The Beginning

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This all started in late October… Matt and I were being led to a decision that would excite us but also make us uncomfortable. We made the choice to sell the mobile home we are living in (to be moved off of our property) and buy a small cabin. We were made aware of these lofted cabins and started our research there. I had heard of tiny homes before (thank you Pinterest) but the portability of them just wasn’t of any interest to us. Matt and I literally spent DAYS researching our options, it was like piecing together puzzles from different resources to get the ultimate end result. I said so many times that I wished I could find ONE website where I could find the most inspiration for a lofted cabin design made into a home including a bedroom downstairs (the loft would also be a bedroom), a bath, laundry area, kitchen, and living area with ample space for playtime and working out. Yeah, nothing. Absolutely nowhere could I find this information. We found little things here and there, my Pinterest board is exploding at the seams, but much of what we are doing is not on the world wide web. So here I am, blogging. First let me start off by saying I not only suck at speaking even to my husband, for me to sit and write an informative blog is insane. Just ask Matt, my “love letters” are like those cards your 3 year old writes you on Valentines Day. So just keep that in mind when reading this🙂

I would first like to explain why we are calling our cabin  “The Chalet”. I love watching the show House Hunters International – and I love how some areas name their homes. Like someone names their cars (ahem… Matthew) I wanted a name for our home. When I brought it up to Matt, his first response was “The Chalet”. Our honeymoon was spent in Gatlinburg, and it was beautiful. We stayed in the cutest one bedroom cabin in the mountains and it was called The Getaway Chalet.

I present to you, The Chalet.

The first step to this process was deciding on size and floor plan. We initially decided on a 12×32 cabin, due to our budget. With further research we changed it to a 14×32 lofted cabin. Floor plan… oh man. The floor plan was ridiculous. You have to keep in mind where you want electric to be, where your plumbing is, how expensive it would be to run your plumbing, where you would watch tv, do you want a stand up shower or a tub, where will your windows go, how big do you want your loft to be, was it a good idea for the kids to share a room… Matt was amazing at drawing five thousand to-scale drawings for me. My brain doesn’t work like this, I almost grabbed a spray paint can and spray painted our layout outside in our yard so I could “walk” through it. I swear we changed our layout 100 times. As soon as Matt would finally feel comfortable with the layout he had, I would have a “better” idea (totally not better, usually it made NO sense). This caused tension between us, Matt’s desire to be the man of the house and choose the best plan for us conflicted with my obsession to make sure it was perfect. I was at fault… but as I am learning through this, EVERYTHING is a learning experience. My husband is awesome, he works SO hard❤ This is our final floor plan… (how stinking cool is this… Matt found the most awesome app to accomplish this!)

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The Loft – above the kids bedroom and bath
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Main Floor

 

I’m Baaack! With a Monthly Budget Meal Plan!

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(Disclaimer: geez, I just finished this post and it is ALOT of information. You have been warned.)

So, this past month I accomplished something I have only read about – I made and finished a monthly meal plan.

It doesn’t sound like that big of an accomplishment, unless you’ve actually tried. I have spent so many hours for the past 3 years (when we moved to Texas and I became a SAHM) researching and reading about once a month meal planning/cooking, and had full intentions of doing it pretty much every time I made our biweekly meal plan. I would get several hours into it, lose my mind, then make a two-week meal plan instead. *This consisted of many pieces of paper being thrown into the garbage… I’m sorry for the tree you once were, piece of paper.*

The motive: The company Matthew works for was bought out and they decided a couple of months ago they were switching pay weeks and we had two choices – they would deduct money from each paycheck until said date or we would get a half paycheck. There wasn’t enough time to prepare so we chose half paycheck. I budget like a crazy person so with some prepping, we were able to make it work. The only thing was I would have to meal plan for the entire month.

And here enters the monthly meal plan. Surprisingly, it only took me maybe half a day (with children interrupting) to make the plan itself. It did take going to three different stores and a day of prepping but it really wasn’t that bad, I ended up really enjoying it! *I totally thrive off of organization!*

I needed 19 dinners. Our family is not one that enjoys the same meal once a week, I’m all for cute themed nights but I tried it and lets just say “Taco Tuesdays” weren’t as fun as The Lego Movie made them out to be! I made sure we had a variety of meals and made a “tentative” plan each week but it has the ability to change. The only way you can control your budget and follow a meal plan is with PLANNING. You can do all the fancy couponing and such but if you do not plan and STICK TO IT, this will not work. *In case you want to know, I do not coupon. Blech…*

Okay, so here we go. I’m going to first list the meals as well as the link you can find the recipe. Then I will tell you how to prep exactly, and I will also include a shopping/price list. I am literally giving you everything you need to completely OWN this meal planning thing.

Dinners:

Southwest Salad

Buffalo Chicken Wraps served with chips

Fried Rice

Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • Basically just dump a can of drained corn, two cans of diced tomatoes, one can of Rotel, one can drained/rinsed black beans, 1/4 chopped onion, chicken, and some garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and garlic/onion powder into a crockpot with a liner (easy clean up) and cook on low for a few hours. It can also be cooked on the stovetop. Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream/greek yogurt!

Stir Fry

Tomato Basil Chicken

Chicken Avocado Soup

Mini Egg Pizzas (x3)

Paprika Chicken served over pasta (I used chicken thighs instead)

Black Bean Tacos (x2) I’ll talk about this more later but I made black beans instead of using cans

Taco Salad

  • Make it your own! We use romaine lettuce, ground beef, homemade taco seasoning, some corn, black beans, tomatoes, greek yogurt, salsa, chips, etc. Whatever we could find that sounds good in a taco salad🙂

Breakfast (x2) – this is whatever is best for you. Usually the staple items can make anything for breakfast!

Spaghetti (x3) – we make our own sauce. So saute some oil and garlic in a skillet then add a can of diced tomatoes (that have been slightly beaten in a blender), oregano, and basil and let it simmer a bit then make a hole in the middle and add red wine and just simmer until you’re ready to serve!

I have not included our plans for breakfast and lunch because that really has to do with your lifestyle. We almost always have leftovers for lunch so Matthew takes those, the kids will have peanut butter and honey sandwiches, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese (our favorite is Annie’s), or hot dogs. And for breakfast the kids prefer Rice Chex (or the Aldis brand of it), I have an egg or two, and some days we make 2-ingredient pancakes. Snacks are few and far between, we don’t really snack but when we need one it is fruit, I made some hummus (for me), and the kids enjoy a Twizzler or two if it was a good day.

