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Good Stewards Magazine Fall Issue: Home Edition

Encouragement and Inspiration for Christian Moms

Encouragement and Inspiration for Christian Moms

This post contains affiliate links to the Good Stewards Magazine Fall Issue: Home Edition. This means I may make a small commission at no cost to you should you choose to purchase through one of my links. I only recommend products I personally use, like, and trust. Thank you for supporting my blog!

 

Good Stewards Magazine Fall Issue: Home Edition is here! It has all the cozy Fall feels along with the encouragement, refreshment and inspiration to build up every mom as they do the important work of raising their children in the faith. If you missed the previous issue: Freedom Edition, where we talk about freedom from fear in motherhood, freedom from un-forgiveness, physical health, body image, and more, you can grab your copy here!

 

Good Stewards Magazine Fall Issue: Home Edition

A Letter from Emily

What do you think of when you think of Fall? No doubt chilly evenings, scented candles, deep colors and steaming apple cider are somewhere on your list. For me, it’s the smell of Fall. The smell of the cool breeze and the afternoon sun on a  September day, sharing the last of its warmth with the fading wildflowers of summer. The smell of the troves of fallen leaves scattered on the damp floor of the woods lining the horse pasture growing up. The smell of snow in the air and frost covered branches; of furry horses growing their winter coats and the smell of entering the kitchen after evening chores to be greeted by the savory warmth of a home cooked pot roast.

 

The reason I love fall is because after a busy summer of outdoors, sunshine and late nights, Fall calls us home again- and not in a “ok, time’s up, fun’s over” kind of way. Fall steals the show with the promise of fresh adventure, new scenery, and a much needed change of pace. It beckons us slowly back into the walls of our home, which are now filled with festive decor, cozy blankets, and apple cinnamon treats. 

 

Encouragement, Inspiration, and Support for Christian Moms

Encouragement and Inspiration for Christian Moms

 

The reason I chose home for the theme of this Good Stewards Magazine is not only because of the homeyness of the season, but also because as moms, our home is of even more significance for us. In the last Good Stewards Magazine, the Freedom Edition, I wrote an article about Freedom from Fear in Motherhood. I talked about how we, as mothers, are the gatekeepers to our homes. Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to destroy. He wants your children, your marriage, and your family: and he knows you are the most effective way to get to them.

The Significance of Your Home

I have a sign in my living room that says “The most important work you will ever do is within the walls of your home.” Mamas- it is within the walls of our homes that our children will be shaped into who they are going to be. Our home is a school, teaching our children their most important lessons, namely who God is and what an authentic life of following Him looks like. Our home is an intensive care unit, healing and rejuvenating them before they are sent back out into an unkind world. Our home is a training ground, preparing them for everything they will have to face in their futures. Our home is a secure place where they can be loved and built up so they have confidence in themselves, even when the world is tearing them down. Our home is a place of refuge, comfort, peace, and growth. And amidst it all, our home is a war zone, where the battles over the souls of its inhabitants are taking place.

 

Never underestimate the power of the words said or not said, the attitudes, the values, and the activities that take place within our homes. Never underestimate the value of YOU- the mother, teacher, nurturer, gatekeeper, and warrior. That’s what this magazine edition is all about. Lifting YOU up in the midst of such important life work. As you read through the pages, I pray you find rest, comfort, encouragement, and inspiration. I pray you are built up and even better equipped to continue your motherhood journey in faith and courage. I pray you close this magazine with a renewed sense of pride and devotion to your most amazing and important calling.

 

The legacy you will build through your family is more than you can ever imagine. Let’s start building it for the Lord together, and let this renewed commitment start right where you are at this very moment, reading this Good Stewards Magazine: Home Edition!

 

 

Encouragement & Inspiration for Christian Moms

Encouragement and Inspiration for Christian Moms
Encouragement and Inspiration for Christian Moms

Good Stewards Magazine: Freedom Edition

This post contains affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission at no cost to you should you choose to purchase through one of my links. I only recommend products I personally use, like, and trust. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Hi, I’m Emily! I am a wife, mom of two, and clean living blogger! My goal with any of the content I put out is to educate, inspire, and encourage moms in the faith as they do the amazing and important work of raising the souls of the next generation in God’s truth.

