I Hate Teething, but I Love Good Deals!

Friday was one of those mornings. Asher was teething, again, and was super whiny and screechy and needy and I had to get out of the house ASAP before I lost my mind. I was so thankful that the rain stopped so we could get out, and also thankful for stores that open early because by 8am we were packed up, in the car, and ready to roll.

I also just have to say that I love Meijer! I always spend more money than I need to when we shop there, so I limit our trips, but either way, I still love it.

We took our time there, exploring the clearance sections and of course we stopped by the fish tanks. Those are always a big hit with the kids. We meandered through the kids clothes section and then finally picked up the few items I actually came into the store to purchase before heading home.

If you have time to browse and can shop during the week and early morning, you can sometimes find some great deals. That was the case today and I was so thrilled. I was able to find some kids Valentine’s cards for 30 cents a box. I don’t know if we are going to save them for next year or just play with them now because they have characters on them my kids like, but either way, we can do something with them. I also found some heart shaped cookies for 80 cents that we very much enjoyed at lunch. And I found chocolate for me and John for about $1 for both hearts.

It makes my day to find such fun deals, and it didn’t put us over budget!

Did it really help with the teething? Unfortunately no, but I guess great deals can’t solve all the world’s problems. The chocolate on the other hand….

What’s a great deal you’ve found lately?

Top 5 Reasons Our Family Loves Slugs & Bugs Music

I love Slugs & Bugs! No, not the creepy crawly kind. I really can’t stand that kind. I’m talking about the kids music. I say kids music because that’s really who it’s intended for, but, not so secretly, I really love it too. Slugs & Bugs is the music brand started by Randall Goodgame and Andrew Peterson in an effort to create fun, quality music the whole family can enjoy. You can read more about their story here.

Here are the top 5 reasons why our family loves Slugs & Bugs music:

1. Slugs & Bugs LIVE

We recently saw them in concert at our church and it really helped enhance my kids love for Slugs & Bugs. It was exciting for Maddie to get to meet Mr. Randall Goodgame and thank him for the fun time. I was excited to get to meet him and thank him for his ministry and heart for kids and God’s word. The concert itself was full of action and interaction and videos. It held Maddie’s attention the entire time and even when it was getting close to bed time, she was still enthralled. She came home wanting to do all the actions for the songs, and we still do, at least the ones I can still remember.

2. It’s silly, fun and smart

The silly songs are intelligent, well-written and so much fun. I mean, everybody loves “The Camel Song”, right? And I can’t lie and say that the “Mexican Rhapsody” has not randomly popped into my head. Pico de gallo anyone? Oh, and my kids like them too. My almost three-year-old, Maddie will randomly burst out into “Tractor, Tractor”, or the “Bears” song. And after the concert she also randomly asks, “Have you looked under there?” (Check out the “Under Where?” song if you want to know why) Read more

I’m Back and Ready to Write

After a much needed break and blog re-design I am back and ready to write. I am committed to making sure that I am writing more regularly. I hope that the re-design will also make it easier for you to find what you are looking for. You can learn more about me and the blog here.

I also hope that you will subscribe to my newsletter so that you can keep up with all the latest posts, news, contests or other promotions that will be coming up in the future. I have some giveaways planned and will be generating some free content soon that I would love to share with you as well. You can sign up here.

My main goal for Living the Upstream Life is to provide quality content to aid you in living a simple, authentic, life in Christ. 


Life is hard, but it does not really need to be so complicated. There are things you can do to simplify your life. Part of that has to do with learning and practice. I don’t have it all figured out but I hope to share with you the things that have helped me in marriage, parenting and being a homemaker. And I hope to learn from you too.


This journey is tough, but we are not alone and I aim to share with you my life: the good, the bad and ugly. I truly believe we were made for authentic relationships. It’s only when we strip the facades that we can really come alongside each other to encourage and learn from each other. We need more authenticity in our lives.

Life in Christ

Really, this is what it’s all about and comes back to. Everything stated above is nothing, if not in Christ. Everything I do, and write will be coming from the view of one who is desperately trying to live a life worthy of the calling of Christ. Just like Paul says, I have by no means arrived, as you will see as you continue to explore my blog. However, I will continue to press forward, and I hope you will join me.

And I can’t think of a better way to kick off my new season of blogging than to share with you about a Kickstarter campaign for our family’s favorite music by Slugs & Bugs. Come back tomorrow to read that post!

If there is anything specific you would love to see on the blog please let me know in the comments. 

Motherhood: Bringing Out the Worst in Me

Motherhood_Motherhood brings out the worst in me. It’s not like I thought I was perfect, but I guess I did think, with this being my second child, I had improved in some areas. I was wrong.

If you want to know what’s really in your heart, spend month after month with a baby who is a terrible sleeper and a toddler who is, well, a toddler. If you can handle that with ease then you are my hero and I want to know your secret. Please, share.

For me, this season of life has been anything but easy. You may have noticed my blog sabbatical. Sorry, but I just was not coping well and blogging was not a high priority. Survival was my only goal everyday. Some days that is still my only goal.

Even though this season is slowly passing, thankfully, it has not been without a lot of struggle. I had so much anger and frustration pent up. Much of it was about things I couldn’t control, and the rest I couldn’t explain.  Instead of sharing my burdens, I just hoped I could deal with it on my own and it would go away, but that wasn’t the case.  I was so impatient with my kids and husband — more than normal — like a time bomb and everything became a spark to light it.

