Congrats Jaci and Sean!

Just wanted to post an update! The last three months have flown by, can’t believe how big Kenley is getting, she was 13 lbs this week!  She is doing great and we are getting some sleep most nights. :)  Last weekend, my middle sister Jaclyn got married.  It was a beautiful day all around. She looked gorgeous! Dustin and I were both in the wedding, so thankfully Dustin’s parents came with us to assist with Kenley. Here are some pictures of our little family in the park before the wedding!



The wedding was on the BB RiverBoats on the Ohio River.  The ceremony was on the top of the boat and then the reception on the top floor.  The weather was perfect, the only interference was a boater who honked his horn multiple times and the whole boat shouted during the ceremony. Can’t wait to see the photographer’s pictures of the ceremony.  Here are a few from the reception.


Those our some pictures from the day that were taken with our camera.  We can’t wait to see the photographer’s shots, I need an updated sister photo in my family room and some updated family photos (we all looked pretty good I must say!) Here is a little part of my speech, I’m so proud of Jaclyn and so honored to be part of this special day!

“…it’s a joy to watch my little sister marry her best friend today. My “Amber” baby is all grown up! For those of you that don’t know, when mom was pregnant with Jaclyn I had been in the nursery at church where there was a baby Amber. I kept telling them I wanted an Amber baby and low and behold they named her Jaclyn Amber! We have some great memories growing up from playing travel agents in the back of the conversion van on those what seemed like never ending drives to the beach with the brochures found at every restaurant stop! Or once we got there making seashell museums and trying to charge the family admission.

Getting to cheer together in High School was also fun (probably more for me than you since you were always lil Hall & I’m not sure you liked that)! But also in high school I watched you grow to know Jesus and accept him as your personal Lord and savior. I was a proud big sister then and now. Jaclyn you never cease to amaze me with your determination and drive, you always get done what you set your mind to. Even if it’s different than our family is used to, you were never afraid to set your own path. I love your passion for your work and serving the community around you. I also love watching you serve Brookelyn and Gregory, it’s very apparent how much you already love them.

Sean, I am excited to finally have a brother! It has been a joy to watch your relationship with Jaclyn grow over the last few years. I am thankful that you also seek Christ in your decisions, and I pray that you will continue to seek him now as the head of your household.

My prayer for both of you is the same as Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, one of my favorite scriptures verses. Found in Chapter Ephesians 3 vs 16-19.

 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

I pray that God will bless your marriage abundantly as your household serves him and seeks him daily.”

Welcome Baby Hartzler!

Just a quick post to share with our family and friends our precious bundle of joy that arrived 2 weeks ago!  Kenley Rae Hartzler was born on March 12th at 5:03 pm. She weighed 8 lbs 3 oz and was 21.5 inches long.  She is going to be tall like her folks!  Can’t believe she is 2 weeks old today, while we might only be getting 4-5 hours of sleep in spurts on a good night, it has been such a joy and we are so thankful for her! It is such an amazing miracle of God.   We still can’t fathom how tiny cells grow to be this over 8 lb beautiful baby.  We pray that God would use her life in a mightly way for His glory.  Thank you for all your prayers and support, continued prayers for our transition!




Dustin & Melody


“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Psalm 139:13-16


PS If you are in the Dayton Area..check out Nikki James Photography. She did such a wonderful job; she is so talented!

Our Favorite Recipes!

As we anxiously await the arrival of our little girl, I had some extra time on this snowy day to finally put together a list of our favorite recipes.  We have tried every recipe listed here.  All are gluten/grain free and most are diary free too. We do follow a “paleo” framework for the food we eat, and have found we feel much better, have more energy, and I have less headaches than when we used to eat grains. In general we believe fat isn’t inherently bad for us like many of us have been told, it’s about what sources fats we eat, even saturated fat from good sources like grass fed meat and coconut oil can be great! And Avocado is a superfood!  Our bodies need fat to balance hormones. So I hope anyone looking for healthy recipes will enjoy!

So here goes our list of fav food blogs and recipes!

Against All Grain

This is a great blog, it’s a good mix of “treats” and wholesome balanced meals.  We particularly love this crock pot italian fagioli soup, Dustin doesn’t love beans, so sometimes we leave those out and it’s still great!  Other favs from her website are grain free waffles, grain-free granola, strawberry-shortcake cupcakes for a special event, and she has a great tutorial on how to make spaghetti squash “pasta.”

Balanced Bites

This website is more than a food blog, she has great resources and books focused around a whole foods diet.  Anyone looking to get off of sugar, check out her 21daySugarDetox!  Recipes we love from this site include rosemary lemon salmon and sautéed red cabbage with apples.

