Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My Baby's Turning One

photo credit//Ken Bruggeman
In one week my baby will be ONE. One. Year. Old. Can you imagine?? Where has this year gone?? I'm sort of in denial and also excited about her celebration. It's the strangest thing how it feels like it sneaked up on me as I was planning it the entire time. But it's here. It's inevitable. And I couldn't be more in love with my sweet baby girl.

photo credit//Ken Bruggeman
I'm finally getting around to making a book of the beautiful images we have from Violet's birth. At the suggestion of a photog friend, I'm using Blurb to make a hardbound book for us. But I'm also planning on making a paperback book using Artifact Uprising to give to the wonderful nurses at the hospital and also to my midwife. Artifact Uprising has a sweet {and free} mobile app that allows you to make amazing books from your phone. I really can't wait to try it out. I thought it would be nice to let my nurses and midwife see the images that were taken that day and also to see the beautiful little one-year-old girl that Violet has become. My doctors' walls are plastered with images of infants, but rarely do you see the older kids they become. So ever since I first looked at the images from Violet's birth, I knew this was what I wanted to do.

It has been so emotional and wonderful reminiscing on the magical day that Violet was born. I loved re-reading her birth story and remembering our day through the beautiful images Ken was able to capture for us. I'm so grateful to have them. And most of all, I'm so grateful to have her. She's the perfect addition to our family and we can't imagine life without her.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


This past Sunday, we picked out and chopped down our Christmas tree. Burke is now at an age where these adventures are exciting and he looks forward to these special moments with gusto. I loved being together as a family and watching him drink in the whole experience. He's at a very special age where events start becoming memories and he cracks me up every time he starts a sentence with "Mama, you remember…?" So many of the conversations between my hubby and me center around the traditions we want to start with our family. We talk about the traditions that were important to us over the years and talk about how we want to incorporate or change or make new ones with our kids. Traditions are important for so many reasons. They build relationship within our family. They foster identity and purpose and they give us reason to celebrate. And perhaps the most special part of traditions is that they give us cause to remember. As Burke was helping Ben string the lights on our tree last night, I overheard the sweetest thing. Ben was telling Burke about his grandparents whom Burke never had the opportunity to meet. And he was fondly recalling traditions and relationships and memories that he held close to his heart. And as he "helped" string the lights, Burke listened and absorbed and created a memory that will become a tradition.

What are some of the traditions your family shares?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Fall brings a lot of wonderful things, but it also brings on cold season. Last night was a reminder for us, as my husband and I took turns rocking our coughing little boy. Nothing breaks my heart more than his sweet little face twisted in discomfort and sorrow. So, today, I made elderberry syrup. It's been on my to-do list for a while now, and thankfully, I had just purchased some elderberries at Kramer's Spice Market at Central Market.

So before I share the recipe, I want to share the healing properties of each ingredient in this amazing syrup:
~ Elderberries are often used for their wonderful antioxidant properties that help boost the immune system in order to fight coughs, the flu as well as bacterial and viral infections.
~ The healing properties of raw honey are too numerous to list. Simply put, honey is considered a cure-all remedy for nearly everything. From burns to bones to immune systems, it works magic all around. For this recipe, however, raw honey boosts the antioxidant properties of the syrup and it helps stimulate the immune system to fight infections such as colds and other bacterial or viral infections.{NOTE: local raw honey is the best and can be found at your local farmers' market or health food store. If you cannot get local raw honey, make sure you purchase raw honey, as the integrity of the product has not been refined, removing all of the good healing properties.}
~ Cinnamon contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which help aid digestion as well as help raise the body temperature which combats breathing problems. As a result, it is an excellent addition to this syrup, as it helps fight coughs and colds.
~ Cloves contain both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory healing properties {among many others} that aid the effectiveness of this syrup.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup
~ 2 oz. dried elderberries {or 4 oz. fresh}
~ 4 cups water
~ 3/4 cup raw honey
~ 1 cinnamon stick
~ 1/2 Tbsp. ground cloves

Combine water and elderberries in a saucepan and bring to a boil {uncovered}. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes. Add cinnamon stick and cloves and stir to combine. Continue simmering, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes, or until reduced by about a third to half. Remove from heat and strain liquid into a bowl {I used cheesecloth}. Allow liquid to cool to about room temperature. Add honey and whisk to combine. Pour syrup into an airtight glass container and store in the fridge. It will keep for a few months in the refridgerator. Recommended dosage: 1/2-1 tsp every 2-3 hours for small children/toddlers at the onset of illness, continuing only for a few days {not more than 5}. For bigger children and adults, increase the dosage to 1/2-1 TBSP every 2-3 hours.

