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Candle in the Night

Monday, October 31, 2011

10 Tips for Throwing an AMAZING Baby Shower

Baby showers can be great fun!  Or...they can be dreadful affairs.  If you're the hostess, the last thing you want is for guests to walk away praying they never have children of their own.  When I had H, I had several baby showers, all of which were lovely.  I've also thrown a few baby showers for friends and family members.  And I've been to LOTS of baby showers.  I thought I'd put together a list of things I've learned that make baby showers fun!  Beware, the tips below aren't for mediocre baby showers, they're for the best ones!

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Staycation Day 1: Farmer's Market

Yesterday morning, I bundled up the girls, loaded them in the car, and headed to Kansas City's City Market.  It is something I've been wanting to do for a long time, but haven't gotten around to until now.  We had a great time!  H enjoyed seeing everything, M loved riding around in the sling and I was thrilled to get some great deals.  I bought two HUGE, gorgeous mums for $5, two pounds of sweet potatoes for $1, four decorative gourds for $1, five small pumpkins for $1, and my favorite purchase, eight bell peppers for $2!  I walked away feeling like I'd gotten a steal!  Here are some pictures I took of the girls afterward with some of our purchases.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Beco Baby Carrier Giveaway

Check out this great giveaway!  I sure wouldn't mind having another carrier.  You can never have too many, right?  :)


Friday, October 28, 2011


I posted a few days ago about needing a vacation.  Well, I've got it all planned and I'm super excited!  Everything I'm doing is free except for the zoo.  I've been putting off going to the zoo until I knew H was old enough to appreciate it and I think that time has come.  So here's our schedule (weather permitting!)  We're starting tomorrow!

Saturday: City Market, Mafia night with B's friends
Sunday: No special activity (our Sundays are already booked full!)
Monday: Zoo, Monday Night Football party
Tuesday: Pumpkin Patch
Wednesday: Burr Oaks
Thursday: Bass Pro
Friday: Cave Springs

I planned these activities earlier in the week and now (of course) they're predicting rain for Wednesday and Thursday.  We'll just go with the flow.  If there really is a rainy day, we might just stay home and watch a movie.  Bass Pro and Burr Oaks can both be enjoyed even if the weather is bad.

So these activities are what makes it a vacation for H (M obviously doesn't care!).  For me, here are the things that make it a vacation.

Pre-made breakfasts:  I made a HUGE batch of pancakes the other day and stuck them in the freezer.  All I have to do is pull a couple out, stick them in the toaster, and we've got breakfast!  I'm also going to make some muffins to have on hand.

Easy Lunches:  I'm either going to warm up leftovers for lunch or have a sandwich.

Freezer Dinners:  We have enough food in the freezer to last us the week.  No cooking on MY vacation!

Pre-made Snacks:  I'm making granola bars today!  Check out the recipe on my sister's blog!

Paper Plates:  I bought a big thing of paper plates at Walmart and plan to use them all week.  That way, the only dishes I have to do are utensils and glasses.

Time with Friends:  Yeah...this doesn't happen nearly often enough!  Can't wait!  :)

Break from Housework:  I'm skipping the dusting, vacuuming, wood-floor cleaning, and bathroom cleaning next week.  I'm going to get it all nice and clean today and then give myself a week off.  (Unless it REALLY needs it!)

Break from Laundry:  HOPEFULLY I'll be able to get enough laundry done today to last us through the week.  If not, I'll only have to do one load next week.  No more.

If any of you with little ones would like to join us on our staycation adventures, let me know!  I don't really want to post times on here for the whole world to know when my house will be empty, but I'd love to have friends join us, so just shoot me an email and I'll send you approximate times.  Everything is approximate with a baby!  :)

Burr Oak Woods
Burr Oaks

Click here to return to the Bass Pro Shops home page


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thirsties Giveaway! is hosting a giveaway of Thirsties Cloth Diapers.  Since I'm just getting started in cloth diapering, I'm really hoping to win!  :)  Sign up for the giveaway here.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What if God Felt the Way I Feel?

