3/27/15

Giveaway + Why I Will Always Be A Dog Person

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When I was four years old, I named our family's first purchased pet.

We already had one dog, but my parents had just decided to get another one.  We got a miniature dachshund, who was with us for years.  He was adorable.  He used to bound through the deep snow in the winters, and he was so short that whenever he landed he would disappear beneath the snow - so you would see him as he jump up and forward, then you wouldn't see him after he landed.

We used to let him sleep on our beds at night, and we would argue sometimes on whose room he would sleep in.  Most of the time my brother would win.  Our little daschund would crawl under the covers and lick your feet until you fell asleep - which in hindsight could have been annoying, but as kids, we loved it.

He was to tolerant of all of our childish schemes, and he was the perfect dress up dog.  We even had a dog wedding with him once, as we dressed up both of our dogs in bride and groom attire and conducted a ceremony.

But back to the naming.  We picked him up when I was pretty little, and mom said we would let dad name him when he came home.  I had an opinion on the matter though, and when dad came home I told him that he could name our new dog.

"But," I said, "we could name him 'Winnie' or somethin'".

You know, after Winnie The Pooh, my favorite cartoon ever.

My dad is such a good sport, and Winnie was his name.

I thought of our little Winnie dog when I read the book "Henry Hodges Needs A Friend".  This is a cute book about how Henry Hodges is lonely, and his parents tell him they are going to get him a pet.  Henry starts imagining about all the possibilities, and he ends up with a sad little dog, who he names "Happy".



This book was so cute and imaginative, and the illustrations were adorable.  I always loved slightly silly plays on things when I was a girl, and this book has many funny ideas of what Henry thinks his pet will be.  I think it makes it really interesting for kids, to spark their little imaginations.  The text also rhymes, and I am a huge fan of rhyming books for kids!  I wouldn't necessarily recommend it if you don't have or want a dog, because Henry and Happy will probably make your kids want one!

The lesson at the end was such a cute one too, about how God knows what we need when we are lonely or sad - and how our friends need us when they are lonely or sad too!  This book will probably go on our favorites shelf.

If you are a cat person, you may not understand (I kid - sort of), but dogs, can be such comforting little friends to have as a child.  Dogs love you no matter how bad of a mood you are in, and there have been many times when I was upset or crying about something, and one of my dogs would crawl up into my lap and snuggle, or lick my face in an attempt to make me feel better.  They love you even when your ugly side shows, when life is messy.  Sometimes you just need that little example of unconditional love and loyalty.  I'll always be a dog person, and it all started with a short little dog I named Winnie.

Did you have a dog when you were a kid?  Will you get your kids a pet?

And if you are a cat person, here's your chance to make your case.  Comment below!

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Tommy Nelson has also offered to give one of my readers a copy of "Henry Hodges Needs A Friend" - and I'm going to try something a little different and host the giveaway on Instagram!  So if you don't already follow me on Instagram, you are missing out!

To enter the giveaway, stop by my Instagram and check it out!

The giveaway will end on March 31, 2015 at 12:00 PM EST!

Note: I received a copy of "Henry Hodges Needs A Friend" from Tommy Nelson in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.

3/25/15

First Bible

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I'm on Tommy Nelson and FaithGateway today, talking about how to make your child's first Bible meaningful - and including my own story of how my parents and grandparents made my first Bible meaningful.


"My children are pre-school aged. They can’t even read simple books yet, so it will be a little while before they will be able to read the Bible by themselves. Nevertheless, I have been thinking about the day that they are ready to pick out their first Bibles, and how I want to go about it.

When I think of my first Bible growing up, the one that always comes to mind is a thick, leather-bound book, with my name embossed on the front and childlike letters written inside the front cover. When I was about nine years old, my grandma gave a challenge to all her grandkids – memorize Psalm 91 – and she would buy us our own Bibles with our names on the front, and take us to a fancy Japanese restaurant for dinner…"



Head on over to Tommy Nelson to continue reading!


When did you get your first Bible?  Did your parents (if they gave it to you) do anything to make it special?

