2017 Vacation

I started sharing our family travels and hope you have been enjoying them. I love it when the bloggers I follow share their travels.

Here are the links to our 2015 and 2016 travels.

A picture of a giant cruise ship in the waters.


If you are deciding whether you should go on a cruise, let me tell, cruising is not for everyone. This is our second time going as a family (my hubby and I went just the two of us once, so it’s the third time for us). We invited some family/friends to go with us on this trip. There were 3 other families that went – and they all disliked it! I feel terrible. We absolutely LOVE, LOVE cruising. It really depends on what you want out of a vacation I guess. If you are looking to lay on the beach all day and do nothing, then cruising is not for you. However, if you like adventure and see different things, go to shows and plays, and always on the go then you must try cruising.

This year we took a 7-night Western Caribbean Cruise with Royal Caribbean on the Oasis of the Seas Ship. We departed from Port Canaveral, FL and stopped at Labadee, Haiti,  Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico. The entertainment was amazing. There were shows on ice and water, different sports competitions, movies on big screen. Most of all food, tons and tons of food.

The front of the cruise with the name on the side of the boat.

tips for a great cruise-

  • Towels are provided you don’t need them.
  • Loved having this waterproof pouch bag for my phone. I kept all of our kids’ passes in there and my phone protected.
  • Usually, when stopping at an island, you have to take transportation to a beach. (In Jamaica, the beach was horrible and it cost so much to get us there, will never do it again.)
  • Bring sand toys for kids to play on the days you dock if you plan on getting off of the ship.
  • There are stores on the ship for basic necessities but the items are really overpriced, so be sure to everything from home.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on the ship and it’s rather expensive to connect so get all of your work done before you get on and enjoy some time with your family away from your phone. It’ll still be there when you get off.
  • When getting off of the ship and onto the ship, don’t go at the time you dock and depart – it’s so busy. So if you dock at 8:00 a.m., don’t get off at 8, lines are packed – get off at 9. And if you are supposed to be back on at 6:00 p.m., come like 5:00.
  • You can order as MUCH food as you like at dinner. If you don’t like what you got, try something different. I loved sampling the different starters, those were always my favorite. So, I would get two different types for me and my husband and we sampled them together.
  • Free motion sickness pills are available at Customer Service.
  • Though the shows are free, make reservations in advance for them.
  • You can pack as much as needed, luggage is not weighed.
  • The center of the boat is the best place to be to avoid motion sickness.
  • Towel clips are amazing to keep your towels in place and other things you don’t want flying away.
  • Jumbo bags are lifesavers. I love them when traveling. Helps keep me organized. Also, LOVE them for everyday things. They’re huge and help keep organized.
  • Lanyards are nice to hook the passes onto for the older kids that want to keep their passes and not lose them.
  • ChapStick is a must. You are constantly on water, keeps you safe from the wind and sun. I particularly love this one HERE.
  • Extra batteries in case you need it.
  • Pack over the counter cold medication. It’s SUPER expensive to go to the doctor’s station on the ship.
  • If you aren’t going to buy the drink package (we never do), be sure to bring some bottles to refill for water. It’s REALLY expensive to purchase on the ship and land.
  • Bring something to tape to the outside of your door so your room stands out in the hall and is easier to find. Kids’ artwork is super cute!

I had a ton more pictures from our ship but my phone broke and I was not able to recover them. Such a bummer!

Collage of husband and wife on a the beach.
A collage of the different foods we tried on the cruise.
A fun merry go round with lights inside the cruise ship.
A collage of the kids on the beaches where we stopped,
A boy on a bench with two statue people.


After we got off the ship, we stayed in Florida for another 4 days. The first day we went to Vero Beach with the kids and they enjoyed a day of swimming and in the evening it was so nice to have dinner on land.

Then we drove Kissimmee (right outside of Orlando). It was the perfect area to stay. It was right outskirts of Orlando, and the rates were affordable. One day we went out on the town, did some shopping in the Outlets, had a nice dinner and a lazy evening. The next day we took the kids to Aquatica in Orlando. They had so much fun. It was in the upper 70’s and a bit chilly for a day at the pool but there was literally no one there. The lines for the rides were empty so they had a blast.

