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I’m officially an AUTHOR!


I have been putting a lot of time, energy and love into something new lately! I created an e-book. A cookbook that is something that I have been wanting to do for two years now. I can hardly believe that it is finally written, photographed, and complete!

I would love for you to check it out, purchase it, and SHARE this cookbook with others! It would mean so much to me!

Here is a little blurb about it: (you can purchase yours over here right now!)


Are you looking for new, healthy, gluten-free meals that are family-friendly and easy to make?

Then this ebook is for you! I have created this cookbook as a go-to reference for those struggling to find allergy-friendly recipes. These recipes are our family’s absolute favorites, and I wanted to share them with you! Included in this cookbook:

  • 17 easy recipes
  • Gluten-free and allergy-friendly meals
  • Easy to source ingredients
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How to Stay Fit as a Mom {PART THREE}

If you are like most moms, it can be hard to find the time and energy to work out with kids! I put together a three part series on how I stay fit as a mom. You can check out the first two parts here and here.

I’m back here today with a couple more tips that might help you get or stay fit while having kids around!


I understand not everyone wants to work out at home. Sometimes it’s refreshing and can be motivating to get out of your home and workout with others around you. I personally love taking classes at a gym! TRX, Zumba, Body Pump, etc are all really fun to do with friends or fellow moms.

If you have it in your budget and live near a good gym that provides it, sign up for a gym that has childcare available for you! You can usually drop your children off for a set amount of time that allows you to get in a class or two, shower in peace, and pick your children up afterwards. It’s easy, relaxing for you, and everyone goes home happy! {unless you have a child that hates childcare in general. Which I have had. Thankfully she’s older now and deals with separation anxiety better than she did her entire first two years.}


Sometimes when my husband and I both want to participate in a sporting event, we trade off. Either we each play part of the game while the other watches the kids, or he plays in one whole game and I get to play in the next game.

It’s nice to both get a good workout in, and not need to pay a babysitter to watch the kids. Also, our girls absolutely love watching their parents run in races or play in basketball games! They are the best cheerleaders out there!


What are your favorite workout classes to do at the gym? Any new ones I should try?  


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How to Stay Fit as a Mom {PART TWO}

Last week, I wrote a post with a few tips that help me stay fit as a mom. You can read more about it here. Today, I’m back with a few more tips that might help you find time to stay fit and get moving, even with small kids in your home!

Just because you have a baby and/or toddler, it doesn’t mean you can’t find time in your day to get a workout in, even if it’s a quick one! Here are three tips that might help you out:



I am a huge proponent of an active lifestyle not only for my husband and me, but also for my kids. I want them to see us going out for a run or getting in a good strength workout at home because it teaches them that it’s a part of our every day life. Even if my husband is around to watch the kids, sometimes I’ll take one or two of them with me in the jogging stroller (we have BOB jogging strollers) to get in a tougher run and also for them to be a part of it.

If I am doing a strength workout inside, I try to get them involved. They love doing squats, push-ups, wall sits, and jumping jacks with me. Also, seeing them attempt these moves is one of the cutest things you’ll ever see. If you make it fun for them, they will want to do it!

If you like your own space for working out though, insert my next tip…



My children are still young enough that they all nap. Their naps don’t always overlap with each others’, but I do sometimes like to utilize that time to get in a good, concentrated workout. It’s nice to not have to push pause on a workout DVD or stop mid-squat to run over and help them fill a water cup or the hundred other requests they always have going on.



Before we had children, I used to do this every day before work. I was an assistant manager at a financial institution and usually helped close the branch so my work day didn’t start sometimes until 9-9:30am. This allowed me to wake up early, get a good run in, shower, and get ready for work.

It worked well for me then. And I know plenty of moms who are able to get up before their kids wake up in the morning. If their kids wake up around 7am (I don’t remember what that feels like, but I’m sure it must be glorious) then they set their alarm for 5:30am.

(I will be honest with you. This isn’t the best option for me and my family right now. Some nights I am getting up 6+ times between my three kids and it just isn’t feasible at this point in our lives. In a few years though, I will most likely go back to waking up early to get in a workout before my husband leaves for work and the rest of our day begins.)


Do you have any other tips that help you workout with little ones in tow?



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It’s August!



Another page turned in the calendar.


