I think all women who have ever experienced morning sickness would agree when I say that whoever named the nausea of the first trimester “morning sickness” clearly never had it. Although, if it were labeled “all day sickness” some of us might have been scared away from ever being pregnant in the first place. I suppose confining it to a nice, little, manageable part of the day makes it a bit less intimidating. I really struggle through the first trimester, and if I hadn’t been so determined to give our oldest daughter siblings, we would have one kid right now, and the amount of time I spent hovering over the toilet those first four months would be to blame. However, I did suffer power through, and over the course of five pregnancies I picked up enough tips that by the fifth, my toilet hovering was minimal. Here are a few of my absolute must-do’s during the first trimester that have helped ease my nausea. Let me know if any of these have helped you as well, or any additions you might add to this list!

Epsom salt bath

I’m going to start with this one because it’s never on lists of things to do to help with morning sickness, but this is something my midwife recommended to me my third pregnancy. I wasn’t sure if it was a placebo she was tossing my way to keep me distracted or not, but I decided if there was even the smallest chance that it could help, I was willing to try it. The reasoning behind it has to do with a magnesium deficiency, and I actually think it does help. I keep an embarrassingly detailed journal of all my pregnancies, and on the weeks I regularly took baths in epsom salt, I’ve noticed I was less sick. Every single time for 3 pregnancies. Coincidence? Maybe, but there’s absolutely nothing to lose soaking in a tub. I normally follow the directions on the bag for the amount of salts to use and then dump in a little extra and then stay in at least 20-30 minutes.

NEVER let yourself get hungry

This should be extremely obvious, but it was apparently really hard for me to comprehend. The very earliest feeling that hits before the nausea of no return is hunger. For me it’s hunger so fast and so bad I don’t even realize it’s hunger, instead I assume it’s a need to throw up. When I realized this feeling began with hunger (around pregnancy number 3) I realized I could avoid the worst of the sickness by eating sooner rather than later; normally about every hour and a half. HOWEVER…

Protein is Important!

…this did not include a few crackers and ginger ale. I would eat roll after roll of ritz crackers to fend off the sickness only to hate ritz crackers and still feel empty and sick. By pregnancy number 4, I realized protein was a pretty important key, partly because protein helps you feel full longer and partially due to other nutrients our bodies need that are in protein rich foods. I ate all forms of non meat protein with my 4th, and it really seemed to help, but what I really discovered the fifth was that there is a HUGE difference between meat protein and non meat protein. Cheese, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, vegan protein shakes, milk, and eggs all helped me not feel horribly sick, but steak, hamburger, and sometimes chicken could actually make me feel “normal” and stable. It was a huge revelation, and I’ve happily eaten way more cheeseburgers without the bun the past 6 months than I have in the past 6 years.

Lemon and Peppermint Everything

During one of my very first appointments of my first pregnancy I asked the doctor what I could do about my incredibly oversensitive gag reflex; how was I supposed to brush my teeth if my toothbrush was always gagging me? Her advice was to laugh and tell me to just not brush my teeth, obviously. I ended up finding a new doctor (not just because of the bad oral hygiene advice.) It’s a difficult problem when just seeing a hair on the table can make you actively gag in the middle of a meal. The nausea can at least be felt and planned around, but there’s not much you can do about an unpredictable gag reflex. Then I discovered the magic of lemon and peppermint. Unfortunately, I think part of the gag reflex is mental and tends (for me) to be egged on by smells. And stray hairs *ughggg*. Sucking on a lemon drop or peppermint altoid (STRONG mint flavor with real peppermint in the ingredients) and using lemon or peppermint essential oil (*in this necklace I was gifted a few Christmas’ ago) to smell in lieu of any unpleasant odors helped avoid many moments of being sick. I diffuse peppermint throughout the house and add lemon to my drinking water: everything is peppermint or lemon during those first few months.

Carbonated Water

Burping always helps–an unfortunate reality. When my go to fizzy drink was soda pop, though, I felt like I was limited because of the caffeine and sugar. Then I discovered carbonated water; any brand, any flavor does the trick. You get the satisfaction of the bubbles going down, bubbles coming up, and you can drink it all day and all evening without the consequences of too much caffeine or sugar.