Last day we started driving home. We met up with my sister and niece for lunch and they took some pictures of us. Enjoy these photos. Then we drove halfway home. Stay the night and continued driving. Thank you, Jesus, for keeping us safe!

As much as I love vacation – there’s no place like home!!

A family of seven standing in a row in a garden park.
Three boys standing next to each other next to bushes.
Mom holding a girl next to another girl standing by bushes.
A collage of a father with his two daughters.
Children standing in a line with the parents standing in the back.
A husband and wife with two girls posing on a bridge.
A collage of a little girl twirling in a white dress.
A collage of a girl siting and posing for pictures.
A collage of photos of kids.
Family picture in a park standing next to an arch.

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  1. Valiya, Love these pictures. Thank you for sharing your family with us. I love how you always dress the kids, everyone matches and so cute. Where did you get your girl’s swim suits? They are really nice.
    I heard alot about the Instant Pots but don’t have one, this is a nice giveaway. Will you be sharing recipes for them.

    1. Hi Olenka, thank you for visiting! I got these at Target and Old Navy.
      I love my instant pot and plan on sharing many recipes as I learn myself.

  2. Beautiful pics, the little one is such a cutie!. Love the questions you ask to comment. So, this year I had a lot of health issues, the ladies from my church were such a blessing to me. They brought food, helped with kids, it was so touching. God bless people that go out of their way to make someone feel loved. I’m still far from feeling better but one day at a time. ☺

    1. Milana,
      Your comment made me tear up a bit, how beautiful. I hope one of them reads this and sees how much that impacted your life, so awesome.
      Sending a prayer your way for complete healing.

  3. Thank you for sharing great tips!!! The biggest blessing in my life this year have been my closest friends, who are always there to help but most importantly – pray!!! Blessed to have them in my life!!!!

    1. Janna,
      That is amazing. Nothing better than friends in our life that will support you. May God bless your friendship you only see the good in each other!

  4. In 2018 I’d finally like to go to a women’s Bible study. Just looking to find the best one to join, our church doesn’t have them. I love seeing your Bible study pics on Snap Chat, that’s what got me inspired ?.

    1. Awwww, Hannah. That’s so sweet! I love hearing that. Honestly, my Bible studies are the two favorite things I look forward to on a weekly basis! They help keep me going throughout the week. Please e-mail me and let me know which one you end up going to and how you like it. Find out if you have BSF in your area. (my e-mail [email protected])

  5. In 2018, I want to be involved in the church carrying some type of service, waiting and letting God show me my place in the body of Christ.

    1. Lana, that is AMAZING! He sure does have a place for you, no question. Adding you to my prayer journal. Hoping he will show you where He can use you for His glory!
      Thank you for visiting our family’s online home.

  6. Hello Valentina thank you for your sharing about vacation, and these beautiful pictures ??? Love haw you dress the kids , very beautiful family God bless you ❤️ And i love you recipe always
    make me hungry when i see your new post on Instagram ?? and thank you for chance to win your giveaway ?

    Answer on ? #3
    we were blessed this year with another daughter, she was born healthy and beautiful although there was a threat in pregnancy and for 3 weeks I did not report it ?

    1. So glad my pictures are doing their purpose – making you hungry, wink, wink. Thank you for following us on IG.
      Praise God for a healthy daughter. I know the feeling. When I was 3.5 months pregnant with our 5th, my body decided it did not want the baby and we almost lost her. She was my hardest pregnancy and it was SOO hard to hear from the doctor that she will most likely not make it. We prayed so hard and told God if it was His will for her to live, let her live and if not, we would praise Him for that as well. SHE LIVED and is SUCH a blessing to us. I join you in our happiness. May she grow up healthy, strong and blessing to your family as well as her heavenly Father.

  7. My new year resolution to be more organized and use my planner and get better at meal planning. I would love to see more recipes with instant pot! Its such a handy item in the kitchen but I’m also learning to use it more often.

    1. That’s a great New Year’s resolution. I am actually working on an organization post (just taking me forever to actually post it). What planner do you use? I tried PLUM last year and Loved it.
      Have a blessed upcoming year.

  8. would love to see more family travel posts..eve day trips.. ir nice when kids get a feel of travel and learning from a very young age

  9. We had a baby boy in July, and I am beyond blessed. Pregnancy was easy for me and although I was attempting VBAC, he was born via csection. My children are healthy and it’s the biggest blessing. Also this September my mother received a donor kidney, after 5 years of dialysis. Blessed and thankful to God beyond words. Thank you for your blog. You bless and serve so many people through it.

