A Few of My Favorite Things

We’ve been through most the rush of the post Thanksgiving buying spree, but we still have Cyber Monday, and then in all honesty…almost another month until Christmas. While I don’t think Christmas should be so focused on the gift-buying and rather the celebration of Jesus’s birth, I do enjoy picking out a few special things for loved ones. It is especially meaningful when I can give them something that I know they are going to love, and the gift contributes in another way. Whether it is buying from a small business, a business that gives back, or a business that is environmentally friendly and uses all natural products, these are a few of the things I look for most when shopping.

So far I have done 100% of my shopping online. At almost 8 months pregnant with two small children, I’d say this is totally acceptable! But even if you’re not pregnant and wrangling small children, shopping online, from the comfort of your own home, in your pjs, on the couch, warm beverage in hand, is definitely the way to go!

Here are a few of my favorite places to shop and many still have deals running through tomorrow!

Root

Organic 100% Lash Mascara

Root is my favorite place to buy all things makeup! Natural and organic beauty products that work! I especially love this mascara!

New Eve Jewelry 

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I love the message behind each piece of New Eve Jewelry. Each piece is made with re-purposed materials and serves as a reminder that new life can always be found in Jesus. I’m crushing on this Mustard Seed necklace…*hint, hint* to anyone that still needs to buy me a Christmas gift!

NS Pottery

Dipped Coffee Mug with Raw Clay Bottom

Natalie always makes the cutest and top quality products. We went to high school together and it’s always to fun to see what new products she is offering and support her beautiful work!

Oh Tiny Gifts

PREORDER WOMEN'S Be The Light T-shirt -White with Copper Shimmer Print

Of course I’m adding my own little shop! I have deal running through tomorrow for when you purchase any necklace you can get $2 off with code GIVEANDGET! Remember that $10 of each purchase will go back to the women of Smile Africa! Sale items are still up for grabs too!

Young Living Essential Oils

I have loved using Young Living essential oils and products, and they’ll be making their way into a few of my Christmas gifts! I love using and sharing a product that I can stand behind and feel good about using on my own family. If you are interested in a kit you can click here to become a part of my team and help support my family while supporting your own! If you just want to chat oils and see what they’re all about, feel free to e-mail me at moriahsteiner10@gmail.com.

So there you have it! A few of my favorite places to shop and places I have bought gifts for others (and myself!) or have on my wish list! What are some of your favorite places to buy gifts? I’ve seen many people share their favorite small businesses or link their own over posts on Facebook. Feel free to do the same here and share with others!

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Every Monday I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. I would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

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Perseverance for Kids

Little feet twitch and kick and hot tears threaten to pour down round cheeks. Gracie loves reading, correction…Gracie loves when I read to her, but she is not a fan of reading herself. We have spent many hours over her almost five years of life reading books together. Now that Gracie has mastered her alphabet, letter sounds, and some sight words, I have started incorporating reading practice into our home school days. Gracie is not a fan. If she has the word memorized and can breeze through it, no problem, but heaven forbid that we have to take the time to sound it out!

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I am learning some techniques that work well for her personality. She loves interaction and movement, so activities like a sight word jump are particularly good for her. I place sight word card on the floor, say one, and ask her to jump to it. She loves it, and asks to do it again! Great! But when it comes to sitting and trying to concentrate on one things, then we run into a problem.

I  want to help her love reading and find ways to learn that work best with her personality type. I also want to help her learn that working through something hard is worth it! It doesn’t help us learn if we get frustrated and decide we can just give up on something. When learning something new, we have to persevere and dedicate time and attention to it. It doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the learning process, but it will often mean we have to make that conscious effort to choose joy in the process. For an almost five-year-old this is HARD! But just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile.

So we sit and we read. I encourage, try to be patient, and give her space to get her wiggles out when she needs. She perseveres, she guesses, she wiggles and gets frustrated and then we try again. She figures it out and we’re both proud and ready to move on!

Some days I totally want to take the easy route! I want to say, OK, no reading practice, or OK, I’ll just tell you the word! And some days I totally do! But the other days, we persevere. We do the activities that she finds most fun, AND we do the activities that she doesn’t find as fun. We work through it and reward for jobs well done.

My husband and I have discussed with each other, and with Gracie, that it isn’t just about learning to read. It’s about not giving up when something gets hard. It’s about using the beautiful, strong, and smart brain that God has given her to persevere and figure something difficult out. It’s about finding joy even in a difficult process, and rejoicing together when the goal is accomplished! It doesn’t just have to apply to school work, but can apply to the work that our heavenly Father has for us.

Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:11-12

Perseverance is hard when you’re almost five and it’s hard when you’re 28. Good news is, we don’t have to persevere alone, and that’s something we can rejoice in and share with our children!

