Ending “Locker Room Banter”: It Starts At Home

Several months ago, my Facebook feed exploded with many people who were absolutely aghast at Trump’s admission of demoralizing woman and then brushing it off as “locker room banter”.

Unfortunately, this locker room banter is much more common than we think, and is even common in certain work environments- especially those dominated by men and those that have a casual, laid-back time while the employees are on call. In case you haven’t guessed it yet, the firehouse and the police force are two places where this can happen.

Today on Love and Blues, I’m sharing how we as wives can encourage and challenge our husbands as they work in these environments.

Head on over to Love and Blues to check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

As always, I would appreciate likes, comments and shares!

Dayton Moms Blog: The Art of the High Five

I’m over at Dayton Moms Blog today sharing all about the art of the High Five and how it has changed my marriage and parenting style!

 

Proud to be a Dayton Mama!

7 Natural Remedies for Preventing Sickness

 

First, let me preface this post by saying that I’m no expert.

I’m also not a homeopathic guru and I pull out the Tylenol pretty much as soon as it’s needed.

We still get sick and this isn’t a cure-all post.

However, I just wanted to share some of the tactics that we have tried to boost our immune systems and keep the sickness at bay.

For Theo, this has really proved effective. He has been doing all of this since November and during the three months since then, our kids have had three different illnesses that he hasn’t caught. This is the guy who used to get everything that was passed around.

Obviously, the best way to not get sick is to live a preventative lifestyle. This means eating balanced meals, exercising and getting enough sleep (hahahahah, I know. That one is basically impossible with young children). I know it’s cliche, but hand washing also goes SO, SO far. However, there are few more things that we have discovered that really seem to help boost our immune systems.

 

  1. Take daily multi-vitamins. Theo, Tera and I all take daily multi-vitamins.  These include Vitamins A, C, D, E, B-6, B-12, Folic Acid, Biotin, Panthothenic Acid, Iodine and Zinc. It should be noted that all of these things should be found in the above mentioned diet, but supplementing them in the form of a vitamin is helpful!
  2. Take additional supplements. Theo hopped on Google and searched for immune boosting supplements. He spent several days researching and found that Echinacea, Flaxseed Oil and Glucosamine Sulfate are all immune boosters. Theo takes one of each of these a day in addition to his daily vitamin. We also use probiotics, although not daily. Probiotics are fairly expensive for our budget, so we take about 3 a week.
  1. Drink elderberry syrup. Again, elderberry syrup is a natural immune booster! You can buy elderberry syrup in several different locations, but Theo opted to make his own. He ordered elderberries, boiled them on the stove, strained them into a mason jar, and added pure, raw local honey. He stores it in the fridge and drinks a spoonful everyday. It actually tastes pretty good! Here is a recipe for elderberry syrup or you can buy it here. 
  2. Brush teeth/gargleWe all know that we need to wash our hands to keep germs at bay, but what about the germs and bacteria that are already in our mouths? Teeth brushing and gargling with extremely strong mouth was is an extremely effective way to kill off the bacteria that may be in our throats and mouths already.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide in the ears. This sounds crazy, but Theo swears by it! Every morning and night he uses an infant medicine dropper to drop 1-2 drops of hydrogen peroxide into his ears.
  4. Essential Oils.  ….brace yourselves for a sales pitch. Just kidding. I don’t sell essential oils. But I do use them and LOVE them. Seriously. I love DoTerra’s brand of OnGaurd for immune boosting, plus it smells really good! We have also had success with peppermint for headaches/migraines. If you need recommendations on a safe person to buy EO’s from (who won’t make you sign your life away), please contact me and I can get you in touch with a person!
  5. Fire Cider. I was a total skeptic on this one, especially after I watched Theo make it. It’s full of disgusting ingredients, all combined into one gross concoction. Our house smelled pretty rough after Theo made it! I was feeling absolutely miserable a couple weeks ago and Theo convinced me to take a spoonful. I actually took it with a trash can in hand because I was positive that I could NOT stomach it. I hate apple cider vinegar and can’t stand ginger, so I figured this would be the worst thing EVER. I took a spoonful and NO JOKE my sinuses cleared out IMMEDIATELY. It does burn a little going down, I’m not going to lie. However…it works. And it’s totally worth it to me! My sister-in-law said that it tastes like salad dressing to her, so it’s really not THAT bad. It does take a whole month to marinate, so make sure that you make it with plenty of time for the sickies to hit! Here is a recipe for fire cider.