    1. Katie,
      I just loved reading your comment, touched my heart big time. There are so many families that are living in hospitals with children that are sick and I am always so grateful that our children are all healthy. Makes you say an extra prayer for those that are in different shoes. That Jesus would walk this road with them and just lead them.
      How amazing for your mama. That is awesome!. Isn’t it amazing how far we have gotten with medical treatments in the U.S.? My dad would have been long gone if we were still in Ukraine and I am so grateful that he is still with us (he’s had health scares as well).
      Many blessings to your family in the New Year!

  10. My New Years resolution is to finish buuilding our house! I guess that’s more of a goal than resolution:) I love seeing ur kiddos on the video recipes and overall ur recipes are great! They’re my go to! As far as blessing someone, I had a baby this year and after I gave birth I didn’t have much help food wise.. I made a bunch of foods and froze them but no one reached out and offered to come help around the house. So my goal was (I had a few pregnant friends) that when they give birth I would go to their house and cook and tidy everything up. It was a challenge with my own newborn but I was successful, thank God! Now we all have babies:) this year we also built a house and then we found out that the neighbors were drug dealers so we decided to sell the house. Everyone told us that we would sell it for dirt cheap because it wasn’t the nicest neighborhood but we ended up selling it for our asking price and didn’t have to pay any closing! It sold the same day we put it up. It was a miracle from God and we still cannot believe it happened!
    Anyways! God bless your family and your blog! Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

    1. I just loved reading your comment, I bet others did as well, it was really inspirational. Sometimes the best lessons life teaches us are ones we have to learn ourselves the hard way. I loved what God showed you and what a blessing you were to your friends.
      Building a home is so exciting! We built ours and I know the feeling towards the end – you just want to move in and have everything behind you. Wishing you a blessed finish to your home and so you have many, many wonderful memories with your family in it.

  11. My goal/resolution would be to spend more one on one time with my children.
    And I would love to see more basic Russian canning recipes.
    Thank you!

  12. What’s one thing that happened to you this year that you really saw God’s hand through it all?
    Well one of the this id that God decided to bless us with a healthy little girl. It was a baby that we waited for a long time. For 5 years we were trying to have a baby hut nothing happed, but let me tell u that God knows better when to bless his children. Well this was one of many things that happened this year

    1. That’s AMAZING, Olga. What a blessing she must be to your family, I can only imagine! Wishing her a life of fulfillment, happiness, good health and may her life impact those around her!

  13. What would you enjoy seeing most of on our blog? If personal posts – what topic? If recipes – what kind? Any other ideas?

    I think it would be fun if you undertook cooking “challenges” and also made videos about them. For example, Valentina goes Vegan for a week, or cooking only French dishes or Moroccan ones. It would be fun to follow along with something like that! I think you should definitely be on YouTube! btw didn’t know you were in OH – we live in Cleveland and have a Russian Baptist Church here!

    1. Galya, I must tell you, this is one of the most creative and amazing comments (with an idea) I have ever received. I absolutely LOVE IT! I cannot wait to try something like that in 2018!
      No way, which church in Cleveland? We visit there often. I’d love to come visit sometimes.

  14. This year I would like to be closer to God and listen to what He wants me to do. I want to be a shining light in church, work, and in my wonderful family. Thanks for your wonderful personal posts Valentina.

    1. Such wonderful desires, Agnessa. Just makes my heart sing reading them. May He use you in mighty ways for His glory!

  15. This blog has been a blessing to me this year. Ive been married for a few years and have been a mother for a little over a year and Im still mearning how to be a good wife and mother. I love checking in on this site looking for ideas on how to make my marriage and my family stronger and my home more welcoming. Valentinas kitchen as well as her family have been a great example for me of a godly family and Valentina as a good wife, cook, and mother. Thank you Valentina for sharing all the tricks, tips, and advices with us in a sincere and caring manner! May God bless you and your family! In the next year, i would love to see you continue posting recipes as well as posts on topics that would help our families grow stronger and for us wives and mothers to be wiser. If its at all possible, I would recommend to post maybe shorter posts more regularly. For example, a post with a new recipe on a Monday and a post with advice for mothers/wives, etc on a Wednesday or any other day. That way reader know what to expect and to make sure to check in at least twice a week for a new post. Thank you!

