Gotta Improvise

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J loves to play with play doh seriously every, single day. He is on a completely gluten and dairy free diet, but he was still showing signs of contact with gluten. It finally dawned on us that he was playing with gluten every day!!!

He was so bummed when we had to take it away, so a few Google searches later, we found the PERFECT recipe for a gluten free play doh! We even went a little further to make it healthy for him and used organic ingredients and natural plant-based food coloring to make different colors!

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It was incredibly easy and it’s such a relief to know he isn’t playing with the one thing we work really hard to eliminate from his diet!!

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Here’s the recipe!

Posted in DIY

Fifty Days of Grae

 

A year ago today, we decided to visit the hospital just to be certain I wasn’t leaking amniotic fluid. We had just moved to a new city, J had started a new preschool class, and I had been on bed rest at home for about a week. I was 28 weeks pregnant and was feeling the undeniable “trickle” but we remained optomistic until we were able to get checked out at the hospital. While we had a few options of which hospital to go to in the area, we chose the one with the highest level NICU, just to be safe. Little did we know, the reality of needing that was much closer than not. The threat and fear of having our little boy way too early was much bigger and closer than we knew, but we lived it every, single day for the next fifty days of our lives.

I’ve been asked, “How did you do it?” How did you lay flat on your back for seven long weeks?! The answer is simple. I’m not special. I don’t have superpowers. I’m no different than anyone else. What other choice did I have?? When you’re a mom, you just do it. You do absolutely everything you can for your babies and while it wasn’t easy, it was absolutely worth every second of every minute of every hour of every, single day. I will tell you, I didn’t do it alone. Without God’s answer to prayer, my incredible husband, the crucial help from my mom and our family, my amazing nurses, and the prayer, support and love from everyone, it wouldn’t have happened. Plain and simple. But, that moment when I heard his first cry come from his tiny, little body, made it all worth it. Though, in true Dekker fashion, there was plenty of drama before that moment ever came.

It’s not common to stay pregnant for seven weeks after your water breaks, but somehow, with prayer and modern medicine, God allowed us extra time. I hadn’t had time to find a new doctor after moving, so I had the unique”opportunity” of conducting interviews from my hospital bed. Doc after Doc came through, proposing their “plan” for us. Most wanted to deliver him via C-section at 34 weeks if we even got that far. It was, according to them, the safest option for everyone. While I wasn’t in the position to be extremely picky or opinionated, I was praying for a Doctor that would allow more time and would support my desire to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). I knew it was a long shot, but I truly believed this was our best chance of the healthiest baby possible, that could potentially come right home with me from the hospital. At 34 weeks, all babies at this hospital automatically go to the NICU to be on the safe side. However, at 35 weeks, they allow mom to immediately hold baby and see how baby is doing before takiing them to the NICU. I wanted that. I really wanted that. More than anything, I wanted to hold my baby boy, to nurse him right away, to get that skin-to-skin, even if it ended up that he needed to go to the NICU, I wanted that chance. So, when one Doctor walked into my room, willing to wait that extra week and supporting my wish to deliver him vaginally, I was one happy mama.

It was a time in my life when I felt like I had lost complete control of everything. I went from not having ever spend longer than 24 hours away from J to being away from home for an excruciating seven weeks. I had to completely surrender my parental role for that time, because even when he would visit me, I wasn’t even supposed to sit up, much less chase him around. It was, by far, the hardest part of being in there. I didn’t know how to explain to him why I wasn’t home with him to tuck him in at night or why I couldn’t pick him up and comfort him when he caught his finger in the door at the hospital. I was often bored and sometimes lonely. My heart ached. My body ached. I could’ve easily become depressed and isolated.  If it weren’t for the love, prayer, support, gifts, and visits from family and friends, I would’ve been a complete mess. If I hadn’t had the most amazing husband in the entire world that slept every, single night on the hospital couch bed, I probably would have cried myself to sleep many nights. That wouldn’t have been possible if my mom hadn’t given up her entire life for seven weeks to stay with J and take care of him and my entire family, no questions asked. I sometimes shared the highlights on social media of visits from friends, my mom bringing J, or 15 minute wheelchair rides to get fresh air, but truthfully it was hard. It was really, really hard. The hardest thing I’ve ever done.