Prep Day:

  1. Separate your chickens. These are the meals and “parts”, use your judgement. You know what your family prefers!
    • Chicken breasts: Southwest salad (2), tomato basil chicken (2)
    • Thicker pieces of meat (1c. each): chicken avocado soup, buffalo chicken wraps, stir fry
    • Shredded chicken (1c. each): fried rice, chicken tortilla soup
    • NOW… stick every bit of what is left into the crockpot (with a liner) and follow this recipe to make chicken broth.
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      Prepping the chicken… Ewwww

       

  2. Make, separate, and freeze black beans (I used this process)
  3. Cut up, separate, and freeze veggies (MAKE SURE YOU LABEL!)
    • red onion (1/2 onion portion for 2-black bean tacos)
    • onion (1/4 onion portion for 3-mini egg pizzas and 1-fried rice)
    • jalapeños (1 per bag for 2-black bean tacos)
    • avocados (I wouldn’t particularly recommend this method but the avocados weren’t cheap since they aren’t in season)
  4. To keep cilantro fresh for a month, stick them in a jar with water and cover with a baggie and stick in the fridge. That is literally it! Over a month later and it is just starting to wilt.

Various things you should know:

  • Make a meal plan board: it’s in your face, everyone can read it, and it takes the guess-work out of things. I have a grocery list section for obvious reasons but what I really want to point out here is 1. make sure you have a meal plan each week, even if you change it at least it is there and 2. have a “meals unused” list, that way if you aren’t feeling the meal listed that day you can choose from one of these.

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    My meal plan board and recipe cards
  • Make recipe cards: this sounds silly, but one way I can fail at planning is by not knowing how long a recipe takes or how I should prep. As seen in the picture, I pin the recipe cards for that week next to my meal plan board.
  • If you feel a meal needs a little “somethin somethin” make this easy and quick french bread. It’s awesome when you start dinner but really are craving more!
  • USE CROCKPOT LINERS! Too much? I’ve only mentioned it like 5 times, but for real meal prep is stressful and messy as it is but add these liners to the mix and you cut that stress in half! (okay, so not that dramatic but I said every time I used these liners how thankful I was that I had them).
  • We “make” our own taco seasoning. Basically chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper.
  • I make tortillas instead of buying them, it is more work but I love homemade tortillas!
  • This was A LOT of work, so please don’t hate me if I missed something. However, do feel free to message me or comment if I did and I would be happy to add it!

Now the shopping/price list. Like I said above, please don’t hate me if I missed something!

We are a month past this plan and I still cannot believe I did it! I actually want to do it again, after planning a meal plan for two weeks again I much prefer planning for the month. We were never without, I was usually able to substitute ingredients if I didn’t have them, and we ended the plan with two meals to spare (we had dinner at my family’s house more than planned). It was overwhelming at first, and to be honest I did freak out when we got that half paycheck. But God gave us an unexplainable peace and confidence. He gave me strength to get through this past month, to not lose my mind over finances, and to trust fully in Him. God came through in this, not my husband (even though he is pretty fantastic), not me, not our finances, God. I give Him the full credit for this achievement and I pray that this equips you to enjoy the same! I love y’all!image

 

We Completed the Whole30 in 14 Days (And A Note from Matthew)

Happy Mother's Day!
Happy Mother's Day!
Happy Mother’s Day!

I wanted to say “We failed at the Whole30, but it isn’t what you think” however my ingenious husband came up with the “We completed the Whole30 in 14 days.” Obviously that isn’t possible, finishing a 30 day detox in 14 days, so I wanted to explain why we feel we finished it.

Let me start off by saying, I did not fail or quit. This is incredibly important for you to know this. The last few days I have been dealing with the reasons of us ending our Whole30 early, and what the people closest to us would say. That is honestly what kept me from ending this earlier, I was no longer doing it for me and my health. I was doing it to prove that we could actually complete it regardless of what was said to us that it wasn’t possible. And that isn’t okay! My motivation should be for my goals not for those expecting us to fail. So no, I did not fail. And if you think we did fail, then you don’t understand why we did this.

My reason why from week one – “I just want the cravings to go away and to feel better”. On day 14, Matt and I talked about our past week and actually continuing the next 2 weeks. The past 2 weeks have been difficult, but as of day 14 our cravings were gone. The biggest issue with the Whole30 is we found ourselves starving because we didn’t have time to prepare food or just didn’t feel like eating anything we had. Yes we should prepare an entire week of food in Tupperware containers at the beginning of the week so we wouldn’t have this issue which doesn’t work for us… between sick kids, a tiny fridge, and a husband who works 6 days a week I just could not make this work.

So on the way home from church, Matt and I both had a peace about not continuing the Whole30. We will be cutting out sweets from our diet except for special occasions, limiting our starches/breads, limiting our dairy (not putting cheese on everything) and soda is completely off limits. My goal is to focus more on when I am hungry and eat at those times, not just because it is lunch time. And also stop eating when I am satisfied, not stuffed. We will also be making sure our portions look correct… which means more veggies (because we totally weren’t doing this before Whole30). Along with changing our diet long term, we will also go back to working out. I’ll be starting with Piyo and as soon as I find my 21 Day Fix workouts I will move on to that!🙂

If you are wanting to do the Whole30, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED. Please do it, because even though we didn’t technically finish it, it changed our living. No diet or magic drink would have done this for us, getting back to the basics is exactly what we had to do.

Now I want to end with this… lift each other up. Are we not in this life together? Why must we set each other up for failure, talk bad about our friends and family behind their backs, and be at the ready to say “I told you so”? My dad use to say to me, “If you cant say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. I mean really think about that… if you followed this rule, would you find yourself being silent?

“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29

I have been so guilty of always expecting the worst of people and gossip up until about a year ago when God convicted me. It didn’t happen overnight, I had to break habits that I had for years but over time it became more of a blessing to say positive words rather than negative words. I can honestly tell you it is more rewarding to speak life into someone in every occasion. Isn’t Christ so good, that He forgives even the worst of us? Focus on lifting each other up, even when it is the hardest thing to do. There is power in our words! Not only speaking into our lives, but speaking into others lives as well.