    1. Anna, this is the sweetest comment! I am going to print it and put it in my journal for the days I don’t feel inspired!
      I absolutely loved your idea for the regular posts so readers know what to expect. I think I will do that for the upcoming year, I love that! Thank you so much for your input, it was really helpful.

  16. My new years resolution is to get closer to God. I want to start goin to Bible study in my church and go to prayers more. I want God to work through me and I want to live life without having any regrets. I want my kids to look at me and to want to have the same relationship with God as I do. Thank you for posting personal posts, they are so encouraging and they lift up my spirit.

    1. Loved your New Years Resolution. My favorite part was, “I want my kids to look at me and to want to have the same relationship with God as I do”. Powerful words! Think every reader is blessed by them! Thank you.

    1. Love experimenting with new recipes. If you come up with anything super delicious – I’d love to share it on my blog.

  17. What’s one thing that happened to you this year that you really saw God’s hand through it all?

    When I was pregnant with our daughter (4th) child, high risk pregnancy due to platelets being VERY low. Over the course of my entire pregnancy I have been seen by many many different high risk doctors. They were monitoring me and the baby and trying to find out why my platelets were dropping so dramatically. They had no answer.
    All they would tell me at my visits was “ you have a high risk of bleeding after giving birth and we don’t have the medicine to stop it.” “Your baby will likely have bleeding in her brain because of your condition”.
    I had appointments every week! And all they did was tell me over and over again how my health wasn’t good and what can/will happen.
    I was absolutely horrified.
    I remember before walking out my door to head to the hospital to give birth, I kissed my kids and said my good byes as if I were to never come back. It was absolutely heart breaking. I never want to remember that feeling again.
    I knew I had a full army of prayer warriors behind me- which what have me hope.
    Praise the Lord the labor went smooth and God has done a Miracle, my platelets went up to all of our surprise when I arrived and our little girl was born at 3:16 healthy.
    I am now pregnant with our 5th and unfortunately have the same health situation. Praying for God to have mercy on me and my little baby.

  18. Hello, Valentina)
    First i have to say that i give all glory to God and only He is the one who gives us opportunity to help others so His glory is seen.
    This year, me and my husband helped a mother with 6 young children. Sadly, but her husband left them and lives with another young woman who is same age of his oldest daughter… We got food for them and clothes along with an oven. Poor woman, she had to go to another house, since the one where she lived is occupated by her ex husband and his new woman….
    Again, all glory to God!

    1. Oh wow, Viktoriya. That is so heartbreaking for them. How touching that God used you in such a beautiful way. That’s so inspiring. THANK YOU so much for sharing – so beautiful. Merry Christmas.

  19. Beautiful blessed family!!!!
    I would like to see more posts on family. More last min meals recipe for those days ?

    Thank you so much
    Also God has been teaching me to not focus on my spouses sins and to forgive/love .

    1. Thanks, Vika. I actually really like that idea. Will definitely do a post on last-minute meals. Love it!
      Love what God is teaching you. So beautiful!

  20. Valentina, LOVE your blog and love reading your posts, both personal and recipes. I would love to see more family oriented posts (anything really), from parenting to marriage tips and wisdom. Recipe-wise, I’d love more recipes for busy mommas, like slow-cooker recipes and instant-pot (though I don’t own one YET).
    Thank you for such a nice blog, I always look forward to your posts. God bless you and your family!

    1. Awww, Alesia. You’re so so sweet and I feel very special (cheeks red from such a sweet comment). I will try to focus on easy recipes for busy families. I think I’ll even do a post on a list of my favorite recipes for busy evenings from my recipes and my favorite friend bloggers. THANK YOU for the feedback.

  21. Merry Christmas! I would love to see more quick healthy meals family friendly meals and loved when you shared testimonials here! I love reading personal life examples.. This year has been blessed beyond measure, too much to write, but maybe the glory be to God for all His love and mercy!

    1. Agree, Tatyana. His mercies abound endlessly. So glad you like the testimonies, I am going to really try to focus on those this year. I am hoping 1 a month (praying so God touches peoples lives through these).
      Merry Christmas to you and your family as well.

