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Earnestly, on Christmas Night.

As I sit here in the quiet dim light, my heart is full and head swirling with the day we have just shared. Everyone now asleep while I recount this blessed day. We have celebrated our 10th Christmas as a family and I think every year it gets better. It has nothing to do with the boxes or wrapping but everything to do with the sleepy faces that surrounded the tree.

My middle-little is still so awe struck with Christmas, it made the day full of love, wonder and hope. Three traits that perhaps I have forgotten in the quick paced world that is motherhood, especially this busy season.

Earnest dad and I had gotten up before the kids (after wrapping and visiting until the wee hours of the night) and our excitement brimmed in anticipation for our little ones to wake and come downstairs. Our eldest had been awake before us but our rule was no kids out of bed until 7; which they complied. We sat in the glowing light of the tree that illuminated the boxes of treasures below and waited for the footsteps on the stairs.

We cheered them down as they took in the scene before them – the presents that had appeared, the stockings that hung heavy and the empty milk glass left among the cookie crumbs. Grammy joined and we enjoyed hot coffee, sweet orange rolls and watched the faces full of joy and surprise. Of course the gifting was but a portion of our day.

We enjoyed two hearty meals together, played games filled with joy and laughter, crackers that brought crowns and jokes to all; then poppers that left glittering red and green sparkles on the snow. One of my favorite moments was the glowing candle that burned atop a Christmas cookie cake as we sat around the dinner table and sang “Happy Birthday Jesus” only to have earnest babe request we sing, “This is the Day that The Lord Has Made” and indeed we rejoiced and were glad in it.

As I settle in and leave this, another Christmas in the books I am so thankful for the family that I have been given. The health of my husband and children, the joy and peace that fills our earnest home, and the love that is felt each and every day – which is my favorite gift this year. So as this season whooshes by, hustling and bustling I have to pause and soak up this moment. Such contentment, such blessings; I am so thankful that His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Merry Christmas earnest readers, I am thankful for each and every one of you that follow along in these adventures of our little earnest family.

x. earnest mom.

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For the dads; an earnest recognition.

Okay I am here to confess: Dads, we could not do it without you. Yup, us moms who hold our homes, families and the weight of the world on our shoulders – we need you! We need you when we are “fine,” when we are home with the kids all day or working full time jobs. We need you just as you are – the one we said “yes” to.

I remember bringing home earnest boy 1.0 almost 9 years ago. We were so green, we had no idea what we were doing and we drove home in shock, looking over our shoulders saying “are they really letting us take him home?” Newborns are crazy hard work as we get through getting to know this tiny little stranger that we have been gifted with – the demands were endless. Diaper changes, nursing, bathing, outfit changes, swaddling baby, backs to sleep. So much to learn and I know that had I not had earnest dad, I have no idea how I would have survived those first few newborn months.

Fast forward, ten years of marriage and three children later and I still have no idea how I could do this on my own.

We see you dads – we see you when you come home worn and tired from a long day’s work and can hear that mama needs a break, so you grab all the kids and snuggle up with them so she can have a minute to breathe. We see you in those moments before bedtime starts when mama is falling asleep on the couch and you wrestle with the kiddos on the floor. We see you when the baby won’t stop crying, mama is crying and you quietly take the baby to the other room to rock him and as you close the bedroom door you whisper “now rest my love.” I see you when, I am overwhelmed with the mess, the energy level, the noise volume and the non-stop “mom, mom, mom, moooOooooms” and you walk in and say “time to go downstairs” so I can get a few moments of peace. I see you when I get all worried about my mama worries and you reach out, hold me and tell me it will be okay.

This life is chaotic at times, quiet in others; it seems to be fleeting faster that I could have ever anticipated but there is no one else that I want sitting beside me in any of those times. All dads, you are so important and there is no one way to be a perfect dad but one million-billion ways to be a great one!

Thank you daddies – and thank you earnest dad. Thank you for working hard so I can stay home with our littles. Thank you for loving all of my quirks and passions, even the goofy ones. Thank you for keeping Christ the center of our marriage, our family and our home. And thank you for being the calm to my storm, the strength to my faults, the right to my wrong, the joy in my sorrow and the man of my life. Thank you for choosing me to ride along side you in this incredible ride of our lives. I appreciate you!

Mamas, join me in taking a moment to thank that support person in your life. The one person that helps makes sense of it all.

x. earnest mom.

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Motherhood: A wild and incredibly blessed ride!

Wild and blessed, two words that can describe exactly where I am right now.

I am always shocked when I hear the words: ” I do not know how you do it” or “how do you get anything done in a day?” Honestly, I never feel like I hit the mark, I rarely feel like I have gotten anything done in a day and sometimes the only gage I have that I’ve accomplished something is by my husband’s reaction when he come in the door.