** Never give to infants under 1 year since it contains raw honey. And, as with anything, I encourage you to do your own research! This is an excellent source on the topic.

Friday, October 11, 2013


We all look forward to someday. It's natural and probably inevitable.  
Someday I'll be... 
Someday I'll have... 
Someday, when we have...then we'll... 
If I just had...then I could... Someday...
And looking forward to someday can be good. Really good. But not if it's limiting your today.

This is a lesson that has really penetrated my heart lately. Ben and I both realized that we were putting so much expectation in this someday that we weren't really living fully in the present. And the worst part is that we know what we were created to do and yet we were saving it for this someday event, as if we couldn't somehow begin right now. But the conviction to live fully present right now has spurred change. A change in our hearts and a change in our perspective and a change in our actions. And change is good. Really good.
For the past year-and-a-half or so, we've been saying that when we get our farm, then we'll have plenty of room to entertain. To have an open door. To do...and... We've always looked at our house with limitations. It's small. It's really small. And it has gotten smaller and smaller as our family has grown. But then it hit us hard. If we don't start now--if we don't steward well what we have right now--then we'll never do it when we have more. Think about it. How many times have you heard, "when I get a treadmill, then I'll finally lose weight" or "when I get my raise, then we'll be able to start saving money" and the list goes on and on. And when that someday comes, our sights are set elsewhere and following through doesn't always stick. We're always looking at some future event as solving all of the problems that currently face us rather than looking at the problems with a different perspective.
So we have decided that no matter what--no matter how small, how cluttered, how lived in our house may be--we are opening our doors now. It's an open invitation to anyone and everyone. If you are hungry, come and eat. If you are thirsty, come and drink. If you are tired, come and relax {as much as you can with two crazy kids wanting to play with you}. If you are lonely, come and find friendship. If you want a place for your kids to play, bring them over. If you just want to be nosey, you are welcome too! And if you want to buy our house, then you are definitely welcome!! We have been so blessed these past few weeks by the people who have come into our home to break bread with us. It is our pleasure, our desire and our destiny. And it feels so good to let the expectations of someday fade in importance and trade it for a richer today.
You can find us at 322 W Newton Ave., York, PA 17401. {But please, if you stop by between 12-3, don't use that lovely door knocker! Let's savor the sweet silence of sleeping babes!!!}

photo credits: Ken Bruggeman

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We've Got You Covered

I'm over on the new Central PA Kids blog today talking about Perrydell Farm, one of our favorite stomping grounds. 

So what's the Central PA Kids blog all about? It is your new resource to family fun throughout the region. My friend Lauren over at A Lovely Lark {everything she creates really is lovely, you should really check her out!!} wanted to give parents {and grandparents, aunts, uncles...} a fresh resource for family fun in our area.  She has invited me to be one of the contributors along with some other fabulous ladies. You can check out Meg's humorous (mis)adventures over at Oh, Bother! Blog and Emily's lovely life at Blueberry's Blog

Hop on over to read all about our trip to Perrydell Farm and make sure to like Central PA Kids on Facebook to stay up to date on all of the happenings around town. {You can check out the calendar here.} xoxo, Tabitha

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Violet Laine: 9 Month Snapshot

Mobile. Content. Happy. Noisy. These are the top words that describe our little beauty this month.

Mobile. She has {and continues to} amazed us over these past two months {I never got her 8 month snapshot posted} as she's gone from sitting, to crawling, to pulling herself up on everything and now to cruising. She seems to have so effortlessly mastered her body in such  a short amount of time. She's always so sure of herself--every step, reach or squat is planned and with purpose. Unlike her brother, she seems to have made peace with her limitations and is content with her progress.

Content. This girl embodies the word completely. Since my only experience is with Burke, I didn't know it was really possible for babies to entertain themselves and obey on the first "no". But it is! Violet loves to bee-bop around a room {usually the kitchen, since that's where I'm working}, babbling, standing, sitting, exploring. Just doing her thing. Whatever that may be. She can do this--without even playing with toys--for long periods of time which just amazes me. And if she gets near something she shouldn't, I just have to say "Violet, No." and she stops, looks at me, and goes on about her business. It's like it doesn't even cross her mind to go back to it or disobey. It's a wonderful thing and I'm so thankful for her sweet spirit. 