Civilized Caveman

We found this blog pretty early into eating the “paleo” lifestyle and still love making some of the recipes.  Our all-time favorite has to be this Pumpkin Chicken Chili.  We’ve made it with beef, turkey, chicken, and one time with beef/venison.  Every time it’s been amazing! I do use beef broth vs. chicken broth if not making it with poultry.  Another favorite is this easy crockpot recipe for Balsamic Beef Roast, we throw in veggies (carrots, potatoes, and celery as well and it’s so good and so simple!)

Deliciously Organic

All of her recipes look amazing, she recently converted to more of a “paleo approach.” Two of our favs include this sirloin steak and mustard sauce, it’s amazing on a good grass-fed steak!  And we love making cauliflower pizza, this is a good recipe to start with, there are a ton of variations out there to choose from!

Kalyn’s Kitchen 

While this website is not paleo, it does have a ton of wonderful low-carb recipes which often overlap with the gluten free/paleo world.  We love making zucchini lasagna, and have different variations, this recipe is a great start if you’ve never made it! This beef stew is a great recipe and these eggplant pizzas are to die for!

Nom Nom Paleo

It’s fun to follow this blog, because this lady is a working mom and pharmacist!  So somehow I feel a connection!  She has great recipes, a few resources we love from her blog are zucchini noodles, we make these at least once a week if organic zucchini is available at the store.  And she has a great bone broth recipe. Bone broth is such a great source of collagen and minerals, see the Wellness Mama post for more info!


I love her food recipes, not a fan of the language she uses on the blog.  But some of the recipes are pretty amazing, so here they are. This chicken dish is super easy.  We also make this breakfast hash a few times a month. Other favs here include her pumpkin granola, plantain biscuits, and zucchini pesto roll-ups.

Paleo Spirit

I haven’t spent a lot of time on this site or making these recipes, but one we love is the twice-baked cauliflower mash.  We made it for Thanksgiving a few years back and even a high schooler thought it was real mashed potatoes!

Primal Palate 

We’ve tried a lot of the recipes from here and never been lead astray!  Our list of favs here is sort of long, but here it goes!  This tomato basil soup is soooooo good, even my mother-in-law commented it tastes just like at Panera. Another soup we love from this site is the butternut squash soup, just made a batch yesterday to freeze. Other favs are grilled mahi-mahi with mango chutney, steak fajitas (we put over salad), pulled pork & homemade barbecue sauce, lemon-garlic roasting chicken, baked tuna with chimichurri marinade (I’ve also made this with cilantro vs. parsley and it’s awesome!), and last but not least their guacamole recipe is great!

Urban Poser

We haven’t tried a ton of the recipes on here, but the ones we have are awesome!  These tex-mex meatballs are a fun twist on your normal meatball, we made a large batch and froze them to pull out a few at a time with our zucchini noodles during busy weeks and they still tasted great.  Another recipe is a gluten/grain free option for the standard green bean casserole. Lastly for a treat, these were pretty amazing chocolate cupcakes & raspberry icing.

Other Recipes: 

Here are some other recipes we love that come from other bloggers.


Pumpkin N’Oatmeal


“Cheesy” chicken casserole

Hearty Beef Stew

Sun-dried tomato chicken bake ( I always add broccoli)

Apple Pork Chops (Best pork chops you will EVER eat!)

Garlic Coconut Shrimp


Jicama Slaw (we generally leave out the chicken and just use this as a side dish!)

Grain Free Mac & Cheese


Alfredo Sauce (super easy and great tossed with salmon, broccoli, and zucchini noodles!)

DIY French Fry Seasoning


Zucchini brownies (it can be dairy/gluten free if you use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips)

Homemade Marshmallows (you’ll never pick up a bag of those corn syrup laden ones again!)

Sour Gummies or Jello (Sometimes I just throw together some frozen fruit puree, a little honey, gelatin and it’s an awesome jello!)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

So that’s all for today..hope you can find something yummy to make!  I will say this real food journey has been a blast and I love cooking so much more because the food tastes amazing.  We try to buy local when we can from farmer’s markets (when that’s an option!), we get eggs from local farms that pasture raise them (again when the chickens are laying eggs) and we buy our beef/pork from a farm here in Ohio that raises both just on grass the way God intended. While it may seem expensive upfront, we find it’s actually much cheaper than trying to buy quality meats in the store and always having steak in the freezer is never a bad thing! :) This website can help you find local farms near you.

