Life in Lape Haven

Author - Kishona

Tried It Tuesday: How to Dye Dry Pasta

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Dye Dry Pasta. Colored pasta noodles are great for kids' crafts, art projects, and sensory bins. Here is how I dyed dry pasta using food coloring for our vacation Bible school Maker Fun Factory and the tips I learned through the experience.

This year our church’s Vacation Bible School was one of my favorite themes ever.

“Maker Fun Factory” was a very hands-on curriculum all about how we’ve been “created by God and built for a purpose.” Throughout the week, the kids were encouraged to be creative and inventive as they learned Bible points and stories focused on knowing God has a plan for each of us. 

As a member of the VBS Preschool Team, I helped in the planning and preparations, and in the process I got to try out something I’ve wanted to do with my boys for a while: DYING DRY PASTA.

(And I got to try it out thoroughly as I dyed 6 boxes worth of pasta! :))

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Dye Dry Pasta. Colored pasta noodles are great for kids' crafts, art projects, and sensory bins. Here is how I dyed dry pasta using food coloring and the tips I learned through the experience.

This dyed pasta was used for crafts, such as bracelets and picture frames and robot decorations, but you can also use the pasta for fun sensory bins or boxes, too. And while we only needed wheel-shapes that mimicked gears for our Maker Fun Factory theme, you can dye any size or shape of pasta that you want, all with this same simple technique.

Having never dyed pasta before I volunteered to do it, I had to get my Pinterest research on, and then make sure that I didn’t mess it up.

What I found was that there are lots of pins about dying pasta, but not many of them give you very specific details on how to do it. So, as I was undertaking this task, I made sure to get the details for you. (You’re welcome.)

HOW TO DYE DRY PASTA
What You Need:

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - How to Dye Dry Pasta. Colored pasta noodles are great for kids' crafts, art projects, and sensory bins. Here is how I dyed dry pasta using food coloring for our vacation Bible school Maker Fun Factory and the tips I learned through the experience.

Pasta – As I mentioned, you can use any type, size, or shape of pasta. Larger pasta noodles might require a little more liquid & coloring, though.

Food Coloring – For ours, I did 9 (yes, 9) different colors. We had a rainbow of options. I used your standard food colorings of red, yellow, blue, and green, in addition to the neon options of bright pink, purple, teal, and neon green. Then I also combined red & yellow for a fun orange.

Distilled Vinegar – You can also use Rubbing Alcohol, but since little kids like to put things in their mouths, I went with vinegar.

Plastic zip-top bags – Since I was going to be making so many batches of pasta, I designated a bag for each color. If you are only doing a few, you could try to use one bag for similar colors (For example, do yellow, then orange).

Baking sheets or trays – You’ll need to let the pasta dry after you dye it, so make sure you have enough trays ready to spread out the pasta.

Parchment paper or wax paper (optional) – You can line your baking sheets with parchment or wax paper. This just helps with clean up and transferring the dried, dyed pasta into storage bags.

 

What You Do:

1.  Mix Up Your Coloring.

Put 2 Tbsp. of Vinegar into you zip-top bag. *TIP: I used our napkin holder to support the bag so it was easier to add each item.

Add in at least 10 drops of your color. I found that for a brighter color, especially with the darker shades, I used up to 30-40 drops. (If I used 30 drops or more of color, I also used an additional tablespoon of vinegar to help get the pasta covered well.)

2. Add Your Pasta

I used 2 cups of pasta for each color. Pour that in on top of your coloring in the bag.

3. Mix It All Together

Seal up the bag, making sure to get most of the air out of it. Then shake, squish (lightly), and massage pasta in the bag to thoroughly coat it in the color. This can take a little while, especially if your pasta has some nooks and crannies. This is a great job to allow your little helpers to do.

4. Let It Set

Lay out the bag of pasta as flat as possible, and let it set for about 10 minutes or so. Be careful of letting it set TOO LONG – pasta sitting in liquid will start to get gummy and soft after a while. Flip it over a time or two during that time so that the liquid isn’t just on one part of the pasta.

5. Dry It Out

Carefully pour your pasta out onto the parchment –lined baking sheet(s), spreading it out into one layer. This part can take some time, as you want to avoid having the pasta pieces touching. Then set the baking sheets up and out of the way or outside to dry. Depending on how warm or humid the day is, your pasta should dry within 20-30 minutes. Give the trays a little shake every so often to help keep the pasta from sticking to the paper. *CAUTION: Beware of curious pets eating your pasta if you have it where they can get to it…such as outside on the ground. I speak from experience and from having lost half of my blue and pink pasta batches to a curious Labradoodle.

6. Store It /Use It

Once it is COMPLETELY dry, you can transfer the pasta to a zip-top bag or a lidded container until you are ready to use it. Store it somewhere cool and dry. (One of the ladies at church stored some in her car for a few hours…in the middle of summer…and it got really soft and squishy.)

Need ideas for what to do with your pretty dyed pasta? Honestly, your kids will probably come up with some amazing ideas on their own, but if you need a place to start, here are some fun pasta projects:

WHAT WILL YOU MAKE WITH YOUR DYED PASTA?


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A Review of Roseanna White’s A NAME UNKNOWN

Life in Lape Haven: A Review of Roseanna White's A Name Unknown. Roseanna White has released Book 1 of her "Shadows Over England" series, A Name Unknown, and here is my review of this new Christian historical fiction book set in Edwardian England just before World War I.

When my family went on vacation this summer, we went through Maryland, and when I saw a certain Maryland city on the map as we planned our journey, I got kind of nerdily excited.

What’s in that town in Maryland, you ask?

