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!

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Posted in DIY

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

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

 

 

I Love You, Sweet Baby

Hearing this song today brought many tears to my eyes. While dancing, shaking tambourines, playing drums and swaying side to side with baby J in his room, I was so simply reminded of the many days we’ve spent following this very same “to-do list” with our sweet baby and what a joy it has been!  Life has been so good with baby J, and I was so tickled to hear it all play out in a fun, little quirky song!

I Love You Sweet Baby by Kimya Dawson

The first thing in our list of things to do
Is to wake up right next to you
Second thing that we have planned
Is to kiss both of your hands

Third thing that we’ll do today
Is look you in the eye and say
I love you sweet baby, I love you sweet baby
I love you more than anything

Then we’re gonna change you
Then we’re gonna feed you
Then we’re both play peek-a-boo
Then we’re gonna read to you

Then you have more milk and have some water
And we’ll smile at you and tell you we’re so glad that you’re our daughter
Then you’ll fall asleep on daddy’s lap
We’ll watch MacGyver while you take a nap

When you wake up we have more plans
Say good morning baby and kiss your hands
Then you’re gonna make a pee
In your little green potty

Then we’re gonna eat our lunch
Mash apricots for you to munch
Then you’re gonna nurse again
Then we’re gonna call our friends

Then we’ll dump out all your toys
Singin’, dancing, make some noise
Then we’re gonna take a walk
Down the street to the park

We’ll play on the see-saw, play on the slide
You’ll get tired and rub your eyes
Then we’ll go home for more nursing and sleeping
Bouncing and nursing and waking and peeing
Crawling and bouncing and dancing and hitting
Nursing and peeing and kisses and seeing

You’re an amazing human being
You’re an amazing human being
You’re an amazing human being
You’re an amazing human being

Then we’ll all cuddle in our bed
You’ll nurse to sleep, we’ll kiss your head
Good night sweet baby, I love you sweet baby
I love you more than anything
Good night sweet baby, I love you sweet baby
I love you more than anything

The first thing in our list of things to do
Is to wake up right next to you
Second thing that we have planned
Is to kiss both of your hands

Third thing that we’ll do today
Is look you in the eye and say
I love you sweet baby, I love you sweet baby
I love you more than anything

I love you sweet baby, I love you sweet baby
I love you more than anything
I love you sweet baby, I love you sweet baby
I love you more than anything

 

To the Love of my Life

It’s hard to find the words to describe you as a father. As I’m sitting here, sorting through the beautiful moments captured between the two of you, I can’t help but swell with pride and tears of pure happiness. Thanks to you, our son will grow up to be a good man. He’ll be raised to be respectful, insightful, kind, generous, loving and nurturing. He’ll open doors like a gentleman, lend a helping hand when he’s needed, he’ll cherish his family and hold sentiment to the memories made, and he’ll love the Lord with all his heart.

I am so proud of the memories we’ve made as a family so far, and I look forward to continuing to watch you be the amazing dad you are. Thank you for fulfilling my every hope and dream as a husband and a father. You make it look so easy and natural to lead our family. You work so incredibly hard to provide us with the life we live, and you amaze me with how you somehow find the time and energy to make every moment count when you are home with us. Baby J and I are so lucky to have you, I hope you know how much we love you today and every other day as well. Happy Father’s Day, sweetheart. Thank you for being you.041112062160175172072045007029015023013039014162119IMG_0924087

“The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.” – Proverbs 23:24

 

 

 

Posted in DIY

Exciting News!

contributorRecently, I was offered a really fun and exciting opportunity to contribute to the most adorable blog, 4men1lady.com. Michelle is so creative and inspiring, and I feel so honored to work with her! She is so accomplished and talented, I feel so humbled and excited to learn so much from her! Her introduction of me on her blog featured the party I had for J’s first birthday. I will be contributing a few little projects of my own in the coming months, so keep an eye out!

Click HERE to see what she had to say about J’s party!

“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” – Psalm 105:4

Posted in DIY

The Days Of Dawn

When I first began blogging, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to write about. I knew I wanted to share my heart and my life with friends and family, and I knew it would mostly be about my sweet little J that came into our lives and rocked our world. What I didn’t realize was that there are actually more layers to me than being a mom and a wife! While those are by far the most important roles I play in life, I have found some hidden passions and new adventures within myself that I never expected to find! I find so much joy in things like delicious foods and fun little projects, that I decided that the name of my blog didn’t exactly fit anymore. Not only have I found things to talk about besides my sweet baby boy, I’ve also realized that, although bittersweet, my sweet baby boy might not be such a “baby” anymore. He is growing more and more every day as a person, and I guess what I’m realizing is, is that so am I!

My new name is The Days of Dawn. I’m so excited for new things that are coming my way, thank you for following me through this fun little adventure in finding myself and all the beautiful things life has to offer!

xoxo,

Kimberly Dawn Dekker

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