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Tea

It’s 3:32 pm. A beautiful crisp, but-not-too-crisp Fall afternoon in Wisconsin. It’s Friday. We’ve just finished homeschool for the week and the kids are playing nicely (without fighting or crying!) in the backyard. The moment is just too perfect. I almost instantly began warming water and filling my teapot with my favorite tumeric ginger tea. I even get a little fancy and snap a photo and post it to Instagram.

A few hours later I was still thinking about my tea break that I gave myself. To be honest, I was so proud of myself. It’s sometimes so hard to ignore the messes, the undone chores, the to-do list that has many things left to do. At least it is for me. My sink was overflowing with dishes, the floor was unswept and definitely not scrubbed, and if we’re really being real, I hadn’t done a load of laundry since Monday. Piles of books and activities from school lined the counters, and yet I stopped and did something totally and completely for myself and just embraced this season of being a mama to two incredible little boys.

Nikki Stenson

I am a wife to my husband, Matt and a Mom to my son, Micah. I live a simple life and eat a lot of oatmeal.

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Our Food Journey Update

Eating Clean

Our family’s journey to health has been just that, a journey. Over the years we have made small changes to get to where we are today. Here’s a small glimpse of our where we were and where we’re going.

Rewind to a couple of years ago when we ditched desserts and soda. This came about for two main reasons. My husband went through several expensive dental treatments, and our oldest son turned 1, and was beginning to eat everything we ate. We knew we had to change our lifestyle in order to better our health and to be a good example to our kids. It was really hard at the time, but well worth it.

While that was a great first step, a lot of hidden sugars have still remained in our diet. Lots of store bought breads, crackers, sauces, condiments, and convenience foods were consumed daily without much thought or concern.

Then, last summer after watching, Food Inc we started thinking much more about where our food came from. It was such an eye opening and life changing documentary, and we have never been the same since. We found a local farmer who raises grass fed and grass finished beef and have been buying the majority of our meat from him. We also began going to another farm to get free range eggs, and try to buy as much organic produce as possible and support the farmer’s market as often as we can.

So here we are today. Although we’ve taken some critical steps to bettering our health, I’ve been feeling really convicted lately that we needed to clean
up our eating habits again. I’ve been trying to find a diet (and by diet I mean lifestyle) that fits our family for quite some time. I didn’t want anything extreme and unattainable, and nothing that eliminated complete food groups. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blog called 100 Days of Real Food, and felt like it was something I wanted to do. It’s just like it sounds, a challenge to eat only real foods for 100 days. No processed foods, no preservatives, just plain old chemical free nutrient rich real food. My husband, who I thought would be reluctant and not very interested, was surprisingly on board and willing to find ways to clean up our diet. We are not doing the official challenge, but we are making a commitment to eating cleaner, more homemade and less packaged foods. And we’re taking it slow. Like really slow. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and we want to make small, sustainable changes.

Keep following the blog to stay up to date with our journey!

Nikki Stenson

I am a wife to my husband, Matt and a Mom to my son, Micah. I live a simple life and eat a lot of oatmeal.

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You’re Great

Last night at the dinner table my son said something that stopped me in my tracks.

He said, ”I not great, Mama.”

Now I know I might have taken his words out of context. This same 2 year old has also declared on more than one occasion, ”I not a boy, I girl!”

Whether he really meant what he said isn’t the point. The point is the pain I felt in my heart after hearing him say those words. I think he is the greatest little boy on the planet. I could go on for days about all the ways I love him and am proud of him. In fact I tell him daily that I think he is really great. It is one of my greatest prayers that he would know deeply how great, how wonderful and how perfect he is.

And then it hit me. The heartbreak and saddness I feel when my son thinks something negative and untrue about himself is the same way God feels when I believe something that isn’t true about myself. God longs for us to see our true identity, sons and daughters created in God’s image. My son reminded me to listen to God’s opinion about who I am not my own or any one else’s.

It’s my goal to speak truth over myself and everyone around me, for a little bit of truth can breakdown a lot of lies. Truth can really set you free.