Actually, it’s the “who” that made the town remarkable to me.

Okay…so who’s in Maryland, you ask?

Only one of my favorite Christian fiction authors, Roseanna White.

Having been a fan of hers for a while, following her on social media, and since the beginning of my blog back in 2015, having been privileged enough to get to review her last 4 book releases (I’ve even interviewed her twice), it was kind of special to get to at least drive through her hometown.

Then at the last minute, when we realized that we’d be near that city around dinner time, I knew exactly who to ask for restaurant recommendations. Knowing how nice and very approachable she has always been, I sent off a quick message to Roseanna via Facebook, letting her know my family was in the area.

Always gracious, Roseanna responded sooner than I expected, with her family’s favorite place in town: an Italian restaurant located in an old farmhouse that was once used as a Civil War hospital…because really, what would you expect from a historical writer, right? 🙂 (The food was AAAMAZING, by the way – delicious wood-fired pizza!)

Life in Lape Haven: A Review of Roseanna White's A Name Unknown. Roseanna White has released Book 1 of her "Shadows Over England" series, A Name Unknown, and here is my review of this new Christian historical fiction book set in Edwardian England just before World War I.

(By the way, this post contains affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you use the links.)

My little episode of fangirling was especially amusing to me later, when I started reading Roseanna’s newest release and the first in her “Shadows Over England” series, A Name Unknown, which features an author as one of the main characters, taking us into his dual world of reality and imagination and the normal and not-so-normal life he leads.

You know, “stars, they’re just like us,” and all that.

But before I get too far along into my thoughts on her latest book, here’s the back cover summary for you:

“Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary is beginning to question whether she can continue in this life when she’s offered the challenge of a lifetime – whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. After all, how does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

As Europe moves ever closer to World War I, rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the Crown – so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his door pretending to be a well-credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

When danger and suspicion continue to mount, both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth – about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.”

As always, Roseanna gives us an intriguing and unique plot helmed by realistic, engaging characters, and Rosemary and Peter are two of the most charming yet. While the book moves at a slightly slower pace than some of her other stories and is longer, pagewise, than most, Roseanna’s initial “foundation-laying” for the characters is something you’ll appreciate as the book moves along.

Peter Holstein has an immediate vulnerability with a stutter that has left him insecure and guarded around people, but not unfriendly or unkind. His relationship with God has given him an inner strength that allows him to remain solid and secure in the storms he faces throughout the story.

I LOVED this quote early on in the book, where Peter is remembering his grandfather’s words, as he threw rocks over a cliff to the water below,

“They are like our prayers, ja? We send them out, and we cannot see, always, what they do. Once in a while we see their ripples. But more often we cannot. Still we pray. Because just like our logic tells us these rocks fall and gather and join the other rocks below, so our faith tells us our prayers whisper into God’s ears and gather and join the prayers of the other faithful. And His Word says the prayers of the faithful avail much.” 

Life in Lape Haven: A Review of Roseanna White's A Name Unknown. Roseanna White has released Book 1 of her "Shadows Over England" series, A Name Unknown, and here is my review of this new Christian historical fiction book set in Edwardian England just before World War I.

Peter may not feel like the dashing hero he longs to be, or like the one that he writes about, but his humble, giving heart draws Rosemary.

Rosemary Gresham herself is, as Peter describes her at one point, “delicate when it suits (her). Strong…always.” Growing up as a thief has taught her to be tough, wear a good mask, and to hide any vulnerability in order to survive. Despite that defense, she has a fierce protectiveness for her “family” and a desire to spare the younger ones experiences like her own. When Peter doesn’t fit the stereotypes and prejudices she expects from the wealthier of society, she has to learn to let her own guard down. Revealing her true self, though, means facing her past and her purpose for helping Peter to begin with.

As they develop a somewhat unlikely friendship (despite her goal and his secrets), the banter and humor they share is pretty adorable, blossoming sweetly as they find a shared mission.

As someone who has a difficult enough time just getting a simple blog written with the distractions of family life always present, it was delightful to see life through the eyes of an author – the things that inspired Peter, his living in two worlds, his frustration at being interrupted from his work before each word or idea is recorded.

I have a feeling that Roseanna may have pulled from her own real-life experiences as a writer just a little there. And I think that the story within the story – Peter’s book – should become a companion novella for this book.

However, my favorite aspect of A Name Unknown was Rosemary’s gentle heart change, brought about by the example in the everyday life of a man quietly living what he believes.  Roseanna White always weaves the spiritual journey of her characters so well and so convictingly that her words become ministry in the midst of a great read.

I’m fairly certain Peter’s words sum it up nicely,

“…Perhaps by changing himself he could cause a greater change, too. That had always been his hope, his prayer. That the Lord could somehow use both his shortcomings and his gifts to make others better. Stronger. More faithful.”

A Name Unknown is another wonderful offering of Roseanna’s gifts that I know the Lord will use and one that you’ll enjoy as well.

(And thanks, again, Roseanna, for your dinner recommendations for my family. That was ministry as well.)

Life in Lape Haven: A Review of Roseanna White's A Name Unknown. Roseanna White has released Book 1 of her "Shadows Over England" series, A Name Unknown, and here is my review of this new Christian historical fiction book set in Edwardian England just before World War I.


A Name Unknown is now available at any of your favorite booksellers. Or you can download it on your Kindle or Kindle app to begin reading it RIGHT AWAY! 🙂 

And watch for Book 2 in her “Shadows Over England” series, A Song Unheard, coming out January 2, 2018.

Thank you, Roseanna  and Bethany House Publishing for another great book and the chance to be an advanced reader, again! While I received a copy of  A Name Unknown in exchange for my honest opinion, you know that my endorsement of the book is based solely on how much I loved it. 

