Baby Registries, Mom's Heart and Father's Day!

So as I promised, today will be the surprise Father's day celebration, and how to encourage a mother's heart.  But FIRST, a list 5 items YOU should have on your registry for your first baby shower (I'll do another five a different day)

1. A Robot cleaner. Seriously. EVERY MOTHER SHOULD HAVE A ROBOT CLEANER. It doesn't have to be a fancy schmancy Roomba that costs half your life savings. It's OK to get a knock off, on prime day (like we did.) We got ours for over 60% off, and it mops and vacuums. We have ALL wood floor besides a couple super small door rugs. I am ALWAYS sweeping, mopping, vacuuming and repeating. OR I was. Until I got "Mr. Robot" or less likely called "Pickles." Gymnast came up with the name Pickles but Mr. Robot stuck. I got him while I Was going through my post partum depression after having Orangutan. That was hard. But Robot helped. And even though I'm not struggling with PPD now, Robot still helps. Sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming JUST the dining room/kitchen is a full time job let alone the whole house. Robot can do the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, UNDER couches and beds, in the bathroom etc. EVERYWHERE   while I'm prepping dinner or taking a nap or getting ready to go to church. And Mine mops! So, I spray on some homemade vinegar tea tree solution on the floor, and then attach a damp mopping thing to the bottom of the robot, and off he goes, mopping and vacuuming at the same time. Now, Mr Robot Pickles doesn't do the same mop job as my fantastic spinning mop does, but he does a good "looks clean" job. I still try to mop once a week at least in the dining room and kitchen as those areas get the most dirty. But, this saves SO MUCH TIME. Put it on your registry, and people, BUY ONE FOR THE MOMS IN YOUR LIFE.

2. a LIFETIME supply of Vinegar, Tea tree essential oil, lemon essential oil and lavender essential oil AAAND a TRUE knowledge of how to use the essential oils correctly.
I use vinegar in EVERYTHING. I dump it in the toilet if I need to get a solid ring off because I haven't cleaned it in FOREVER. I put it in the washing machine to get the smell of mildew out of clothes that have sat in there for days because I haven't had the time or energy to switch them over to the dryer. I put it in the dryer to get rid of mildew smell in the clothes that sat too long in the washing machine and finally were put in the dryer. You can soak new clothes in a vinegar and water solution so that when you wash them in your dryer with all the other colored clothes, nothing bleeds color so you don't have to spend extra time sorting your clothes.
I make an all purpose cleaner with vinegar and water. AND, I add in tea tree essential oil. That stuff is AMAZING. It is anti bacterial and viral. I use it in everything! Homemade soaps, in my laundry, in shampoos and conditioners. I use it to diffuse when my kids are sick. I use it in a solution i make to spray into the showers to keep mold from growing. I use it SO MUCH. Same with Lemon. Lemon i occasionally use to clean for a different smell, but I mainly use it during sickness. I diffuse it with tea tree and lavender to help clear sinuses. Works FANTASTIC. Lavender is great for kids who won't sleep or who are extra wild and I Use it in their bath before bed. Not every night/time they take a bath, only if needed. To properly dilute essential oil into water, you need to put some soap in your hand, put the drop of EO into your hand (YES, you read that right, you only need a drop for a whole tub of water) and then scrub your hands together and then rinse them in the warm bath water. Just dropping the eo into the bath water DOES NOT DILUTE IT and it could burn you or your kid when you get into the water. Remember high school chemistry (or maybe even middle school)? Water and oil DO NOT MIX. DON'T TRY IT!

3. THE VITAMIX and INSTANT POT. I call both of these my Kitchen Angels. I've talked about the VM quite a bit, but that's not because the IP hasn't been used. In fact I'm using it right now to make homemade yogurt, which i do ALL THE TIME. I cannot even begin to tel you how much I use these two machines and how much they've made my life easier as a mom. Seriously. Buy one for the mom in your life and tell her to USE IT. Don't just let it sit on a shelf and collect dust. These things are phenomenal tools to help speed up the prepping process.  I think that both of these need a blog post on their own to really explain how amazing they are, so I'll maybe do that in the future, but TRULY PUT THESE ON YOUR REGISTRY!

4.Lifetime supply of Collagen. I know, sounds weird. I"m talking about Gelatin's cousin. This is pure protein. And be sure to get it form a good source - grass fed free range organic cows. Moms are severely lacking protein. Maybe its because your kids eat all the protein, or maybe its because you just don't have time to eat any protein because your chasing your kids all day. I don't know, but its hard to get enough protein in during the day. Enter power house COLLAGEN. I mix it into nearly every thing i drink and sometimes into my yogurt or eggs. it dissolves, its tasteless, and so so good for you, let alone the protein in it. it will help balance your blood sugar, give you energy to keep up with your kids and clarity of mind.

