Moments 06.2017

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“I can’t remember all the times I’ve tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass.”

Welcome to “Moments” here on JoyFoodSunshine. At the end of every month I share a recap of all the shenanigans that went down in crazy town (i.e. my life in a nutshell).  So here it is for June 2017!

Recipe love:

Here are a few must-share recipes from the month of June from my favorite spots around the web!

Paleo & Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies from Wife Mama Foodie {I’ll take 5}!

Strawberry Shortcake Scones from The Sweet and Simple Kitchen {Summer perfection}!

Vegan Peach Cobbler from Paleo Running Mama {Pass me a spoon}!

Triple Layer Roasted Berry Piñata Ice Cream Cake from Half Baked Harvest {WOW}!

Chili-Lime Tofu and Peach Skewers from Dishing out Health {My kind of BBQ}!

71 Vegan Ice Cream Recipes for Summer from Happy Healthy Life {Where to begin}?!

Life with my tribe:

Summer Lovin’

Get ready for picture overload. We are LOVING summer!

We live within walking distance of one of our community pools, so we go swimming as much as we can! I practically lived at the pool most of my life, so much so that I’m pretty sure the place where my elbow bends permanently smells like chlorine!

Last summer I took our three kids to the pool every. single. day. However, now that we’re a family of 6 things are a little different! The first time Ritch and I brought all four kids to go swimming the lifeguard jumped in because Bethany was having trouble. She can swim, and of course I got to her first, but it was scary for all of us.

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Sooo that being said, I won’t be taking four kids to the pool by myself when they’re all so little because there just isn’t enough mommy to go around! Thankfully I have a good friend who has tagged along to both to keep me company and to help corral the kids during the days!  We go swimming as a family as much as we can when Ritch is home on the weekends and at night…because you can’t keep this momma away from the water!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Wedding Season! 

Being a pastor’s wife means lots of weddings during the summer! I LOVE getting to walk with young couples as they begin their journey as husband and wife! Here are a few pics from a wedding we went to this month! My pretty sweet Naomi!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

And I was with it enough to ask someone to snap a pic of the 6 of us! YAY! Notice that Mara is the only accessory I wear these days… lol! I am one blessed lady.

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Town Fair!

Our church does a booth a our town’s fair every summer and we always have a blast! We put on a free kids’ camp every July for children in the community…and the fair is a great way to spread the word! If you live nearby you should totally come! 🙂

This was the fluffiest cotton candy I have ever seen!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Clearly thinking about something important….

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Carousel fun!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

I just love this all-American boy! Classic!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Hiking & Camping! 

We absolutely love hiking, and we try to get into the mountains at least once every week! This was more of a walk in the woods than a hike, but we really enjoyed exploring Rocky Mouth Falls!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Ritch took the older two kids camping while I stayed home with the two little girls! They had an absolute blast! And I got to enjoy some amazing one-on-one time with my sweet Naomi and extra snuggles with Mara!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Mara Hope

Ok I am SO in love with my baby girl I can’t even tell you! She is literally the best. She has started smiling and cooing and laughing and I could just eat her up!

This was the first time she really went all-out and showed me some serious love. I’m so grateful my hubby caught it on camera {photo AND video woo hoo}!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine


Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

And hello sweet Mara!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

If you follow my Instagram Stories then you know how often I take pictures of my sleeping babies….I just can’t helping they are SO sweet.

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

First bottle!

Mara took her first bottle like a CHAMP!! I’m SO grateful to know that I {could} have the freedom to let someone else feed her {if I wanted to}! 😉 TIP: always have someone else give your baby her first bottle! If they smell momma they might protest…because a bottle isn’t nearly as cuddly! 😉


Mara’s tumor is gone! Both the physical therapist and my pediatrician told me that 1) they had never seen a lump as big as hers before in that specific location {which I’m SO glad they didn’t tell me until she was healed!!} and 2) they had never, *ever* seen it go away in such a short time!

She also has full range of motion in all directions in her neck and the asymmetry in her head is starting to correct itself…it has gone down from being 9 mm off to just SIX…which means we will likely avoid needing a helmet! I am beyond grateful for an abundance of answered prayers for my sweet baby girl!

Check out all of daddy’s little helpers as he does Mara’s stretches!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Father’s Day

I could start and never stop writing about how amazing my husband is {and have on many occasions}. Ritch is the best man I know. He lives with four kids and a wife who have an insatiable desire for his time and attention, and every day he chooses us.

He is home for dinner, every. single. night. He plays music, does puzzles, and wrestles with our kids. He takes out the garbage, changes poopy diapers, and gives the kids baths, because “that’s what dads do.” He is the picture of true masculinity…because there is nothing more important a man can do than love his family well. I am blessed to be his wife, and his baby momma. To all my single ladies out there…do not settle. Real, good men still exist…and mine is living proof! My heart just explodes when I look at this picture!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Our Garden

This year we decided to plant less varieties of veggies so that we could focus on getting what we love to grow really well! We planted three types of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and zucchini! Here’s to hoping they continue to grow well and we get a great harvest soon!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Around our house

Ritch took a couple hours on a Saturday and made these pendant lights! We bought these lanterns for under $30 each from Downeast Home and Ritch converted and hung them! We chose the basic lighting package when we built our house because we knew we could upgrade our fixtures for much cheaper on our own. We’ve been looking for pendants we love for 2 years and when we saw these we both agreed they were it! We have one more lantern Ritch is going to use to create an amazing chandelier to go over our dining room table!

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

A few of my favorite things…

The Complete Guide to Hiking With Kids!

I wrote this post last summer and it’s one of my favorites!!! If you have kids and are planning to take them hiking {or on any adventures at all} this summer you need to check it out!


These Suncloud Sunglasses are the BEST! I have NO idea how I haven’t shared them with you before! I have super sensitive eyes {like I wear sunglasses when it’s raining}! It’s hard for me to find a pair of sunglasses that is comfortable for extended wear! With pairs I have owned in the past, after a little while the area behind my ears would get super sore and I’d have to take them off! Well not with these! My husband bought me a pair and I am so grateful!

Hiking Backpack

We carry our little kids when we go hiking! I take the baby and Ritch carries Naomi {whose practically a giant lol}! This hiking backpack is the best! Check out my stud of a hubby! 😉

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Recipes I’m making on repeat:

Black bean brownies

Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting

Moments 06.2017 JoyFoodSunshine

Homemade Pizza Dough & Sauce

Dairy-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream 

(pictured above)!

Easy Homemade Guacamole 


Well that’s all she wrote! I’d love to hear a highlight from your June! What are you looking forward to in July?

If you want to stay connected or you make something from JoyFoodSunshine I would love to see your creations! #joyfoodsunshine

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  1. Dear Laura, thanks for the picture overload! I love them all!
    Soooo happy for Mara’s healing! PTL! She is so perfect 🙂
    Congratulations to you and Ritchie for such a beautiful family! We only see the highlights, and I can only imagine how life is on a Monday morning, but you guys are rocking it and are inspiring many along the way! Love, Tais

  2. Your family is so precious. I love how you got to the pool a lot, because your children will definitely not be afraid of the water. And it’s so fun to see a young family really enjoy and love the outdoors together. Your kids will be tough kids after doing all those hikes.

    You are so blessed. I’m so thankful that God so mercifully healed Mara, and her smiles are just the best!