From Matt

I usually just let Cassie write her blogs and be a part of it from the side of proofing and adding my little tid bits. However I feel it is important for me to write some for this post. This detox, because I refuse to call it a diet, has been a challenge for me. I don’t diet… I make choices. I choose what I eat, and most days I’m pretty sure they’re good choices. I don’t eat a lot of junk: candy, soda, chips. I don’t eat an over abundance of food either… most of the time. However I have to admit that Whole30 proved me wrong. Chips not so much, not even soda, and I’d say not even candy. But junk, yes. I went into this detox because I knew I needed to back up my wife. I could have accomplished this from the sidelines, but I didn’t. I didn’t do this to change my outlook on how I eat, because I wasn’t that bad, was I? Well as it turns out, I have cravings… well had. Food these days are so full of junk. You would think making chicken wouldn’t be so blasted difficult when you start to watch what you eat, but you would be quite surprised. I think what this experience has taught me is to stop craving food. It’s time, at least for me, but I urge you to think about this too, to stop WANTING food. Eat food, heck, ENJOY eating food. But it shouldn’t be something that we have to have so much of. Our bodies are amazing, God designed a beautiful compilation of matter in you, and you will need food to sustain it. However HAVING to have that hamburger or pizza or even banana or apple is NOT sustaining, it’s indulging. God created us to want, but not food, not cigarettes, not alcohol, not video games, not money, not work. He created us to want Him. I have been encouraged by so many people in this small journey, I have also been bashed by so many people in this journey. This has been difficult, INCREDIBLY difficult at work for me due to people’s opinions. But I can honestly say that walking away from something like this certainly left me changed. I know it changed my wife, and I know it changed other people around me, even if they don’t think it did. My goal, is to do everything in honor of God. Did I do this diet to honor God? I don’t think it started out that way… not at all. But I can tell you it certainly ended that way. 

My Whole30 Journey – Week One

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On Monday we started the Whole30 Diet. I have gotten quite a few questions about it so for your sake and mine, I will blog through it!🙂 First, to explain the Whole30 Diet… this took me days to read about, totally not kidding. When I’m told I cant eat a certain food group, all of a sudden I can only remember the meals that have that food in it. So I spend hours looking up recipes that are approved when in all reality, you could easily grill a meat and eat a ton of veggies for every meal. Easy peasy, but unfortunately that’s not how I roll.

Everywhere I have read they tell you to read the book It Starts with Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig, the creators of Whole30. It probably is really beneficial, and having it in hand would be amazing so you actually KNOW what this program is all about, but we already almost doubled our grocery budget this paycheck so this hasn’t happened yet. One day I may read this (I have like 10 books accrued over the past 5 years I have yet to finish, so we will see on that).

So the rules:

  1. Eat REAL food… foods with very little ingredients lists and ingredients you can actually pronounce. AKA not processed (which happens to be like 85% of the grocery store).
  2. No sugar of any kind (only exception is naturally occurred sugar like in fruit).
  3. No alcohol… that means no wine😦
  4. No grains (this is Matt’s downfall).
  5. No legumes, basically all beans and all forms of soy.
  6. No dairy (this is mine… I drink milk every night and eat cheese often).
  7. No carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites.
  8. Don’t try to recreate goodies with “approved” ingredients… this one is tricky, and really if you are going to do the Whole30 Diet, just don’t sabotage yourself. If you love pancakes, don’t make the paleo pancakes. Your brain wont know the difference, and after 30 days you could easily slip back into your old ways. Now I will say I’m not a fan of regular pancakes, and have made paleo pancakes before and I love them so I took it upon myself to allow these sometimes for breakfast (plus the kids love them). I can only stress to you that this diet is of the mind as well, so don’t give into your cravings for a paleo brownie because you cant have the real thing. If you are going to do the Whole30 Diet, do it all out. It’s only 30 days.
  9. The program also requests you NOT step on the scale or take body measurements during the 30 days. You can do it before, and after, but not during. This is so you don’t get discouraged. I have not followed this very well…

Exceptions:

  • clarified butter or ghee: after a ton of reading, I figured out the problem with butter is the milk protein. They have a Butter Manifesto with all of the info (www.whole9life.com/butter). FYI I could not find ghee at Walmart, so I ordered it from Thrive Market (http://thrv.me/cq8aNQ < My link, I get $10 for sharing. Please sign up!)
  • Fruit juice as a sweetener.
  • Certain legumes: green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas.
  • Vinegar: just no added sugar.
  • Salt: so I found out that sugar is “chemically essential to keep the potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost”, therefore will be in salt.

*** I got all of this information from the Whole30 website… www.whole30.com. This website is GOLD and has so much information, and it’s hilarious as well. I love how they explain everything and pin humor into it.

Why we wanted to do the Whole30 Diet: several months ago I had heard about the diet but I was nursing at the time and ate EVERYTHING, I literally was hungry all of the time. Plus we were packing, building a cabin, living in my parent’s house, moving, and if anyone knows anything about dieting that stress makes you eat way more and crash hard. I didn’t want to set myself up for failure, so I wanted to wait until after JL’s first birthday when I was done nursing to start. I wanted to reset my body, after the past year of horrible food choices plus most of nutrients going to JL, my body and health needed this. I’m not looking for massive weight loss (it’s a plus but not a must), I just want the cravings to go away and to feel better. I’m looking forward to seeing the difference in several things after the 30 days… digestive issues, energy levels, skin, hair, allergies (Matt), cholesterol level, blood pressure. Another reason for me is to prove that it can be done, that you can eat a whole diet and not starve to death or deprive yourself. There is so much horribly nasty things that the food industry puts in the food we eat and give to our children, and what it does to our body is BAD. I recommend watching the documentary Fed Up, it was eye opening and disgusting. **If you have any documentaries you think would be good to watch regarding food, let me know!

Week 1 (April 27-May 3):

Day 1

Breakfast: eggs with tomatoes and spinach

Lunch: tuna salad (homemade mayo, apples, pickles) over spinach

Dinner: ground turkey sautéed with mango, jalapeno, and yellow pepper with sautéed potatoes (this was actually suppose to be tropical meatloaf, but I didn’t look at the coconut flakes we had in the pantry. They were sweetened, and that isn’t approved. So instead we just mixed all of the ingredients in the cast iron). IMG_20150427_192017629

Snack: carrots during the day, late night snack we made eggs.