It's 6:30 and M is just winding up her fussy time.  Brian takes her so I can have a break while I get H ready for bed.  I get H to bed by 7:00 and then it's my turn with M .  I try to nurse her.  She squirms in my arms, resisting.  She doesn't want to cuddle. I walk with her.  Brian walks with her.  Around 7:30, she finally settles down.  She nurses for about ten minutes and then resumes her squirmy fussiness.  I just want her to rest in my arms.  Why won't she just relax?  We walk some more.  At some point around 8:30, she nurses until she falls asleep.  I'm ready for her to sleep since we've been up since 6:30 a.m. with only very short naps in between.  I lay her gently in her bassinet and go pop some popcorn.  When I come back, she's awake.  This is a bit frustrating, but okay.  I pick her up and nurse her some more while I enjoy my popcorn.  She falls back to sleep.  I lay her back down and go brush my teeth.  By now, it's after 9:00.  I come back to the bedroom and she's awake.  How can this be?  I am really not sure I have the patience for this!  I scoop her back up, trying to not let her know how frustrated I am.  I nurse her back to sleep and I finally get to go to sleep around 10:30.

She wakes me up to feed her at about 2:30 and I lay her back down around 3:30.  At 6:30, we start the new day.  As I said before, her naps are very short and it takes a long time of nursing to get her quieted down enough to lay her down.  My arms are tired.  I'm tired of touch.  I want to have my hands free for just a few minutes.  I need some quiet time.  When she finally falls asleep for what should be her good afternoon nap around 1:00, H wakes up.  It's frustrating.  It's tiring.  I sometimes question if I'm cut out for this.

Don't get me wrong, I love being a mother.  I just want to express these feelings I'm sure we all sometimes feel.  And now, I want to look at them in a different light.  Turn it around.  You are now that fussy child.  I am now that fussy child.

God wants so much for us to just rest in His arms.  Why won't we rest?  Why won't we trust Him and relax?  We start to go limp, totally trusting Him, but then we realize we're not in control and we arch our backs and squirm away.  We fuss.  We cry.  We complain.  But does He ever feel the way I feel sometimes?  Does He run out of patience? No, I don't believe He does.

In spite of us; in spite of me, He doesn't get frustrated.  He doesn't get tired.  When we run to Him and decide we need Him, He holds us for as long as it takes.  His arms never get too full.  His heart is always open.

Praise God, He loves me in spite of me.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Does Being on Twitter Make Me a Twit?

Okay, I finally did it.  I stepped out of my internet comfort zone of facebook/blogger/yahoo/gmail/cozi and joined twitter.  I'm not really sure how I feel about it yet.  I'm now "following" several people on twitter, none of whom I've met.  So...if you'd like to follow me, you can find me @candle2003.  Did I do that right?  Is that how I tell you how to find me?  I feel like such a technical failure (sorry Daddy!!).  If you're in my family (grandma, this means you) and you read my blog, don't bother with twitter.  I wouldn't have except I keep entering giveaways that want me to follow on twitter to receive more entries and I've heard twitter can be a fantastic way to promote your blog.  So here I go!  I'm officially a twit I guess.  :)

Mommy Vacation

A Vacation:
Need one?
Want one?
Crave one?
I think at one point or another, we all need a vacation.  Brian and I talked while we were planning our last vacation about how women (most anyway) love to plan.  He thinks I like to plan things more than I like doing them even.  I don't think that's true about vacations, but it might be true about parties and things.  I do love to plan!

I looked at my calendar last night and realized there is very little on it for the next two weeks.  So for the next two days, I'm going to plan like crazy!  I want a seven day "vacation" and I want it to be fun!  Unfortunately, Brian doesn't get off work and we don't really have money to travel right now, but that's okay.  I'm planning a vacation for right here.  I'm going to come up with cheap or free things that the girls and I can do together here in town.  H is old enough now that she'll appreciate a lot of things we can do.

One of the big preparations I have do do is get food and clothing ready.  I do not plan on cooking big meals or doing much laundry during my vacation.  I want to pull things out of the freezer and stick them in the oven.  Oh, and I'm going to buy paper plates.  Definitely paper plates.  :)

I'm excited about it...and that's the point!  I'll let you know what we're doing as we plan.  And if you need a "vacation", plan right along with me!  It's going to be lots of fun!!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Witness for Families

I went to Walmart today, two girls in tow, to pick up a few things.  As I was walking through the store, I saw a mom with four children who looked to be about 2, 4, 6, and 8 years old.  She was sternly telling one of the kids to hurry up, one of the children was hanging off the side of the cart, and another was crying.  Her hair was disheveled, she looked like she hadn't slept in days, and she wore jeans and a frumpy t-shirt.  The first thing that came to mind was "Wow, she looks like she's got more than she can handle."

