So... It's been a while!

So it's been an incredibly long time since I last posted on my blog. Like a really, really long time. It's actually been a gift from me to you, a gift of silence and reflection on my blog. It's hard to go many places and find that these days, especially with kids! I hope you enjoyed it, and are feeling refreshed! 

Here's what's happened in our household since February 2015: 

1. We went on vacation to Florida in April 2015 to watch my brother-in-law compete in a Half-Ironman race. 

2. I found out I was expecting bundle of joy #4 (due to arrive in December 2015) on that particular trip to Florida. Note: My #3 was 6 months old at the time. Do you feel a wave of terror and insanity wash over you? I did!

3. I resigned myself to the fact that life would be crazy for a while, at least until baby #4 was six months old-ish. Knowing this, I stepped back from everything in life that I could, including blogging, volunteering, and most (not all!) homeschooling.

4. I began writing wi…

Maple Sugary Sweetness and Becoming a MapleTapper!

Isaiah asked me once about making maple syrup. I'm not sure where he even got the idea, but he asked, and so we set out to learn. At the time, we scoured the Internet for resources and videos on how to make maple syrup. We were intrigued, and it really sounded like fun! But it required taps and buckets and most importantly a maple tree, none of which we had at our disposal. 
Fast forward a year or so, and enter Clovers Garden Center, with the Maple Tapper Kit for kids!  It's available on Amazon here!
I was so very excited to receive this product! We could finally give maple tapping and maple syrup making a go! It features a full color book with lots of instructions and education about all things maple syrup. How do you find the right tree, pick the right time of year, tap the tree and finally collect sap and make syrup - it's all there! But it's not just a book.... 
The kit has two maple tree taps, two large buckets, lids to cover the buckets, and even a fine filter to ru…

Baby Number Three - Announcing Malachi Alan - just a few months late....

So, life has been busy for the last six or so months. 
First, I was pregnant.  And miserable.  I truly hate to say that I was miserable, because a new baby is a huge blessing.  But for the sake of transparency and honesty, I was not a happy camper for the last few months of my pregnancy. Some people love to be pregnant, would be pregnant all the time if they could be...  I could not WAIT to be NOT pregnant and to hold and see my sweet baby boy.  Each of my pregnancies has been rough in its own way, but one thing that has been constant is a weird pain under my ribs toward the end.  With each subsequent pregnancy, this awful pain comes earlier.  I tend not to be a complainer when it comes to pain, as I consider myself to have a pretty high pain tolerance (I mean, I did take on a minivan with my head)...  But this pain was bad enough that I was taking Tylenol almost constantly, and my ribs were still tender about seven or eight weeks AFTER we had Malachi.  
So add some toddlers to chase, a…

Family Traditions: Strawberry Picking

We have a few fun family traditions that we love to do each year. Perhaps one of my favorite is strawberry picking on the farm. I love it, and it never gets old! 
This year, Isaiah was 4 1/2 years old and Annika was 2 1/2 years old, but I was also 6 months pregnant. While I absolutely love the adventure of strawberry picking on the farm, my body did not like the stress and heat of strawberry picking with two toddlers and no hubby to help chase them. We did decide to go with a friend and her one year old daughter, but I pretty quickly regretted not bringing along my hubby or another helper.  So note to pregnant mommas with toddlers, take some help, or you may turn quickly into a grumpy mommy like I did...
My favorite strawberry picking place has to be Triple B Farms which you can find at 823 Berry Ln, Monongahela, PA.  They have so much fun stuff to do, and so many Pick Your Own (PYO) opportunities, you really have to check them out! See their website for details on their PYO schedule an…

Sex, the Church, and Erotica or a Peek into Pulling Back the Shades

Sex, erotica, mommy porn, BDSM, intimacy, kinky sex, and fantasies.  If you consider yourself a Christian, you probably are blushing.  These topics are generally not discussed in many church settings.  Growing up in a mainline denomination, my church seemed pretty silent on sex and any surrounding topic, except the one sex rule - "don't do it".  Not up for discussion or conversation or even explanation, it was pretty much a forbidden topic.  Nevermind anything kinky.  

It's apparent that the church still isn't talking enough about sex or erotica, because when the "mommy porn" book series, Fifty Shades of Grey came out, over 70 million copies were sold in the first year, making it the fastest selling books of all time.  Many who partook in the reading surely identified themselves as Christian women, whether they were teens to moms and even grandmas.  When no one is talking in church circles about "how to better your sex life", how to get your se…

Social Media Madness

Social Media Alert...  There are people on the Internet, and they receive the messages that you send!  They are real people, not bots, who read what you write.  And they often have feelings, hurts, loves and touchy spots in their life.  

I think of this phenomenon as social media madness.  People so blinded by their knowledge, strong opinions and sometimes hateful thoughts on a particular subject that they succumb to a temporary madness and forget to think before they send a tweet, post or blog out onto a social media site.  In their temporary madness, they forget that the internet is simply made up of other people all around the world, people who are just like them.  And in their blinded state, they say things that they would absolutely NEVER say to any living and breathing person who was standing in front of them.

Think of the vitriol that conservatives may spew about President Obama on Twitter.  The hatred that liberals often express in online forums or blogs for Rush Limbaugh.  Thin…

Mind and Time on Things Above?

Do you feel like you should be conquering the world for Jesus, and instead you are cowering in a hole feeling defeated by life?  I do sometimes.  
I know a few things as a Christ follower.  I know that the battle is already won.  I know that Jesus did for me what I could not do for myself - He defeated my sin, bought me back from the grave, and has a spot for me in heaven.  I know that I'm an ambassador for Christ to bring His message to a lost and waiting world.  I am more than a conquerer.  
So why then would I be hiding from life and feeling defeated?  
I think many things are a matter of our focus in life.   Do you ever stop to think where your focus is?
I can tell you where my focus is, where my mind and thoughts are.  My mind is on the day to day, the little problems, the messy rooms and the misbehaving kids.  It's focused on the fact that I'm not consistent with my quiet times, I don't pray as much as I'd like, and I'm certainly not as holy as I should be.  …