Heartfelt Gifts for the Cyster in Your Life (Or for Yourself!)

I love a good gift. I love giving a good gift, and I love getting gifts too. I mean, who doesn’t? I’d hoped to do a series of gift posts during the Christmas season, but spontaneously decided (or was convicted) not to blog during the month of December, so there went the gift posts!

But, we all have birthdays, and Valentines’ Day is just around the corner, so I figured a random gift posts in the middle of January could somehow be construed as appropriate.

One of my favorite parts of blogging has been the people I’ve come in contact with in the blogging community: women who are not afraid to reach out to one another; women who are not afraid to lift one another up in prayer; women who take the time out of their busy schedules to encourage other women who they may have never even met in person.

When we found out we were pregnant with Bonnie, I was overjoyed. I was more than that. I was completely and totally overwhelmed with joy. But in the back of my mind, I also wondered about all the people I’d “met” in the blogging community. How would you all handle the news? The last thing I wanted was to bring more heartache into your lives by sharing my news. I was worried I would lose friends, and even wondered if maybe I should stop blogging for a season.

Instead of bitterness or anger, I received such an outflowing of support from all of you: Continued prayers, kind emails, sweet cards, and some really beautiful, thoughtful gifts.

For me, there isn’t much that beats a well planned, well thought-out gift, regardless of the occasion. And if it’s handmade, that’s even better. Gifts are great ways to encourage one another and build each other up, especially if we are cities, states, or even countries apart!

And one Cyster who really knows her stuff when it comes to sentimental, heartfelt gifts, is Christina of Soul Cyster Creations. Christina is no stranger to PCOS, or to the loss and heartache that often follow a PCOS diagnosis. After 12 years of trying to conceive, and 5 miscarriages, Christina and her husband are now pursuing adoption.

Her heart really shows through her designs, and they are just lovely. I’ve spent ridiculous amounts of time window shopping, but I will warn you that looking at her pieces can be a bit emotional, so be prepared for a cathartic shopping experience!

Here are some of my favorites:

1) Believe necklace

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2)Baby dust. I mean, how creative is this?

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3) In Due Time necklace

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4) Fight Like a Cyster necklace

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5) To Fill My Nest necklace- This is one of my favorites!

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6) Thank You keychain- I plan on getting this for my doctor at G.R.S!

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7) This necklace is a perfect gift for any Cysters who do have children:

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8) And this is one that I absolutely LOVE, because it reminds me of the nature of our Savior, and it also brings to mind Ephesians 3:20, which is one of my favorite scriptures!

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When I reached out to Christina to ask her permission to feature some of her shop items, she went above and beyond by offering all of us a coupon code! So here you go, and HAPPY SHOPPING!

Coupon Code: WITHGREATEXPECTATION

(Valid through the end of January, for 10% off any item in her shop!)

If you see something you like in her shop, but want it tweaked a little, Christina can also do custom work. And if you like something in this blog post, but see that she no longer has it in the shop, just let her know which piece you want, and she will re-make it especially for you!

Now, if the pieces in her shop are not enough to tickle your gift-giving fancy (although I don’t know how that would be possible,) here are a few items from some other Etsy shops that I really like. These would also make really great gifts, either for the cyster in your life, or for yourself! A PCOS diagnosis, and the struggle of infertility that often accompanies it, can really take its toll. It can make you feel unwomanly, unattractive, and unworthy. Ultimately, those are feelings that only Christ can remedy, but buying yourself something pretty can provide a nice pick-me-up as well!

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If any of you decide to do any shopping, either in Christina’s shop, or in any of the others you see here, I’d love to know what piece (or which pieces) you pick!

And just a little spoiler: One of Christina’s pieces is going to be included in a February giveaway, along with some other really neat things that I am super excited about. If you want to stay in the loop, and get a quick reminder of when the giveaway is coming up, simply “like” With Great Expectation’s new Facebook page. 