Seriously, as a stay at home mom to an 8, 4 and 1 year old my time feels like it is spent assessing risk factors from wild toddler antics, throwing snacks out like candy at a parade and refereeing disputes over claims of “bad words being said, walking passed someone too fast or slow, and simply not agreeing on the next show to watch on Netflix.” And yes, my children watch Netflix, I mean yeah, I could totally parent without screen time – I could also churn my own butter but let’s not get too crazy now.

Friends have told me how I seem to have it all together and that my kids are so lucky. I am here to tell you, looks are deceiving. There are days when I get up before my children, make the coffee and have laundry and dishes running before 9:00 am. Those days are rare. To be honest that happened once last week. The rest of the week looked more like me walking out of the bathroom to my two oldest using a half a stick of butter in each hand from the fridge to butter their toast because there was not any softened butter available. No kidding, this was last Wednesday and I chose to look at the fact that not only did they make their own snack, but they did as a team! Yay, MOM WIN!!! Another day I turn around from loading the dishwasher to my one year old eating a burnt waffle he took from the garbage. Perfection?! NO WAY, but like I said I am wildly blessed by this.

In my days as a stay at home mom I have learned to let go and let live. My children are growing so fast, right before my eyes and if I do not stop all of my busyness I will miss on theirs. My house is not always tidy, some days my sink of full of dishes and there have even been times that we have run out of clean laundry; but my kids are loved, happy, fed and safe. Those four elements are a language of love for this mama’s heart, and perspective is everything. My home may be messy but we have a place to live, my sink may have dishes but we have food to eat and laundry may be dirty but we have clothes to wear. My kids may be loud but they have a voice, they may be busy but their have a love of life to live. Pretty soon, in a blink, my kids will be on their own; the house will be perfectly clean and too quiet, and I will miss these wild and blessed days.

I know that I am in no way a perfect mom, but I know I have been made perfectly by God to grow these tiny humans He has given me. I hope that when I fall short I can give them an opportunity to see humility and compassion; when I make mistakes I can help them learn to forgive; and when I hold them, they feel what true love is. I am mothering the best way I know how, I know that the best of me as imperfect as I am is exactly what they need. By this mere fact, I am able to forgive myself the moments when they eat from the trash or use way too much butter, and find joy no matter what. This is us, this is our little life and our little home is massive in love, for truly we are wildly blessed.

Mamas, no matter what season you are in, please know you are perfect just as you are. I love the saying “to the world you are just a mom, but to your children you are the world.” Our little ones have this amazing God-given power to love us mamas unconditionally, let us too start loving ourselves unconditionally too. Doing our best everyday is the best we can for them, and even when we totally fail, guess what?! They will be right there, still loving us.

You are seen, you are loved and you are everything to those little eyes that look to you every morning. You are just what your family needs. Be wild and blessed, the days are long but the years are short.

x. earnest mom.

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Abby&Finn: Amazing Diapers, Amazing Company, Amazing Price.

$15.00 discount code and and additional $5.00 off referral link included in blog post. Note: this is not a sponsored review, all opinions are my own.

Feature photo courtesy of Abby&Finn.

Subscription boxes are all the rage today. From books to make-up to extravagant curations received quarterly – you can find a subscription for just about anything. As a mom of 3, with my youngest still in diapers I have been buying and trying diapers for about a decade now, and diaper subscriptions caught my interest. Abby&Finn Diapers have been the most impressive so far.

Abby&Finn were not the first subscription diapers I had tried, but they will be the last. Their quality (soft, strong and absorbent), price and “better for bottoms” make have changed me into a lifer. Here is their product information from their website:

Diaper Ingredients:
TCF (Totally chlorine free) wood pulp from sustainably managed forests; SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer) Sodium Polyacrylate; Topsheet, soft internal cover made of Polypropylene; Core wrap and Leg cuffs, made of soft Polypropylene; Acquisition Layer, made out of Polyester fibers; Backsheet, polypropylene fibers and polyethylene film for softness and liquid containment; Leg and crotch elastics, made of polyurethane.

Wipes Ingredients:
Water, Polysorbate 20, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernal Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol

Cruelty Free and Vegan:
They have signed PETA’s Statement of Assurance, which states that they do not conduct, contract out, or fund studies on animals in the development, manufacturing, testing, or marketing of our products, nor do they intend to do so.

My Earnest Little is a heavy wetter, especially at night and typically we would have to buy a size bigger for nighttime protection but with Abby&Finn no need, his size holds him day or night. If I did need a different size at night, I could do so in ONE subscription. Abby&Finn has the convenient option of ordering two different sizes in one box! Love it!

