Dear Mushka,

Lent: What it is and What We're Doing

Lent: What it is and What We're Doing

Last year, I spent some time learning about the church calendar and how its seasons are basically in place to follow the life and death of Christ. Christ is born (Advent), he is acknowledged as divine (Epiphany), he is tempted in the desert and dies for our sins (Lent), he is resurrected (Easter), and then the Spirit comes upon believers (Pentecost). 

Following the calendar isn't meant to be "religious" or another thing on a to-do list. Instead, it's meant to stir up our hearts and challenge us to pause and reflect in particular ways throughout the year.

For Lent, the idea is that we deny ourselves something for 40 days to represent Jesus fasting 40 days and then being tempted by Satan in the desert. During this time, we stop filling ourselves with all the pleasures of the world and instead empty ourselves long enough to see our sin and brokenness. This may look like fasting from certain foods, social media, Netflix, shopping, etc. 

In A Hunger for God (which I highly recommend!), John Piper says, "If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great." 

Lent provides us an opportunity to set aside our normal go-tos and instead think on our fallen nature + Christ's beautiful sacrifice. It is meant to be a more sober, heavy season that ends as we welcome in the glory of Easter. 

This year, my husband and I are going to give up our nightly Netflix. We'll feel that void, for sure; It's become such a habit and way to mentally zone out for an hour or two! But we know that God will fill the time with more of His presence. It will open up more time for us to connect, read, pray together, etc. And mostly, it will help us rejoice more fully when Easter Sunday comes. 

In addition, I will use this season to focus what I teach and talk about with my boys. In this post I talk about some of our daily habits. During Lent, I'll use our meal times to focus in on discussing passages on our sin, repentance, and why Jesus had to come. 

I'll also leave these books out on the coffee table for us to grab and read all season long! 

1. A beautiful book! My boys are captivated by the pictures and story. 

2. Great for the week before Easter. Simple, perfect for the littlest ones! 

3. We love this book; read it with these eggs (we start them twelve days before Easter). A favorite around here!

4. We love this one, too. 

5. And of course, this Bible. There are lots of "lent" reading plans to follow with your little ones if you'd like! 

Four Gifts Ideas for the Seasons of Motherhood

Four Gifts Ideas for the Seasons of Motherhood

We know that motherhood comes with every emotion possible.

I wanted to share four gifts ideas for either yourself, a good friend or anyone you know walking through a specific season of motherhood.

If you’re shopping for someone walking through any of these up and downs, we pray these pieces and verses are exactly what their hearts need to find hope and thanksgiving this season. Every piece comes boxed with a verse card and is covered in prayer.

Watch the video below to see each piece in detail or find them linked below with thier corresponding verse✨


The Expectant Necklace is supposed to mimic an empty cradle for a season of infertility (or any season of waiting). The verse that accompanies it is: Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act・Psalm 37

I used this verse for infertility because we can wait expectantly for something like a child while trusting that if we commit our lives to God, no matter what happens, He promises to act in the very best way on our behalf.


The Aid Necklace reminds us of Who fills the holes in our hearts as we mourn the loss of a child or loved on. It’s accompanying verse is: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds・Psalm 147


The Together Necklace is especially close to our hearts because we have adopted two little boys and have a third little Mushka on the way. (If you would like to help bring our next little one home, you can find more information here!)

This necklace has a triangle to show the three people groups that make up an adoption - the adoptive family, the birth family and the child. The little heart hangs down to represent the love shared between them all.

It also comes with the option of two different verses, one for adoptive parents and one for birth parents. The adoptive parent verse is: For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to Him ・1 Samuel 1:27

The birth parent verse is: The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing・Zephaniah 3:17

Long Awaited Child

The Brimming Necklace makes the sweetest gift to celebrate a long awaited child. What I love about the design is that it pairs so well with the Expectant Necklace-- they tuck into each other.

It comes with the accompanying verse: For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things・Psalm 107:9

This, of course, does not mean that God always sees fit to provide a child. But always, always He promises to fill our souls with Himself, which is the real gift. 