I specifically remember one weekend afternoon when my  husband was out on the patio getting the grill ready and my youngest little guy had just settled into his chair for a hard-fought-for nap. He had been very irritable for a few days and my nerves were raw. I can’t remember the exact scenario of what was going on with my 2 year old, Maddie, but she was quiet. After a few minutes of sweet relief, out of nowhere, Maddie just screamed at the top of her lungs and of course, Asher woke up screaming. So there I was in the living room, with a toddler who just woke up my baby who hates sleep and was screaming. I screamed  back at him in frustration (like I said, not my finest moment). I will never forget the look on his face. He was scared of me. And at that moment, I was scared of me too. Something had to give. Read more

Make Over Your Evenings Course – Launch Sale Starts April 21

It’s late. You are tired, but you know there is so much yet to do. What should you tackle first? Oh well, forget about it. There’s always tomorrow. But then the morning comes and you wish you had done more the night before because you’re already behind and it’s not even 7am. Can you relate?

I know I can. I’ve struggled with how to maximize my time and energy during the evening hours to make them the most productive they can be while at the same time trying to connect with my husband relationally. It’s the only time we have together, once the kids are asleep. It’s definitely a battle with exhaustion some nights as well. What to do with our precious time?

I need help prioritizing! Thankfully, help is on the way.

I am so excited that Crystal Paine, from Moneysavingmom.com is launching her latest course Thursday with an unbelievable sale, and in this case, the early bird does get the best deal.  The Make Over Your Evenings course will retail at $17, but starting at 1am, Thursday, April 21, you can can score this course for $5. That is a great deal! The price goes up as the day goes on. Here’s the break down: Thursday, April 21, CST

1 a.m. to 6 a.m. – just $5

6 a.m. to 11 a.m. – just $7

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – only $10

4 p.m. – 11 p.m. – only $13

She is also offering a money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied, though if it’s anything like her other courses, I know you will be.  So, there’s really nothing to lose.

Crystal is one of my favorite bloggers and I have learned so much from her about prioritizing, goal-setting, building a blog, and being authentic. We all need a little help sometimes and she’s made lots of mistakes and come out the other side. I love that she is sharing what she has learned!

Check out her other courses as well:

First Encounter with Markers a Success

mr sketch2I received a free sample of Mr. Sketch Washable Markers via Mr. Sketch and Crowdtap. I remember using the Mr. Sketch markers when I was in grade school and how I loved the smells then. Smelling these markers sure brought me back.

Maddie is just about two and we hadn’t tried any markers yet. Mainly because I did not own any other than permanent, and even though I’ve made plenty of mis-judgements as a mom, even I know enough not to place a permanent marker in the hands of a toddler. Recipe for disaster! Read more

My Favorite Podcasts 

podcastsallI became a fan of the podcast many years ago, when I had a job where I was on the road a lot. It was great for passing the time. I still remember our makeshift setup. My teammate and I had a company van without an aux jack, so we bought a cheap set of speakers and with the help of some duct tape we made it work.  We plugged the iPod into the speakers, which were rigged with duct tape to a spot near the dash when in use. It was rough, but functional. Ah, the good old days.

Now I am in the home, not on the road, but I still like my podcasts. At the moment, breastfeeding gives me the perfect opportunity for listening. Often I am up in the night several times and it helps me take my mind off the fact that I would rather be sleeping. Also they sometimes help me fall back asleep as well. I also love that you can listen to them while you are doing other things, like cleaning, dishes, laundry, etc. I can’t do that at the moment, because my little ones won’t allow it, but maybe you can, and one day I can too.

All that being said, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite ones to listen to. I know there are so many more good ones out there too, but these are my favorites right now, in no particular order. Read more

Life with a Newborn: A Season of Hope

A Season of HopeWhat does Easter and the second coming of Christ have to do with my trials as a mom of two? One word. Hope.

As I was awake early this morning waiting for my youngest to fully wake up and eat, I was thinking about Easter and the hope it offers us. I was dwelling on how blessed we are to have the hope of eternity with God because of the work Jesus did on the cross. We can bear so many things in this life when we cling to that hope, when we “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2 (NIV)

So that got me thinking about how different it is with your second child, as opposed to the first. With the first, I had some extra challenges for sure, but we had nothing to compare it to. The first few months were so draining and they seemed to last forever. Even as time wore on, it was so much harder than I had imagined it would be. I was tired and worn out and bored and just drained so much of the time. It seemed like it would never end. Read more

Life with a Newborn: What Time for Yourself Looks Like

timeforyourselfPeople love to give advice, especially when it comes to being a parent. And I get it, I really do, because I found myself wanting to do the same thing for my pregnant friends after I had my first baby. “Let me tell you…” But one piece of advice I have heard so much and find impossible to practically implement is to “take time for you.”


Now, I will say this is slightly easier with only one child, but only slightly. I will also say this is easier if you are not breastfeeding, as your baby doesn’t need you exclusively as often. But given those two caveats, what mom of a newborn really has time for herself? Read more

St. Patrick’s Day Drink Recipes

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I am sharing two drink recipes with you that our family enjoys. The first is a hot beverage that my husband came up with: British Isles tea, which is great for the morning. The second is your standard Shamrock Shake, great for an afternoon snack or with dinner.

St Pats Day Drink Recipe 1British Isles Tea

brew a cup of English Breakfast Tea
add a splash of milk
add a splash of Irish Creme Creamer, to taste
add a dash of cinnamon, to taste

St Pats Day Drink Recipe 2Shamrock Shake 
yields 2 portions

1 cup milk
about 2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 tsp peppermint extract (to taste)
a few drops of green food coloring (add more for darker green)
add a swirl of chocolate syrup or whipped cream, or both

I hope that you will enjoy these. They taste good all the time, so if you don’t get to them today, no worries. Do you have any fun drink options for St. Patrick’s Day that are family favorites?