  22. My New Years resolution is to spend more time reading Gods Word & waiting to hear what He has to say for me. Not running ahead of God with performance & drivenness driving me but the Holy Spirit leading in a soft & gentle whisper. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12. I want to hear that still small voice and not be deceived by so many other demanding voices that we hear of drivenness, performance, and perfectionism. It is easy to be deceived but if one knows the truth then the truth shall make you free.

    1. Wow, Natalia, that was absolutely beautiful! I think I need to guest post you on my blog sometime. Oh, how I agree with you. My hubby preached on that scripture many years back, and I never really paid attention to it until then. He said sometimes we wait for “big” preachers to come and “popular” that person to say something and expect God to work through them. However, God is often most present when it’s just me and Him, and I have to sit still long enough to hear Him!
      Thank you so much for commenting, I was blessed with this reminder.

  23. All your recipes are great! ? would love to try them all out more. I would like to see more slow cooker recipes. They are so convenient for busy days!

    1. I hear ya. I have tried ever since my little one was born. She’s 3.5 now and my motivation is zilch! I honestly think I am allergic to exercise.
      Wishing you more success than myself, ha!

  24. I love your blog and yummy recipes! You have a wonderful family! I’d love to see more recipes for 30 minute meals, 1 pot meals, kid friendly meals, etc. My goal for 2018 is to do more precise meal planning. Keep up the great work on your site. God bless you and your family.

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement, Natalie! I appreciate it – truly do. Loved all of those suggestions. Meal planning is a life changer, saves so much time and money.

  25. I would love to see more quick 30 minute meals for weekday dinner. And also I love reading your testimony posts. ? God bless your family this upcoming new year!

    1. Beautiful name, Roksolana. Love it!
      So glad to hear you enjoyed the testimonies, those are so powerful. We will definitely get those going on a regular basis.
      Many blessing to you and your family as well! God bless.

  26. I love all your types of blog posts. Love your food posts. Some more easy dinners would be nice. Also i love personal posts. Testimonies of real people were inspiring and encouraging and a great read. Also loved your posts of how to be a good wife and dating the husband. Really good stuff for us young wives and young moms…

    1. Awww, thank you so much, Nina. That’s wonderful to hear and super sweet of you.
      That’s a smile for each family member.

  27. My goal for 2018 is to be more minimalistic. To stop buying buying buying. I really want to save up some money to go on a nice vacation with my whole family. ? your vacation looked great! I love cruising but it’s definitely not for everybody.

    1. Oh, Natasha. I love that goal! It’s like beautiful music to my ears. Did you read our post on finances? It’s very dear to my heart because we lived to God teaching us to stop spending and start being frugal.
      Wishing you God’s blessings upon your family.

  28. We had a tough financial year, living from paycheck to paycheck,trying to balance our bills, mortgage and other expenses. But Our God has been faithful through all these hardships. We have been sponsoring one child from Tanzania through the mission for four years now on monthly basis, and at one point we’ve been considering to stop the sponsorship. But again, God has been providing our every need in miraculous ways, that somehow we still were able to continue to bless our sponsored child. Thank you for all your hardwork, Valentina. Merry Christmas to your family and a Blessed 2018 New Year!

    1. I loved hearing how God is faithful to your family. That is amazing and so inspiring – to Him be the glory!
      Merry Christmas to you and your family. May God supply all of your needs and may His hand be over your life.

  29. I love your recipes!
    I really enjoy reading your stories about your family. Keep up the amazing work. Thank you for sharing your life and recipes.

    1. Thank you so much, Janine. What a sweet and touching comment. Thank you for being a part of our online family.

  30. Beautiful family!
    This past year God has been showing himself faithful in our lives again and again. After miscarrying back to back, God blessed us with a surprise miracle baby! Forever grateful to God for hearing and answering our prayers in the most perfect timing. Just want to encourage anyone, there is absolutely NOTHING impossible for God! Pray and believe! All you need is a faith of a mustard seed!
    Love your blog and looking forward to more quick dinner recipes for moms with busy schedule.

    1. Yes, yes, yes, Viktoriya. Thank you for the encouragement. I bet someone needed that comment who may have just went through something similar. What a blessing your bundle of joy must be for your family. I can only imagine.
      Quick recipes it is! Thank you for visiting our online home.

