31 weeks: baby #5 {pregnancy update}

It's been a while since I did a real update on the baby, so I thought I'd do one today! This little one is growing like a weed, and painting my toenails is nearly impossible these days. :D

How far along: 31 weeks! Only single digit weeks left, baby! :D

Baby size: Around 17 inches and 3.5-4 lbs. I really believe he's pushing 4 at this point! :D

Weight gain: Still average, which I'm happy with, especially after a free-for-all vacation... LOL!

Belly button: Out... way out. {this didn't happen until baby #3 if I remember right!}

Maternity clothes: No, I still prefer bigger regular clothes- but my belly is growing more and more so a Bella band is often needed these days so I don't have to pull down my shorter shirts all the time. :) 

Gender: Boy.

Movement: I felt him move for the first time at 12 weeks, and he's getting so big now my belly flops when he moves and rolls. You can really see his little body! It's crazy. It looks like I have an alien in my belly. :)

Sleep: Most of the time well, but occasionally I wake up early still and can't go back to sleep no matter how few hours it's been. I really love taking naps when they get to happen.

Food aversions: Coffee most of the time {an aversion that didn't start until my 3rd trimester!}, and any dairy products, sugar, or meat this week. I want nothing but fruit these days! :) Preferably watermelon.

Food cravings: Watermelon {ahem}, honeydew, and McAlister's tea!

Labor signs: He hangs out pretty low these days, is head down, and I have Braxton Hicks contractions usually every night. I usually dilate pretty early on {2-3 by 36 weeks}, and I have a feeling that's why. :)

Best moment this week: Feeling the baby's arms and legs moving at the same time. I can feel individual little body parts, and it's so fun. :) I made Rob hold my belly one night and he asked if I was sure I could sleep with that much going on. He's a strong little one!

Non-baby-related favorite moment this week: Hearing my boys quote Isaiah 53:1-12 at their graduation program. Nothing makes me happier than hearing some of the most important words coming out of their little minds. :)

What I miss: Being able to bend over, and not having my uterus on top of my ribs. The midwife was even surprised how high it went! :) I don't know how it's possible, but the baby kicks up in front of my ribs!

What I'm looking forward to: Seeing this little boy for the first time, and getting to hold and nurse him and kiss his soft little head. I'm so excited about that. :) I bought a package of diapers and I'm holding off on opening it until I get closer. Seeing those tiny diapers makes me realize how small he will be. :)

Comparison shots: left to right-19 weeks, 22 weeks, 26 weeks, 31 weeks {I think the brown shirt is at it's end until postpartum time, LOL!}:

That's certainly a lot of growing!! :D And the best is still ahead... ;) I've never done so many consistent shots before- it's been so fun to see how quickly I can grow!

How are all you pregnant mamas doing out there? 

How's the weather where you live right now? 
It's getting hot here- like 92, and jeans are officially out now! I feel like I'm sweating for two these days...lol!

Favorite week of pregnancy?
28-29 weeks was awesome for me. I wasn't uncomfortable- I could really feel the baby more, but was pregnant enough to enjoy being pregnant, and I was getting close to the end all at the same time. :D I was even feeling optimistic- like I would be happy to do it again someday! ;) 

homemaking hack #6: how to take an inventory of your closet {or pack for a trip}

Here's my new favorite way to pack for a trip….or reorganize my closet. {or both? hey!}

1. Find the biggest open space you can.
The floor between our closet storage worked for me. A bed or dining table might work too. :)

2. Pull out all of your clothes and shoes.
Every single item if you're purging your closet. If you're going on a trip, just your most-loved items. :) 

my vacation outfits this year! :D
3. Match your favorite outfits.
This is the fun part! What goes with what? Balance your looser tops with more fitted bottoms or more fitted tops with looser bottoms. I'm a one pattern girl most of the time, so I like one fun or bright item paired with a basic neutral staple item like jeans. I have no idea why I'm like that, but it seems to happen every time! :)

Have fun without even trying them on- when they're all lying out, you can start to picture what looks good together!


4. Edit and delete items.
Do you already know you hate wearing that shirt- it's too loose, too tight, rides up, etc.? You probably won't like wearing it when that outfit day comes either. :) Delete it. 