One of the core beliefs that led to the creation of Good Stewards is the belief that everything we have is a gift from God: our health, lives, and world have been entrusted to us, and we are to be good stewards of those gifts. (Read more about our Mission Statement here!) As a fellow mom, I know that the most important thing that has been given to us is our sweet children– and the opportunity to show them what it means to love and follow Christ. I also know that doing that is probably the most challenging thing we will ever do!

The Challenging Work of Mothering in the Faith

That is why I created this magazine. I see moms online all the time that are going through this challenging work of raising children in the Lord. I see them working out their own salvation day in and day out so they can authentically live it out in front of their children. I see them wrestling with the tough questions. I see them surrendering their control and handing over their burdens and fears to God. I’m inspired by these moms, and I want to come along side them, put my arm around them and say “You are doing so great- keep fighting the good fight!”. When I see a mom struggling, I want to open up my Bible and tell her to not lose heart!

Because of this, I share my own motherhood journey on Instagram in order to provide encouragement and inspiration for christian moms. In addition to this, I wanted to use my gifts of creativity and writing to put something special together through my blog. Something to refresh, encourage, and inspire my fellow moms. Something to feed their souls, lift their hearts, and empower them to continue to answer their most important calling.

Why the Freedom Edition?

With the realities of adulthood, motherhood, and everything else going on in our world, I’ve done a lot of thinking, learning, and praying these past several months. If there is one big takeaway for me, it is this concept of the freedom we have as part of God’s kingdom.

Freedom from fear. Freedom from the to do list, from insecurity, from anxiety. Freedom from anger, division, hatred. Freedom from warped thinking and the footholds Satan has on our minds. Freedom from peer pressure, freedom to do our own research and prayerfully discern our own path. Freedom to get down to the basics and allow the truths of the gospel and the Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts and actions. Freedom to seek truth and have courage, even when it won’t be well received. Freedom to not be driven and tossed by the winds of culture and popular opinion but rather root ourselves in the truths of God and live like a disciple of Christ. Freedom from confusion without answers. Freedom from fear without hope and hardship without promise. Freedom to clearly see and call out Satans’ lies and deception.

Where The Spirit of the Lord is, There is Freedom

As followers of Christ, we have the holy spirit living inside of us, and “where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17. Freedom to drown out every other voice (including our own) in order to hear God’s. As moms, we have so many voices calling out to us and so many things on our minds. Often, we need to just be still in God’s presence and listen for His voice.

The Bible says that Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, and mamas- you and your family are on his hit list. Aside from praying for angels of protection over my family and wisdom and guidance for me as a mother, I have been asking God for freedom as well. Freedom from fear and freedom to cast off the sin that so easily entangles me as a mother so that I can be empowered by God to run the race God has set out for me and help my children do the same. That’s why we need to surround ourselves with resources that will provide encouragement and inspiration for christian moms as we fight this critical battle!

We are the Gatekeepers to Our Homes

Mothers, we are the gatekeepers to our homes. Not just against physical outside forces, but against the spiritual attacks of Satan. He wants your children for Himself, and he knows you are the most effective way to get to them. Guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. My main message when trying to provide and encouragement and inspiration to Christian moms is this: Root yourselves in God’s truths alone and be very wary of what you allow to control your mind and beliefs. Put aside all distractions and focus your efforts on being a disciple of Christ day in and day out for your children to see and model after. Offer your heart and hands to the Lord and allow Him to work in and through you to accomplish His wonderful plans.

Offer Your Heart & Hands to the Lord and Let Him Work Through You

This magazine is all about helping you do that. In this journal, you will come across mothers who share glimpses of their lives, hearts, and souls. You will be amused by their stories, edified by their lessons, and inspired by their faith. As you thumb through the pages, it will be a journey of beauty, calm, and adventure all in one. So pack it in your bag for the park or lake, or keep it on your coffee table for quiet moments when the kids are napping. Poor yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and let adventure begin!

Encouragement and Inspiration for Christian Moms
Encouragement and Inspiration for Christian Moms

This is the very first Good Stewards Magazine, and I hope there will be many more to come!  I’d love to connect with you further and keep you updated on the next magazine release. I’m always hanging out on Instagram and I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to send me a DM! I pray you are refreshed, inspired, and encouraged by this Good Stewards Magazine, the Freedom Edition!

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Ways to Establish and Boost Milk Supply

5 Ways to Boost Milk Supply Overnight

This post contains affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission at no cost to you should you choose to purchase through one of my links. I only recommend products I personally use, like, and trust. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Hey mama friend! If you’re reading this post, it’s because you care about your baby’s health and you want to keep them full, fat & happy! For that, you are one awesome mama! Way to go!