  31. Beautiful pictures Valentina!
    Thank you for all ur personal blog posts and recipes!
    I would like to see more 30 minutes meals or freezer friendly meals(if u have any)
    Cuz I’m going to have a baby in February and would like to do some freezer friendly meals right before I deliver so I’ll have some meals for the first week or two after the baby.
    Thank you, Hope u and ur family have a blessed Christmas and a happy new 2018 year!

    1. Congrats, Tatyana on your baby. How exciting. Children are such a blessing.
      I love the idea of freezer meals post, thank you!
      Wishing you and your family a most blessed upcoming year. May God’s hand be upon your life.

  32. 2018 goal: Spend more time with kids and family, WALK more and get in shape, eat healthier! Thanks for sharing your vacation tips and advice and pictures!

    1. Being healthier is a good one – I need to get on board with that as well.
      Yes, being active with kids and family is a great one. Thanks, Inna!

  33. Having seven kids and always busy, I would definitely would like to see more 30 min meal and crockpot/instant pot meals.

    Your website is truly a blessing to us, thank you

    1. Wow, Mila. That’s amazing. What a blessed mama you are. 30-minute meals are definitely wonderful. I think I will add a category on our blog especially for quick meals like that.
      Just wanted to take a sec and wish God’s blessing on your family. May He give your husband wisdom to lead your family. May God help you be a wonderful helpmate to your husband. May your children respect you and be obedient. May your family be a light in the darkness! That the people around you know by your deeds that are set apart.

  34. Beautiful pictures! Always love reading about your vacations:) I would love to see more kids video recipes, those are so cute! Some goals for new year: Work on scripture memorization and exercise. Also would like to see the part 2 game post:)Love your blog and hope you continue your posts! God bless!

    1. Anna, thank you so much for the reminder. I cannot believe I forgot to post that. You’re awesome – thank you! Will work no that ASAP.
      Scripture memorization is wonderful, as is exercise.
      Many blessings in the upcoming year.

  35. I heard of a young family that were expecting they’re first child so I donated a lot of good baby clothes from my daughter’s. It feels better to give than to sell.
    You have a beautiful family . God bless you.

    1. That’s so wonderful, Yana. Sure does feel great to give. We need more people moved by God to show such kindness.
      Blessings to you as well.

  36. Valya thank you so much for posting about your family’s vacation! We’ve been on a cruise before and loved it too! We were blessed with our 3rd child this year! A healthy baby boy Joshua. Very thankful to God about that! One of the things we do every Christmas season is bless a struggling family financially…we always pray to God to guide us to where help is needed and let me tell you that giving is a great feeling!

    1. Awww, Galina. What a beautiful name you gave him – love it!
      I love hearing your tradition around the holidays, it’s so meaningful and oh so thoughtful. May God bless you and reward your kindness. <3

    1. Awww, Luba. Thank you so much for the sweet compliment. I am really looking forward to creating recipes with the Instant Pots. 🙂

  37. Hello Valya,

    Thank you for your blog, especially the personal posts and discussions – those are great!

    Every day we see God’s hand in our lives. My husband and I love to share with each other all those little things we notice throughout the day and thank God for them. But one of the biggest things thing year was how God planned the arrival of our little girl: I was 36 weeks pregnant when my husband’s grandmother passed away on the west coast, and my husband was debating whether or not to fly to the funeral (we are in SC) because out first son was born at 37 weeks. We decided that he should go, so he booked a flight for next day at 5pm with the intention to come back in 4 days. We woke up the next morning, got him ready for the trip, and then….. at noon my water broke…. so we packed my hospital bag and went to have our little girl ? God knew the exact timing when that should all start, if it was just a couple hours later, my husband would be on the plane, and it’s not like he’d be able to come back in a couple of hours… I am so thankful that God cares about even the details in our lives!

    1. What a wonderful testimony, Alyona. God sure does work in wonderful ways. Wishing God’s protection and provision for your little blessing from above, may God watch over her and the days of her life.
      So glad you enjoy the posts that are most personal to me. They are so hard to post and it’s humbling to know they are a blessing, thank you :). (Smiley face times 10.)

    1. That’s awesome, Okana. Thanks so much. Always get butterflies in my stomach hearing that you guys enjoy those. Makes me smile big – Thank you. 🙂

  38. My 2018 New Years goal resolution is to get closer to God. Praying and fasting more too, and do all the right things so HE can look down and be pleased with me ?

