by adustyframe ~ June 26th, 2015

A few weeks ago, my husband surprised me with a weekend getaway for the two of us.

AHHHH! It was wonderful. We hadn’t gone away together since before I was pregnant with Nathan. It was much needed and long overdo.

I’m wondering how we can figure out another one asap!

He planned all the details and I didn’t suspect a thing. He took care of someone to watch the boys too. All I had to do was pack.

He kept each part of the weekend secret until it was happening and he picked all my favorite things to eat and a neat place to stay.

I was pretty proud of him.

He’s not a super mushy type of guy but he can be awfully romantic now and then.


Our anniversary was another time to consider how far God has brought us and how thankful I am that we made it. Of course we have work to do and maybe will for a long time but I’m thankful to be celebrating another year married to my husband.


Mothers In Prison

by adustyframe ~ June 21st, 2015

I’ve read a few articles about mother’s giving birth behind bars and what happens.

Thinking about giving birth while incarcerated and possibly losing time with your brand new baby, breaks my heart. I’m so thankful our incarceration didn’t involve me!

Here’s an article that’s much more in depth than many I’ve read and perhaps you’ll find it interesting as well.

Prison Born


It’s easy–even for me–to read this and think, “well you shouldn’t have done this and maybe if you had done that.” Think about that baby though! It’s not their fault their mother messed up and those early days are so important. I’m glad that some states are looking into options for these families.

What did you think after you read it?


Patriotic Toddler Activities

by adustyframe ~ June 17th, 2015



Now and then, I have been getting some fun activities together for Nathan to do something different. I’m going way back to my preschool teaching years and thinking of some themed things for him to do.

Fourth of July is one of my very favorite holidays, so I gathered a few red white and blue things for him. I don’t leave these things out all the time mostly because they have lots of pieces or as you can see from the shoe box above rice!

It’s more fun for him when I bring them out for a change of pace.

He enjoyed digging through the rice. We lay out a sheet and then he and I sit down and he plays. The patriotic things in this bin are just heavy duty stickers which is weird for a rice bin but I couldn’t find other little things so I put them in there. He had fun digging through the rice finding the pieces.

The red rice was from Valentines day so I added that along with plain white rice and some that I colored blue. It won’t take more than a couple times for all the rice to be mixed up but that’s ok.

I discovered that regular rice colors much quicker than instant rice. I felt like the instant rice took forever to work the color into it and the regular rice colored in seconds.

**my super easy non-scientific method of rice coloring is as follows: Put rice in a bag, splash in some rubbing alcohol (a bit not a ton) and color and smoosh it all up! Then I lay it in a pan and let it air dry. **

Now, please don’t feel like I’m putting pressure on you to do all these things if you have little ones. The last time I got together some themed things for him was Valentines day and while I intended to do something for Easter and something for St Patrick’s day (just love the fun green stuff), I didn’t get it done and I didn’t stress about it. I was just “in the mood” and so gathered these things.

I also bought him 3 little American flags and a patriotic pinwheel that I set in a bucket for him. We had a couple books about the flag or America and I put those with the flags.

The last fun thing I did was make a felt flag kit. It keeps him busy for quite awhile.  This one is super easy. I cut a piece of white felt in 1/2, cut a blue rectangle, and red stripes! Anyone can do this one. I promise!

I store it in a zip pencil pouch that I got at Walmart for $1.


Baby is loving his American flag things and I hope it will help him be excited for the holiday.

Next up is things for his birthday. I found a little plastic birthday cake at the thrift store that looks like perhaps an edible arrangement came in it? I’m going to put the books and activities I find in there for him. I have a Clifford birthday book and another book that is about a party. I’m considering making this felt activity if I get enough gumption (or remember to get the felt when I’m at the craft store!)

I found a wood cupcake and candle set at the thrift store tonight, so I’ll let him have that with his birthday activities. I’m not sure what else. I’ll have to see what I can find.

Some days, I let him have all the things for that theme and some days it’s just one thing or two. Then I put them away so that we don’t lose them and so that they stay special.

When we’re done with this, I’ll put these in a bin in the basement for next year.

If you have a toddler, know a toddler, or just want to peek, I’ve pinned some neat toddler ideas on this Pinterest board.

Pin It Lizzie

Gardening Break

by adustyframe ~ June 9th, 2015

garden 11

This crazy weed patch that was my garden last year drove me nuts! I even said it was a Pinterest fail. I was so excited to finally have room for a big garden and I had all sorts of ideas in my head to make it the most charming garden in town!