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Guest Post: Respecting Your Husband When Life Gets Tough

If you’ve stuck around the blog long enough, you know I talk about my family a lot. Not just my husband and sweet girl, but also my parents and sister. I talk about them a lot because they are pretty spectacular, and because I miss them like crazy.

My sister recently started her own little blog, where she shares little DIY projects, FODMAP free recipes, and her adventures as a newlywed (she got married last March.)

Just for fun, I asked her to share a guest post with you all today, so without further ado, meet my sister, Avery:

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My name is Avery Long. The intention of my blog is to share my thoughts and ideas on juggling marriage, finances, faith, family, and friends in this life that I know is becoming more and more hectic for all of us by the second. If you’re like me none of these are easy tasks. I am learning as I go and I’m stoked about the thought of you all learning along with me!
Have you ever noticed how quickly families are put on the back burner when you’re facing a difficult situation? Have you ever noticed that usually it’s your husband who takes the brunt of that difficult situation? It is SO important to remember that we CHOSE him first. No matter how cruddy a situation is or how badly we are dreaming of brighter days, HE comes first. He has to.
How To Respect Your Husband When Life Gets Tough…
 
1. Tell him – YES! Tell him!!! Remind him daily, every single time you get frustrated with him… “Hey, I’m glad you’re here. I respect you so much for sticking by me through this.”
 
2. Welcome his affection – I know that sometimes my husband Brandon thinks I want touchy affection when I’m depressed or upset. IT’S THE LAST THING I WANT, but it’s not okay to reprimand his efforts. Welcoming his affection will help both of you to feel better in the long run.  
 
3. Welcome him home and/or see him off – Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in our own lives. It might be impossible with the craziness of different work schedules, but seeing him off or welcoming him home really helps bring the attention back to one another. 
 
4. Pack him snacks – My husband is ALWAYS hungry. I try to pack him healthy snacks for work every day. I always make sure to put a note inside. Sometimes it’s a love note, but usually it’s just a fun fact. He loves useless information. The point is just to make sure he knows I’m thinking about him and that I love him.
 
5. PRAY FOR HIM- Every time Brandon enters my mind I say a little prayer for him. Ruth Graham said, “Tell your mate the positive, and tell God the negative.” I think that’s such great advice. If I’m not careful I can be such a complainer. BRANDON DOESN’T NEED THAT! He needs to know that I love him and that I’m in his corner no matter what. There are exceptions to this rule, but they are very few and far between. PRAY PRAY PRAY for him!!!
 
6. Develop an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE! – In all things give thanks. Give thanks for your ups and give thanks for your downs. Give thanks for your husband. Give thanks that no matter your situation God is there, and so is your husband. No matter what you’re going through in life whether it be amazing or terrible, aren’t you glad you’re not alone?! PRAISE GOD FOR THAT DAILY! 
 
7. Make his dreams your dreams – Brandon has been with me through thick and thin. I mean, I’m not saying that I wear the pants in the family, but that boy would do just about anything for me. Sometimes I let myself get comfortable and used to it… Almost spoiled. LADIES!!! WE CAN’T DO THAT! What are HIS wants and needs?! We don’t get to forget about those. 
 
8. Praise him – Men need verbal affirmation… They just do. Every time you can squeeze in a complement, do so. Just a second ago Brandon was like, “Hey Babe, I’m at the gym.” I wanted to say, “Please don’t call me at work to tell me that.” Instead I said, “That’s great! I’m so proud of you! I’m swamped, do you mind if we talk later?” Not hard. Also, I didn’t hurt his feelings and that’s a bonus.
 
9. Ask his advice AND TAKE IT – Sometimes, just for fun, I ask Brandon to pick out my outfit for the next day. I mean, I have some say… I usually have two or three outfits picked out and he will choose between them. No matter what I WEAR THE ONE HE PICKS OUT! He loves it. It’s the weirdest thing. Am I capable of making small decisions like that on my own? Yes. Does it make him feel weirdly amazing? YES! 
 
