The Top Ten Things Getting Me Through My Last Trimester

last trimester

As I try to keep my focus on the to-do list and off the fact that this baby could make its appearance any day now, I thought it would be fun to share the things that have helped me through this last uncomfortable stage of pregnancy.

So, here they are. The top ten, in no particular order.

1. Watermelon

One word. YUM.

Okay, more than one word. What has been the deal with the last few weeks? Its like the appetite of my first trimester all over again! Nothing sounds good. Unhealthy things sound good. Weird things sound good. Then nothing sounds good again. I’m hungry after just eating. But have to choke down food when I’m starting to feel shaky from not eating. It’s crazy!

Enter, watermelon. It always sounds good. Sure, it doesn’t exactly satiate, but it is so stinking tasty.

2. Bedtime Snack

Speaking of food, for the last few months as soon as 9pm rolls around you better believe I’m grabbing a bedtime snack. And not just any bedtime snack. It’s gotta be cereal.

I know, cereal. Bedtime snack of champions.

And not just any cereal. Peanut Butter Captain Crunch. Hey, gotta shoot for 80/20 with the healthy diet, right?

3. Nightly Walks

We’ve been keeping up on our nightly walks for the most part, and for all the reasons I talked about here, I’m still loving them. Plus, they keep my ever growing body moving, which can only be a good thing.

It won’t be long now and I’ll be doing continuous laps around the neighborhood in an attempt to encourage this little one to make his or her entrance into the world. Will that work? I don’t know. (Hint: It didn’t with big brother!)

4. A Goofy Little Three Year Old

My child. How I love him.

He just keeps getting goofier and goofier. I love it. He makes me smile every day.

He has a newfound obsession with Star Wars and walks around humming Darth Vader’s theme. Although, he doesn’t really know it, so it just comes out as very intense humming.

He loves to dance and show me his “moves.”

He is completely convinced that he will be getting a baby brother.

He is my first miracle baby and every day I think I love him more.

5. Afternoon Quiet Time

Yes, yes, I really do love my child. But that 90 minutes of (mostly) peace and quiet in the afternoon is priceless as well. I’ve even managed to sneak in a few naps to combat the end of pregnancy exhaustion! Score!

6. Wild Kratts

Speaking of being exhausted, want to know my super secret trick for getting a few more minutes of shut eye in the morning? Wild Kratts.

You see, sometimes my lovely son likes to wake up with the sun (you know, “The sky’s awake, so I’m awake! Let’s play!”) and I do not. Solution? Invite said child into my cozy bed and turn on an episode of Wild Kratts (Amazon Prime, yes!).

First of all, the Kratt brothers are awesome. I used to watch them on their show “Kratt’s Creatures” when I was a young ‘un. Second of all, K gets to learn all about animals when he watches, which he loves. Third of all, Wild Kratts is like 100 times less annoying than our previous show of choice, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Win-win-win.

7. My Pregnancy Uniform

Being just a hair shy of 6 foot, it has always been hard to find long enough shirts. Add to that a growing belly and slowly but surely I have grown out of almost every maternity shirt I own.

Combine that with our lovely southern heat and I’ve pretty much lived in a maternity tank top and stretchy athletic shorts. It’s like yoga pants version 2.0. Please don’t be jealous of my mad style.

8. My To-Do List

I keep at least four of them at all times. My planner, the one by my bed, two dry erase boards on the fridge, and the random assortment of loose papers scattered on my counter.

You see, if it doesn’t get written down it doesn’t get done. I think you’ll find my picture next to the entry for “pregnancy brain” in the dictionary (well at least wikipedia!). My husband finds this a continual source of teasing delight. Don’t worry, I still love him.

9. Super Easy Meals

Seeing as spending hours in the kitchen preparing food which I may or may not even want to eat (see #1) is not high on my priority list, easy meals have been a necessity. Enter, grilled chicken. I marinate it early in the day, make a few simple veggie or fruit sides, and hubby takes care of the grilling when he gets home. Beautiful!

10. My Awesome Hubby

Speaking of my hubby, he’s great. I’ve had a lot more sickness/pains this go around and he is always willing to step in and help out. Couldn’t do this without him!


