Thursday, February 11, 2016

Cake Pops

All my cake pop dreams have come true! And they are just as amazing as I imagined they would be!
I mean, they are IN-VOLVED - a high-maintenance, deconstructed cupcake of epicness on a stick - but
worth it!!! I made these for my kids for Valentine's Day (so I've got a dozen tucked in the freezer
for this weekend!), but we couldn't resist eating the batter, the chocolate... the final product!!!
Taste testing is a crucial part of any culinary process. And I take my job seriously.

We added some of our Young Living essential oils to flavor these yummies! I'm pretty sure that all
the sugar completely deactivated the healthy properties found in peppermint and lemon, but
NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS! I'm holding that close to my heart... and digestive track.
Seriously though - such vibrant, solid flavors!!!

So I made these with a gluten-free cake mix, but any cake mix you love will do.
Have you ever seen a gluten-free cake pop? Me neither... until now!

I love how people come over to my house and assume that everything gluten-free is "healthy".
I wish. And made you lose weight! Lol. I digress... it's the cabin fever talking.


1// Bake cake mix according to recipe. Let completely cool.
I did 8 cupcakes in vanilla + 8 in chocolate because I like options!!!
Code for "I have a problem." Ha.

2// Crumble cake and set aside.

3// Prepare homemade frosting like me, the overachiever, or use canned frosting.

For my chocolate cake pops,
I added a few drops of peppermint essential oil
to my chocolate frosting.

For my vanilla cake pops,
I added a few drops of lemon essential oil
to my vanilla frosting.

4// Eight crumbled cupcakes used about 1/2 C. of frosting. I added slowly until the crumbled cake was
just moist and sticking together well enough to roll into a ball.

5// I used fancy shmancy $1 designer straws from Target for sticks. After securing a cake ball
on the end, I placed in my freezer to chill for about 30 minutes before dipping in chocolate.

6// While cake balls are chillin' like villains, melt chocolate of your choice! You want something
that dries solid at room temperature. Again, I added peppermint essential oil to my
melted dark chocolate and lemon essential oil to my melted white chocolate!

7// Dip those cake balls and coat them with something pretty! We used crushed peppermint candy
and tangerine zest!!! Let sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to set.

8// Eat all the cake pops. Don't leave a trace.

16 crumbled cupcakes + frosting made 16 cake pops!!!

I am happy. My kids are happy. Just wait til you see their faces below!
And my husband thinks an ordinary cupcake would do. No cake pop for you, buddy! Haha.
Happy Valentine's Day, loves!!! XO


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Thursday, January 28, 2016


Yesterday the one and only toilet in our house was clogged. I had been working on it
off and on for about an hour when I finally gave up to go make lunch. So I shut the bathroom
door tightly and walked away. Two seconds later I hear said toilet flushing, gushing Niagara Falls
all over the floor, rugs, streaming straight for the hallway. It was as awful as it sounds.

I'm grabbing towels and throwing down like Olivia and her comments on The Bachelor.
Watch out. Judah walks by real casually like he's on vacation or something and is like,
"Hey mom! Why is there CHOCOLATE all over the bathroom?" Chocolate?!
I wish it was CHOCOLATE.

As I shove two cookies in my mouth to help cope with the situation.

People are all like, "THREE is SO hard. FOUR is SO easy." And I'm thinking maybe we should just go
straight for another baby here and end this crazy time! But then I think, "No, this has got to be some
Parents of Four initiation trick."
They all sit back as they watch our announcement come up on Facebook, "Suuuuuckers."

I'm not pregnant by the way.

But we would seriously love that though!!! Being outnumbered doesn't scare us.
I mean we're training our people, ya know? Raise 'em up just like Keith Urban says.

Judah: "You're underwear is like Halloween."
Me: "What does that even mean?"
Judah: "It means it is scary."

Nathan: "The faces of the angels glow!"
Isaiah: "Yea, like momma's face when she looks at her cell phone!"

Me: "I just need everyone to be quiet for a minute!"
Isaiah: "What does that even meeeeeean?"

Me: "Judah, don't touch your behind while going to the bathroom."
Judah: "Mom, there is NOT a bee on my back. It's called a BUTT."