Also many of you are thinking… man I could never cook these things during the week because of my busy schedule.  Yes we don’t have kids..yet…any day know though, but we are fairly busy and find meal planning (i.e. making a schedule out for the week) really helps us stay on track.  I use a website called SpringPad to store all my recipes and create my grocery lists…it saves me lots of time! Dustin and I have a shared folder on the app, so he can go to the grocery store and see the list of items we need. And he can start dinner with the recipes when I’m on my way home! :)

We believe good nutrition is so important and plan to make that an emphasis in our family, we can glorify God through honoring our body with wholesome food. If you have kids already, it might be harder to switch them to a lifestyle like this vs. eating whole foods from the beginning, but others have been successful! I HATE when I hear parents say we need a “kid friendly” option, referring to chicken nuggets, fries, hotdogs, etc.  Kids can eat what you eat, maybe with less seasoning or spices depending on the child.  Many parents have great stories of alleviating common childhood issues like allergies and eczema through changing their diet. Check out the Paleo Parents website, they just posted a 3 phase guide that may help, they also have a book with great recipes for kids!

Hope you are warm and cozy wherever you are! If you try any of these recipes, please share in the comments below how it went. Also share if you have a favorite to add to the list that is grain-free/paleoish!


Merry Christmas 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

We hope this letter finds you well.  As we reflect on 2013, it certainly has been a full year of blessings.  To start off the year, we were both able to travel with Medical Ministry International to Jamaica again to serve the people of St. Elizabeth.  We were able to lead a team from Cedarville/the Dayton area of 3 physicians, 2 pharmacy students, 3 pharmacy residents, and 4 nursing students along with Sarah our friend and nurse!  We joined approximately 30 more people in Jamaica and had 2 dental teams, and 2 medical teams going out each day.  Dustin felt since he had experienced driving on the left side of the road in Ireland, he could handle Jamaica as well.  His job as a general helper was to pick up meals for the teams and deliver them to their on-site clinics throughout the week.  He got to know the Jamaican road system very well, I don’t know how he never got lost! Check out the reflections from our team here! 

Our next adventure was in June, we headed to the west coast with our good friends Josh and Sarah.  We started in San Francisco and ended in Seattle.  It was so wonderful to see the beauty of this area and enjoy time with friends.  We were able to spend a day with my friend Mike from pharmacy school.  We hiked just north of SanFran with him and did some sightseeing.  Dustin of course got to see Apple Headquarters and was SO EXCITED to eat lunch at the Mac Cafe with his friend and past co-worker from Whirlpool Mark.

Josh and Sarah joined us and we explored more of SanFrancisco,  Napa Valley, the Redwood National Park, Brookings,Oregon,  Coastal Oregon, Crater LakeCentral Oregon, Portland & the Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Rainer National Park, and Seattle!  The links above will take you to those posts if you want to read more!

Our next “journey” began in July when we found out we would be a family of 3 next year. We had been praying God would bless us with a child sometime in the next year and we were(are) so excited!  While it was an interesting first couple months where I was nauseous pretty much all day, and felt like sleeping 12 hours a day (or more!) we did manage to take a few days to spend at the beach in Hilton Head before I spoke at the Annual Association of Asthma Educators Conference in Charleston, SC.

Once September rolled around I was feeling much better and studying a lot for a pharmacy board certification test I took at the end of the month, it seemed like September just flew by!  In October we found out our family addition was going to be a little girl!  We were able to share that news with our family and friends and they are very excited too.

I made a quick trip to Albuquerque in mid October to present some of my research and then it seemed like Thanksgiving was here before we knew it!  Right after Thanksgiving Dustin was offered a position to work with Automattic, the company that owns WordPress, which is the software he has been working with in web developing over the last few years. He is still able to work from home with this position, and many of his co-workers are from around the world.  He is loving this new position and is excited to get to meet some of them face to face in San Fran this coming January.  I just got back from speaking at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Meeting in Orlando.  Let’s just say it was very nice to be able to walk outside without a coat for the majority of the week!

Now we are off to enjoy our last Christmas with our families as just the two of us, we anticipate 2014 to be full of much Joy and the challenges that come with a new baby.  We are excited to begin that journey and thankful for God’s provision thus far and continued provision as we step into the new role of parents.  We are thankful we have  our Heavenly Father, the scripture, and great examples of Godly parents surrounding us that we can lean on into the next phase of life.

We wish you a blessed holiday, and a joyous new year filled with Christ, family, and friends.

