Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Homeschool Book Haul


Guess What!? This past Saturday night, my sweet friend Becky watched my girls so that I could go on a much needed date night with my husband!! We had a wonderful date. Before leaving Becky's house to come home, she asked if I wanted to look through a pile of books that she planned to giveaway.

I love books, especially free books! Almost immediately, I took Becky up on her offer and went to look through her books. When it was all said and done, I had boxed up 39 books to add to my already growing collection!!

I found a bunch of "I Can Read!" books, which included Fancy Nancy, Biscuit, and Pinkalicious. We always borrow these books from the library, so it is nice to have some of my very own!



My favorite find of the day included 19 Magic Tree House books!! I have heard that these are good early reader books. Last week, I borrowed one from the library, so that I could read and preview it before reading it to the girls. Overall, I thought the books would be fun for read-alouds. I am excited to have my own little collection of Magic Tree House books now!!




I am so thankful to the Lord for providing new books for my girls to enjoy!! God has asked us to homeschool our children and as He provides for us it is just further confirmation that we are doing just what He wants us to do.



"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." 
- Deuteronomy 6:7 {ESV}

Monday, June 20, 2016

Matilda's Birth Story

My deepest desire that the Lord would receive all the glory for His incredible faithfulness throughout my labor and delivery. There were so many details that we were praying would come together. It was amazing to watch the Lord bring everything together in His perfect timing.
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Our precious Matilda Kate
To be completely honest, we all thought that Matilda would come early, just like Sophie. One of my biggest fears is that I would be all by myself with the girls when I went into labor. Each night as I went to bed, fear would rise up within me, hoping that I would wait a few more days until everyone arrived. To my delight, I did not go into labor until after Jon’s Mom, Lisa, and Jon arrived!
With Jon and Lisa at the house, I was all ready to go into labor. However, Matilda had other plans. As the days passed, we tried to fill our days with fun things to do while we waited for Matilda to arrive. We couldn’t believe it when I finally reached and then surpassed my due date!! Again not knowing when I would go into labor, continued to fill me with fear.
Thursday, October 29th, 2015
Thursday was one of our busiest days of the week. We started the day out with a special donut breakfast. We also had errands to run so we went to several stores. One of the last things we did on Thursday was go to the library. They were having a Lego building night, so we took the girls to get books and build Legos. It really was a wonderful day.
All day long, I had been experiencing period-like cramps in my lower abdomen. I was not having contractions, just cramping.
Lisa had rented, “The Vow” from the library. After we got the girls to bed, we decided to relax and watch a movie. Halfway through the movie, I was feeling really tired. I decided to head to bed, but not before I spent sometime reading my Bible and praying to the Lord.
I was able to pour out my heart before the Lord. I asked Him to help remove any fear and doubt in my heart that might be keeping me from going into labor. I read verses that the Lord had given to me all throughout the year. He knew I would need these verses to help get me through my labor and delivery. Even as I went to sleep, I had my notecards in hand with some of my favorite verses on them. As I tired to sleep I kept repeating one verse over and over in my mind Psalm 73:26.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” – ‭Psalm‬ ‭73:26‬ ‭(ESV‬‬)
Friday, October 30th, 2015At 12:30am, I felt like I had to go potty, so I got up out of bed and headed for the bathroom. On my way to the bathroom, I felt some liquid gush into my pants. Once on the potty, I called for Jon and Lisa to help me. Lisa told us that she believed my water had begun to leak. She went on to explain that labor might begin right away or it could be a few days before I started having contractions.
We also called my midwife, Lincey, to give her an update and tell her that may water was leaking. Lincey said that we would wait to see if I started having contractions. She also encouraged me to go back to bed and get some sleep. I told her that I would do my best, but it’s hard to sleep not knowing when my labor would really begin. So, we all went back to bed to try to get more sleep before my labor began.
I tried my best to relax and sleep, but it was almost impossible. My period-like cramps only got more and more intense as the night went on. The pains, which began in my abdomen, began to spread to my hips. They got so bad that I was having a hard time breathing through each cramp.
Finally, at 3:00am, I got up and asked Lisa if she could massage my hips. I was hoping that it would help relieve the pain and allow me to sleep the rest of the night. To my surprise, even while I was standing up, the cramping kept coming and would not let up. In an effort to let Jon sleep, I lay down on the couch in the living room, so that Lisa could help me.
