Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Listening to Scripture

Lately we've been listening to a lot of Scripture songs, theology songs, and audio Bible stories!
Songs for Saplings has recently made all of their digital music downloads available for free!  This is an excellent resource, with ten different albums (plus some in other languages) about God, creation, salvation, Christ's work, the Bible, and much more.  Many of the songs are straight up Scripture verses, so you're really filling your mind with God's Word!

The songs have been paired with the New City Catechism here, which I talked about here in our post about family devotions.  The girls really love the songs!  They like dancing and twirling too!

Vera has also been listening to the audio version of the Big Picture Story Bible (affiliate link) and following along in the book.  Her Grammy and Grandanny gave it to her, and she's just now starting to "get" audio books.

We are blessed to know about these great resources, and thought you might enjoy them too!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cow Appreciation Day 2014

We have a tradition of going to Chick-fil-a for Cow Appreciation Day!  We didn't get to go last year, but we did in 2012, 2011, and 2010!  Our little cows were really cooperative this year!

Jude kept trying to eat pieces of his costume.
Vera thought the whole idea was quite hilarious!
Cordelia thought all of the other "cows" we saw were very funny!
Jude was super happy about the blueberries I packed for him.
I love this picture of me and CC, even though it's blurry!
We really enjoyed the free dinner and the fun family memory!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Vanilla Sugar

Easy and gourmet... those words don't usually go together, but in this case, they do!  Vanilla sugar is a gourmet substitution wherever you would use regular sugar, yet it is so simple to make!

Vanilla Sugar

1 vanilla bean pod* (beans removed for a recipe, such as this one)

*I prefer Beanilla Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans

Place vanilla bean pod and sugar in a jar (a small mason jar works great).  Shake, then store in a cool, dry place for about a week or so, shaking or stirring occasionally.

That's it!  Now you have beautiful vanilla sugar that will add a little pizzazz to baked goods, tea, or coffee!
This would make a lovely gift as well.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Living on One Income

Today I'm guest-posting at The Quick Journey as part of Liz's Living on One Income series!

Here's an excerpt from my post:

Before Tad and I were married, we planned that I would stay at home with our children.  At the time it was pretty much a "given" for us.  We knew that it was important to instill our values into our children and to care for them each day, sheltering them from the negative influences of the world while they were still little.

So the decision to stay at home was not difficult, but we have definitely faced trying seasons since that point. 

Read the rest at The Quick Journey!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Snacks for Breastfeeding Moms

I don't know about you, but I get very hungry when I'm nursing my babies! Now, I'll just fix myself a snack when I need one, but in the early postpartum days, even fixing myself a plate of cheese, crackers, and fruit felt like a lot of work!

Today I'm sharing with you some great ideas for healthy snacks that are for anyone, not just breastfeeding moms.

Most of these ideas are super easy, but some require a little prep work. If you've just had a baby, ask your husband, mom, or girlfriends to help you prep some easy snacks. Just spending a little time one evening doing some snack prep (making hard boiled eggs, cubing cheese, cutting up fruit, etc.) will go a long way!


watermelon (great for hydration!), peaches, cherries, grapes, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, dried fruit, etc.


cucumbers, carrots, zucchini/squash strips, cherry tomatoes, etc.


pistachios, almonds, peanuts, cashews, nut butters, etc.

Nourishing Beverages

Silk Almond Coconut Blend Milk, whole milk, homemade smoothies

Don't forget to drink lots of water too!!

Whole Grains

slice of homemade bread, whole grain crackers, small bowl of oatmeal, homemade granola bars, popcorn, healthy muffins, etc.


hard-boiled eggs, deviled eggs


hummus, roasted chickpeas


cheese cubes, Greek yogurt, etc.


trail mixes, granola, Lara bars, homemade whole wheat chocolate chip cookies (hey, a treat every now and then is okay!)

You can grab a coupon for Silk Almond Milk here!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sweet Face Design Giveaway!

A few months ago I featured a beautiful chalkboard print on my blog post "God is Always Good."  Erica, the Etsy shop owner, emailed me and said she wanted to thank me for featuring her on my blog, so she sent me one of the prints I liked so much!  How kind of her!