Photo: Courtesy of Abby&Finn

Now pricing, are they cost effective? YES. I am including some prices to show that Abby&Finn have created a high quality diaper service with low prices. Perfect for my budget and eco-conscious family of five. Below are the comparison of size 4 diapers in package sizes similar to Abby&Finn counts – cost is also broken down per diaper.

Subscription Brands:

Parasol Diapers Size 4 160 count for $84 breaking down to $0.52 per diaper

Abby&Finn Size 4 156 count for $45 breaking down to $0.29 per diaper

Honest Diapers Size 4 161 count for $61** breaking down to $0.39 per diaper
**A guesstimate since Honest currently does not offer an option for no wipes in a subscription, the full price of wipes is deducted from the full subscription price (79.95 – 18.95 = 61)

NOTE: The above brands are diapers that are FREE of latex, chlorine, fragrance and lotions and sustainably sourced.

Also: Shipping is factored into the prices.

Big Box Brands, available in big box retailers:

Pampers Swaddlers Diapers Size 4 150 count for $50.99 breaking down to $0.34 per diaper

Pampers Pure Diapers Size 4 80 count for $38.45 breaking down to $0.49 per diaper

Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers Size 4 144 count for $41.99 breaking down to $0.30 per diaper

Luvs Size 4 172 count for $29.99 breaking down to $0.18 per diaper

Seventh Generation Free and Clear Diapers Size 4 81 count for $45.36 breaking down to $0.56 per diaper.

NOTE: Only Seventh Generation and Pampers Pure are latex, chlorine, fragrance and lotion free as well as sustainably sourced in the above list.

Also: Pricing was based on availability from a local big box store and may not reflect current promotions, discounts or price reductions.

The price of Abby&Finn diapers comes in at the lowest for subscriptions boxes and second to lowest of the big box brands that do not meet the high quality standards nor are delivered to my front door. Hands down, having tried EVERY SINGLE diaper on this list the quantity, quality, and price of Abby&Finn cannot be beat!

As if Abby&Finn could not get any better, they are just as socially conscious as they are eco friendly which is first reflected in their name: ABBY is an anagram for baby, FINN is an acronym for Families In Need. Secondly, what they stand for is shown with their commitment to improving the lives of families who need it. With each monthly subscription they donate one diaper a day to families in need. Every time I receive one box, 30 diapers go to a family in need right here in the U.S. So wonderful.

Photo: Courtesy of Abby&Finn

How do you order?! It is super easy, click: Abby&Finn Subscription and choose your subscription, size, print and frequency. There are no tricks, pausing or canceling is easy and can be done in a few quick clicks. This link we get you $5.00 off your first bundle PLUS use time sensitive code: BLACKFRI15 for an additional $15.00 off of your first box ***LIMITED TIME OFFER SO ORDER FAST*** That works out to be $25 for your first diaper subscription meaning you would get size 4 diapers for just $0.16 per diaper (it is $10 more to include 240 wipes). NOTE you must use the referral link in this paragraph plus discount code to receive the full $20.00 savings. Once the discount code expires, the referral link will still get you $5.00 off of your first box.

Enjoy!

– earnest mom

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The Mommy Worries. What Helps Me.

Okay mamas, who is with me here:

It is 3:00 am and for some reason my brain is wiiiiiide awake even though my body is crying “GO BACK TO SLEEP!” Instead my defiant brain decides to travel down the winding slippery road of worries.

Worry One: Did I pay the bills? The answer every time is yes, however in the wee hours of the morning my brain convinces me for a moment that I missed them all and that they will be late, late, LATE!

Worry Two: Are my kids alive and healthy at this moment? I have to confess, this heart racing worry has leapt me from my bed and into the rooms of my slumbering children to assure myself that all is well.

Worry Three: Did I switch the laundry? Okay, okay more often than not this worry is a valid actual worry that usually ends up with me rewashing the load in the morning.

Worry four, five, six…anything that my mind can race to next. My kids in school, are the doors locked, did I sign homework forms, so on and so on.

This scenario happens more often than I like to admit, but one of my FAVORITE phrases lately is: “If you are worried about it – pray; if you prayed about it – don’t worry.”

Alas, taking heed to this simple phrase has changed my worry cycle. The minute those worries come flooding in, I remind myself to pray and not worry. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but if I have trouble giving up the worry I turn my phone on and read some scripture or bible study. Quickly, I feel my worried heart start to calm and my mind is able to focus on better things.

