A Life for His glory

As moms, each of our children are precious to us, beyond comprehension. But there is a special place in many of our hearts, a place where we keep the memory of those babies we don’t have on earth with us. While I know loss has not touched every mama, it has touched many. Whether once or more, a shared or private grief, the fact that the life was here and given is a blessing. It is a sorrow and heartbreak when it quietly slips away. When you hold a little life in your womb or your arms and that life you love is now gone, a part of your heart breaks and will never be the same again.

But, what do you do with that brokenness? While it makes us sad, we cannot allow it to become bitter; while it forever changes your perspective, let that changed perspective be beneficial to you and those around you. So many who suffer an early pregnancy loss grieve in silence, and this makes me sad. We need our families, our friends to not just rejoice with us in the life but to grieve alongside us in the loss. We can encourage each, help heal hearts and remember those short lives, calling them by name, remembering their lives and acknowledging their live was precious and a gift.

“If we choose to let the moments make us and not break us,

motherhood leaves an imprint of beauty, even when brokenness formed us.”

As we take the hearts that have been broken, what is the imprint left in our lives. Will we allow it be used and form us for God’s glory and His use? Will we let Him break us and mold us to be more Christ-like”? Is it possible that little life was designed and given to shape our perspective and allow our lives here to reflect His glory more?

“But without walking through the long, deep places of release,

our view from up high would never be the same.”

As I think of my own “glory babies”, those little ones gone before we were ready, I often wonder “why”…. Why would God give their lives to us, and then “take them away”. I have come to realize it must be for His glory, He is glorified in their short lives and I must see their lives as for His glory and then live in such a way that reflects that.

My life will never be the same since having their lives in mine, but that is a good thing. Their little lives have shaped mine into who I am, still an imperfect wife and mama but one with a clearer sense of mission and perspective, a longing for heaven and a greater desire to be the mother I need to be for my children here. Through their lives, my life has gained much and I will be eternally thankful for each one and the impact they have on my mothering.

And not just those little ones, my 6 precious ones here are faithful to remind me often of the treasure they each are, how much I need Christ daily to be able to mother them well and give me reason to be intentional, purposeful and humble each and every day. 

And so today, I remember with each of my mama friends, the countless un-named little ones and the ones I do know….. Gedaliah, Aderyn, Tristan, Violet, Whitney, Jonathan, Peter, Noah ….. They are not forgotten and each are precious in His sight.

 

Quotes in burgandy above are from the book {Why} Motherhood Matters by September McCarthy, a read I highly recommend to any mom

More on my thoughts on miscarriage…..

 

 

Gospel Centered Mom {Book Review}

I was recently given the opportunity to read through, study and review this book before it’s release date. The title intrigued me when I first saw it. As a Christian mom, I desire to point my children to the gospel regularly and in every aspect of their lives but I don’t always know exactly what that might look like or practical ways to incorporate it into our daily lives.

As I was reading through the book several thoughts stood out to me as key to the whole thought of a gospel centered mom…. the first was the idea that there is “more than just now”- that concept that as we keep eternity in view, the rest of life starts to fall into place.

This was especially meaningful to me as while I was reading the book some events happened that really caused me again to look at life in light of eternity, trust in God’s plan even when it is not what “I” wanted and was reminded once again of the reality of the hope of heaven and the sweetness that day will bring.

The next concept is really what I feel most of the book was about…. and that is, it’s not our kids, our home, our life….

It’s US….. it’s us turning to Jesus at every point, every turn, every hour, to immerse ourselves in the Word and as we grow and live out our faith, our kids are watching us and learning from our example.

Our kids see the change or the impact Jesus and the Bible have in our lives and they are able to mimic us. As we become more like Christ and focus our thoughts on truths in the Word; our actions, our words and our lives reflect better the Gospel message to our kids and other around us.

There are definitely many other wonderful truths in this book, Brooke has done a wonderful job writing out her thoughts and then backing them up with Scripture references as well. A mom in any season of life will benefit from this book and it would make a wonderful small group study as well with discussion questions in the back. I am glad I was able to read this book, it was especially poignant in this season of my life, and I would highly recommend it to all of you moms!

The book releases today, August 1, 2017….. Read more about the book and purchase it HERE!