So, the when we finally and miraculously reached 35 weeks, I was ready. I was, of course, worried that he would be too little and could potentially have a hard time breathing, regulating his body temperature, latching, and many other difficulties, but after weeks and weeks of reading the prognosis if I delivered at that gestation, we had made it to a point that while it was worrisome, the outlook was good and he would be just fine, possibly needing some extra help and time in the NICU. I also knew that the risk of delivering him at 35 weeks was lower than the risk of developing an infection from having my water broken for so long, so I was ready to meet him, no matter what.

The night before they planned to induce my labor, they took me off the meds that were keeping the contrations at bay. I took these meds every day for seven weeks, so when they stopped administering them, my contractions quickly kicked into gear. When my doctor came in that morning to check me, he saw that I was already 3cm dilated and the contractions were becoming pretty regular. So, they gave me a brand new room with an ocean view on the labor & delivery floor. They told me to make myself comfortable, because today was the day, but these things can take time. Our parents made their way to the hospital to settle in and await the arrival of their tiny grandson. Brendan set up the music, I began breathing through the contractions as they became more and more frequent.

Not but an hour later, I was in the zone. I went from having lively conversation with our family between contractions to requesting that conversation remain quiet and minimal. I was focused on relaxing, breathing, and allowing my body to perform miracles. While my wish was to have an unmedicated birth, part of the deal I made with my Doctor was that I would be willing to get an epidural. In the event that I would need an emergency C-section he wanted me to be prepped for it. It was that or they would have to knock me out for his birth, and I wanted to be awake to meet him. So, when my nurse came to say it was time to get the epidural, I didn’t feel quite ready, but when she could see how often and long I was contracting, she persuaded me to get the process started. We knew I had progressed to at least 5cm, so she wasn’t concerned with slowing labor.

It was the first time I laid down since beginning labor. They had just administered the epidural and I was feeling immense pressure. I told my nurse and she said that was a great sign that we were getting closer. I told told her, “No no, you don’t understand. Like… a loooooot if pressure.” She agreed to check me again, because she wanted to place a fetal monitor on the top of his head anyway, because there were a few times during the epidural process that his heart rate had dipped and she wanted to be sure he wasn’t in distress. So, when she checked me, she found that I was now 9cm dilated, so it was no surprise that I was feeling the amount of pressure I was. She was pretty sure I was about to deliver him before the epidural even had a chance to kick in.

It was that moment that everything became a blur. You know that part in the movie, where you’re staring straight down at the blank stare of the main character’s face as they’re being rushed on a hospital bed by a group of 10 screaming nurses to the operating room? Ya, that was me. All of a sudden, that beautifully strong rhythmic heartbeat of my baby that I had been meditating on had dropped to nearly nothing and didn’t come back up. My husband was ripped away and placed in a holding room while they swiftly prepped me for an emergency C-section. There were so many people. Terms like “crashing” and “no heartbeat” were being yelled across the operating room. My Doctor was barreling down hallways, pushing people out of way, rushing to save my baby. I didn’t dare ask if he was ok. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear the answer. I just remember talking to him out loud. I told him he had to hang on. I needed him. We could do this together. I reminded him how much I loved him already and that he was going to be ok. Even with all the people in the room, I felt completely alone. It was then that I felt God’s presence and comfort. I mean this when I say, He was in that room. It was almost as if I could reach out and touch Him. It was undeniable. They finally allowed my sweet husband in the room and then, in the midst of chaos and noise, one nurse looked up and shouted, “Everybody, STOP! The baby’s heart rate is rising, Doctor, check her!” When he found that I was completely dilated and ready to push, he exchanged scalpel for vacuum and two big pushes later, the tiniest, most glorious, most courageous cry was heard. My little warrior baby had made his way into the world unscathed. He was 5 pounds 5 ounces of absolute perfection. The doctor handed him straight to me and said, “This one’s a keeper, I think he’s going home with you.”

