Eat Your Heart Out, Storebought Fruit Snacks!

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I posted a photo on Instagram and Facebook earlier today of my fruit snack making in progress and got lots of interest for the recipe. I am using an awesome recipe from Thank Your Body but just had a couple things to add so I thought I’d make a quick post. (really, just another excuse to post pictures of my adorable children :blush:)

Healthy Homemade Fruit Snacks Recipe:

  • 2/3 cup of lemon or orange juice (I did both)
  • 2/3 cup of fruit (I used a bag of frozen organic mixed berries but am excited to use my local produce from Urban Acres once berries come in to season)
  • 2 tbsp raw, local honey (we love Round Rock Honey)
  • 5 tbsp of grass-fed gelatin
  • Optional: 1 drop of food grade lemon oil (don’t have any? whaddya know, I happen to sell fabulous oils here)
  • Also Optional: 1 tsp homemade whey (liquid protein made from separated raw milk. The live cultures in whey eat some of the sugars and produce lactic acid which makes it more tart and serves as a natural preservative.)

First, Jack helped me juice the lemons and oranges until we had about 2/3 of a cup.

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Next, put your freshly squeezed juice in a pot with the fruit on low-medium heat. Stir occasionally for a few minutes until the fruit softens.

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Add in the honey and food grade lemon oil (if you want that extra tanginess (which Jon was wanting) “Wait,” you say, “weren’t these for the kids?” Yeah, I know. Daddy’s like fruit snacks too apparently. ;-))

Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender or pour into a blender.

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Once cooled to room temperature, pour your mixture through a strainer so that there are no seeds staying in there to turn your snacks into crunchy snacks (learned that the hard way).

ImageAdd in your tsp of whey (ours is from raw milk) to help naturally preserve the fruit snacks for longer. Without it, the snacks would only last 2-3 days out on the counter or for about a week or two in the fridge. I haven’t tried freezing but I’m sure they’d freeze well. Anyway, start stirring in your gelatin one tbsp at a time while you whisk so as to avoid lumps. Gelatin gets a bad rap sometimes but traditionally made gelatin is a mineral-rich food that is easy to digest and helps strengthen hair and nails! Pour your mixture into a glass pyrex and shake a little so that it all settles. Set it into your fridge for about 30min-an hour. Once it has firmed up, pull it out and cut into pieces or use cookie cutters for some fun, delicious (and healthy) fruit snacks!

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Enjoy!

Multitude Mondays #3

Multitude Mondays are basically posts (on Mondays of course) that lists the things I am thankful for.

 

17. Milk. RAW milk. We’ve been getting raw milk from a local farmer for almost 3 years now and we love it. We’ve visited the farm several times and love our little Mennonite family. We also get delicious cream, Kefir and eggs from them and it’s such a blessing to have a great local source for this nutritious nectar of life. It’s seriously like freakin’ melted ice cream.

18. A feverish baby. You read that right. Although I would never want my little ones to have a dangerously high fever, I don’t mind the low-middle ones when they come along. It tells me that their bodies are building up their immune systems just as intended. In the most recent case, Liv was feverish for a few days but we’re pretty positive it was teething (even though there were no other symptoms) as she now has two bottom teeth that have popped through.

 

19. Homemade Mac & Cheese – I’m still working on getting the right cheese ratio but something about knowing all the real food (and almost all local) ingredients that are in it makes it taste even better. Recipe from GNOWFGLINS

20. That God is the God of Past, Present and Future – I stress easily. I hate it…and then I stress about stressing. (I’m working on it) But the Lord is so sweet to remind me that He has tomorrow covered. All the things on my to-do list are finite but He is the Alpha Omega.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. -Ps: 27:14

It is a challenge every day, every moment to just let go and trust Him. The things I want to do are good things – be a better homemaker, maintaining a small sewing business, etc. – but if they are pursued on my own, then it’s all in vain. I pray I can remember this more often. Last year when I was first pregnant with Liv, I was beside myself with fear of the birth. Right after we found out, we attended church and the sermon was about how God is already ahead of you. He was already by my side at the birth and it gave me such peace through the rest of the pregnancy and He was, without a doubt, at her birth. It’s laughable how quickly I forget His promises but I am so thankful for His continuing grace.