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Love this quote and need a reminder on your fridge? Check out our shop here……

Infinity Glass Jars {A Review}

So, it’s no secret that I love my essential oils and am rarely anywhere without at least a few. Since I typically dilute my oils for everyday use and use with the kidlings, I tend to collect glass jars and roller bottles. I will put the drops of EO in the glass jar, quantity depending on the use, and then fill it the rest of the way with my carrier oil. This works great for me so I have oil ready to use, already diluted and able to just roll on when and where needed. As I am sitting here typing this, I currently have 4 roller bottles and a spray bottle sitting by my computer screen,  9 roller bottles, 2-15 ml bottles, my new pump bottle and a spray bottle on my bathroom counter and there are 10 roller bottles in small bowl on my counter in the kitchen at all times and since I have a coughing child, there are 3-15 ml bottles and my carrier oil bottle out as well. To say nothing of the stash of oils up in my cabinet plus the ones in my wonderful Sew Grown case in my purse that goes everywhere with me!

The roller bottles offer such ease of use, I highly recommend everyone who uses EO’s to use them. Glass cosmetic bottles such as the pump bottles and spray glass jars are wonderful for insect repellent and hand sanitizer sprays as well. Plus, the small glass cosmetic lotion style bottles come in handy for adding scents to lotions and rubs.

As a busy mom with kids, being able to pre-dilute and prepare my EO’s enables me to use them easily, in diluations I am comfortable with and when I leave them sitting on the counter, it makes it much easier to use as well. 

I often just get my bottles from the local natural food stores or Amazon but when Infinity Jars contacted me about reviewing some of their glass jars I was thrilled to give them a try. Just a quick visit to their website made me realize I could quickly get hooked on their products. Their jars are a beautiful dark glass, a thick glass, a super dark violet color, making them safe from ultra-violet exposure which is such a benefit for your EO’s.

I choose several sizes of glass jars in both glass and steel rollers, a small spray bottle and a glass cosmetic jar with pump to try out. My order came quickly and well packed. Everything arrived in place and not scattered all over the box. I quickly put my new glass jars into use. The pump style jar I had never used before, but had been wanting to try a hair oil/leave in conditioner and thought that would be a good bottle to use. The glass cosmetic jar with pump has been working wonderfully. Pumps easily, doesn’t drip on the counter after use and while my formula mixture is still going through some tweaking, the jar itself is fabulous. The small glass spray bottle I filled with my hand santizer spray mixture and I have it in my purse. I love that this little size fits wonderfully in my Sew Grown case making it easy to pull out and use while the kids and I are out and end up using public bathrooms and spaces. The spray is strong and sure for the little size glass jar, it hasn’t clogged up at all or leaked after spraying. I am eager to see how the spray mechanism holds up over multiple months since they do tend to deteriorate after using for awhile but I am very happy with it so far.

Now, on to the glass jars with rollers, I got them in the 5ml, 10ml and 30 ml sizes. I got one with a glass roller bottle and the other 2 with the steel. Overall, I tend to personally like the steel better but wanted to try them both. As for the rollers, both have performed wonderfully. The 30 ml glass jar I used for my husband’s “Happy Hinges” blend of oils, he goes through this oil rather quickly and I loved the larger size roller jar to make my batches last a bit longer. We did find the roller seemed to release more oil quickly than his smaller and old bottle had, but he adapted quickly to rolling on just what he needed, and its been great. The smaller jars I have with a few oils I use frequently and I have loved them.

Just holding the glass jars in your hand with the typical bottle and you can feel such a difference in the quality it’s amazing. The lids screw on nicely, the ball roll as they are suppose to, no leaks…. I am one happy oiler!

A little bit about the glass jars themselves from the Infinity Jars website:

Infinity Jars can actually slow down the decaying process of organic matter while maintaining the freshness of whatever you put inside. What sets Infinity Jars apart from all other jars is that it blocks out all harmful visible light rays while selectively ALLOWING infrared and UV-A rays.

And this:

Infinity Jars’ special pigmented glass is thicker and more durable than your standard glass; it is smell-proof, blocks harmful UV light and is visually discreet. Furthermore, all of our jar lid systems, the screwtop and glass-on-glass lid, are completely airtight. Your products are totally protected, preserved much like ancient Egyptians- who invented deep violet glass thousands of years ago and preserved precious oils and herbs for centuries in tombs. The integrity of your lotions, essential oils or spices is guaranteed to be protected for over 6 months when you use our products.