Me: "Do I have a job?"
Judah: "Yea all you do is switch the laundry."
Me: "That's all I do?"

Me: "Do know how hold momma is?"
Isaiah: "Uh 100?"

Nathan: "Judah, do you want some veggies for breakfast?"
Me: "Seriously? I'll get you some."
Judah: "Wait... I think I meant CEREAL."

After not letting Isaiah buy a pair of panty hose from the second hand store he sighed,
"This is the WORST day of my life."

Solidarity, folks.
Bring it in.
On three,

go. parents.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

You Changed Me

Before there was you, there was hot coffee and uninterrupted lunch dates. There was time to clean the house and put on make-up - do homework, go to work. I could stay up late, sleep til noon, leave without telling anyone - whenever I wanted to. I was basically a rockstar.

And now I speak of the lines, the stretchmarks that are etched deep, hard into my skin that read of a time before we began. I now can run on very little sleep, make it through a day with no solid meals and find a way to bounce, sway, rock back and forth - sitting down, standing up to help you fall asleep. I am able to just look at you and know you're sick, you're tired, you're hungry - calling for me to nurse life into you. Liquid gold, my body now makes that. We're talking superhuman trumps the rockstar.

I've been broken down, made wide, pulled thin all at the same time. I've cracked and bled; processing pain I've never known, riding a depthless ocean of hormones that bind me closer to you through the tears, the laughter, the explosive kind of love I knew when your heart beat next to mine - skin on skin - for the first time.

You changed me.

I gave birth to you, but you also gave birth to me as a mother, and now we are bound up in this lifelong story of growing together. And all that stuff that happened before there was you - before there was us - pales in comparison to the adventure we now know.

I love how God chose me for this; how He chose you for me and me for you. All to draw us deeper into communion with Him, His plan, eternity. We are here to sharpen and refine one another in our domestic church, our mission for sainthood. And somehow that makes the cold coffee and early wake-up calls golden because they have purpose - they drive us deeper into the mystery of life given for life; a holy, maternal sacrifice. And it is all so alluring, addicting - like we are tasting a sliver of the love God pours out for all of His children.

You changed me.
He changed us.
And it is good.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Motherhood: My Cloistered Years

Every morning I am not woken by an alarm clock, but by the sound of toddler boys
crawling out of their bunk beds, feet still heavy with sleep, trudging into our bedroom or
down the hallway; on the hunt for breakfast or to check and see if mom forgot to unplug the Wii.
The baby must be just waiting in her crib for the first sound of life in our house because as
soon as there is movement, there is Bella Jane.

Our days are warm and slow. Since we have decided to homeschool, there is no morning rush or
lunches to pack. We take our time over bowls of oatmeal; wiping sleep from our eyes, opening up the
blinds to let the sunshine in for the day, really seeing each other.

The kids all stand at the door, or if there isn't any snow they step out on the porch to brave
the cold for a few minutes, to wave goodbye to papa as he leaves for work. Isaiah always yells,
"What time will you be home?" And Nathan always yells back, "I'll see you for supper, buddy!"
And I just wonder if maybe he is the favorite parent after all?! Ha.

We do school and work on projects. We clean the house and prepare food.
We go for walks and play at the park. We visit Jesus at church and say our prayers.
We nap. We read. We drink hot chocolate. We watch Netflix like everyone else.

It is lovely. I mean it is hard, but lovely.

Someone told me awhile back that this is the only time in my entire life when all of my children
are completely depending on me. And even though that makes me want to curl into a ball and weep
with Ben and Jerry some days, most of the time I see it as such a small window of GIFT in my
vocation of motherhood. This will never happen again. And I know that God has so much prepared
for me in what I have dubbed my "cloistered years".

I want to look through that window -
take in the view and stay.

It is quiet and hidden and scoffed at by the world.
But this isn't about earthly accolades. This is about eternity.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Young Living Essential Oils

I can't believe I have little essential oil bottles all over my house.
I confess, I've been a hardcore, squinty-eyed skeptic for YEARS.
You say "oils" - I roll my eyes. Oh yea I even made fun of all the oily people.
For real. I'd be like, "Nice placebo, yo."

And then Nicole Neesby rocked my world and popped my cozy, little, anti-oil bubble.
She offered to send me a roller bottle of "happy oils" to help support my emotions.
Two days of those oils on my wrist and over my heart, total game changer!