Melody, Dustin, and Baby Girl

P.S. Special thank you to Lauren Shepherd, she did all the pictures on this post & they turned out so great!   If you are in the Dayton area, check her out! We took the pictures at Country Charm Tree Farm in Xenia. Such a cute place to get your tree!

Our Next Journey…



This is not our normal blog post of some cool or exotic place…but likely more of these type posts will be coming! We are excited to announce to the digital world our little girl will be arriving sometime around Feb 28th!  We were able to share the news that we were having a little girl with our church family and our family this week!  On Wednesday Sarah made raspberry filled mini cheesecakes to share the news with our house church family.  And today we had our family all at our house to share the news!  One of my best friends from pharmacy school Melanie who is finishing her PhD at UNC was in town visiting her new nephew and was also able to join us!

We were actually shocked it was a girl..for some reason both of us thought boy!  But we are beyond excited to buy cute girl clothes (well at least Melody is!) We are very thankful for a smooth pregnancy thus far and can’t believe it is half-way over!

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;my soul knows it very well.” Pslam 139:13-14 ESV

Don’t worry though Grandma Hartzler has already offered to babysit for when we want to take our next trips…so blog posts of more cool and exotic places won’t stop…just might slow down a bit for now!

San Juan Islands & Seattle

We got up early on Friday to head north for whale watching.  We bought a groupon for a whale watching tour before leaving home. This allowed us to go for half-price.  Our goal was to be on the road by 7am.  Surprisely we actually left about 6:30.

Google maps told us it would be a little over 4 hours, but with the road going up around Mt. Rainer national park, we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to make the ferry in Anacortes. We had to be on the 11:55 ferry headed to Friday Harbor. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t have time to drive our car on the ferry, but my first ferry experience was cool nonetheless. They unload people first, then cars, and we only had 10 minutes to get to our tour from the ferry once in Friday Harbor.

The whale watching tour was really neat. We were on a 50ft boat that took us out about an hour away from the port. The main attraction was to see an Orca Whale (Killer Whale), which is the black and white whales that you see at Sea World. We saw nearly a half dozen Orka’s and we also saw a humpback whale which was really neat too. Our boat driver didn’t want to disturb them, so we weren’t able to get too close to them.

Our first whale spotting.

Our first whale spotting.

Lots of my pictures look like this one with no whales!

Lots of my pictures look like this one with no whales!

This whale's nickname is Mega (for his mega tall fin)

This whale’s nickname is Mega (for his mega tall fin)

Humpback whale exhaling

Humpback whale exhaling

Humpback whale's tail before going down for a deep dive.

Humpback whale’s tail before going down for a deep dive.

After our tour, our plan was to drive back to Seattle for dinner, but the tour finished at 5:30pm and the ferry back to the mainland didn’t leave until 6:30pm which would have put us having dinner in Seattle at 9 o’clock. Since Josh and I were starving we stopped at local place called Cask & Schooner for a small meal. The girls had salads and the guys had clam chowder.

On the ferry we found a table that someone had started an 1000 piece puzzle, so we worked on that to make the time pass quickly.

Back on the mainland, we decided to stop for dinner instead of waiting until we got to Seattle. We stopped at the Rockfish Grill and enjoyed some local fish entrees and a live band. Then we got back in the car for a 90 minute drive to Seattle. We stayed near Lake Union. Our hotel had a great location and it was a bit cheaper than staying in the downtown area itself.

On Saturday morning, our first stop in Seattle was the World Famous Pike’s Place Market. They had tons of local vendors who were selling things from art, to clothing, to produce, to fish. Plus the majority of the stands were giving away samples. We enjoyed samples of peaches, nectarines, jam, honey, blueberry vinegar and organic apple chips! Since it was the last day of our trip, we decided to not buy any produce since we didn’t want to carry it around all day nor did we have room to take it to the airport with us.

Pike's Market

Pike’s Place Market

The fish looked incredible good!

The fish looked incredibly good!

Plus, from the Market, you could see the summit of Mount Rainier. Even though it’s more than 100 miles away, you could see it’s peak in between the clouds. This was the first time we could see the peak on the trip.

Mt. Rainier in the distance behind the stadiums.

Mt. Rainier in the distance behind the stadiums.

Then Melody and I went on the Duck tour, it was a little bit corny….but a travel hacker site said it was a great way to get out on Lake Union and have a view of the city/houseboats. Our tour was redirected a bit due to the Rock and Roll Marathon that morning. We captured some pictures of the city from the water. It was an amphibious vehicle, so we were able to drive around town, then we drove right into the lake, it was definitely pretty cool!

Our land / lake vehicle.