I know that I’m not an expert on this, so tell me…what am I missing? What do you do to boost your families immune system or keep them from getting sick?

 

**I TRIED to link research-based articles for your perusal, but I only have so much time to do that type of research. Please let me know if something I cite is way off. Please also remember that these are personal experiences and I am simply sharing them. I would be more than glad to hear your opinions, research and what works for you, too!

Shop Feature: Francis and Benedict

I could not be more excited to share today’s shop feature with you all!
The moment I laid eyes on a skirt from Francis and Benedict, I knew it was West African wax print fabric. Of course, that alone was enough to make me fall in love with these gorgeous skirts.
But then it got even better when I found out that Francis and Benedict does so much more than create gorgeous skirts. They also empower and equip skilled seamstresses in Togo, West Africa by providing them with dignified and sustainable employment.
Just in case you are new around here, I wanted to back up and tell a little bit of my story. I spent 16 years of my life in West Africa as a missionary kid. Although I have now lived in the States for almost 8 years, I think I will always consider Africa home.
I have recently taken a step back from blogging and re-evaluated where my time and my priorities need to be. I have said it before, but I will say it again. I will NEVER promote or advertise a company that I cannot 100% get behind.
This a company that I would gladly shout from the rooftops. But I’ll let Katie, the founder and CEO tell us some more:
In the months following my first-ever and extremely impactful trip to Togo, I decided to launch Francis + Benedict. I have known our in-country partners (Francis and Benedict Avoyi) for over five years and I find it is a daily joy to partner with them on this adventure. I describes myself as a Jesus-needing mama of 5 (soon to be 6 in a few months), and proud wife to Josh- my first love and Campus Pastor at Seacoast Church in Charleston, SC. I desire to use my life to replicate the love that God has shown me personally, to my family, to my community and to the world.
About Francis + Benedict
Founded in Togo, West Africa in January of 2016, Francis + Benedict is a non-profit clothing company that exists to empower women and equip local leaders to continue to serve those trapped in poverty. We sell our beautiful handmade clothing in the American market and return the profits back to Togo to sustain these efforts. The shop in Togo employees 8 seamstresses, most of whom are widows or the sole providers for their family.
The name Francis + Benedict comes from our two in-country directors: Pastor FrancisAvoyi and his amazing wife Benedict. This couple has been serving their home country of Togo and positively impacting all of West Africa for over 20 years. They have personally sacrificed to help sustain orphanages, church plants, and have been the only support + shelter to countless widows and street children for years. This business is a God dream for them and our goal is not only to employ seamstresses, but to continue to resource the important work that they are doing in Togo.
Skirts
Each skirt is handmade and marries American style with West African wax print textiles. There are three types of skirts- maxi, midi and mini and each skirt is sorted into several different collections named after each of the nine seamstresses.
Maxi:
Midi:
Minis:
Francis and Benedict was kind enough to send me one of their skirts, and I chose the Mono River Maxi for myself. I ordered a small, but it ran a little big for me, and I should have ordered an extra small. The skirt was made and shipped within 10 days of my order! I will also mention here that I would not normally spend this much on a skirt, but when I consider the fact that the cloth was made overseas, the skirts sewn overseas by some amazing Togolese women and that there are no retail stores that could sell something like this- I’m a HUGE fan of that price!
Theo took some shots of me wearing my gorgeous maxi..
POCKETS.
I made sure to wear my Africa necklace, too.
Yes, yes it was 27 and snowing when I took these pictures. SO COLD.
Ok, enough pictures of OTHER people in the skirts, let me tell you how to get your hands on your own skirt!!!
Website:
Instagram:
@francisandbenedict
Facebook:
Email:
And the best news yet…!!!! I have an exclusive discount code to the shop! You can use GM10 for 10% OFF your purchase!!!
Today happens to be Monday, March 6th which means that Francis and Benedict just launched a brand new collection: The Juliette Collection! Be sure to follow them and check out the new collection. I would LOVE to see your gorgeous skirts on you when you get one!!!

February Life Lately

February. Oh, what a month.

This month has been a absolute doozy. Fasten your seatbelts, folks, because I bet that you will be exhausted by the end of this post. I know I sure am exhausted after living this crazy rollercoaster month.