More about Roseanna White 

Life in Lape Haven: A Review of Roseanna White's A Name Unknown. Roseanna White has released Book 1 of her "Shadows Over England" series, A Name Unknown, and here is my review of this new Christian historical fiction book set in Edwardian England just before World War I.

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring.

Being educated at St. John’s College (the Great Books School) taught Roseanna to ask questions, to value conversation, and to never accept the simple answer without exploring it for herself. She and her family make their home in the mountains of West Virginia where she and her husband both grew up. Roseanna is a member of ACFW, a frequent speaker at writers events and small groups of readers, and an unabashed email addict.

You can follow her website and blog and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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A Simple Change That May Keep You Safer in a Parking Lot

Life in Lape Haven: The Simple Change That May Keep You Safer in a Parking Lot. The end of a rough grocery shopping day with my boys ended up with a bit of a scare when I was caught off-guard in the parking lot. That's when I realized that a simple choice earlier made the incident even more dangerous for me and my children.

The incident happened quickly, and even though I’ve read all the tips, I was caught off-guard. Thankfully nothing bad happened to any of us, but those split seconds and that moment stayed with me. I realized that one different choice earlier that morning might have left me and my children less vulnerable, and I resolved to change my habits for the future. Months later, I was glad I did.

It had been one of those rough days.

My boys were tired after a morning of grocery shopping, and 4-year-old Josiah was in an especially nasty mood since he didn’t like his temporary seat in the last row of our SUV. We were still praying and looking for a new vehicle that would fit all three car seats better. But as it was, he was relegated to the far back, and he hated it.

So the entire time I loaded the car, he was throwing an epic fit. It continued, gaining intensity and volume while I stood half-in and half-out of the SUV, trying to cinch his straps, leaning over the middle seats and Isaiah’s car seat to do so.

Isaiah had been easier since he was barely 3-months-old and still staying in his infant carrier. All I had to do was click it in. Thankfully.

In the midst of threatening Josiah with punishment if he didn’t settle down, I heard,

“Excuse me, ma’am.”

Whirling around, I saw him.

The man was only a few feet away, standing near the back of our vehicle.

And I was immediately on alert (and praying).

Where had he come from? What did he want? Was he dangerous? Why was he bothering me when CLEARLY I was busy (Josiah was still crying in the background)?

In a split second, my mind was assessing everything from where my keys were (in my hand) to his size and build (my height or shorter, slim) to noticing if anyone else was nearby (not that I could see).

And that’s when I realized how I had made this situation even more dangerous for myself.

(Besides being completely distracted from my surroundings by my squalling child)

It was in how I had parked in the parking lot.

Even though I had a parking space fairly close to the store, I had parked so that my driver’s side, the side where I would be putting my kids into their seats, and therefore spending the most time, was facing AWAY from the store entrance.

No one could see me from the store.

My big, tall SUV with darkened windows was between me and my most likely source of help in a bad situation.  It was something I’d never thought of before.

When I didn’t say anything, the man continued talking, “I’m sorry. I hate to bother you, but my girlfriend and I are trying to get to Canal (a town about 30-40 minutes away), and our gas light is on.”

I mentally wondered where the girlfriend and car were. (While the small town we were in is relatively safe, it has a tragically big issue with drugs. Having served Grand Jury duty in the county a few years ago, I learned just how huge the problem is.)

So, yes, I was suspicious. Plus I had two little ones to consider, not just myself. I wasn’t leaving them to go verify a story, and I wasn’t inviting this man any closer for our own safety. (Had Brad been with me, we might have offered to have the guy follow us to a gas station, but by myself, I just didn’t feel that was the wisest choice. Of course, had God prompted me to do something, I would have.)

“Sorry, I don’t have any cash on me,” I replied honestly.

The man started to back away, “Alright, well, thanks, anyway.”

Watching him as he walked away, I was entirely aware of where he was headed as I closed the side door, climbed into the driver’s seat, and locked the door.

He ended up a few aisles over, talking to a couple coming out of the store. I watched as he walked around the parking lot, stopping when he found a person to talk to. I never saw him go to “his” car, even though that particular parking lot isn’t that big.

And I sat there, thanking God for His protection.

I decided to change my parking habits from that day on.

Life in Lape Haven: The Simple Change That May Keep You Safer in a Parking Lot. The end of a rough grocery shopping day with my boys ended up with a bit of a scare when I was caught off-guard in the parking lot. That's when I realized that a simple choice earlier made the incident even more dangerous for me and my children.

FAST FORWARD 5 MONTHS…

Last week, I had all three of my boys with me for a quick stop into the store, and as I pulled into the parking lot, I specifically thought about my encounter with the guy there. In fact, it was a rather STRONG nudging, the kind that come from God.

And I parked differently because of it.

I made sure that my side of our new-to-us minivan was facing the storefront. With Isaiah all but walking now, he rides in the cart, and we have the challenge of strapping his wiggly, grabbing-onto-everything-self back into his seat (behind the driver’s seat) when we’re leaving. It takes a lot longer than it used to.

Life in Lape Haven: The Simple Change That May Keep You Safer in a Parking Lot. The end of a rough grocery shopping day with my boys ended up with a bit of a scare when I was caught off-guard in the parking lot. That's when I realized that a simple choice earlier made the incident even more dangerous for me and my children.

While no one was having a tantrum as we got back into the car to  go, it was still a very déjà vu feeling when I was tightening up Isaiah’s straps, and I heard,

“Excuse me, ma’am.”