5. Copy and paste multiple outfits.
Set matching tops next to your potential bottoms. That sounds weird {ha!}, but the idea is to layer multiple tops you like over one pair of pants you would wear them with.

6. Take pictures so you can remember what you have.
This is the fun part- take pictures, preferably with your phone, so that you can search your closet inventory easily in the morning or when you're out shopping for coordinating items. Having your clothes already matched makes such a difference in the time it takes to decide what to wear! :)


How often do you go through your closet? What are your favorite tips for keeping track of what you have to wear? 

Usually twice a year at least for me- when the seasons change, I purge the excess. Having a tiny closet helps with that! :)

How many clothes do you normally carry with you on a trip? 
I overpacked this time for sure! I wanted to have lots of options, and I did...hahah!

Do you find yourself wearing the same pair of jeans with all your outfits? 
Totally. If I love a pair of jeans, I will wear them until they get holes in them! :D

back from vacation {where we went and pics} + the newest member of our family

We're probably weird,
but we loved being together every minute for so many days.
It's like that at home too though, LOL.
We're back from our 10th anniversary trip!! We went to Kauai for a week, and to say it was gorgeous is probably an understatement. I so wish I could have taken you with me! If you love warm weather, the mountains, and the beach with a breeze, you would love this place! :) It was beautiful.

But even more than that, I can't tell you how good it was to take a real break from everything. I realized right before we left that I was feeling really weary, and really needed to take a Sabbath from all the work, the noise, and all the little jobs I have. It was such a wonderful thing to get away for a week, and just focus on Jesus and my husband. I felt like I could take a deep breath and slow down while I was there, and I came back feeling more energized to start again! :D

It was awesome for my heart, and marriage too I think, and only possible because the Lord blessed us with such awesome parents who all took turns watching our kiddos while we were gone! They were the best! What a gift it was.

This view from our balcony definitely helped set the relaxed tone for the week:  ;)
our first sunrise in Kauai
And the long walks helped too:
enjoying a gorgeous trail with my love....we walked this far apart most of the time. {lol...just kidding! ;) }
Thanks to my weird pregnancy body clock, we got to see the sunrise every day! :D
how can people see this and not worship the Lord? I don't understand...He is SO amazing. It was such a precious time!
And then the weirdest thing happened while we were there...I couldn't even form a thought for the whole week regarding what needed to be done when we got back home. I tried to think about it and use the extra time I had to plan several times, and my brain would immediately shut down. Instead, I slept and ate good food {and a lot of it! I think the baby gained a whole pound last week- his kicks are crazy strong this week!!}. I didn't exercise other than hiking, I didn't write anywhere but in my journal, and I didn't make a single to-do list. It was like recovery mode for my body and mind. :D

I have lots of pictures and stories to share with you guys {we took at least 1000 pictures....the crazy tourists that we are}. :D, but I couldn't wait to tell you about this fun little thing who joined our family yesterday:

Her name is Rella, short for Cinderella. :D She's the first pet the kids have had in about 5 years, and they are so excited. She's itty bitty and we've been having lots of fun with her so far. :D We've never had a cat before, so it's even more thrilling for them. It will be neat to seem them bond with this little kitty before the baby comes. :)

I think it was definitely an exciting end to the last week for them staying with the grandparents. :D I'm just so thankful we had a long weekend to readjust before jumping back into life! :)

Today we all go back to school, work, and teaching fitness classes. My oldest daughter Isabella {#3} is also graduating from kindergarten today {sniffle, sniffle}, and Rob's little brother is getting married this weekend, so we have a full week to come back to for sure! :D

Ever since we got back from Hawaii, we have been trying to readjust our bodies again to Texas time. The two flight red-eye we took probably didn't help with the jet lag- but even with that, I have to say I'm still a huge fan of sleeping your way through 8 hours of flying! :) That was the first time we'd done that, and it made the trip home really fly by. {heheh.} I think I'm finally back on Texas time- I woke up at 5 this morning {midnight in HI}!

I missed you guys though! Did anything happen while I was gone?

How was your week?? Did you do anything special for Memorial Day?
We slept really late and worked on pre-baby projects. :D

Mamas, is this week the end of school for your kiddos too?
Summer starts tomorrow for us!