Cut Sugar

Somehow milkshakes always sound good when I’m in the first trimester, but for some reason the sugar never settles well. I’ve actually discovered I feel much better when I avoid sugar as much as possible. About half an hour after eating protein I always feel good, but half an hour after sugar I would feel worse. It’s really a win-win because keeping your blood sugar levels within a safe range is also important during pregnancy, and less sugar can help slow weight gain.


The last tip that really doesn’t even sound like a tip is to get plenty of sleep. I’ve had pregnancies with young toddlers (less than 2 years old) who don’t sleep through the night, which means I don’t sleep through the night. It’s a world of difference when I’m sleeping a full 8-10 hours a night + a nap whenever possible! I know this isn’t always possible, but it helps so much it’s worth giving up anything else to get even one extra hour of sleep.

I remember spending so much time googling “ways to help nausea…” and “is it normal to….” throughout my first couple pregnancies; I felt like there had to be more help related to morning sickness. But, until there’s a magic pill to take away the constant nausea (other than the sleep inducing nausea suppositories I took during my first pregnancy) the best we can do is share tips and tricks with each other, and remember it will all be worth it in just a few short months!

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I woke up today and noticed gnats in our fruit corner, and that normally means it’s time to bake something. I use my trusty 25 year old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook for pretty much everything. While the kids were busy doing their morning schoolwork, I threw together a double batch of banana bread for our mid-morning snack. The only tip I can add to a basic banana bread recipe is to double the batch, so you can share a loaf with a neighbor!

Double Batch Banana Bread

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

2 cups mashed bananas (5-6 bananas)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup cooking oil

Grease loaf pan of choice on sides and bottom.

Mix dry ingredients.

Mix eggs, bananas, sugar, and oil in a separate bowl.

Add banana mixture to dry ingredients; stir and pour into pan/pans.

Bake 35-50 minutes at 350° (more time if you made 1 deep loaf, less time if you divided batter into 2-3 loaves. I used 3 small loaf pans today, and they were done in 35 minutes.)


We may have started our fall home school routine last week, but that doesn’t mean summer is over. We’re still in the thick of it; the air is beginning to smell hot and stale, and we realistically still have two months of summer ahead. Naturally my favorite season tends to be the next one, but I’m trying to make my favorite season always be the current one. So, instead of looking ahead to fall, I’m trying to enjoy summer for what it is, and pull as much out of it as we can. Currently, my late summer includes:

Walking…I’ve been walking every evening up and down our little street. When we first moved into our house, I loved our house, our yard, the woods behind our house, but I didn’t particularly like our street. Once I started walking it regularly, though, I’ve really grown to love it, and the people have become familiar neighbors who I have little chats with about their pets and their trees, and it’s become one of my favorite ways to end the day. There are 27 houses on our street, and getting to know the people in them one small conversation at a time makes the world feel a little friendlier and safer. My goal this pregnancy has been to walk 5 miles a day (about 10,000 steps) and for the first time ever, I actually lost a pound during pregnancy. (That wasn’t the goal, and never should be unless it’s something a doctor has recommended, but I began this pregnancy heavier than any of my others. I’ve only ever seen the scale go up during pregnancies, so it was a surprise!) It gets harder and harder to stay motivated to move while pregnant, so making it a habit not based on how I feel each day, helps me keep going even on days I don’t want to walk. And most days I feel better once I have gone out and exercised because that’s often what exercise does!

Baking…One of my resolutions this year was to bake less to make my life simplier, but then I remembered I love baking, so I’ve been enjoying it more again. This summer I made my first batch of hot rolls that made our entire house smell like grandma’s house, which I decided I needed to do more often. The kids all love to take turns helping me, and even though it’s sometimes hard to let them help, I try to always let somebody put on an apron and be my little helper. They’re learning while they’re young and interested in helping so that when they’re older and don’t jump at the chance to be near whatever I’m doing, they’ll already know how to do things in the kitchen. The girls are already volunteering to make things by themselves, and while I’m not quite ready to let them loose alone with a recipe (they’re 6 & 8), I’m excited for the day when they can stretch their independence and accomplish a meal without me!