And that’s exactly what he did. From that moment on, he never left our side. Not to the NICU, not to an incubator, he stayed right there with his mom and dad, healthy as can be. He was my miracle. He was strong, and brave, and he was all mine. It was the perfect ending and beginning all at the same time. It was a long, difficult journey leading up to that moment but it was everything I had ever wished for. Fifty long days of Grae, and then we got to go home and our life began a new normal.

“Though he be but little, he is fierce.”

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

 

Perfectly Imperfect

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Although it’s hard to understand why sometimes, I believe God hand picks us to raise our kids for a reason. There are many days I feel totally unequipped and incompetent, but I truly do believe He chose me to be the mother of these two precious boys. This is something my own mom has often reminded me of when I call her crying, feeling overwhelmed and questioning myself, but when I can take a step back and have better perspective, I can see what she’s saying. God doesn’t make mistakes.

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In the last three years, Brendan and I have taught J many things. He’s learned his letters, numbers, colors and shapes. He’s learned to build towers with Legos, to fly a kite, to put puzzles together and he knows nearly every Sandra Boynton book by heart. He hits a t-ball nearly every time, catches and throws a football, climbs a rock walk like a pro, and is working on mastering his balance bike. I think what’s most impressive though, is all the things J has taught me, as a mom, in the past three years.

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J has taught me to appreciate and find beauty in the small things. He’s taught me to take joy in the steps toward the prize, not just the prize itself. He’s taught me patience and compassion for others, empathy, humility, appreciation, and to love so big, my heart could burst into a million pieces.

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He’s also taught me that “different” isn’t always a bad thing. J will be faced with some harder hills to climb than I was ever faced with. J was recently diagnosed with Autism, and while that means he struggles with things that most people don’t, it does not define who he is. He is SO much more than that. With his weaknesses come SO many more strengths, and I choose to be thankful for those.

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When I look into his eyes, I see a sweet, funny little boy that loves his family more than anything. I see someone with an incredible imagination and the biggest heart I’ve ever known. He can be tough when he falls and scrapes his knee, and he can be so sensitive that just a stern look can bring tears to his eyes. He is loving and caring, and gives the best kisses in the world. His laugh is contagious and his smile lights up the room. He’s my son, he’s a brother, a cousin, a nephew, a grandson, and a great grandson. He is so many wonderful things all packed into his 3 year old self, none of which are defined by Autism.

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He’s taught me that not everything wonderful will fit into the little box that’s labeled “Perfect”. He’s taught me that it’s OK to feel disappointed with the way some things are and that it doesn’t change how incredibly grateful I am for the life and family I was blessed with. Even though my beautiful son will struggle with things that he should never have to, and that life and this world will be unkind to him at times, the continual expansion of the capacity of my love for him will never end.

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God chose me to have the privilege of mothering J. I’ve been allowed to see the world and this life in a way I never would’ve been able to without having him. While there have been and will be many difficult and heartbreaking times, There are no mistakes, and J is a perfect, unique gift that I will spend every, single day of my life thanking God for.

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17

Posted in DIY

One Day at a Time

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I’m 29 weeks pregnant today! While every week is an exciting milestone for every mommy-to-be, I’m especially thankful today to have added even one more day to this pregnancy!!

A little over a week ago, I began having signs of preterm labor while visiting family in Arizona. We are no strangers to preterm labor, as I was on home bed rest for 11 weeks with our first little man. So, of course we followed protocol again this time, went straight home and made an appt with our OB, and took it easy the rest of the week on home bed rest.

On Saturday afternoon, I was feeling a little concerned that I may be leaking amniotic fluid, so to be safe, we drove to the hospital to have things checked out. What they found was that I wasn’t leaking, but that my cervix had gone from measuring at 1.4cm on Monday (should be somewhere around 4.0cm at this gestational age) to an alarmingly low 0.4cm on Saturday. I had also dilated to 1cm and a nifty little test (called an FFN test) that can predict whether your body is preparing for delivery in the next 2 weeks or not came back positive. While the docs weren’t necessarily concerned I would go into labor in the next 24 hours, they thought it best I go ahead and stay overnight and see a Perinatologist (high risk pregnancy doctor) in the morning to discuss what plan of action to take next.