10. Change the subject – My mom taught me this one. Sometimes when Brandon and I are in the middle of a knock-down-drag-out fight (you know, the kind that won’t end until YOU win)… Change the subject. It looks something like this… Usually I’m in tears and one or both of us are yelling.  (You know the kind of argument I’m talking about. Don’t act like you don’t… ) Now you say, “Hey, what’s for dinner?” or “Is that a new shirt?” ARGUMENT OVER! This works 100% of the time. If you were really talking about something serious, it’s probably best that you come back to it with cooler heads anyway…
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Weekend Chocolate Chip Cookies {PCOS Style & Paleo}

I absolutely could not have asked for a better weekend. I’m still kind of on cloud nine from it actually. My mom parents both came into town Thursday evening. My dad visited for just a couple hours before heading down to Florida for a golf tournament, but my mom stayed the entire weekend before returning home yesterday morning.

I love watching my parents with Bonnie; they are just so great with her. This is no surprise, since they’ve always been wonderful with their own, now grown children. But there is something so precious about watching Bonnie with them.

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Mom, Bonnie, and I went to my cousin’s wedding on Saturday, and were able to see family that we hadn’t seen in ages, which was so nice.

But most importantly, Bonnie showed off her new napping skills for my mom. I’ve been bragging on the progress Bonnie and I have made since we started sleep training, and I was excited for Bonnie to show off her new, big girl naps! I have to say, she did not disappoint. There were even several times I put Bonnie into her crib WIDE awake, and she put herself to sleep without a single tear or scream.

That makes me one proud mama.

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On Saturday night, Andrew and my mom, together, convinced me that Andrew and I should go out on a date after Bonnie went to bed. She was asleep by 6:45. (And for the record, she put herself to sleep after several minutes of rolling around in her crib. Not a single cry or scream involved.) Andrew and I left the house a little after 7:00, planning to see an 8:00 movie. Low and behold, the movie was sold out. So, believe it or not, we stayed out killing time until 9:30 (my normal bedtime) and went to a late showing. We did not get home until midnight. I seriously don’t even remember the last time I stayed out, or even awake, until midnight. We had such a blast together. But… it was SO hard leaving Bonnie. I couldn’t have left her with anyone besides my mom, but as hard as it was, it was such a special treat.

After my mom left on Sunday morning, Andrew, Bonnie, Biscuit, and I walked to the park. We pushed Bonnie in the swing and she absolutely ate it up. As I sat there, watching Andrew gently push her back and forth, it was all I could do not to tear up. We have a baby… a baby who is no longer a newborn, and who is growing more quickly than I thought possible. We have a baby who we took to the park to play today. I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve dreamed about that for so many years.

So thankful.

Would you like to know something else I am thankful for?

These chocolate chip cookies. AKA: A perfect ending to a wonderful weekend!

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I found the original recipe for these cookies here, but ended up tweaking it just a teensy bit. The end result is SO good, and even more so if eaten with a nice cup of hot tea.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 C. almond flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. melted coconut oil
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
1/2 c. unsweetened, shredded coconut

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients, and blend well. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving enough space between each cookie for spreading. Let them cook for about 7 minutes, maybe a little more or less depending on your oven.

Oh, and one more nice thing about this recipe… It tastes really good raw! And it contains no eggs, so you can eat it raw without thinking twice!

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Ocotea Essential Oil for PCOS

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I mentioned last week that I received Progessence Plus serum, EndoFlex, and Ocotea for Christmas. These three oils had been on my wish list for such a long time, and I was so excited to get home after the holidays and start using them!

I was especially excited about Ocotea essential oil, as it claims to help reduce blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. Some people even claim it helps tame their sugar cravings!

Yes, please.