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Every Monday I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. I would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

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Dear Baby Boy

Dear Baby Boy,

First off, it sounds a little strange to write, boy. We are super excited for your entrance into our family, but I should warn you, you’ve got two older sisters that have the whole bossiness thing down pretty well! But I also want to tell you that they are pretty wonderful and you will be very, very loved…and possible smothered at times!

In about two more months we will get to meet you! To hold you, kiss you, love on you and in general ohh and ahh and thank God for the gift of you. You are already so loved.

I can already tell that you are going to be active! Neither of your older siblings were great sleepers for awhile, and I have a feeling, you may just follow suit! You like to kick and tumble, and I’m almost certain that at times you are in there dancing and performing the worm! You are active, strong, and responsive.

It’s fun to imagine what you will be like. What you will look like. How you will interact with us. We can imagine now, but it won’t be long before we get to experience you. To learn about you. To nurture you. To help you grow in the love of Jesus and try to foster and encourage the good gifts that He has given you to use for His glory.

Baby Boy. It won’t be long until we won’t remember a time without you as the little brother. You are loved. You are cherished. You are prayed for.

Dear Baby Boy, we love you

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Every Monday, Keri, and I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. We would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

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Oh Tiny Gifts Christmas Shopping

Today the Oh Tiny Gifts shop has it’s next round of items up for preorder! Preorder items will be available for purchase November 7-14. It will then take a few weeks to have them ordered, screen printed, and shipped out to you! The good news!? You’ll get everything before Christmas! Ready to get your Christmas shopping done? You can now shop for the whole family. You’ll find women’s tees, kid’s tees, onesies, and now I even have a unisex shirt option for the guys in your life! All the shirts share the message of being the light of Christ and pointing others towards Him. The message is inspired by Matthew 5:14-16 and this verse reference is printed on each shirt as a reminder.

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“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Not only will preorder items be available to buy, but there are still kid’s tees, women’s tees, and even a tote on SALE! Necklaces made by the women of Smile Africa Uganda are still available for purchase, and $10 of each sale will go directly back to the women.

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Get you’re Christmas shopping done now! Share and wear the positive message of shining brightly and being the light of Christ to the dark places of the world. Snag an on sale fruit of the spirit tee or tote and wear the truth of His fruit. Buy a beautiful piece of jewelry to keep or share and support women in Uganda.

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Thank you for your all your support! #weartruth #bethelight #shinebright

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Every Monday, Keri, and I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. We would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

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Parenting Our Children Uniquely

I’m guessing I’m not the only one, but I’ve always loved taking personality quizzes. I think we like to search for something that defines us. Tells us what’s unique and special about us. Where our strengths and weaknesses are and the things that we are good at. Some of these quizzes even give us a better understanding into why we behave the way we do. But have you ever taken a personality quiz for your children?

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I recently read, Raising An Original by Julie Lyles Carr. It’s a book on parenting your kids according to the unique personality and temperament that God has given them, AND it even comes with personality assessment tools for your kids!

It’s often too easy for me to fall into the patterns of parenting each child the same, or parenting them the way I think should work. The problem with that is, my kids are by no means the same person! They aren’t me or their daddy either! They are their own unique persons, with unique gifts and talents.

The book mentions thinking back to when you were pregnant with your child. What were they like even before birth? It’s hard for me to think back for each of the girl’s pregnancies, but it’s interesting to think of adjectives for this current pregnancy. So far I would describe this baby boy as active, strong, and responsive. He seems to always be on the move, kicks hard enough to make me cringe at times, and if I ever stop moving and in my head think, “how you doing, baby?”, he usually answers with a kick and a wriggle!

So instead of taking the cookie cutter approach to each kid, I’m trying to understand each of their personalities and learn how to help them grow and discover their God’given gifts and purpose. I’m not perfect, but I think the point is trying. Trying to understand our kids and offer grace to both them and ourselves in the process. Knowing that God has entrusted us with raising them, but that ultimately, they are in His hands, just as we each are!

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Every Monday, Keri, and I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. We would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

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Maternity Picture Tips

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This last week the girls and I took advantage of the beautiful weather we are having in Ohio and went outside for some mommy and girls maternity pictures! With some awesome help from my sis in-law, we managed to get some great shots! The only downfall was that we didn’t get to do family pictures, as daddy was at work! If you’re thinking of trying to take your own maternity, here are some tips that you may be able to use!