So, after an uneventful yet restless night’s sleep in the hospital, we woke up to prepare to meet some new doctors and discuss “the plan of action”. When I got up to use the restroom, I had that unmistakable gush of amniotic fluid. My water had broken, and I was only 28 weeks 5 days pregnant. This was, by far, one of the most frightening moments in my life. I called the nurse in and the doctor came back to do an exam to confirm that my water did, in fact, break.

We were so scared, and began preparing for the fact that we would be meeting our very tiny little baby way too early that day.  What I didn’t know was that you can actually stay pregnant with a broken amniotic sac for a while longer if your body doesn’t just kick right into labor on its own. So, we waited and prayed. Contractions started, but never fully picked up since I had begun taking meds to stop them prior to coming to the hospital. We began steroid treatment to help his lungs develop in the event that I did go into labor, and we began antibiotics to fight any infection that could come from having a broken amniotic sac.

Four days later, here we are!!! I’m still very pregnant, baby is doing wonderfully, he has plenty of fluids despite the breakage, contractions are controlled, and we are one more day closer to his due date! They say every day is a huge accomplishment, and for one more day I can keep him safely in my womb, that is 3 days less he will have to live in the NICU. We would be absolutely ecstatic to get to 32 weeks before he comes, but we can only take it one day at a time. I will remain in the hospital on complete bed rest (only slightly sitting up in bed to eat or use a bedpan) until this little guy comes, so despite how difficult and taxing that is on my body and on our family, hopefully I’m here for a really long time.

It’s excruciatingly hard to be away from my sweet little J, but I am just so thankful for the help and support from my amazing mom, our family and friends, and for the opportunity from God to keep this little baby safe in my womb for as long as possible. We appreciate your very powerful prayers and positive thoughts so much, we know we wouldn’t even be this far without answered prayers!

We’re just taking it one day at a time, and couldn’t be more blessed to have the chance to do so! Stay in there, baby boy! Mommy and Daddy want to meet you, but not quite yet!!!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3: 5-6

Homemade Mushroom Soup Recipe

1413482577324Fall is finally here!!! In the Dekker home, we like to kick the season off with a big pot of homemade mushroom soup! We make this tasty fall favorite often, because it’s fresh, delicious, and puts us right into a festive mood. Best of all, it only takes one stock pot, so you’re not stuck with a ton of dishes! We hope you enjoy this simple recipe as much as we do!

What You’ll Need:

1.5 Lbs of mushrooms, rinsed and sliced/diced
(We use 1/2 Crimini and 1/2 White mushrooms)
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 stick salted butter
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup white wine
(We usually get a decent Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc since you only need a little and someone’s gotta drink the rest, right?!)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
salt & pepper to taste

Begin by melting butter in a large stock pot. Add onions and garlic and simmer until onions are softened. Add mushrooms and white wine. Cover pot for 25-30 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft and have created a nice liquid. Add lemon juice, oregano, thyme and parsley. Use an immersion blender (or move mixture into a regular blender) until you have the consistency you like in a mushroom soup. We like to blend half the mixture to a smooth consistency and add it back into the chunkier half to add varied texture to our soup. Add heavy cream and salt & pepper to taste, stir well as it warms back up, and enjoy!1413479305724Happy Fall!

I’ll Always Wonder Who You Would’ve Been

I never planned to share this story. It was too private, too personal to put out there, but as I browse through social media today, my heart hurts. It aches for all the parents out there that have felt the pain unlike any other pain, the pain of losing a pregnancy, or even worse, of losing an infant. My heart is heavy for my friends and family that have experienced this kind of anguish, and it just takes me right back to one of the most painful times in my life, just this past January.

It had been one of the most exciting holiday seasons for us. We had this beautiful, joyous little toddler to take shopping, decorate cookies, and walk around and see Christmas lights with. We planned trips to the chilly mountains and back home for the holidays, and we had the most exciting news to share on Christmas morning with our families! We were going to have another baby! We had J unwrap his brand new “Big Brother” book in front of everyone as our way of announcing the big news! It was happy, joyous, and we felt so blessed to be adding another little blessing to our family of three!