The month I became a mommy for the very first time. I cherish those memories and am holding on to them as hard as I can. But slowly, very slowly, I am noticing that I need to open my tightly clenched fist and open it up to new and exciting things of motherhood. Like potty-training. And learning songs together. Reading books. Memorizing bible verses. Saying something funny, looking at each other, and laughing really hard like we have been best friends all our lives and we get each other. 

I have a birthday party to finish planning. A huge overseas move to figure out how to put all the missing pieces together so the girls and I can go back home next month. A wonderful, awesome friend coming to visit in a few weeks.

So much to look forward to. Thanks, August, for finally arriving. It’s been a long summer so far and I’m glad you are here.

(image: source)

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The Positives to Bringing Up Children

Lately, I’ve seen a few articles circulating about parenting and the difficulties that come from rearing children. They all had me nodding along with laughter because, like any normal parent, we all commiserate with and understand what these fellow caregivers are going through. (You can find a couple of the links here and here, if interested.)

It’s no secret that children are difficult at times. We are dealing with this right now in our household. Our two-year-old is very willful, knowing exactly what she wants and at times has a hard time telling us with her words. She then uses emotional outbursts to get her point across. In my mind, this is not an acceptable behavior anymore. Brooklyn has always been good with words, talking (a lot) at a very young age so I know she is capable of communicating besides her favorite non-verbal way of thrashing around on the floor in a temper-tantrum. We are slowly making headway on getting her to talk through her issues and overall, we are happy with her progress.

Scarlett is currently ten months old and in the midst of teething. She has only sprouted two little daggers teeth thus far, and a few more are trying to make their appearance. As with all children, teething means runny noses, lack of sleep (for both child and mother), and unusual crankiness. These past few days I have learned to function on very little sleep. Coffee is now my best friend (besides my husband – he’s been awesome.)

So, where am I going with this post besides turning you childless readers even further away from desiring to produce offspring? While there are so many “hardships” we go through to bring these children up, I want to shed light on the positives that come from these little mini-me’s also.

Below is a list of only a few wonderful things that my children have brought to my life:

1. Flowers galore. Brooklyn absolutely loves picking flowers for me. Be it a dandelion, cherry blossom that fell to the ground, tree branch, or straight-up weed, she loves picking them up and running them over to me. The look for my approval in her choice of gift is so sweet. I will never be in need of flowers again.


2.  Learning to be selfless. When I got married, it took work to go from an independent individual to sharing my free time and space. (I’m not going to lie – there is one thing that I don’t part with freely: my food. Specifically, my desserts.) But, after giving birth to my daughters, I felt a shift. I no longer looked at life as to what I could expect in return. Middle of the night feedings? Okay. Definitely not getting that sleep back. Toddler wants a bite of mommy’s special dessert? I suppose so. Since you asked so nicely. I give and give some more, as do all parents, and I never once have thought, what are they going to give me in return? It’s called parenthood.

3. New vacation spots. I used to view vacations as a place where I could get the most relaxation, beach time, and sun. Basically, what everything our honeymoon destination was (Jamaica). Now, we search for kid-friendly vacation spots. Will there be an aquarium there? Great, put it at the top of our list! A kiddy pool? Awesome! Pack the swimmy diapers! A zoo? Our girls would love it! We’ll go there next. Case in point: our next mini-vacation. We have now gone to places I would never have thought of before having kids. It’s opened our world up and it’s been fun!

4. A new kind of love. I had always heard that having your own child would be a different kind of love than I ever experienced. And it is true. That first moment I laid my eyes on our daughters, my heart grew exponetially. Never before had I looked into the face of a person I helped make. It is an indescribable feeling and only something you will experience once you become a parent. Truly, it’s a miracle.

5. Help with workouts. More times than not, if I want to go out for a run, I need to take my girls with me. At first, pushing a double stroller seemed like a huge drag. It’s a lot heavier, slowed my pace down, and I needed to stop a lot more to open a snack or place the ear protection on the girls’ heads as a jet flew overhead. But, I have learned to love having them along with me. I have two little kiddos to talk with throughout my runs. I run a special route just for them to see a goat right outside the base gate, or head towards the area where Brooklyn’s favorite helicopter/airplanes are. And, another bonus: I’m now faster than I was pre-kids! I recently ran my fastest half marathon and I am convinced I’m stronger from pushing the double jogger.