I also appreciated the notes included with my order on using the glass jars with rollers the first time. The bottles come so that when you first tighten them down, it seals on firmly. And then when you need to refill, you are able to pop the tops off and put back on again. Plus, as a nice touch, I loved the little cleaning rag included to wipe your exteriors clean before applying the label so it sticks nicely on the jar.

Overall, I am very happy with the Infinity Jars and would definitely order from them again.

I know when I spend good money on quality EO’s I appreciate being able to use just as high a quality glass jar to store them in as I make blends or dilute for everyday use.

Visit Infinity Jar’s store here and I am sure you will be as impressed by their products as I am. You can read more on the science behind their jars and their amazing capabilities here.

Want to try the blends I mentioned above? Both are ones I created and use daily around here. I have included my recipes below!

I was given the above glass jars by Infinity Jars to use and review for this post, however all opinions and thoughts are my own. There may be affiliate links included in this post, when you purchase through on of my links, I get a small commission but your prices always stay the same. I am an independent distributor for Ameo Oils and am happy to share with you more about those anytime!

Rhythms of Life

As each moment passes, each day, each week…. the weeks turn into months and the months into another year. I realize that life keeps marching on, some days pass quickly and others I just want to push fast forward, the next day I am looking for the pause button but through it all life keeps moving. Each day has a rhythm of its own, sometimes fast, sometimes slow but those rhythms flow together to make the song my life is playing.

I realize I want to make the most of these days, the kids are growing quickly and yet seem to last forever in that stage in which we are struggling. There are days when I wish for a circle of moms to give evening awards….. “good job for you, you made 3 meals today;, “mom of the day for realizing your child’s snow boots are 3 sizes too small”; “wife of the moment, you were actually ready for bed the same time he was”; “teacher of the week, you got 2 pages of math finished”; “lady of the day, you got out of bed and made it through the day”…… that circle of friends that realizes and appreciates what an effort something was and rejoices with you in the large and small victories of the day. A circle of friends to encourage and spur on to another day, another step toward living with intention, cherishing each moment, loving always and speaking with grace and kindness. 

I love to read and I have read many encouraging books. In fact, its a rare moment I am not in the middle of at least one “mama, encouraging, wife, parent” style book….. {currently I am reading Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George and Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller and The Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson} But there are a couple books I will re-read each year. Pursue the Intentional Life by Jean Fleming is one of them. It’s one I like to read this time of year as we begin another calendar year and remind myself of the need to live with intention, regardless of the season of life I am in. Jean Fleming is an author I have read many times over the last 12 years, her “A Mother’s Heart” book being one of the first books on mothering I ever read and another one I have read numerous times.

To start out this year, I have decided I’d like to read through this book with some of you. Perhaps its a book that sounds interesting to you. Maybe you just need some accountability to be building God’s Word and good truths into your life, maybe you need a circle around you to encourage you on a daily basis….. this is for you. Because it is the easiest format for many people, I have created a small group, a private forum on Facebook for this group. I have quite a variety of ideas of what we could do in this group and while I am still meshing some things together in my brain, this is something I have been mulling over for awhile already, I decided I just need to start somewhere and see what may come together. 

My plan is to post daily, Monday through Friday, a short something on each chapter in the book. Conveniently there are 31 chapters, however, in order to give some room to catch up and with the weekends, we will take a little longer to go through the book. I have a Bible reading to go with each chapter with the intention of being in the Word on a daily basis as well as gleaning truth and encouragement from the words of this book, Pursue the Intentional Life. My plan right now is to start Monday, January 9th.  In addition, I hope to use this space as a place for us to encourage each other, get ideas for struggles in our daily life, bring some joy to each day and accountability to build habits into our lives. I hope to read through some other good books through the year, as well as e a place for habit building in the areas of menu planning, exercise or other areas the habits need built up in.

If you are interested in joining us, go HERE and request to join the group. You can also email me at jen@claffs.com for more information. And if you would like to join in and aren’t on Facebook often, you can download an app for Facebook that is just for groups, you do need a Facebook account but then you can access just our group from this app and not the rest of Facebook if that is something that works better for you.  Access Google Play store HERE or the iTunes store HERE, it’s a free app on both!

You will need to purchase this book that we will be reading through, but trust me, it is well worth the money and is a wonderful read! Click here for the best Amazon price currently, plus it’s my affiliate link, so I get a little tiny kickback though your price won’t change!  {Oh and look, look….. it’s available in an audio format too if this is an easier way for you to read!}  Once you are in the group, I will make sure you have the daily Bible reading plan that you can download or print and of course, there will be the daily posted encouragement and thoughts for each day.

