My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things

I love learning about new products, movies, albums, restaurants, etc. from other people.

My philosophy is: if you take the time to tell me about it then it must be good. 

Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite things. Don’t worry. I’m not trying to sell you Essential Oils, Rodan + Fields, It Works, Plexus, Beauty Counter or any of those other products populating your news feed. I just love these products and think you should know.

  1. Lil’ ScrubbiesThese silicone scrubbing pads are gentle on your skin and more effective than washing with your hands. It also doesn’t hurt that they cost $2.50 for two. The suction cup on the back allows you to stick it to the mirror or shower so they aren’t easily misplaced.

2. Read Scripture App

I must confess that when my husband told me about this app I balked at his nonsense. I told him I didn’t have that kind of time and I’d just stick to the Bible reading plan I was already using. If you know Britten you know how persistent he can be and aren’t surprised that now I’m telling you how crazy I am about this app. Not only is it a thematic Bible reading plan but it comes with these amazing videos from the Bible Project that help contextualize each of the 66 books. You can also set reminders, track your progress and ping yourself to help stay on track.

3. ROMWOD
I realize most of my “fitness challenged” friends just scrolled over this because you saw “WOD” in the name but, please don’t overlook this gem. As I approach the big 4-0 I’ve noticed my flexibility is decreasing, joint pain increasing and muscle tightness becoming a limiting factor not just in the gym but even when I’m sitting on the floor playing with my boys.

Romwod stands for Range Of Motion Workout Of the Day. It’s a website that provides daily videos designed to increase range of motion, optimize athletic performance, and promote recovery, healing, and longevity. The program is designed to open your joints and strengthen your ligaments/fascia so people at any age or fitness level can benefit from the program. Britten and I do it together in our living room floor while our boys laugh at us so it doubles as family time.

4. Infinity Belt

I have a love/hate relationship with belts. I love that they keep my pants up but hate how my shirt doesn’t lay smooth because of the chunky buckle. That is precisely why I love the Infinity Belt. The buckle is designed like a bra clasp so it lays flat under your clothes without being noticed. And…if you go through airport security as often as we do then you need to know this belt doesn’t have to be removed going through security checkpoints and that alone is worth the investment. The website shows ladies wearing the belt exposed but I personally only wear it when it’s covered by a shirt.

The mascara I use today I learned about from a friend who shared her favorite things on Instagram so I’d love to hear about the products that make your life a little easier.

 

Fighting Against Envy

Fighting Against Envy

We recently visited a Japanese inspired restaurant in our city that not only gives trainer chopsticksbut serves green tea and hot cocoa at the end of the meal. 

After dinner the waiter presented our four older boys with a steaming cup of hot cocoa in an adorable porcelain cup. For reasons I do not need to list, he chose not to give our youngest son a cup.

In approximately 0.4 seconds the entire restaurant knew that our boys had been given something the baby brother had not. The tears started to flow and the deafening sobs echoed throughout the room.

My heart raced and my cheeks flushed with embarrassment as I imagined the other parents glaring at me with disapproval. I quietly growled at the baby in my mean mommy voice while donning a forced smile tried to settle him down but nothing worked. The waiter realized the situation and rushed over with a cup of cocoa and the weeping and gnashing of teeth tears ceased.

Riding home that evening I thought about the fact that my heart can be equally as grimy when I don’t get what I want…and even more so when someone else does. And though I may not scream and cry in the middle of a quiet restaurant, if my thoughts were displayed for the world to see, it wouldn’t always be a pretty picture.

 

It’s hard when things don’t go like we’d hoped but we all experience it, in one way or another.

  • Someone else got chosen for the job you desperately wanted.
  • You’ve tried incessantly to get pregnant and another friend posted a sonar pic announcing her pregnancy.
  • You’ve been a bridesmaid so many times you could open a store front for gown rental but you’re still single.
  • Your friend posted a picture of an epic girls night out…except you weren’t invited.
  • You’ve lived in a rental home since day one of your married life and another friend just moved into her dream home.
  • You can’t afford to take your family to the beach for the weekend but everyone else is spending two weeks at a five star Disney resort.
  • You want to be a stay at home mom and go on playdates with all of your stay at home mommy friends but that just isn’t an option.
  • You can’t lose those extra pounds and all your girlfriends are sporting skinny jeans and posting bikini pics on social media.

One of my favorite quotes on the matter is from Lisa Terkeurst.

“But then there were other moments. Hard moments. Moments when I felt my friends’ lives were rushing past me in a flurry of met goals, new opportunities, and affirmations of their callings from God. It seemed like the world was literally passing me by.”

But what I would add to the quote is that at times as I’ve watched “the world pass me by” I’ve grown envious of what God is doing in another’s life. How quickly my sinful flesh wanted to resent another’s success or what someone else had. In a matter of seconds I became completely unaware of all the things I do have because I was blinded by the things I don’t. Instead of celebrating joy in another person’s life the bitter seed of envy took root and caused me to take my eyes off of Christ.