While laying down, Lisa quickly noticed that my cramping was becoming more and more intense. At this point, I was not having traditional contractions. However, Lisa decided to track my cramping for a little while to see how frequently they were coming. It did not take long for Lisa to realize that my cramping was coming every 3-4 minutes and lasting for almost 1 minute.
About 3:40am, Lisa called Lincey to give her an update. Knowing that Lincey had a 2 hour drive from Dallas, we asked her to get in her car and begin driving to us. Lincey also said that I should not be up and moving around, because gravity would help the baby come more quickly.
Each time my stomach would cramp, my hips felt like they were on fire. Laying down only made it worse, so after I went potty, I decided to try laboring on my birth ball. However, sitting up only made my contractions come more frequently. During one contraction, I tried to lean forward and rest on Lisa, but it hurt so much. It took my breathe away.
After one really strong contraction, I asked Lisa if she wanted me to move back to the couch. To which she quickly responded, yes! Lincey was still an hour and a half away, so we tried everything we could to stall my labor. Which included me laying down on the couch. My labor was coming and coming fast!
By 4:00am, I wanted Jon, so Lisa went to wake him up. She was honest with him and explained that our baby would probably be born in the next hour or two. Jon had no idea that I was even in labor, because we had tried to let him sleep. However, as soon as he got up, he was ready to help me breathe through my contractions.
Jon and Lisa helped me breathe through each  and every contraction. They spoke words of encouragement over me and rubbed my hips, to help relieve the pain. They told me how well I was laboring and that soon I would get to meet my little girl, Matilda Kate.
By 4:39am, Lisa called Lincey again to see where she was and give her an update about my contractions. My contractions were coming almost on top of each other and lasting for up to 2 1/2 minutes. Lincey told us that we would probably have a baby within the hour and maybe even before she arrived at our house.
Quickly, Lisa began to prepare for Matilda delivery. She went to prepare our room for this upcoming birth. However, as my contractions continued to come, Lisa realized that we just might end up delivering Matilda on the couch. Lisa didn’t want to move me to the bed, because she was afraid that as soon as I stood up, we would have a baby. Lisa brought supplies from our room to the living room, so that as soon as Lincey arrived, she could deliver Matilda.
Meanwhile at 4:46 am, Jon called our friend Colleen to ask her to come and pick up our girls. I didn’t want to the girls to wake up while I was in labor, which would mean that Lisa or Jon would have to leave to go help them. I needed Lisa and Jon to focus on helping me, so we thought it best for the girls to leave before I delivered Matilda.
Our friends arrived to get the girls, as soon as they left and Jon walked back in the door, I was screaming that I needed to push. I had been feeling the urge to push for a while, but again we were trying to wait for Lincey to arrive. With Lincey still 20 minutes away, Lisa knew that it was going to be up to her to delivery Matilda.
At 5:19am, all I needed to do was push Matilda out. Lisa called Lincey to let her know what was happening and have her on hand to help walk her through the delivery. Lisa helped me to focus on my breathing and control my pushing, so that I would not tear.
On our couch, in the living room, Matilda was born at 5:21am. She was 19 3/4 inches long and weighed 8 pound 0 ounces. Lisa put Matilda on my chest and we waited for Lincey. All I could say was, “Thank you Jesus!
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Matilda Kate
While waiting I called my Mom to share the good news about Matilda’s birth!! Lincey finally arrived and immediately began caring for myself and Matilda. Lisa explained to Lincey that Matilda was born face up, which explains why I had such painful contractions. Typically, it’s hard to deliver a baby face up, but Matilda came without any problems at all. Thankfully, we were both healthy and doing very well after labor and delivery.
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Daddy and Lincey weighing Matilda
From the time my contractions started to when Matilda was born, was less than 2 hours!! Because my labor was so fast, it took a while for the shock to wear off and for us to begin to process the fact that we just had a new baby.
In the first few hours and days with Matilda were wonderful! We had her at home, so I could sleep in my own bed and not have to worry about who was going to come into our room at all hours of the night.
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My dream team! Couldn’t labor without them.
We are so thankful to the Lord for His faithfulness to us during Matilda’s labor and delivery. He was faithful to answer my prayers and bring together all the details of Matilda’s brith for His glory! We are also thankful to Lisa for being with us throughout my labor and for delivering Matilda!!
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Newsham family of five!

I’m thankful to the Lord for helping us to be obedient to what He had called us to do, even if it didn’t make sense to us or our friends. I’m thankful that we delivered at home, because otherwise we might have had Matilda in the car on the way to the hospital.
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Matilda
I cannot wait to see how the Lord will continue to use Matilda’s life for His glory!!

Friday, June 17, 2016

June Homeschool Favorites


For my very first time, I am collaborating with "Full Time Wife Life" for June Homeschool Favorites. Please check out her YouTube channel, click here.

Summer Reading Club
Our family loves books! I am so thankful to live in a town with an incredible library! Every summer our local library sponsors a free summer reading club. We did this last year and we are excited to do it again. I signed up each one of my kids, even Matilda, because she listens to books with us. We need to read one book each week or complete a summer activity. As we complete each task the girls get to mark it on their paper. At the end of the summer we will take the girls forms back to the library and they will receive all kinds of fun prizes!



So, if you're looking for an easy way to get your kids to read this summer, check out your local library and join their summer reading club. It's not too late!!

Magnetic Letters
Earlier this month, our family went to Mardel to look at some homeschool curriculum. While we were at the store, we found a big bag of magnetic letters and numbers for less than $10.00. The girls have played with these magnets, ever since I brought them home. I pulled out my cookie sheets and let the girls spell out words with their letters.



This is the perfect summer activity for my girls! They get to play and practice their letters without feeling sitting down to formally do school.

Alphabet Go Fish
My 2 year old loves animals! Last year, Jon's Mom got us this Alphabet Go Fish game at Walmart. However, it has only been within the past few weeks that my girls have learned how to play this game. Now that they understand how to play this game, they love it! The girls would play this game all day if they could. It seems simple, but it has been a great tool to teach my girls about their letters. It's an added bonus that we get to learn about the different animals too!




Now it's your turn, what are some of your homeschool favorites?


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Let's Catch Up!

The past 8 months have been CRAZY! So here's what's been going on in my world...

Daddy and his girls


Baby #3
On October 30th, 2015 the Lord blessed us with our third baby girl, Matilda Kate. On our couch, in the living room, Matilda was born at 5:21am. She was 19 3/4 inches long and weighed 8 pound 0 ounces. My labor was less than two hours!! I am thankful to my mother-in-law for delivering Matilda for me, because our midwife didn't make it in time. To read Matilda's complete birth story, click here.

Matilda Kate - 0 days


Homeschool
If you follow me on Instagram @jennewsham or Twitter @jennewsham, you know that last year I started to homeschool my girls. We started with preschool, but never finished out our year, because Matilda was born. (I've been so busy trying to figure out how to be a Mommy of three girls that I haven't had time to focus on anything else.)

In August, we will begin another year of school at home. I will have one daughter in PreK and the other still in preschool. That being said, any free time that I do have has been spent preparing for the upcoming school year. I've learned so much in such a short period of time and I can't wait to share this new adventure with you!

Sophie Joye



Weight Watchers
Like I said before, I have been so focused on my girls that I have not made much time for myself. The reality is that I still have a lot of baby weight left to lose (around 40 pounds). I wish that it was easy for me to lose my baby weight, but that's never been the case! I'm learning to except my circumstances for what they are and make the most of them! As Matilda gets older and we figure out our new normal, I will be able to focus on myself again and lose my weight. However, it just might take longer than I originally planned.


Mommy and Olivia

I've missed you all!!


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Deck of Cards - Pregnancy Workout

Have you ever played the push-up game? My husband and his family introduced me to the push-up game back in 2010. However, before then I had never played this game. In case you've never heard of the push-up game, here is how it goes...

You shuffle a deck of cards and draw from the top. Next, you do push-ups based on the number on the card you drew from the pile. You continue to do push-ups until you can't do anymore or you finish the deck.

My husband's family takes the push-up game to the next level by including sit-ups and jumping jacks as well. So each time you draw a card, you get to choose one of the three activities (push-ups, sit-ups, or jumping jacks) to perform.