We started February off with some SUPER special guests…

Little Miss Abigail came for the weekend! With her Mom and her Grandma, too. Tera and Abby were in HEAVEN together. Most of the pictures I have of them are this blurry, because they were just running around all weekend long.

Seriously in heaven.

Abby loved Kiah and treated him just like a doll, including bopping him in the head a couple of times. Ha! He survived, don’t worry.

Theo has been slowly working on the basement and he poured a huge cement slab over the weekend. He wanted to get the kids handprints in the cement before it dried…

Tera was up first!

Kiah did his foot…

And Abby got to do it, too!

Its so fun that I have all THREE of my kids hand/foot prints in the cement downstairs! Seriously, heart bursting!

Not sure exactly what is happening here, but I assure you that these two were BFFs. Sisters.

We took the kids to Run Around Fun Town and they had an absolute blast.

This is how Kiah feels about Run Around Fun Town.

They have it set up like a little village. They have a fire station, a little road with these car things, a pet shop, a diner, a grocery store, a little playhouse and then lots of bouncy houses.

Tera and Abby filling their baskets at the grocery store…

I will admit that it made me nervous about germs. I mean, it’s an enclosed space with tons of toys and equally as many children touching all.the.things. However, I was impressed with how hard they were working to keep it clean and sanitary. They had one employee who walked around and picked up any toys she saw a kid put into their mouth. I witnessed them enforcing the socks rule and so I’m assuming that they are also pretty good at enforcing the no sickies rule. But at the same time…I’m SURE there were lots of great chances for my kids to boost their immune systems!

Tera is loving how Kiah interacts a little bit more. She wants to hold him and play with him all the time.

On February 6th, Theo started at the police academy. We are currently in week 4 and it is NO JOKE. He is gone all day, mostly in lecture. He then comes home and literally does homework until bedtime. We are exhausted, but Theo is loving it. He is learning so much and we are so thankful for this opportunity.

I started working out again for the first time since Kiah was born. I have no idea what is actually happening in this picture, but the point was supposed to be the I’m working out and so is Kiah! He’s getting his neck muscles nice and strong. Also, I’m not going to lie that I was doing awesome for the first two weeks of February, and I haven’t worked out since. But more on that in a minute…

I packed up the kids one day and drove to the BMV to renew my license, where I found out that my license is expired and I had to take both the written and the driving test again. I was so mad and upset.

Tera-girl turned 2.5! I love this girl so much.

Our church youth group hosted a Valentines Banquet this month. Let me tell you what…free childcare. A three course meal. A chance to get a little bit dressed up. Time to socialize a little bit with other couples at our table. For FIVE DOLLARS. FIVE. Yes, please.

I had so much fun I only took a picture of the menu.

Kiah turned four months old on Valentines Day! We had his four month appointment and he is ON THE CHARTS. He’s still the very bottom of them, but we will take it.

Sweet little man.

I played around with some settings on my camera that I didn’t even know I had! I need to learn more about photographing with my expensive camera!

We spent Valentine’s night being super romantic and practicing for my parking/driving exam. This stupid test brought me so much stress the last few weeks. We drove 20 minutes away to the practice test area only to find that they take the cones down at night. Seriously? Where do they expect people to practice for their parking exam? It’s not like parralel parking that you can actually find a real-life place to do it. It’s a “maneuverability” test where you have to pull between cones and then back through them. Here is a youtube video just to give you a picture. Yes, I did practice with Tera as a cone. No, I would NEVER hit my toddler, which is probably why I mastered it immediately. Sidenote: I did eventually pass although it was close!

Happy Valentine’s Day. Sick kid, parking practice, and grilled cheese sandwiches in the car. Not gonna lie, I would have preferred to dress up and have a night out, but I am so thankful for my little crew.

That weekend, we hosted the Hines Winter Retreat! It was a blast! You can read the whole recap here. 

The weather this month has been AMAZING! We have gone to the park as much as possible! How fun is this swing at one of our local parks?

Tera is getting so confident and independent, and I’m loving it! I told her it was time to go home and she said, “You go home, Mommy. I’ll stay”. Haha.

Look at that weather! In February!

I’m trying to be intentional about doing activities and reading books with Tera. This means putting down the phone and being present. I’m NOT a Pinterest Mom, so the things we do are not fancy. This one was just paints and cotton balls, and she did that design all by herself. Also…#lefthandedproblems

The Police Academy is very intense. So far they are in lecture from 8-5 everyday. Then, they are required to rewrite every single powerpoint/notes that they took that day. On top of all that, they are tested weekly on all the information. So basically, Theo is gone all day and comes home and does homework the whole time.