 

Until next time,

B

Liv’s Birth Story

Disclaimer: I do not go into any gory details or anything but please remember this is a birth story so there are delivery/birth terms used.
I have been meaning to sit down and write this for a while but I’ve been…well…a little busy. ;-)  Now, with Jack’s birth, we used Hypnobabies and had planned to use it again this time. I had been listening to my tracks for a couple months now and then, by the grace of God, heard about this book called Supernatural Childbirth. I checked it out from the library and read it in almost one night then Jon followed suit the next night. It was so good. We were missing the spiritual side to Hypnobabies and this really helped us to see the scriptural support for trusting my body to birth this baby by trusting God in how he created women to birth. Also, how to let go of the fear of the pain and really relax through labor. I know you’re thinking ‘yeah right…no pain in childbirth’ (believe me, I thought it myself several times) but it’s true. And I can’t wait to share with you how it all happened.
    My due date was October 20th and it being my second child, Jon and I thought there’d be a good chance that Liv would be early…or at least earlier than Jack (who was 41w1d). Surely, she would, right? Well, we were wrong…so very, very wrong. Oct 20th came and went and so did the rest of October. Every now and then (maybe once a week), I would have some contractions that would start up while I was laying down but once I got up and walked around, they would fizzle out. 41 weeks passed, and Jon’s parents were on their way into town. When we planned their trip, we planned for the end of October assuming she’d be here but there I was mega pregnant picking them up at the airport. It was so great having them in to help with Jack and to help keep our mind off the feeling of being a watched pot. Sarah, my sweet patient midwife, was always so encouraging when I’d text or call reporting that I was apparently going to be pregnant forever.
     Now, I have to take a minute to brag about my amazing midwife, Sarah Jones. She’s seriously amazing. We interviewed a few very nice and capable midwives when preparing for Liv’s birth but the Lord clearly led Sarah and ours paths to cross and we’re so thankful He did. She listened to and respected our desires for this birth while still giving the guidance and medical advice that we needed. She sought the Lord every day for His wisdom and grace to shine over us and this pregnancy and it showed so much through her care. She really helped this birth to be a birth we experienced whole-heartedly instead of just the birth happening to us (if that makes sense). We are so thankful for her, Gina (her birth assistant) and our amazing doula Maria. :)
     Ok, back to birth story. We did a Bio Physical Profile sonogram that Thur when I was at 42 weeks and Liv was still doing great (an 8 out of 8), placenta was still strong and fluid levels were high. We decided to keep waiting on the Lord as patiently as we could and continue trying natural induction methods. That Friday night, it felt like maybe my water was leaking but I wasn’t sure so I just went to bed to get as much sleep as I could. At 3 am, I woke to a contraction and went to the restroom. There wasn’t another one that followed but I did leak a little more. I went back to bed but was awakened again at 4 by an even stronger contraction. This one really got my attention and then there was another 10 minutes later. I woke Jon up saying that “this could be it.” I went to the bathroom again and texted Maria, my doula, as well as Sarah then another contraction came. Just a few minutes later, I called Maria to see if she thought we should have Sarah come out and the contractions were now 3 minutes apart (quite a jump from 10!). Maria listened to me during one and said, “Yeah, call Sarah.” We called Sarah but Jon said he wanted to keep timing them but to go ahead and get ready to come. By this time, my in-laws had gotten up (they had been sleeping on our couch). They started to get dressed and ready to take Jack to my dad’s house since we were planning a home birth. Well, they never got a chance to even leave as things progressed so quickly.