Over the years, being pregnant has helped me to put my own spin on this game. It all started one evening, when I was 40 weeks pregnant with Olivia, I decided to do pelvic rocks each time I drew a card. This was much better for me, because I was so big pregnant that I couldn't do the normal exercises.

Even as my due date with Matilda quickly approaches, I have exercises that I am trying to do each day. Transforming these exercises into my own "Deck of Cards - Pregnancy Workout", has made exercising more fun! It also means that other people, like my girls, can workout with me too!!

Whether you are pregnant or not, this game is a great way to turn your down time into up time. So grab a deck of cards and get going!!

........


Deck of Cards - Pregnancy Workout

Hearts - Bounce on exercise ball
Clubs - Pelvic Rocks
Spades - Kegels
Diamonds - Butterflies

What you need:
1 yoga mat
1 exercise ball
1 deck of cards

Instructions:
1. Shuffle the cards and put them face down

2. Draw a card from the top of the deck

3. Perform the type of exercise, based on the suit. Perform the number of exercises based on the number on the card. If it's a face card or an ace, repeat the number of exercises from the previous card. If you draw a Joker, perform as many exercises as you can.

4. Once you finish your exercises, your partner takes his or her turn by drawing a card and performing the prescribed number of exercises (or push-ups), while you use your partner's action time to rest.

5. If you are playing by yourself, give yourself a strict 10-second rest between cards.

6. Keep flipping cards and performing exercises until you complete the deck.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Recipe Review: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Happy Fall!! That's right, yesterday was the first official day of Fall. This is my favorite time of year. I love everything about fall, like chilly weather, crisp fall air, hot cocoa, the colors, sweaters, foggy mornings, apples, and more.

In honor of the first day of Autumn, I wanted to bake something delicious. While browsing through My Recipe Collection, I rediscovered my recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of pumpkin flavored things and so I have only made these cupcakes once. However, I decided that I was going to make them anyway. To my surprise, I really enjoyed these cupcakes!! The pumpkin flavor was not too overwhelming and pairs well with the spice cake mix.

I hope you all will try this recipe, because it is so easy and delicious!! Even my girls enjoyed these cupcakes.

The ingredients

Combine cake mix, pumpkin, and water together in a mixing bowl.

Stir until combined.

Scoop batter into 24 cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from oven and place on a cooling rack.

These are called cupcakes, but they almost have the texture of a muffin. Either way they are delicious.


. . . . . . . . . .
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Source: Living a Changed Life 
______________________________
Servings: 24
Serving Size: 1 cupcake
Calories: 84.2
Fat: 0.8 g
Fiber: 0.3 g
Protein: 0.6 g
Old Points: 2 pts
Points+: 2 pts+
______________________________
Ingredients
1 box spice cake mix
1 15 oz can of pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/2 cup water

Instructions
Mix everything together and put in muffin tins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes

Additional Ideas:
Use a butter pecan cake mix instead of spice cake.
1 Box yellow cake mix, 1 can pumpkin, Spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves), Baked it in a 9 x 13 pan.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Blog Anniversary

Six years ago, I created my weight loss blog, Living a Changed Life. In the beginning, I created this website, for anyone who wanted to know about my weight loss story. It started out being about my weight loss journey and slowly grew. You do not have to spend much time on my blog before you find recipes, helpful tips, encouragement, honesty, low pointsplus food finds, and more!!

Berry Cobbler Ingredients

Thanks to Pinterest, my most popular recipe and blog post has been Recipe Review: Berry Cobbler. It is such a quick and easy recipe, which is what makes it one of my very favorites! If you haven't tried this Weight Watchers friendly recipe, you should.

My blog has seen a lot of changes over the years, but so have I! In the past six years, reached my weight loss goal, earned Lifetime status with Weight Watchers, become a Weight Watchers leader, run a half marathon, carried and gave birth to 2 almost 3 babies, and the list could go on and on. There have been both ups and downs, but I am here to say that the Lord has been more faithful to me than I could have ever imagined!



One of the hardest things for me, since becoming a Mommy, I have not felt like I have much to say about anything. Hence my lack of regular blogging. However, God is showing me that Living a Changed Life, is not just about my weight loss, but about all the changes that I might go through in different seasons of my life.

I am so thankful for the Lord's blessing over my blog. I cannot wait to see what this blog will look like in another six years.

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