It was the same guy. Standing the same distance away. And he told me the EXACT same story (which even my 7-year-old, who wasn’t with us before, remembered me sharing about. It lent some credence to my prior suspicions that this guy probably wasn’t really looking for gas money, sadly.)

Only this time, I felt safer because I knew that he hadn’t been a real threat last time and also because I could clearly see people going in and coming out of the store – and they could see me.

All I could think of was, “I’m so glad that I listened to God’s reminder about our previous meeting with this man and parked differently.”

After sending him on his way yet again, I got back in my van, feeling much more in control than I had the last time I’d met that man.

I know that the simple change of how I parked (and having felt God’s reminder to do so) is what made the difference.

Now I know that we don’t want to live in fear or distrust of people around us, but the truth is that we live in a fallen world. Not everyone CAN be trusted, unfortunately, and we need to be wise in every situation, for us and our children.

As moms, it’s especially easy for us to be distracted or have our hands full at pretty much any given moment, but perhaps implementing this little tip will give you a little more security in at least one part of your hectic day.

For more tips on being safe in parking lots and public garages, check out these sites: Parking Lot Safety and Staying Safe in Parking Lots.

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Growing Up On Manna: How Your Struggles Can Build a Legacy of Faith for Your Children

Life in Lape Haven: Growing Up On Manna: How Your Struggles Can Build a Legacy of Faith for Your Children. In her new book, More Than Just Making It, Erin Odom shares how God provided during her family's financial struggles. In my own childhood, my parents' faith in God's provision is what built a solid foundation of faith in my own life.

Inspired by More than Just Making It by Erin Odom, The Humbled Homemaker

(This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you use the link.)

 

MORE THAN JUST MY STORY

“We arrived in Charlotte with next to nothing: two bags each, a Pack ‘n’ Play, a stroller, and each other.”

When I read those words in Erin Odom’s new book, More than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated, the story of her family’s season of financial struggle reminded me of my story.

Or rather, it sparked a look back at my parents’ story and gave me an appreciation for how it has affected my own.

In her book, Erin, better known by her blog name, The Humbled Homemaker, writes about how she and her husband had planned for their family to be heading to Mexico as missionaries. Instead, circumstances sent them to North Carolina, where they would face their “most hopeless financial season.”  Having come through this time of struggles, both financial and in the heart, Erin shares about God’s provision and faithfulness as well as offering hope and advice to those who may still be in the midst of financial (or other) hardship.

My story, like Erin’s, starts with a move, only it was when my parents were following God’s leading for their music ministry group all the way from Ohio to Alabama.

Even before they were married, my parents had been called into ministry and have been serving for most of their lives. While life in ministry has been amazingly rewarding, those rewards aren’t always tangible things, like material wealth.

During the season when my dad was ministering with his singing group, many of the churches where they ministered would give their visiting speakers a “love offering.”(For those who didn’t grow up in church, a love offering is a special passing of the collection plate for the congregation to give to something specific, such as a guest minister or missionary.)

However, love offerings weren’t always as generous as the name might imply, especially when split between the three families represented in my dad’s band.

As it was, during a good portion of my childhood, my family was living on “less than,” even when my father served in specific positions at the churches we attended because not all of them were able to pay their pastors or music ministers a full salary, if they could pay them at all, and even though my dad (and sometimes my mom) worked a regular job in addition to pastoring or ministry.

So, when my parents prepared to move to Alabama with that music ministry group, it wasn’t for financial gain or stability. It was to pursue God’s purpose.

Life in Lape Haven: Growing Up On Manna: How Your Struggles Can Build a Legacy of Faith for Your Children. In her new book, More Than Just Making It, Erin Odom shares how God provided during her family's financial struggles. In my own childhood, my parents' faith in God's provision is what built a solid foundation of faith in my own life.

 

MORE THAN JUST STUFF

I was only a couple of months old when my parents loaded up their tiny car with whatever essentials they could and headed down south with: a crib for me, an Army-type sleeping cot for my soon-to-be 3-year-old brother, pots and pans, linens, clothes, and my dad’s guitar.

That was it.  (See why Erin’s words caught my heart?)

My parents slept on the hard linoleum-covered floor of our apartment with only their sheets and blanket. No beds, no mattress. No couches, tables, or chairs. For months. (My mom recalls that she didn’t even have a broom and had to borrow one from a neighbor.)

I’m sure it wasn’t easy, especially with two little ones. I’m sure it was humbling.

But yet, they knew they were where God called them, doing what He asked them to do.

And there was joy and contentment in that obedience…just not a lot of money or furniture.

“At the time, we didn’t know why we couldn’t find affordable furniture when we got down there,” my dad once told me.

However, God was not withholding His provision.

About 6 months after they’d moved, one of the band members brought a very well-to-do friend from a very well-to-do family to visit one weekend. Like everyone else who came to our apartment, they had to sit on the floor the entire time.

This man left amazed by what he had witnessed, saying that he never realized that you could have nothing and still be that happy.

And wouldn’t you know it? A week later, a random stranger knocked on the apartment door, offering my parents a houseful of furniture from a friend who was moving, but not before my parents’ testimony and witness had left its mark on the heart of that one man.

Looking back on that time, I think my parents could echo what Erin says of her family’s own struggle, “we walked there so God could use us here.”

That always-on-time, God-glorifying provision became one of the cornerstones of my childhood and my faith.

MORE THAN JUST FAITHFUL

There were times in my childhood when, just as Erin shares about her family, God’s provision came in the form of government assistance and food stamps.

I remember what it’s like to only have powdered milk for your cereal or only a couple pieces of toast for breakfast.