Happy. She has always been a happy baby, but there was quite a long period of time in which she would go crazy drama for anyone but her mama. I'm happy to report that she has now outgrown this stage and has the most adorable smile ready to flash on moments notice to anyone in sight. She got her top four teeth all at once this month and her smile has gotten only so much more beautiful! One of the most delightful little things she does is her sweet little wave. She loves to wave. To anyone, everyone, no one and nothing at all. I love to catch her caught up in her own little world and just waving, talking and loving life.

Noisy. The Woman loves to talk. Babble all the time. Almost as soon as I posted her last snapshot, she began saying "mama". This is how it went: she learned how to pull herself to standing in her pack and play and would cry "mamamamamama" in the most pathetically sad voice with her face smushed up against the mesh side. I told you, she's drama. Since then, it's evolved into a more lyrical tone and whether she's talking in syllables, nonsense or grunting, groaning {she cannot eat quietly!!}, chanting or blowing raspberries, she's a noisy little thing for sure! These are sounds that make me smile and I enjoy each one! {Thankfully my kids generally sleep through each others' noise}. 

She's started eating table food although she still doesn't eat enough to sustain her. But we're getting there!!! Still not a fan of sleeping through the night {or even napping much these days--I blame teeth}. And she and Burke adore each other more and more each day. The more she is able to do, the more fun she is for him. He loves to play with her and teach her. And he assures her when she's upset. They are such joy. I'm so glad to be their mama!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pumpkin Granola Bars

It's back and it's everywhere. Pinterest. Starbucks. From candles to bread to drinks to the pumpkin patch. Is it just me or is pumpkin super popular these days? Like pop culture popular. I feel like pumpkin has it's own style, and it's definitely a household name. For me, it's delicious and fragrant and taking up space in my freezer!!! So, in an effort to use up last year's stock and make room for some new stuff {my parent's pumpkins are always prolific so we end up freezing a TON!} I've been putting pumpkin in everything.

When I first made these pumpkin granola bars, I wasn't sure whether my hubby would be on board or not. He likes pumpkin but not pumpkin pie or pumpkin spice lattes or any of the other pumpkin goodness that I love. But I made them with him in mind, since now he's back at school and needing snacks to get him through the day. I also made them with Burke in mind, since he's at the age where he eats like a grazer. All day long. Little bits at a time. So I like to keep healthy snacks on hand for him as well.

Needless to say, these were a hit with everyone! They had a nice granola bar texture--soft and chewy, but not sticky or messy--and they were easy to eat on the run.

Healthy Pumpkin Granola Bars 
adapted from Oh Sweet Basil Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars 

4 cups quick oats
      1/2 cup coconut oil
     1/4 cup organic cane sugar or sucanat
     1/2 cup pumpkin puree
     1/2 cup honey
     1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
     1/2 teaspoon sea salt
     1/2 cup pepitas {pumpkin seeds}
     1/4 cup sunflower seeds
      1/4 cup flax seeds
        1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
      1 Tablespoon wheat germ 
      1 – 1 1/2 cups raisins

Heat the oven to 325 degrees and place parchment paper in a 9x13” baking dish
     In a large bowl, mix together the oats and coconut oil. Add the pumpkin, honey and sugar and mix thoroughly. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
      Press the mixture into the parchment-lined baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven  and press down on the granola bars using a spatula or large spoon. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely before cutting.

* Don’t have pumpkin pie spice? Make your own! Simply combine 4 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon, 4 teaspoons of each ground nutmeg and ground ginger and 3 teaspoons of ground allspice. {This will give you plenty of pumpkin pie spice for all of your Fall recipes!}

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!!

What are some of your favorite Fall foods, flavors and/or fragrances?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Violet's Dedication

This past Sunday we had Violet dedicated at our church. It's such a special moment in our parenting journey, because it's the point at which we corporately declare that this child is not our own, but God's. And we promise to steward her well throughout her childhood journey so that she grows up to know who she is and to know Jesus' love for her. And there's something powerful in such a corporate acknowledgement.

I love that our pastor walks her around the church for everyone to see. So often, we're scrambling in to the service late and rushing out to get home for naps that I feel like we miss seeing so many sweet faces. And the fact that our congregation also promises to help steward Violet and show her Jesus' love is so powerful and meaningful. Because raising a child takes so many more people and prayers than our own. There are so many influences on our children throughout their journey. Wouldn't it be amazing if each person loved your child and spoke hope, love and destiny over them at each meeting?!