Have you ever taken a red-eye flight? What did you think? Love them or hate them? {It would be awful if you couldn't sleep!}

a blogging break + popular post lists

eeee!!! we are on vacation without kiddos! :D
Happy Monday!! :D It's a really special Monday for me- we're on vacation! :D Rob and I are taking our 10th anniversary trip and I can't wait to share all the details with you next week!

I wanted to let you know I'm going to be taking a little break from blogging. We will be away this week and I wrote all these posts in advance for you guys, but I decided not to post them because I knew I wouldn't be able to stay away from the internet, Facebook, and Twitter if I did! :) {and checking your phone/laptop all the time on a rare vacation alone with your man? Probably not such a good thing...lol!}

So until next week, here are some popular posts from the archives if you want to explore some older articles! :D

Free printable chore cards
free 8x10 art- Psalm 34:6
the plan {free daily planning sheets}

walking through the Gospel- 14 week Bible study going through the basics of Christianity: the importance of the Bible, who God is, who man is, who Jesus is, why we need Him, salvation, and what it means, and more
laundry devotions- several devotions for today's women! Some devos have 10 minute audio too. I loved doing these a couple of years ago!

when you feel weary and tired
the complaining experiment  {4 parts} {totally revolutionized my perspective on motherhood}
on tv and movies: why i watched it all but can't anymore
birth control: my story

saving and making money:
5 out of the box ways to earn extra money
31 days of thrifting!! {31 posts on tips and how to shop at thrift stores!}
how to sell on eBay part 1, and part 2

before and after room reveals:
the living room
the bathroom
the office
the entryway

I hope you have a wonderful week!!

I'll be back next week with the answers to your FAQ's and lots of pictures and details!! :D

4 ways to score free furniture and household goods

We randomly scored the best deal on this set of end tables this week- they were free! 

I can't wait to redo them- I'm not sure what I will do with them yet, but painting them is definitely the plan. :D Corals and emerald greens have been on my mind lately, so I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up one of those with some new knobs. ;)

And hey, free + the cost of spray paint and a knob is even better than the GW price would be, don't you think? Free is the best. :)

Here are 4 ways I like to find free stuff:

1. Facebook.
I joined several local swap/ sale groups where people post a lot like Craiglist, but without the anonymity. This is how I found out about the tables- a lady posted come and get them, and I happened to be close by and was the first one there! :D {One group I joined is called East Texas Baby Items for Sale, the others I follow are also similar local sale groups like the County Garage Sale, East Texas Swap and Shop, etc.} If you don't follow any of these or have never seen them- ask your friends if they know any in a status update on Facebook. While most items are for sale, occasionally you'll see free stuff too.

2. The side of the road/give aways.
So many renters just throw out good stuff because they don't want to move it! I've scored a great daybed with screws attached in a bag, purses, household items, and even a wallet with change still in it! We've also been given a free like-new steam cleaner from someone throwing it away, and other people I know have scored lawn furniture, end tables, lamps, room dividers, and more.

 We live in the city, so lots of times, people leave signs out on their stuff that say "free"! They just want you to take it. :D One time I picked up a baby swing in perfect condition by the trash can, put new batteries in it, used it for a while, and then sold it on Craigslist. :) 

3. Craigslist.
There's a free category on Craigslist, and this is one of the easiest places to find free stuff. You may have to drive to get it, but I've scored lots of furniture, a swing set, and house stuff on there too. My dad sends me free piano listings every now and then {I would LOVE a free one!}, but they're always gone by the time I email them! :)

4. Freecycle.

I've gotten a vintage camera with lenses, brand new cloth napkins, and so many other things I can't remember a few years ago. :) People post and just want you to come and get their old stuff, and it's awesome. And completely free. You have to be fast and watch it closely to be the one who gets the items though. :) It's been a while since I used this method!

Where are your favorite places to score free stuff?? Any good ideas for me?

What's the best free item you've ever randomly scored?

How do you feel about using what others consider trash? I see a lot of treasure in other's trash! LOL!

how far will you go?

{I posted this on the facebook page a few weeks ago and wanted to share it with you guys too!}

are you willing to let go of  your very life? from pinterest

I'm reading the end of Acts, and I am so amazed by Paul's determination. He knew that he would be put in prison and afflicted, and he still went in obedience to God, only to preach the Gospel to Rome after YEARS of being in prison!
Acts 20:22: And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.
Seriously, would I react in the same way to the Holy Spirit's message? His friends even tried to convince him that it was dangerous, and he was still determined to obey.