Well, that’s my top ten! What helped get you through the end of your pregnancy?

5 Tips for Including Young Children in the Kitchen {while still staying productive!}

Five Tips For Including Young Children In The Kitchen (and Still Staying Productive!)

It’s 5 o’clock and you know bellies are going to be rumbling soon. It’s time to make dinner. You start pulling food out of the fridge and pans out of the cupboard. It isn’t long before you hear the patter of little feet and a small but willing voice asking, “Can I help?”

The only problem is these little helpers aren’t always the most helpful.Oftentimes, by the end of a long day the last thing you want to do is take twice as long to cook dinner due to the “help” of your little ones….

What are you going to do? 

I’m over at Intentional By Grace today sharing five tips for including those little helpers in the kitchen, while still saying sane and productive! Read more here.

The ULTIMATE Round-Up of Resources for Teaching Toddlers about God

ultimate toddler roundup2
To celebrate the completion of our Play Through The Bible series I have brought together over 75 different resources from across the web that can help you as you strive to raise your little one to follow God. From Bible memory to learning how to sit still in church, this list has you covered!

If you enjoy this round-up, please be sure to pass it along to other toddler parents in need of ideas, tips, and encouragement!


General Tips and Ideas

Toddler Doctrine – Planting Seeds of the Gospel – Amanda from Bless Your Heart and Home shares the truths they are trying to impress upon their 2 year old son. Includes a large list of resources.

7 Ways to Teach Your Toddler About Jesus – Anne shares 7 ways she’s found to teach her little ones about Jesus.

Simple Ways to Bring Jesus into Your Child’s Daily Routine – Becca of Bare Feet on the Dashboard shares some great tips for making Jesus a part of everyday life.

Truth for Tots – A series from Jenni of Live Called that explores the many ways we can teach toddlers and preschoolers about God.

The ABC’s of Bible Study for Children – A series hosted by Dusty of To the Moon and Back bringing together 13 bloggers to share Bible Studies for each letter of the alphabet.




3 Ways to Hold Devotions With Your Toddler – Kayse Pratt gives three practical tips for how to find time to make devotions with your toddler a part of your daily routine, plus shares their current top book pick to use during that time.

Bible Time Suggestions for Toddlers and Preschoolers – MaryEllen from Imperfect Homemaker shares the three things she does during Bible time with her four children ages four and under.

How We Do Family Devotions with a Toddler – Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace shares how her family does devotions all together in a way that fully includes their two year old son.

Four Ideas for Teaching Scripture to Your Baby or Toddler – Jenn from The Purposeful Mom shares four ways she’s found to teach scripture to the littlest ones who might not be ready for a structured devotions time.



Memorizing Scripture

How to Implement Bible Verses for Toddlers and Preschoolers to Memorize – Dollie from Teachers of Good Things shares what she’s found to be the most effective way to teach little ones to memorize scripture.

Bible Memory Beginnings for Toddlers and Preschoolers – Shirley from Satisfaction Through Christ shares a little bit of her story of beginning Bible memory with her son and gives some great tips for how she went about it. Includes free printables!

Printable ABC Memory Verses for Preschoolers – Free scripture printable for each letter of the alphabet from Mary Ellen of Imperfect Homemaker

How to Teach a Toddler to Memorize Scripture – Penny Lane from Sisters Raising Sisters shows that toddlers really can memorize scripture and gives four fun ways to help them learn to do it.

5 Bible Verses Toddlers Can (and Should) Memorize – Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace shares her top five Bible verses they have their children memorize.



Christian Preschool Programs

ABC Jesus Loves Me – A Bible based preschool curriculum that has lesson plans beginning at age two and is free for family use.

God’s Little Explorers – This hands on and active preschool curriculum from Motherhood on a Dime has both free and paid versions.

Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum for Toddlers – Created for ages 2 & 3, Leigh Ann’s preschool curriculum is centered around the Fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23.

Montessori Bible Lessons Archives – While not a complete preschool curriculum, The Christian Montessori Network has a large collection of Bible based Montessori style preschool lessons.