I’ll be using the #rhythmsoflife and #rhythmsoflifemama hashtags in other social media venues and blog posts, if you would like to use as well you may!

So…. who’s in? 😉

 

Dubliner Potatoes {A Recipe}

posted in: homeschool, Recipe, thoughts | 0

This potato dish is another family favorite and while adapted from another recipe, the addition of the Dubliner cheese really sets this side dish apart from others. We enjoy it through out the year with special meals; steak or ham usually as well as it being a holiday tradition. I always buy my Dubliner cheese at Costco since it is much more reasonably priced there than most grocery stores and we like a fair amount of the cheese on top! 

Dubliner Potatoes
Serves 8
A cheesy potato side dish
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups potatoes, sliced as directed below (this is usually 4-6 large potatoes, but it varies);
  2. 2 TB butter;
  3. 1-1/2 cups Heavy Cream (you can sub with half and half, if you must, but nothing else 'lighter" will work as well!);
  4. 1/2 cup whole milk;
  5. 2 TB flour (to thicken... arrowroot, etc can be subbed);
  6. 4 cloves garlic, minced;
  7. 1 tsp salt;
  8. pepper, to taste;
  9. 1-3 cups Dubliner Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees;
  2. Smear softened butter all over bottom of baking dish, I use a 9" square dish, but anything around that size works fine (Pam works too, but the butter works better);
  3. Slice potatoes into rounds and then cut slices into fourths;
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, garlic, salt and pepper;
  5. Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle a bit of cheese on;
  6. Repeat this two more times, ending with cream mixture and NO cheese (see below);
  7. Cover with foil and bake till potatoes are soft and bubbling;
  8. Remove foil and add remaining grated cheese to top, return to oven and make until cheese is melted, bubbly and starting to brown slightly;
  9. Let sit about 5 minutes before serving hot.
Notes
  1. I use a good 3 cups of Dubliner cheese - around a cup inside the casserole and another 2 cups when added later to the top..... if you are using less cheese, either omit adding inside the casserole and use all on top of dish or adjust the amounts accordingly to your cheese.
  2. I have baked this at lower temps along side a roast or such, it works, but allow longer bake time.... I have let the potatoes bake upwards of 2 hours on a low temp before they were done and added the cheese just before serving.
  3. If you don't use the heavy cream and whole milk, it just doesn't absorb and cook right.... trust me, I have tried it. More than once. It needs the heavy cream. Really truly.
  4. If you happen to have leftovers, these are excellent warmed up and scrambled into eggs..... like really good. Worth making a full dish just to have leftovers.
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen/ Ree, Pioneer Woman
CLAFF'S http://www.claffs.com/

Comfort Chicken {A Recipe}

This is one of our favorite casseroles. I actually don’t make many casserole dishes, but this has won a place on our dinner rotation. The recipe evolved from a clipping I found in a “Cooking for Two” magazine I read soon after getting married. Of course, making dinners sized for just the two of us was a challenge for me after growing up in a large family and then coupling that with the fact I had been eating vegetarian for a number of years, I always on the lookout for recipes I could make and would turn out well. I think I first made this recipe for a Valentine’s Day dinner and it was a hit. Over time I have tweaked the recipe to make it more family friendly and here is the result. I have made it several times for company and it is always a hit. The leftovers warm up nicely for lunch the next day but I have never tried freezing this. I usually serve with rice on the side to help soak up the sauce, a green salad and perhaps some homemade bread.

 