Cold Suppers…Sometimes when it’s so hot outside, a hot meal is too much. Sandwiches, wraps, and noodle salads are refreshing when it’s feels too hot to eat anything warm. We’ve been having BLT wraps with fresh tomatoes from the farmers’ market every Saturday, and it’s become a tradition we look forward to all week! 

Book gathering…I’m slowly working through one book the past couple months, but I really don’t read very much in the summer. I’ve been stacking up a few on a special corner of the shelf for fall/winter when the longer hours of darkness welcome long books. It’s not that I don’t have time in the summer, I just don’t feel as interested in reading when the sun is out and there are things to do outside.

Praying…finally, we have been praying through some things over the past few months, and it has been a defining aspect of our summer. It’s funny how we naturally want to follow our feelings and make quick decisions, but wisdom often tells us to wait, make decisions slowly, and not be quick to decide things we might regret later. I’m thankful for a husband that encourages slow, prayerful decision making; waiting until we are in perfect agreement on things can take time we would rather not spend waiting in an unknown, but we know it will make the end result sweeter because we were 100% together in it. 

What about you? Does summer end when school starts, or do you let summer stretch until the weather agrees it’s time for a change of seasons?


Summer has officially taken over around here; the humidity and all the cooling activities to go with it. I’m sitting outside at what is slowly becoming my favorite time of morning: it turns out 9am can be as magical as 6am. Between walks, bike rides, swims, long evenings in our yard, outings around town, and visits to grandma and grandpa’s house, our days and weeks of summer are slowly ticking by. After our little vacation out west, I’ve taken an official break from my cell phone. Searching for GPS directions, campsites, hotels, and weather updates took a lot of phone staring, and a break felt like a much needed rest.

Something that is holding our summer schedule together is our morning school time about 3 days a week. I normally schedule in a little summer term of homeschool, but this year we’re still working on our spring semester that we haven’t completed yet. We work to complete our books, and between distractions and too many breaks this past year, we’re not quite finished yet.. whoops! But that’s the beauty of homeschooling; our books will be completed eventually, and learning is always happening, even when we take days “off”. Because my husband is a teacher, this summer has given me uninterrupted time with the girls working on their school while he takes care of the boys. We’re probably getting more work done these 3 days a week during the summer than we would get done in a full week of work during the semester without him here at home with us! I know I’m lucky to have the help, and I’m taking advantage of it as much as I can!

I’d probably have to define how we’ve homeschooled so far as eclectic. We tend to have a casual approach and use what works for each subject, often switching things up as needed. I think in the past 4 years of homeschooling we’ve tried nearly every form of homeschooling. We’ve tried traditional school at home, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, classical. I’ve definitely learned a lot these four years. I’m always trying to perfect what we do, always waiting to feel like I’ve finally found the perfect schedule, books, and routine. While I’m not sure that will ever happen, I am beginning to gather favorites! Whether favorite books or routines, I think discovering favorites is pretty close to finding what’s perfect for us! 

We’re on schedule to finish our spring 2019 work mid-July which will give us all about a month long break before beginning our fall semester late-August/early September. I’m already starting to plan for next semester when I’ll have 3 at the table; crazy to think about! I’m looking forward to a few changes that I’ll probably write about and share as I do more planning. For now, I hope you’re summer is going well! Do you homeschool year round? If you do let me know! I always enjoy hearing about how others plan their school days!







A summer road trip was all we thought about this spring; we planned and mapped and looked forward to it for weeks. It eventually got shortened from three weeks to one week and ended up being less than a week away from home for a number of reasons that we couldn’t control. How often do we plan things with results in mind and the results we get are so different from what we planned? The hours in the car with the kids made getting home the ultimate goal by day 4. We landed in a hotel one night because a tire popped miles from a town, and we pulled into town too late to get it fixed.  Our last night ended in another hotel as the bright blue Kansas sky turned dark and tornado alerts started popping up on our phones. None of the trip went as we expected, but the vastness of uninhabited land is enticing and beautiful; seeing the variety of God’s creation was worth hours in the car with kids. We saw so much sky. The camping memories we made were golden: reading aloud in the tent, playing cards as a family, bathing with jugs of water from a lake. Still, home was the most beautiful word by the time we pulled in the drive. Sometimes all we need is a few days away to feel refreshed and remind us home is a pretty great place to be.