Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Adventures in Life: #PinkNinja

I've had something on my heart for a while that I want to share with you all. 

If you follow me on Instagram (which you can do HERE if you would like!) you may have seen this picture a few weeks ago...

We got this cute shirt HERE. But this is much more than just a shirt...

A few months ago I started following Stephanie on Instagram. She is a new mother too. Her sweet little bundle of joy, Addison, was born with a heart defect as well as sacrococcygeal teratoma and has already undergone several surgeries. 

Addison is a fighter. 
A ninja. 
A ninja in pink. 
And the proceeds from the #PinkNinja shirts go towards Addison's medical bills. You see, because of her medical conditions, Addison has been in the NICU since she was born. Her parents are hopeful that she will be able to come home with them soon, but until then Stephanie spends every day at the hospital caring for her sweet Addison. And after being in the hospital just 3 days with Rebekah - I can only imagine how much their medical bills are! 

I have never met Stephanie. She lives in Texas. She doesn't know who I am. Thanks to social media, I have been able to follow her story. And her unwavering faith in God's plan for her family has profoundly touched me and challenged me these past few months. 

Would you join me in praying for Addison, Stephanie and Matthew (that's Addison's dad and Stephanie's husband)? Stephanie has a blog The Vintage Modern Wife , which (understandably) has not been updated in a while, but does give some background info on Addison. 

And would you consider joining the #PinkNinja club?! If you go to the page, you will find shirts for baby all the way up to adult men/women. 

Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Adventures of Rebekah: 5 Months Old

Dear Rebekah, 

Every day when I wake up I am overwhelmed by how blessed I am to be your mommy. I didn't think it was possible, but I love you more every day. Your sweet sounds and beautiful smile are the perfect way to start each day. I miss you anytime I am away from you and am so thankful that your daddy works so hard so that I can stay home with you. Your giggles melt my heart. I can hardly believe you are 5 months old today! You are getting to be such a big girl! (You almost weigh 15 lbs already!) This past month you got to celebrate the birth of Jesus for the first time. And travel to Minnesota a second time. 

It was so fun to watch you gaze in wonder at all of the Christmas lights. You even used your cute singing voice at the candle light Christmas Eve service - it was adorable! Mommy may have gone a little overboard getting you several cute Christmas outfits to wear...

Most days it's just you and me while daddy is hard at work. I have had so much fun playing with you this past month.

You learned so many new things! Like how to roll to get places. You are happiest when you can roll around the room... But so far you can only roll in one direction, so mommy has to turn you around when you reach the end if the room. 

You discovered tags and love to put them in your mouth. You Taggie blanket keeps you entertained for quite a long time.

You love looking in the mirror and talking to your reflection. 

And you got a lot of new toys for Christmas. Mommy brings out a new one every few days to keep play time exciting! 

All of your playing makes you so sleepy! You have been doing much better with sleeping and naps (which makes mommy and daddy SO happy!). Most days you take a long morning nap and 2 short afternoon/evening naps. Sometimes mommy let's you nap in bed with her. Sunggeling in bed with you is one of my most favorite things. I love to watch you sleep - such a peaceful girl. You are just such a sweet little snuggle bug! I can't get enough of your eyelashes...

You have still been sleeping in mommy and daddy's room, but this next month you will start to sleep in your own room. 

You are growing up so fast, little girl! Your personality is growing every day. You are determined and pretty patient when trying to grab something or get somewhere. You love making people smile with your sounds. I often wonder what you think you are saying when you "talk" to me. The sounds you make are so deliberate sometimes, I'm just sure you are trying to tell me something. You love watching mommy and daddy. You watch us eat or cook or clean - you are such an observant girl - just taking in every move we make. 

I can hardly wait to see what new things you learn this next month! 

I love you so so much my sweet girl! 

(She was much more interested in trying to get the sticker or lamb into her mouth than she was in getting her picture taken!

Silly girl! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Adventures in Tips: From The Plumber #5 ~ Preventing Frozen Pipes

It has been a while since we have had any tips from the plumber! 
(Did you know Daniel is a plumber?!)

Since the weather is SO cold here (and in many other parts of the country) I thought I would get Daniel to give you/me some tips about frozen water pipes. He does LOTS of work replacing frozen water pipes in the winter months...and it can be a HUGE mess...

The best thing to do is to take steps to prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place! 
(So today is prevention and next week will be what to do if you discover you have frozen pipes)

Tips to Prevent Frozen Water Pipes

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing especially if the sink is on an exterior wall. Daniel almost always does this with our kitchen sink if we are going out of town in the winter. Sometimes he will leave them open overnight if it is going to be exceptionally cold. 