3/24/15

A Little Insta-Blogging

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Yesterday I posted this photo and caption on Instagram:





Oh my goodness, this has been a day. I attempted to wake up early for some quiet time, and couldn't even get out of the kitchen before I spotted a little shadowy form watching me from the hallway. Got her back to bed, spilled my tea. Managed to get through a couple chapters of the Bible before two of the kids were awake. Got them to bed again. Came up later to find they were NOT in bed, but had been painting the walls with their watercolors. Find mess, clean, repeat, all.morning.long. Naptime! Finished some blogging chores. I was just about to sit down with a book and some lunch (ie. that plate of cucumbers and peppermint tea, cravings brought to you by #babynumberfour ), but I hear them up there again. #dayinthelife #threeunderfour #lovethemalwaysthough 


Yesterday was crazy, guys.  It was probably one of the messiest days I've had as a mom - and by messiest, I mean that I was constantly cleaning up messes!  It seemed like every time I turned around, one of the kids was getting into something.  Even during what I thought was nap time, I came upstairs to find that the kids had been scattering toys about their rooms when I was blissfully unaware.

I'm really not one of those insane clean freaks, normally.  I've been known to make and leave messy areas around the house myself.  But the unexpected messes.  They bother me.  At least they did yesterday.

I wish I could say I handled it all with grace and kind words, but that would be a lie.  I was frustrated, and it showed.

I was thinking about it this morning, and you know what?  This morning has been lovely so far.  Granted I haven't been upstairs to see what the kids are doing at the moment, but still.  This morning it is easy to remember that I love this.  I love this mom job.  I would so much rather be home cleaning up my kids messes than anywhere else.

Because even on the bad days, Wyatt asks if he can give me a kiss, and Gwen comes running to me for comfort when she is hurt, and Clyde falls asleep in my arms on the couch.  Every job has frustrating moments, but I don't know another job that has as many rewards to compensate as this one does.



Every day is fresh, with no mistakes in it, and God's mercies are new every morning.  Even for messes, and moms who in the midst of the chaos sometimes forget how incredibly blessed they are.

(Bonus if you know where the first part of that last paragraph came from - only one of my favorite books ever.)

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I have a free printable of the image above, coming for my newsletter subscribers in mid-April!  You can sign up to the right if you are not already a subscriber, or click here.

3/23/15

Time For An Afternoon Treat!

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 This afternoon treat idea and recipe is brought to you as part of a compensated opportunity by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KreateMyHappy #CollectiveBias



Naptime. As a mom of young children, I know that whether I use the time to check things off my to-do list, or relax and enjoy a fun snack, it is the one time of day when I can do something (anything) uninterrupted.

Don't get me wrong, I love hanging out with my kiddos!  They are ask much fun to be around, and I love watching them play or learn new things.  I can't even get too annoyed when they are wanting my attention, because I love that they do want my attention - I love that as a parent I am the most important person in their lives, the person they can count on, the one they want to share all their precious little news with first.  I love being that person.  I love being their mom.

Smothered Rice Krispy Treats | Through Clouded Glass

But it is also nice to have a little time in the afternoons to just regather my energy for the rest of the day.  My mom once told me that she wanted to cry when I told her I was done with nap time, and now I understand why!  I am pretty lucky that my kids all nap at the same time (I'm pretty sure my luck will run out by the time Baby #4 gets here), but even when Wyatt doesn't nap, I have instituted "quiet time", which is a time for him to play in his room - quietly!  Because sometimes moms still need a little chance to re-couperate in the afternoon.

I used to try to squeeze everything possible into my limited nap time window, but with the fatigue that comes with being pregnant, lately I've been mostly using nap time to just rest, and maybe enjoy a snack.  So today, I want to share one of my most recent snack creations!

Smothered Rice Krispy Treats | Through Clouded Glass

I am calling these Smothered Rice Krispies Treats.  I recommend buying the packaged Rice Krispies treats, because they make this recipe a lot quicker and easier!  I found mine at King Soopers.

Smothered Rice Krispy Treats | Through Clouded Glass

Smothered Rice Krispy Treats | Through Clouded Glass


Smothered Rice Krispies Treats

2 Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats squares
1/4 c. Milk Chocolate M&M's
1/4 c. Peanut Butter M&M's
1/2 c. Jet Puffed miniature marshmallows
1 tbsp. peanut butter
1 tbsp. Strawberry preserves
1/4 c. chocolate chips
Servings: 2

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Farhenheit.

2. Unwrap the Rice Krispies Treats, and place them onto an oven-safe plate.

3.  Spread either peanut butter or strawberry preserves over the top of your Rice Krispies Treats.  Add a layer of M&M's on top of each Rice Krispies Treat.  I used Peanut Butter M&M's for the Treat with peanut butter, and Milk Chocolate M&M's for the Treat with strawberry preserves.

4.  Add a layer of marshmallows over the top of the M&M's.  Put Rice Krispies Treats into the oven for 5 minutes, or until the marshmallows start looking toasted.

Smothered Rice Krispy Treats | Through Clouded Glass

5.  In the meantime, put the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat the chocolate chips in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir, and repeating the 20 seconds until they are completely melted.

6.  Once the marshmallows on top of your Rice Krispies Treats look toasted, remove them from the oven, and immediately drizzle the melted chocolate chips over the top of the Treats.  Enjoy your Smothered Rice Krispies Treats while they are still warm!

Smothered Rice Krispy Treats | Through Clouded Glass

One of the reasons I liked this invention was because they are so easy and quick to make, but they taste decadent!  The peanut butter chocolate version is so gooey and good, and the one with preserves tastes like a chocolate covered strawberry.  I let Derek have a taste after I made one for myself, and he asked me to make one for him later too!  They are perfect for nap time because of how little time they take to prepare - and because if you have them during naptime, you don't have to share!

Smothered Rice Krispy Treats | Through Clouded Glass

You can also visit Kellogg's website for more Rice Krispies Treat ideas - you can also vote for your favorite recipe as part of a contest they are hosting - and there is a chance for you to win prizes - just by tweeting, pinning, or Instagramming your vote with the hashtag #RKTreatSweeps and sending a link to RKTreatSweeps@Kellogg.com.  Check out the website for more details!

What do you like to do during your kids' naptime?

3/19/15

My Story Is Beautiful

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My Story Is Beautiful | Through Clouded Glass


Through my teenage years I felt awkward.  I didn't fit in.  I think that's when clothes started to become a little too important to me.  I would stress about wearing the "right" thing, the thing that would make me feel a little less like I was on the outside.  As an adult, the pressure to wear the trendiest clothes is lessened, but I still let my feelings about myself in social gathering get wrapped up in the clothes I'm wearing.  I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way.

In the last year I have started to realize that my preoccupation with clothes and shopaholic tendencies are a sign that I am using clothes to fill a hole in my self-confidence.  But the problem with filling holes with physical things is that the patch job doesn't last very long.

My identity should never be placed in how I look, but in who I am in Christ…


3/18/15

Goodbye, First Trimester!

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I am 12 weeks pregnant, as of Monday!  Even though I think 13 weeks is officially out of the first trimester, I'm saying 12 weeks is close enough so I can allow myself decaf coffee again.  Oh coffee, I've missed you…

This has probably been my most tiring pregnancy so far, but on the flip side, the nausea has been almost non-existent.  I really only start feeling ill if I haven't eaten in a few hours - so I just snack a lot, and I've been good to go!  By about 8:00 or 9:00 at night I am about to fall asleep where I stand.  No late-night projects for me lately, but I am hopeful my energy will come back now that the second trimester is right around the corner!



We went for my 12 week appointment yesterday, and the nurse had a hard time finding the baby's heartbeat at first - I was just about to freak out internally when I heard it, but it was so quiet!  I am assuming baby was just swimming as far away from that annoying probe as he/she could.

The funnest part of our visit was hearing Wyatt talk about the "new baby".  First I should say that we told him about the baby after our first ultrasound, and he was so excited - he started saying "Yeah!  And the baby's going to crawl, and he's going to walk, and we're going to have LOTS of babies"!  I said there is only one, but there will be four of them total!  He has been so cute about it.

Yesterday, before we went in, Wyatt said "Mama, are we going in to get the new baby?", and I told him that no, the baby has to stay in mama's stomach for a while longer.  He then started talking about how the baby is "swimming in the water", and how my stomach is going to get bigger.  He saw a brochure that had a silhouette of a pregnant woman with the baby's silhouette in her stomach, and he was fascinated. Then he started talking about how the baby needs to keep his/her eyes closed and go to sleep in my tummy.  It was so cute!  I'm not sure Gwen quite understood everything he was saying, but she also liked the brochure picture, and they were both interested in listening to the baby's heartbeat.  I think this is going to be the most fun pregnancy as far as the kid's reactions go!

Heartrate is 153 bpm, and apparently I haven't gained any weight, so I've been instructed to eat more calorie-rich foods.  I probably haven't been eating as much as I could, but nothing sounds good.  When I finally land on something that sounds like it might hit the spot, I try it, and it just doesn't taste good.  Eating is just not fun right now.  Unless it's vegetables, but those aren't exactly calorie-rich.  Maybe I just need to make salads and slather them with fattening salad dressing.

I have felt little fluttery feelings the other day, but I'm thinking it was probably not the baby because that is really early to feel anything.  But you can bet I'm on the lookout for any movement!  I think I felt Clyde around 15 weeks, so maybe this baby will be slightly sooner (a girl can hope).



Next appointment is in April 13th, and then in the middle of May we find out the gender!

3/17/15

Pulling Back The Shades - A Review

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Note: Excuse all the words interrupted by dots in this post - I just don't want certain search terms linked to my blog.

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I think I first heard of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" two and a half years ago, when a fellow blogger mentioned that it was on her to-read list.  I really had no idea what it was, but I quickly learned enough to decide it wasn't a good thing and avoid it. Only later did I realize just what exactly is in this book, and the damaging effects this type of "literature" is having on women and the culture.

I have not read "Fifty Shades Of Grey", and I will not see the movie.  I don't think I have to read it to have an intelligent conversation about it.  But I know enough to be deeply concerned.  From what I can tell, this book (and/or movie) is full of abuse, even ra.pe, and it is somehow wrapped up in a romantic package.  I don't care if there is some sort of "redemption" at the end, romanticizing and promoting abusive se.xual relationships is not okay.

I like to be informed on cultural issues.  I don't think Christians should bury their heads in the sand about anything, we should be able to address issues and defend the biblical perspective.  For that reason I picked up a copy "Pulling Back The Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, And The Longings Of A Woman's Heart" by Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery (who used to be a co-host of the Focus On The Family Radio broadcast). In this book, Gresh and Slattery address this genre of literature, why it is appealing to women, why it is ultimately harmful to women, and how we can and should address this issue as Christian women.

I got so much out of this book, even though I have never read ero.tica.  This book challenges you to look at your own heart and s.ex life to see if there is anything that is preventing you from reaching true intimacy, and I appreciated a lot of what it had to say.  I have always felt a little wary about even some Christian romance novels when I feel they are getting a bit too descriptive, or TV shows that focus too much on s.ex - because I know the effect that can have on me, and I know it's  slippery slope.  This book challenged me to keep a vigilant eye on what kind of things I allow into my mind, and it was encouraging to realize that I am not being a prude by limiting what I watch and read.  I just want my se.xual excitement to come from my husband alone - that is God's plan and ultimately it will make our s.ex life healthier!

This book also gave a lot of talking points and food for thought on why ero.tica is harmful, and I think it was really good information for me to have, even though I've never read it.  I think it would be that much more helpful to someone who is currently struggling with an interest (or addiction) to ero.tica.

And I just want to say, lest anyone think this book was a big list of "don't's", that ultimately this book had themes of hope and freedom.  Hope to overcome se.xual addictions, and a hopeful message of the kind of freedom and pleasure that is available when women are brave and strong enough to stick to God's plan.  Whether or not you have read "Fifty Shades", "Pulling Back The Shades" is worth a read.

Note: I received copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.