How to Teach Toddlers and Preschoolers to Pray – Dollie from Teachers of Good Things shares three simple tips to teach your toddler or preschooler how to pray.

Meaningful Prayers for Kids – Kate from House Mix shares some simple but beautiful prayers she’s found that she says with her two year old.

What To Do When My Child Does Not Want to Pray (Continued) – Ten different types of prayers you can do with your child to encourage them to pray, from Jessica of Our Family For His Glory.



Bible Themed Quiet Books

The Story of Creation in a Quiet Book (no sew) – Nicolette from Powerful Mothering explains how to make a Creation themed quiet book.

Adorable Quiet Books! – If you’re not the DIY type, Alesha from Full Time Mama shares about the quiet books in her mom’s Etsy Shop!

Baby Jesus Book – If you are looking for something super simple, check out this printable touch and feel book from Bible Songs and More.




Best Bible Apps for Kids – Kim from Not Consumed shares eight of her favorite Bible apps.

Our Fave Bible Apps for Kids – Lauren from Tutus and Tea Parties shares her favorite free Bible apps for toddlers.

FREE Holy Bible iPhone and Android App for KIDS! – An awesome Bible app created by YouVersion shared by Heidi from (K loves this one!)

9 Best Bible Apps for Kids – After trying out a bunch of different kids Bible apps, Rachel from shares her top 9.




Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em in Your Heart – One of our absolute favorites! A classic that I used to listen to when I was a kid!

Teaching Young Children Bible Verses through Scripture Songs – Jenni from Live Called shares four great scripture song resources as part of her Truth for Tots series.

Preschool Bible Songs – A long list of classic preschool Bible songs from ABC Jesus Loves Me.




The Best Bibles for Babies, Toddlers, & Preschoolers – Jenae from I Can Teach My Child gives the run down on the best story Bibles for three different age ranges.

Best Biblical Themed Books for Kids – Heather from the Christian Montessori Network shares her top children’s Bibles.

Toddler Bibles Reviewed – Some criteria for evaluating toddler Bibles and thorough reviews for 7 selections from Raising Godly Children.

A New Family Favorite – A review of Treasury of Bible Stories from Tricia Goyer.

Christian Picture Books – A round-up of eleven Christian picture books to read with your little one from Le Chaim (on the right).



Little Ones in Church

How to Keep Your Children Quiet in Church – Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace shares the why and the how she keeps her little boys in the church service.

No Fuss Parenting – Teach Kids to Sit Still – Tricia from shares the method she used to teach her kids to sit still – a valuable skill for going to church!

Seven Ways to Help Little Ones Behave in Church – Brittany from Equipping Godly Women gives seven things she does to teach her kids to behave in church.

My Church Bag Ideas – Ideas for quiet activities to have in a church bag for a 2 and 4 year old from Six Sister’s Stuff.

Quiet Bags – Hillary from Pulling Curls shares 5 tips for packing a special church bag for your kids.




Noah’s Ark Game – A printable Noah’s Ark dice game from Let’s Get Together.

God Made the Farm Animals – A File Folder Game from Bible Fun For Kids.

Play Games – Tons of great Bible games for home or Sunday School from Jesus Without Language.

The Obedience Game – Jodi from Meaningful Mama takes an important lesson in character and turns it into a fun game kids will be begging to play!

Games for Ages Birth through 2 – There are tons of great resources for games in the archives of Children’s Ministry Magazine.



Character Development/Parenting

Happy Hearts Method of Discipline for Toddlers – Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace shares a parenting strategy that has worked wonders for her toddler. (We do something very similar with K too!)

Character Development Archives – Jodi from Meaningful Mama has TONS of resources for character development for kids of all ages.

Toddler Tantrums are a Gift – In this insightful post, Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace explains how she came to learn that tantrums can really be a blessing in disguise.

Intentionally Parenting Your Toddler – Lisa shares a three part series about parenting toddlers on her blog, The Pennington Post.

What God Really Wants for Moms with Young Children – Some really insightful advice about where to keep your focus during the trying years of raising littles, from The Better Mom.