I have a feeling it would be so easy to convince myself that I really didn't need to go- or that being imprisoned wouldn't really help spread the Gospel, or my friends knew the truth, etc.

But that's the danger of disobedience- we know the truth in our hearts but can convince ourselves safer is better, when in reality our opinion of "safe" is not what God has in mind for us at all.

Oh, that we could be more like Paul...when nothing matters but obedience to our Lord Jesus and testifying of his name, even to the point of losing our lives:
24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
If we follow Him, who knows what He will have in store for us? We might end up preaching the Gospel in places we never imagined being or couldn't get to otherwise...but still "safer" in every respect, because we are doing the will of the Lord. Oh, wouldn't that would be exciting?!!

Where has God taken you that you never expected? 

Have you been comforted by the Holy Spirit when you weren't in a "safe" place? {finances, marriage, jobs?}
Yes!! There have been times that I had no idea what to do in important situations. I felt completely lost and blind about what was going to happen in the future, yet the Holy Spirit gave me the faith to trust in God, no matter what would happen. It was like a switch came on, and the fear went away and was replaced by faith, and I know it was only God who did it.

do you have a question for me?

Do you have any questions for me? I want to try to answer them in a post soon! :D

I get lots and lots of emails every week, and while I try to answer as many as I can, I can't always get to them all, which makes me sad!  But if you have had or have a question for me and you wouldn't mind sharing it here publicly on the blog, will you send it to me at mandy @ biblicalhomemaking.com? Or you can leave it in the comments below, and I will try to include it in the upcoming post! :D

Q: do all of your kids go grocery shopping with you? 
A: Why yes... it also happens to be my favorite way to wear them right before bedtime. Who needs a park when shopping is so exhausting? Why not kill two birds with one stone?... ;) hahahah. Seriously though, they do 95% of the time. I need all the help and unloading hands I can get, and most of the time they like it. :D

I'm trying to make a list of my most frequently asked questions for the post too, which should be fun. :D {#1 most frequently asked question by far is "how do you style your curly hair?" I have people in real life ask me this nearly every week too! Here's the answer, by the way! :D}

I can't wait to hear from you! :D

email me: mandy @biblicalhomemaking.com {no spaces}

having little children is fun :)

We started on the unreasonable baby to-do list this weekend- we dug up and planted flower beds!! :D I would show you pictures, but we aren't done quite yet- we still have to put in a two more borders and mulch. {do you have any tricks for keeping weeds from growing under the mulch? Is there a way I wonder?}

You know it's going to be a good Saturday when all of your children decide on their own to wear their number shirts. :D I love that they are still little enough to like doing this sort of thing. :) 

We went to get pizza before we got to work:

Then we hit Lowe's and bought Japanese boxwoods, roses, and landscaping border.  {can you believe those ginormous rose bushes were only $5??} Give me a rose bush any day over cut roses... you get years of beauty, unless you're like me and can kill them in a few months... :P

We worked until dark in the yard {and went to bed early!} and Sunday morning I woke up to these for Mother's Day...

Rob picked me a rose for each little one we have. :D I love the little bud for the baby! He gave me a sweet "gift certificate" too {more on that later!}.

And the older kids even made me cards and their own gifts for me at school, which I LOVE. How fun are these?? They made them with Sharpie markers and the teachers baked them in the oven. :D {here's a tutorial!!}

It was such a fun day! We went to church, then out for lunch, shopping, and ice cream:

We like going to Braum's, because we can buy 6 little cones for $3 in the frozen section. ;) They all get their own that way!

But I didn't go for the nutty cone yesterday- notice the chocolate M&M mix in the picture with us:

I shared two of those with Rob this weekend, by the way. I can eat about 1/3-1/2 of one, and I'm done. It's so awesome to have a husband who will share with me {and it's not even his favorite kind}. He doesn't mind taking one for the team. ;) 

It's a good thing we're launching BODYCOMBAT this afternoon...I need to burn a few extra calories after this weekend. ;) It's going to be a crazy week! :D

We actually have a busy, busy month ahead of us too- lots of classes to teach, a midwife appointments, major grocery shopping, projects to do, end of the school year/kindergarten graduation, a family wedding {yay}, and we are getting ready for a fun 10th anniversary vacation on top of that. :D May is going to FLY by. 