6. Living like a kid again. I have a whole new appreciation for the little things. When we go for a walk outdoors, I get to view everything through the eyes of a toddler. Life is simpler, bigger, and much more fun. Never do I take the time to stop and look at a tree root or play with the dirt when I’m out by myself (what adult does?) but when I’m with my girls, life slows down and we get to experience these things together again.

7. Learn a new language. Actually two: baby talk and toddler speak. You will become fluent in these languages. What’s fun is only you and your young kids will know this particular language. And most days, when your husband is deployed, this is all you will use.


8. Social functions have grown exponentially. We have never been invited to as many birthday parties as we have since having kids. I might have never even met some of my current friends if it weren’t for a child’s birthday party that we happened to be at together. Playdates also have come in handy to get out of the house and become social. Yes, we may only talk about kid-related things such as runny noses, eating habits, or who is lacking the most sleep, but at least we are getting out, being social, and making friends. My fellow-mommy friends are some of my best friends now!

So there you have it. A small list of positives that can come from having children. I’m not in any way telling you to go ahead and have a child if you’re not ready. You definitely need to be prepared because they will change your life. But, your life will be for the better. The joys of having kids will outweigh the hardships. Many times over.



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In exactly two weeks from now, we will be going on a mini-vacation. Tokyo hosts the one and only Disney Sea and since our time is gradually winding down here in Japan, we are starting to hit our bucket list a little harder.


I’ve actually never been to any of the Disney resorts before. Brooklyn is in love with Mickey and Minnie, so we know she’s going to absolutely love it, and Scarlett is always along for a good time. Now we just need the weather to cooperate!



We plan on staying downtown Tokyo for a few days at a DoD hotel called the New Sanno.  Brooklyn’s already talking about swimming in the pool! She loves water and according to Scarlett’s bath times, she’s going to have a ton of fun also!

Now to wait patiently for the next two weeks to go along quickly.

Photo sources: 1 and 2

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We are down to two more days until Adam is here! Unless you have done long separations with your loved one, it’s hard to describe the feelings involved with a homecoming. Granted, this time he wasn’t even gone a full month, but to be quite honest, some of the feelings are just the same as the homecomings of his 6 month long deployments.

Excitement. Anxiousness. Happiness. Joy.

I’m beyond excited, as is Brooklyn, to have Adam back with us again. It’s really hard to live my life playing the roles of two people, yet only having the human ability to be one. We are not designed to be both a mom and a dad to our little ones. Thankfully, God has given me the strength to at least attempt this while Adam is away from us. At first there are more hard days than easy while we are all adjusting. But, life continues to go on and we need to move on with it.

Adam is personally flying a jet back from Australia. He’ll be in the cockpit between 8-9 hours by himself. Yes, I’m nervous. Yes, I know he’s capable, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling anxious. I’ll be praying a lot on Tuesday for his safety.


I’m so ready to hear the jets approaching the base, seeing them flying in formation overhead and knowing that my husband is flying in one of those. I’m getting all tingly just thinking of it. The look of pure joy and happiness on Brooklyn’s face when she sees her daddy climb out of his plane about does me in every time. Her silent pride of her daddy is something so special. For both her and Adam.


So, on that note, I’m going to take a few days break from the blog. I have an apartment to clean, fridge to stock, camera to prepare, and homecoming outfits to lay out.


*all photos taken by Teena Hester from our homecoming last year

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Help with Deployment {for kids}


Having a deploying husband who is away from us for six months every year {for this three year tour} makes it very difficult for our two-year-old to understand why Daddy leaves so much. Adam left last week for training in Australia until the end of March and while it’s not as long of a time as his deployments, it still affects our lives here at home.

Yesterday, my friend gave me this deployment kit created by Sesame Street and we just watched it for the first time. I absolutely love it. It talks to Brooklyn on her own level and she can relate to Elmo as his Daddy leaves for a while as well. It also talks with real families that have their daddies or mommies in the armed forces that deploy. The parents and children give ideas on how they deal with the separations and how exciting it is for a homecoming. They deal with the range of feelings children go through {on a very elementary level} which makes it nice for Brooklyn to see she’s not alone.