Teaching Toddlers the Story of Jesus’ Birth – Jennifer, mom of triplets, shares how she taught her toddlers the Christmas Story.

Celebrate Advent with your family using the Jesus Storybook Bible – Adriel Booker shares how her family used the Jesus Storybook Bible to observe the advent season. Includes a free printable reading guide!

7 Nativity Learn and Play Activities – Another great resource from The Christian Montessori Network.

Sensory Nativity Story Box – A really fun idea for sharing the Nativity Story with little ones from The Fairy and the Frog.

Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones – A review of the Christmas book Song of the Stars and activities to go along from The Homeschool Village.

Resurrection Eggs for Toddlers – Super cute Resurrection Eggs just for toddlers from Meredith of Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home.

Easter Salvation Storybook Craft – A fun craft for toddlers and preschoolers that goes through the Easter story from Rebecca of Family Abounds.

Flannel-Board Fun! – Heather from Cultivated Lives shares a fun Easter flannel board she made for her boys.

Free Easter Preschool Printable – A 7 page mini pack from Brooke of The Intentional Momma.



Free Printables

A is for Adam and Eve – Brooke from To the Moon and Back has many great printable packets, including this one for Adam and Eve.

Top 10 Free Printable Bible Verses Coloring Pages for Your Toddler – from the Mom Junction.

Toddler Bible Time – A free printable scripture booklet from Emily of Live a Charmed Life, perfect for toddler devotions.

Bible Verses from 1 to 10 – Scripture memory cards based off the songs from the Songs for Saplings 123 album from Amy of Wildflower Ramblings. Amy also has more free printables which she links to in this post.

ABC Printable Scripture Cards – Super cute cards with scripture for every letter of the alphabet from Jenae of I Can Teach My Child.

Bible Kids Fun Zone – Tons of free crafts and printables for preschoolers.



Bible Crafts and Activities

Crafting the Word of God – Crafts for pretty much every Bible story you could ever want! We have used quite a few of them in our Play Through The Bible Series.

Bible Alphabet Crafts – A Bible craft to go along with every letter in the alphabet from Catholic Icing.

Fruit of the Spirit Toddler/Preschool Lessons – Marla from Better Than I Could Have Imagined shares some fun Fruit of the Spirit activities she did with her little girls.

One Year Old Preschool: Creation – Leah from Simple. Home. Blessings. shares the creation activities she did with her one year old daughter.

Lamb of God Sheep Craft – Tara from Feels Like Home shares an adorable sheep craft that can lead to all manner of Biblical discussions with your young child.

Parable of the Sower Small World Play – A super fun small world from Wugs and Dooey that multiple ages are sure to enjoy!

Biblical Lunches Archives – Amy from Creative Kids Snacks has tons of amazing lunches and snacks with a biblical theme.

Moses and the 10 Commandments Booklet and Activity –  Tara from Feels Like Home has a free printable 10 Commandments Booklet for kids to create their own little book of the 10 Commandments.

Creating Your Own DIY Godly Play Materials – Interested in the Montessori based curriculum Godly Play? Megan shares a bunch of great ideas for DIYing your own materials. Want to learn more about Godly Play? Check out the links at the top of the post for the rest of the Godly Play series.

How to Make Bible Story Stones – Leigh Ann from Intentional by Grace shares how she made some fun Bible Story Stones with her boys.



Pinterest Boards

This is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to resources for teaching your toddler about God. New posts are being shared every day. Here’s a list of Pinterest boards to follow to keep the ideas flowing! 


I hope you enjoyed this giant list of resources and were able to find some great ideas and encouragement!

Am I missing a resource you love? Please add it in the comments so I can check it out!

And, again, if this list blessed you in any way please consider sharing it with others!


This post is linked up with…
Tuesday Talk, Titus 2sDay, Titus 2 Tuesday, Good Tips Tuesday, Tuesdays with a Twist, Tuesday Link-Up, Works for Me Wednesday, A Little R&R Wednesdays, Ladies Collective Link-Up, Intentional Parenting


Affiliate links may be included. Thank you for supporting Simple Life. Messy Life with your purchases.