What I will Cover in this Post:

  • Why Breastfeeding is a great thing to do (if you can!)
  • How Postpartum Body Image & Fitness Mindset Relates to Milk Supply
  • Top 5 Favorite Products for Establishing and Boosting an abundant Milk Supply!

First things first, I just want to say that everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different, so the most important thing we can do is not compare, not get down on ourselves if we don’t have the milk supply we want, and give our body the grace and respect it deserves for all the hard and amazing work it has done! Cool? Great! Now let’s dive in!

Why Breastfeed?

Breastfeeding is an amazing function our bodies have- I think it’s literally a superpower for us women. I mean, not only do our bodies just know to make food for our baby, but it knows to make the healthiest form of food stacked with nutrients and antibodies that are EXACTLY what our baby needs- wow! God really outdid Himself when He created us!

The thing I love most about breastfeeding, is that it gives our babies antibodies and helps them establish their immune system- which for a germaphobe mom like me, that is really great news! I’ve even heard that kissing your baby’s forehead tells your body exactly which antibodies your baby needs so that you can start producing it for them! Yeah, like I said, superpower. 

However, this does NOT mean that your baby can’t get sick! Your baby is LESS likely to get sick from you, because he or she is directly getting your antibodies, but as for other people- make them cover their mouths, wash their hands, or stay the heck away from your baby! Had to get that out there. Young baby’s getting sick is not something to play around with in my opinion- (yes, I’m the mom who carries hand sanitizer with me and sprays it on my baby if someone touches them in the winter, I’m not ashamed.)

How Postpartum Breastfeeding & Fitness Mindset Relates to Milk Supply!

Like I said, everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different. With my first baby, I HATED breastfeeding. It hurt and I was so focused on losing the baby weight that I depleted my body and milk supply too much right away.

To add to it all, my baby was super ready for solid food by 4 months (check out my blog post on How to Make Easy Healthy Homemade Baby Food for 6-9+ Months!) , so after she started on those, she refused to nurse, which caused my milk supply to dip big time and I spent the next 5 months exclusively pumping which was super stressful and not fun. We eventually went to formula around 10 months or so. 

With my second, I decided to make breastfeeding and milk supply a main priority (over getting back into shape) and I’m so glad I did! This breastfeeding journey has been about giving my body time to heal, replenishing myself instead of depleting, and peace over perfection- and as a result, my milk supply has been amazing!

If you need some encouragement in the area of breastfeeding and getting back into shape– check out my IG post a while back about postpartum mindset! I hope it encourages you in your journey!

You CAN get back into shape while breastfeeding, but don’t do it at the expense of your and your baby’s well being. Like I always say, the only rolls I care about are the ones on my baby!

Establishing & Boosting Milk Supply

Ok, so let’s get to it! I focused on milk supply from the get-go with my second baby (and if you’ve seen my Instagram, you know he’s got plenty of rolls to go around!) so here’s how I did it!

In my hospital bag for when I went into labor I had a bag of lactation cookies packed, as well as a hand pump to start boosting milk supply right away. (Check out my Free Printable on the Ultimate Hospital Bag Packing Guide!) Here are my Top 5 products for establishing and boosting milk supply from day 1!

Lactation Cookies

The first night Kallos was born, I ate 2 lactation cookies each time after nursing him. These are the exact ones I used and they worked amazing- plus, they tastes great! For the first 4 or 5 months, I always had either lactation cookies or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on hand and ate one or two after each nursing session (even in the middle of the night). I liked to buy a chocolate chip cookie bag mix and add some flaxseed to them for a little extra boost! 

Hand Pump

The second day in the hospital I started pumping. My favorite way to boost supply is by using my favorite hand pump while I’m nursing. I feed Kallos on one side and suction cup the hand pump on the other side! It’s a great way to tell your body to produce more milk and start storing milk for the future without having to find extra time in your already busy day to pump! 

Right away, I was only pumping maybe an ounce or two, but eventually I was pumping up to 4 or 5 ounces every time I nursed. There was one point where I was freezing up to 7 bags of milk a day in addition to what I was feeding Kallos. (Yeah, we had to buy a deep freezer just for my milk..)

Mother’s Milk Tea

Kallos is 6 months and I still make sure to have at least one big cup of milk boosting tea a day! Right away, I would have 2-4 a day. It is packed with nutrients designed specifically to boost milk supply and it tastes really yummy! It also pairs great with your oatmeal cookies, so win win!