If you have PCOS, chances are that, when you eat carbs, your blood sugar spikes, and insulin runs rampant, with nowhere to go. Insulin resistance is a big deal when you’re trying to balance your hormones and/or lose weight. And if not dealt with, it can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

No, thank you.

So…

What is Ocotea? 

It’s in the cinnamon spice family, and has a cinnamon/vanilla scent that is nice and subtle. It is thought to work with your body to stabilize your blood sugar levels whether they are too high or too low! There are other benefits to using this oil, but I am, of course, specifically focused on its benefits for PCOS.

How is it Used? 

You can put 1-2 drops of Ocotea under your tongue, 2-3 times per day. You can also add it to your hot tea if you prefer. I use one drop when I wake up in the morning, another after I eat lunch, and then another after I eat dinner. Since I do not monitor my blood sugar, I cannot say for certain whether or not it is helping. In the past, if I wait too long before eating breakfast in the morning I will get a little shaky, and I’ve noticed that doesn’t happen if I use the oil first thing in the morning.  My energy levels seems to be a bit more stable throughout the day. I don’t know if this is thanks to diet, Progessence Plus, or Ocotea. 

I’ve been using Ocotea for only about a week now, and have been happy with the differences I have noticed so far. Whereas the Progessence Plus takes several weeks before making a noticeable impact, the affect of the Ocotea is noticeable more immediately, which is really nice! The biggest issue I have with the Ocotea is the taste. Even though the smell is subtle, the taste is really strong. Initially it tastes like a Red Hot candy, but it leaves a lingering aftertaste that I really dislike. It’s not a deal breaker, but I wanted to mention it anyway, in an effort to be totally honest about my experience so far! (:

Ocotea During Fertility Treatments and/or During Pregnancy

Because Ocotea is one of the newer oils in the Young Living collection, there are no case studies showing the impact Ocotea may have on an unborn baby, or on a woman who is taking synthetic hormones (like birth control, etc.) If you are undergoing fertility treatments, you  should check with your R.E before using the oil, and if you’re pregnant, you would want to talk to your doctor before using any essential oils.

I hope this info is helpful to some of you. I know it can be really hard to navigate through different channels of PCOS management, especially if the diagnosis is new to you. It’s been years for me, and I still feel like I am learning so much all the time; constantly changing something: my diet (although I think I’ve finally found my niche there,) my supplements, and now my essential oils. Thank you all for hanging in there with me, and being patient with me as I learn.

If any of you have any personal experiences with Ocotea, Progessence Plus, or any other essential oils for PCOS, I’d love to hear your stories!

 

 

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Seven Months with Bonnie

“Now to the GOD who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we could ever ask or imagine through the power at work in us,”

-Ephesians 3:20, The Voice translation

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My daughter is seven months old today. And still there are some days when I cannot believe I have a daughter. On the days when I catch myself wondering and worrying over whether or not we’ll ever be able to have more children, all it takes is one glance Bonnie’s way and I remember that it doesn’t matter. I remember that God provides, and that His ways are profound, unusual, and extraordinary. I dare not anticipate what He might do next.

And each time I fret over how quickly time is passing, I am reminded of a quote I read once: “If you look closely, you’ll find that joy is in the spaces in-between.”

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Joy is in the right now. It’s in the spaces in-between the what was and the what will be. It’s not in the time that has already passed, and it’s not in whatever our lives might look like in the next few years. Bemoaning the past, and worrying or even looking forward to the future dimities the joy of right now. 

And right now is so good.

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Right now, Bonnie is sitting up, laughing, smiling, “talking,” playing, eating all kinds of foods, and occasionally even trying to eat her own toes. She likes books, but she’s far more interested in eating them than reading them. She loves, loves, loves bath time, and spends at least 20 or 30 minutes in the bath each evening. She brushes her teeth during her bath (all two of them) and really likes her new toothbrush.