Nikki Stenson

I am a wife to my husband, Matt and a Mom to my son, Micah. I live a simple life and eat a lot of oatmeal.

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Mommy Minute

Happy Monday! Hope you had a good weekend and were able to sneak in some Fall fun! Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, sip your coffee and relax with a few ramblings from my mommy mind!

-First things first, I owe a big apology to all the chiropractors out there! I have always been a little bit of a skeptic of what you do, and maybe even a little bit afraid of getting adjusted. However, after becoming pregnant and experiencing headaches and backaches, I was ready and willing to try anything. I’ve been adjusted 3 times now, and am a total believer in the healing power of chiropractic care! You guys are amazing! {PS if you need an awesome local chiropractor for you or your kids, let me know!}

-I can’t wait for this film to be released in the states. Too many screens, not nearly enough nature, and how it’s affecting our children. Check out the trailer for Project Wild Thing: http://projectwildthing.com/film

-We haven’t completely made up our minds, but we will probably give birth to our newest little munchkin at home. I also want to save my placenta, and have it encapsulated. Does this make me a total hippie? Cannibal? Both? Read my favorite blog on the subject here: http://www.mommypotamus.com/im-no-superhero-encapsulating-my-placenta-for-postpartum-healing/

-My spacey pregnancy brain hit its peak when I almost wore my slippers to  church this week. After going back home, we ended up late, but at least I was wearing a complete outfit.

-Our persistence in teaching our son manners is paying off. He says excuse me to everything. “Excuse me, truck, excuse me.” Or, “Excuse me chair.” Melts my heart every time.

-The FDA is not inspecting food right now. That makes ya feel good, doesn’t it? Look no further for another reason to buy local! http://gizmodo.com/the-fda-isnt-inspecting-food-during-the-government-shu-1441708627

Have a great week!

Nikki Stenson

I am a wife to my husband, Matt and a Mom to my son, Micah. I live a simple life and eat a lot of oatmeal.

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Putting the Simple in OatSoSimple

My husband and I are in a season of life that we refer to as OPERATION: SIMPLIFY!

We started simplifying our life primarily when our son, Micah, was born two years ago. It started out of necessity, because we became a one income family so I could stay home. Over time, however, it has turned into a lifestyle that we have grown to love.

“What we eat and how much stuff we own are the two ways that we have focused on simplifying our lives.”

As Micah started to eat solid foods, we found ourselves at a crossroads. We did not want to even introduce many unhealthy foods into Micah’s diet. If we wanted Micah to eat a healthy diet, we had to change ours. So, shortly after Micah’s first birthday my husband and I gave up all desserts and soda. We thought if he grew up without nearly as much refined sugar from the beginning, it would be easier for him to maintain a healthy lifestyle later on, and hopefully he just wouldn’t like it.

Although giving up sugar was super hard at first, and still is occasionally, it has been one of the best decisions we have ever made. We still eat refined sugar, mainly in forms of condiments, breads, granola bars, and our daily allotted amount of 85% dark chocolate, but we are much more conscious of how much we consume. I am happy to report that Micah is two years old and doesn’t know what a “cookie” is. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t have “perfect diets” by any means, but we are trying to set Micah up for success in making his own choices later on in life.

The next part of our journey, simplifying how much stuff we own, came a little bit later. I think it all started with a fundamental shift in the way that Matt was viewing his work. Though we both intellectually knew that things were not the most important part of life, that knowledge didn’t seem to have much application in our day to day life. We were still very focused on how much money Matt was making at work and what things that would allow us to do and buy. A couple of books, Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile and Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived really allowed us to start re-framing the way that we think and act as followers of Jesus. Matt’s goals in work began to shift to making a difference in people’s lives and bringing more of God’s love into action in the world. At the same time we began to reflect on how this might change our lives at home. Right as these thoughts were forming and we were discussing what to do next, an unhappy event gave us the push that we needed to start making actual changes. Our basement flooded.

