Our Family is Growing by Two Feet

“Praise God from Whom all blessings flow…”

My heart is just bursting! Today our little family of three has an exciting announcement to make: our family is growing by two feet!!!

Pregnancy Reveal: Our Family is Growing by Two Feet

Adoption paperwork, classes and home studies are temporarily put on hold because I’m pregnant! Yes, friend. You read that right. I’m pregnant!!

Amazing, right? We serve such an incredibly awesome God that does more than my heart can ever think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

It was a Sunday night after church. Our little family had just gotten home that morning from a mini-vacation – a vacation I should have felt refreshed after all the sleeping I did. In recent weeks I had felt exhausted all the time, nauseous (to the point I couldn’t even cook), I was gaining weight and not fitting into clothes anymore. Which to me was weird because I wasn’t eating much.

I blamed the exhaustion and nauseousness on stress. And the extreme tiredness also to recovering from a week of teen camp, where I received just a few hours of sleep each night and had long, grueling days. Oh, I was sick that week too (and the week before). But again, exhaustion and nauseousness are ways my body handles stress and anxiety.

However, I usually lose weight during these times, especially because I have no appetite.

So that Sunday night, I knew something wasn’t exactly right with me. I had never been this tired for so long. The nauseousness was a little different from when it’s stress. And let’s not forget about the weight gain!

“Don’t you want to know? I think we need to know one way or another. Don’t you?” I asked my husband.

He hesitantly agreed. (Though now he says he told me absolutely “no”, he didn’t want to know. Sometimes I wonder if we were having the same conversation, because that is not how it came across to me.)

In just a week we had an adoption class where I was hoping to hand in our (soon to be fully) completed paperwork for our second adoption. I knew if I were pregnant, the agency would not continue the adoption process. But I also knew I needed a physical from a doctor to complete the paperwork. So if I wasn’t pregnant, I needed my doctor to run further tests. Some of my symptoms lined up with diabetes and thyroid problems, both of which run in my family.

So off to the store I went to pick up a test. I didn’t want to take it when I got home. My heart just couldn’t take a negative test. Farid urged me to take the test. Why wait until the morning?

It was positive. Immediately!

Was it true? Could it be a false positive?

Yes, I know. I had missed two (yes, two) cycles. But my body was still recovering from 6 months of those awful Lupron shots, right?

I tentatively brought the test to my husband saying, “I think it says I’m pregnant. Are we reading it right?”

So he had me text a picture to my mom and sisters, in which I asked, “is this really positive?” (Um, yes. Sadly, that is how they found out.)

Pregnancy Reveal

Three days later, a blood test from the doctors office confirmed the pregnancy saying that my numbers were “really high”. And that Saturday we had the joy of seeing our little baby on an ultrasound.

The next Monday I sat in a room waiting to see my doctor. She walked in and said, “When I saw your name this week and why you were coming in I couldn’t believe it. I was completely shocked. But now I am over it and so excited for you!”

I was over 9 weeks pregnant.

To be honest, I was still a little shocked too.

In our 7 1/2 years of marriage, pain had wreaked havoc on my body, both physically and emotionally. Fertility treatments, surgeries and tests had doctors telling me my chances of getting pregnant naturally were almost nothing, and even with IVF lower than normal. Last September I sat in a hospital bed post-surgery with my doctor telling me my insides looked terrible. I knew only God could work a miracle in me.

And He DID!

“And (my) God can do exceeding abundantly more than all I could (ever) ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

The words to the Chris Tomlin song, “Our God” come to mind:

“Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other.
Our God is healer
Awesome in power
Our God, our God!”

Over the last several months (and years), we have prayed that God would fill our home with children, that He would grow our little family. Little did we know how God would even begin to answer that prayer.

Pregnancy Announcement

Words cannot truly express how grateful and excited we are that God is growing our little family. As I write this, I am once again reminded that God is faithful. His timing is ALWAYS perfect.