These necklaces can also be switched and used for different seasons, however you see fit. It can be so challenging to know what to gift others during these difficult seasons of life - I hope these make it just a little easier❤️

Friday Favorites: A Bedroom House Tour

Friday Favorites: A Bedroom House Tour

Every Friday I share some of my favorite things on my IG stories from our newsletter for the week. This week I thought I’d do something a little different and share some of our faves from our home's bedrooms.

Watch the video for a virtual tour and get a sneak peak into our home. You can find some of the mentioned favorites linked below.

Our Nursery Room is the new baby’s room!

We’re so ready for little Mushka number three to come home. If you’d like to find out how you can make our next adoption possible, you can find more information here.

The shelf and burnt orange blanket is from IKEA with artwork from Rifle Paper Co. The hanging mobile is from Target and you can find the wallpaper from D. Marie Interiors.

Our Two Year Olds Room

Features a bunk bed that is actually supposed to be a loft play area also from IKEA. We painted and are absolutely in love. It’s perfect for transitioning a little one from a crib to a bed because you can’t really fall out.

The kids’ bedding is from Target. I’ve also used a DIY Pom Pom trim to hang as makeshift “bunting”. I love it because it gives the illusion of being expensive when really it’s just from a craft store, comes in a zillion colors and costs just a few dollars per yard.

The curtains are from Target. To get more fullness I sewed two panels together! We’ve used the same IKEA shelves in this room because the boys love to see the covers of their books and they are great for promoting reading.

Our Four Year Olds Room

We’re still working on this one and plan to get a desk for him and some final touches. We upgraded our bed to a King Size (best purchase ever!) so our little man, Brooks, got the Queen Size.

The US map is from Crate&Barrel.

The dressers are from IKEA as well - can you tell we love IKEA? They are great for organizing and you can easily place a changing mat on top of them if needed.

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In our home, we use passages like Deuteronomy 6:5-7 to help aid in our parenting and daily rhythms. 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 

We certainly aren't perfect (far from!) but are frequently evaluating and adding ways to keep our home Gospel-centered.

Here are ten practices that help us.

1. The first is simple, and it's to let them see us reading our Bibles. I can tell them until I'm blue in the face that I value God's words, but they'll only really understand it when they see me physically choosing my Bible over other activities. Often times, I'll re-read what I've read in my quiet time (which takes place before they wake up) while they're awake so they can see me using my Bible in everyday life. Bonus: It also helps my reading sink in when I see the same words more than once.

This is the Bible I use, but I recommend most Study Bibles. The ESV is my favorite translation. 


2. We try to start our mornings off with a time of praise and devotion to to God. Right now, we're working our way through Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, and have really enjoyed the simple thoughts that provoke good conversation. I read over breakfast, they ask questions, I try to give everyday examples.

Then I lead them in a prayer that relates to what we've just read so they can practice talking to God and sharing their hearts with Him.

Lastly, we sing a hymn together. Mostly, it's me singing and them acting crazy (real life), but they're seeing how to worship God and this practice helps to start our day off right. No matter what, we've worshipped together and that's a beautiful day. 



3. We usually read a Bible story every night before bed, but we may move this to our morning devotion time when we're done with the above book. Regardless, The Jesus Storybook Bible is a favorite, but we've also used The Big Picture Bible and hope to use The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible this year to intentionally teach our children more about the Holy Spirit. We read one story at a time and point out characteristics about God.

As you choose a children's Bible, look for one that keeps God the main focus and not ourselves. After all, the Bible is a book about God! 



4. We try to play scripture-to-song music at least once a day (usually during lunch). We love Seeds Family Worship & Sing the Bible. Often times, we find ourselves humming + memorizing scripture without even thinking about it. I still remember some of the scripture songs I learned as a child, and hope some of these will stick with our children, too. God says His words never go out void, and I pray the scripture they're hearing softens their hearts to God's truths. 

Having your favorite worship music on in the background is a great idea, too. 