I remember being on the “free lunch” roster at school and the little card we had to use in the cafeteria every day.

I remember NEVER eating out unless it was a very, very special occasion, and then it was a huge treat to even get a cheeseburger from McDonald’s.

However, I don’t remember that being a sad thing. I don’t remember feeling defeated or deprived.

Because hand-in-hand with all of that, I remember all my parents’ answered prayers & God’s faithfulness, those times when God showed up in surprising ways, or as Erin calls them, “kisses from Jesus.”

I remember checks coming in the mail at exactly the right moment, beautiful clothes handed-down to me from random people just as I grew out of mine, a Christmas or two when “Santa” showed up early and unexpectedly, surprising even my parents.

Basically, I remember that even though we didn’t have a lot, we always had enough, and I always knew that we were never without the hope and the peace that God would take care of all of our needs.

Having experienced first-hand God’s unfailing provision and witnessing my parents’ faith as they lived in absolute dependency on and trust in God’s goodness has given me my own foundation of faith in His faithfulness and the confidence to trust that He will always make a way because He has good plans for me, even when I can’t see it yet.

 

MORE THAN JUST MANNA

In the past, when my husband and I have talked about my childhood, I’ve mentioned to him that in some ways, it was like the actual children among the children of Israel in Exodus, like that generation who were born in the wilderness.

Because there were among that second generation of Israelites coming out of Egypt those who didn’t know anything of Egypt, except in stories from their parents. From the time they were born, they knew only a cloud by day, a fire by night, and manna in the morning. Their Source, their Provider had always been God.

And just like those Israelites, I always knew that ultimately, God was our provision. He was taking care of us.

Sure, the children of Israel might not have had sumptuous feasts in the wilderness. But they had manna. Always the manna.

(In my case, sometimes the manna tasted like government cheese. 🙂 Haha)

But it was still miraculous provision.

When Erin compares God’s provision in her life to manna, she also reminds us, “The manna or ‘bread’ from heaven in Exodus 16 wasn’t what the Israelites wanted, but it was what they needed.”

Life in Lape Haven: Growing Up On Manna: How Your Struggles Can Build a Legacy of Faith for Your Children. In her new book, More Than Just Making It, Erin Odom shares how God provided during her family's financial struggles. In my own childhood, my parents' faith in God's provision is what built a solid foundation of faith in my own life.

For those who remembered Egypt, the “want” versus “need” could be a problem, but the only way that their children would have known to be discontent with what God was providing was through the complaints of their parents and those around them.

For my family, while God’s manna was a constant, we didn’t take it for granted. I’m sure it wasn’t always what my parents (or my brothers and I) wanted, but thankfully my parents are more of the Joshua and Caleb type – they trust God despite the circumstances and what they can see.

That’s because they’ve walked through the wilderness with Him, and He has ALWAYS been faithful. Through every need. Through every struggle. Through every triumph.

And Erin has walked there, too. She says, “we could trust the Lord to meet our future needs because He showed over and over that He met our present ones.”

Growing up in a home that trusted God to provide, growing up on His “manna,” I have lived Psalm 37:25, which says, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”

God always supplied for our needs, and thankfully at some point, our family began to prosper more financially, although never to the point we would be considered wealthy by American standards.

 

MORE THAN JUST US

As I read my way through Erin’s book, I became more and more excited, not just for Erin and what she learned through their time of financial hardship and not just for how her experience and advice will empower, encourage, and equip others who are facing difficult times. I wasn’t just excited because of the challenge to look beyond ourselves, our attitudes, and our preconceived ideas so that God can use us to bless others, as we align ourselves with His heart, His Word, and His purposes.

I was most excited for her children and the children of those who read her book and begin to look for God’s faithfulness.

Why? Because Erin and those other parents will be leaving their children an eternal legacy of God’s goodness.

In a recent podcast interview she did with Becki Rogers on “Not Quite Supermoms,” Erin shared about talking to her 9-year-old daughter, who had been quite young when Erin and her husband were struggling financially.

Having heard her mom talking about the book as Erin was writing it, the little girl asked one day, “Mommy, were we poor?”

And Erin’s answer made me tear up and shout praise to God as the same time.

Because Erin was able to say, “Yes, we were. But look what God has done!

(And it wasn’t just that God was blessing them financially. It was that God had provided in every area of need – wisdom, relationships, resources, and more.)

 

Oh, parents. Don’t be like the older generation in the wilderness who lost heart or complained in the struggle – whether it’s financial, spiritual, health-related, or whatever. Be among those who trust in God to lead them through difficulties, putting their hope in His plan and His provision, even when it seems like “just manna.”

Not only will He be faithful to you, not only will He provide exactly what you need when you need it, but you’ll have an opportunity to be like my parents, like Erin, and like that next generation of Israelites, who had the faith to take the Promise Land.

Let God use your struggles and the overcoming of them to become a memorial to God’s power and faithfulness, like the rocks from the Jordan River in Joshua 4.

In that chapter, God held back the river so His people could cross on dry land as they headed into the Promise Land. Then God charged them to create a memorial with stones from the river. He wanted them to have a reminder for themselves and future generations of what God had done for them there.

Because I had parents who trusted God to make a way, I’ve trusted and seen God make a way. No, my faith isn’t perfect, but when I face my own difficulties, I don’t have to be overwhelmed because I have reminders of His provision in their life and in my own. I can look expectantly for God to show up as He always has.

And when He does, I can now tell my own children, “Look what God has done!” and I know He will continue the legacy in them.

———————————————-

Life in Lape Haven: Growing Up On Manna: How Your Struggles Can Build a Legacy of Faith for Your Children. In her new book, More Than Just Making It, Erin Odom shares how God provided during her family's financial struggles. In my own childhood, my parents' faith in God's provision is what built a solid foundation of faith in my own life.