IBG Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum

Six Easy Ways To Tamper Your Sweet Tooth

photo by joyosity @

photo by joyosity @

We all know one…you know who I’m talking about… the non-sweet lover. The “I’m not really a dessert person” person.


Not only do I know one, I happen to be married to him.

Is there any way to guarantee this gene is passed down to my children? It obviously didn’t happen with K because the little dude loves chocolate. I’m pleading the fifth on who he got that gene from.

Okay, okay, there’s no denying it. It’s true! I have a sweet tooth. Majorly. However, I know that not only is sugar horrible for me (and my waistline), if I eat too much (and by too much I mean more than a very small amount) it really makes my stomach queasy. So, over the years I’ve come up with some tricks to lessen the draw of the sweet stuff.

Here’s my top six tips to tamper that sweet tooth!

  1. Knowledge. It doesn’t take much digging around to learn about the harmful effects of sugar on your body, especially when it’s consumed in excess. Having these facts in your mind helps when you’re temped to whip up a double batch of chocolate chip cookies. If you need somewhere to start try here or here.
  2. Cut it in half. Start by gradually lowering the amount of sugar in the recipes you already love. I can often cut the sugar in a recipe in half with no major difference in taste. In fact, in a lot of things I’ve found that it tastes better with less sugar because you can actually taste the food and not just the sugar.
  3. Don’t buy it. For me, the temptation to spend my money on something is far less than the temptation to eat something that is right in front of me. I try to make it a habit to not keep my cupboards stocked with things I don’t want to be eating.
  4. Use a replacement. Sugar cravings are going to come, so outsmart them! Have a healthier swap that is easily accessible. For me a couple squares of dark chocolate or fruit and yogurt (plain with a little honey) can do the trick to quell the desire to eat a whole pan of brownies. Note: I am not advocating artificial sugar replacements – but that is a whole other topic.
  5. Not Worth It” list. If I’m going to eat something that’s not particularly good for me, my theory is that I had better at least really enjoy it. Gooey fudge brownie? Check, yum. Haagen Das Ice Cream? Hand it over! Cookies that taste like cardboard? Not so much. Sugary cereal that made me sick but didn’t even taste that great? Keep it away! Whenever I eat something that I regret, I immediately place it on my mental “not worth it” list and try to remember that the next time it’s attempting to seduce me.
  6. Savor your treats. For me, it is easy to feel guilty when I am having a treat. However, I’ve found that doing giving in to the temptation to feel that way is actually counter productive and often leads to binging (because if I’m going to fail, might as well fail big!). So instead, I try to eat my treat slow and really savor it. That way I end up eating less and enjoying it more!

While I definitely still have a sweet tooth, using these tips has helped a lot. Which is good, because I’ve still got some leftover baby fat that’s gotta go!

What about you? Do you have a sweet tooth? I’d love to hear some more tips!

How I Won The Green Bean Battle

photo by OliBac / edited by me

photo by OliBac / edited by me

It was no secret. My son hated vegetables.

I had done everything “right.” I did everything that was supposed to help you avoid ending up with a picky eater: ate a varied diet while pregnant, exclusively breastfed, transitioned to solids with baby-led weaning. When he started on solids, he ate everything. He loved vegetables. “Sweet,” I thought, “it worked!” However, our vegetable heaven didn’t last long. As soon as he got a taste for the rest of the world of flavor, there was no turning back. He wanted meat, dairy, fruit – anything but vegetables.

At one point I took an inventory of the vegetables he would eat. It looked a little like this…

Things he would pretty much always eat:

  1. Sweet potatoes (duh, they’re sweet!)
  2. Tomatoes (might technically be a fruit, but I’m counting it!)
  3. Corn (grain – I know, I know, but I’m desperate here!)

Things that he would sometimes, not usually, eat:

  1. Cucumbers
  2. Peas
  3. Carrots

Obviously we had a little nutrition problem here. I mean, come on, he didn’t even like mashed potatoes! What kind of kid doesn’t like mashed potatoes?