Key Nutrients 

It is so important to listen to your body and make sure you are eating enough. Don’t let yourself go hungry! You are burning tons of calories breastfeeding (even if you’re not losing weight- some women actually retain weight while nursing- I am one of those women, lucky me) so it’s crucial that you give your body the calories AND nutrients it needs! Also, drinking TONS of water is super key to good milk supply. 

On top of increasing caloric intake, it is super important that you are including the right amount of nutrients for your body. Here are a few products that I take while breastfeeding in order to replenish nutrients to my body and keep my milk supply going strong!

Liquid Collagen

Liquid Collagen is the best form of collagen because it has a much higher absorbency rate (about 98% vs powder collagen which has about 30%- yikes!) Your body produces less and less collagen starting in your 20’s (depressing, I know) so by taking liquid collagen, you can replenish what your body is becoming more and more deficient in. 

This is the multi-patented, award winning, globally known Liquid Collagen I use- and plus, it also is amazing for skin (hydrates skin and reduces wrinkle depth!) as well as hair growth, which is KEY for that lovely postpartum hair loss! By the way, the link in this blog post will take $10 off at the final stage of checkout!

Vitamin and Mineral Packet

On top of my prenatal vitamins, I don’t go a day without my absolute favorite vitamin and mineral drink packet! I mix it with my water once a day to balance my blood sugar levels and for a nice healthy pick me up- and I notice on the days I don’t take it! It’s super yummy, packed with 70+ vitamins and minerals, and it gives you a nice sustainable caffeine free energy boost, which is a life saver for mom life! It also tastes amazing in smoothies, which can be a great snack for breastfeeding! (Link will also take $10 off)

Meal Replacement Shake

I know I said Top 5, but I’ll give you one more of my milk boosting secrets! This one is huge for both milk supply and also losing the baby weight! I always recommend breastfeeding mamas take this protein meal replacement shake to boost their nutrients as well as curb hunger and sweet cravings. I love it because it tastes like a treat but is super healthy and keeps you from binge eating junk food if you suddenly feel starving or depleted!

Conclusion

Nursing a baby isn’t always easy- but it is so worth it, and it IS doable! Have faith in your body and how God created it to work. Give yourself what you need to accomplish this amazing thing for you and your baby!

For more resources on all things mom life, faith, and clean living, sign up for my weekly newsletter! If you found this post helpful, please share it on Pinterest so that other mamas can find it as well! Happy breastfeeding!

Sleep Training Tips & Tricks

Ahh sleep training. As a first time mom, before Aria was even born I did all the research. I even wrote out a sleep schedule and posted it on our fridge months before the due date! Little did I know what I was in for!

Aria was colicky and had a scream loud enough to leave your hearing muffled and your ears ringing. She needed to be held and bounced on a bouncy ball constantly or else she would scream at the top of her lungs with no end in sight. My pre-planned sleep schedule certainly was no match for reality, but I still wanted to ease my baby into a healthy sleep routine that would benefit both baby and parents!

Every child is different, but I hope this article is helpful for you as you work on finding the best sleep routine for both you and your baby!

Tip 1: Set a Routine

Even though your baby may still have its days and nights mixed around, it’s never too early to begin implementing a nightly ritual. This doesn’t mean that your baby is necessarily ready to follow it, but by sticking to the same routine consistently, it will eventually become a source of normalcy and comfort to your child- and eventually, make your life a lot easier!

Set a time in the evening that you would like your child to eventually go to bed at. A half hour before that time, keep noise to a minimum and follow a nightly ritual- for Aria, it was bath time, lotion, jammies, and bottle. Once “bedtime” comes, turn the lights off and keep things very quiet. Even if your baby isn’t ready to be laid down for bed alone yet, doing this is preparing it for the environment it will eventually be comfortable falling asleep in by itself. I would turn the lights off at 8 pm and watch Netflix on a low volume while I bounced Aria on the ball. Eventually, we transitioned away from bouncing, but having that routine established made it so much easier!

Once you get to the stage where they are taking naps, having a slightly different routine is helpful so they know the difference between nap time and all night long bed time. For naps with Aria, I simply lay her in her crib and sing her her bedtime song- Somewhere Over the Rainbow- no bath time or bottle.