     Jon filled the birth tub in the corner of our room while I focused on the Scripture cards I’d made.My mother-in-law would pray aloud with me and help me focus. I got in the tub around 4:50 am and just focused on relaxing and releasing my body during each contraction. My first labor had been very difficult for me mentally as I fought my body a lot of the time. I wanted to really surrender this time to God and fully trust that He was in control. There were a couple times that I’d start to panic in my mind dreading the pain and intensity of everything – especially when it came to pushing. But I’d just fight the thought with Scriptures and tell myself, “No, I will not be fearful. Lord, you have appointed this time as the time Liv is coming so I will relax and allow it to happen.” Immediately His peace would wash over me and I felt encouraged once again. I kid you not…my contractions would be intense but never ‘get me out of my body’ painful. We had scripture signs everywhere and Jon propped up one of them on our bed so I could focus on it during my contractions. It was wonderful. Sarah showed up around 5 am and Maria soon after. I was most comfortable on my side but then eventually sat upright with my legs folded to either side. I think I got checked at one point. I remember saying how I hoped she’d come soon and Sarah said, “Oh you’ll have her before sunrise!” Whoa! I was definitely in transition but it was nothing like my first birth…so much more calm and manageable. Every contraction was powerful but I would just ask everyone to pray out loud as they came on…then I would repeat something that one of the others would say that really spoke to me…like “Prince of Peace” or “redeemed” or “surrender”. Linda, my mother-in-law, would bring in hot water from the stove top to warm my bath. It felt so good during my contractions.
     After God of course, Jon was my anchor. I would stare into his calming eyes and just pray out loud. During one contraction, I remember thanking God the whole time just for my husband’s wonderful eyes. Haha. Other times, just thanking him that we were all asleep just an hour and a half ago and now we’re all here safely. After an hour or so (felt like 15 minutes), Sarah checked me again and said I was very close (an 8 I think). I was ready to push and everyone encouraged me to. I held on to Jon’s hand, leaned back in the water and just pushed and breathed. Sarah would have me look in her eyes and breath deeply…making horse lips helped A LOT. I would try to hold off as much as I could and then said, “ok, gotta push more!” Jon was bracing himself for a long time of pushing but then heard Sarah say, “OK, Jon, there’s the head.” After just 3 minutes of pushing, our baby girl was here!
      Jon pulled her out and laid her on me and I was just so relieved and thankful. It was the most beautiful birth I could’ve ever hoped for and all thanks goes to God and my amazing birth team…Sarah, Gina, and Maria (and my wonderful husband). There was such peace in the room and the Holy Spirit was definitely there. We had done it – a beautiful, quick, pain-free, supernatural childbirth…all glory be to God! She was here…finally here.
      Liv Catherine was born at 6:23 AM, a healthy 7 lbs 14 oz and 20″ long.
     We got my mom on the phone as things went so quickly that we didn’t get a chance to call her earlier…then called my dad and Jackie soon after. Everyone helped me out of the tub to deliver the placenta on the bed…Jon cut the cord and Liv started nursing good. And, believe it or not, Jack was still asleep! He woke up a couple hours later to quite the surprise – a new sister! He was a little unsure but, since then, has embraced her and is a very sweet big brother. Liv’s growing good and has doubled in weight in just 6 weeks. We did have quite a scare with a urinary infection this past week but she’s already back to her smiling self. What a joy she is to us…we are so blessed and thank you all for your prayers and love.

