Vacation 2014

As we wrap up our first vacation as a family of three, we just wanted to share some of our memories from the week. There were a lot of firsts for baby K, including her first plane ride and her first trip to  the beach!

We flew out of Cincinnati because they had a direct flight to Tampa, we always try to avoid stops if possible, especially now when traveling with a baby. We timed the arrival perfectly and were able to walk right on the plane as it was boarding! We didn’t intend this however, but traffic and our ticket not saying “infant in arms” required some delays.  Most people this would make nervous (those that have flown with me in the past can attest!), but most of the time it works out for me, I hate the hurry up and wait process when flying!

We arrived in Tampa on Wednesday afternoon, got our rental car and headed to one of Dustin’s favorite vacation spots Sweet Tomatoes, after a yummy lunch, we made a quick trip to Target for diapers and other essentials. Then conveniently Whole Foods was in the same plaza so we grabbed our groceries for the 3 days in the Tampa area. Our time there we spent enjoying the beach in the mornings and the pool in the afternoon. Baby K did great, even napped in my arms on the beach one day.  It was definitely a different type of trip to the beach with a little one who constantly wanted to eat the sand! It rained a good amount most evenings, but we got one clear night where we were able to watch the sunset over the water. One of my favorite things to do..such a great reminder of the vastness of God’s creation. K is super close to crawling, so a nightly ritual was Dustin trying to teach her! Not sure why he wants her to be more mobile, I’m ok with a few more weeks of the sitting, no crawling stage!

We headed to Orlando on Sunday to enjoy some time at a nice resort my mom was able to give us a few days at with her RCI points.  We’ve already decided we need to come back in about six years when we are ready to bring her to DisneyWorld. The property is great, multiple pools, 2 lazy rivers, mini golf, game rooms, all in the heart of the disney properties.  We went to Downtown Disney this morning to walk around a bit, and of course get K a souvenir. We enjoyed the pools and lazy river and relaxing here. We are headed home tomorrow. Hope you enjoy our cute baby pool and beach photos. Since K turned out to be a good traveler…we are dreaming up the next more adventurous trip for 2015!

Baby K’s 6 month pictures!

We hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend!  Just wanted to share our professional photos from a few weeks ago!  Thanks Nikki James for doing such a great job! 🙂  We are so thankful for our precious gift from God.  We also think she’s pretty cute, even though she refused to smile for this photo shoot for the most part ha!  At least we capture lots of smiles at home!

God Bless!

Dustin and Melody

Baby K is 6 months!


We can’t believe it’s been 6 months already since we welcomed our beautiful little girl into this world!  We wanted to share a quick update and some photos for those that don’t catch her updates on Facebook!  All is well here..we are getting sleep most nights!  She started sleeping 8 hours straight early on but when teeth started coming in or she hits a growth spurt we are up at least once time.  She’s babbling, rolling all over the place, and sitting up!  She’ll be crawling before we know it.  Stay tuned for professional photos next week!




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!