Tip 2: Timing is Everything

At first Aria had to be bounced constantly. Eventually, I was able to bounce her just to sleep and then lay her carefully down without waking her. After that, she transitioned to falling asleep on her own, without having to be bounced. However, all of these stages happened gradually and only when she was ready. I tried to ditch the bouncy ball many times with no success. I tried laying her down and making her fall asleep again and again and it didn’t work.

The reality is, you can’t make a baby do something before they are ready for it. The good news is, you will know when what you are doing is no longer working and it’s time to move on to the next stage. If your baby sleeps better in your arms or being bounced, then go with it! They won’t do it forever, and if it brings peace and rest for yourself in the meantime, then that is worth it!

I knew it was time to transition Aria to nap and bed times in her pack and play instead of my arms when she was crying for a bit as she fell asleep no matter where she was, the ball wasn’t comforting her like it used to and she was old enough to self soothe. Only you can tell what the signs will be with your own child, but watch carefully and when you feel something isn’t working like is used to, go on to something else that does work.

Tip 3: The 90 Minute Sleep Schedule

This was our saving grace once Aria was old enough to follow it and it has established her sleep routine that lasts to this day!! The 90 minute sleep schedule is a theory based on the sleep cycles of children under a year old. It goes that every 90 minutes, your child’s awake cycle is on the downward end, and they are ready to fall asleep if you provide the proper environment for them to do so. (You can google this and read all about it online!)

Once Aria was ready to fall asleep without the bouncy ball, I would make note of what time she first woke up in the morning. 90 minutes from that time, I would swaddle her, feed her, and lay her down in her crib. At first she cried for a bit, but she always ended up falling asleep. Whenever she woke up, I would make sure to put her down 90 minutes from that time.

I found this routine to prevent her from getting overtired and therefore fighting sleep. Even if she wasn’t acting tired, she always fell asleep and had a nap, even if it was a short one. I especially loved it because it gave me frequent breaks throughout the day as well, which oftentimes I really needed! Aria even started to expect and look forward to her nap times. It was a much needed time for her to reset and re-center herself. She even went through a phase where she would crawl to her pack and play and wait next to it if we were nearing the 90 minute mark! I can’t complain about that!

The 90 minute sleep schedule not only established a great nap time and bed time routine for us, but it also established a good connotation of sleep time for Aria. She loves her crib and she hasn’t fought us on a nap or a bedtime since we started doing it. (This doesn’t mean she doesn’t cry at times, but she is able to self soothe and her crib is a comforting, safe place for her to do that as she works on falling asleep.) As long as we followed her schedule, she had no trouble going to sleep wherever we took her and with whoever was watching her at the time, which was a life saver for us as and allowed us to travel with her and have babysitters with no issue at all!

Tip 4: Stay Strong!

Once your child is old enough to self soothe and it’s time for them to learn how to fall asleep without your help (remember- this is a healthy and important thing for them to do!) then you need to stick to your routine and not budge. Aria knows that we will not come back in that bedroom unless she really needs us, and she will not get out of her crib unless she really needs to. If she is just fussing because she’s tired or fighting sleep, we let her be. If she’s screaming because her leg got stuck in the crib, or her diaper needs changing, obviously we will take care of her and then put her back down immediately. You can still be there for your child and establish that sense of trust and security without enabling them to need you to fall or stay asleep.

Pick a routine and stick to it. Right away, there will be more tears, but if your baby is old enough to self soothe, they will adapt. To this day, although Aria’s routine has changed in some ways, at its core it is almost exactly the same as when we brought her home from the hospital. A half hour before bed we give her a bath, lotion her, put her in her PJ’s and give her a bottle. At 7 pm every night we lay her in her crib and sing her somewhere over the rainbow. Then I kiss her on her forehead and walk out quietly. This is the same as the first day I took her home from the hospital, only I’m laying her down in the crib instead of continuing to bounce her to sleep.

Conclusion

Having a sleep routine for Aria has brought so much peace and stability to our household. It’s given Daniel and I much needed time together in the evenings, and it has resulted in a child that isn’t overtired, doesn’t dread naps and bedtime, and finds comfort and safety in her crib and routine. Although there were ups and downs while transitioning and establishing her sleep routine, I’m so glad we were intentional about it from the very beginning.

I hope his article gave you some good ideas about what things might work to implement into your family and routine! Give yourself grace, be patient, and realize that everything is only a phase! These sleepless nights will pass, and having a set routine should help them pass sooner! I’d love to hear what sleep tips and tricks have worked for your kids and family!