Comfort Chicken
Serves 6
A chicken based casserole with bacon, mushrooms and broccoli in a creamy sauce topped with cheese
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2-3 chicken breasts;
  2. 1# bacon;
  3. 8-10 ounces mushrooms, sliced;
  4. 1# broccoli, trimmed to your liking;
  5. 2-3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  6. Sauce; (for a 9x13 pan, adjust for other sizes accordingly)
  7. 1 cup mayonnaise
  8. 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  9. 1/2 cup honey
  10. 1 tsp garlic powder
  11. 1 tsp onion powder
  12. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook the bacon and set aside {I have made with less than 1# and it works fine, but since bacon is so yummy and the kids love finding servings with bacon, I usually try and do a full pound buy you can certainly do less!};
  2. Cut the chicken into large chunks - perhaps 2-3" size, slightly larger than bite size but this makes it way easier to serve kid portions without having to cut up a chicken breast after the fact;
  3. In the same pan with the bacon drippings, lightly sear the chicken pieces, turning once and then placing the chicken in your pan;
  4. In the same pan, add your sliced mushrooms and lightly sauté and then add to pan with chicken;
  5. Add the chopped broccoli to the pan {I have used both fresh and frozen and they work equally well, though I usually cut down from the size so if using frozen you might need to slightly thaw in that same pan you've been using!};
  6. Add the bacon to the dish {I usually break up into smaller bite size pieces, but anything from large slices to more bacon crumbles works fine};
  7. Mix up the sauce and combine well, add to dish and gently stir to coat all meat and veggies;
  8. Top with mozzarella cheese {I use at least 3 cups, but heavy cheese is preferred around here, you can certainly do 1-2 cups and have a nice dish};
  9. Bake 350 degrees until chicken is cooked through and cheese is bubbly and brown;
Notes
  1. I often serve with rice to help soak up the sauce as well as a green salad and bread.
  2. I have also made this in a large cast iron pan, combining the pan I cook the bacon, etc in with the baking pan, making it a wonderful "one pot wonder", however a 12" pan will just barely serve our family so I use the 9x13 when we are including friends or I want leftovers.
CLAFF'S http://www.claffs.com/

Simple Christmas Shopping…… {5 days only sale!}

posted in: Reviews, Sales & giveaways, thoughts | 0

 

Psst… can I share a little Christmas shopping secret with you?

If you’re not a fan of malls (nope, me neither) and you’ve already got that sense of impending doom as your gift list grows and your bank account balance shrinks, I’ve got really good news for you!

One of my favorite online companies loves to put together what they call “bundles” which is their way of saying “a crazy amount of value in one really affordable package”.

Well, they’ve created a special one just in time for the holidays! It’s called A Very Merry Gift Certificate Bundle and here’s how it works…

For just $15 you get $180 in store credits from 12 online businesses that align with a simple, natural lifestyle.

You know those coupon books that schools and sports teams sell as fundraisers? It’s sort of like that, except that these aren’t coupons (they’re better!).

You literally get $15 gift certificates to put towards whatever you like from a dozen participating stores. All you’ll pay are standard shipping rates (which varies by store).

With your bundle, you’ll be able to purchase well-made, meaningful and clutter-free gifts like:

  • ethically-sourced coffees from around the world
  • photo products including wall decor, canvas wraps, prints and albums
  • classy custom-made bags, totes and camera straps
  • eco-friendly reusable glass drinking straws
  • healing tallow skin balms and lip love
  • inspirational hand-lettered art prints
  • Kombucha bottles, supplies, and brewing kits

As long as you use one gift certificate, you’ll come out even. Use two and you’ve already gotten a great deal, worth twice what you paid!

The more you use, the more you save, all the way up to $165 free shopping dollars, so you can spend less while gifting well this Christmas.

The only catch? It’s available for just 7 short days, so you need to grab yours quick (and then, get shopping)! Last day to get yours is Monday, December 5th.

 

 
This year’s Very Merry Gift Certificate Bundle comes with $180 worth of gift certificates including:

 

{Affiliate post….. it doesn’t cost you any more but I get a small bonus for each bundle sold…thanks for your support!}

The Alexapure Filter {A long-over due review & incredible sale}

alexapureOH MY! I just saw this sale come across my email and I almost wished I hadn’t bought my Alexapure a few months back!
 
I absolutely love my Alexapure filter, after months (maybe years!) of running to the grocery store to refill water jugs or replacing old jugs with new water jugs, we received one for our anniversary – best.gift.ever 😉 I truly do not miss visiting frequently with the ladies at the grocery store (who kindly asked ‘no water today’ for weeks after!) – I end up grocery shopping often enough just to keep food in the house 😉
Anyhow – our tap water is technically ok to drink, it’s on a city water system. However, it tastes awful. So, getting a filter has been on my wish list for years.
The Alexapure sits on our counter, the kids water cups nearby and I fill it up around twice a day. Usually, after cleaning up the kitchen in the evening, I make sure I empty out the reservoir filling the coffee pot, water pitcher or water bottles and then fill up the upper reservoir to filter. Typically, it take a 2-3 hours for the upper to completely filter down into the lower reservoir. Then sometime during the day, depending on our water usage, I will top off the upper reservoir and let it filter through. The upper and lower reservoirs hold approximately 2.5 gallons of water each which works out fine, even for our large family. I have filled several gallon jugs I leave in the pantry for the occasional time when I need a lot of water at one time (filling a soup pot, replacing my kombucha water or making a large pot of rice or pasta…..) Then that evening or next morning, I will refill my jug and put back away without draining the entire drinking water supply just before dinner 😉
 
The water filtered out of the Alexapure tastes wonderful, clean and pure. Even my rather particular and taste sensitive husband agrees it is wonderful. And after several months of using it, I cannot hardly stand the taste of our tap water anymore. Plus, knowing that our main beverage around here is water, I know I am supporting my kids bodies well using good water and not water that may have been compromised in some sort.
 
Another added benefit to this filter is its portability. Since it doesn’t permanently install, we can easily take it with us for overnight camping trips, long road trips or when we move. If we were ever faced with a natural disaster such as a wildfire or weather concern and we needed to leave, I could easily put the filter in the car and fill it up with water from anywhere and have fresh and safe water for my family to drink.
 
So seriously, if you have been contemplating a water filter for your family….. THIS IS THE WEEK TO DO IT!!!!!
Now thru November 18 APRIL 4th!!!! (New sale this week!)- any Alexapure filter will come with an additional filter – an $97 value FOR FREE! The filter system already comes with one, so this will give you two…. having 2 in the reservoir will speed up the filter time as well as extend the life of both filters (typical lifespan of a filter is 5000 gallons)
 
Click this link below and head to the Alexapure sale page – Sale is NOW thru April 4th, 2017!!!

You can also click the below link to find the Alexapure information page for additional information on the product!

webslide_ap_pro_04

Kids & Crunches

posted in: Fit2B, homeschool, thoughts | 0

kids-crunchesI always so feel guilty doing something “just for me”. That chocolate bar sneaking into the cart hoping the kids don’t see. That half hour taken for a bath and good book. Quietly slipping out of the house to take a walk or go to the grocery store alone. Sticking in a DVD for the kids just so I can have a few minutes of quiet…..

I know, I know…. it’s important as moms to take care of ourselves, to take those moments we can to regroup and relax and to make our own health as important as our focus on our family, but it still brings that occasional feeling of guilt.

Of course, when I make health changes for myself, I often try to make them for the whole family when it is feasible. Over the last few years as I have learned about the importance of our core and how pregnancy often leaves some resulting core issues that need to be addressed and healed, I have been on this path to healing and strengthening my own core.  As I have educated myself and learned more and more in the fitness world I have realized like many areas of healthy living, things are ever changing. As we continue to learn about the body and its incredible design we learn new and better ways to treat, heal, support and strengthen the body. One of these areas is in the idea that sit ups and crunches will strengthen the core effectively and are safe for everyone. This just is not true.

Read these thoughts……

When Crunches Make Your Pooch Worse

“Abs” without Crunches

How to have a Stronger, More Flat Stomach

Why Crunches Don’t Work

How Sit-ups Hurt Veterans with Diastasis Recti

Researching Diastasis Recti and Tummy Safe Gym Routines (excellent printable here)

6 Fitness Guidelines for Everyone

The Personal Trainers Guide to Diastasis

{Please do read through those links…. I am not going to reiterate what was explained so well by those experts above, but rather continue my thoughts based on my understanding of those articles!}

Now, I know most of those articles were aimed at the mom crowd and healing an existing diastasis or weak core but here’s my concern…..

It is said that “Form Follows Function”

If this is true, and I do think it is, then this concept that sit-ups and crunches are an effective way to strengthen a growing core and to build a strong core in our children as they grow needs to be addressed!

If doing crunches and sit-ups is not beneficial to me, {as a mom, who has had 8 pregnancies, carried 6 to term and vaginally delivered all of them and has since healed an 8+ wide diastasis after my youngest!} then are having my growing children doing sit-ups and crunches really beneficial for them? For my boys, they love to test each others strengths and be strong. You will often find them wrestling each other, racing in the yard, challenging each other – “look what I can do, can you do this?”. They are pretty typical boys 😉
And for my girls, while they may not roughhouse around like the boys, I still want them to be physically fit and to grow and strengthen their sweet bodies as they grow and I want them to go into their own childbearing years in a good and strong place, knowledgeable about their bodies and its capabilities.