  1. Make or grab some inexpensive props– I made some inexpensive flower crown for the girls and myself to add a pop of color and a touch of whimsy to the pictures. I didn’t spend much on the flowers and they were pretty easy to put together. They were the perfect touch for some fun and girly pictures!
  2. Have your helper keep snapping pictures-When you are taking pictures with kids, sometimes it’s hard to get them to cooperate! Keep snapping pictures and you’re bound to wind up with some good shots, or at least memorable ones!
  3. Shoot in raw and use natural light-Natural light will only help enhance and increase the beauty of each pictures. When you shoot in raw you can maximize this lighting even more! I have done some simple editing in each picture, which I was able to do because of shooting these pictures in raw.
  4. You don’t have to wait until the end of your pregnancy to take pictures-Take the pictures when you are feeling great! We took advantage of the beautiful weather and a decent sized baby bump at 6 1/2 months!
  5. Have fun and try out different poses-Have fun with the process and try out lots of different poses! You might not know if something will look good until you try it!

Enjoy some pictures from our own maternity photo session! 

P.S. This awesome maternity dress was one of the items in my first Stitch Fix! A Stitch Fix stylist hand picks items out just for you and you get to try them on at home and decide if you want to keep them, or send them back! If you want to try out a fix for yourself (only $20 for the stylist and then that $20 will go towards whatever items you decide to keep!) use my link here and help me earn credit on my account! Then go share with your own friends and earn your own credit! Thanks!

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Every Monday, Keri, and I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. We would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

Follow along with Moriah
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Easy Halloween Costume DIY

With Halloween right around the corner, you may be one of those people that has had their kid’s costume planned since last Halloween! Or perhaps you are one of those people that hasn’t given it a second thought and likes to scramble last minute to put together an outfit and deem it as creative!  In the past I haven’t put much thought into costumes. When Gracie was younger we never took her anywhere for trick or treating, so there wasn’t much need to come up with a costume idea! Then we discovered Boo at the Zoo a few years ago. The last time we went we threw together a princess outfit for Gracie and Lillie went as a giraffe in an adorable hand me down get up that someone had given us to use for play. It was great! Last minute costumes can still be totally awesome, and chances are, your kid is more concerned about the goodies they are getting anyways!

This year, I found myself wanting to put together something fun for the girls…because we all know how Pinterest can easily sway you into that frame of mind! I happened upon some awesome DIY costumes that I knew the girls would love. If you have a girl…or perhaps a boy that’s really into tulle…you can make just about any costume using this idea! All you need is a crochet tutu top, tulle, the ability to make a knot, and you are good to go! You can find exact instructions for the sleeping beauty costume here, but you could really alter this to any princess, super hero, or animal costume you could think of! It really is as simple as cutting the length of tulle you want for your skirt and then knotting it into the bottom of the crochet tutu top!

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Gracie loves Princess Aurora, aka, Sleeping Beauty. She is all about the pink, and the minute I mentioned making an Aurora costume, she was sold! Lillie doesn’t have quite as strong of a preference as her big sis, but I thought she’d make a pretty cute Snow White, and she seemed to like the idea!

Enjoy these pictures of our little princesses in their attire as we attended Boo at the Zoo this last weekend. If you’re still in need of a costume for your little princess, go get yourself a tutu top and tulle, and start knotting!

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Every Monday, Keri, and I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. We would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

Follow along with Moriah
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Ohio Fall Weather Fun

With the change of seasons comes excitement…especially after making the recent move back from Uganda to Ohio. Uganda is beautiful and mostly sunny and hot. And while this may make me look like a glass half full kind of person, sunny and hot can get old! I appreciate sunny, hot days, but I’ve always been a person that is fully in love with mild Spring and Fall days, so to me, this recent weather has been a small taste of Heaven!

On a recently gorgeous day, we decided to take the girls to Ramseyer Farms. We have always enjoyed being able to go there each Fall when we are able. They continue to add more and more fun Fall activities each year and the girls love exploring and trying everything!

Fall is such a stimulating season. It seems to intensify each of our senses with exploding colors as leaves change, the touch of cozy sweaters as the air turns crisp, the smell and taste of pumpkin flavored everything, and crunchy leaves under our feet.

We enjoyed getting to spend a lovely day outdoors using all of our senses and appreciated some of the wonderful things that Fall has to offer!

What are some of your favorite things to do in the Fall? Do you have a favorite place to visit or a favorite pumpkin flavored food? Comment below and enjoy the pictures of our day!

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Every Monday, Keri, and I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. We would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

Follow along with Moriah
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The Beauty of a Poor Night’s Sleep

Sleep. I vaguely remember what that feels like. A good night’s rest. Plenty of room to sprawl out. Room to roll over when you feel the need. The ability to go to bed when you choose and wake up at a decent hour after a night of uninterrupted sleep. That kind of sleep has long eluded me. I will admit that I brought this lack of sleep on myself though. Approximately 4.5 years ago when our first child was born, a restful night’s sleep became a thing of the past.