5. An older & wiser friend once told me that she used the Fruits of the Spirit to parent and something clicked in my mind. I didn't have to overcomplicate it or come up with our family values; they were already there for me to use! So now we talk about each one, point out when someone is acting in that way vs not, and pray for the Spirit to lead us towards these characteristics through His power. It's simple & helpful as we learn to love one another. 

I made this art print for Dear Mushka, really for my own self, and have it framed in our house where I see it frequently. 


6. At dinner, we're working towards reading a Psalm together and then talking about it. We open up our "adult" Bibles and let them listen in as Robert and I talk about what we just read.

If you haven't caught on, mealtimes are are an excellent time for us to re-focus our thoughts towards Christ. They're expected and predictable, which helps all of us establish good patterns and habits. Do we do it 3 x day, 7 days a week? Of course not. But when we've worked 21 times into our week, we're much more likely to do it 10 or 15 times than if we'd casually tried to do it when we thought about it. 

We have a Psalm only Bible that stays at the table. I also love this guide to the Psalms to spark conversation or help me understand a specific Psalm. 



7. Beyond our Bibles, we're growing quite the collection of Gospel-themed books to read throughout our days. Reading is a skill & passion I want our boys to develop, and I think it's important to put high quality, engaging, beautiful books in their path. Here are some of the ones we read over and over (and over) again!



8. Scripture Memory is an area I want to grow in (for myself and my children!) this year. Last year, we started with Psalm 23, one verse at a time, until my four year old memorized the whole thing. We practice it a few times a month, but this year we're starting to use The Child Pack-- a scripture memory pack I created for Dear Mushka, just for children :) I tried to a year ago and we weren't ready, but now feels more right. 

One verse every two weeks. That's doable! And then I'm going to create them one of these boxes so we're constantly reviewing. I think I'll add this to our morning time together; it will only take a few minutes. 


9. We'd also like to grow in the area of serving others together. James 2 tells us that faith without works is dead, which really means that we can talk the talk all we want, but the proof of our faith and love for Jesus will come when we walk the walk. I want my boys to see that this world is full of need, and that God has equipped us to help one another through our actions. 

One intentional act of service a month is my goal, but truthfully I pray it becomes a way of life for our family-- constantly looking for ways to serve and love our neighbors. 

Ideas: Taking meals to new mothers, visiting our elderly next door neighbors or local nursing homes, donating money to adoption fundraisers, volunteering at various organizations around town, putting together care packages for those in need, sponsoring more children though places like Compassion International, etc. 

10. Lastly, we want to be a family who prays together, always. We want to see a need and drop to our knees before our Father right away. Sometimes, this looks like praying when an ambulance zooms by. Other times, it means we ask for God's help as we learn to love our siblings instead of kicking them. 

We also want to be quick to give God all the glory when we have a fun day, see a beautiful sunset, eat a good meal, etc. 


Of course (of course!) we don't do all of these things all the time. And the good news is that it's totally okay. We can rest assured that it is God who draws hearts to Himself, not our good actions. These are all ways we aim to intentionally plant seeds in our children's lives and set them up with lifelong habits to draw them close to God. But it is HIM who does the watering and growing. 

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. -1 Corinthians 3:7



I've been making my own laundry detergent for seven years now and occasionally get asked about the recipe so I thought I'd share it here. 

It's easy to make, effective, and inexpensive (costing around $.14 a load). It's been a while since I paid attention to how long this recipe lasts me, but I'd say 9-12 months. Not too shabby!

You can find all the ingredients stacked together at Wal-Mart in the laundry aisle, or scattered a little at most Targets (it's hit or miss for me). You can also buy them all together on Amazon

You'll Need:

One box of 20 Mule Team Borax 65oz

One box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda) 55oz

Three bars of soap (not detergent) like Fels-Naptha or Dr. Bronner's

1 tub of Oxi Clean (optional- good on stains, but not "natural")



To Make: 

Roughly chop your bars of soap and put in a food processor until they're crumbled into bits around the size of a pea or smaller.

Combine all ingredients into a 2 gallon canister (something like this) for use. I pour in half the ingredients, mix, pour in the second half, and mix again. It makes a lot! 

Use around 1 Tablespoon per load. 

That's it! 

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