MORE THAN JUST MAKING IT

It was such a “kisses from Jesus” thing to be a part of Erin’s launch team for her new book, More than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated, which releases September 5.

No matter where your family is financially, this book has something to offer you. As I mentioned above, this book is part memoir of her family’s most hopeless financial season and part mentoring to help those still facing a struggle, Erin’s desire is to bring hope and allow God to bless others through their story.

As she says, “We walked there so God could use us here.”

In More Than Just Making It, Erin shares her heart and her experiences with a transparency and vulnerability that let you know you are not alone, and she reminds us that we can trust in God’s provision and His plan in every situation. Her book offers encouragement and inspiration as well as a plethora of simple, actionable strategies and habits for saving money and provides readers with a stocked arsenal of resources to help you go from financial stress to financial success.

This is definitely a book that I highly recommend.

In fact, I recommend that you pre-order it NOW (before September 5) so that you can claim over $200 worth of amazing bonuses, including the What’s for Dinner Challenge (a 3 week e-course on meal planning), a printable Gratitude Journal, a 2-month subscription to You Need A Budget, and more, as well as access to the first 3 chapters so you can start reading immediately!

Plus, pre-ordering qualifies you for Erin’s special MEGA-GIVEAWAY, where one lucky entrant will win a prize package worth over $2,000! (Yes, $2,000!) You can see the complete list of prizes here: Mega-Giveaway.

Life in Lape Haven: Growing Up On Manna: How Your Struggles Can Build a Legacy of Faith for Your Children. In her new book, More Than Just Making It, Erin Odom shares how God provided during her family's financial struggles. In my own childhood, my parents' faith in God's provision is what built a solid foundation of faith in my own life. You can preorder it now and claim over $200 in bonuses!

PRE-ORDER HERE: More Than Just Making It Book

CLAIM BONUSES HERE: morethanjustmakingit.com 

ENTER ERIN’S MEGA-GIVEAWAY: Mega-Giveaway

READ THE FIRST CHAPTER: Sneak Peek – 1st Chapter

You can follow Erin on her blog, The Humbled Homemaker, and also on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter.

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Life in Lape Haven: Growing Up On Manna: How Your Struggles Can Build a Legacy of Faith for Your Children. In her new book, More Than Just Making It, Erin Odom shares how God provided during her family's financial struggles. In my own childhood, my parents' faith in God's provision is what built a solid foundation of faith in my own life.Congratulations to our giveaway winner, Denise! 

To quote Erin, “When God’s people help others, they’re demonstrating His love and kindness. When we receive provision from other people, we’re able to witness God’s generosity in our lives and praise Him. Both giver and recipient can worship god together…

I am honored to be the giver this time. One happy reader will get the joy of being the recipient of their very own copy of Erin’s new book, which comes out on September 5. (The giveaway winner will receive their copy within that week.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering! This contest is open to residents of the U.S. only and runs from Monday, August 21 (12:00 a.m.) through Sunday, August 27, 2017, at 11:59pm EST (I know, specific.).  The winner will be notified by email within 48 hours of the contest ending. Winner has 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected.

 Note: I was privileged to receive an advance copy of the book from Zondervan in exchange for my honest opinion. My positive review is based solely upon on how much I enjoyed this book.

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The Most Important Thing My Child Learned from His 1st Grade Teacher

Life in Lape Haven: The Most Important Thing My Child Learned from His 1st Grade Teacher & How It Challenged Me as a Mom. Some lessons are more valuable than reading, writing, and arithematic. My son's teacher definitely had the right priority when it came to what she wanted her class to remember most.

And How It Challenged Me As A Mom

It was Elijah’s last day of first grade. He came home, excited for summer and with creative plans for using up all his leftover school supplies (no way, kid – those glue sticks are unopened! You can take them to second grade!).

 He also had a letter for us from his teacher.

While it was mostly a summary of the year and appreciation to parents for working with her to help their child excel, one of the paragraphs near the end absolutely gripped my heart.

“On my board at school I have a sentence written. It’s simple, only a few words, and reads, “She loved me.” I’ve kept this on my board for years as a reminder to myself of my top priority – that they would know how much I loved them.”

Maybe it was because I was already emotional thanks to life with a young infant and all the sleepless nights and hormonal fun that brings.

Maybe it was realizing that my first baby was growing so quickly and already preparing to head into the second grade.

Or maybe, and most likely, I was blinking back tears because not only did Elijah know that his teacher loved him, I KNEW that she did as well.

(We mamas know when someone loves our children. And it blesses us.)

Life in Lape Haven: The Most Important Thing My Child Learned from His 1st Grade Teacher & How It Challenged Me as a Mom. Some lessons are more valuable than reading, writing, and arithematic. My son's teacher definitely had the right priority when it came to what she wanted her class to remember most.

Even if I gave you a play-by-play of the year, I don’t think I could list all the times and ways this teacher went above and beyond just teaching my child reading, writing, and arithmetic; all the times she helped him through a tough morning (he had some anxious moments as we got closer to Isaiah’s due date and those days when Mommy was at the hospital); all the special smiley faces she put on his schoolwork when he referenced God, Jesus, a Bible verse, or church, encouraging him in his bold faith; and all the extra hugs and prayers she sent our entire family as we all adjusted to our new normal after Isaiah was born.

And I know that Elijah wasn’t an exception. She poured her heart out for all her students (or as she calls them, “her little buddies”).

Often. And joyfully.

As I looked at that note from his teacher, I was challenged.