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I can remember when Gracie, our first born, entered this world. You know that you’re going to get less sleep with a newborn, but somehow you can never quite be prepared for the extreme amount of sleep deprivation you are about to encounter. Gracie was the greatest gift and miracle my husband and I had every received, but at times we also wished that she came with an off switch, or at the very least, a dial to turn down the volume of incessant night time (and day time for that matter) crying.

You know how before you have children it’s way too easy to judge people’s choices with their children? Like, for a random example, you say you will never let your kids sleep in your bed. And then said child is born. This child happens to be a horrible sleeper and by four months the only way anyone is going to get any sleep is if this child is beside you in bed…all night. You do what you gotta do. You let that child sleep in your bed every night for close night time nursing and now at least you don’t have to get out of bed. Lesson learned. Don’t judge.

Then we had baby number two. Gracie was just turning two years old. She stayed in her bed partially through the night, but would usually still end up sleeping with us. It’s beautiful and frustrating all at the same time. It’s ridiculous how sweet and innocent your baby can look sleeping next to you. It’s also ridiculous how much space a tiny, sweet child can take up.

“Hey, Mom, and Dad! You guys have this king size bed so I can lay between you guys horizontal and form the letter ‘H’, right? Because I really want to use the maximum amount of space this bed allows. I want to help you get your money’s worth, k?”

So with baby number two, we eventually learned our bed would now have four occupants, but two of those occupants didn’t know how to stay on their side of the bed. They also enjoyed frequent potty trips, tossing and turning, crying, and eating, and also waking up really, REALLY early…even on Saturday.

At some point my husband and I realized that while not ideal, we could function, mostly normally, on pretty low levels of sleep. Somewhere along the way our bodies adjusted to frequent night awakenings, early mornings, and managing to sleep with a little body pressed tightly up against or directly on top of us.

For about the last year we have all been sleeping in the same bedroom, though the girls have a separate bed. Sleep has become less of a peaceful experience, but in some ways a more beautiful one. We’re still not able to crawl into bed, lights on, chat in a normal tone, and then know we can go to sleep and wake up when are bodies are fully rested. Our nights involve sneaking into a dark room, guided only by the light of our phones, whispering to one another and quietly saying prayers together, which include asking for the angelic favor of a full night’s sleep! We know one of us will most likely have to get up in the middle of night and that it will be a miracle if everyone sleeps in till 8 am, scratch that, it will be a miracle if everyone sleeps in until 7 am! Then there are times when one of the girls ends up sleeping snuggled up against me, and while I should be sleeping, all I can do is stare at them. Stare at the wonder of this child that truly is a gift from God, sleep deprivation and all. This is a beauty that can only be found in a poor night’s sleep.

Now, after approximately 4.5 years of poor sleep, I’ve learned not to judge, do what you gotta do, and treasure those tiny snuggles. Someday, yes someday, you’ll sleep again. Though for us I don’t see that time coming anytime soon. Hello January 2017 baby, and good bye sleep. See you in another 10-20 years.

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Every Monday, Keri, and I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. We would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

Follow along with Moriah
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Foster Care // Forever a Family

Our foster care experience in Uganda has come to a close. Last week we took the baby girl we’ve been caring for,  who’s really not so much a baby anymore, back to live with her family. Hellen has been in our home for the last year, and even while we were back in the States over the Christmas season, Jia (my sis in law) lovingly cared for her. Hellen has been the baby of our family, the littlest sis. We’ve gotten to know all her little quirks. What she likes, what she doesn’t like, and how stubborn this girl truly is. She is smart and curious and has an appetite like none I’ve ever seen. Seriously though, this girl will eat raw onions…and sign for more!

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So this last week when we took her to her family to say goodbye, it was, of course, hard and emotional. Foster care is definitely not easy, and saying goodbye is not fun! But here’s the good part! She is with her Ugandan family that absolutely loves her! She gets to grow up among her siblings and cousins, father, step mother, and aunt and uncles. She will learn her local language and all the cultural practices that tie her village together.

We will be able to help support her as she grows and hopefully stay a small part of her story. With this girl’s stubbornness and determination to get what she wants, she will go far with a gentle hand of guidance.

She is so loved by many. She is home with her family, and forever a part of ours.

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Every Monday, Keri, and I host a link party specifically for moms to share encouraging posts. We would love for you to link up your posts on motherhood below and connect with some other mamas.  Join us with #mamasharesmonday as we share our moments of motherhood.  

Follow along with Moriah
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Follow along with Keri
Blog // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter