Our first winter back in New England has been COLD! We’ve spent a great deal of time inside, and no one has taken it harder than my three year old. Every morning she wakes up and asks if we can go to the beach. When I explain it’s too cold for the beach, she asks if we can go to the playground, and I have to explain the playground is covered in snow. Then she asks if we can make cupcakes. And the answer is no.
So today, she was taking a much needed nap and I decided to make her cupcakes as a special surprise. I pulled out these new silicone liners from LetGoShop which I had gotten for Christmas. I love the idea of them because I can’t keep the paper liners in stock! We simply go through them so quickly! So, I figuredfood grade silicone was a great alternative and eco-friendly.*
I made some cake batter and filled up the cups. I baked them on a baking tray, and peeked in at about 20 minutes.
Clearly, I used too much batter. I felt so discouraged, I was trying to go the extra mile as a mom and the cupcake batter just wasn’t working with me!!
Nevertheless, my daughter came down from her nap and was so excited that I made cupcakes. She didn’t care that they looked like they had been dropped a few times. Instead, she wanted a pink star cupcake and all of my children devoured them.
So much of motherhood seems to be looking for the silver lining and embracing the small victories. It’ s so easy to become wrapped up in the mess of dishes and the misbehaving toddlers. But, if I let that be my focus, I’ll miss the smiles, and the laughs, and sorting through rock collections while my baby climbs on me link a jungle gym.
I have to remind myself that amongst the clutter and the Pinterest fails are the victories which make childhood beautiful, and that's what children focus on the most...
Now, I have to quickly excuse myself to see why there’s so much yelling in the bathroom upstairs- Have a good week!
Re:Birth is almost one year old. We've heard and shared wonderful testimonies and I'm so thankful to be on this journey.
I have to say, I'm most thankful for what's going on in Malawi right now. Our friends Edward and Edna have been distributing brochures and sharing about Re:Birth with expecting women.
Birth is much different in Malawi than America. For starters, they have one of the highest maternal mortality rates. My heart has been to do more than just send books and brochures, but not fully understanding birth practices have made it difficult to put an action plan together.
Then, I realized I'm not the only one who doesn't understand birth in Malawi. Most of the western world is probably clueless to the struggles women face. So, I've asked our friends to start interviewing and documenting birth in Malawi from the perspective of women and birth professionals.
The results will be compiled in a book to help raise awareness and support. So far, the results have been stunning.
Please consider sharing about this project and purchasing the final book. 100% or the proceeds will go back to Malawi.
Dear New Mom,
Breathe in and breathe out. Don't worry about trying to make life perfect, that's an impossible job better left in the Hands of a Perfect God.
Instead, cherish the small moments, the snuggles and the smells of your soft newborn baby. Those small moments turn to big memories you will forever carry as a your first badge of motherhood.
Honor your body too. It's easy to critique your figure and the changes that may have taken place during pregnancy, but your body just participated in the miracle of life. Day by day, it will keep changing and returning to the way you remembered it. Don't forget, it took 9 months for those changes to take place and it'll take time and healthy practices to feel normal again.
When 3 am rolls around and your still holding a baby, longing for sleep. Let God wrap his arms around you and cherish you just the way you're loving your baby. God loves us through our lows and highs with a love that's multiplied beyond our human understanding. He's with you when your patience is gone, he's with you when your joy explodes, and he's always willing to provide the perfect amount of comfort and advice to his children as we care for our own.
The most important piece of advice I can give you is if you're ever feeling lost, lonely or unloved. Sit down in a quiet spot and don't get up until you feel God's presence. Sometimes it takes a simple prayer, asking God to let you feel his love, sometimes it takes surrendering your worries or fear, but it's a request that never comes back void and might carry you through the longest shortest years.
If you're planning to breastfeed or currently nursing, I'm sure you’ve checked out the various nursing pillows in the market. Most pillows are a life saver, or at least a back saver, once you find the right one. I've owned four different types, three of which I would recommend to a friend.