Thank you to everyone who has prayed and is praying for our little family. We continue to covet your prayers as we embark on this new adventure!

As Psalm 27:13 and 14 says, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” 

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Healthy & Delicious Chicken Salad Wrap

Healthy & Delicious Chicken Salad Wrap from An Everyday Blessing

One of my favorite Summer “go-to” meals is Chicken Salad. I can easily make a big batch of it and have it every day for lunch (and sometimes dinner). However, we all know that most chicken salad recipes have mayo, and mayo doesn’t benefit our health in any way.

This Summer, my husband and I are trying to “eat clean”, so I wanted to make a more healthy chicken salad. I wanted it to be packed with veggies, especially since I’m  more likely to eat them if they are in the main dish). And I wanted it to have a fresh summer taste. This recipe was perfect for all of that.

Healthy & Delicious Chicken Salad Wrap from An Everyday Blessing

Healthy & Delicious Chicken Salad Wrap

1 large boneless skinless chicken breast (about a pound)

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

2 cups finely chopped lettuce

Lemon Juice from 1 lemon

1 Tblsp olive oil

3/4 tsp garlic salt

1 tblsp coconut oil for cooking chicken

1/2 cup hummus (I used a classic hummus)

6 whole wheat tortillas

Directions

1. Rinse the chicken breast. Lightly sprinkle each side with garlic salt. Heat coconut oil in a skillet. Add chicken. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

2. Cut the chicken into small bite size pieces. In a bowl, combine the chicken, lemon juice, olive oil, lettuce. Mix until the chicken and lettuce are well coated with the lemon juice and olive oil.

3. Spread about 2 tablespoons of hummus down the center of the tortilla. Spoon chicken mixture over hummus, roll up the tortilla and enjoy!

We just loved the crunch that the peppers and lettuce gave to the wrap. The hummus gave it a nice creamy texture, as well as made the wrap a little more filling. It was super delicious served along with some fresh fruit. Overall, it was a super delicious, healthy chicken salad wrap that even my two year old ate up!

(This recipe is linked up to these link parties)

You May Also Enjoy:

Veggie Packed Chicken Patties

Veggie Packed Chicken Patties from An Everyday Blessing

Slow Cooked Chicken Caesar Salad

Slow Cooked Chicken Caesar Salad from An Everyday Blessing - Just 5 ingredients!

Ranch Chicken with Potatoes & Green Beans

Ranch Chicken

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Free Diapers from Walmart Through TopCashBack

Free Diapers from Walmart Through TopCashBack

It is a rare occasion that I post a deal on the blog. But this one was just too good to pass how. Free diapers anyone? Ummm, yes please!

Whether you need this for yourself, or maybe for a gift coming up, this is a deal you just don’t want to pass up. It’s really easy! Here’s how it works…

1. Sign-up with TopNotch using this link!

2. Next click this link to read through the specifics of the deal. Look for the orange button that says, “Get Cash Back” and click. It will take you to the exact product the deal specifies on the Walmart website. The deal is only until Tuesday, July 15th – so hurry before time runs…or the diapers do!

3. Add one (and only one) package of diapers to your cart. Do not add anything else to your cart (otherwise you won’t get the cash back).

4. Make sure you check “Site to Store” and pick up the package the next time you are at Walmart.

5. Top CashBack will put $9.90 in your account within 30 days. They payout through PayPal or direct deposit.

Note: You can only get one free package of diapers per account, but you can also sign your husband up for an account too and score another package for free!

Yes, I have used TopCashBack, and yes, I did purchase this deal. I just couldn’t resist passing up on a package of free diapers!

(This post contains a referral link. For anyone who signs up through my referral link above, we will receive $10 once your Top CashBack account has a balance of $10 for a payout. Any money we make through these referrals will help us build our adoption fund!)