Our land / lake vehicle.

Seattle's skyline from Lake Union.

Seattle’s skyline from Lake Union.

Josh and Sarah went on the Underground tour, which explored city blocks that are currently beneath where the street is now.

We met up at the Space Needle for lunch. We thought we were being smart and would go to the restaurant (then you didn’t have to pay admission) order the minimum required food (which is only a few dollars more than the ticket up) and then find cheaper food elsewhere if we were still hungry. It turned out to be on Saturdays/Sundays they only serve a 3-course fixed price brunch. We were already up there…so we decided to splurge and make it lunch/dinner.

View from the top of the Space Needle. Can you see Mount Rainier in the background?

View from the top of the Space Needle. Can you see Mount Rainier in the background?

Before leaving downtown we wanted to see some glass blowing. Seattle is famous for glass blowing and has the most studios and artists in the world outside of Murano, Italy. The most famous place is Chihuly Gardens, but since we splurged on the tour/space needle we decided we needed to stop spending money. So we stopped by the Seattle Glass Blowing Studio instead. They made traditional items like bowls and vases and they also made some really cool lawn ornaments.

Glass lawn ornaments.

Glass lawn ornaments.

We had asked our waitress if she had six hours left in the Seattle area before having to go to the airport, what would she do, she suggested Snoqualmie Falls. The hiking trails were closed to get a good view from the bottom but we had a great view from the upper observation decks.


Snoqualmie Falls

We still had a few hours to kill before heading to the airport. We ended up doing a little shopping and all of us found at least one deal at Half Price Books.

Our plane took off at 11:15 pm PST, luckily we both were able to get some sleep on the plane. We had a short layover in Chicago and were back to Dayton by 8:30am. After a few hours of napping we are up trying to stay awake again until bedtime. We both have to get back to work tomorrow, hopefully we adjust back to EST as quick as possible.

Thank you all for following our journey this summer, we enjoyed sharing it with you. We have a couple days of beach time planned in late July…but other than that we don’t know where the next adventure will take us, we are always up for suggestions!

Mount Rainier

We were so excited to have 3 nights near Mt. Rainier to relax.  We rented a cabin AKA a condo that looks like a cabin!  It is my style of “camping.”  The place had a fully equipped kitchen, beautiful furnishings, and a hot tub!  We also had access to the HOA pool.

Our Cabin-Condo!

Our Cabin-Condo!

The first afternoon here we enjoyed the pool while the sunshine was out.  It was in the mid 60’s but the water was with the sunshine it was perfect!  After our swim we grilled steaks for dinner with fresh green beans and roasted carrots.  We enjoyed a quiet evening and made coconut flour short cakes and topped them with our fresh peaches!

Another amazing dinner!

Another amazing dinner!

The next day we headed out to hike the panorama trail near “Paradise” in Mt. Rainer.  This area is very close to the top, when we got there, we found that half the trail we planned to hike was unsafe and the rest was snow-covered.  So we decided we didn’t have the appropriate footwear or heavy enough coats since it was 38 degrees.  Due to the weather, the peak was clouded in and we couldn’t get a picture.

Dustin in front of the trail that we weren't equipped for!

Dustin in front of the trail that we weren’t equipped for!

So we headed back down the loop and stopped to hike in warmer weather!  We hiked a few miles in the Grove of the Patriarchs and to Silver Falls!

Dustin on the fun swing bridge!

Dustin on the fun swing bridge!



Only one person could cross the bridge at a time.


It was beautiful…it’s amazing how clear the river water is!

Silver Falls

Silver Falls


Dustin and I at Silver Falls

Dustin and I at Silver Falls


We missed lunch so we had an early dinner back at our cabin of chili.  It hit the spot on this chilly day.

On Thursday it was 39 degrees when we woke!  And it rained all day…double boo! So we relaxed, did a little bit of work, but the internet is super slow here so everything both Dustin and I needed to do we couldn’t do very efficiently.

So Sarah and I did a workout video and some yoga. And we played cards and enjoyed the hot tub when it wasn’t raining too hard. Not to mention we had to eat all the food that needs cooked while we are here. So over the course of the day we made pork sausage patties, salads (with leftover chili), and lamb steaks , carrots, and broccoli for dinner, and coconut flour chocolate lava cakes in a mug!  Sarah was a little bit nervous about eating lamb…I assured her I survived eating Hartzler lamb in the past!  :)

Tomorrow we are off to a whale watching tour in the San Juan Islands…it’s a bit of a drive, but we’ll end up in Seattle hopefully in time for a late dinner!