How we feel: Matt was home so it was easy to plan out our meals for day one. Felt slightly hungry so ended up snacking on carrots all day. At about 10pm I had a horrible headache so Matt made us some eggs just to take the edge off.

Day 2

Breakfast: eggs with spinach

Lunch: tuna salad, 2 over easy eggs, on spinach. IMG_20150428_124533101

Dinner: sweet apple turkey patties (SO GOOD!), roasted asparagus, scrambled eggs. _20150428_205039

Snack: carrots, apple

How we feel: we both had a slight headache and felt hungry quite often today.

Day 3

Breakfast: paleo pancakes (this is 2 eggs and 1 banana blended together and then grilled like a normal pancake), cinnamon apples on top. IMG_20150429_073402257

Lunch: tuna salad and a sweet potato with cinnamon and raisins IMG_20150429_124202874

Dinner: grilled steaks, roasted brussel sprouts and potatoes and a garlic aioli sauce, and corn.

*** FYI just found out on day 7 that corn is considered a grain, woops! Strike one…

Snack: spinach salad with tomato and pickles with red vinegar and oil dressing.

How we feel: today was hard. We both had pretty bad body aches but we didn’t have as much hunger issues.

Day 4

Breakfast: 2 eggs with paleo pancakes (shared with JL).

Lunch: tuna salad, leftover brussel sprouts and potatoes with garlic aioli sauce, sautéed spinach.

Dinner: fajita salad with guacamole and salsa. Facebook-20150503-103822

Snack: spinach salad with raisins and tomato with red vinegar and oil dressing, apples, banana & almond butter.

How we feel: still pretty achy but not as tired as the past few days. Tonight was date night so we went to the movies. When on the Whole30 and on a budget, going out to eat really isn’t possible. So we made dinner, packaged it up, and ate it in the parking lot of the theater. We also brought apple slices to snack on at the movie to avoid the concessions. It was hard, and Matt and I both thought about all of the candy left on the floor of the theater and how we could totally pull an Elf moment here… but we stayed strong.🙂 And our ALMOND BUTTER AND GHEE CAME FROM THRIVE! I have never tried almond butter and it is pretty good, haven’t tried ghee yet.

Day 5

Breakfast: paleo pancakes with almond butter on top.

Lunch: used the leftover fajita mixture on top of spinach and added tomatoes. IMG_20150501_120235288

Dinner: marinated grilled chicken with sweet potato fries and green beans. IMG_20150501_182541344

Snack: apple slices with almond butter.

How we feel: a little tired today, really looking forward to week 2. For some reason I feel week 2 will be better.

Day 6

Breakfast: paleo pancakes (I know, I know I make these often. But it is super easy to whip up a batch and serve it to the kids as well and it doesn’t make a massive mess).

Lunch: Matt had leftover grilled chicken and sweet potatoes. I only had a small piece of chicken left and a few sweet potato fries so I cut a piece of steak in half (that we later ate for dinner) and sautéed it in the cast iron with the ghee (which btw is AWESOME!)

IMG_20150502_195658010_HDRDinner: we had our weekly dinner with my family and the theme was “bring a meat to grill and side to share” – so I made some squash and onions and then marinated steaks with balsamic vinegar, garlic, and parsley. Right before we grilled I rolled roasted asparagus in the steaks. It was great! It was very difficult to stay on course because all the other sides looked delicious not to mention the dessert… I kept saying to myself “IT IS ONLY 30 DAYS!”

Snack: I was running errands so I didn’t really snack. I drank a Lacroix sparkling water to hold me over until dinner.

How we feel: we felt okay, still hungry all of the time and Matt’s allergies flared up really bad and when you are sick and hungry, it just doesn’t make for a happy husband.

Day 7… I need to explain this day before you read further. Today is Sunday, and on Sundays we get up at 4:30am because we have to be at church by 6:45(ish) to setup (we love our church and are NOT complaining about getting up earlier… God blesses us each morning we go and serve, not to mention the beautiful smiles we see when we are there!). We had a late night before and didn’t really prep food, but discussed what we would make when we got up to eat on the way.

Breakfast: we had planned eggs… yeah we didn’t have enough (that stupid planning thing). And we were already running behind so Matt just packed a bunch of fruits. I had 2 bananas before 9am, and an apple at 11am. This is NOT how you eat on Whole30 I am warning you now. PLAN PLAN PLAN… and then plan some more.

download_20150503_223427Lunch: Matt prepped tuna salad to eat on the way home (this was at 1:30pm). I wasn’t feeling well seeing as I hadn’t eaten much food at all, I knew tuna salad wasn’t the best idea. I had a few carrots. I stopped at the store on the way home and then at 3pm we had our lunch which consisted of leftover steak from last night, a salad with red vinegar and oil, and strawberries.

Dinner: we totally made up our day with this… I made an Amish one pan ground turkey and cabbage. This is healthy southern comfort food right here and it was so good and so filling. The only thing I did to make it Whole30 compliant is use ghee instead of butter. Served with a glass of Lacroix and strawberries._20150503_192844

How we feel: today was the day I nearly quit. Let me tell you how much better my entire day would have been if I had eaten some chocolate glazed donuts and put creamer in my coffee, yes I totally believe it would’ve made a difference. I have no encouragement for you here other than this… it is only 30 days. And all of the people keeping me accountable (and they probably don’t even know it), I cant fail again. I cant fail a diet again, and I have so many people I want to prove that this CAN be done and SHOULD be done. I need to be healthy, and God totally affirmed this through the message at church. That will be a totally different blog that I will link here when finished!🙂

I didn’t put it above but what we have been drinking:

Water and coffee. For real, I’m over it. I asked an awesome Facebook group for first time Whole30-ers what else we can drink and got some feedback. So future weeks I’ll add on. And some advice with coffee, if you are a coffee snob like us you MUST get decent coffee because you don’t get to add yummy creamers to it. Basically you can add coconut milk (which is really watery), unrefined coconut oil (which is pretty good but I am pretty much coconut-ed out), and ghee (it’s called bulletproof coffee, haven’t tried it yet). We got Starbucks coffee, both regular and decaf. It was a splurge but worth, although I will probably get different coffee because I am not thrilled with the blend we got. Also we found out how awesome coffee tastes from the french press, so a large french press is on our wish list to buy (because ours only makes like 1 1/2 cups and that barely fills my coffee cup).