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Veggie Packed Chicken Patties

Veggie Packed Chicken Patties from An Everyday Blessing

Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat their vegetables? Maybe even your husband? I will even admit that I sometimes have a hard time eating the vegetables I need. I would much rather reach for a piece of fruit than vegetables any day. So I am always trying to sneak vegetables into my meals.

 Yes, I know there are whole cookbooks on sneaking vegetables into dinner dishes, but I’m not really one to take the time to puree something unless I really, really have to. I’m just a little too lazy pressed for time for that!

Veggie Packed Chicken Patties

One of my go-to meals is Veggie Packed Chicken Patties. These chicken patties are loaded with veggies and protein, and I love that I know I’m serving my family a healthy meal. My two year old eats these patties right up even without a bun. One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it makes more than enough to feed our family, and I am able to throw the extras in the freezer for another easy meal (or two).

Veggie Packed Chicken Patties

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup kale or spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • coconut oil for cooking

Direction

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except coconut oil. Mix until well blended.

2. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet. Spoon chicken mixture into hot pan, pressing down with spoon to form patty. (I like to use an ice cream scoop to spoon chicken mixture). Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, until chicken is thoroughly cooked and each side is lightly browned.

(This made about 16 chicken patties for me)

3. Serve on a bun with your favorite sandwich toppings.

Tip: These chicken patties freeze well! Simply lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen move them to a freezer bag. I like to reheat them in the oven (350 degrees for about 10 minutes), but have also used the microwave.

You May Also Enjoy:

           Slow Cooked Chicken Caesar Salad                       Ranch Chicken

Chicken Caesar Salad - 5 ingredient meal from An Everyday Blessing                                                 Ranch Chicken

Toasted Chicken Salad                               Baked Pineapple Chicken

Toasted Chicken Salad Sandwiches                                         Baked Pineapple Chicken

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The Best Mother’s Day Gift EVER

The Best Mother's Day Gift EVER

Yes, I know. Mother’s Day has come and gone, so why am I posting about it at the end of June? It’s simple. I just cashed in my Mother’s Day gift this week!

This year as Mother’s Day approached, and then my birthday, my husband was asking me for ideas on what he should get me. I don’t know why I try giving him any ideas, because he never gets them anyway (although he did get me a cast iron skillet from Cracker Barrel for my birthday and surprised me with the cast iron grill pan too).

He laughs at me when I give him my practical suggestions. This year my most practical gift idea was a rain barrel. I told my husband where he could find one and how much it was. And then I said, “I know it may be a little more than you want to spend, but I would totally use it!” To which he said, “Your ideas always benefit the family and save us money, so spending a little more doesn’t matter.”

I really thought he would get me a rain barrel.

Mother’s Day morning came. To say I was curious would be an understatement. I knew my husband had not shopped at all, so I was gearing myself up for a, “I’m sorry. This week was busy and your present is coming” kinda deal.

But then he handed me a card (a picture printed out from the computer that he had our son color) and inside he wrote:

“I know this Summer is going to be really busy, so you can pick a day for MaidPro to come out to clean the bathrooms and downstairs floors.”

Well that was sure a surprise gift. And very practical too! I knew exactly when I wanted to cash in on it: the Monday after we had just finished two weeks of Vacation Bible School. I knew I would be physically drained and mentally exhausted.

When my husband told people at his work what his gift was, some decided that they wanted their house cleaned too, so we ended up with a little referral credit. So not only was I able to get the bathroom and floors done, but the kitchen as well.

First thing Monday morning, two gals from MaidPro knocked on our door and got to work. As they worked, I was able to declutter the rest of the house and tackle a couple small projects that had been put aside due to our busy schedule.

Two hours later my kitchen looked like this:

Mother's Day Gift of a Clean Kitchen

The sink was sparkling

Clean Sink

The microwave was spotless,

Clean microwave

the bathrooms were smelling fresh,

Clean Bathroom 2 Clean Bathroom 1

And our downstairs floors were clean.

I admit that I really didn’t want to have to make meals in my super clean kitchen. Nevertheless, we needed to eat so both lunch and dinner were made. And somehow I was able to end the day with a super clean kitchen.