"I'm not so sure about this!" -Jack

Our amazing midwife, Sarah

Photography by Images by Rebekah

Photography by Images by Rebekah

J + B + j + l

Special Days

Dear Jack (Buddy, Buster, Booty (yes, we call you booty…so sue us)),

I sit here on the eve of your little sister’s due date reflecting on our short, but wonderful, 15 months together as just you, me and daddy. I can’t believe your sister is almost here and that our family dynamics will change once again. It is a bittersweet feeling for your mama. Your daddy welcomes change much more readily than I do. And don’t get me wrong. I am very excited to meet your sister…I just tend to “grieve” in a way the previous chapter before embracing the next. :) As a way of doing that, and since you probably won’t remember, I wanted to recount one of our typical days for you (& for us). It’s a collection of photos from different days but sums up what we do.

First, you wake up around 7:30 or so and talk to yourself a little until daddy comes in to get you. Your daddy is very sweet to mama and lets me sleep in a little extra in the morning, especially as Liv starts taking more and more of my energy. You play in the kitchen while daddy gets your bottle ready and he makes his own “bottle” – his morning latte. Then, you lay on your pillow next to daddy and welcome the morning. (I had to sneak out of bed one morning so I could make sure there were pictures of this special time of just you and him) :)

Then, mommy gets up and makes breakfast while daddy gets ready for his work day. You either find something to play with (like the books in the sewing room or hiding in the kitchen) or occasionally fuss to be held so you can see the cooking that’s going on. (We prefer the first option ;-))

Once breakfast is ready, we all sit at the table and give you pieces of our bacon and toast and yogurt. Bacon is your favorite of course since you are a Taylor. It’s actually the 5th word you learned to say and you shocked us when you first said it. We were the proudest parents ever (still are).

After breakfast, we wish daddy a great day at work and wave bye-bye to him from the screen door (pant less of course).

Now, it’s play time. We usually start in the living room with your ball or soft blocks. You also love looking out the side windows at the birds that sit on our neighbor’s house oohing and ahhing. Yesterday, tupperware was your play thing of choice including wearing it as a hat. :)

Eventually, we move into the other rooms so I can do the dishes from breakfast and a few other things around the house. If I don’t keep my eye on you, though, you’ll find plenty to get into such as your little sister’s diapers. :sigh:

By the time we clean everything up, it’s nap-time. We get a bottle ready, make sure we have owlie, and you lay down for a nice siesta. While you sleep, mommy fixes her lunch, gets a few things done and, if she’s lucky, even rests some before you wake up and are ready to go again. Lately, you’ve been waking up kind of grumpy and want to be held for a little bit but you’re rarely a cuddler so I secretly love this time with you. Once you’re back to your normal, happy self we get to playing again. You love to play with your ‘house’ opening and closing the door, raising the window up and down, and dancing to the songs it sings. You also love to look at all your board books in your room…especially your lift-the-flap Bible and touch-and-feel alphabet book.

You’re also starting to get the shape sorting games and love playing with those and your wooden toys too. One of your favorite things though is making mommy look as silly as possible.

Sometimes we run errands (either in the morning or after your nap) to exciting places like Target or even the park or other days we just stay in, especially lately so that mommy can rest as much as possible before Liv arrives. Yesterday, we popped in a movie that was new to you but one of mommy’s favorites. 101 Dalmations. You loved it! I’ve never seen you sit and watch something as long as you did….not that that is the best thing in the world (staring at the tv) but with a tired momma, it was much-appreciated. Plus, you cuddled with me and Liv almost the whole time. Bonus.

That is, until Christine brought over Liv’s lamb seat that we’re borrowing…then, you abandoned me for the new comfy chair…but I don’t blame ya. It does look pretty comfy.

After tv/movie/mommy rest time, we try to go on a walk now that the weather is nicer. You love to wave as you ride in your stroller and point to all the neat things you see like kitty cats.

Or sometimes we play on the porch or run around outside eating picking up rocks and sticks.

After that, we come inside so mommy can start dinner and, soon after, daddy has come home. As soon as you hear the alarm chime of the screen door, your face lights up and you run to the back door. Daddy sweeps you up as soon as he can and it’s swing-Jack-upside-down-and-all-around time or some other crazy wrestling moves.

Once dinner is ready, we sit down to the table again and enjoy a nice meal together and laugh at your crazy meal antics. When you first got your straw sippy cup, you’d drink and spit out your water right away but you’re starting to get the hang of it lately.

Once dinner is done, it’s night night time for you. We get you all changed, look at a book or two then have prayer time with your prayer lamb. Then, while turning off the lights, we sing You Are My Sunshine and turn on Turtle who shines the stars on to the ceiling. You love to touch turtle and even said Turtle for the first time the other day (your 7th word).

Such a big, growing boy we have. For the most part, you fall asleep after finishing your bottle but sometimes you want to see Turtle again and cry for another visit from one of us. By 8 or so, you’re asleep and we get some mommy and daddy time. We always come in to see you though before we go to bed and, every now and then, you wake up at that time and give us some wonderful cuddly hugs.