And to update the above I was told to get Lacroix sparkling water with natural flavors (make sure it does NOT have sugar in it). And I am in love, it is so good. So far I have had cran-raspberry and pineapple strawberry. I just bought the Dasani sparkling water (still no sugar) in the apple, lemon, and black cherry flavors – I havent tried them yet.

My thoughts on day 7:

Honestly, I was worried about the first 7 days and I had every right to be worried because it sucked royally but now that I have conquered the past 7 days… I SO HAVE THIS! I feel great, I am getting more and more comfortable with the rules and what to look for at the store or on a recipe, and Matt and I have both lost 9 lbs each (you arent suppose to weigh in on the Whole30 because it will discourage you… but I needed encouragement and for sure it was!). That’s probably not a good thing because that just SHOWS you how much processed garbage was in our system, but I’ll take it.🙂 I will be posting my week 2 meal plans and thoughts next week so keep checking in with me!

We are almost there…

First I want to start off by saying I AM SO SORRY for not updating throughout the past few months. I could list excuses galore but I’ll just stick with my apology, and tell you Jordan Lynn has this insane desire to sit in my lap if I’m near an electronic device.

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JL trying to write this blog post for me

I’m going to just briefly go over the projects we have done so far (that I can remember)… hopefully soon I’ll post a more detailed “how-to” on the bigger projects.

Plumbing is done! If there was one project that had us stumped over and over again, it was this. We had an awesome friend come and run all of the plumbing lines for us, Matt hooked up the drain system and relocated the septic system.

Drywall… I hate drywall. Everything about it. It’s heavy, must be perfect to look decent, and a two person job. I can honestly say this was my breaking point. This was where I was determined we would never live in this building, because there was no way we would ever finish the drywall portion. Well we did! It took 2 months but we did it! It certainly doesn’t look perfect (actually it looks horrible) but I totally don’t care. We made up our own texture using our hands, seriously. I used a high hide semi-gloss white paint, it’s very basic but until I decide the color pallet I’ll stick with white!🙂 Using this paint also allowed us not to have to prime the drywall… this paint adhered to the mud quite well and we only had to put one coat on (except a few places where the greenboard was).

Floors… we had an issue with one piece that was warped so we pulled it up and replaced it with one of the leftover pieces. We also walked around and nailed down the pieces that squeaked, and then sanded! We rented a sander and used a 60 grit then 120 grit. It only took an hour or so, and then we cleaned up the floors with a shop vac making sure to suck up any debris in cracks and then we painted! We used Behr Premium Porch and Patio Floor Paint in lustre, it was a light gray called Pacific Fog. After painting the floors and seeing it in different lights I wish we had gone darker (Matt was right about this – but the color was called Slate Gray and I thought it was too boring of a name). The paint is awesome, it filled cracks and went far, we only used a gallon and a half. A few pointers on painting your floors: use a lot of paint on your roller, it’s more efficient. Keep your phone with you at all times, because if you don’t youll end up leaving it in the windowsill of the bathroom and not realizing it until after you have painted the entire room, then you have to Spiderman crawl across the bathtub to get it.

Like this...
Like this…

Paint behind the doors before painting in front of them. And lastly, shut the windows before painting. Otherwise you will end up finishing, realizing the window is open and it’s suppose to rain and having to walk across wet paint (which is actually really slippery) and then retouching all those footprints. No matter how much research and planning you do on projects like this, you are bound to make some hilarious mistakes. We allowed 48 hours of dry time before walking around on it. We will probably have to touch up some areas just because of moving furniture.

You can sort of see the colors of the floors here
You can sort of see the colors of the floors here
The guys version of moving

Moving in! Matt’s dad and brother came to town from NC to visit and helped us a TON. The 2nd day they were here they moved everything out of storage and into the cabin. Our couch wouldn’t fit unfortunately so we will be using bean bag chairs until we get a smaller couch.

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Uncle Scott and Isaiah hanging out
Uncle Scott and Isaiah hanging out

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Grandpa and JL in front of the cabin
Grandpa and JL in front of the cabin

The shower walls we installed this past week. The problem we had with the conventional walls was our odd shape of our shower, we have shorter walls than normal and a half wall at the end. So considered using galvanized metal sheets but decided not to due to the difficulty and price. While we were talking to the Lowe’s people about our dilemma it hit me, vinyl flooring is waterproof! So we asked them, and they agreed with us (along with other research I did online). So we bought the vinyl sheeting and used the shower wall glue to attach it to the wall. We also used corner bead for the inside and outside corners and will caulk over those, the corner where the wall and ceiling meet, and the wall and the bathtub.

I finally got to do something I enjoyed and assembled the kitchen cabinets. We got them from Ikea and they were so easy to put together. And countertops went in today! They are beautiful and I love them. Matt and Steve cut the sink out and now we just need to attach the countertops to the counters and caulk between the wall and countertop and then cut the holes for our awesome faucet.

And then the basic – toilet, water heater, lighting, faucets, washer and dryer stacked.

What we have LEFT (feels soooo good to say that now): kitchen faucet needs to be installed (I cannot wait for yall to see this thing), unpack, trim, door and window frames, pantry shelving, and hang curtains. And of course clean the mess out of this place… we of course had rain this past week so our floors are muddy (yuck!).

This has been an incredibly difficult journey for us. It has been overwhelmingly amazing and we have seen God’s blessing pour over us but that also comes with its trials. I prefer to put on an ‘easy going’ demeanor when im in public, but the truth is I’m totally loosing control. I have debated over what’s better – look like I have it under control and that way people don’t pay attention to me, or be a complete mess and everyone know. If I’m going to be noticed, I want it to be because I’m a light, not because I’m crying my eyeballs out in the corner. I don’t know what is better, I have no answer or amazing insight to this. I’m not at the end of my journey. I’m asking God for peace, that’s all I want. Peace to tell me we are doing okay, we are where we should be doing what He wants us to do. I find His peace more during worship, I long to be in a constant state of worship. But we tend to get so busy, our day is filled to the top that we don’t stop to praise our Maker. I’m changing this, I want to worship in the car on my way to the grocery store, worship when I’m doing laundry, worship when I’m trying to find the words to write this blog. Not only just worship when we are at church on Sunday morning, and that’s if JL isnt freaking out in nursery.

I have been reading through Romans, and this stood out to me:

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scripture says, ‘For Your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loves us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

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Please continue to pray for our family. We are nearing the end of this journey, of actually enjoying God’s blessing and promise for us. And we know the enemy will be fighting even harder than he has.