It was horrible. Between my health challenges and a little guy, it was just too much and it got away from me and I ended up barely caring. I cared how ugly it was and felt much embarrassment over that but I just couldn’t deal with it.

This year, I was wondering what I was going to do to keep it from looking so horrible. I still have a little guy and I still have some health challenges and while I enjoy gardening and fresh produce, I was a little worried about how I was going to keep it all together this year.

Lee decided to rearrange some things in the yard and build up some low areas with fresh dirt. So, we’re in the middle of a torn up lawn and grass seed trying to grow. I told him I’d skip it this year.

I have a few twinges here and there of “oh no no tomatoes!” “Oh no no (fill in the blank)…” but overall I’m actually quite relieved to have this huge chore off of my plate for this year.

I need to run to my favorite garden center and grab some basil. I think I’m going to add a strawberry plant or two to my little strawberry patch and we’re hoping to add some other berry plants. I have cilantro and oregano coming up from last year and I guess that’s going to be about it.

I’m thankful I have friends who garden and I’m sure in a few weeks, they’ll be begging me to take their zucchini! Our city has a wonderful farmer’s market so I know I can find goodies there.

There’s always next year right?


22 Months

by adustyframe ~ June 3rd, 2015


 blog 22 m web

This picture pretty much sums up this little boy. He’s so funny and is constantly making us laugh.

He’s a little chatter box and a huge copy cat. He loves making us laugh and often does it with the things he says.

He thinks his big brother is the best thing ever. He loves brother to “spin circles”. James holds him and they both spin around and then laugh at themselves being dizzy.

He loves “go backyard”. He thinks the park is super cool.

When I got the teddy bear out to take a photo, he sat on the bear, laid on the bear, threw the bear, and then played peek a boo with the bear.

He  wanted me to “take picture feet”.

feet web



He loves books. He sits down and looks at them by himself, but he  loves to be read to as well. He laughs and giggles over the pictures or silly sentences. The other day in the car he was saying, “red shoe blue shoe, oops!” from a Sandra Boynton book. The “oops” book cracks him up.

I’m so wishing that he wasn’t growing so fast and yet he’s so delightful.

I still marvel that God chose to bless us with this little guy and I’m so thankful that I get to be his mommy.




Never Say No~Mark & Jan Foreman~Book Review

by adustyframe ~ May 31st, 2015

967ce822-abca-4492-a4fc-0bf8946c8551About the book:
Never Say No (David C. Cook, May 2015)

The question Mark and Jan Foreman are most often asked is: How did you raise your kids?

Mark and Jan Foreman’s adult sons Jon and Tim Foreman of Switchfoot have influenced their world not only by a successful music career but also through their positive impact on communities around the globe. The Foreman parents instilled in their sons a belief that they could make a difference by living beyond themselves.

This powerful book gives readers an inside look at the process. It begins with both parent and child finding their identity in God. It then explores practical ways to encourage holistic learning while cultivating specific gifts, nurturing creativity in a media-saturated culture, and balancing structure with individual choice. Never Say No inspires readers to raise children to live in the wonder of life by loving others well. Parents will find encouragement for their own parenting journey as they guide their kids to live out God’s purpose in radical ways.

About the author:
Jan and Mark Foreman live in the San Diego area, where Mark is lead pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel. Mark is the author of Wholly Jesus, and holds advanced degrees in Theology, Education and a Ph.D. in Counseling and Pastoral Care. Jan is a gifted teacher, artist, and she also facilitates partnerships with underprivileged women and children both locally and in developing countries. Together they love surfing, sailing, travel and especially being with their family.
My thoughts:
Never say no?! WHAT!!!!
Well, this book isn’t saying to let your little darlings run wild and become spoiled brats that no one wants to spend time around!
Instead it’s full of ideas to help you evaluate your parenting and be intentional.
It reminds us that God is our Father and he parents us with grace. We should in turn offer that grace to your children.
The book is not heavy or hard to read and at the end of each chapter includes questions to help you consider what you just read and to evaluate areas in your parenting.
I am enjoying it and if you’re a parenting book junkie like I am, I’m sure you will too.
Disclosure~I received a free copy of this book in order to provide a review. All opinions are my own.
Pin It Lizzie

Simple Tips For Using More Cloth Around The House

by adustyframe ~ May 28th, 2015

When we were kids, my mom always used cloth napkins. We may have used paper napkins if we had a lot of company or if we were on a picnic but cloth was normal.