Mamas, are any of you familiar with this worry cycle?! What are your go to tips for battle the Mommy Worries?? Please share below.

x. earnest mom

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Food for Baby with Sage Spoonfuls + GIVEAWAY!

As a Sage Spoonful Ambassador, I had the opportunity to review Sage Spoonfuls NEW Recipe book and Eco-Steamer! I love making food for my littles and knowing that there are only safe, organic ingredients that I put in!

For this recipe, I used organic baby carrots and organic apples. Recipe below.

The Sage Spoonfuls Sage Baby Eco-Steamer has a super easy telescoping handle to fit inside a pot with the lid on; has 1.75 inch high legs to keep food above water and preserve nutrients; is made from eco-friendly, non-toxic stainless steel; plus is dishwasher safe. The cookbook gave recipe for steaming and great combinations for growing palettes. My earnest little is about 10 months and loves picking up soft chunks to self feed lately, so I chopped the carrots and apples instead of puréeing them.

This gorgeous, revised recipe book includes 66 EASY organic recipes for baby plus hundreds of food combinations (listed by age appropriate foods); tips on allergies, special diets, preemies and even choking. There is a whole section dedicated to making mealtime fun and taking your Sage Spoonfuls to go! And earnest mom is GIVING ONE Sage Spoonfuls Recipe Book AWAY!!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post of your favorite baby food combination – that’s it! Giveaway ends September 27, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be announced here in the comments by October 1, 2018. This giveaway is no way affiliated with Sage Spoonfuls or Sage Spoonfuls’ Ambassador Program. The giveaway is the sole action of earnestmom.com and no others. It is limited to followers of earnestmom.com who are 18+ and residents of the continental United States. Earnest mom just loves this book so much, she wants to share it with one lucky follower!!

x. earnest mom.

RECIPE:

Ingredients

1.5 cups organic baby carrots, washed

2 medium organic apples, washed, peeled, cored.

Materials

Medium sauce pan

Eco-steamer

Paring knife

Sage Spoonfuls Storage Containers

Directions

Bring about 1.5 inches of water in saucepan to boil. Place Eco-Steamer in sauce pan, add carrots. Steam approximately 6 minutes then add apples. Steam approximately 2 more minutes or until carrots and apples are tender. Chop or purée depending on eating stage of baby. Store in air tight containers, refrigerated up to 3 days. ENJOY!!

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It Is Mother’s Day?! Here are some FREE ideas for those procrasti-dads out there!

Okay, so I am totally the kind of person that already has a plan set (complete with gifts ready) to celebrate Father’s Day next month – but let’s face it not all have the time or opportunity to plan a head.  I am posting this one for the dads who still need a little inspo for Mother’s Day, which is Sunday!  Here are some easy-peasy, totally FREE ideas that you can do for your significant other this Mother’s Day weekend. (If you are a mom reading this list, feel free to leave ideas in the comments below and then forward on to the procrasti-dad in your life)

Breakfast in bed. Let mom sleep in, get up with the kids and make a smashing brekkie. Personally, I am not a HUGE fan of food in bed. However, the thought and effort that goes into planning and executing breakfast is bed is so darling; I would eat anything brought to me as I wake. Coffee, do not forget the coffee ;).

All the laundry done. I mean, I am pretty sure this gesture would help any mom feel appreciated and let her really relax. Actually, why stop at laundry – give mom the day off! Meaning dad, you and the kids do all the chores that day (and not just leave the chores until Monday so mom does them anyway). If you really want make her Mother’s Day gift a home run, give her the whole weekend off!

Take the kids to the park. Seriously, sometimes us moms just need a few hours, alone, in the quiet. Get kiddos all dressed, sun-blocked and head out to the nearest park! Best part, if they run themselves tired they may need a nap when you get back, which means you and mama can nap too. Two birds, one stone!!

Make her favorite meal for dinner. Okay, this one may cost a little depending on the food in your fridge and pantry but trust me, a surprise meal with all her favorites will be enjoyed for sure. Have the kids make up a menu, take her order and serve her the whole course. Do not forget to make (or pick up) her favorite dessert.

Homemade cards/art. That’s right, bust out some markers, paper, glue, scissors and some creativity. Us moms love some handmade notes and pictures that say I love you. Not too crafty? Print out some All About Mom fill in blank sheets like the one found here at Mom It Forward, have kids fill them out themselves along with drawings. Kids not writing yet? No problem, let them draw and you interview them then record their answers for them.

So, want to know how to hit a grand slam?! Treat mom to ALL of the above. All of these sweet acts of love will leave any mama feeling all warm and fuzzy with love and appreciation from her family. Good luck dads and I hope you and your family have a great Mother’s Day weekend.

x. earnest mom