Saturday, November 22, 2014

Operation: Life Decompartmentalization: Advent

Our family has never intentionally celebrated Advent...can you hear the Christians gasping? ;)

Our families do not live in Kentucky with us.  They live in Florida, North Carolina, & Michigan.  We don't get to see everyone for every holiday, so usually we divide our holidays up between states.

It's amazing. It's also exhausting.

Let me explain.  We are so blessed to be able to spend time with our families.  There is nothing we want more than to be with our families...especially during the holidays.  It's also amazing that our boys get to see the country!  They have a TON of family that loves them so very much.

However, no matter where we are during a particular holiday, there is always someone we are NOT with.  If we could, we would be with all of our family every holiday, but we can't.  Also, distant family means traveling.  Lots of driving and flying.  Our boys are champs!  They are great at long hauls.  But, even the strong grow weary!

This year, we are staying in KY for both Thanksgiving AND Christmas.  What the what!?  I'm quite certain that God ordained this just for me.  I need a break.  We've been traveling a LOT since October, and I need to stay put for a bit.  I need to feel settled.  I need to be home.

So, for the first time in, well...EVER!...we are going to be home for all of Advent.

If I'm completely honest, all I knew about Advent was this: I'm supposed to take time to focus on Jesus before Christmas, and at church each week they light a candle that stands for something.  I needed to do some research.  HOW do I help my family (and myself) focus on Jesus more during this pre-Christmas time?

After some Googling and asking other mom friends, my heart was drawn to the Jesse Tree.  I brought the idea to my husband, and he graciously agreed to give it a try.  We're following the outline found here.  I used that outline to create my own ornaments.  Here they are:
We're going to use our small, fake tree to hang the ornaments on, and we will read each story from The Children's Storybook Bible (HIGHLY recommend!).

Advent doesn't officially start until November 30th this year.  I still have some time to get things together, but I'm excited to make Jesus a part of every single day this Advent season.  Jesus doesn't belong just at church.  He's a part of every single thing we do, every single day.  This is our way of refocusing our family on Jesus during a season that has dimmed His light with the LEDs of commercialism.

Happy Advent, friends :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Holiday Gift Boxes

Coffee Box $25
This holiday season, I'm doing my best to shop local and shop small.  I hope to encourage all of you beautiful folks to shop local and small this year too!  Here are a few ideas to get you started :)

~Tea Box $22
   ...includes: 3 Osito Bath Teas (variety)
                     1 Osito Mug of your choice

~Coffee Box $25
   ...includes: 1/2lb Kifu Coffee
                     1 Osito Mug of your choice

~Cake4Two Box $28
   ...includes: 2 Osito Mugs of your choice
                     The dry ingredients for 2 Mug Cakes

~Bath Box $30
   ...includes: 16oz Osito Bath Salts
                      5 Osito Bath Teas (variety)

~Body Box $30
   ...incudes: 8oz Osito Sugar Scrub of your choice
                    8oz Body Butter of your choice
                    2 Body Butter Bars of your choice

Tea Box $22
Each box is made by 10 year old Olivia and her dad.  The wood is reclaimed from the local Subway that was damaged by a recent storm.  That means that each box is a small piece of Wilmore, KY history.  (And come on, don't you want to support sweet Olivia!?)

Kifu Coffee is roasted by a local family...well, local to me!  It's the best coffee I've ever tasted.  Honestly.  Nothing compares. To make it even better, it is roasted by some of the greatest people I know!  You can find out more about Kifu here:

Osito Mugs are each hand painted. They are each unique.  They will hold up in the dishwasher, but hand-washing is recommended.

Coffee Box $25
Osito Bath and Body products are made with quality products that help to heal your skin. The ingredients are natural and you can pronounce each one ;)  I use my own products on myself and my family...that's the best endorsement I know of!

Please, this holiday season, please consider shopping local.  Consider shopping small.  Consider this:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Operation: Get Healthy...Almond Joys

For the love of all things chocolate, I think Halloween was invented to RUIN healthy eating!

My adorable, sweet, 75yo neighbor brings our boys candy each year for Halloween.  You see, one year, we caught him off-guard when we knocked on his door and my precious little Ewok said "Trick or Treat!"  He was unprepared and had no candy.  To remedy this, he brings my boys bags (plural!) of candy each year.

Darn those Almond Joys and their sweet, coconutty, chocolatey, almondy goodness!  It's like a bite-sized piece of Heaven! Death to those little sugar demons!

Because, here's the thing: sugar is not healthy.

It's ok. You can go get a paper bag to breathe into if you need it. This is life-changing stuff here.

Over a month ago I participated in a 10 Day Sugar Detox accountability group through Facebook. It was perfect timing.  I was just finishing my transition into a Gluten-Free lifestyle.  I was feeling better, but knew I wasn't eating as healthy as I could be.

**Let me quickly explain that I am not gluten intolerant.  I do not have Celiac's Disease.  I love bread.  As a matter of fact, garlic bread is a food I could live on forever.  I also do not think that grains are a bad thing.  However, it seems to me that the grains we are eating today are not the same grains people were eating way back when.  It is difficult to find non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) grains, and it is the modification that is not healthy.  This is why I choose to eat gluten-free.**

Back to it.

I quickly learned that living a gluten-free lifestyle had the potential to be very...VERY expensive.  Specialty flours and baking mixes are not cheap.  Buying them to re-create the foods we normally ate was going to cost more than we could afford.

My involuntary solution: Eat differently.  Because -->NEWSFLASH: Fresh fruits and veggies are cheaper than specialty foods.

My grocery bill is virtually unchanged.  Not higher.  Not lower, but not higher.

But I digress.  Let's get back to that sweet little sugar demon named Almond Joy.

I ate an Almond Joy.