The second thing that came to mind was, "Oh man, I look just like her!!"  Now, H was sitting quietly in the back of the cart playing with her doll and M was asleep in the front, but my appearance was the same.  I had on baggy jeans, a wrinkled long sleeved t-shirt, and flip-flops.  My hair was in a ponytail.  I had on no make-up.  I realized that anyone who saw me while I was running my errands probably thought I looked like I've been run over by my two children.

This really bothers me.  I have a family by choice.  Brian and I plan to have a large family by choice.  If I'm a mess every time I go out with my children, what kind of witness is that to the world?  There is already a movement today to diminish the family.  The basis of the breakdown of our country's moral system is the breakdown of the family.  When I go out in public looking like my two children are a LOT of work, I witness that having a family is a negative thing.

That stops today.  From now on, when I go out, I'm going to make sure that I at LEAST have on an unwrinkled shirt and a little make-up.  I want to be a witness to the wonderful thing that a family is.  I want it to show, not only on my face, but my whole self, that being a mother is amazing.  That being part of a family is completely wonderful and fulfilling.  Because it is!

Ironically, my friend, Caroline, over at The Modest Mom is doing a blog series called 31 Days of Femininity.  I've largely been ignoring this series (sorry Caroline!!) except for a few posts because I've been so busy.  After the knock in the head I got today, I plan to go back through the posts and utilize the information there.  Here's the link if any of you other busy moms are interested.

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Friday, October 21, 2011


Most giveaways I enter, I enter for myself.  I must confess, I'm selfish that way.  But I would love, love, LOVE to win this for my brother.  Check it out!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Replenish Your Soul

This online conference is something I am really looking forward to for several reasons.

1.  I can "go" in my jammies.
2.  I don't have to get a babysitter.
3.  It's loaded with speakers from blogs I already follow that I'm really excited to "meet".
4.  My soul needs replenishing.

As all of my mommy friends know, life gets hectic and it's so good to be reminded of what is important.  If you're in need of refocusing and re-centering yourself on what is important, this might just be the thing for you.  Plus, it's only $10.  Buy tickets using the link below!  Hope to "see" you there!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Feast Upon the Words of Christ

Feasting upon the Word is something that is sometimes easier said than done.  It seems that so many things can come up that get in the way.  That's why it is SO important to set aside that time to spend with our children reading the Word of God.

I remember growing up, we learned Scripture by putting it to music.  This worked so well for us and I still often have a scripture (song) stuck in my head.  This is so great, because when it's in my head, it's also in my heart.

Today, I came across a blog by The Better Mom that reminded me how important this is.  It's time to get out the Scripture tapes and start listening to them with H so that she can grow up with God's Word hidden in her heart!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Trying to Overcome Fear

Yesterday morning, I woke up and turned on the news as usual.  I always like to catch the weather for the day as well as see what else is going on in the world.  My heart stopped as I heard the story of baby Lisa.  This ten month old girl was tucked into her crib on Monday night and when her daddy went to check on her at around four in the morning, she was gone.  They believe someone came in through her bedroom window and left through the same window, taking only the baby.

I immediately muted the TV and listened.  Often, I can hear H moving around in her crib in the mornings while I nurse M and it was no different this morning.  I could her her crib creaking as she rolled around.  My heart started beating again.  I am still so sad for baby Lisa and am praying for her safe recovery.

Last night as I tucked H into bed, the fear overtook me again.  "What if she's not here in the morning?" I thought.  I even considered having her sleep with me.  My heart racing, I kissed her goodnight and left the room.  I shut the door, but that wasn't the last time I peeked in on her.  Before I went to bed, I looked in, just to make sure all was well.

It was that last time that I realized what I was and was not doing.  I was holding tight to my little girl.  I was thinking that I could protect her.  I was not letting her go.  I was not putting her into God's hands.  This is something I've struggled with since she was born.

If someone were to ask me what my greatest fear is, it is hands down, losing a child.  I don't think I knew what fear was until H was born.  There are times when I'm so fearful that God will send me through that trial that I beg Him not to.  I can't imagine the pain that people go through when they lose a child.  This fear has, at times, overcome me to where I can't even function normally.  H began sleeping through the night very early on.  I would wake up and just stare at her chest willing it to move.  It always did.  I've done the same with M at times.  With both girls, if they'd cough in the night, I jump up and make sure they can breathe okay.

I know that some of this is mothering instinct, but I also know what God has to say about the matter.  We are to dedicate our children to Him.  He wants us to trust Him with their care.  Trust.  That's a hard thing to do when you hold something so dear.

Psalm 32:10
Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he that trusteth in the Lord,
Mercy shall compass him about.