First off, we'll start with the bad. I grabbed a no name nursing pillow at a consignment sale. It came in the same half-circle shape as other nursing pillows, but was pure fluff with no support. I threw it in the back of my car for infrequent car nursing sessions, and eventually dropped it off at goodwill. Don't waste your time and money on no names pillows, because they leave you with no support!
The Boppy nursing pillow, My Breast Friend, and Ergo nursing pillow are far more worth your time and money.
Which nursing pillows have you used? How would you rate it?
December 14th is always my least favorite day of the year. Five years ago, our little town was shaken by horrible darkness. Today, God's light shines brighter than ever. To read my reflections on the Sandy Hook Shooting, head over to http://www.alexandrakulick.com/blog/good-keeps-going-a-lesson-from-sandy-hook and join us in prayer for the families and friends of those who were lost.
This post is sponsored by leading dentitst Karl Jobst, Grove, OK.
Oral health is incredibly important during pregnancy, but it can easily slip through the cracks amidst all the changes mothers experience. I chronically forget to floss when I’m not pregnant and pregnancy has only exacerbated my condition... But, I’ve managed to stay cavity free with some of my favorite natural oral health practices.
For starters, oil pulling is my go-to way to whiten my teeth without harsh chemicals. After pulling (swishing coconut oil around for 20 minutes) my teeth feel noticeably cleaner and a week and a half into my daily pulling journey, I noticed whiter and more sparkly smile! I’ll admit it’s quite a challenge to spend 20 minutes without talking, especially with the never ending train of “mommy…” questions, but I’ve found it helpful to pull in the shower. This maximizes time and cleanliness!
I also ditched conventional toothpaste nearly three years ago and started to make my own! I have been using Wellness Mama’s recipe and have had great success. When I first jumped in, purchasing the ingredients with strange names felt pricey, but I’m still stocked up able to make plenty more paste. When you compare the cost of buying “natural” toothpaste for years, you’ll feel the difference in your wallet!
The main ingredients* are:
You can read the full recipehere.
I store the toothpaste in these nifty tubes*, but I've found that the paste does harden a bit after a few days, so a glass jar with a lid is just as suitable!
The most unusual part about this natural paste is that you CAN’T spit it in the sink! The combo of bentonite clay and coconut oil can make a mess of your plumbing, so you’ll want to spit this straight in the trash and save yourself a headache!
My third and final natural tip is to make a bentonite clay rinse, which I use instead of Listerine. According to Dr. Axe, Bentonite clay can be used as a powerful mouth wash because, “bentonite clay binds to unhealthy substances in the mouth…around the teeth and on the tongue and gums, and helps to remove them before you swallow them and become sick.” Bentonite clay also has antibacterial properties which make it effective in natural toothpastes and mouthwashes alike!
The funny thing about working with bentonite clay, whether in toothpaste or mouth wash, is that you can’t use metal to stir, scoop it. Bentonite clay is made of negatively charged molecules which binds together with toxins that have are positively charge. This enables bentonite clay to effectively remove toxins in the body and mouth and is even used to aide in the clean up toxic chemical spills-but if your toothpaste or mouth wash comes in contact with metal before reaching your mouth, it looses it’s effectiveness! So I utilize my kids plastic spoons to mix up the toothpaste and mouth wash!
Whether you’re into natural or conventional dentistry, regular check-ups are important in early detection and keeping those pearly whites white! Be sure to find a dentist like Karl Jobst, who knows the importance of a winning smile. You can even receive a complimentary consultation, x-ray, and exam worth $100! Learn more about Karl Jobst and his practice, Grand Lake Dental, and keep showing off your beautiful smile!
Have a great week!
Additionally, 2018 will welcome in the Re:Birth Baby Shower Initiative. We want to bless and encourage moms who find themselves in unexpected pregnancies and help them meet their tangible needs through hosting baby showers at pregnancy resource centers. Our team of moms are excited to bless and encourage moms-to-be, and YOU can join in the fun!
There are four awesome ways to help:
You can PRAY for the hearts of our moms and moms-to-be. We have a growing list of mamas asking for prayer so you canjoin in to receive our prayer list!
You can also purchase a copy of Re:Birth to aide in the distribution of it.
Email us if you’d like to get involved in the Baby Shower Initiative
Or simply give a gift to either cause!