When we first found out we were pregnant, we, of course, read the usual weekly updates on how big our baby was and what developments the baby was making. Week by week, or little poppy-seed got bigger and bigger, developing more and more, and much like when people nickname theirs “little peanut” or “gummy bear”, we lovingly called ours “Tailor” in honor of a cute little story from Brendan’s childhood (he named his first pet fish “Tailor” because, Duh, it had a tail!) and because at that stage, all embryos have a tiny, little tail.

Not long after, our much-anticipated first prenatal appointment turned into one of the saddest days in our lives. A few short seconds into our ultrasound, I could feel the mood shift in the room. I watched my doctor’s shoulders drop in deflation as he let out a deep sigh. I heard the words I was so afraid to hear. I still remember them exactly, cutting deep like a knife, “Well guys, I’m not liking what I’m seeing.”

I’ll never forget the look on my sweet husband’s face. As devastated as I was, I knew it was worse for him. I had been a little worried for a while that something wasn’t right, but not him. His support and confidence was unwavering. So, to see the pain in his eyes was unbearable, and so painful to speak of, but we got through it together. We always do.

Weeks later, after we had done our best to begin moving on, we got a phone call from our doctor. He told us that our results came back from the labs, and that our pregnancy was actually a rare abnormal pregnancy called a Partial Molar Pregnancy. Long story short, in a normal pregnancy the egg receives one set of chromosomes from the father, but in this case it receives two. This translates to an embryo forming, but also a molar growth forms and pretty much takes over the uterus, not allowing the baby to grow and survive. So, in addition to dealing with the loss of our baby, we were now in fear of the potential risk of this molar growth returning and requiring chemotherapy treatment. Me. CHEMO. All because we wanted another baby. The idea was almost unbearable.

The kicker was that we had to now wait at least 6-12 months before trying to have another. We had to make sure the growth didn’t come back, and a pregnancy would interfere with monitoring. So, we waited. We went every week to have my blood drawn to make sure it didn’t come back. We waited in fear, in disappointment, and were reminded week after week of the pain of our loss. We were very fortunate that everything quickly went back to “normal” and that there were no signs of the growth returning and after 6 months of healing (physically and emotionally) we were given the green light to try again.

So, today on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day, I’m sharing our story to honor our little “Tailor”. I wish I could hug every, single mom and dad out there that have experienced losing a pregnancy, and I can’t even begin to imagine the pain of losing an infant. I also shared our story to honor all the parents I know that have experiences this type of loss.

Shortly after our loss, I decided to get my first tattoo to honor the memory of our sweet, little “Tailor”. I got a cross on the inside of my wrist to honor my Source of strength and hope I relied on so heavily through this time. I couldn’t imagine going through something like this without the grace, healing and love of our God. It is also a simple reminder for me as a “T” for “Tailor”. It has brought me a lot of joy and healing to know that while we are able to move on, we will never forget.loss

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  -Romans 15:13

To the Mom in Target

image Today, I took a gamble. After the sleepless night we endured last night, it probably wasn’t the best idea. But, I desperately needed cat litter and K-Cups (yes, this was a necessity after being up with J for over 4 hours in the middle of the night last night) so I accepted the challenge and went to Target. With disheveled hair, no makeup, a questionable sticky substance on the front of my shirt, and a very sleepy, very grumpy toddler, I decided to brave it.

Luckily for me, J was an angel. With a few “weapons” of bribery on hand and several extra detours to push the elevator button for the millionth time, I was able to get the couple of things I needed PLUS a few extra indulgences! (this is TARGET we’re talking about, you can never leave with just the few things you came for) He was even pleasant to the other shoppers around him, offering bites of his banana and saying, “Hi!” to anyone who glanced his way. No one would ever have known that, for some unknown reason, he decided sleep was unnecessary the night before.

I couldn’t help but notice that another mom in the store was not so lucky. I’m pretty sure every  person in the two-story Target noticed that she was not so fortunate. Her daughter was NOT happy, and I can only imagine that her mama wasn’t either. But, this mama stood her ground, finished checking out, and left with what I can only assume was elevated blood pressure, feelings of embarrassment, and the few necessities she came for, despite the risk involved.