Call me a convert.

She then came to spend an entire weekend with me to share her heart for Young Living.
That was basically my baptism. She threw oils all over my house and family
and I was totally "born again."

I knew I wanted to order the Premium Starter Kit right away, but I was still apprehensive
about how we were going to incorporate them and use them safely in our home with someone
always in a constant state of "baby" + "nursing" + "pregnant". But we are figuring it out
and I am becoming a bigger believer with each passing day.

As my babies come down with different health concerns, I have been finding ways to incorporate
the oils from my kit into our daily routines, and it has been doing amazing things for our wellness!
Also, many of you know that I've been working through a lot of crazy health issues over the past couple
of years and I am excited to continue to learn + use essential oils to support wellness in my body + heart.

If anyone would like more specifics or details of our journey,
please feel free to e-mail / MSG me!!! Always excited to share my heart with you.

I'm just so thankful and in awe really.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I believe in the goodness that God gives us through
the world HE provides for us. I'm talking about the pure, unadulterated, non-GMO, unprocessed
fruit of the earth - God's medicine cabinet. To Him be the glory.

So blessed to have started using Young Living Essential Oils.

// my new kit came with //

DEWDROP Diffuser

Lavender 5-ml
Peppermint 5-ml
Lemon 5-ml
Copaiba 5-ml
Frankincense 5-ml
Thieves® 5-ml
Purification® 5-ml
R.C.™ 5-ml
Tea Tree Oil™ 5-ml
PanAway® 5-ml
Stress Away™ 5-ml

AromaGlide™ Roller Fitment
10 Sample Packets
10 Love It? Share It! Sample Business Cards
10 Love It? Share It! Sample Oil Bottles
2 NingXia Red® 2-oz. samples
Product Guide and Product Price List
Essential Oil Magazine
Essential Edge
Member Resources

((( scroll down for a terribly embarrassing product review video! )))

Ok. This is a raw take. Nothing flashy, rehearsed or staged here.
Bella is eating yogurt covered raisins NOT packaging throughout the video,
and at one point Judah puts his hand in his pants?!?!?!?!?!
WHAT!?!??! Lol. I could die.

I say "journey" enough times to satisfy any modern hippy and I must be immature because
the fact that I say "wool balls" makes me laugh. I also started to threaten Isaiah for not
listening about the bubble wrap... and then stopped because CAMERA!!! BAHAHAHAHA.

If you want to try a Premium Starter Kit this month, shoot me an e-mail to find
out what promos are currently going on!!!

Here is my LINK.

Or if you just want to try an oil or two and not dive into the entire kit,
I'd be happy to share my 24% discount with you!
I place an order at the end of each month.
I'll ship your oils (not the kits) off for FREEEEEE!

Again, hit me with an e-mail, my friend!

+ + + + +
Or catch me on

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Brunch for Baby

One of our favorite things to do as a family is "brunch." We refer to it as "Hobbit Breakfast"
and it usually, especially takes place on Sundays in our home. Bella was born on a Sunday.
I feel like God knew she should come in on the Sabbath.

Cheerful, sunshine glory -
she's our Alleluia, deep rest, skip to Church and run down the aisle girl.

Our little pancake. Our little bacon. Our little syrup. We take turns lavishing sweet names on our
baby girl as we gather Sunday after Sunday to brunch, to take her in, to breathe deep and just BE alive
together. The boys especially love our nickname game for Bella... "our little coffee creamer!"
I will never forget these days. They are everything.

And so it just made sense to ring in her first year with a "Lady Bella Brunch".
Full of her favorite fabric flowers, Curious George, warm syrup and a pancake bar!!!

Thank you, Jesus, for our Sunday baby.
We love you, Bells. XO.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

My Favorite Part of Homeschooling

When we first started homeschooling, I was telling my husband every other day that we should
start looking at potential schools for our children because I just couldn't do it. "I AM FAILING."
No one listens to me. Everyone laughs hysterically when I make letter sounds. They just want to do math
all day, every day. We can't even pray without someone needing to pee. He's touching me. I'm hungry.
Baby's crying. Don't move. "Ok, we're done with school for today." I gather whatever morale I have left and go nurse Bella in a secluded room with the noisemaker
on HIGH. Take it from here, Wild Kratts?! That'll be acceptable on a transcript, right?
Elementary school of Netflix. Check.