“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30

Over time I’ve learned to recognize the warning signs in my own heart and developed a plan to turn my heart to God.

First– I search my heart to determine what about the situation is making me jealous. Is it an unfulfilled desire or a sense of entitlement? Does the envy stem from deep rooted fear or a sense of insecurity?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my anxious thoughts”  Psalm 139:23

Second– I confess my sin & ask for forgiveness.

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

Third-  I begin to praise God for what He has accomplished in the other person’s life. This part can be initially painful but the act of self discipline can change the focus of my heart almost immediately.

“Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.” Isaiah 12:5

Today, let’s not to conceal the presence of envy in our hearts and instead let’s celebrate His faithfulness in our lives and the lives of others.

Egg Science

Egg Science

A very wise women once told me to enjoy the early elementary years of homeschool because around 3rd grade things would start to get a little more difficult. I couldn’t have possibly understood what she meant but her words proved to be true.

So, when she told me to take a deep breath and enjoy the later elementary years because 6th grade was going to sucker punch me…I listened and took her advice.

For me, it’s a combination of homeschooling four kids at the same time and one of them being in sixth grade but long gone are the days of finger paint, craft projects and theme oriented snack times. Goodbye fun mom, may you rest in peace.

I’ve learned that I’m more likely to do “fun things” if I incorporate them into our school day because lets be honest…when the weekend rolls around there’s a long list of other things I’d rather do.

For the last couple of weeks we’ve replaced our regular science curriculum with random egg science experiments from the internet and reached a unanimous decision- eggs are really cool!

Who knew eggs were strong enough to stand on? And how adorable is Breck’s face in this photo? He couldn’t contain his excitement from this experiment. 

We learned that with a few items you probably already have in your house you can completely remove the shell of an egg leaving only the membrane intact. When the shell is removed the egg absorbs the liquid it’s floating in which makes it larger.
The boys made predictions of how many books could be stacked on top of a raw egg before it cracked. We were horribly off on our predictions when our egg held 18 books. If you try this experiment be sure to put plastic under the egg. You’ll thank me later. The creativity came out when each of us had to come up with a way to protect our egg in the “Egg Drop Challenge.” 

And of course I jumped at the chance to stick a label on something but you probably already knew that. 

And oddly enough, it turns out wrapping a raw egg in Play-Doh is an excellent form of protection.

In an effort to check the “school box” I made journals for the boys to record the information in each day. Do you see what I did there? Cheesy, I know, but I just couldn’t resist. Happy Easter!

The Shocking Stove

The Shocking Stove

When we first moved into this apartment a couple of years ago I noticed I was getting shocked when I touched the stove, microwave or coffee pot.

I’m not referring to an uncomfortable “tingle” like when you were a kid and stuck your tongue to a 9 volt battery. I mean more of an all out “sling raw eggs across the kitchen while trying to cook breakfast” kind of shock.

We eventually found an electrician who told us our apartment wasn’t grounded and that he could fix it. He pulled the stove out from the wall and proceeded to drive a nail into the tile with a piece of wire wrapped around it. He pounded the nail deep into the tile and pushed the stove back in place. Viola! Problem solved.I have no idea what he did or why he did it. But, I do know it worked and my time in the kitchen was a lot less “electrifying” from that point on.

Unfortunately, the problem has returned. And while I’ve yet to sling raw egg across the kitchen, I have dropped a pot or two and screamed like a little girl.

“Call the electrician” is on my to do list but in the meantime I’ve had to get creative.

Whenever I’m cooking anything in my oven or on the stovetop I try to remember to put on shoes with a rubber sole so I won’t get shocked…which sounds a lot easier than it really is.

All too often I’m barefooted and my shoes are upstairs. If I don’t have time to run and get them I have to grab the next closest thing which usually turns out to be Britten’s flip flops. Stylish. I know.If Britten happens to be wearing his flip flops then I just grab whichever shoe I can squeeze my foot into. That often times is a little boy’s size six, which leaves me trying to shimmy my fat toes into enough of the shoe that I don’t get zapped.

But the most attractive ensemble is when I come straight home from the gym and kick my shoes off only to realize I need to take something out of the oven and I’m only wearing socks. Don’t judge, it’s all in the name of safety.
And while I won’t be winning any fashion awards anytime soon, at least I’m not cleaning up splattered egg.

Still Gettin’ Groceries

Still Gettin’ Groceries

Lately we’ve found ourselves in a particularly hectic season of life. Maybe it’s the fact that we have five children, maybe it’s that we homeschool, maybe it’s that I work part time, maybe I’m a giant cream puff and can’t handle the daily challenges of life. I’ll let you decide but don’t tell me the answer, m’kay?

In this season my constant prayer for myself is that God would allow me to see His grace in the daily grind of life. Those are the moments I often fail to see His goodness.

When the sink is full and dishes are pouring out onto the counter and there is no dishwasher. When the school days are long, the b’s still look like d’s and long division eludes us.
When it’s 95 degrees outside and I’m walking to the store in an abaya.
Don’t we all sometimes get weighed down by the daily tasks of life?