I have also always used cloth napkins except for the same reasons as my mom. It wasn’t difficult for me to use them since I was used to them.

We have some nice cloth napkins but the others are just whatever I’ve found on sale/clearance or even the thrift store. I have found several brand new packages of cloth napkins at the thrift store through the years usually somewhere around $1.

We use them for napkins and to wipe up anything that needs wiping up and toss them in the wash. We’re doing laundry already so it’s no big deal.

**Tip** look in the clearance aisle after holidays for cloth napkins on sale.**

Cloth Rags~ when I was in college, I went with friends one weekend to help at a church they worked at. We stayed with a family while we were there and she was folding laundry. She had tons of cloth rags cut up from old tee shirts and clothing. I thought that was a brilliant idea.

One time, I did try cutting up an old tee shirt that I would have thrown away but decided that was too much work. Most of the time when we have a tee or other cotton type clothing that has seen better, days, I just toss the entire thing in a bin in our back hall.

When there is a painting project, oil changing, cat puking (Oh GROSS!), or any other filthy project, we grab a shirt or anything out of the rag pile and just clean and toss.

**Tip** Keep old cotton clothing somewhere where you can quickly grab it and use it one more time before tossing.

Cloth baby wipes~ I already posted this tip when baby was little. You can check that out here.  We’re still using cloth wipes but these days, I just get a handful of them wet in the sink and toss them in an old plastic wipes box. I don’t add the oils or baby soap and it’s working just fine. I don’t grab too many because they get stale smelling if not used up in a day or so.

wipes 1These could also be used for washcloths or to wipe up stuff around the house if you don’t need them for baby wipes anymore. I feel they have paid for themselves over and over already. I think I have ended up with about 70 wipes. It may be about 20 too many but then again, a few extra wipes can’t hurt!

**Tip** Check on Etsy or Ebay for homemade cloth wipes. I was least happy with Bummis brand wipes. The edging started coming off right away and holes started developing. To be fair, Bummis did replace one package but they quickly did the same thing. I am using them anyway because let’s be honest–they are just being used to wipe a baby tush. My favorite wipes were purchased from a friend who purchased them on Etsy. They are 2 layer (double sided) flannel and just nice and sturdy. If you’re looking on Etsy, search cloth baby wipes double and you should be able to find some.

Cloth Pads~ Ok ok I know I know! I’ve used them off and on since James was small. I never had very many so I got out of the habit. Over the past year or so, I’ve collected a few more sets so I almost exclusively use them now. (Sorry if that is just too much to know about me).

They really are not anywhere near as weird, gross, (fill in the blank) or dirty as you’d think. Actually, they are very nice and many women have found that they lessen their PMS type symptoms.

**Tip~** Check on Etsy for sellers who make them at home. I have also seen them for sale on some natural websites.

Cloth Swim Diapers~You don’t have to cloth diaper at all to use cloth swim diapers. I explained it all on this post.

**Tip** ~Check out my post!

Cloth Diapers~ I haven’t written my “how I use cloth diapers” post yet but I probably will one of these days. Cloth diapers are nowhere near as nasty/gross/weird as I thought they would be either. In fact, I LOVE using cloth diapers.

If you have questions you’d like to know before I get that post written let me know. I’ll be happy to help if I can.


**Tip**~ Let me know if you have cloth diaper questions, or stay tuned for the cloth diaper post one of these days.

Cloth for Cleaning~ I can’t remember my mom using many paper towels when we were kids. We wiped things up with dish cloths or towels and washed. I’m sure if something was nasty, my mom tossed the cloth. I’ve done pretty much the same thing.

I did discover Norwex cloths awhile ago. I was pretty cynical but when I gave it a try, I was pleasantly surprised. I haven’t purchased paper towels in months. Money Saving Mom did a little review if you want to check it out.

**Tip**~ See if  you have a Norwex consultant in your area and give it a try. I think you’ll be as pleased as I was.

The only cloth thing that I just haven’t begun using is Family Cloth (another name for cloth TP). Since I use cloth diapers, wipes, and pads, you’d think nothing would stop me from using cloth TP.
Well, I know wipes, diapers, and pads may have an EWWW factor but for some reason I just can’t see doing it.

I’ve considered it a few times since using cloth wipes and seeing how it’s no big deal to keep them clean and sanitary. Maybe some day I’ll just try it for the “little jobs” and keep paper TP for the “other jobs”.  I drink a ton of water and run to the bathroom so often that the baby even knows Mom always has to run to the bathroom. I do believe it would be cheaper to use them for all those trips I make but like I said, it’s just not quite something I’ve decided to implement.