Although Bonnie enjoys her bath, and brushing her teeth, her favorite part of her bedtime routine is eating! She’s still exclusively breastfed, apart from experimenting with whatever foods I eat and choose to share with her. I absolutely love breastfeeding (especially now that her short biting phase seems to be over, and my nipples are still miraculously in tact), and even though it makes me a little sad to think about weaning her, it has been SO fun seeing her taste new foods and flavors for the first time.

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I’ve only been a mom for seven months, and I’ve already made two big mistakes:

1) I never taught Bonnie how to take milk from a bottle. In the beginning, I was really diligent about this, but once she got the hang of it, I stopped practicing with her, simply because it was easier and more enjoyable just to nurse her. Before I knew it, she was refusing a bottle, and has not taken one since she was about two months old. Most of the time this is a non-issue, but there are certain times when it would be really helpful. For instance, there is a young moms’ group starting at our church soon, and I’d love to attend. But it runs from 9:30-11:30, and Bonnie ALWAYS eats at 10am, on the dot. Both Bonnie and the nursery worker would be up the creek without a paddle.

2) Until a couple week ago, I continuously let Bonnie nurse herself to sleep for naps and at bedtime. Now I am having to teach her to go to sleep on her own, without the help of sucking, and it has been so hard. So emotionally draining. And I know if it’s been emotionally draining for me, it has probably been even more so for her. I could go on and on about how discouraged I’ve been about her rough nap times. I was dreading them every single day. We are working through it, and she’s made HUGE strides. The past couple of days, her naps have been non-issues, and I am just so proud of her! I’m proud of me too, because sleep training, especially for naps, has been tough. But 100% worth it.

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So, already two mistakes in just seven months. And that is not including all of my little, day-to-day mistakes! Bonnie is gonna be lucky to make to adulthood in one piece with me as her mom! (:

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Grain free, Dairy Free PCOS Pantry

My pantry staples have gone through a lot of changes since I was diagnosed with PCOS a few years ago. PCOS is tricky, because there is no “one size cures all” diet. Everyone is different, which means there is A LOT of conflicting info out there regarding the “perfect” PCOS diet. I’ve finally learned that what works for one woman may just not work for another. And what works for that other woman might not work for another. Finding what works best for your body is a really personal journey, and one that takes lots of trial and error!

First, I tried eliminating gluten, then I added it back in with whole grains and other “healthy” grains. Then I eliminated gluten and dairy, but after noticing no lasting results, I welcomed them back into my diet. Finally in September of last year, after being inspired by a good friend, I eliminated all grains and most dairy from my diet.

For me, this was the golden ticket.

Since I am still nursing, I can’t yet speak to whether or not the change in diet has helped regulate my cycles (I still have not had a period since Bonnie was born 7 months ago, but I am hopeful that I will once I stop breastfeeding.) But I absolutely notice a difference in how my body feels.

My husband is finally coming around to the idea too, which makes avoiding grains and dairy so much easier.

Last time I opened my pantry to you all, I was still eating grains, so I thought today would be a good day to share my new staples.

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In the pantry:

  • Decaf coffee (and I even splurge by using real cream)
  • Hot tea (decaffeinated, and usually in the evenings before bed)
  • Walnuts and pecans (mostly for baking)
  • Cashews (for snacking)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Almond butter
  • Peanut butter (because Andrew can’t go a day without it)
  • Flax seed and chia seed
  • Dates
  • Unsweetened coconut
  • Honey
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Coconut oil
  • Spices, herbs, seasoning
  • Coconut flour
  • Almond flour

In the freezer:

  • Deer meat (lots of it, and we use it several times per week)
  • Organic chicken breast (usually bought in bulk from Costco)
  • Frozen bananas (for smoothies, and “milkshakes”)
  • Frozen fruit (also for smoothies)
  • Frozen veggies (mostly for use in homemade soup)
  • Frozen fish or shrimp (usually from Aldi)

In the fridge: 