Also, he isn’t allowed to have his phone. So this is approximately how much we communicate each day:

The Hines cousins are really, really good at sharing….germs. Every time we get together we know that the kids will all exchange sicknesses. Hey, at Christmas time it was us to who started the sickness going around; but this time someone else brought it to us. So here we are at the end of February with two sick kids and one Mama who is under the weather. It’s hard, guys. Sickness is no fun.

I think the hardest part for me is being housebound with the sickies. I’m trying to make the most of it and soak it all up, but DANG IT, ITS SO HARD.

Thankfully, Kiah seems to be on the tail end of it and has got some of his appetite and personality back.

Tera put on my boots before church. They literally went all the way up to her upper thighs.

Poor Kiah. Poor thing.

We are going to make it. Right? Right? Someone please tell me we will make it.

March…here’s to being a little bit more laid back with a more consistent routine and NO MORE SICKNESS.

Top 2 February Posts on The Glorious Mundane: 

Breaking Up With Blogging 

When Assent Isn’t Confirmed 

Dayton Mom’s Blog February Post: 

Guide to Buying, Selling, Donating and Obtaining Breastmilk 

Love and Blues February Post:

A Letter to My Police Recruit 

 

 

Hines Winter Retreat

The Hines family gets together only 2-3 times a year- Summer family reunion, Winter family Retreat and then Thanksgiving or Christmas.

If you are new here, there are few things that you need to know about the Hines family:

  • We are a large group of people. Mom and Dad had seven sons, there are four wives and 12 grandchildren/cousins (with one on the way), all under the age of 12. Believe it or not, only 5 of the brothers were here for this get together!
  • I am SO incredibly lucky to have married into this family. Seriously!
  • We get together every February for an annual winter retreat. We usually all pack up and head to Northern Michigan for the weekend. Due to the travel constraints and work hours for two of the brothers (including Theo), we decided at the last minute to host it at our place!

On Thursday afternoon, all nine guest arrived at our house! We had people sleeping in every bedroom and on every surface of the floor….it was a lot of fun!

 

Grandpa brought his treasure box! Every day, his grandkids get to pick a “treasure” from the treasure box. The grandkids LOOOOOOOOOVVVE this tradition so much. Also…#somanygirls. Poor Kyrin. He need Kiah to grow up a whole lot faster!

Most of the pictures I took over the weekend involve cuddling and family time… That about sums it up!

Grandma and Kiah. This woman raised seven boys and she is an absolutely FABULOUS Grandmother!

On Friday morning, we packed up a picnic lunch and headed to Learning Tree Farm! Our “winter” retreat happened to fall on a February weekend that was absolutely GORGEOUS…it was in the 50s all weekend!

I didn’t take as many pictures at the farm as I should have….oops. We saw all the animals, took a little walk in the woods and then had a picnic lunch while the kids ran around. Again… #somanygirls

These rocks were a huge hit!

Tera…oh my word, this child. I told her to get her hat, and she chose this snowman hat (that is actually for Kiah). It looked ridiculous but she was not interested in switching or taking it off. Lol.

Kyrin and Kiah! The two boys…

Grandma brought these fun little crowns for all the girls.

Some girls were really excited about the picture, some were not. Some were really tired from their nap, and one even refused to participate…that one would be mine.

How many people can YOU fit in your living room? We were at 17 and look at all that floor space to spare!

The weather being warm really worked out in our favor because we were able to send all the kids outside to play. We also kicked the Dads out to watch them.

Tire swings and cousins!

Oh, yeah…I forgot to mention the dog! Pug-Z. He’s a huge favorite of all the grandkids!

On Saturday morning, we headed out to Ethan and Kindrea’s place. They have a much larger property with more outdoor things to do, so it was really great to spend a day up there! Again, the girl cousins have SO MUCH FUN together!

Grandma and some more girls. Seriously, #somanygirls

Lots of kids eating their sandwhich lunches before heading back outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather!

We did our best to make meals SUPER easy for almost 20 people on really short notice. We did sandwiches for lunches, CFA for dinner one night, pizza another night and tacos the third night. My SIL Kindrea did all the grocery shopping and then we all split the bill. It worked out so great!