And so, as they are getting older and exposed to more of the ‘mainstream fitness’, I struggle when I see them doing those crunch moves that are so common in children’s exercises. I have discussed this with my older boys and explained much of what I have expressed above. And thanks to the wonderful resources at Fit2B, (read this article and watch the video at the end), the boys and I have put together a few “better options” for them to do when others around do sit-ups and crunches. Ideally, they would rotate through a couple of these during those times and continue to strengthen their cores, just in a safer manner for their long term health and growth.

See, here’s the thing, doing a few crunches and sit-ups here and there as an 8 or 10 year old probably isn’t going to cause any long term damage or concern. However, continuing to do these in high quantities as they are older, into their young adult years, they could be setting themselves up for some concerning issues.

And so, we should be training them from the start to do exercises that will be beneficial long term, that will effectively strengthen their core and set them up for strong bodies and a healthy core down the road!

And so, here are the exercises, along with some examples…. forgive us that they are not always in perfect form…. they are still learning and working on it! But, I share this with you in hopes that you might be encouraged to research this topic and be comfortable with alternatives to the mainstream options and as we can teach others, one by one, we can strengthen those around us as well.

Planks – As explained in the photos, you can vary the height of your plank and challenge your strength and switch from on the front to the side and add in the various leg lift options

With planks, someone with a weak core would need to use caution, however, with my boys knowing they are at a point of growing and strengthening, I think this is a good option.

Mountain Climbers– this is one the boys like cause they can do them “so fast”, but if you are intentional about your alignment and actively engaging your core with each interchange, they will be more effective than just “running in place” 😉

Knee Wipers – these are also a nice way to stretch and get some good core work in at the same time. Again, actively engage the core and breathe well as you switch from side to side

Shoulder Bridge – this is one the boys have learned through wrestling, and while it may not be a good one for a damaged or weak core, as long as the core is engaged well during the entire bridge, I am ok with the boys doing this one, especially as it especially works the core well as you extend the leg.

Click any photo below to enlarge!

 

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So, I encourage you to consider this and perhaps encourage those kids in your life to be more intentional about strengthening their core with some alternatives to those “old fashioned” crunches and sit-ups. What are some other exercises that you could add to this list?

 

{Hey parents, do you have kids in public arenas and would like to share this information with their coaches and teachers? Please feel free to share this post with them and you may also find this printable for teachers and instructors specifically helpful as well!}

Lifestyle Learning

_Think Outside the Classroom_

It’s a little book with a pretty aqua and cream cover. A short read, only 56 pages long. But, as you read it, prepare to be encouraged, strengthened and renewed in your homeschooling vision and direction. Think cover 1

I don’t know that I read anything new to my brain personally, {however, if you follow a strict “school classroom at home” format, you may be greatly challenged by some new concepts!} but I was so encouraged as I read through the book one evening because as Kelly shared her family’s approach to their home-school, I found myself agreeing. Those truths I knew in my brain and heart Kelly was able to articulate in writing. Those dreams and goals I have for my children, those ‘end results’ I desire to have in our own home-school, Kelly and her family were using and achieving. 

Kelly Crawford is a lady I greatly admire and consider one who is worthy of offering advice, truth and encouragement into my life. Though I have never met her in person, her blog posts and the life she lives has shown me that she is a mama ahead of me on a similar journey, a mama of many children, a mama who has “graduated” several of them and so I know the words she speaks come from not only Godly wisdom but practical life experiences too.  Her other book “When Motherhood Feels Too Hard” is one I keep near and have read through often over the last few years.

A Lifestyle of Learning(1)

I would encourage any homeschooling mama to pick up a copy of this book and read it through. The concept of “Lifestyle of Learning” is so key, I believe, to a quality education. That concept that we are teaching our children to not just recite facts and figures back to us but rather teaching them how to learn, how to find answers to their questions, how to think and how to articulate clearly their own thoughts. Kelly includes in this book not only a concept and style of learning, but practical ways to implement this in your own home.

 

“With life-learning, there is no start of finish, no taking off, no being behind….. just a constant readiness to learn something else.” ~ Kelly Crawford

 

This short phrase sums up so well this book “Think Outside the Classroom”, a desire to teach our children to learn, to view each day and each moment as an opportunity to learn and grow. A lifestyle, that once mastered in the childhood years will carry on throughout their lives, well preparing them for their lives ahead.

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For this print and other encouraging quotes and verse on learning, visit our shop page!

 

 

{I did receive a copy of this book to read and review, however all thoughts and the review above are my own!}

{Affiliate links used, thanks for your support!}

 

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