5. Cold Brew Coffee. I don't care if its a lifetime supply of Starbucks cold brew or your own setup to make cold brew. Get it. I could NEVER drink coffee before made regularly. IT gives me MAJOR stomach issues. I recently tried cold brew. TOTALLY DIFFERENT. Honestly I've never tried it at a store or coffee shop, so I don't know if I make mine differently or what, but i do know that when I make my own cold brew, I don't get a stomach ache and the caffeine HELPS ME! But as a mom, you need coffee. I'm not sure how I got through it all before i found cold brew. I LOOOVE it!

Ok, there you have it. The first 5 items you need to get on your registry.

Ok, on that note, how do you encourage a mother's heart? Go be with her, talk to her like an adult, sit with her while she stares blankly at a wall trying to remember why she's even staring at it, play with her kids, offer to help when everything is going crazy and the kids are melting down. And when you see her lose her sh*t, tell her how great of a mom she is.
My long time friend, Auntie S (as my kids call her, although she's really not their aunt, just my friend), flew all the way from Texas (Thanks Mr. Auntie S for letting us borrow your lovely wife!) to be with us for a couple days. And she was SUCH an encouragement. She just came along for the unknown ride of each day, stepped into the chaos and helped out in any way she could, weather that was holding my kids, helping Gymnast ride his bike, running out to kiss owies, reminding kids what I had told them, and reminding me to take naps. SO MUCH MORE, I don't even know. But as I've been thinking about the few short days she was here, I just am so thankful for her and how much she showed me her love and support for me really without even doing anything except BEING HERE where I needed her to be. Talking about REAL LIFE while i sat bare chested, pumping milk out of one boob while Little Love nursed out of the other. Talking about how life takes you places you never could have foreseen five years ago while kids are running around tearing the house apart. Watching "Tin Man" even though the acting is stupid and the whole story is silly because it has a super cheesy HAPPY ending and because as a mom you just can't handle watching any "real life" endings right now. Just BEING. Because as a mom, so few times is there anyone to just BE with me ALL day. Even Mr Barefoot has to go to work and he comes back tired, understandably so.
So all that to say Thank you, Auntie S, for coming and BEING. You were so much of an encouragement and I Really didn't even realize it until after you left. Thank you! I hope to some day be such an encouragement to you!

 AND as promised, the SURPRISE Father's day :)

So, I decided that I wanted to get Mr Barefoot a smoker for a father's day/birthday gift quite a few months ago. He does some hunting and fishing, but I also love encouraging him to do more of that. Both because he's super introverted and does well to get out into nature, appreciate God's Creation and be on his own, but also because when he forages and hunts we get FREE food, always a plus when you have hungry mouths to feed.

So, I began planning. I sought out the help of one of Mr Barefoots good friends who has a smoker, and began researching what to get, where to get it and when to get it. Mr Barefoots amazing dad and sister both pitched in so I could buy him a really nice smoker. Once i Had purchased it, I had it shipped to my father in law's house, so he could set it up without hubby having any idea. I made my menu, picked up ribs for the smoker and everything was on!

On Thursday afternoon, my boys helped me make the beginning of the "Reeses Peanut Butter Cheesecake" - two things that Mr Barefoot loves. First things first, EVERYTHING in the meal needed to be gluten free, to make sure that Auntie S could enjoy it too. So, when we made the crust, I used gluten free oreo cookies.

Soooo... if you give two boys some sticks and cookies in a bag and tell them to smash it, what will they do? SMASH IT OF COURSE!

Gymnast and Twinkles made GREAT smashers and I think they were a little taken back as i encouraged them to repeatedly hit the bag of cookies as HARD as they could. But after the initial shock wore off, they were a great team turning the cookies into a crust.
Then we had to mix the cookies with some softened butter and push it into the cheesecake mold. I was super impressed with how well they listened and were both able to help me. I love being able to encourage my boys in the kitchen and not have them assume that kitchen work is only women's work. 

Meanwhile, I had attempted to french braid Orangutan's hair. It looked beautiful for about three seconds, until she tried to pull the french braid OUT of her head, yes, out of her head. And then it looked like this. It looks much better from this angle vs the front. She
had a homemade Popsicle to keep her happy.
And My Little Love was wrapped up right next to my heart, a spot we both love being in. I'm definitely going to miss these sweet newborn snuggles and naps. It goes by far too fast.

