Time to Say Goodbye and Move On...

I've wanted to let you know that I have been working on a new project. Creative Home Keeper has been the result of a lot of prayer, discussion, and thought. It stems from a dream and a vision I have of creating an at home business to help earn an income while still remaining at home with the kids.

I have some future plans and goals of how I want to grow this into to a small business, but I'm not ready to share that yet. In the meantime, you can find me Creative Home Keeper. I have also set up facebook page and a twitter page. Please take some time to visit and and if you like what you see may I ask a favor? You can like my facebook page, follow my twitter, or subscribe to my blog.

Thanks so much for sharing life with me here at Good Gifts, and I look forward to you joining the conversation at Creative Home Keeper.


Paleo Update and February Snow

Well the end of my February Paleo food challenge has come and gone and I thought I should wrap up what I started. I have learned a lot about myself through this challenge, including...

  • I do have a dairy and glutten intolerance (self diagnosed)
  • I love my sweet and salty snacks (M&Ms and popcorn will never be permanently removed from my diet!)
  • I think about food WAY too much
  • I do strive to eat a balanced whole foods diet
I will continue to exclude diary and glutten from my diet as I try to naturally heal my digestive system. I'm not a complete Paleo fan, there are some components to the diet that I do think are healthy and everyone would benefit from (we as Americans eat way to much processed foods than we should), with that being said there are some really hard parts of the Paleo eating plan. Not eating grains is really hard, and while some are genetically modified and not healthy, I think a balanced diet should have some grains.

Also in my research some Paleo advocates even go as far as saying we shouldn't even be eating fruit! That is crazy to me. Yes fruits do contain a lot of NATURAL sugars, and if you set around all day and eat nothing but fruits that can really mess up your blood sugars. But fruits are natural, they come from nature, God designed them to be sweet and delicious. We SHOULD be eating a balanced diet with fruits.

In other news after last year's snow less winter, we had two massive blizzards within a few days of each other in February. I am not ashamed to admit that I enjoyed being snowed in for a few days with my little loves, but was definitely glad to get out of the house (Silas was to for that matter!)

We got about 18" total of snow, this is a view from our back deck.

Silas LOVED to play in the snow, but getting him dressed in his snow pants, boots, coat, mittens, and hat took a lot of work.

There was so much snow, he got stuck in it!

Of course we had to make snow ice cream!

Silas loved the snow ice cream

Can you believe Amelia is 6 months old now!
Why wear his snow boots when he can wear Nana's!


A Paleo Update and a Birthday Boy

So what's the quickest way to upset a Paleo eating plan? The stomach bug... ugh! :(
Basically the only things I could stomach eating for over four days were bread, crackers, oatmeal (plain), chicken noodle soup, bananas, Gatorade, and pretzels. Pretty much all of that falls into the grain/wheat or sugar category. But I wasn't going to make myself sicker by trying to eat foods that are Paleo approved while causing me to gag at the same time.
So now I'm almost back on track, it always amazes me how long you stay queasy after the bug passes. I have managed to cut diary completely out of my diet which is actually easier than I thought it would be (although I did have a scoop of ice cream at Silas' birthday). I'm working to cut out the wheat/grain foods, which IS a lot harder than I thought. I'm pretty much having to re-train my eating patterns and it has also made me realized how much I prefer to snack on crackers or granola bars than I do on fruits or vegetables. So baby steps as I try to eliminate processed foods and refined sugar from my diet.
I have also lost some weight, but it's hard to tell how much of that weight loss is resulted from the stomach bug. It's also to early to tell if my digestive issues have been relieved because the stomach bug did do a nasty number to by digestive system.
So in review, I'm a week and half into the Paleo diet and plan to continue on for a few more weeks to really being able to experience the benefits.

On another note this week has been a busy week for the Osborn house. Aside from today being Valentine's Day, yesterday we celebrated Brett's birthday, and over the weekend we celebrated Silas' 2nd birthday. I can't believe he is two already?!?! Where did the time go? Last week Brett also started his new job, so we have been trying to adjust to a new routine as Brett is now having to work longer due to a longer commute. His new job is a promotion and something that he has been excited about for a while. So it has been a blessing.
Here are a few photos from Silas' birthday celebration

The birthday boy "talking" to his Aunt Tammy who is out of town.

Elmo cupcakes, I had made cupcakes with homemade icing, but due to an event that I now call the Great Cupcake Disaster, I had to run to the grocery store an hour before his party to pick up some cupcakes!

A pinterest inspired vegetable platter with the carrots spelling out the number 2.

Like all good family photos with little ones, of course both children are not looking or smiling at the camera!

Silas enjoying his cupcake and ice cream, although he is his mama's child and preferred the ice cream over the cupcake!

At least we got one good shot, sans Miss Amelia, with the birthday boy!