As I approached the check-out lane closest to the exit, in the event that everything broke bad, I overheard the woman ringing up the girl in front of me talking about the little girl and her mother. I heard them discussing that “if that were their child” blah blah blah. All I was hearing was judgement. So, when it was our turn to check out, the very first thing she said to us was, “Look at this little guy, being so good!” While this would normally be a moment of pride for me, I couldn’t bring myself to acknowledge the compliment with anything more than a polite smile. I hadn’t even begun unloading the items from my cart, to include the half-eaten banana and the empty apple juice box (remember the weapons of bribery I mentioned?) She had no idea how lucky I felt that I got through this trip without any major tantrums. She didn’t have a clue that it was a 50/50 shot from the start. She then immediately began talking to me about the mom before me with her daughter and how terrible she was acting. She began sharing with me that when her kids were that age, they would never get away with that because she wouldn’t have stood for it. She was somehow implying that she and I had obviously done something right that the other mom had not.

I only had one thing to say to her. All I could muster was, “I don’t like to judge other people’s children, because I’m not their parent.” While this didn’t come out exactly the way I wanted it to, I think she was able to understand my point. She understood that I wasn’t going to discuss the situation and kick that mom when she was already down. I wasn’t going to go on about how I would’ve handled it differently. I wasn’t going to join this woman on her high horse.

What I wish I could say to the mom in target: I’m sorry that your gamble didn’t pay off this time, that your little girl was so unhappy, and most of all I’m sorry that other people are so quick to judge. I wish I could have given her the knowing smile of “Yup, I’ve been there!” and tell her I’m sure her daughter is a delightful little girl. As if having a screaming child isn’t hard enough, I’m sorry that you also have to worry about the dirty looks, sideways glances, and the bored, self-righteous woman who apparently doesn’t remember what parenting a toddler is like. I hope you went home, had a big cup of coffee and that your little girl took an extra long nap for you.

If the next time I am in Target J decides to have a meltdown, I hope someone else will tell the check out lady to step off her pedestal, smile and show love and understanding to that mom that took a risk that day and lost.

Easy DIY Sandbox Tutorial

sb11sb10One of our favorite things about living in our new house is the tiny outdoor living space it provides. For the first time since we moved to California, we have our own little yard, so we really wanted to make the most of it for J. By far, one of his favorite things to do is play in the sand at the beach, so we decided we wanted to build him a little sandbox so he can build sandcastles right there in our backyard!

When we finally had a free weekend, we took just a few hours of it to build this super easy sandbox, so I’ll share with you exactly how we did it! We wanted ours to measure 32×52 to fit our sandbox in a pretty small space in our yard, so we measured accordingly. We also decided instead of staining the wood, we wanted a bright and playful pop of white paint to stand out in the wood chips that covers our yard as landscaping. Obviously, those are both personal preferences, so measure according to your own space and choose a stain or paint color that suits your own style!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

2 49″ 2×10 boards

2 32″ 2×10 boards

wood screws

electric screwgun

Large file (to sand down the corners of the wood)

weed block

staple gun

6 50lb bags of play sand

1 small can of Exterior Semi-Gloss Paint in Ultra Pure White

1-2 Paint brushes (depending if you have help)

After digging down and clearing the wood chips all the way to the bottom of the yard to make space for the frame, we then built the sandbox frame by screwing the four boards together, the shorter boards on the outside to add that extra couple inches on each side.sb1Then, we attached the weed block on one side of the boards with a staple gun, then flipped the box over so the weed block was closest to the ground.sb2sb3We then used the large file to sand down the corners of the box to remove any splinters that were caused by screwing the boards together. Then, we painted the frame on all sides, leaving the last inch or two since it will be set down into the ground and will be filled with sand on the inside.sb4sb5After the paint was dry, we dumped all 6 bags of play sand into the box. Then, we replaced all the wood chips around the outside of the box and re-leveled everything out.sb6sb13sb14Add a few sand toys and a two-year old, and there ya go… endless summertime fun in just a few simple steps!sb7J really loves it, he will spend hours playing in there!sb9sb8

 

 

 

 

Posted in DIY

SCD-approved Sandwich Bread

New recipe up on Specifically Sweet! Go over and check it out!

Specifically Sweet

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset I followed this amazing recipe from Against All Grain for this delicious sandwich bread! It’s been a long couple months since our family has had a savory and tasty bread in the house, so I had to share her perfect recipe with you all!