Then we made the actual cheesecake - just a basic cheesecake recipe, but with peanut butter added. The boys helped mix it all together, and then we put it into the oven to cook!

Friday we made a simple pasta salad - gluten free pasta, pepperoni, green peppers, black olives and a basic Italian dressing.

Saturday morning the boys and I finished up the Reeses cake with a chocolate frosting made of melted Swiss chocolate I bought from our local discount store - Mike's Discount Foods. Just a shout out to them - we LOVE Mike's. They have all kinds of organic options, both pre packaged and fresh fruits and veggies. I've been watching sales lately for organic berries so I can make canned jam!

After I poured the melted chocolate and heavy cream onto the top of the cheesecake, the boys decorated it with mini reeses cups and reeses pieces. Lastly, I made a little banner that said "Happy Father's Day Dad and Dad"." Even though I was focusing on Mr Barefoot and his surprise gift for Father's Day and his birthday, I
didn't want to forget that his Dad also had a HUGE part to play in raising Mr Barefoot and helping him become the Dad he is today. And my Father in Law, Daddy R we'll call him, has been a wonderful father figure to me, and a fabulous grandpa to my kids.  

Later that morning, I left to go bridesmaid shopping with my lovely to be sister in law and Auntie S, along with Little Love and Orangutan. Girls Morning out! But first, i had to stop off at my father in law's house, to get the ribs going.
I rubbed brown sugar on the ribs and then dumped about half a cup of apple juice into each "rib pouch." Began heating up the smoker, with lovely chips inside already (amazing father in law had everything ready for me so I could just prep and throw it all into the smoker.) Then I wrapped each rib with the aluminum foil and put them into the preheated amazingly smelling smoker to smoke for 6 plus hours.

Then we packed up and went bridesmaid dress shopping - and I was successful in finding a couple dresses. One I Really liked and I'm hoping to be able to fit in, but I found one that fits a little better right now, just in case I don't lose any baby weight for awhile due to breastfeeding and being so early postpartum. I'm excited regardless to be a part of such a special day in my brother's life!

After the kids woke up from their nap, we all headed over to Daddy R's house. The six of us, Auntie S and Auntie T (the kids REAL auntie, Mr Barefoot's sister) and her boyfriend S-Man. Our house was pretty full as all the above were staying with us. I love having a full house!

I was almost giddy with excitement as we pulled into the driveway. I had no idea what Mr. Barefoot would think or if he had already guessed what the gift was. But, much to my amazement, he had no idea and was SUPER happy with the gift of a smoker AND a dinner already cooking. One of the things he said was how not only did he get a smoker, he didn't even have to do anything to make the first meal with it. SCORE! :) I was sitting and nursing Little Love and looked out the window to see Mr Barefoot, Daddy R and S-Man all standing around the table, eating pieces of rib meat and laughing. I couldn't help but snap a quick picture and hide the memory in my heart.

Meanwhile, Auntie S and I made some cheesy creamed potatoes and sweet corn, and Auntie T played with the kids. Before long, the ribs were done and everything was finally ready for us to sit down and enjoy the FEAST!

The ribs turned out amazing and dipped in some extra bbq sauce were perfect! I heard Mr Barefoot say something about how they tasted even better than anything he had gotten in a restaurant. Made my heart happy :)

After stuffing our faces with ribs, potatoes, fruit salad (forgot to mention, I made a super quick salad with apples and strawberries and a squeeze of lemon), corn, potatoes, and chips and dip, we moved onto the cheesecake (actually it was a few hours after dinner because everyone was SO STUFFED from dinner itself!)

I heard Mr Barefoot say something about how the cheesecake was two of his favorite things! Yaay, another score! We also had to get a photo of my handsome husband, wonderful daddy to our four children.

I just have to say, my dear Mr. Barefoot, I couldn't do it without you. Thank you for being the Dad that you are. For going to work every day so I can stay home and do things like make you reeses peanut butter cheesecake and surprise birthday/father's day ribs. Thank you for loving me so I can love the kids better. Thank you for being an example of a Godly dad and husband for our kids. I cannot imagine any one else being the father of my children but you, and there's definitely no one I'd rather tackle parenthood with than you. You are a blessing through and through and I look forward to many more days to celebrate you and to see how the Lord leads you as you lead us. We love you Daddy Barefoot! :)

Lukim Yu!!