  • Organic apples and pears (these are mostly for Bonnie to chew on)
  • Berries (usually blackberries and blueberries from Aldi)
  • Grapes (I eat them like candy if I have a sweet tooth)
  • Carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower (usually for steaming; sometimes for roasting)
  • Almond milk
  • Orange juice (for Andrew. I am not a big fan.)
  • Eggs, and LOTS of them
  • Mustard and mayo (I know I should stop buying mayo, but I’m not quite ready to cut my ties with it yet!)
  • Relish (for tuna salad, egg salad, etc.)
  • Real butter
  • Real cream for my coffee

 

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PCOS and My Daughter

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Research shows that daughters of moms with PCOS are more likely to have it than daughters of women without PCOS. No big surprise there.

And this may sound funny, but since I found out I was pregnant with Bonnie, I’ve prayed over her body, her health and her fertility constantly. If she wants to have a family one day, I want that for her too. And it would be really nice if she could have that without the heartache, loneliness, and depleted bank accounts that come along with fertility treatments!

As Bonnie’s mom, I know there are some practical steps I can take, in addition to being her prayer warrior, to help give her the best possible chance for fertility:

1) Feed her yummy, wholesome, unprocessed foods. Make sure they are always easily accessible so that her body will be well-nourished, and filled with good things rather than junk.

2) Teach her to make good food choices by cooking, baking, and eating with her!

3) Develop and maintain my own healthy relationship with food so that I can model that for her. This means learning to feed my body and my hunger, instead of my emotions. This means choosing foods that are going to heal and help my body, and eliminating foods that won’t.

4) Make physical activity a fun and regular part of each day. Right now, this means taking Bonnie for walks with me, but one day it will mean letting her walk or ride her bike, going for swims, playing at the park, playing ball outside with the dog.

5) Tell her daily how beautiful she is, and how cherished she is by me and by Christ. Speak God’s love and His truths to her constantly, so that she knows her worth lies in HIM, and not in the condition or appearance of her body, nor in the acceptance of others.

As Bonnie is getting older and becoming more and more alert and “grown up,” I am feeling the weight of responsibility as her mom more and more. First and foremost, I feel the weight of teaching her and talking to her about Jesus; of modeling for her the fruits of the Spirit by cultivating them in my own life; of teaching her to pray; of teaching her the ways of Christ when the ways of this world so contradict the heart of Christ.

But after all those things, I also feel the weight of raising a daughter with a healthy relationship with her body and with food. These are things I struggled with for years, and still do to a degree. And maybe all women do to some extent, but I sure would like to minimize that as much as possible. These have been such issues in my life, and I simply do not want that for her.

I don’t want her to be defined by any physical imperfection, and disease or syndrome, any shortcoming. We all have them, but we  are not in bondage to them if we are in Christ, because if the Son sets us free, we are FREE INDEED! (John 8:36)

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{Husband Approved} Paleo Banana Bread

After an usual couple of days with no running water, our water finally came back on late Friday night. We are still waiting on a plumber to come out so that we can get the issue resolved completely and permanently, but for now, we have water! And we’ve taken full advantage. We spent Saturday morning catching up on laundry, dishes, cleaning, cooking and baking. Baking banana bread, to be precise.

Banana bread is one of my favorite comfort foods. I love it for breakfast, a late-night snack, or even for lunch. I’ve tried so many recipes, from whole-grain, to gluten free, to grain free. And I’ve come across a few banana bread recipes that I like, and revisit occasionally. But until recently, I hadn’t found THE recipe… the go-to, no-fail, mouth watering banana bread recipe.

This recipe is special, because while it is sweet and decadent, it is also a nourishing treat that those of us with PCOS can eat without feeling like crap afterward. And it’s so easy, which is something I can’t say for other grain free baked treats. The hardest part is waiting for the bread to cook so that you can dig in.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 C. almond four
  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
  • 1/4 c. arrowroot starch
  • 2 Tbsp. flax meal
  • 1 C. unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. pecans, chopped

Method: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with butter. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a potato masher, and mash them up really well. Next, toss all remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix them well. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

If you don’t have shredded coconut, you can leave it out, but I’ve tried the bread both with and without it, and the coconut makes all the difference, in my opinion.