Thank you for all of the prayers, the text messages, the phone calls we have received. The pouring out of help and love is overwhelming and I all too often feeling unworthy of such amazing friends and family. We love you guys so much.

You Were Made to Belong – and how I didnt believe it

I have spent the past month writing a post about belonging. It stemmed from a really dark moment for me – I had a rough morning at church, the enemy had planted words of alienation in my head all day, and every look planted even more seeds that grew huge weeds covering every smile I saw and encouraging word I heard. I was walking out of the building with the stroller and my two kids so I could sit in the car waiting for my husband because I could NOT handle my surroundings any longer. I knew I couldn’t hold back tears any longer. I probably had some amazing blessing from God waiting for me that day, but I gave that up and instead let the enemy continue to do his dirty work.

I had every intention of posting what I had previously written, that took me a month to complete, and I had actually pulled it up to do so yesterday but got side tracked by JL. What changed my mind? Well, first off let me say having “quiet time” doesn’t happen when you have a 10 month old who wont leave your side. This morning just happened to be decent so I popped in headphones and turned on one of our church’s first podcasts that I hadn’t heard yet, just at random. It was called “I Was Made for This”. And I realized, I am made on purpose for a purpose. I came back to my post, deleted the entire thing, and began this.

I have struggled my entire life with conforming. I have never been skinny enough, funny enough, patient enough, clever enough, loud enough, pretty enough, smart enough. I can’t sing, trying to carry on a conversation is difficult much less speaking in front of a crowd, I don’t feel my faith is large. I beat myself up on the inside for who I am, because it is never enough. Regardless of what people tell me – I mean, for real y’all, my husband tells me EVERYDAY how beautiful I am, how amazing I am, he laughs at my jokes (that’s saying something)… and still I feel insufficient. I get it, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” but that didn’t pertain to me. Until I heard this message and read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26:

“12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. 14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? 18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.”

What I do is important. Others may not think so, heck I don’t think so, but I am. Because God made me, and if He made me this way who am I to argue? I still havent figured out why He made me awkward and tongue-tied when I have such strong passions for real issues but that’ll be my focus rather than trying to change. One day I’ll know what my spiritual gift is and I’ll find an awesome place for my heart in the church. But until then, I will seek Him.

Hello, my name is Cassie and I belong. You need me, just as much as I need you. I may only be a pinky finger in the body of Christ but without me it wouldn’t be a body.

Here is the podcast – I highly recommend listening to it! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-church-royse-city/id969458963

The REALLY LONG update

Our little helpers

We have been SO busy the last few weeks, and living in a camper has made it difficult to take moments aside to update you guys. This post alone has taken a week! I broke it down for ya’ll, but if you want to bypass the updates the important stuff is at the end🙂

First, I had to plan. Ya’ll are going to laugh when you see this. For some reason I thought that going through and measuring each, I don’t know what you call it… center… so I could calculate how much insulation we need. Matt got me this amazing Windows Surface Pro tablet for Christmas and you can DRAW notes (which for someone like me obsessed with paper notes, this is gold!). I suppose it helped me wrap my brain around it, but it probably wasn’t needed.

Measuring the walls
Measuring the walls

We knew the walls were 24 on center, which actually was only maybe 50% of them because of windows and doors there were more support on those ends. We bought 3 packages of R-13 insulation (11 packs each of 23″ wide and 93′ long). I was feeling especially productive one day and decided to load both kids into our Xterra and drive to Lowe’s to get the insulation instead of waiting for Matt to get home from work. Haha, first off let me say there is NO WAY I could have loaded these while babywearing. Second, there is no way it would have fit in the Xterra. Oh well, we went to Chickfila instead🙂 We borrowed the truck and went back out when Matt got home. Also, my parents had 2 packages of R-13 rolls that were 15″ and 32′ long that we used for the smaller spaces.

January 13th

Insulation day – I would rather go to the dentist. Now, we have to remember I am not a DIY kind of person. I have never dealt with insulation. The only time I have come close to the stuff is when I was a kid, and we were walking down the aisle and I was fascinated with the “pink stuff” which funny enough has a cute pink panther on it (horrible advertisement). I went to touch the stuff and my mom yelled “STOP! That stuff will make you itch!” And I have been petrified to touch it ever since. But today I had to step up – I wore a long sleeve shirt tucked in, a hoodie, jeans, socks, tennis shoes, a baseball cap, and winter gloves (I don’t have work gloves).

Insulation day giddup
Insulation day giddup

My Grandma and Papa Tom helped, and I am so glad they did because there is no way I would have gotten this done in a day without extra hands. First off I had no clue how to install the stuff, I googled it and found some helpful info. Like split the insulation and put half behind wiring and the other half on top so it didn’t bulge out (by the way, you get COVERED in insulation when you do this, but it is genius!). We had invested in a compressor and nail guns (black Friday!!!!) and it is the best thing ever. I got to use the staple gun for the insulation. IT WAS AWESOME! The hardest parts to insulate were the breaker box and the laundry hookup.

And by the way, the best way to deal with stupid situations is to laugh. Im not kidding, do it. I sent Matt a picture of the laundry hookup saying “Ugh I’m not looking forward to this…” It took me 30 minutes, no joke, THIRTY MINUTES to insulate it. 45 minutes later I get a text back, “Don’t do that one yet…. We have to move it over one.” Hahahahaha, oh man. Really, that happened.

5 hours later and we finally finished it… well most of it. We only did the walls… the ceilings are going to be a Matt thing. I’m not even tall enough on a ladder and we are still deciding what we want to use. I went to my mom’s house, she had done ALL of my laundry so I had fresh clothes to change into after I washed all of the insulation off of me. I am literally so blessed with all of the help we have gotten.

January 14th

We had bought vinyl wood planks back in November, it was a really great deal and I loved the color. Well, when we got the cabin on our property I realized the company had not insulated the floors like we had requested. Now when they insulate they floors, they lay the subfloor down then the double bubble insulation then another layer of plywood. When we brought it up to the company, they gave us a massive role of insulation to put down and said that we could just lay the wood planks on top of that. I didn’t have a good feeling about this, I just envisioned us laying down the double bubble then the wood planks and then lets say put the fridge in and the wood floors lifting around it. So my brain starts going – I loaded like 5,000 lbs of flooring into the car and returned it to the store.