Lately, it’s been a rare day where I get the bathrooms, floors, and kitchen done in one day…as well as laundry, ironing, weeding the flower beds, and still be able to spend quality time with my son and husband.

As far as I’m concerned, this gift can go down in the books as the Best Mother’s Day Gift EVER. I would have never thought of it myself and am so glad my husband was so thoughtful and creative in his gifting this year!!

You May Also Enjoy:

Thrifty Summer Fun

Thrifty Summer Fun

The Perfect Rice Krispie Treat

Secret to the Perfect Rice Krispie Treat

One Dish Meal

Ranch Chicken

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4-ingredient Caesar Pasta Salad

4-ingredient Caesar Pasta Salad from An Everyday Blessing

Summer is here. The time for barbecues, cookouts and simple side dishes. Pasta seems to make its way on the table of any Summer event and many dinner tables.

On Father’s Day we had dinner at my parents. One of the things I brought was pasta salad. My mom had asked for my Creamy Italian Pasta Salad, but I didn’t have all the ingredients. Neither did I want to take the time to cut up peppers, olives and tomatoes.

So I put together a pasta salad with items I had on hand, and we enjoyed a Caesar Pasta Salad instead. It was simple, took me very little time to make, and everyone loved it. One of these days I may add some chicken to it and call it dinner, but for now my family will enjoy this dish of only four ingredients.

4-ingredient Caesar Pasta Salad from An Everyday Blessing

Caesar Pasta Salad

1 (12 oz) box of Rotini Pasta

1 cup caesar dressing

1 large tomato, diced

3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions

1. Boil pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Run pasta through cold water. It will help cool it off quickly, as well as keep the pasta from sticking together.

2. In a large bowl, toss ingredients together until pasta is well coated. If you are not serving immediately, I would wait to add the caesar dressing, as it has a tendency to absorb into the pasta.

3. Serve cold. Enjoy!

You May Also Enjoy:

Slow Cooked Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar Salad - 5 ingredient meal from An Everyday Blessing

Ranch Chicken with Potatoes & Green Beans

Ranch Chicken

Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli

Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli (gluten free)

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Things I’m Loving This Week

Just thought I would do a quick post about a few things I am absolutely loving this week!

The first things are the ones that are growing in my backyard…

Things I'm Loving (Gardens, Apples, Clematis)

1.  Apples growing on our apple tree. Just so you know, these are not apples on the new tree we just planted a few weeks ago. (I wouldn’t be too excited about that because the first year you’re suppose to not let them grow anyway). These are from a tree that the previous owners put in. Last year it didn’t yield any fruit. Saturday my niece and I counted 16 Macintosh apples growing. I just can’t wait for these to be ready for picking!!

2. My growing garden! My lettuce, broccoli and peppers are shooting up. You have no idea how excited I am to see the lettuce doing so well! I’ve tried it before and it just didn’t work for me, so I am so glad that it is looking so good.

Side note: I am NOT loving the fact that something is getting to my green beans! Look at how sad they look in that last picture above? We even put them in a raised bed that is also caged. I need my husband to set up cameras or something so I can figure out what animal is getting in. I would really love fresh green beans come the end of the Summer thank you!

My next favorite thing would be baby birds.

Things I'm Loving

Okay, I admit I am not fully loving this. I mean, these birds made a huge nest in my grill! (You can check that picture out on Instagram). But I thought it would be fun to share with you. And it was a great (little) teaching moment for my son and nieces when I discovered that the birds had hatched.

Lastly, I am loving that my clematis is bursting with flowers.

Things I'm Loving

This flowered well last year, but I do not remember having THIS many flowers on it. And there are so many buds that have yet to bloom. One of my favorite things about our clematis is that it blooms all Summer long, so I get to enjoy this beauty for a few more months!