  39. My New Years resolution would be to become more organized in all areas of my life, plan more meals, and become more minimalistic.

    Spiritually, I want to grow and strengthen my relationship with Jesus. ❤️

    1. I like the way you summed that up – become more minimalistic. Same here! Thanks so much for visiting our online home, Luda.

  40. I love you blog Valentina! May God bless you in your work. You are a light to all of us readers and I love seeing your beautiful family! I would like to see more video recipes on your blog. Especially with your children! My kiddos love watching your kids bake and cook. Please tell them to keep up the good work and do more videos!!! Also, the personal updates (like your family vacay) are awesome reads and testimonies about God’s work in people’s lives are great! The mentoring posts are also great. Have you considered doing a subject on marriage with your husband? It would be great to see both of your perspectives on how a Biblical marriage should be. Thanks again for everything. ?

    1. Awww, Vicki. You are just the sweetest – Thank you so much for your comment. We’ve been playing around with some kind of idea for some kind of marriage video together. Glad to hear you’d enjoy that.
      Will definitely let our kiddos know their videos are enjoyed. We love making those. Thanks for the encouragement. SO thankful to have the nicest readers (friends).

  41. I think God put me with my friend, Janella, in March. She asked me to accompany her to chemo (stage 4 colon cancer at 38!). It was pretty routine, but she always wanted a friend to be there with her and her mom. Well, this day, she ended up having an allergic reaction to the chemo and went into a coma. She passed away the next day. I was the only person there to comfort her mom for about 5 hours. We waited and prayed as Janella’s sister and BFF both made their way in from out of town. It was good that I was there because I was clear-headed enough to listen to the doctor and call the family with updates, because Mom was obviously not in a place to be able to do so. I had only met her mom twice before this, but now we are forever joined because of this moment in time. It was such a shock to lose Janella – I mean, we all knew she had cancer, but this was an allergic reaction! She wasn’t declining in health and was very optimistic for her treatments. It was a long day for us all, and I still can’t believe she’s gone. But I know I wasn’t as emotionally attached (we were newer friends) than her BFF of 20 years and her sister. So I know God had me there for a reason. It was only the 2nd time I ever went to chemo with her – it usually would have been her sister or BFF.

    1. What a story, Liz. Had to wipe away some serious tears. God joined your lives at just the right time so you could be a blessing to them. Amazing testimony. Thank you so much for sharing, I was so blessed by it and so many others reading it. Thank you.

  42. I just got my first food processor, a mini one. I would love more healthy recipes that I could put it to good use. Happy Holidays!

  43. My goal is to be more present on the moment. For example, when I am with my daughter I want to really be with her rather than on my phone or watching TV.

    1. I think we can all relate to that, Amy. Thank you for being honest, I love it. Have a blessed Christmas with your loved ones.

  44. What an adorable family! I’m always looking for new recipes to try. Some of my resolutions are to be more organized. Like everybody else, get into an exercise routine.

    1. Kenia,
      Thank you for visiting our online home. Getting organized is a wonderful desire. I’ll have to do a post on being organized and give everyone a chance to post their best tips. That would be fun, I think.

  45. For 2018 hoping to really start menu planning, as well as going with a weekly cleaning schedule. Also plan on improving our budgeting and get a head start on partying off our home early!

  46. My goal of 2018 is to volunteer more of my time. I donate other resources, but I would like to spend some of my time doing something meaningful.

  47. I would love to see more recipes on here, they’re always such an inspiration and I come here whenever we have a party planned or any guests. We are also having a new baby soon, this will be our 4th, and I would just love to be able to get myself in order to be able to serve my family and just always be there for my husband and kids. I want to be the kind of wife to be wise and organized, have everything under control around the house and just be a great example for them all!

  48. I would love to see more simple recipes that take 30 min or so to prepare. Sometimes life takes over and you just do not have the energy to slay in the kitchen all day;( Exited to see what you will share with us next year!

  49. For 2018 our second little miracle is coming in less then 10 weeks away now. Our boys will be 19 months apart. Blessed to have them after Drs saying one thing, God gave us our miracle boys . So 2018 will be full hands for us?