So last night after I shut H's door, I placed her in God's hands again.  I know that His mercy will compass about our home and He will take care of us.  

I'd love to hear how you have placed your children in God's hands and trusted Him.  It's not an easy thing to do.  How have you given your little ones to God?

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homemade, Healthy Graham Crackers (With a secret ingredient! Shhh...Don't tell H!)

H LOVES graham crackers.  She would eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I let them.  She thinks they are cookies.  Fortunately, they really aren't all that bad for you.  I let her have probably one a day.  The bad thing is, there really isn't much to eat much else when it comes to foods on the go.  And we're on the go a lot.  It's hard to hand her an apple or green beans to eat in the car and there aren't that many healthy snack foods that don't cost a fortune!  So I decided to try and make graham crackers myself and I wanted to see if I could put some healthy foods in the crackers.

I found a recipe I liked at The Cupcake Project.  (Awesome blog by the way!  I'm now a follower!)  She got her recipe from Free Range Living who got it from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book.  (Yes, this recipe has been handed down several times now.)  Then, I just improvised.  They turned out pretty good!  Not so much like crackers...more like thin cookies, but unsweetened.  Oh, and you can't taste the spinach.  That's right.  Spinach.  :)  Find the recipe (with my changes in red) below.

I am reprinting the recipe below along with all of my baking notes. It makes 36 2 1/2 inch squares.
  • 4 T (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 6 T sugar (I only used 5.  I was trying to cut down on the sugar.  Don't know that 1 T makes that much difference, but it felt better to me!)
  • 4 T honey (I had no honey and, like I said, was trying to cut down on the sugar, so I just left it out.)
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 2 t water
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 C graham flour (I read a few places recipes with whole wheat flour and since I was trying to stick with ingredients I had, I went ahead and used whole wheat flour.)
  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour (This is where I got interesting.  I wanted to use more whole grains, so I substituted rye flour.)
  • 1 C frozen spinach thawed, but not drained
  • 1/2 C strawberries
  • 1/2 C blueberries

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Combine the butter, egg and sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.

3.  Stir in the honey and blend. (Obviously, I skipped this step.)

4.  Dissolve the baking soda in the water and put in blender (or Magic Bullet!) with spinach, strawberries, and blueberries.  Blend until it's a fine puree.  

5.  Add to the butter mixture.

6.  Add the salt, graham flour (whole wheat flour), and all-purpose flour (rye flour) to the mixture and blend thoroughly. The dough should hold together and be manageable. If it is too "tacky" add a little more graham flour. (I did end up adding quite a bit extra whole wheat flour.  Probably almost a cup.  I think the fruit/spinach puree added enough water that I needed it.  In the future, I'll add even more.)  
This is what it looked like after I'd mixed it and dusted it with flour.
I was really afraid I was going to end up with black crackers,
but they did lighten up as they baked.  
7.  Liberally dust a surface with graham flour (whole wheat flour) and roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. For convenience in handling, cut the rolled dough into three or four sections that will fit on your cookie sheet. (I divided the dough and actually rolled it out on the cookie sheet on some wax paper and then baked it right on there as suggested on The Cupcake Project.  That way, you don't have to mess with transferring it onto the cookie sheet later.  MUCH easier and worked just fine!  At this point, I also sprinkled the tops with cinnamon and rolled it into the dough.  Yummy!)
Here it is all rolled out on the wax paper on the cookie sheet before I
cut it.  I didn't get the first section very thin, so I made sure to roll
the second section thinner.  
8.  With a knife, score the dough, without cutting through, into 2 1/2 inch squares. (I didn't worry what shape the crackers were cut into.  I've also read it's fun to use cookie cutters, but mine are in the basement, so I didn't.  I probably will next time!)

9.  Prick each square a few times with the tines of a fork. 

10.  Using a spatula, place the sections of scored cracker dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. (Yeah, I didn't have to do this.)

11.  Bake on the first side for 8 minutes, then turn the cracker over and bake for another 6 or 7 minutes. (I followed the suggestion on The Cupcake Project and didn't turn them.  I just baked them for 15 minutes and it worked fine.)

12.  Remove from the oven and cool on racks. 

H loves these!  They're SO much healthier and I really feel good about letting her eat them whenever she wants.  Yay for healthy, yummy food!  I think they'd be delicious dipped in peanut butter.  :)

Oh, and M was such a sleepyhead the whole time.  Here she is, enjoying the sound of the mixer.  
Gotta love the finger on the nose!

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