I hope your Thanksgiving was spectacular- we're SO thankful for all of you!!
Have a wonderful week!
The holidays are upon us- yay!
For most, that means time to celebrate, faith, family, fun, and food. But as the morning after Thanksgiving rolled around, I woke up feeling awfully achy. I may have enjoyed a bit more sugar than I should have last night. And, I may have woken up and eaten lemon raspberry bread for breakfast. My body wasn’t super thrilled with some of those food choices, so I reached for my go-to bone broth collagen.
I’ve shared about this amazing collagen before and it's benefits for my skin. It is also wonderful for reducing inflammation (the cause of my achy joints) and it gives this tired mom a serious energy boost. I dumped a scoop in my coffee and another scoop in my lunchtime smoothie, and I’m starting to feel better about my ability to make good food choices once more! Now, if only it inspired my kids to try those green beans...
You can learn a ton more here.
Dr Axe has a ton of great info AND a money back guarantee!
Now, I'm going to put those leftover cookies in the freezer, out of site, out of mind!
Enjoy your week!
When we lived in Virginia, we had terrible soil in our yard. We purchased bags, and bags of organic soil to fill our garden beds and that became expensive. Plus, your using your hard earned money on dirt??
I decided composting was a much better solution. It was incredibly rewarding to take scraps and garbage and watch them turn into something that would serve a purpose in nourishing our family by providing nutrient rich soil for our garden. When spring time rolled around, I was amazed to see that the compost turned into a garden of its own with an abundance of squash and tomatoes bursting from it.
This spring, we'll be starting a new "family" garden at my parents house. It's pretty neat being able to walk over to my sister's AND my parent's so we'll all work together to build and care for a garden, and you can be sure that composting will be a huge part of it!
That's why I was so excited to learn about the launch of Kiss the Ground, a new documentary by Josh Tickell featuring top named celebrities reading excerpts of his book on how to transform your grocery list, kitchen, diet and ultimately the planet. Even if you don't have a green thumb, and composts gross you out, you can learn simple ways to improve your health, and the planet!
The best part is, it's TONIGHT @7pm, and you can attend in your pj's via Facebook Live! Just click the link below!
I hope you'll join me this evening to learn more!
“Uh, it’s the curse…” words I still remember my sixth grade friend whispering in my ear in the middle school cafeteria. I had no idea what she was referring to, but she explained how Eve ate the forbidden fruit and now women were subject to a terrible curse when they menstruated, a punishment that would magnify during childbirth. Of course, I took her lunch room theology as truth; it sure seemed to line up with what the media depicted. But, as I grew and began investigating the concept of childbirth from a biblical perspective, my vision drastically changed.
A Christian Worldview presents an interesting outlook on childbirth. Christians understand that childbirth became “bad” when Eve at the forbidden fruit. The first sin on earth led to earthshaking consequences, but Christians also believe that Jesus paid the price to atone for all sin, even Eve’s. This presents an interesting conundrum of beliefs. Is painful childbirth still a punishment for sin or can it be avoided through faith? I believe that birth can be miraculous, powerful, even pain-free, but most importantly, birth can be filled with the goodness of God just as He once intended.
In the beginning, God created everything perfectly! God created man in His image out of His extravagant love. God has three parts (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and likewise man has three parts, the body, soul, and spirit. Prior to sin, the spirit of man was privileged to walk in direct communication and fellowship with God all the time. But, the soul of man and woman had the free-will to make choices apart from the spirit which led to the “fall of man” one fateful day.
God has warned Adam and Eve to not eat the food of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, if they did, they would die (Gen. 2:17). The serpent came to Eve with seeds of deceit. “You won’t die,” he said, “if you eat the fruit you’ll be ‘like’ God.” Eve loved God, of course she wanted to be like Him. Yet, in that moment, Satan’s words tricked into forgetting that she had already been created in God’s very own image.