You wanna know another fun thing about this bread? Not only is it husband approved; it’s baby approved too!

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Change of Plans

“Oh Martha, Martha, you are so anxious and concerned about a million details, but really, only one thing matters…”

-Luke 10:41,42 The Voice translation

I’d planned on sharing a recipe today,after what I thought would be a relaxing day of cooking, baking, and cleaning yesterday, but life had other plans. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised. If God has taught me anything over the past four years, (and He’s taught me a lot) it has been that our plans are so fickle, especially when we are open to His movement in our lives. When we open our hearts to Christ, we open our lives to the unexpected. That’s the hard part of faith: relinquishing your plans and your will to that of Christ, and trusting that His ways are greater.

My timeline, and my entire agenda for my whole life have not come to pass as I had planned. Instead, I’ve had to surrender my ideas of the way I want things to be. I have to surrender them again and again and again, day after day. Because, day after day, my flesh gets in the way, and I try to reclaim my future. I worry over it, plan for it, and then worry some more, before remembering the One I serve, and the One I profess to trust with my whole life.

God is constantly reminding me that until my plans and my heart are wholly surrendered to Him, my planning is in vain.

I can do, and do, and do. I can plan, and plan, and plan. And nothing will ever be accomplished if my focus and my heart are not staked in HIM alone.

True dependence is not simply asking Me to bless what you have decided to do. It is coming to Me with an open mind and heart, inviting Me to plant My desires within you. I may infuse within you a dream that seems far beyond your reach. You know that in yourself you cannot achieve such a goal. Thus begins your journey of profound reliance on Me. It is a faith-walk, taken one step at a time…

Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

To be perfectly clear, nothing catastrophic has happened. We’re all fine and well. Our water is not working, possibly due to frozen pipes. I have this weird issue with leaving dirty dishes for too long. And since it is looking like our water could be out of commission for several days, I don’t want to dirty many dishes! (:

Thankfully, we have a few good friends nearby who are letting us use their water over the next however many days, so if my only complaint is that I can’t bake, well… life is pretty good.

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Quick DIY: Headband Organization

Before I proceed, can we all just sit back and admire these glittery clothespins? I mean, if these don’t make you want to sprinkle generous amounts of glitter onto everything in sight, I just don’t know what will.

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So, when I originally put Bonnie’s nursery together, I put Bonnie’s hair things in a pretty storage basket on a shelf in her closet. I like to keep clutter hidden. I like everything to have its place, and I like it to stay in its place unless it’s being used. I’d seen lots of cute ideas for headband storage, but I thought I wanted her hair things hidden away, and not creating eye clutter.

But finally, after six months of getting Bonnie dressed, I realized that having her hair things all tossed in a basket it just not practical. She has a lot of headbands, so every time I want one, I have to dump all the contents of the basket into her crib, or onto her floor or changing table. Then I have to find the one hair accessory I’m looking for, and then I have to put everything back into the basket. And then, of course, I have to put the basket back onto the shelf in the closet. And then I have to shut the door because I hate open closet doors.

All of this work is usually not worth it, and so Bonnie ends up leaving the house without a headband.

Something’s gotta give. I mean, life is too short not to wear headbands. Especially when you’re as bald as Bonnie is.

Hence, the white, glittery clothespins. And many thanks to the creative blogger from whom I borrowed this idea:

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I am kind of smitten with the final product. This little project was quick, easy, and almost free. I found the wood in my dad’s garage while we were visiting over Christmas. It had to be stained, which cost me $4 and about ten minutes. I also had to buy the glitter and clothespins, which came in at just under $5. So the total cost of the project was less than $10, and I could not be happier with the result.

Neither could Bonnie apparently:

bonster

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