Monday, July 28, 2014

Things to Say to a Pregnant Woman

During my three pregnancies (no, I'm not currently pregnant), I received lots of comments from friends, family members, and total strangers regarding my baby-to-be and my growing bump.  Most of the things people said were kind and almost entirely well-meaning, but there were of course some unappreciated comments as well.

Honestly, it's probably because people don't know what the right things to say are!  I'm compiling this helpful list of ...

Things to Say to a Pregnant Woman (with a few things NOT to say, too!)

First Trimester
-"You look great! You're glowing! Your hair looks awesome!" Basically, anything other than, "I can tell you've been throwing up all day and living in sweatpants."
-"How are you feeling?" (Only if you want to know. The pregnancy symptoms kick in early, y'all!)
-First-time mom: "Aww! I can see a little tiny baby bump!" (Lies. But it makes her feel good.)
-Second/third/fourth/etc.-time mom: "What bump? You don't even look pregnant!"  Just don't talk about the bump this trimester.  And definitely never say to any mom, "You don't look pregnant, just a little bloated!" Gee, thanks. #mommytummy
-"Can I bring you a meal?" Always a good thing to say.  If she's too sick to eat it, her husband/kids will.
-Resist the urge to ask: "Were you trying? Was this planned?" Because it really doesn't matter, does it?

Second Trimester
-"How are you feeling?"
-"Can I bring you a meal?"
-"Will you be finding out the gender or waiting until the birth?"
-Resist the urge to ask: "Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?" Yes. One of those two, definitely.

Third Trimester
-"How are you feeling?" (Only if you have an hour to listen. Third trimester is no joke.)
-"Can I bring you a meal?" Yes, now. And also when the baby comes.
-"You make pregnant look good!"
-First-time mom: "Are you having fun getting the nursery ready?"
-Second/third/fourth/etc.-time mom: "Can I watch your kid(s) for you so you can rest or get a few things done?
-Resist the urge to say: "Wow! You're really big!" "Are you sure you're gaining enough weight?" "Haven't you had that baby yet?" "I didn't think you could get any bigger, but here you are!" "Why are you still here?" ETC.

Like I said, most people are well-intentioned, but they just don't know the right things to say and not say!

What things would you add to this list?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Enough: 10 Things We Should Be Telling Teenage Girls {Review, Printables, & Giveaway!}

Two years ago, my friend Kate Conner wrote a blog post entitled "10 Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls." Within a day, I was seeing links to her post all over Facebook as it went viral.  It received more than two million views in two weeks!  Kate's post is full of wisdom and humor, and she soon landed a book deal so that she could reach a wider audience with her powerful message!

On August 1, Kate Conner is releasing two books: one for parents/youth leaders/etc., and one for teenage girls.  I was so excited to receive a review copy of Enough: 10 Things We Should Be Telling Teenage Girls.  Each chapter is based on a point from Kate's original post, and covers topics ranging from modesty, to social media, to boys, to not following your heart.

Using personal stories, cute illustrations, and examples from popular movies, Kate crafts a compelling book that deserves to be read by anyone ministering to teenage girls (talking to you, big sisters, moms, teachers, friends, and pastor's wives!).

My favorite chapter was the last one, entitled "Enough."  In this chapter, Kate presents a case that even "the most beautiful, self-assured, powerful, productive woman longs to hear, at the end of every long day, 'You did enough today. It is okay to breathe now. You are enough.'"  Kate really gets to the heart of the matter here, when she lays out the Gospel clearly. "God doesn't love us because we are enough--we are enough because He loves us," she writes. "We are enough to be loved radically. We are enough to be pursued, ransomed, redeemed, bought back, sacrificed for, rejoiced in, cleansed, purified--worked on and in and through. We are not perfect, but He is perfecting us."
If you loved Kate's original 10 Things post, I know you will love her book too!

You can find Kate here:  blog  |  facebook  |  twitter  |  instagram  |  pinterest

As I mentioned, there is also a book specifically written for teen girls as well (based on the same 10 points).

I ordered three copies of 10 Things for Teen Girls to give to some amazing teenage girls I know!
I created some graphics to go along with the books I am sending to my girls!
I'm sharing them with you today as well!  These printable quotes are perfect for sticking on your bathroom mirror or attaching to a copy of the book you're giving to a friend!

Wrap up the books, print out the graphics, and slap on some washi tape!

To save, click on the image, right-mouse click, then click "save as." These are sized to print on 4x6 photo paper. Personal use only.

And, LAST BUT NOT LEAST! I'm giving away a copy of Enough: 10 Things We Should Be Telling Teenage Girls to one lucky reader!

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!)

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Disclosure: I received one copy of Enough for free from B&H Publishing Group in order to facilitate this review. I also know Kate in real life, but these opinions are 100% mine and I totally recommend her books!

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!)


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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!
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