The first identity crisis on earth led to earth-wrecking sin. From that moment on, everything would change and grow more corrupt by the minute. Adam and Eve had to depart from the beautiful paradise they called home. As they were leaving, God handed out consequences for sin. The serpent was cursed (Gen. 3:14), the ground was cursed (Gen. 3:17), and Adam and Eve were each given “itstsabown” the Hebrew word for travail (Gen. 3:16-17). Adam would travail as he struggled to work the land (Gen. 3:17) and Eve would now travail as she brought forth children.
Compared to imminent death, these consequences seem lenient or as if God changed His mind, but there was a very real death in Eden that day. The beautiful image of God within man was no longer clear, the created image became skewed. The soul of man and women would gain dominion and the spirit would seem obsolete; the result would be trouble and travail.
The fallen soul, striving for independence and driven by self-seeking motives, tends to be the culprit behind many of life’s struggles. Interestingly enough, the soul is at the scene of the crime in many tumultuous labors. During birth, the soul can be at peace with the spirit and the body, working together with a common goal of delivering a baby. Or, the soul can respond negatively to fear and outside stimuli. The gravity of fear on labor is well documented. Fear can trigger the fight-or-flight response, releasing catechlomines and adrenaline into the bloodstream which can cause labor to stall, slow, and definitely become more stressful. Fear overwhelming the soul becomes a very real manifestation of Eve’s consequence by increasing the travail of labor. The change in the image of man that occurred on that auspicious day ties directly into the consequence for the initial sin.
But, the soul was never intended to be louder than the spirit. God desired for His peace and perfection to reign supremely over the earth, especially during childbirth. In the perfection of Eden, worry, fear, pain, would have been unknown ideas. In there absence, birth would have been quick, peaceful, free of pain, and a clear reflection of Heaven and Heaven’s Creator. More importantly, Jesus bore our pain and our suffering upon His body, soul, and spirit, so that we could receive healing in ours. He bore the curse so that we could be free forever!
Faith, prayer, and meditation can become powerful tools to help quiet the soul and allow the spirit to reign during birth, providing intimate and unique peace which springs forth from a restored relationship between God and man. Studies of the brain have even depicted that while praying and meditating, the parietal lobes, the part of the brain that processes one’s understanding of self-become quiet and calm. This becomes the gateway for the spirit to supersede our minds, providing peace to the body.
Interestingly enough, Michel Odent purported that, “If a woman could turn off her ‘thinking’, her neocortical activity, a phenomenon known as the ‘fetus ejection reflex’ could occur, he said. This is a where the baby slips out with no conscious effort, he said. Here, the body does all the work and the woman simply lies back while it happens.” Prayer and meditation can help shift women’s thoughts from there selves to a very big God who is more than capable to assist them and “deliver” them.
As my own labors have progressed, I’ve felt a powerful shift of soulish self-doubt and fear, to unmeasurable strength and perseverance. I’ve also experienced a baby without a heartbeat for three weeks grow into a healthy, five year old child. After a bout with illness, I was warned to never have another baby, but I experienced miraculous healing and a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy which culminated in the birth of my third baby after a brief forty minutes of contractions. To say I feel blessed to have experienced the miraculous seems like an understatement, and I’m passionate about seeing women embark on their own unique journey. I authored a book called Re:Birth, where I highlighted a message of the redemption of birth throughout Scripture. From miraculous conception to spontaneous births and birth without pain, the Bible is filled with good news! I also share testimonies from women across the globe who credit God for their very own pregnancy and birth miracles!
Everyone who has witnessed and partaken in a birth has been privileged to see the power that lies deep within a woman. We know birth is messy, it can be peaceful, it can be a battle. Yet, as Christians reach for their faith during pregnancy and labor, the understanding that God is for them, and by their side at every turn is provides strength and peace and can be the gateway for the miraculous!
 Barbara Bradley Hagerty, “Prayer May Reshape Your Brain... and Your Reality,” NPR, May 20, 2009, accessed December 17, 2016, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104310443
 Madlen Davies and Sophie Borland, “The secret to a quick, painless childbirth?,” Daily Mail, 2 July 2015, accessed April 13, 2017, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3147111/The-secret-quick-painless-childbirth-Just-don-t-think-ban-partner-room-leading-doctor-claims.html#ixzz4di4iWyVr.