You May Also Like:

A Little Bit of This & That

peonies

Thrifty Summer Fun

Thrifty Summer Fun

Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli

Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli (gluten free)

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A Hike, a Birthday, and a Cake to Be Remembered

A Hike, A Birthday, and a Cake

This past weekend was my birthday.

I turned 34!

I have no problem sharing that information with you because I still quite often get mistaken for a teenager. It’s true. Every time I buy a can of spray paint I am asked to show my ID. A few weeks back I was chasing my son as he was running out the front door of the church and bolting for the parking lot. I had to push past a lady, who was just NOT getting out of my way even as I was yelling “Stop!” to my son. I rushed past her saying, “Sorry! I need to grab my son before he get hit by a car.” When I finally caught up with him and was carrying him back into the church, the lady asked, “He’s your son? I thought you were one of the teenagers.”

One day maybe I’ll look aged, but for now I guess I will have to embrace the fact that I still look like a youngster!

On Saturday, my family went out to support Pregnancy Aid South Suburbs (PASS), a local pregnancy and parenting center, for their annual Hike for Life. As a little girl, I would raise money and attend the Hike for Life every year.  I am so glad that we are able to continue to support this organization today!

This year my son was an active participant!

A Hike, A Birthday and a Cake

He loved getting out of the stroller and running on the trail! It helped that his older cousins were walking and he had someone to chase after. I loved hearing his giggles and seeing his energy as ran.

And he ran his first Toddler Race as well!

Our little ball of energy was on track to win this race. Then just two feet shy of the finish line, the little rascal turned around to look for me. Then stood there smiling as everyone was cheering (as if the cheering was just for him or something), and finally he realized daddy was waiting for him and walked the last couple feet.

I tell you, we should have had my husband waiving a cupcake at him or something!

A Hike, A Birthday, And a Cake

Saturday was also my birthday. My husband and I went out to eat the night before, and Saturday we had my nieces over to spend the night. It was nice! They helped keep my son entertained, while I was busy getting laundry done and gearing myself up for a busy couple of weeks.

And then my husband decided he would make me a birthday cake. This is a big deal, because he doesn’t cook, let alone bake. EVER. And in all our 7 plus years of marriage, he has never made me a cake…or bought me one either. Although he has had my mom or sister make a cake, and we usually go out for ice cream (which I absolutely love).

A Hike, a Birthday and a Cake

At first he was going to have my oldest niece help him. But since the kids were playing so nicely, he decided to attempt it himself. I made it easy for him and picked up a box mix. Then I laid out all the measuring cups he needed and left him to work.

The cake turned out super moist and delicious.

A Hike, a Birthday and a Cake

He was pretty proud of himself and now wants to make a cake every weekend. This will be a cake to be remembered for sure!!!

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Adoption Update: Oh for the Love of Paperwork

Waiting for You Adoption

Adoption is not for the faint hearted. Just to be approved to adopt takes a lot of time, money and endurance. Lots of research has gone into simply searching for an agency, and finding one that will accept waiting families. Countless prayers have been lifted up as we seek direction for our next step, asking the Lord to open and close doors.

Less than two weeks ago we received a call from an agency that we had applied to months earlier. They stated that things were still slow on the domestic end of adoption, but they had a new networking opportunity that they were offering.

Through this new opportunity:

  • The agency would complete our home study
  • We could take all the classes we need to fulfill state requirements
  • Our adoption profile would be placed on the agency website, giving us nationwide opportunities
  • And we would also work with an Adoption Consulting company, who would help connect us with adoption agencies across the nation that have an expectant mom looking for a profile like ours.

After much talking, lots of prayer, and bouncing the idea off family members, we decided we would go this route.

Monday night we attended our first three hour class (there will still be several more to come!) And received our next round of paperwork that we need to complete.

Two thick packets of paperwork.

The first packet is for the Department of Child and Family Services. A total of 17 documents, 28 pages in all, that need to be read, signed and dated. In this section, we will need to write out a fire escape plan, submit a water report from the village, our child care plan, background check waiver, etc.