    1. That’s such a blessing, Irena! It’s so special to see God give us His gifts from above, especially when that’s the only way to explain the miracle. Thank you, Lord, for being so generous.

  50. This year my goal is to slow down. I feel like I always take on soo much – which is great. I love helping and serving others , but I’ve noticed I’m not enjoying things as much only because some days I don’t have time to sit for an hour and read bible or pray. Also my goal is to meal prep. And stick to it. :)) praying for God to bless me this year to follow through and do what my heart desires !!!

    1. So true for all of us, Vicky. Slowing down in life and enjoying the little things is so necessary! Love it. Thanks for sharing.
      Yes to meal planning. I have a whole post dedicated to menu planning.

  51. Hello:) this year I really saw Gods hand in the birth of my son Jonah. He is our first child. I had gestational diabetes and I was so worried about how everything would go but God helped everything go smoothly and he will be 9 months on the 20th:)

    1. Thank you, Lord! Many, many blessings to your son, Jonah! May God’s hand be upon him. May He impact lives as Jonah in the Bible did (minus the stubbornness).

  52. Love all your simple and yummy recipes. Blessings to you and your sweet family! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  53. Some of my goals for 2018 are to start doing meal planning, making healthy meals, and to make meals on the budget. This month I did I little bit of meal planning and I really liked it. It really helps to have a meal plan for the week when you have a little one in the house and trying to stay on budget.

    1. Yes, meal planning is a LIFE SAVOR for families. Saves so much time and money. Have a wonderful and fulfilled New Year.

  54. For 2018, my wish is to start mean planning, with 3rd baby on the way I’m sure it would save me a lot of time! Love your recipes

    1. Yes, Luda. Meal planning would be such a blessing with a new bundle of joy added to your family. Wishing you a blessed and easy delivery.

  55. I love coming here for the recipes! I would love to see healthy, quick meals. Your recipes always look so amazing! Thank you for giving us a chance to enter this giveaway! God bless you and your beautiful family! ?

  56. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with a cruise type of vacation. Going on a cruise with our family is on our bucket list also:)

    1. That’s awesome, Inna. I hope you guys will absolutely love it! If you have children, purchase the cruise when kids are free.

  57. Sounds like such a great time! Ive actually been looking into trying out the instant pot. Ive heard so many good things about it. I would be so happy to be able to win the instant pot.

    enjoy the holidays with your family!

  58. This year we decided to sponsor a missionary family from Ukraine. We have been trying to save for a house and pay off students loans so this was a hard step to make but we did it with faith and have seen God’s tremendous blessings in our lives. Every month, The family sends us a letter thanking and blessings us. This is something I want to continue doing an long as we financially can. It brings joy to my heart knowing that there is a family that is doing Gods work and we can be a part of that.

  59. My New Year’s Resolution is to stop eating as much sugar, and to start exercising. & I want to start to try to read the Bible everyday!

  60. ♥My new years resolution, is to read the Bible more often and stay in fit! I want to be closer with God and be able to read the Bible daily! God bless your family, Happy early new years!!!

  61. My goal for this new coming year is to spend more one on one time with my kids. And to keep to the resolution I made 2 years ago (and kept) to read through the Bibile in one year

  62. I’ve seen Gods hand through this whole year. Being a single mom so many people reached out and I had so much help. God has been good! My 2018 goal is to become better with finances. Things like meal prep and even making coffee at home save in the long run. So, also something I would like postings on is easy kid friendly meal ideas, that are both adult friendly at the same time. I love my veggies and my boys not so much and I really don’t like having to make 2 meals or different foods. So any way to incorporate those vitamins so kids will eat it will help!

  63. I would love to see more quick dinner ideas and more chicken recipes! Thank you for your effort in this blog, I also enjoy the testimonies you share on here!
    Be blessed

  64. Thanks for all ur hard work… I always visit when I need inspiration and ideas to come up with some kind of meal plan. If possible I would like to see some more ideas what we could cook up when we have friends/families get together… especially meat… have a blessed 2018

  65. Merry Christmas! I would like to see more meaty recipes , and may be more crock pot recipes ! Thank you very much!

  66. This year I’ve seen God’s hand really work through my husband. I think God put us through a very difficult situation to help open his eyes to how important it is to really have God in our lives. Through this it also helped me see things in a different perspective. For this I am so grateful.