This week I was looking back through some old blog posts and came across a post I wrote nearly two years ago. We were living in a neighboring country and the simple task of going to the grocery store was sheer misery. I laughed out loud as I read the blog post in it’s entirety. Then I breathed a huge sigh of relief because that was a thing of the past. To completely appreciate the remainder of this post you need to read the original Gettin’ Groceries blog post. 

And while I’m still “Gettin’ Groceries” on a routine basis, things look a bit different this time around.

This week I pulled up the Danube app on my phone, sat in my favorite chair with a Diet Coke and ordered all the groceries I needed for the week. I then scheduled what day and time I wanted them delivered to my house and hit “place order.”

The next morning a kind young man rang the doorbell and delivered my groceries to the front door. No service charge, no delivery fee and no out of control grocery carts.
Praise hands ya’ll. 🙌🙌🙌🙌 All the praise hands. 🙌🙌🙌🙌
He handed me the receipt so I could pay and my grocery shopping was done. My what a difference a couple of years can make.

So the next time I get overwhelmed by the daily “stuff” I’m going to remind myself of the years we pushed  double grocery carts through the mall with our five kids in tow and I hope I will praise God for His goodness in the many small ways He pours it out each day.

Spartan Race 2017

Spartan Race 2017

This month the Spartan Race made it’s inaugural appearance in our city and despite the fact that we were barely over jet lag, Britten wanted to do it.

The boys saw how excited their dad was and quickly jumped on board with the idea of competing in the Spartan Junior. I’ve always wanted to do a Spartan Race but unfortunately women weren’t allowed to compete. However, we were allowed to spectate which means it was an event women and men could attend together and in our city that’s a major change kind of a big deal.

And while I was incredibly bummed that there wasn’t a ladies division, I was thrilled to watch from the sidelines and cheer on my guys. 

  1. For the kid’s race there weren’t specific winners. Every child that finished got a t-shirt and a medal. Brax was extremely jealous of his brothers so Britten gave him his medal so he could be like them.Speaking of medals, I’m going to take this opportunity to publicly brag on my man. Britten got 3rd place in his division. And while he’s probably going to reprimand me for posting this, he’s not here to stop me so I’m hitting publish and will apologize later. And while I’m certain my washing machine may never recover from all the mud, I am so incredibly proud of my guys.
Business As Usual

Business As Usual

Right before we left the states to head back to the Middle East we had a microscopic bit of snow in our city. Our boys learned then that homeschooling has its advantages and disadvantages. While our cousins were at home curled up on the couch watching movies, we were in the school room handling business as usual.

However, there are also great advantages to homeschooling. One of those advantages being, no matter where we are, we can carry on with school. And when you travel as much as we do, that’s a pretty great incentive.

We have been living in a hotel for a little longer than originally anticipated so it was imperative that we resume our school schedule, even if for no other reason than to bring some order to our day.

We’ve set up a nice little system here in the hotel and Taylor Academy is in full swing. We eat breakfast and then work together to clean the table off and get school started. When lunch time rolls around we put the school away and prepare lunch. After lunch we clean up the table again and drag the school books back out. Finally, when we finish school for the day, we put all the books away and transition to dinner…again. Doesn’t that just sound delightful?

I must admit that my OCD nature gets tested regularly by the fact that we don’t have a designated “school room.”

I try to stay as organized as possible by creating neat stacks for each of the boys but when the laundry drying area doubles as a bookshelf, things can get cluttered. 
And no need to worry about the fact that the majority of our school supplies are still packed in our tubs. We may not have the necessary supplies but we are getting by just fine. You’d be surprised how resourceful I can be when backed against a wall. I’m encouraging myself with the idea that once we get settled in our home and have the school room set back up the schooling will practically take care of itself. And today I’m choosing to live in that reality so please don’t spoil it for me.

A New Look for the New Adventure

A New Look for the New Adventure

We left Birmingham with 21 checked bags, three backpacks, a stroller, two carseats and 7 carry-ons.

We arrived back in our city last week with all but one of our suitcases. After 27 hours of travel from point A to point B we finally made it.
The boys are absolute rock stars when it comes to saying goodbye, navigating airports, sleeping on the plane and eating airplane food.

Me….not so much. Which is why I passed out on my sweet husband in the Paris airport and left him to wrangle my jet lagging brood.

We are eagerly anticipating the new adventures that are around the corner. I personally look forward to documenting them here on the blog.

The new adventures necessitated a new look so the blog got a little facelift courtesy of the Etsy shop Graphics Candy who is not only incredibly talented but overwhelmingly kind and patient to work with.

You can still find me here at passportforsix.com but since we haven’t been a family of six for nearly three years I needed to make a few minor changes. I hope you enjoy the new look and the upcoming excitement. We’ve only been here eleven days and the list of things that I want to etch in my blogging memory are already spilling over in my head. I can’t wait to share them with you.