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Dear Mushka,

How we meal plan (and your ideas, too!)

How we meal plan (and your ideas, too!)

Over the years, I've found that meal planning is easiest for my family when I choose a theme for each night of the week. It limits my choices, preventing me from decision fatigue, and also lets my family know what to expect. 

This Summer, our schedule looks like this: 

M: Grill Night- usually chicken or steak with veggies and brown rice 

T: Mexican Night- tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls with chips and salsa or guacamole, rice, and/or a corn dish 

W: Pasta Night- spaghetti or some other pasta with added chicken and a salad

Th: Breakfast Night- eggs, bacon, and waffles, biscuits, french toast, etc

F: Leftovers or Pizza

S: Out- either our date night or a family night to chipotle

S: Hotdogs from church. Alternative is sandwiches. 

As the seasons change, we'll adjust this to be more appropriate!

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I asked you all on Instagram for some other night themes; here's a big list for us to all reference!

  • Grill 
  • Mexican
  • Pasta
  • Italian
  • Breakfast
  • Leftovers
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Salad
  • One Sheet Pan
  • Crock Pot/ Instant Pot
  • Soup
  • Casserole
  • Asian
  • Bowl Dinner
  • Fish
  • Panini
  • Baked Potato Bar
  • Meatless Meal
  • "Hodge Podge" where you throw it all together from what you have
  • Charcuterie Board (meat, cheese, fruit, nuts, veggies) on a warm night! 
  • Different ethnicity every week to teach children about a different culture 

The Perfect Summer Earrings

The Perfect Summer Earrings

The Renew Earrings are part of our Summer Launch Line and I am so excited about this fun piece! I loved the tassel design for the verse it is paired with as it’s a little different to what Dear Mushka usually carries. I felt like these earrings stand out against all of our other jewelry pieces and so it fit perfectly with it’s verse:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern that is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

This was a verse that I clung to as a teenager, the idea of that God’s will was for my life and how to discern what to do next - and acknowledging that renewal comes from God’s Word and the Holy Spirit.

They come in a blush pink and teal- youthful and playful! They are bold and fun but are easy to pull off and aren’t over-dramatic.

They are the perfect summer earrings. I can just picture them at the beach with a cute sundress or a brimmed hat. Even sitting by the pool with your hair up and a sweet pop of color.

I also love that the imagery is just reinforced because there are two earrings so they serve as the perfect reminder that the only way to become renewed is through God’s Word and through the Holy Spirit. It cannot be done by simply willing ourselves to know truth or by magic prayers. God answers those prayers only through the Holy Spirit and His Word.

The Renew Earrings are perfect for anyone who longs to have her mind more like Christ’s. They make the perfect Summer gift.

How To Clean Brass Jewelry

How To Clean Brass Jewelry

Katie shared on her Instagram Stories recently about how much she’s been loving Brass for creating Dear Mushka jewelry. It’s less expensive than 14k gold filled which ultimately means it keeps the prices down for you🎉

What we’re also loving is how it develops a pretty patina over time but if you don’t like this feature, it’s super easy to clean using lemon juice or ketchup (anything with acidity).

You simply place some of the product of choice on your finger and rub it into your brass jewelry piece to give it some shine. You just keep rubbing until the shine comes back and wipe it with a paper towel. Nice and easy!

Most of our current bracelets are made from brass:

The Carried Cuff

The Carried Cuff

The Vision Bracelet

The Parallel Cuff which I wear almost every single day!

The Steward Cuff

A lot of our pendants are also brass:

The Encounter Pendant

The Quiver Pendant (You’re able to add multiple arrows to represents all of your babies!)

The Essential Pendant in our long necklace, the large hexagon.

Lockets - The Eclipsed Pendant 

Please note that our chains are not made from brass so you’ll want to remove the pendants when shining them - don’t get ketchup on your chain.

We have our materials used for each piece listed on our website, so just make sure you’re only cleaning the brass parts of your jewelry. Gold and Silver aren’t going to react the same to acidic cleaners.

Defining Biblical Terminology | Theology

Defining Biblical Terminology | Theology

Katie and Robert did a Q+A interview on the Dear Mushka’s IG stories a few weeks back answering some of your questions about theology.

Today they’re defining some difficult biblical terms to help you better understand the Bible and what you’re reading and how we behave as Christians.

Justification

Justification addresses your position before the Lord regarding righteousness. It’s a one-time change from death to life. It has nothing to do with you and what you have done, it’s 100% an act of God and when he moves you from death to life and you are positionally made righteous.

This is where God sees the righteousness of Christ when He looks at you even if your behavior doesn’t change.

Sanctification

Sanctification is the progressive renewal of your mind, body, soul (yourself) over the whole course of your life. This is the process of becoming more righteous throughout your life and is the ongoing pursuit of righteousness.

Why does justification and sanctification matter?

It praises Christ for what He has done. If you understand what Christ accomplished on your behalf and what the Lord credited to you, then you’re able to more fully and accurately praise and worship Him.

If you don’t understand what God did for you it’s harder to appreciate it. So knowing this helps you praise him for it!

It also helps you guard the Gospel from people adding to it. Having a good understanding of these terms and what they mean keeps others from telling you what you need to do to be saved and from adding untruths to it.