Is May a busy month for you too?

Do you like going to weddings? How many weddings are in your summer plans?
I seriously love going to weddings. I try not to miss a single one I get invited to. They are so much fun! {and I really want to throw another one for myself now that Pinterest has been invented...lol}.

Did you have a good weekend/Mother's Day?

28 week update: the pre-baby to-do list {and the unrealistic nesting one too}

I'm 28 weeks, which means I'm officially into my third trimester these days! In some ways, the 10-12 weeks I have left sound like a loooonggg time to keep growing bigger, but I've lived enough days to know that the end will be here very, very soon! :) I have a feeling it will fly by.

Even the fifth time around, pregnancy is still one of the strangest things to me. I'm visibly with child now, so I get such a wide range of comments in real life these days! :) 

Just this week alone, one cashier at a restaurant told me it seemed like I'd been pregnant forever already and should be done by now, then another cashier at a different place told me she couldn't tell I was pregnant at all until I rubbed my belly, and not two days later someone else asked me if I was due any day now.... you just really never know what someone is going to tell you when it comes to your pregnant belly. ;) It's wide open, and everyone has something different to say! You just have to brace for the impact... heheh! ;)

Here's my 28 week iPhone shot... it's definitely looks like I'm smuggling a small watermelon in there- especially first thing in the morning. My belly looks and feels like a very round bowling ball:

He's getting stronger too- bigger kicks and rolls happen much more frequently these days. All of the kids have gotten to feel him kick now. {that is one of the best moments of being a mama, I think. They all get so wide-eyed and squeal with excitement. :D} It won't be long, and they'll all be playing with him and asking to hold him all the time. :D

The closer I get to the end though, the more I realize I have a ton to do before the baby comes.

I have to turn this fabric into a pretty quilt:

After that, reorganize my sewing room to make it into a nursery:

side note: I can't believe we took that picture {on the wall} on our honeymoon over 10.5 years ago now!

What kids we were back then. ;) We were just 19 and 22:

And now I'm 30 and a mommy to 3 boys and 2 girls!! It's a good thing, though. Marriage gets even better with time. :)

So does being a mommy, I think. Isabella {5} made my morning with her sweet note:

Little girls are so much fun!! :D

But back to the baby to-do list- here's what I hope to finish before mid-July:

  • make quilt/bedding
  • make 1 wall decor piece for over the bed
  • paint crib and dresser
  • wash baby clothes
  • buy diapers, wipes, and nursing supplies
  • wash car seat + bouncer covers
  • hang curtains
  • order or find a pack n' play travel lite on Craigslist

And here's the insane nesting to-do list for the next 10 weeks that's secretly hiding out in the back of my mind {you have one too don't you??} :)

  • redo entire yard
  • build a new fence
  • mulch and plant flower beds
  • host birthday party for Avalie
  • finish painting house
  • redo/finish girls room -needs 2nd coat of paint, and a bed makeover is waiting to happen in the attic
  • redo boys room- paint/reorganize
  • finish the stairs
  • add light fixture to bathroom
  • find a new-to-us washing machine to replace our 10 year-old one
  • finish 180,000 little things that need to be done around the house

Oh goodness. Just looking at that list, I know that it won't all get done. But supposedly, if you make a list of all you have to do, you can mentally let it go and focus on one thing at a time? {Getting Things Done} I think a man wrote that book.... ;)

At least I know what I have to focus on today:

We are launching a new release of BODYCOMBAT on Monday, so I'm knee deep in chorey for the rest of the morning! The to-do lists will have to wait a bit longer. ;)

How do you mentally separate your future to-do lists from what you have to do today? Is there really a way?? ;) 
My brain {as they say women's are} is definitely like spaghetti- it's all tied up together in there. So far, pray and let it go is all I've got! :)

Any great easy quilting tutorials you know of?? 
I'm thinking two big pieces of fabric sewn together and bound in zig-zags- does that sound okay to you quilters out there? I need help! :P

Anyone married in 2002 like us? Did 10 years fly by for you too?
I'm glad we were married young. I loved spending all of my 20's with Rob. It's fun growing up together in adulthood! :D