Because my top priority as a mother is pretty much the same, and then some – that beyond everything else that my children know about me, they’ll know without a doubt that I love them.

That they are the most important people in my life (along with God and Daddy ;)).

That I will pour my heart out for them always. And joyfully.

But some days that message may not be as clear, when I’m frustrated, or exhausted, or overwhelmed. Those moments when my patience is wearing thin from answering yet another question, or refereeing yet another argument, or having to repeat myself and threaten punishment when they just aren’t listening. Those can be hard days for a mommy

Life in Lape Haven: The Most Important Thing My Child Learned from His 1st Grade Teacher & How It Challenged Me as a Mom. Some lessons are more valuable than reading, writing, and arithematic. My son's teacher definitely had the right priority when it came to what she wanted her class to remember most.

So, I let those three little words from his teacher’s board – “she loved me”- be not only a challenge to make sure that they KNOW my love, but also to inspire a prayer to the One Who is Love.

A prayer that God would help my words, actions, responses, and body language to continually remind my boys of how much I love them.

A prayer that my energy, time, and focus would be spent where it has the most eternal impact (on my family & others) and not be so easily diverted to distractions (social media, television, random projects).

A prayer that, even when they are being disciplined, my children would always know that it is out of love (and that it would never be out of irritation or for my convenience).

A prayer that they realize that they are treasured by Mommy for exactly who they are – unique, precious gifts from God.

And that in those moments when it’s hard to find the joy or hard to continue to pour myself out, a prayer that I would rely on God alone as my source of strength and let His love flow through me even more.

A prayer that my love would, most importantly, point them to His love and be the reason that they can easily understand what it means when the Bible says that nothing can separate us from His love.

Life in Lape Haven: The Most Important Thing My Child Learned from His 1st Grade Teacher & How It Challenged Me as a Mom. Some lessons are more valuable than reading, writing, and arithematic. My son's teacher definitely had the right priority when it came to what she wanted her class to remember most.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  – Romans 8: 38 & 39


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10 Items that Helped Us Adjust to Life with a New Baby

Life in Lape Haven: 10 Items that Helped Us to Adjust to Life with a New Baby. Preparing for all the changes and transitions that come with newborns and infants can be overwhelming, but we've found a few products and ideas that have helped make the adjustment a little easier.

Somehow our littlest guy, Isaiah, turned 7-months-old this week. Seriously, time has FLOWN by.

And yet, it’s still gone slowly enough to remind me that life with a newborn or infant can be challenging. What was once normal and routine gets thrown out the window as everyone in the family adjusts to all the transitions.

Preparing for all the changes in addition to planning to care for a new baby can be overwhelming, whether you’re welcoming your very first baby or you’re an experienced parent.

While I’ve shared with you a few new tips and tricks we learned with Isaiah, I realized that there are some products and ideas that we have been using over the last seven years  – and for all three babies – that also helped make the adjustment to life with a little one a bit easier.

(This post contains affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you use the link.)

 

SLEEPING

One thing that EVERYONE knows, whether they have children or not, is that babies and sleep don’t always go together. Sure, some parents are blessed with better sleepers than others, but all babies will, at some point in their infancy, have Mommy, Daddy, or both of you up in the middle of the night.

While we’ve never had horrible sleepers – Isaiah’s been our toughest night owl – we’ve also never had babies that easily slept through the night from a young age. (For tips on that, you might want to check out this post from my friend Denise Renae: How I Got All 5 of My Babies to Sleep Through the Night)

Life in Lape Haven: 10 Items that Helped Us to Adjust to Life with a New Baby. Preparing for all the changes and transitions that come with newborns and infants can be overwhelming, but we've found a few products and ideas that have helped make the adjustment a little easier.

However, we have found a few things that helped our little guys sleep better and longer when they finally did go to sleep.

1. HALO Sleepsack Microfleece Swaddler

For starters, as I mentioned in the tips and tricks we’ve learned with our third baby, a good sleep sack can make an amazing difference. We always thought that any sleep sack was as good as another…until we learned differently with Isaiah.

He slept fine in the handed-down ones we had from our first two boys, but he was a bit smaller than they had been, so I ordered a new HALO Sleepsack Microfleece Swaddler in the newborn size. The difference was notable and impressive, and all those other sleep sacks were left in the drawer while our little guy slept longer in his Halo than he had since coming home from the hospital. Hallelujah!

 

2. Nightime Soothers

The other thing that all of our boys have had is some type of musical nightlight soother. For Elijah it was a Fisher-Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse , which played a lullaby and glowed. He used it until he was at least 2 years old. (He liked it so well that we also gave a couple as baby shower gifts.)

Josiah had a similar cuddly animal, a Fisher-Price My Little Snugamonkey, but it alternated playing soothing nature sounds as well as a couple classical songs. After years of listening to the seahorse’s lullaby over the baby monitor, rainforest ambiance was a welcome change!

For Isaiah, we took my brother’s recommendation for a plug-in night time soother from Skip Hop (the Skip Hop Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight Soother Elephant ) that is very customizable. It projects a starscape on the ceiling (also adjustable), plays either nature sounds or lullabies, and has a nightlight feature as well.

My brother had purchased one for his older boy, and the family liked it so much, that his little brother wanted one, too. Since both my nephews had the owl version, we opted to get Isaiah the elephant. We love it, and I especially love that I can crank up the volume on the sounds during nap time to drown out Isaiah’s noisy brothers playing downstairs. 

 

BATH TIME

It seems that when it comes to baths and water, either baby loves it or he hates it.

Thankfully, with all three of our boys, it’s been a love affair from their very first times in the tub (even though Elijah didn’t really enjoy getting water in his face.)

