Stocking Stuffers- $15 and under

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Camelback // Brain Quest // Band-Aid // Tubby Todd Lotion // Socks // Latte Teether // Wikki Stix // Lip Balm // Pocket Screwdriver

Sometimes I feel like stockings are the hardest to stuff. I am not a fan of the traditional candy or junk that gets put in stockings. My mom always made our stockings extra special, and I want to do the same for my girls. I tried to round up items for everyone; babies, big kids, husbands, wives. My kids are band-aid obsessed, so those almost always go into someones stocking.

I wish I had another baby because I would be buying that latte teether in a heartbeat! So much cuter than the plastic ones! Bonus: it doubles as a puzzle as baby grows!! So cute!!

How is your holiday shopping going? I usually am way on top of things, but this has been such a rollercoaster year that I feel like I am drowning in it. I have 4 gifts purchased, and have no idea what else we are going to do. But, I am so excited for Christmas!! It isn’t all about the presents anyway!! I can’t wait to bake Christmas cookies and put up our tree. Watching Christmas movies is another favorite. Hanging the stockings is always fun.

What are some of your favorite items to stuff a stocking with?

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Catching Up

Hello, friends! I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We were able to spend time with my entire family for the first time in 6 years. It was crowded and chaotic, but oh so fun! I spent 12 hours in the car yesterday with Harper throwing up the entire way. All of the girls got it overnight and now all have high fevers. Please pray for them to get well.

We had a full week of “vacation”. I use that term loosely because with kids there is no such thing as vacation. It’s all work! haha! The first half of the week was pretty low-key. Tuesday, we went shopping for the last of the items needed for family photos. It basically ended up being an item for each girl. We went to Target where I drooled over Christmas decorations for as long as the girls let me. Then we went to the mall and my dad met us for lunch. (Look at the cute deer at Target!)

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We hung out at my OLD.. I mean, older..sister’s house on Wednesday. We found out just how allergic Scott is to cats. Oops. It was a lot of fun to get to spend time with her catching up on life. We were so busy talking that the only pictures I really have are of her dog. HAHA! I brought her a coffee and she bought us pizza. It was pretty great team work.

We had our Thanksgiving on Friday since my younger sister was with her husband’s side of the family on Thursday. We did a lot of prep work on Thanksgiving Day. Chloe got to make merengue with my mom for a coconut cream pie (my dad’s request) and Harper got lots of Papa snuggles. He would probably disagree on the word “lots” being used, but for a two year old he got pretty lucky. haha!

Friday morning I went out for Black Friday with my mom and older sister. We ate a super delicious breakfast and Amy made coffee for me. I pulled an all-nighter and really needed it. We had our huge and delicious meal. I may have blacked out because I don’t really remember eating, but I remember it being GOOD. After everything was cleaned up we played Watch Ya Mouth and laughed (and drooled) a ton!!

On Saturday, the family all went to a Reindeer Ranch. We ate “lunch” there. We all agreed that it was more of a snack (an expensive snack) than a true lunch. Then, we got to go on a reindeer tour and feed them! Addison was too afraid to feed them, but Chloe jumped right in. Look how beautiful they are! Harper seemed to enjoy it as well. They had a playground for the kiddos to play on also, so they all had a blast.

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We also helped my mom put up one of her Christmas trees. Once again, I’m not sure how much help our crazy crew was, but we tried. haha! Sunday was the usual- church, lunch, and re-packing all of our junk. The girls also got to open their presents from Mimi and Papa. Christmas is going to be SO fun this year!!!

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Even though our car ride was pretty rough on Monday, I feel really blessed. My grandparents are in a nursing home that is just slightly off our path home. We were able to stop and visit them. I left Harper with Scott. I honestly thought she was just car sick, but kept her out to be safe. I feel terrible that everyone was harboring this bug. Hugging my grandma and grandpa is one of the best feelings. They are two incredible people who I love so dearly.

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There is one more thing though! My best friend from High School was able to take some family pictures for us! We had initially planned on Wednesday, but it rained all day. It was a huge blessing (for us anyway) because we got them done on Friday. Our whole crew was together. So, we got our family photos, and then the rest of the family met us and we were able to take our first group shot in years. They turned out so beautifully!!! Meredith Michelle Photos has all of the credit for these beauties below:

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They are so stunning. I could just stare all day. Thank you, Lord, for a week full of blessings and for whoever invented the washing machine.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you get any good deals over the weekend?