If you have a deploying husband or wife with young children {or deal with a separation for any reason!}, I very much suggest this deployment kit! It comes with two DVD’s, a magazine for parents, and a children’s activity poster.

Check out the Sesame Street link here with more talk, listen, connecting ideas! It even has a link to receive a kit for FREE from Military OneSource! See the website for the link. {I didn’t receive mine this way, so I’m not sure the steps to get it, but it’s worth a try!}

What are some of your ideas to help your children get through deployments?

*Check out my other Products I Like here.

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Lions, and Tigers, and Oowies, Oh My!

We had our first official boo boo at home today. Never have I been as scared as I was when hearing that sickening thud of a head colliding with a wall. The instant gush of blood was enough to do me in. But, I needed to pull from the deep down depths of my mommy strength and be the solid rock my little toddler needed.

Thankfully, her split chin was able to be fixed with a strong type of glue at urgent care and should be all we need for it to heal properly. The next 48-72 hours will be key in keeping her from splitting it open again, which is hard to do with a very active toddler!

The rest of us are now all sporting band-aids as well to make Brooklyn feel a little better. She has repeated the story about 10 times and gone over to the same spot, reenacting the incident with her stuffed animals.

I think she’s going to be just fine.


The whole weekend wasn’t all bad. Yesterday, we wanted to do something fun and get out. We talked it over with Brooklyn about our options {aquarium, zoo, safari, etc} and she said she wanted to see the elephants. So, Fuji Safari it was!

I had gone with the girls last summer before Brooklyn turned two, and she really liked it then. Now that she’s a little older, she absolutely loved it!

(All pictures of the wild animals had to be taken with our windows up. I apologize for any added glare.)

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We had a wonderful time. Brooklyn won’t stop talking about the fun she had! She got a little souvenir stuffed deer that she takes with her everywhere. I’d say all in all, it was an okay weekend, even with the excitement of today.

What fun things did you do this weekend?

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That Kind of Mom

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the world’s best mom. A lot of nights I lay in bed thinking over the past day’s activities and what I could have done differently. I try my best, but I know I fall short every single day. I’ve come to realize that I need to look at the big picture of life. Are my girls safe, healthy, fed and loved? If the answer is yes, then I know I did a decent job of mothering my girls that day. Thankfully I’ll have another chance to start over with the little stuff the next day. And no matter how much I think I fail, somehow my little girls always seek out snuggles, kisses and hugs from me even after an off day.

That is what matters to me. And that is when I know I succeeded. 

I often think about what kind of mom I am not. What I could be doing better that I don’t. So, instead I was thinking,what kind of mom am I?

I’m the kind of mom that enjoys every moment my children are at home. Tears fill my eyes just thinking about sending them off on their first day of school. I secretly want to homeschool them for the selfish fact that I won’t be separated from them so many hours each week.

I’m the kind of mom that would give up fancy cars and downgrade our house if that’s what it takes to afford to send our girls to private schools, just Adam and I were blessed with.

I’m the kind of mom that cried after leaving our girls for the first time overnight. Even though they slept most of the time we were gone, I still felt like a horrible mom.

I’m the kind of mom who internally freaks out when both Adam and I are away from our daughters, afraid something will happen to both of us, leaving our girls parentless. I am trying hard to work through this fear, and have prayed about it, but it’s a fear I am not able to easily let go of.

I’m the kind of mom who tries hard to give our daughters healthy food, but doesn’t mind if Brooklyn gets a special ice cream cone or snack every once in a while.

I’m the kind of mom who I won’t succumb to the pressure of sending my kids to daycare or preschool earlier than needed. I strongly believe that children need their parents in their lives as much as possible (especially when one parent is deployed so much). I love teaching our girls at home, watching them learn, and spending time with them… that is something I would never get if I sent them off to daycare/preschool during the day.

I’m the kind of mom who will get up 10 times during the night with my child instead of trying the cry-it-out method. I’m not capable of hearing my child cry, knowing that I can do something about it. I just can’t do it.

The wonderful thing about parenting is that we can be given second chances when we have a bad day or two (or three). Thankfully, my girls (and husband) have been very forgiving of me!

I’m not writing this to be judged or to judge others about how you parent. Each person and family have their own ways to go about raising children.