Sweet baby snuggles!

Tera and I took the lunch scraps out to the chickens. Let me just say something about my sweet girl. She is a people person, but she needs her alone time. She is ALL THE WAY one-on-one quality time and big groups of people wear.her.out. I looked for little moments during the weekend to sneak away with just her and fill up her tank a little bit.

Ethan and Kindrea have 40+ chickens and Tera LOVES them!

She even collected some eggs.

The men got out their firearms and spent some time at the shooting range. This is always a highlight of the family reunions for the men! The four of us ladies managed to convince them to take a break from their firearms to watch all the kids while we went out shopping for a few hours. Somehow I managed to not take ANY pictures of us sisters the entire weekend.

Theo wanted me to practice using a gun. Being married to a Hines who is also going to be a police officer, we do have guns in our house. Theo has been very diligently at training me in gun safety and teaching me how to shoot.

It’s not my favorite pastime, but I do realize that it’s a good skill to have!

Saturday night was crazy town, but a blast.

We left Ethan and Kindrea’s house around bedtime on Saturday night and crashed at home. The next morning we were planning on going to church, but all the kids were coughing, had runny noses and were running low-grade fevers, so we stayed home. We did hit up a restaurant for lunch and then enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of conversation and sunshine. The kids all played outside for hours and the adults got to have some good conversations! For some reason I didn’t take any pictures on that day.

A lot of people would say it’s crazy to host that many family members, and I’m not going to lie…it can be overwhelming. However, it is SO worth it. We only get to see this family every so often and it’s so wonderful to see the cousins playing together. My sisters-in-law are amazing ladies and I soak up time with them and my mother-in-law. The cousins always spread way too many germs, and that is always difficult, but it is life after all.

We LOVED hosting the Hines Winter Retreat and I wouldn’t mind at all if we did that again!

Hines Winter Retreat 2015

Hines Winter Retreat 2016 

 

Guide to Buying, Selling and Obtaining Breastmilk

Two weeks ago I wrote a post titled “Breaking Up with Blogging”.

Basically, I have decided to quit the hustle and bustle of blogging and instead just blog as a hobby. Little did I know how busy these few weeks of my life would be and how nearly impossible it would be to find time to even blog as a hobby!

I have a few posts that I am working on (our family reunion recap, Feb Life Lately, etc.). I also have a whole series on Exclusively pumping and breastfeeding coming up!

To kick off this topic, I am over on the Dayton Mom’s Blog today sharing a guide that I wrote on how to Buy, Sell or Obtain Breast Milk. You don’t want to miss all the information I have included in this post!

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Please like, comment and share for me…it really makes a huge difference!

You are all the best!

February Book Review

Well, folks…February has been quite the month. Theo started at the police academy on February 6th, Tera quit taking naps, and Kiah started screaming for several hours every night. Sooooooo I didn’t get hardly any reading done this month. I read several magazines, but I only read two books.

 

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The first one was 7 by Jen Hatmaker. This one came out a few years back and I loved it back then, so I decided to give it another read. I know that Jen Hatmaker has gotten a lot of flak recently from her and her husbands statements about Scripture supporting homosexuality. While I don’t agree with her take on this particular issue, I still think that she has got some things right- and I always appreciate being able to hear a perspective different from my own.

Anyways, 7 has nothing to do with that controversial matter, I just wanted to make it clear where I stand on that. Even after all the hype around this book has faded, I still loved it. I loved Jen’s light, easy way of communicating the hard subjects. I love the whole premise of the project and the idea behind fasting from seven different things for a month each. I love her thoughts on each one and overall this is one of those books that encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and really think about my actions in relation to my spirituality. I highly recommend this book to any believer!

 

The second book I picked up was Unbroken.

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I’m going to be honest…this book took me 3.5 weeks to read through because it is so DENSE. No detail was left out of the story of Louie Zamperini. His story is INCREDIBLE. I was shaking my head and bawling and just absolutely amazed over the resilience of humanity. This story is about a soldier in WWII whose plane crashed and he was captured by the Japanese and placed in a POW camp.  Again, it’s a very long book and very research-heavy, but so, so well written and fascinating. I have a new appreciation for my life and the freedom that we have in our country.

 

I think after those two I need to pick up something a little bit more light and fluffy! Hopefully next month I’ll have a few more books to review!