Taking the Plunge Paleo Style

So tomorrow I'm taking a big plunge... I'm embarking on a Paleo Diet challenge. That's right folks no diary, no bread, no pasta, no wheat or grain foods, no processed foods, and no refined sugar. I'll basically only be eating vegetables, fruit, and lean meats.
Why am I doing this? Well I have been suffering from some digestive issues and other ailments for the past few years. It's amazing how pregnancy can completely alter your body! I've been researching some of my symptoms and have talked with my doctor, and I'm left to believe that I have some food in tolerances. Diary and glutten tend to be the major culprits of food allergies and in tolerances, so rather than just eliminating one at a time, I'm just going to go for it and bite the bullet and eliminate both, as well as all processed foods and refined sugars.
Things I'm going to miss:
  • Butter- sweet, creamy, savory butter
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Popcorn- my favorite snack
  • M&Ms
  • Oatmeal

Things I'm looking forward to:
  • feeling healthy
  • relief from digestive issues
  • weight loss as I continue to work towards losing baby weight
  • more energy (whatever comes after caring for 2 little ones!)
 So today at the store I loaded up on lots of fresh fruit and veggies

And what does one do on the day before completely eliminating all diary, wheat, grain, and sugar? Splurge on all those treats of course, and then remind myself of why I'm eliminating them from my diet.
This was a Kindle freebie last year and has been a good resource as I embark on this challenge
Paleo for Beginners: Essentials to Get Started
So I'm going to challenge myself for the next 30 days, beginning tomorrow February 1, to eat a Paleo diet. After that we'll see how I feel and if I even miss those "comfort" foods. Wish my luck!


A Reason to be Thankful and Honoring the Sabboth

This week Brett and I were blessed in two big, unexpected ways financially. God is so faithful and I was humbly reminded of that this week. I'm not going to share the specifics online (however if your really curious just email me).

One of my goals this year was to focus on gratitude and all the ways that the Lord is faithful and how He blesses His children. I am thankful that Brett works hard to support our family so I can stay home and raise my little loves. I was planning to go back to subbing at least once a week, even though I was less than excited about that. Because of the blessings we received this week, I don't have to anymore, unless I choose to. It has been a much welcome answered prayer!

I have also decided that I am going to add a goal for my 2013 list of goals. November I made a choice to fast from the Internet for most of the month and was greatly refreshed by that time. I am going to go offline, all day, every Sunday. No emails, no Facebook, no blogging (obviously this will start next Sunday as I'm writing this on a Sunday!)

I have really been convicted about how I spend my time on Sundays. I am going to make a real effort to complete all of my housekeeping tasks by Saturday afternoon so that way I can enjoy Saturday evenings and Sundays without having to much. Basic household pick up, dinner prep and cleanup are still going to be around, but no laundry, and no chores.

Instead I'm going to focus on rest, worship, and spending time with the people I love the most.


Book List for 2013

My 2013 Book List is quite extensive, in fact it would be a miracle if I read every book on it (there are over 100 books on my list :). So I have narrowed down my list to the top 25 books that I am most excited to read this year. Here they are...


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Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp- I'm super excited to read this one as part of our Titus 2 Woman's Book club at church. Unfortunately this one isn't scheduled for this fall, I may have to read it before then!
Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

Desperate by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae- Sally Clarkson is my absolute favorite author/mentor when it comes to motherhood, and I enjoy Sarah Mae's blog and other ebooks she has written.

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Hope for the Weary Mom by Brook McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker- I was able to get this a free Kindle download last year and have been looking forward to reading it since.

Mindsets for Moms by Jamie Martin
Her other book Steady Days was a favorite read last year as it helped me establish a routine and purpose for my days. I'm excited to read this one too.

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The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller- I have heard a lot of good things about this book, so I am eager to read it for myself.

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Helper by Design by Elyse Fitzpatrick- I have enjoyed her two books that I have read so far.

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The Husband Project: 21 Days of Loving Your Man- on Purpose and With a Plan by Kathi Lipp- always looking for more ways to be intentional in showing Brett love and respect.


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Running for My Life: One Lost Boy's Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games by Lopez Lomong

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In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham- I have wanted to read this for SO LONG. Last year I was thrilled when it was Kindle freebie on day. This couple was from a small down outside of Kansas City, so there story was all over the news locally when she finally returned home.

Learning at Home

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The Well- Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer- I have been interested in learning more about classical education, and was recommended this book as a starting point.

Food Choices, Health and Well being

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French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters by Karen Le Billon- I have heard a lot about this book so I'm excited to read it.

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The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother's Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America's Food Supply and What Every Family Can do to Protect Itself by Robyn O'Brien - I'm pretty sure this book is going to confirm why I'm trying to eliminate processed foods and sugar from our diet.

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Forks Over Knives: The Plant Based Way to Health by Gene Stone

Spiritual Growth

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7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker- the aspiring minimalist in me is intrigued by this read.

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Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

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Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

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Feeding Your Soul: A Quiet Time Handbook by Jean Fleming- I really enjoyed her book A Mother's Heart.

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Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions- by Lysa Terkeurst- I might be prone to becoming unglued when things don't work out the way I plan them to ;)


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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty- A lot of people have or are reading this, so I though why not?

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Kindred Spirits by Sara Strohmeyer- This book has also been on my radar for a while. It's about a group of women who met as PTA moms and have stayed close friends throughout the years. My mom has a close group of friends (5 women) that met as PTA moms back when my brother was in first grade. They met together once a month for dinner.

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The Help by Kathyrn Stockett- I have wanted to read this for a LONG time.

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The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

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The House at Riverton by Kate Morton- I have heard a lot of really good things about Kate Morton and these two books were recommended readings of her work.

Random Non-Fiction

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can's Stop Talking by Susan Cain- Doesn't the title make your smile?

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The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney

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Happier at Home By Gretchen Rubin- I read The Happiness Project last year and am looking forward to reading this too.



2013 Goals

I am one of those crazy people who actually love January. No I don't love the frigid cold or snow, but I love the simplicity that a new year brings. I love the holidays, time spent with family in celebration. I also love decorating for Christmas, buying presents for family, baking goodies, and enjoying Christmas music. However I also love packing up the decorations too. Crazy I know :)

I hate clutter and frankly by the end of December my home feels really cluttered with all the decorations, not to mention all the loot my children received from grandparents. So January brings a since of peace back to my home as everything is packed up and I can once enjoy a simpler home. I would like to say clutter free but I am coming to terms with the fact that my little ones have stuff, lots of stuff- brightly colored, noisy, mis-matched toys, books, blankets, baby chairs, etc.

In fact yesterday afternoon my living room was a MESS, Silas had managed to dump his book basket and decided to pull out all of toys from his toy shelf (we are working on putting back things before getting something new out), and Amelia's toys were also scattered around the floor, no thanks for Silas too! But in the midst of the mess, which normally would drive me crazy, I sat nursing one and cuddling with the other. I wouldn't trade in all their "stuff" for anything in the world! I am one blessed mama.

Another thing that the new year brings is the chance to draft out a list of goals that I want to accomplish and work on. I did this for the first time last year, and despite raising a toddler, pregnancy, and the birth of my daughter, I actually accomplished a lot of what I set out to do.

A few highlights from my 2012 goals are:

  • read the Bible in a year with the ESV reading plan- I have always wanted to do this but have never been very disciplined, but I made it a huge priority this past year!
  • read over 70 books- no small task with two little ones, but I really prioritized how I spent my time to accomplish this,
  • integrated more whole foods into our diet while trying to limit processed foods and sugar- as much of a pain it was to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it completely changed the way I eat and view food now
  • spent time reading to Silas everyday which wasn't hard because Silas loves his books, in fact he rarely plays with his toys but always wants to have books read to him- he is definitely the son of one book loving mom!
  • continued to grow more in love with Brett through our time spent together. Something about watching him play rough with Silas, then tenderly cuddle with Amelia completely melts my heart!
This year I was pretty intentional with my goal setting. Here is a list of my goals for 2013.

·         Read and study the Bible daily
·         Keep a prayer journal
·         Focus on gratitude by daily listing at least 2 things in a gratitude journal

·         pray for Brett everyday
·         Go on at least one date a month
·         Plan a weekend getaway once nursing is complete in the fall
·         Pray and read the Bible together every night
·         Show Brett acts of love and respect

·         Pray for Silas and Amelia everyday
·         Read aloud from children's Bible everyday
·         Pray with/model prayer with Silas and Amelia everyday
·      Read aloud stories everyday
·         Create a Motherhood Mission Statement
·         Potty train Silas- this is a big one, fingers crossed- it would be lovely not to have 2 in diapers!
·         Write keepsake letters to children at least twice this year

Home Keeping
·         Make home a peaceful haven and clutter free
·         Cook real, whole foods eliminating processed foods and sugar
·         Eliminate toxic cleaners and replace with homemade, frugal, and green cleaners
·         Plan and plant a garden

Personal Health and Well being
·         Work off baby weight
·         Introduce and maintain a simple and natural beauty routine- I have been doing the No-poo hair care and washing my face with oil for the past several months and I love how my hair and face look and feel. There are other things I want to get rid off and replace with a more natural solution.
·         Look into natural, homemade health remedies

·         Read at least 6 books a month
·         Stay up to date on photos and memory books for Silas, Amelia and the family
·         Cut back TV viewing and Internet browsing
·         Create a minimalist wardrobe

·         Look out for opportunities to serve in my church or community
·         Being more diligent at preserving friendships, both local and long distance
·         Continue to be a part of my weekly Bible study and monthly book club at church
·         Pray for and seek out local friendships
·         Work on loving and communicating better with some difficult family members

·         Continue to tithe to our church and support our current missionaries and ministries
·         Aim to help supplement our income by subbing at least four times a month
 ·       Stay home more to not spend money

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