We’re in the middle of a couple of home projects (one of which is a surprise for you!!) so the house is often messier and louder than I’d prefer. And Dave is busier than we’d both like… but we are honestly so happy for school and church and community activities to be up and running.
We registered the kids for a variety of summer sports camps, art camps, swimming lessons, Vacation Bible School, and other fun summertime activities — and even though most places in our town still require masks, our days at home are feeling pretty normal.
If you need a smile today, check out this sweet picture of Clara and “her” puppy…
We got to visit a fresh batch of puppies last week — Clara was in her glory and has been asking for her own puppy ever since.
Is there anything cuter than toddlers with puppies?!?
In other Dekker Family “news”, the boys are both growing out the “tops” of their hair, and they are beyond excited to try out a whole bunch of different sports camps this summer — Simon may have even convinced us to let him sign up for football camp!
They also finished writing and illustrating their Who Would Win books last week (after WEEKS of working on them!)
Nora feels like a teenager to me — completely with a messy bedroom and closet.
She’s sweet, sassy, super smart, crafty, creative, a budding fashionista… and always trying to act older than she is.
On to my favorites for the month…
FAVORITE MOMENT = First Fire of the Year
Dave and I have wanted a portable firepit for several years, and I found one last month on Facebook Marketplace, just down the street! It was only used once and it’s in fantastic condition.
The firepit is on wheels so it’s very easy to move around on our new patio, and it has “safety wire” around the outside to stop sparks from flying around.
To celebrate our new-to-us firepit, we had our inaugural fire over spring break. It was a hit with all the kiddos!
This is the exact fire pit we purchased (for only $50 on Facebook!)
We also purchased these roasting sticks.
FAVORITE ROUTINE = a Sunday Sabbath
Now that our children are a bit older and don’t need us every minute of every day, Dave and I decided it was time to reinstate our pre-children Sunday Sabbath — a full “day of rest” from Saturday evening through Sunday evening.
It has been absolutely wonderful!
Traditionally, we’ve always treated Sunday as a church + family day, so we weren’t ever in the habit of inviting friends over or playing with neighbors. And even still, we really don’t do all that much on Sundays — we almost never go shopping, get groceries, or order food. But for the last 9 years, Sundays haven’t been all that restful as we always had babies and toddlers and diapers and naps to work around.
At some point, we slipped into the habit of using Sunday afternoons to play “catch up” on the work we didn’t get to on Friday or Saturday — throwing in an extra load of laundry, grading one more batch of tests, making a couple of freezer meals, etc.
Certainly not the end of the world or any type of “salvation issue”, but it’s not what we personally wanted… and now that our kids are older, we felt it was a good time to make a change.
Several months ago, we implemented a few new Sabbath guidelines for our family — namely no schoolwork, blog work, housework, OR electronics!
Now, we literally have no agenda from Saturday evening through Sunday evening, except reading for enjoyment, hanging out with our kids, going for walks, taking naps, playing games, etc.
I usually prepare breakfast and lunch the day before (something simple that I can shove in the oven or the slow cooker) so I don’t have a bunch of extra kitchen work on Sundays.
For dinner, we almost always enjoy a simple platter of meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, or a frozen pizza with fruit and veggies.
We don’t think about work or home projects.
We don’t worry about “catching up”.
We don’t watch TV or go online.
We don’t even use our phones (we DO keep them turned on in case family needs to contact us.)
Our self-imposed Sabbath guidelines have been a wonderful gift for our family — for our bodies, our minds, and our souls. (Just one more benefit of being out of the baby/toddler stage of life!)
After the kids go to bed on Sunday evening, Dave and I spend an hour or two planning and prepping for the week ahead. Then we go to bed on time, rested and refreshed for another week ahead.
RELATED READINGS: 5 Tips to Touch Your Phone Less and 6 Strategies to Take Your Weekends Back
PAST FAVORITE = Goat’s Milk Soap + Lotion
It’s been almost 2 years since I first discovered Bend Soap, and now, our family all uses their amazing goat’s milk soaps and lotions. I’m extra thrilled that I finally found an all-natural deodorant that actually works!
Over the last year, I’ve given so many gift baskets containing Bend Soap goodies (I figure soap is a great COVID gift idea!)
I know many of our friends and family and teachers are now avid Bend Soap users!
They have a few new scents for spring right now — along with some seasonal discounts. In fact, they are offering an automatic 15% off their new Mother’s Day basket and TODAY is the last day to get it shipped in time for Sunday!
Also, new customers can use the code AD10 for 10% off your entire order!
RELATED READING: My favorite natural beauty items.
FAVORITE BOOK = Mama Bear Apologetics
See info. below!
FAVORITE MEDIA = Mama Bear Apologetics
A huge thank-you to Kim, a loyal reader who introduced me to Mama Bear Apologetics a few months ago.
I’ve read the book and listened to the audio version. I’ve also listened to every one of their podcasts, and I just recently purchased the study guide that goes along with the book. I’m hoping Dave and I will go through it together over the summer.
If you’re new to Apologetics (or have no idea what in the world Apologetics is) you must check out the Mama Bear webpage and read for yourself. These women are SO stinkin’ smart (and funny).
I can’t even comprehend everything I’ve learned from them already!
Listen to The Podcast: Mama Bear Apologetics
FAVORITE HOBBY = Gardening
If you talk to me in November, I will be SO DONE WITH GARDENING… but in May, I’m like a kid in a candy store!
Everything is so fresh and new, the flowers are starting to bloom, and the grass is SOOOOO green. Plus, after a long West Michigan Winter, I’ll take any excuse to enjoy mild, spring weather again!
I love listening to a favorite podcast (see “Favorite Media” above) while slowly working my way through our planting beds — yes, I even enjoy pulling weeds this time of year!
RELATED READING: My Favorite Perennials for Sun and Shade
FAVORITE RECIPE = Mango Salsa Chicken
Our whole family loves this recipe, and it’s so ridiculously simple that I make it roughly once a month all year round.
It’s a throw-it-in-the-slow-cooker kind of recipe that’s perfect for days when I can’t (or just don’t want to) spend time in the kitchen.
And… it’s amazing as leftovers. We eat it hot on rice, as filling for quesadillas, or even as a dip for chips.
GET THE RECIPE: Mango Salsa Chicken
FAVORITE QUOTE = Mother Teresa
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
Last week, I read In The Heart of the World, by Mother Teresa. It’s a SUPER short, quick read (it took me about 45 minutes) and it’s a gold mine for amazing quotes and inspirational short stories.
Let’s stop replaying mistakes from our past, or worrying about what might happen in our future, and instead, let’s just live today to the fullest!
FAVORITE ARCHIVED POST = Don’t Take it For Granted
I enjoyed re-reading my post from Mother’s Day 2018, when Clara was a baby and Nora was only in Kindergarten part-time (so they were all home with me many days each week!)
It was one of the most physically and mentally trying years of my life… and re-reading my thoughts about “not taking it for granted” still ring so true for me!
That’s it for me this month. 😆
If you’re interested, you can scroll through ALL my Favorite Things posts HERE!