Taking flooring back!
Taking flooring back!

Last year I came upon painted plywood floors. IT’S ON! My Pinterest board blew up. Painting plywood, plywood planks, color schemes, best floor paint, poly, sanding, staining. I’m way more excited about these floors than vinyl flooring!

January 17th

I just need to feel like I am accomplishing something… so today I cleaned the cabin. Literally organized the massive chaos and swept the floors. I wish I had taken a picture of Matt’s face when he got home… he is so sweet, he smiled even though I could tell I had just organized his chaos. We are good for eachother🙂

Cleaning up chaos!
Cleaning up chaos!

January 19th

Matt is off for a few days, and we are buying our plywood! Matt spent quite a bit of time planning out how many sheets we need and how we want them cut.

He is so smart... and sexy :)
He is so smart… and sexy🙂

Did you know Home Depot will cut wood for you? They said over 3 cuts they charge .50 a cut, umm hello that saves like two hours! I’ll pay it! We needed 17 sheets, each cut in half. Our planks are larger than a typical farmhouse plank but we love it. So just to put it out there, it took forever to finally decide and here is why:

OSB – it is cheaper. However to save you from the research, it doesn’t cut well and it is a pain to paint because it soaks it all up. You have to buy more paint which you might as well spend more and get the plywood.

Cedar lap siding – we were cruising through the aisles and I stopped at this stuff. It looks pretty cool, and it would only cost a little more. I cant find anyone on the internet who used lap siding for flooring, and I don’t have the room in my budget to make a $500 mistake. I have no clue what kind of paint you should use or if you can even paint it.

Plywood – did you know there is 1000 kinds of plywood? Im kidding, but for an analytical mind like mine trying to figure out thickness, length, and type it was overwhelming.

We chose 15/32 in. 4×8 plywood sheathing for $19.45 a piece.

Taking the plywood to get cut
Taking the plywood to get cut

So while Home Depot cut the pieces we checked out paint. Ya’ll, I don’t know a thing about paint (I really do know stuff, but this whole cabin project has proved that I don’t know anything). So long story short (and tons of research on staining, floor paint, exterior paint, and poly) we chose Behr Premium Porch & Patio Paint and the paint is called Pacific Fog (Matt liked the Silver Gray… but ya’ll come on, how cool is the name Pacific Fog!?). We bought two gallons, I only plan on painting one or maybe two coats. I decided if I don’t like the finish, I can always poly over it.

Our little helpers
Our little helpers

So that is enough of flooring today – the rest of the day Matt and a good friend of ours, Larry, finished running electrical and moved the main line from the mobile home to the cabin breaker box. Watching them do this was exhausting. I had no clue that wire was SO HEAVY. We are so incredibly thankful for his help! While they did this, I started sanding the “printed” parts of the flooring – you know where they stamp the wood to show what it is. Well I started sanding one and holy cow, it makes the wood so smooth! So then I decided I would sand the entire piece. I kicked myself the entire time, why I just couldn’t be okay with rough wood!!?? (Im kidding, it is going to be so much easier to paint) Well nearly 4 hours later and I had only sanded 10 pieces, TEN!! While taking a break, I was looking through the articles about plywood floors and noticed one where they were using a floor sander… duh. Ya’ll, just do this. It only costs like $40 for 4 hours to rent a floor sander from Home Depot and well worth it. So we are going to lay the floors down, and then sand the floors.

January 20th

Today Matt and I relocated/reframed the doors to the kids room and bathroom and built the fridge/closet thing (I have got to figure out what to call this). It has been a LONG time since I hammered anything and today I hammered way more than I preferred. Matt was a beast, he did most of the hammering. And of all the cuts and measuring, he did not make ONE single mistake. He is awesome. We had to run to Lowe’s again to grab a few more GFIs and outdoor lights (we have to get them installed before we put drywall up). I also found my dream kitchen faucet, but that’ll be another post when it gets installed.

Fueling up with Shakeology after hammering!
Fueling up with Shakeology after hammering!

January 23rd-26th

Matt had these days off, yay! Friends helped us on Saturday, and we are so extremely thankful for not only their help but also fellowship. It was a fun day! All electrical is DONE (except the water heater). Matt focused on plumbing, and has gotten most of the drain system done and he got the Clearstream (septic system) moved and installed including pipes and electrical. I dug a hole for the septic system (well… our dog, Starr, did. I just held a mirror reflecting the sun on the dirt and Starr dug it for me!)

Starr chasing the light
Starr chasing the light
All done! (and still looking for the light!)
All done! (and still looking for the light!)

I managed to get maybe two sheets of drywall up – I cant use a drill to save my life. We got all of the floors installed minus one strip in the kitchen area. I got one piece of insulation in the ceiling and quickly realized this is a two person job, and gravity definitely wasn’t that other person. We also had 4 of our goats deliver and we have 5 or 6 getting ready to. And the mobile home should be gone in the next week, which gives us like an hour extra of sunlight (the mobile home blocks the sun as it sets).

What we are focusing on now: PLUMBING. PLUMBING. PLUMBING. We have to get the drain finished, and the hot and cold water lines ran inside. I don’t know anything about plumbing, but im pretty sure that’s all we have left. Our biggest project after that is drywall. We considered hiring this out but it isnt fitting in the budget. Still thinking we may hire out drywalling the ceilings. After drywall is up we can sand the floors, paint floors and walls, and move in! (basically all the other things left are details and we can do it while we are in the cabin)

What God is showing us: our marriage is awesome. And that one day we spent framing walls and building shelves we had more fun than we have had in a long time. When we were slamming hammers into our thumbs, running into exposed nails, and jamming our hands into doors, we laughed and hugged and kissed. Who knew building a cabin would bring us closer? We have every reason to be at eachothers throats, but we CHOOSE not to. You don’t have to let your situations determine your attitude, you CHOOSE to let your situations determine your attitude. CHOOSE to have fun when everything is going wrong, choose to smile when you have a reason to cry, choose joy!🙂

Provision – God has provided exceedingly abundantly more than we ever imagined. We have learned not to put God in a box, He is bigger than our finances!