Another thing that I would like to mention is that it wasn’t that he didn’t have an adventurous palate or like bold flavors. He would routinely eat spicy Mexican food, sour plain yogurt and sauerkraut, and bitter grapefruits. The only thing he was waging war against was the veggies.

However, fast forward about 1 1/2 years and the list of vegetables he will routinely eat has grown dramatically. Sure, vegetables still aren’t his favorite, but we have seen improvement. How you ask? Well, one of the first things that really helped was that I read the book French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon. In this book, Karen tells the story of how her two girls transformed from picky eaters to great eaters upon moving to France and following 10 “food rules.” I thought this book was full of great information and helpful tips, not to mention a interesting look at a different culture. I didn’t put into practice all her rules, but her book greatly influenced how I view the topic of picky eating.

So, using that book as a starting point, I put into practice the following “food guidelines” that would work with a toddler.

  1. Pickiness is most likely a phase. This was my favorite tidbit that I took away from Le Billon’s book. The majority of toddlers and preschool age kids go through a phase of pickiness. The solution is to expose them to as wide a variety of foods as possible before the phase and then stick it out once the phase hits. Many parents make the mistake of catering to their child’s pickiness, only feeding them “kid friendly” foods, thereby keeping them stuck in the pickiness phase. I have definitely been guilty of this, but I try to avoid it when I can!
  2. Keep the atmosphere around food positive. As much as possible I tried to keep meal time a happy time. There was a few times we “forced” him to try a bite of something. However, eating really is something you have to choose to do for yourself. We couldn’t chew and swallow the food for him. I usually just encouraged him to “just try one bite” and praise him when he did. We also modeled enjoying eating all our food. Oftentimes he was more likely to try something when he saw grandpa or daddy enjoying it.
  3. One bite of everything. I would put just one bite sized portion of the foods I knew he didn’t care for. Sometimes I would tell him he had to eat everything before he got second helpings of his favorites, sometimes not. The important thing was that the food was always there for him as an option. We never talked about it as a food he didn’t like, we just kept offering it under the assumption he would learn to like it eventually.
  4. Keep trying a wide variety of foods. I didn’t want “picky eater” to become a label, so I had him keep trying new foods, or foods cooked in different ways. This was how I came to find out he loved sauerkraut and grapefruits – both foods I thought he would refuse.
  5. Get him involved in the food preparation. This is a tip you see a lot, but I really think it makes a difference. Last year we even had a garden he could help with and he loved it. He helped plant, care for, harvest, and preserve many different types of vegetables. It even encouraged him to try one of his most detested foods – green beans. He would still spit them out, but you could tell after being so proud of helping grow them, he wanted to eat them too!
  6. Use choices when possible. Having a choice between two equally healthy options usually ensures that he will eat what he is served. For example, he is more likely to eat sweet peppers (and even get excited about it) if I give him a choice of colors. He also loves choosing vegetables at the grocery store. One time he ate over half of an English cucumber in one sitting because he picked it out himself.
  7. Make vegetables normal. So often, veggies get the “blech stigma.” They are seen as yucky foods that we only eat because they are healthy. To reinforce that veggies are just a normal part of the foods we eat I would include them in pretend play a lot. For example, pretending to work in the garden or pretending to eat salad in the play kitchen.

K not liking vegetables had become so normal that when out of nowhere, in the same week, he ate salad, broccoli, and even the hated green beans. I was astonished! I really believe that a lot of it had to do with the tip number one. I had accepted his pickiness as a phase, but I kept him in a vegetable rich environment. He is still eating green beans like they have always been his favorite and I can proudly say that I emerged the champion in the battle over the green beans. Sure, he’ll probably always have some foods he doesn’t like, but so do I! However, his continuing acceptance of vegetables gives me confidence that he is well on his way to being a great eater.

Do you have any tips for picky eaters? I’d love to hear them. I’m always looking for more tips to add to my bag of tricks!


*Note: for the purposes of this post I am referring only to kids who are truly “picky” and just need to expand their palates. I acknowledge that there are also kids who have sensory issues or other difficulties that can sometimes look like just “pickiness” but are completely different than the topic I’m addressing here.