3. Bath Cozy Cover

I think part of our bath time success was due to an awesome baby shower gift: a bath cozy cover.

I’d never heard of one, but my cousin found it at the store and went off-registry, and we have been very glad she did.

The cozy cover is kind of like a giant washcloth that you dip in the warm water and cover your baby with during his bath. It keeps him warm and soothed, so that bath time becomes a calm, fun experience.

You can always use an actual washcloth or maybe a hand towel in a pinch, but I did find something similar to ours (which is, again, over 7 years old) online.

 

4. Clear Shower Curtain & Double Curved Shower Curtain Rod 

The other thing you quickly learn about baths and life with a newborn is that as a new mom (or dad), it can be difficult to get that spare minute to get *YOUR* bath or shower.

One of the best pieces of advice I found online when preparing for our first baby was to buy and put up a clear shower curtain for your shower. This allows you to have the baby in their bassinet or swing in the bathroom with you. You can see them, and they can see you, and you can get all clean and refreshed without the stress of worrying if baby will wake in his crib before you finish.

We also installed a double shower curtain rod so we could have a cloth curtain and a clear curtain. I chose a curved curtain rod because that gives you a little more room in the shower in those last months of pregnancy or when you inevitably end up showering with your baby or toddler.

(And when you need to clean that shower quickly and easily, save time and money by using this safe 2-ingredient homemade tub & shower cleaner. I love it!)

 

NURSING

It’s probably no surprise that the mom who chose to give birth to all three of her babies as “naturally” as possible without pain medications (although Isaiah’s story was a little off my birth plan) also chose/chooses to breastfeed those babies. In fact, we’ve rarely had to use bottles (Isaiah just plain refuses them.)

5. Nursing-Friendly Tops & Dresses 

For me, I’ve needed things that make breastfeeding easier, such as good nursing-friendly tops and dresses, nursing bras, which are not always so easy to find. Sure, you can look for button-down shirts or tops with elastic necklines, but sometimes you want something easier.

Since it had been a few years between babies, I was in need of replacing a lot of my nursing wardrobe when Isaiah arrived. Two of the new companies I found were Latched Mama and Milk Nursingwear.

Latched Mama: They have a fun selection of more casual style tops, dresses, and pajama sets. I especially love my Latched Mama nursing hoodie sweatshirt! (They were available on Amazon, which was great for our Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping, but they don’t currently have anything listed.) Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Milk Nursingwear: They have more varied styles for how you access the nursing areas of their clothes, and they have more selection in dressier styles. While they can be a bit pricier, when you shop directly through their site, you can earn 5% back on each order, plus you can check out their sales. Or you can go through my Amazon link below and use your Prime shipping. 🙂

 

6. Kindred Bravely Nursing Bras

Of course, a good foundation is also important, especially when you’re nursing, so I had to replenish my stash of nursing bras and tanks, too. That’s when I found Kindred BravelyNursing bras and tanks are their specialty. They also sell maternity/nursing pajamas, nightgowns, and panties. You can use the Amazon link below or use this referral link directly at Kindred Bravely and get $10 off you first order of $50 or more.

 

Life in Lape Haven: 10 Items that Helped Us to Adjust to Life with a New Baby. Preparing for all the changes and transitions that come with newborns and infants can be overwhelming, but we've found a few products and ideas that have helped make the adjustment a little easier.

7. Udder Covers Nursing Cover

For nursing in public, I’ve always used a cover from Udder Covers  (because they sent me a coupon for a FREE one, and I just had to pay shipping). I love the special stiffened neckline that allows me to see my baby – and him to see me – easily.

(And despite what you might read about nursing in public, I’ve never gotten any bad reactions. Actually it’s been quite the opposite, whether I’m at a restaurant, church, or at the park with my boys)

—>PLUS: I have a coupon code for you to get yours FREE ($35 off!), just pay shipping & handling. <—
Use coupon code: EAEBF0

 

8. Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads 

Of course, if you’re nursing, you need nursing pads, and my absolute favorite ones are Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads. With Elijah, I used the regular disposable kind from the store, and they were uncomfortable. I had all kinds of issue, including clogged ducts – OUCH! When I was pregnant with Josiah, I heard about Bamboobies from a post online, and I was determined to try them out. The difference was amazing. They are incredibly comfortable, don’t leak, are washable (saves $$$), and I haven’t had another issue with clogged ducts or the like since.

(They were also one of things that were a must in my hospital bag!)

 

OTHER HELPFUL ITEMS FOR LIFE WITH A NEW BABY
9. Baby K’tan Carriers 

With Josiah, I discovered the joy of baby wearing, but my carrier was more heavy duty, for outdoor adventuring and Life in Lape Haven: 10 Items that Helped Us to Adjust to Life with a New Baby. Preparing for all the changes and transitions that come with newborns and infants can be overwhelming, but we've found a few products and ideas that have helped make the adjustment a little easier.walks. Plus, I had a horrible time getting it on without someone to help snap the back clasp.

So, for Isaiah I knew I needed something lightweight that I could get on quickly and without help. That’s why I went with a Baby K’tan Original Carrier. It was easy and quick to put on, whether it was for just around the house, a trip to the grocery store, or a hiking outing with our whole family.

 

10. Baby Care Tracking App

One other thing that has helped us keep up with life with a baby has been a Baby Care Tracking App. These apps work like a daily log for baby’s sleeping, feeding, diaper changes, and more.

With both Josiah and Isaiah, I’ve used the iBaby app on my Android, but there are quite a few options, most of them free, out there.

 

What items did/do you find helpful with your newborn/infant?

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