In the midst of the cleanup project, we realized that our basement was where we kept a massive amount of things we simply didn’t need or use. Since we had to move / dry out just about everything, we decided to start purging. While we wanted to get rid of things, we wanted to also do it in a responsible way. So, we had a rummage sale, listed items on craigslist, gave away things we no longer used, and donated things to a local food-bank that runs a resale shop.

We aren’t finished yet. For us, the journey is just beginning. Stay tuned for what’s coming next!

Nikki Stenson

I am a wife to my husband, Matt and a Mom to my son, Micah. I live a simple life and eat a lot of oatmeal.

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Overcoming The Lie

I stumbled across this website, Overcome The Lie last week and I couldn’t help but share it. It’s powerful. It’s profound. It’s simply awesome.

The name alone has enough depth to keep me on my knees for weeks in prayer searching my heart and life for lies that the enemy tells me, that over time, I believe as truth. The enemy seeks to destroy. The Lord however, heals, the Lord restores, the Lords sets us free.

The whole purpose of this ministry is to encourage women everywhere to not only know in their heads, but to also believe in their hearts that they are loved. How awesome is that?

Go check it out and remember you are loved!

Nikki Stenson

I am a wife to my husband, Matt and a Mom to my son, Micah. I live a simple life and eat a lot of oatmeal.

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Mommy Minute

For those moments in life when you just need a minute to yourself…

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..like when the percentage of non- napping days is greater than napping days…

A container of lids and a couple containers do just the trick!

Nikki Stenson

I am a wife to my husband, Matt and a Mom to my son, Micah. I live a simple life and eat a lot of oatmeal.

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Transportation Sensory Bin

For a fun and easy to put together activity for your little ones, check out this truck sensory bin! A combination of coffee beans, mixed dried beans and rice make an excellent base for cars to drive in.

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I chose a car theme because my son loves anything with wheels, but the possibilities are endless. Small Tupperware containers and lids, empty applesauce containers, plastic Easter eggs, spoons, small plastic people or animals, a bottle and funnel- just to name a few. Every so often I like to swap out the pieces for something new to keep it exciting.

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Day after day he asks to play with his bin. I happily agree because he enjoys it and it helps him relax, but even more than that, he is constantly learning! This sensory activity is a great multi-demensional learning activity. He gets to practice fine motor skills, large motor skills, dramatic play, cause and effect and so much more.

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I will say, that inevitability a few pieces do end up on the floor, but it really only takes a minute to sweep up, and my boy has so much fun that I’m happy to do it!

Nikki Stenson

I am a wife to my husband, Matt and a Mom to my son, Micah. I live a simple life and eat a lot of oatmeal.

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Flyswatter Painting

For when the going gets tough and the snow keeps coming, here’s a fun way to jazz up traditional finger painting!

Nikki Stenson

I am a wife to my husband, Matt and a Mom to my son, Micah. I live a simple life and eat a lot of oatmeal.

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Mommy Moments

Clean up in aisle 12!

Ever have those moments with your kids you wish you could do over? I haven’t had many big moments I wish I would have handled differently, it’s usually little things, but today was different.

I set Micah down for a second to look at something at Michael’s today and heard a crash. I looked down to see a blue clay teddy bear piggy bank in a million pieces.

Other than one incident at Aldi involving a flying pomegranate (all round objects were made for throwing, right?) we haven’t broken anything in a store before. I picked up the pieces, grabbed what I needed and went to checkout.

I was not upset with Micah, and I didn’t want him to feel shame or embarrassed by any means. While the cashier was very understanding, I found myself wishing I would have had Micah apologize to the cashier and help clean up the mess. I think it’s really important to hold your kids to realistic, yet high standards. As parents it can be easy to expect too little of our children, dismissing behavior because of their age. Yet, I think it really shows respect and love to our children when we hold them to the same standards that we hold ourselves to.

What are your parenting ‘do over’ moments?

Nikki Stenson

I am a wife to my husband, Matt and a Mom to my son, Micah. I live a simple life and eat a lot of oatmeal.

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