Sweet Face Design on Etsy features beautifully designed custom typography prints, canvases, and more for your home and to give as gifts!  The marriage quote by John Piper print is now hanging in our bedroom as a good reminder to us!  I love the typography and, of course, the message.

"Marriage: the roots are deep, the covenant is solid.
Love is sweet, life is hard, and God is good."
-John Piper

Poke around the shop and favorite a few items.  I know you'll love what Erica has to offer!

Also, you can like Sweet Face Design on Facebook for all the latest shop news!
Erica has been kind enough to provide a print for me to give away on Feathers in Our Nest (open to US and Canada)!  If you're not married or soon to be, this would make a lovely gift for a friend!

To enter, log in to the Rafflecopter widget below, and follow the instructions to enter!  (Note: Even if you don't have Facebook, you can log in with your name/email and choose the comment method of entry!)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Floral Mantle

This weekend I decorated my mantle for summer!  I wanted something fresh and pretty to look at.
I spend lots of time reading books to the kids on the couch in the living room, so this is such a cheery sight while we snuggle.

The sunflowers, stock, and alstroemeria are from Harris Teeter, and the crepe myrtle and honeysuckle vines are from our back yard.
I don't always have fresh flowers in my home, but when I do, I take LOTS of pictures!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Jude's Ten Months Old!

It's like I blinked, and Jude's tenth month just went by!

He's growing in so many ways and has so many new opinions about things.

Some milestones:
-has two teeth on the bottom and two that have just broken through on the top
-army crawls faster than a speeding bullet
-weighs: 23 lbs.
-eats three solid meals a day (usually something like eggs/cheese/fruit for breakfast, chicken/cheese/sweet potatoes for lunch, and beef/beans/veggies for dinner)
-says "b," "d," "m," and "g" sounds, as well as vowel sounds
-squeals and screams (happily) at his sisters in the car
-giggles and loves to be tickled
-loves his crochet blanket and lovey
-has more and more hair every week!
-sleeps 7PM to 7AM (approximately)
-likes baths and LOVED the pool when we went earlier this month
-gets upset when he drops a toy or when a sister takes something away from him
-is learning how to use a sippy cup
-pulls up to his knees on benches, stairs, etc.
-really enjoys the Hokey Pokey

I took all these photos last month, but just now got a chance to edit them.  (As you can imagine, I'm rather busy chasing this little guy around and fishing objects out of his mouth.)

Love his sweet cheeks!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

We love making homemade ice cream, and this recipe was quite successful!  The vanilla flavor was so perfect, thanks to the vanilla beans!
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
    adapted from Cuisinart Recipe Booklet 

1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean (I used Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Beanilla)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Split open the vanilla bean using a sharp knife and scrape out the beans.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine milk, sugar, and salt, and whisk to combine.  Stir in heavy cream, vanilla bean, and vanilla extract.

Chill mixture for several hours.

Turn on ice cream maker (I use one with a bowl that you keep in the freezer) and pour in the mixture and allow the machine to mix it until thick (takes about 20 minutes).

At the end of this point, the ice cream will be "soft serve" consistency (as seen in these pictures).  Freeze for a few hours for a more "normal" ice cream texture.

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For more of our family's favorite recipes, click here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Happy Fourth

We were blessed this past weekend to be able to spend some time with both of our families!  My family went to Richmond for a mini vacation and stayed at a hotel with a pool, so we spent two mornings with them at the pool!

We also enjoyed a fantastic 4th of July dinner with both sides of the family!  Tad's parents made ribs, peach cobbler, and many other yummy things.

We took these family pictures on the 4th.

Cordelia was pretty brave in the pool once she got used to it!

Nich was working on his tan.
Phillip reminded us all to wear sunscreen, and even though we did listen, a few of us got a little pink!
 Jude was so happy in the water!  He loved his little float.
Vera had a blast too, though she is a bit more nervous about the water than the other two kids are.  She really liked MiMi's neat raft!

It was so great to get to spend the weekend with our family!  We love them all dearly!
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