to say, we realized that if we didn’t enjoy it, most likely not many guests at her party would either. So I attempted another icing recipe using maple syrup to sweeten it. This one was truly delicious!

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Our family is really striving to cut back on our sugar consumption, and find recipes that use only natural sweeteners (in small amounts) when we do get a craving for something sweet. God calls us to take care of our bodies, and God has placed my husband and I in charge of nourishing our baby girl’s little body. I don’t want to fill her body with toxic, unhealthy foods. We have to teach her by example.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-20

While organic cane sugar is better than non-organic bleached sugar, it’s still not good for you. So we are starting a new sort of journey with our food, and trying to find ways to eliminate sugar and use mostly natural sweeteners (in limited amounts). If you’re unsure of what sweeteners are natural, check out this great post by Food Renegade. Natural sweeteners are better than the white stuff, but should still be used in moderation.

I look forward to sharing some recipes with all of you as I discover sweet treats to make using natural sweeteners. For starters, let me share this delicious maple buttercream recipe with you! I’m also making these yummy gummy snacks for party favors.

I would love to hear from you! What yummy dessert or snack recipes do you make that use natural sweeteners?

The Beauty of Baby-Wearing

Yesterday was my birthday and my husband made it such a special day for me. First, he surprised me by taking the day off of work, then he took me to get coffee, have a picnic lunch, and then for a walk while he took pictures of me baby wearing our daughter. The pictures were the highlight of my day, because it’s something I’ve been wanting for awhile. Baby-wearing has been a huge part of motherhood for me, and one of my favorite parts of being a mommy (what mom doesn’t love baby snuggles?).

You can read about my journey of having a baby with colic by clicking here. Baby-wearing helped me through that challenging time. I would wrap up my daughter in my Moby wrap for several hours every day those first six months. At eleven months, I still baby wear at some point each day, and it still works wonderfully at calming her down when she’s upset or putting her to sleep when she’s tired.

When I became a mom for the first time, I dealt with a lot of doubt in myself. Doubt that I was doing anything right (especially the long nights that I couldn’t seem to do anything to help my baby girl stop crying). I received a ton of advice (which I’m so thankful for) and tried so many different things those first few months. I was told to schedule her nursing times, while others told me not schedule. I was told to let her cry or to never let her cry, to hold her all the time or that she shouldn’t be held all the time. I was told not to spoil her. I tried this and that, but in the end, I took the advice of others that matched what my maternal instincts were telling me (I believe God gives maternal instincts to every mom).

My instincts were to keep my baby close to me. My sweet baby girl had just spent nine months in a wonderful, warm world, where she was always beside me. She didn’t know anything besides being with mommy, and after she was born she was clearly happiest when she was with mommy. Why would I try to teach independence to a baby? Why would it harm her to be close to me? I read bits of different books that advised me to have her sleep in her own room, never in my arms. These books went against every instinct that I felt. My daughter’s cries were the only way she could communicate with me.

Some books suggested that once she was fed and had a clean diaper, it was alright to leave her cry herself to sleep because her needs had been met. Do baby’s not have emotional needs too? Of course they do! My baby girl just entered a new, cold, bright world which was probably so scary compared to my snuggly, dark, warm womb.

By following my maternal instincts, I used to feel guilty, sheepishly telling others that yes, I nurse her to sleep, or yes, I pick her up every time she cries. I was told (and still am told) that I’m too attached to my baby. At a certain point, I stopped caring what others thought, and I’m glad I did. I stopped feeling like I was too attached to my own baby just because I was following my instincts.

We live in a culture that tries to get babies to fit into our schedules, instead of embracing the beauty of motherhood and enjoying the sweet and fleeting moments with our babies. I once heard a comment from a frustrated mother, ‘I still have to rock her to sleep.’ How incredibly sad this mother’s perspective was. I cherish nursing and rocking my baby girl to sleep each night. I love our late night nursing sessions and I love holding her in my arms and having her close to me. I love that I can rescue her from tears by picking her up each time she’s afraid, upset, or just needing mommy. She won’t always need me in this way. In fact, she’s already showing so many signs of independence.

I have no regrets for answering my baby girl’s cries and always keeping her close to me. I hope this post encourages other new mom’s to do the same. Don’t ignore your baby’s cries or try to make your baby fit into your schedule. Embrace this beautiful experience. Some day you’ll look back and long to do it all again.

Here are a few of the pictures that my husband took of my daughter and I.

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“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?” -Isaiah 49:15

 

Delicious Yogurt Dressing

I started making my own salad dressing 2-3 years ago when I discovered how unhealthy store bought dressings are. Even organic salad dressing! I’m big on knowing what ingredients I’m feeding my family, and store bought dressings are full of so many questionable ingredients.

You could skip the dressing and use a little lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or avocado instead. But if you’re like me, you might still crave a creamy dressing to drizzle over your salad. Salad dressing is one of the easiest things you can make homemade. I encourage you to start looking up some recipes!

I’m going to share one of my favorite recipes for salad dressing. This dressing goes so fast in our house. It’s so delicious (we use it as a dip too), and we don’t feel guilty about using too much dressing. Why? Because it’s made from homemade yogurt! In case you missed my post on how to make your own yogurt, click here.

As I was trying to come up with an alternative to ranch dressing, I ended up with this delicious dressing. Although it does resemble ranch a little, it’s got a delicious taste all of it’s own. You can easily whip this dressing up in a matter of minutes. You’re going to love it!

Delicious Yogurt Dressing

1 1/2 cups of yogurt (if you have really thick yogurt, sub 1/4 cup of yogurt for milk)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

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See how simple that was? I love using this jar for our homemade dressing. It’s easy to pour the dressing from, and it comes with several salad dressing recipes on the jar!