Adoption Keep Calm and Fill Out the Next Form

(photo credit)

The second packet is the agency paperwork. This wonderful stack of paperwork is about an inch thick, many pages are front and back. In this paperwork, we will fill out countless questions about ourselves, our relationship with our spouse, and information about our family history. We will all need medical physicals completed, provide financial information, and provide several other documents as well. By the time we are done, the agency will know every. little. thing. about us.

Once we finish this mountain of paperwork (which also needs to be notarized by the way), we will meet with a caseworker from the agency a handful of times (answering all the same questions that we already filled out in the packet). The home study phase will end with a caseworker coming to check out our home.

Dear-Adoption-Paperwork You will Not take over my life

I am really hoping to get this paperwork done as quick as possible. The next two weeks are a little crazy for us with two weeks of Vacation Bible School, among several other things. It may mean some earlier mornings or later nights, but I am determined to get this done and turned into the agency so we can REALLY start our journey for a second child.

You may also enjoy:

Praying for Our Waiting Adoptive Family

Waiting for You Adoption

Let the Waiting Begin

Waiting for You Adoption Update

Just a Little Adoption Update

Family Picture

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A Little Bit of This and That

The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and warm weather seems to be here to stay. These last few weeks have just flown by. Looking at the calendar today, I can’t believe that May is almost over.

peonies

In just a couple weeks, my family will be entrenched in some of our biggest ministry projects we have each year: Vacation Bible School and Teen Camp. I’m feeling the pressure of all that needs to get done for each of them!

But before I can even think about those things, we have had lots of things around our home that needed some attention. The biggest task is yard work.

Last year we moved into our (new to us) home on June 3rd. I scrambled to get a small garden in before our two weeks of Vacation Bible School hit (one for kids and one for high school students). And then my mother-in-law’s health began to rapidly fail, which meant a lot of traveling for my family. Yard work got put on hold.

We live in a corner house, so we have lots of yard! The previous owners loved to plant things. LOVED it. However, while they picked a lot of nice things, there wasn’t much rhyme or reason to it. Several plants and bushes were just out of control. We even had a tree in the middle of the yard that had tiger lilies growing around two-thirds of it, while hostas grew on the other third. On top of that, the tiger lilies were growing through the sides of the bricks around the tree. (I thought I had a picture of the craziness, but I haven’t found it yet).

This chaos was just too much for my OCD self to handle!

Last year, as I had the opportunity in the midst of a chaotic Summer, I pulled out various plants. This Spring, I slowly started pulling out more plants. I am happy to say that plants around the tree in the middle of our yard now have some symmetry to them.

Plants

And the walkway up to our front porch now looks pulled together.

Walkway plants

I am super excited that we got an apple tree planted!

apple tree

We had one apple tree that the previous owners planted, but it needed a companion tree to help pollinate it. Last year, we didn’t get any apples from that tree, so I’m hoping for a few this year!

Last week we took a break from yard work and took a road trip. My husband had a conference in Louisville, so he dropped our son and me off at my sister’s house in southeast Indiana on the way. The next day my sister and I, along with our kiddos, traveled back home. The boys had a great time together!

Road Trip

Saturday was back to yard work. The previous week, my husband pulled out trees along our back fence so that I could put my garden there this year. It gets way more sun than where the previous owners had put a garden.

This Saturday, my sweet husband built a raised garden bed for me. We really, really needed one to help keep the rabbits away from my vegetables! (They think our yard is a playground or something).

Daddy's helper

While I would love to share instructions for you, we really are NOT “DIYers” (more on that another time), so you’ll get better instructions looking at Pinterest than anything you would get from me!

Raised Bed Garden

I am happy to say my garden is in! This is the most variety I have planted in all our years of marriage. Can I just say, I am so looking forward to the fresh broccoli, green beans, lettuce, peppers, carrots, zucchini and tomatoes we will get!

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