12 ideas for reusing burlap rice sacks {thrifty thursday}

Okay, this might be borderline cheapskate Thursday instead of thrifty Thursday...but I had to tell you anyway. I have no shame. ;)

We love this rice from Sam's Club:

It's pretty pricey compared to regular white rice {2x more at least}, but basmati is our favorite. But as much the family loves this rice, I love the bag it comes in more. :) I can't bear to throw them away, so here are a few things I do with them to reuse and repurpose them:

I use them as gift bags. They have a zipper, so no tissue paper is needed! :D I am a last minute wrapper, and these work so well. And don't tell, but for some reason I don't enjoy spending money on big gift bags and tissue paper? I have no idea why I'm so cheap there! I apologize in advance if I ever give you a rice bag to hold your present sometime in the future. Just know I spent the money I saved on your actual gift! :P

Here's Noah opening his birthday present this weekend:

I also use them as swimming bags. It will hold a couple of towels and swimsuits, and I like how breathable the fabric is for damp clothes. It's also small enough to keep in the back of the car every day without overtaking the whole thing. {You never know when you might get the urge to swim. ;)}

And we also like to use our old sacks for portable lego storage containers for car trips and nights away from home. :D

Here are a few other uses I've come up with for my rice sacks. {I haven't done them all yet- we haven't gone through that many pounds of rice yet! hehe}
  • a library book bag
  • lego organization {for keeping the kit legos separate from the others}
  • a throw pillow
  • glue it to an old canvas for kitchen wall decor
  • cut and frame parts of it for a fun wall gallery
  • fill it with a brick and stuffing for a cute door holder/stopper
  • sew 3-4 together for a kitchen valance/shade
  • cover a cork board for cute decor
  • cut into triangles to make a pennant banner for a boys room
And I'm sure there's so much more you could do with it!! I haven't even looked on Pinterest yet! :)

What would you do with a cute rice bag? Any other ideas for me? 

What's your favorite kind of rice? Or do you prefer potatoes?
I like wild and brown rice the most I think. :) White basmati is a close second. Oh, and the sushi kind, provided it's rolled up with seaweed, crab, and avocado.... ;)

strawberry cream cheese angel food cake {recipe}

If I had to choose between eating just the icing or the cake, I would choose icing every day of the week. Icing and I go way back. I learned how to make homemade icing when I was 11 or 12 and after that it was over. There was a reason we never had any powdered sugar left in the house. {sorry, mom} ;)

With this pregnancy I've consistently craved strawberry shortcake for some strange reason. After four pregnancies, I've learned not to question why I have any particular craving and just go with it. :)

The only problem with this craving was that the whipped cream part of the strawberry shortcake wasn't cutting it- I needed real icing. {and by the way, whipped icing on store-bought birthday cakes {!!?!!??} makes me want to cry. Why would they do that to icing?}

So I decided to make my angel food cake like a simple trifle and replaced the whipped cream with cream cheese icing. :D It ended up being perfection. :)

Here's what I did:

I bought an angel food cake at Sam's Club {that was hard, wasn't it?}. They have the best angel food I've had in a long time. I've made it homemade before and didn't like the texture as much as theirs for $5:

I cut it into slices for portioned servings, but I've also torn it into chunks. I prefer the small bite/chunk version because it has a greater ratio of cake to icing, but if you like less icing, this way might be for you. If you have a trifle dish, you could layer the chunks into the bowl and it would be even lovelier, but a 9x13 is perfect for easy serving and keeps it simple to make.

Make your cream cheese icing. I don't follow an actual recipe these days, but here's a highly rated one if you don't have one already. I like mine extra fattening, so I generally use 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1.5 sticks of real butter, and about 4 cups of powdered sugar mixed with a splash of milk and vanilla for my go-to recipe. It should be thick like you see here- if it's runny, add more sugar:

{p.s. using margarine and off-brand or low-fat cream cheese greatly affects the taste and thickness of your icing. If you can, go for real butter and Philadelphia full-fat cream cheese. It's worth it.}

Spread it over your cake slices:

Slice your 1-1.5 lbs. of strawberries straight on to your cake, if you want:

You could spend a few hours making it look pretty by arranging your slices, but I know my family doesn't care what it looks like as long as it tastes good. ;)

Refrigerate your cake for a few hours if you can for better flavor, but it will taste good freshly made too. :) Enjoy it either way. :D {and hope there's enough for seconds!}

It's my new favorite cake {for now, anyway}. :) And the fact that the angel food cake and strawberries are non-fat makes me incredibly happy. I think the light cake and fruit really balances the rich cream cheese icing. That and lighter cake means I can enjoy indulging in the cream cheese icing even more. Ha! :)

Are you more of an icing or a cake person? Or do you eat both equally well? :)
As you might have guessed, I view the cake as merely a vehicle for icing.