So one morning, about two weeks in to this whole fiasco of bright ideas about homeschool Kindergarten
lessons plans and legit schedules, I had an epiphany. Possibly a conversion. Maybe both?!
An epiphersion.

We don't teach our kids at home only to imitate everything they do in the system. We homeschool
to give ourselves and our children the FREEDOM to learn, explore, create and be at their own pace,
in the environment we think is best for them at this time. Amongst other things of course.

I decided to quit saying "NO" to my children's cues
and let them lead and teach me (teaching them) instead.

You want to do math all day?
You want to cut straight lines until we run out of paper? Great.
You want to play outside? I'm coming too.

Obviously this is all within reason and their general safety. The other day Judah told me he had
an "idea" and asked for all the pillows in the house and a tube of caulk. Apparently he had a vision
of a "giant pillow" he could use on the trampoline (this is what I'm dealing with!), but it had to be
massively reimagined and funded by the parent-teacher association of me.

And now it's my favorite part of homeschooling.
Learning with my children rather than teaching at them.
Getting on their level and seeing the world again through the eyes of a child.
Feeling the excitement and wonder and joy of listening and understanding -
of being free to be wild and whimsy.

We felt called, and knew it would be a good idea to homeschool our children this year, but I didn't
see that it was going to be such a gift for me too. I need this as much as they do. Together we are
learning and re-learning the beauty of the world around us -- and all the lessons God has tucked
away for us to turn over, explore, dissect, collect and LOVE. It is good to be little.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How to Change the World

Do you remember when no one had smart phones? Life before Facebook and all the other social media outlets born every 5 seconds? It is crazy. I feel like a successful blogger these days needs to be able tweet while pinning a DIY project they are going to Snapchat about before they post a picture on Instagram for all the whole wide world to catch later on that Periscope dance party that they are blogging about... right now sharing to Facebook. Answer all the e-mails, respond to all the comments, build an online community, stake some territory on the digital frontier,

change the world.

I'm not saying that any or all of this is bad. I guess I am just processing and asking myself "WHAT WORLD" does God want me to change at this exact moment of my life? Where do I fall in? Or where do I fall off? Because I feel like I'm doing more falling off these days. Fall-er off-er. That's me. I used to fight it, but I go willingly these days.

I seriously feel panicky thinking about deleting all my accounts and asking for a flip phone *dinosaur roars* for Christmas, but it's tempting! So I give it up for Lent and fickle hiatuses to remember how it feels to be less connected to the internet and more connected to the world happening around me. Because I still remember life before all of this.

And I crave it. Somehow that makes me feel alien or grandma? Grandma Alien. Seriously, I'm buying rocking chairs for my front porch next Spring and that's where you are going to find me!

Oh no - this isn't a goodbye (again. lol.) or anything like that.

Having babies has changed me. I've struggled for years with letting go of what I think I should be doing to be keeping up with who I was or what I was able to accomplish in college, work, ministry. I've put all this pressure on myself to be a wife and momma AND all those other things I used to be.

I feel like there's so much pressure out there for maintaining your identity. Don't let motherhood change you. You can be a mom and all the other things too. Do more, be more, follow, like, repeat. And you guys, I am tired.

Motherhood has changed me. And that's ok. In fact, I'd say it's good and right and holy.

It's been so relieving to move a little further away from the "outlets" - to even let some things go (RIP Twitter + Pinterest) - and be more present to the community God has placed all around me.

My babies are only little once. And life lately has been busy! The beautiful season of fall is in full swing and we've been celebrating in all the ways! It is fun to have kids old enough to chime in with their own memories and ideas - kind of scary too. Ha. But they are so much fun and such a blessing in our marriage and family!!!

Slowing down for them, for this season of my life, just makes sense. It's not an excuse from the "situation" but an invitation for me. To stop trying to change the "world world" and focus more on the "world" God has given to ME. Just me.

If Facebook forgets me, it's ok. I'm cool with being remembered by three little pumpkin heads in the most important "world" I will ever influence.

I just said "world" a lot. #world

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