Grain-free Sandwich Bread (Paleo and SCD)

AUTHOR: Danielle Walker – AgainstAllGrain.com

SERVES: makes 1 8.5×4.5 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup smooth raw cashew butter at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, separated (mine weighed about 9 ounces in their shells)
  • ½ to 2 tablespoons honey (use 2tbl if you plan to use if for sweeter dishes like french toast)
  • 2.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. For a white colored loaf as in the photo, place a small dish of water on the bottom rack.
  2. Line the…

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Posted in DIY

A Very Curious 2nd Birthday!

We went bananas when it came to planning J’s 2nd birthday party! In honor of his very favorite little monkey, Curious George, the decision was an easy one when it came to a birthday theme this year! We had the party in our hometown in Arizona this year to make it easiest to have the majority of our family and friends there to celebrate with us. It was a very warm and sunny day, but we made the best of it! Thanks to the abundant help of our family, we were able to throw quite the party for J! Check out some of the details, captured by Snap Lovely Photography, of our swingin’ good time!

As the guests arrived, they were greeted with tables adorned with adorable quotes, a guest sign in book, and fun and flavorful favors for the little monkeys! Each family took home some party hats, goodies, and their own copy of Curious George and the Birthday Surprise!Jacks2ndBirthday (22)Jacks2ndBirthday (68)Jacks2ndBirthday (67)Jacks2ndBirthday (70)Jacks2ndBirthday (16)From festive lanterns to colorful hand-made paper kites and felt polka dot garlands, this party had plenty of color and decor! Jacks2ndBirthday (6)Jacks2ndBirthday (66)Jacks2ndBirthday (57)Jacks2ndBirthday (15)Jacks2ndBirthday (65)Jacks2ndBirthday (78)Jacks2ndBirthday (28)For such a warm day, we chose to serve fresh homemade salads, salsa and hoagie sandwiches to our guests accompanied by a refreshing iced tea and lemonade stand!Jacks2ndBirthday (11)Jacks2ndBirthday (76)Jacks2ndBirthday (85)Jacks2ndBirthday (82)Jacks2ndBirthday (74)Jacks2ndBirthday (7)Jacks2ndBirthday (119) Jacks2ndBirthday (13)Jacks2ndBirthday (100)Jacks2ndBirthday (110)We had a jumping castle to entertain the little monkeys…. AND the bigger monkeys seemed to enjoy it, as well!Jacks2ndBirthday (128)Jacks2ndBirthday (129)Processed with VSCOcamJacks2ndBirthday (133)Jacks2ndBirthday (212)Jacks2ndBirthday (138)Jacks2ndBirthday (96)Jacks2ndBirthday (80)Let’s not forget about the goodie table! There were plenty of treats to go around! Between the homemade mini cupcakes topped with banana runts and the build-your-own-banana split bar, we had everyone swinging from the trees!Jacks2ndBirthday (126)Jacks2ndBirthday (31)Jacks2ndBirthday (33)Jacks2ndBirthday (48)Jacks2ndBirthday (40)Jacks2ndBirthday (39)Jacks2ndBirthday (5)Jacks2ndBirthday (29)Jacks2ndBirthday (43)Jacks2ndBirthday (4)Jacks2ndBirthday (136)Jacks2ndBirthday (197)Singing “Happy birthday” was J’s favorite part, he couldn’t get enough of it!Jacks2ndBirthday (161)Jacks2ndBirthday (158)Jacks2ndBirthday (179)Jacks2ndBirthday (168)Jacks2ndBirthday (172)Jacks2ndBirthday (178)We can’t thank our family and friends enough for making J’s birthday so special. Once again, our family did more than we could ask for to help us get ready for the party, we definitely couldn’t have done it without you!

Thanks again to Snap Lovely Photography for capturing such a beautiful and fun day, our family is so lucky to have you! It was so amazing to get to spend time with the people we don’t see often enough, and it is just so wonderful to know how loved J is.

Happy 2nd birthday, little monkey! Your mommy and daddy love you SO much!Jacks2ndBirthday (202)

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” – Philippians 4:4