Whipped or buttercream icing? And please tell me why you like the whipped version. Maybe there's something I'm missing there? ;)

Do you serve untraditional desserts for birthdays too? 
Last year Noah and Rob both asked for cinnamon rolls! :) Here is Noah on his 7th birthday:

who is your Jesus??

Oh my goodness, I've never cried so much before 7 in the morning.

This video is such an amazing way of presenting the Gospel.

It's about our Jesus and is worth every minute of watching....

{ht: tim challies blog, sermon/voice by John Piper}

noah's 8th birthday weekend {recap w/pics}

We had a fun weekend celebrating Noah's birthday! He turned 8 on Saturday. I can't believe he's that old already- it seems like I was pregnant with him just yesterday. He's so much fun and so sweet. He's tender-hearted and hilarious and witty all at the same time. 

To give you an idea of his personality, one day a couple of weeks ago I gave him a stem of grapes, and he instantly ran to the office and brought this back and ate his grapes holding the book like this just to get me to laugh:

I think we must have the same sense of humor because I died laughing. :)

We started the day with chocolate chip pancakes and his sister was thrilled to decorate his chair for him:

I wish I'd gotten a picture of his reaction to his chair. He couldn't stop laughing . :)

He loves animals, legos, mud, and art. We wanted to do something special for him this year, so we took all the kids to the Fort Worth Zoo for the first time. I'd never been before that I could remember!

You'd think they'd all be a little more excited to be at the zoo.... ;) they were all in zombie mode after hours of driving. :)

They woke up pretty fast after we spotted a 15-foot crocodile:

And this ridiculously large komodo dragon... I love the looks on their faces- especially Ava in the corner:

I was really impressed by the zoo- it was gorgeous and they had so many activities for the kids to do:

Like this mystery swamp box- the kids were supposed to stick their hands in a dark box to feel the swamp, and not one of them would do it. They tried to see what was inside first:

And then Noah ever so sweetly tried to force Ava to feel inside first..."you want to try it Ava? Here, let me help you..." ;)

And of course, the animals were fun to see too. They had lions, tigers, and bears... all in one place!

And an aquatic petting zoo:

For the record, I refused to touch any of those slimy sea creatures. I'll just take pictures, thank you very much. :)

I'll spare you the picture Rob got of hundreds of 2-inch Haitian cockroaches {which totally creeped me out}. Elijah touched my arm after we looked at them and I seriously almost screamed out loud in crowd full of people.

Instead, feast your eyes on this sweet baby:

Blue coconut shaved ice. I think I may have a new craving. I've almost convinced Rob to buy me the snow cone machine they're selling at Sam's for $150. I told him I'd set up a snow cone stand in our yard to make up for it... {but then I'd have to work it 9 months pregnant when its 111 outside... probably not such a great idea after all}.

We finished Noah's b-day at a favorite Mexican restaurant, where we all ordered American food because it was 40% less than the Mexican fare and just as good? Why is that? We had chicken fingers, french fries, chicken fried steak, and grilled chicken and veggies. With chips and salsa. ;)

We waited to have cake with the family on Sunday {I hope to share the "recipe" soon!} since we had a very long day.

I'm telling you, Noah was given a special gift of making his mama laugh. "Noah, here, look at the camera..."

{posted with his permission... crazy boy. ;)}

 And here's the other sweet side when we were singing to him:

Love that boy. :) I'm sad that he's older now, but so far, the older they get, the more fun they are, I think. And that makes me a little excited for them to grow up too. :) 

What do you think? Do they get more fun as they get older?

Have you been to the Fort Worth Zoo? Your favorite zoo? Is the San Diego one really great?

What do you order when you eat Mexican food? 
I usually eat a salad of some kind, but my pregnant body is still rejecting any leafy greens as a food option. Which makes me incredibly sad. Who am I anymore??? I don't know.}