Do you have any tips to add to my using more cloth post?

Have you tried any of these?

Are you a happy family cloth user and have tips for me?



by adustyframe ~ May 23rd, 2015

So many things going on in the world that leave me feeling less than peaceful.

Today, I was thinking about some news stories and just felt sad and then upset.

Tonight, what comes to mind is “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.”  from Isaiah.

I’m working on thinking about God and how good He is.


When Grace Sings~Kim Vogel Sawyer~Book Review

by adustyframe ~ May 22nd, 2015


About the Book:

When trouble roars into quiet Arborville, Alexa and Anna-Grace find themselves the target for discord and exposed secrets. Can they continue to seek the God of all grace amidst the fog of confusion?

Alexa Zimmerman wonders if the Old Order Mennonite community in Arborville, Kansas will ever fully accept her. Her family roots here aren’t what anyone thought when she first arrived, but she is hopeful that her culinary and hospitality skills will win the skeptics over. The bed-and-breakfast she’s operating needs to succeed so Alexa agrees to allow Briley Forrester, the hotshot reporter from Chicago, to stay as a long-term boarder not knowing his real motives for being amongst the Plain folk.

But when Alexa agrees to host her cousin Anna-Grace Braun, the presence of extended family brings out Alexa’s insecurities and sets Briley on the trail to uncovering a web of hidden truths.

Plans for a secure future and the sweetness of young romance hang in the balance when Alexa and Anna-Grace have to face that their secrets are interconnected, binding the two in ways they could not have imagined. They must trust in a loving, heavenly Father and His plan for their futures.

My thoughts:

I’m enjoying this book. I do have to be a little honest and say I’m not quite to the end! The story is well written and the characters are engaging and seem real.

I do find myself feeling just slightly like I’m missing some part of the story. I realized that’s because this is book two in the series. It’s still able to be read alone. I just once in awhile think that I can’t quite connect a few dots.

I think this one is interesting because it’s based on Old Order Mennonite instead of Amish so it’s a slightly different view of the plain life. I like Alexa and think a bed and breakfast is a great setting for a novel. I think Briley adds a fun twist to the book since he’s 100% not simple or plain or even Christian.

So, I’m looking forward to finishing up to see what happens!

About the author:

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of twenty-nine novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women’s fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in order to provide a review. All opinions are my own.  


Called To Be Amish~ Marlene Miller~ Book Review

by adustyframe ~ May 21st, 2015


About the Book:

Fewer than one hundred outsiders have joined the Old–Order Amish—and stayed—since 1950. Marlene C. Miller is one of them.

In this rare memoir, Marlene recounts her unhappy and abusive childhood, how she throws herself into cheerleading and marching band, and how she falls in love with Johnny, the gentle young Amish man who helps her lace her ice skates.

Against the wishes of both sets of parents, Marlene and Johnny get married and begin a family. Follow the author on this unusual journey to find out how God’s love called her out of bitterness and depression and into the warm embrace of her new Amish community.

Accompany her as she dons an Amish dress and prayer covering and gets baptized. Learn how she endures the strain of ten children, a hundred-acre farm, and accidents and tragedy, and find out how she comes close to walking away from it all. Turning Amish has proven to be anything but plain and simple for this former majorette. But nearly fifty years later, Marlene is still living out God’s call as an Old Order Amish woman.


About the Author:

Marlene C. Miller joined the Amish as an adult and has been a member of the Old Order Amish for almost 50 years. She and her husband of 48 years live on a farm in Ohio surrounded by their nine children, more than 40 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren


My thoughts:

I have enjoyed learning about the Amish for many years and so I wanted to read this book. I did think that perhaps it was someone who just felt at some point in their life that they’d like to join the Amish and that the book would be about how to go about doing that.

That wasn’t quite the case. It’s true she wasn’t raised Amish or Mennonite or anything similar or even in a good home. But she fell in love with an Amish boy so the story tells how she came to decide to join the Amish church with him.

I found the book interesting. It is simply written and does go back and forth in time in a confusing manner sometimes. The book is very simply written and I know you could say, “Well it’s Amish so of course it’s simple.” But I do think it could have benefitted from a good editor to tighten things up and perhaps make it more polished.

That being said if you’d like a peek into the Amish life, you may enjoy reading this book.

Disclosure: I received a free e-book version of this book in order to provide a review. All opinions are my own.