And not to worry… our pastor spoke an incredible message and I was moved to tears in the middle of it (listen to it here! http://www.thechurchrc.com/podcast/ It is titled “I am so ready to tell this story”). When we worry, we loose all faith and basically take the control out of God’s hands. It is prideful, we decide we could handle the situation better. I love this verse – “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7. Let go of worry and just dig into the Word. It is way easier to say this than do it, and everytime I feel that pit in my stomach I tell myself to stop worrying and just pray, “Lord, I’m sorry for my worry. You are in control, I let go.” I probably do this several times a day, but one day I hope my faith will be larger and I wont need to remember to not worry. It will just BE.

I’m sitting here finishing up this post, and JL is crawling around the floor with her cup in her mouth (no hands) and she is cracking up and Isaiah is acting out the moving Planes with his cars while quoting Tim Hawkins at the same time. Being a mom is so stressful, it is a huge weight that I am blessed with if that makes any sense. We tend to get so wrapped up in fixing bad behavior and trying to teach our kids to be acceptable, we forget to enjoy the stage they are in. My son will be 4 years old tomorrow. He isnt a toddler anymore. He starts pre-K next year, next Sunday he will be in the Kid’s ministry instead of Tiny Walkers. He doesn’t want to cuddle anymore, he can get himself dressed, he can feed himself. JL is talking, she is crawling, standing on her own, she can eat finger foods. Soon she will be one year old, walking, and no longer breastfeeding. As much as I would love to sleep through the night, or have some peace and quiet, one day I will long for Isaiah’s stand up routines (copying Tim Hawkins) and JL breastfeeding. I will enjoy these moments as much as I can, because one day… they will be gone.

My loves
My loves

Oh My Goodness, the ball is rolling!

Our view from the camper. I love how the cold makes the sky so clear.

I wouldn’t say this is much of an update, but a declaration. This week began on a very uneasy note, and after much frustration we have transitioned.

Let me start off by letting you know Matt and I are a part of an amazing church, and to really start off the year 2015, our team was asked to fast for 21 days and focus on the goals we have for our church and family. We both chose something we felt God was calling us away from to focus on Him. Mine is sweets, seems like a cop-out but it isn’t. I’m such a sucker for sweets, and I am an emotional eater. And lets just say I’m emotional 99% of the time🙂 This kind of moved into anything sweet, not just candy/cake. So coffee creamer, most condiments/dressing, and sweet tea. Matt chose Facebook and any drinks except water (I don’t know how he is doing this. Coffee is my LIFE). Why is this important? One of our goals for this 21 day span would be that God would instill patience in our lives. With all of the stress we have, I tend to let it build until an atomic bomb goes off from all of the pressure.

*So this just happened… JL is taking a nap, and Isaiah knows he needs to be quiet (which is KILLING him). He sees me focused on my computer, typing. So he brings all of his stuffed animals under the table into the seat next to me. I keep telling him “Shhh”, because I know what’s about to happen. So he climbs up and bumps his knee of the table which makes a really loud noise. I looked at him with my “Mommy eyes” and told him “Shhh” AGAIN and that if he can’t be quiet he will read in his bed until JL wakes up. So I go back to typing that last sentence and he kisses my shoulder. It’s like God knew I needed some love. Isaiah is still being noisy, not meaning to but literally stepping on EVERY loud toy in this camper, but he is cute.*

Now with a fast, you dig into God’s Word. I am not good at this, I can’t just throw my Bible open and start reading. I need a guide, a study otherwise I don’t get ANYTHING out of it. On day two of the fast, I decided I would read a book by the amazing Lisa Bevere called “Be Angry But Don’t Blow It”. I had started the book a few years ago but never finished it. I thought this would be an awesome study and my goal was to have it finished by the end of the month (which is a big deal, I don’t read books). I read like 4 chapters by Noon, which is important because I get a phone call from Matt. Long story short he was being attacked by the enemy (which is so weird, because it is usually me… I’m a pretty easy target). So after he talked it out a bit, I read him several pieces from these 4 chapters I had just read. And it was EXACTLY what he needed. *How awesome it is that God gives you a partner, and when you are down that person is up. And when they are down, you are up!?*

It is no coincidence that our patience is being tested just two days into this fast. God is going to be doing something AMAZING in this 21 days, and there’s your proof. The enemy doesn’t attack when God isn’t present.

“‘Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!’ Hezekiah’s words greatly encouraged the people.” 2 Chronicles 32:7-8

Our view from the camper. I love how the cold makes the sky so clear.
Our view from the camper. I love how the cold makes the sky so clear.

It is cold here. They have been calling for freezing rain, sleet, and snow for the past two days. There was a front coming from the south with torrential rain and then a front from the north bring freezing cold temperatures. The weather people knew where it collided it would be ridiculous, they just didn’t know exactly where. Well God is awesome and it didn’t hit here. So it is just cold… and windy. It is supposed to rain Saturday and might freeze overnight but praying for God to change that too.

Tonight our friend is coming to walk through the cabin with Matt to map out plumbing. I am going to be measuring out the walls to get insulation at least in two walls (that don’t have any plumbing lines) and also drywall. I’m in the process of researching possible alternatives to drywall, that will be cost-effective as well as durable enough. Even if we do go for drywall I want to know I did all the research I could to make the best decision. We have maybe two and half weeks to get everything in the cabin done and moved in (ahhh!). Matt is working overtime still, and is off this Sunday and then 3 days the week of the 19th off. We need massive prayers for God’s presence to be surrounding us at all times, and His hand on this so we are supernaturally productive. I am so thankful for everyone’s help and prayers so far. Ya’ll are so awesome.

Camper living: it’s fun(ny). We are teaching Isaiah to share his toys and JL’s (yes, he gets upset if JL plays with her toy that he was playing with) since they don’t have separate play spaces, JL isn’t sleeping but an hour at a time so she normally ends up in our bed by 3am (not sure why, it may be a growth spurt or she isn’t comfortable in the pack’n’play), I feel like I am cleaning most of the time however it only takes me a few minutes to clean everything so it works out, and because it is cold outside the milk in the fridge is extremely cold which is my FAVORITE!

My view this morning from our bed in the camper.
My view this morning from our bed in the camper.

Tonight was suppose to be date night, but we wanted to make sure we could map out the plumbing so we rescheduled it for tomorrow night. We are double dating with my parents and will be going to play pool. Can I just say how I have looked forward to playing pool with my parents? They have always played pool, that’s actually how my dad proposed. I’m officially a grow up🙂 We will also be watching the game… GO PANTHERS!

I am going to try to update next week, there will be tons to update and tons of pictures to post!