Often if we are going to be away for a few days we will set our thermostat a few degrees cooler to save energy - however to prevent frozen pipes - you should never set to a temperature lower than 55° F. It is worth paying a little bit for the energy it takes to keep the house that warm, rather than paying a lot to clean up the mess that frozen pipes can make! 

When the weatherman is forecasting exceptionally cold temperatures, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Think of rivers verses lakes - moving water prevents pipes from freezing, it just needs to be a trickle. 

Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage. Even heated garages, when the door is left open, can freeze. 

Make sure all exterior faucets are off and drained of water. One of the most common pipes to freeze is the one just inside the wall of a home that feeds the outside water faucet. Every spring Daniel replaces lots of these because they were not properly drained over the winter and have broken due to the frozen water expanding inside the pipe. 

Stay tuned for what to do if you discover or suspect your water pipes have frozen. 

Other Tips From The Plumber

Friday, January 9, 2015

Adventures in Food: Dairy Free Ranch Dressing

Oh, dairy.
You may or may not know that Daniel has been off of gluten for several years. 
And as a result, we don't keep a lot of gluten food in the house. 
It was an adjustment, but we make it work.
Last year, at the suggestion of his doctor, we decided to cut dairy out of his diet too.
Just when I had gotten the hang of the no gluten cooking, I now have the added challenge new adventure of cooking dairy free. (Just for the record, I did not type that last sentence with a spirit of complaint. While it is more challenging, I am glad to make these dietary adjustments because it is what helps Daniel feel his best.)

One thing that my hard working man had been craving for a long time was gluten free, dairy free ranch dressing. (You would be surprised at how many salad dressings have gluten and/or dairy in them.) After searching the grocery store shelves, there are some ranch dressings that meet these requirements...but they are less than yummy. So I decided to make my own. 

Before we get started with the ingredients, I just wanted to say that this is going to be my 'winter' version of the dressing. Meaning I used all dried herbs, but come summer I plan trying it with fresh herbs. Ok, here we go:

1 cup (real) mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons parsley 
2 tablespoons chives
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 to 1 cup original almond milk - depending on how thick you want your ranch. 
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl combine mayonnaise and yogurt. Smash cloves of garlic into very small pieces with a fork. Add to the bowl. Mixing as you go add all the spices, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar. Once all ingredients are mixed, add 1/2 cup almond milk. Mix and if you want a thinner dressing add 1/2 cup almond milk more. Salt and pepper to taste.

Daniel likes his ranch a little thicker, so he can use it as veggie dip as well as dressing. So I usually go with the just 1/2 cup liquid. 

You could use any alternate dairy free milk in this recipe (rice milk, soy milk, cashew milk...) just make sure it is original flavor and not vanilla...made that mistake once! 

Any dairy free readers out there? 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Adventures in Products: #FrostyVoxBox from Influenster

I am always on the look out for new products. So a few years ago when I heard about Influenster (an online community of educated consumers who live to give opinions of products and experiences) I knew I wanted to sign up. In December, I received the Frosty Vox Box and I have been trying out the products inside. Here are some of my thoughts about the products in the box I received for free for the purpose of testing and review....

*NYC Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum - I'm more of a lip gloss girl... but I kind of like this color. It's not to bright or bold. But not a nude lip color (I totally can not pull off a nude lip stick, it makes me look ill!) I have used this a few times are really like the texture and feel of it. And it lasts quite a long time. 

*Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea - I love everything about this tea! Stay tuned for more on this one (I've got a whole post coming on it!)....

*EcoTools Hair Brush ~ According to their webside: the bristle pattern allows the synthetic boar’s hair-like bristles to penetrate down to the scalp, distributing hair’s natural moisturizers and leaving hair with a sleek, lustrous shine. When blowing dry the brush dries hair faster due to its aerodynamic Eco-Vent™ design. Less time drying allows for less heat damage and quicker prep time!

My thoughts: I know using heat on your hair can damage it. So I really try to use the lease amount of heat that I can on my hair. Most days I do not blow dry my hair. But sometimes it just needs to happen and I did feel like this brush helped my hair dry slightly faster when using it with my blow dryer. However, I felt like it left my hair with a little extra static. This could just be from the cold, dry weather we are having. The bristles are soft and do not hurt my scalp, which I like. I'm going to keep using it and see if the weather makes the difference with the static. 
* No.7 Protect and Perfect Advanced Serum. Cold, dry air also makes my skin extra dry. I really don't know if the sample size of this No. 7 serum was enough for me to see any real results. I liked the smell and it did not irritate my sometimes sensitive skin. The package says it fights signs of ageing...and I'm starting to see some of those signs on my face (eek!) so maybe I need this! 

*Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover - Again, I have pretty sensitive skin, but I have been using this remover for a few weeks with no problems. The bottle that came in the box is a good size and will last me for a while. It doesn't leave my skin feeling oily like some make-up removers I have used. After my free bottle is gone, I will probably be purchasing some more. (That's how much I like it!) 

*Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Eyeliner - I didn't think I was going to like this one. I usually just do a light eyeliner with a darker shade of eye shadow and a brush, but I was pleasantly surprised. This eyeliner went on very smooth. I hate when eyeliner pencils pull on my eyelids as I'm applying. It stayed right where I applied it and didn't create an additional line where my eyelid folds. 

*McCormick Gourmet Thyme - Already used this dry spice several times - most recently in some gluten free, dairy free deconstructed chicken pot pie (yep, that's a mouth full of a name! Basically the pot pie filling served over gluten free biscuits...) The flavor is wonderful and a little goes a long way unlike some brands of spices. 

*Fruit Vines Bites - Well, these little yummers were gone the very first day I opened my box! No preservatives (yay!). They were soft and chewy. I got the cherry flavor. I have to be honest, they were not bursting with flavor. Possibly because the are more 'natural' than similar products. I did enjoy the treat, but wished for a bit more cherry in the bites. 

There you have it. Great box right?! 8 products. Some pretty good items, maybe even some new favorites. 

If you would like to be Influenster member, just let me know and I can send you an invite. It's free. You get free products and review them via blog, facebook, instagram, and twitter. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Adventures in Life: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and some other stuff

Anyone else still having problems writing 2015 instead of 2014? I feel like it usually takes me until March to get that one right!! 

Well, with all the hustle and bustle and travel of Christmas, I did not get a chance to write a post wishing you a Merry Christmas...
(Rebekah's 1st Christmas...more about that in her 5 month post next week!)

And then I rang in the New Year with a stomach bug (yuck!) so I did not feel well enough to do any kind of 2014 re-cap...

So, we are just moving forward and skipping all of that this year. 

I finally feel like my blog brain is coming back to me - I've got recipes I want to share, thoughts that I want to write about, tips that I keep thinking that I need to tell you all, and more!

One think I want to tell you about is that I decided to do the She Reads Truth  #365DaysOfTruth reading program. I'm not a huge "New Year's Resolution" kind of gal, but when I saw this plan on their site, it kind of jumped out at me. I have the app on my phone, and each day, when I do my reading, I swipe the day and it crosses the day off of the list. (Have I ever told you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE making lists and crossing things off of them!? Well, I do. A LOT.) Anyone else reading through the Bible this year? Or did you make some other kind of New Year's resolution? Have you stuck with it so far? 

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and stay tuned for more adventures with D and V....and R. (Oh, my, do I need to change the blog name?!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Adventures in Rebekah: 4 Months Old

Dear Rebekah, 
You are 4 months old today! What a special month we have had, filled with family, friends, and special occasions. 

You got your first bath in your own special bath tub (before you were just getting showers). You LOVE the tub. You splash and kick and don't cry at all. Even when you get water in your face. Mommy and Daddy love watching you in the tub. You started wearing cloth diapers this month now that mommy finally got her act together enough to wash them. You look very cute with your bum in the cloth diapers!

You discovered your toes and for a week or so, you would hardly let them go! 
You also love to jump in your jumper. Sometimes it even looks like you are trying to dance. And the most exciting thing you learned is how to roll from your back to your tummy. It took quite a few tries to get the hang of it, but you didn't give up. Now, every time you are on your back, you try to roll onto your tummy! 

You are such a happy, sweet girl. For your first Thanksgiving you were with all of your grandparents and most of your aunts and uncles. Everyone loved holding you and making you smile. 

You love looking at all the Christmas lights and decorations around the house. Your Auntie Wen took some beautiful Christmas pictures of you - you are such a good little model! 

You had 2 very important events at church this month. The first one was your dedication service. You did a great job of being adorable while Pastor Jim and Pastor Dennis prayed for you.

The 2nd event was a surprise for mommy! For our 5th wedding anniversary, daddy arranged for us to renew our marriage vows! It was extra special because you were there with us. 

Look how much your have grown this month! You are almost to big for all of your 3 month clothes now.... 

It is hard to believe that this time last year we were just finding out that you were growing inside of me! 
What joy you have brought us, sweet little girl!