These terms also matter to encourage others towards holiness. There’s a temptation to think we’re safe and good, that the Lord looks at us with love and it doesn’t matter how we live, but the Bible makes it clear that this is far from the truth. It tells us to encourage our brothers and sisters to overcome sin. You CAN resist temptation and pursue a holy life.

Do we Sabbath?

We Sabbath following our interpretation of it where we use it to refocus, pause and rest. We like to work from a place of rest after focusing on the Lord instead of resting from work. Of course there are days when we're emailing or doing some work on a Sunday, it does happen.

Christians do it differently, we don’t think there’s a “right” way to do it. We’re not strict about it but do see it as a beautiful tradition. We practice the Sabbath as best as we can to praise the Lord by resting, enjoying our family, trying not to work (I stopped posting on IG on most Sundays).

Our Sabbath will continue to change and look differently over the years but the posture of it will remain the same. Praise and worship!

Sleep Training (and a Snoo Review)

Sleep Training (and a Snoo Review)

I frequently get asked how I run a small business and have little children; one of my most common responses is that we sleep train. By that I mean, early on we help our children learn how to fall asleep in their own beds at specific times of day. 

The two books I have used to help me learn are Baby Wise & Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I've referenced them time and time again with all three of our boys! If you don't have them, I highly recommend. I also hear Taking Cara Babies is an excellent resource. 

Here are things we do: 

1. Right away, we begin helping our child learn to eat every three hours. At the beginning, they may need to eat every 2-2.5 hours. That's okay! But slowly, we begin to implement a 3 hour feeding schedule. 

For us, it's 7:00am, 10:00am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm, 7:00pm, 10:00pm (and the nighttime feedings as they wake up). 

This is important for two reasons. First, it helps them get enough food in during the day. We know they're getting x amount of ounces every three hours; eventually their full bellies allow them to drop nighttime feedings. Second, it keeps them from sleeping longer than 3 hours at a time. This helps them learn that days are for naps, nights are for longer stretches of sleep. 

2. We work on an eat-play-sleep routine. This helps them learn to fall asleep on their own instead of by being fed every time. When they're itty bitty, this is hard! Sometimes they fall asleep and there's nothing you can do. But day by day, we feed them, "play" (change their diaper, bath, tummy time, quality time with mama, etc), and then lay them down for a nap as soon as they begin to yawn. 

It's also helpful because it takes the guess work out of what they need. If they ate three hours ago and are crying, they're hungry. If they've been awake over an hour and start to fuss, it's probably because they're tired. 

3. We prioritize good naps. Most babies need 1.5-2 hour naps between feedings (until 3-4 months of age when they begin to establish a morning nap and an afternoon nap or two). This is important because sleep begets sleep with little ones- if they're overly tired, they won't nap well during the day or sleep well at night. 

Between 4-6 weeks of age, we begin helping them learn to fall asleep in their own bed. So they eat, "play", and then get swaddled for a nap around an hour after they last woke up. 

At the beginning, some babies have a hard time falling asleep without you nearby. If this is the case (and it has been to some extent for all three of our boys) we use a mild "cry it out" method. We lay them down drowsy but awake. If they cry, we let them do so for 10 minutes and then come in to rub their back, burp them, and try again. At the beginning, you may spend a whole nap time block doing this but don't worry- they'll get it soon! 

They also may fall asleep quickly but wake up after a 45 minute nap- especially when the morning and afternoon nap is established (which can be longer than a 6 week old's nap). This is common because babies have 45 minute sleep cycles. They have to put themselves back to sleep for a full nap! We use the same 10 minute technique here, too.

Our oldest son was particularly stubborn here, but I knew he needed more sleep because he was waking up crying instead of happy. At 4 months, we let him cry for 30 minutes to learn to put himself back to sleep. It felt like the longest three days as I listened to him cry, but he learned quickly and begin sleeping for 2 hours + waking up so happy! 

4. We establish a consistent wake up time. For us, it's 7:00am. This is important because is sets up the rest of your day's schedule. If you start your day differently every day, you're constantly doing the math to see when they need to eat next. That's chaotic and stressful! The goal is less work, not more. It also helps their biological clocks learn when your family wakes up in the morning.

Sometimes you have to do a little finagling when they're still waking up in the night. For example, if our 6 week old wakes up to eat at 5:00am, technically he wouldn't be ready to eat again until 8:00am. Instead, I wake him up at 7:00am; if he doesn't take a full feeding that's okay. We're still back on schedule and ready to begin our day.

Alternatively, if he wakes up at 6:15am and seems wide awake, I may count that as our first feeding of the day and see if he can wait until 9:30 to eat again (instead of 9:15 or 10:00). At the next feeding, he may make it to 1:00, which puts us back on schedule, too. 

5. We pray. Because books and method are good, but only God knows what our children need. He promises to bring us counsel (Psalm 32:8), and longs to have us rely on Him for everything. Parenting is no different!

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We decided to try The Snoo, normally $1,300, when I learned you could rent it for about $3.50 a day. It's basically a smart swing + sound machine with a built in swaddle, doing 3 of the 5 "S's" for you. While it isn't a miracle worker, I do think it has been worth every penny this third time around. It has served as an extra set of hands, I think, essentially being the one to check in on him every ten minutes as he learns to nap or fall back asleep after a nighttime feeding. 

If we were at the beginning stages of having children, I'd find the money to buy one. We've been really pleased! You use it for around 6 months and then use the weaning feature (if necessary) to help them transition to a crib. 

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