Well, that’s a day in the life of you, our sweet Jack, at 15 months old. :) You’re a busy boy who loves to run and play, push things around, play with mommy and daddy and grow, grow, grow. We love you so much and will never forget this small, but meaningful, chapter in our life as a family of just us three. Come on, Liv, it’s time for you to join in on the fun! ;-)

Love,

Your mommy and daddy

Baby Moon version 2.0

This pregnancy has definitely flown by faster than the first…prob due to the energy-bunny known as Jack. :) With all the busyness of raising our rambunctious, sweet boy and Jon’s work, we were really hoping we’d get a chance to do another baby moon or at least a one night getaway before Liv joins us…but just weren’t sure it’d happen. My mom very sweetly (and eagerly) agreed to take Jack for us. Now, could I actually let him go? Well, it was very, VERY, VERY hard but I did it…we did it. I only cried 3 times total (that’s not bad, right? esp with being pregnant ;-)) and Jon may or may not have got a little verclempt too. But we survived and reunion was sweet. :) Thank you again to my mom for taking Jack but I know she enjoyed every bit of it.

Here’s some pictures from our time. We stayed at the lovely Wildwood Inn in Denton as we didn’t want to go too far from home with me being 36 weeks. It was the perfect distance and place to stay to feel like we got away without having to do a ton of travel.

After checking in to our beautiful room (and ogling over the jacuzzi tub), we headed out to Sanger so Jon could experience The Tomato – my favorite pizza place in college. Sadly, they burned down in 2007 but have now reopened so after the many trips to Round Table (Jon’s CA fave), I was excited for Jon to see my pizza place. He really enjoyed it and we met and talked with some nice locals as well. Afterwards, I took Jon on the Bre’s-life-in-college tour and we drove by the Fry house and then got ice cream at Beth Marie’s on the square. With the twinkle lights up in the trees and a beautiful cool breeze in the air, it was the perfect way to start to unwind for our 2-night stay.

By around 10, though, I realized it’s the time we normally go in and check on Jack and as a result, burst into tears crying, “It’s time to go see buddy and we can’t!!!!! Who’s idea was this anyway?!?!?! Wahhhhhhh!” But after Jon gently reminded me that it was (oh yeah) my idea…I finally calmed down and we got a good night’s sleep.

In the morning, we tried out a local spot for breakfast (the B&B had a continental breakfast but not filling enough for this preggo) and then went to the Shops at Highland Village to walk around until our movie started. We ended up sitting in the Barnes & Noble for an hour and a half reading magazines (him woodworking, me sewing) which sounds so lame but was heavenly. (It’s the little things) It was so nice outside that we decided to skip the movie and just keep walking around the shops. We found and bought a new puzzle for Jack and kept seeing what seems like a million little boys every where we went. Our code saying was ‘uh oh, don’t look’ which of course made the other look and see whichever cute little boy was in our midst to remind us of our sweet little one. Plus, my mom would send us picture updates and had, at that moment, told us he had found a picture of us on one of her shelves and was carrying it around with him. Cue crying session #3,402. haha But I pulled it together and we grabbed some lunch and visited with old friends at The Village Church offices.

Our view at breakfast

Walking by a store called Jack's Outfitters...he was everywhere!

One of the picture updates we got from Gemma...sweet boy

We then headed back to our B&B to enjoy the beautiful pool and spa. There was hardly anyone else staying there so no one was around. The pool water was too cold though and the hot tub wasn’t on but they got it going so we were able to get in for a little bit before it got too hot which was nice for me and my preggo belly.

36 week Liv and daddy

After drying off and resting a bit, we headed out for dinner at Giuseppe’s then coffee and dessert at another local stop. Overall, a wonderful and relaxing day but we were eager to see our Bud in the morning! :) We woke up rested but still enjoyed a leisurely morning with Jon watching tv while I took my last of practically 15 baths in the tub (really only 3). We grabbed lunch at The Greenhouse then met mom to get Jack. He was banging on the glass of the Starbucks wall (lovely I know) staring out and it took him a second to realize it was us walking up but when he did he had the biggest grin. :) Now, we’re back home and resting and ready to kick it all back into gear tomorrow. Liv will be here before we know it but we are so thankful for this time to hit pause and just rest. Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Love,

J + B + j

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