I did.  Just now.  I ate one.  It was delicious.  And I don't feel guilty.  Because I have control over my food.  I ate one, worked out a little, and am now enjoying a cup of tea and The Voice.  That one sweet little morsel was not healthy.  But, what is even less healthy is deprivation.  If I denied myself every single thing I wanted to eat every single time, I would go nuts.  I would dive head first into a bag of Almond Joys and eat that whole. dang. bag.  Believe it.  I would.  So, I ate one. ONE.  That's all.  And I am getting healthier.

Don't judge me on Friday though.  We all slip up ;)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Operation: Acknowledge Grief

Around Thanksgiving of 2013 my best friend was diagnosed with Stage IV Cancer.  She was 27 years old. She and her husband had just adopted their son in October.  Less than a year later (August 2014), my best friend died.

Dori is gone.  She's dancing with Jesus.  I have an excellent visual in my head because Dori had some very signature moves, but she's gone.

In a recent post I mentioned that my grief over D's death often sucker punches me.  I guess this is how I grieve.  In the last couple months of her life I acknowledged D wasn't going to beat cancer this time.  I wanted her to.  I prayed desperately that God would heal her like I know He could have.  But, ultimately, Jesus was ready to dance with D.  I will have to wait my turn. I'm ok with that. I can wait to see her again, and I am rejoicing that she is with our Heavenly Father and her earthly dad.

That doesn't mean I don't miss her though.  It's taken me over two months to begin writing through my grief because I'm sad.  I'm sad.  Life has gone has to, but like I said before, grief sucker punches me.

I cry when good or exciting things happen because, after my husband D was the first person I called to share good news with.

Left hook.

I struggle in church because it feels wrong that D isn't sitting next to me.  That's her seat.  For over 3 years that was her seat.  I don't want anyone else to sit there.  It's D's spot.

Right cross.

I get frustrated easily because I'm no longer talking things out with her.  My sounding board is gone.  I can't vent or get a safe and blunt opinion.  Dori was able to talk me down when I was being unreasonable or irrational.  Apparently, that's more than I realized... ;/


My heart breaks when my 4yo son asks if he's going to die from strep throat...and he's absolutely serious.  He asks if his cousin will die because he had a virus, and had to visit the ER.  He prays that God will take the cancer out of his own body when he has the sniffles.  In his mind, everyone dies when they get sick because Aunt D died when she got sick.

Sucker Punch.

I miss my best friend. I'm not angry. I'm just sad.  I'm grieving.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mission Control

I originally started this post with, "I feel like...".  But it's more than that.  It's more than a feeling, guys.  This is who I am.  This is who my kids will grow up to be.  This is more than just how I feel because feelings are fleeting.  They ebb and flow more toddlers like and dislike of Rescuebots!  

I am sitting in the Co-Director's seat in Mission Control.  Who the heck thought I was qualified for this position?!  But, thank God I am not the pilot!  Holy pressure, Batman! (Exclamation points, anyone?!!!!!!) 

But back to Mission Control.  Have you ever seen the movie Apollo 13?  Every day I hear that infamous line in my head, "Houston. We have a problem."  Then, I have to try fitting a round peg in a square hole.  My call, however, goes more like this, "Kate, what are you going to do about life?"

So here's my current "feeling", and my original start to this post:
I feel like I am at Mission Control, and I have to manage not one, but multiple Operations.

Let me list a few for you:

Operation: Get Healthy
Operation: Mom
Operation: One Toy. So Much Joy
Operation: Life Decompartmentalization
Operation: Jesus Focus
Operation: Homeschool
Operation: Grieve
Operation: Small Business
Operation: Community
Operation: Friendships
Operation: Marriage

Talk about round peg, square hole.  All of these Missions are staring me in the face Every. Single. Day.  Again, thank you Jesus for being the Pilot...phew!  

I'm not the pilot.  I'm not steering this ship.  However, I have to make decisions and answer questions every day.  
How will I teach my children to live in community and not compartmentalize their relationship with Jesus?  
Is grief over losing my best friend going to sucker punch me today?  How will I deal with that?
How will I model good friendships for my boys today?
What will I feed my family for dinner tonight?
Does that lesson encompass different aspects of learning for my 4yo AND my 2yo?
What is the balance today?
Did I feed my marriage in a positive way today? How can I do better tomorrow?
Will I get a chance to contact ___ about my Osito products today?
Are my kids getting bored with their toys?  Is it time to switch them out, or practice generosity and give a few away?
How can we, as a family, love God's people today?
When will it be best to put my devices down and focus 100% on my boys?
Have I vacuumed recently?
Did the dog eat today?
Did I eat today?

These are the things that popped into my head in about 5 minutes.  5 minutes!  This is mom brain people! And it's no joke.  These are not trivial to me. Each and every question is important, and must be answered,,,right now! But, I don't have all the answers.

I can say with honesty that all of these missions do not usually stress me out.  This is reality and it does no good to anyone to stress about it.  I can also say with honesty, that these things do not shape who I am.  Again, Jesus is the pilot.  He shapes who I am.  It does, however shape my day.  

And now, these will shape my blog.  

House-Keeping. You Want Fluff Pillow?

I have been computer-less for almost a year.  Holy crap all over!  Thank you for being so patient with my absence, and thank you for still supporting my small business, Osito.

A few house-keeping things:

1. Osito is now on Instagram.  Make a girl feel loved and follow me: OsitoCrafts.  Thanks ;)

2. I have recently updated the Products & Pricing tab on the blog.  Check it out.  I pared some things down and added a few new things!

3. I am slowly going to be changing the look and feel of the blog.  Life is different than it was 1 year ago, and since this blog is a reflection of me, it's going to change.

Thanks for putting up with these little details (that feel unimportant right now!), and I hope to see more readers and more interaction soon! ;)