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday (night), friends!!! I hope that you are feeling as Fri-YAY as I am!! It has been a week here. It has been a week of immense blessings and some deep sadness. I’m exhausted in every sense of the word, but am going to share some of my favorite things!

ONE

Look at that hair cut! Addison has been saying for over a month that she wants her hair cut. I waited because I wanted to make sure she really meant it. Today, I finally took her. She had a COMPLETE meltdown because she was afraid, and it took me close to 20 minutes to get her calm and cooperative. I completely threw the “lets donate it” out the window because my mind was shot. She wanted her hair cut, so please don’t think that I was forcing it on her. She was just very afraid of the unknown. The ladies (yes, plural) were so sweet and helped her feel comfortable once she finally sat in the chair. She even got a “mermaid” braid put in. She LOVES her braid and her haircut. She also loved the mac and cheese that we went for after. 🙂

TWO

Watch ya’ Mouth I am pretty sure that most people have seen videos of this game. I laugh so hard every time that I see them. I had braces for 2 1/2 years… maintainers before that and retainers after. Mouth spreaders and I are BFFs. Not really.. but I can still remember the day I went to get my braces on. My mom was sitting in a chair at my feet (seriously, why would they put her chair there) and she was laughing SO hard at me sitting there with my mouth wide open. I almost shot the thing straight out of my mouth because I was laughing too. Anyway, I pieced together this and this since the game itself isn’t currently available. (You also need a 60 second timer) My family better be prepared to play and cry from laughter!

THREE

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We have a back yard. The yard is L-shaped, so there is a lot of space on the other side of the house there and more behind me. It needs some love, but I am obsessed. It is so nice to take the girls outside and know that they can’t run right into the street or have some stranger come waltzing through. We will be putting our swing set up soon.

FOUR

These cough drops are amazing. I know that they are a bit pricey, but they actually WORK and are made with REAL ingredients. Have you looked at the ingredients in the cough drops that you use? No thanks..

FIVE

The benefits of collagen. I have been reading up on this and it sounds like it could help a lot of my health problems. Plus, it is supposed to be super good for your skin. I have had acne since third grade (yeah, seriously..) and it is still terrible. HELLO! I am almost 30. I went through puberty a long time ago.. Anyway, I am wanting to buy this, but that price tag gets me. I’m sure it would last for quite a while. Maybe I should start with these and see how it works.

 

What are some things that you have been loving this week? I pray that you have a wonderful weekend. Also, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! I will be spending the week with family and taking a blog break. 🙂

Home Sweet Home

I am so afraid to say it, because it feels too good to be true. I am sitting in the homeschooling space of our new home. We were completely blessed with just enough helpers over the weekend to move our furniture with us. They even re-built furniture here at the new place! Two people built our bed. Scott and another friend built Harper’s crib. We had purchased the IKEA Kura bunk for the girls a few months ago and were able to build it the day before the official move date. It was such a huge blessing to know that we all had a place to lay our tired heads that night.

I cannot even form the words right now….

Last Christmas, Scott found out that he was loosing his job. We didn’t know what we were going to do. We couldn’t stay in the house we were in. We lived in a really depressed town where people struggled to find jobs. We are a five person family and were about to be without a home. We are blessed to have parents who both offered to let us stay with them while we got back on our feet. God provided a new job just in time and we were able to move from our home in Michigan to a small three bedroom apartment. It was definitely not ideal, but it kept us warm and safe.

Now, nine months later, we are blessed to be renting a beautiful three bedroom home with a fenced in yard and a fireplace. It all feels so surreal. I walk in the door and it feels like home. My older girls– especially Addi– have really struggled with our practically cross-country move. They were so excited to get to pick out a paint color for their new room and have said how happy they are to be here. They have a back yard to play in where I don’t have to worry about them running into a busy street.

We have made a lot of progress in unpacking our things, but we still have a long ways to go. I believe we have to much “stuff” and we are going to sort through and get rid of even more. I’m not sure where it all comes from since I had two huge garage sales before we moved from Michigan, and I have continued selling things on B/S/T sites.

I thought I would give a little sneak peak of Harper’s sweet bedroom. Her nursery rhyme theme has been my favorite. So many pieces in her room were made by family members. The room was already painted the perfect shade of blue. I love walking in here, but I cannot believe that she is TWO and no longer a little newborn.

dresser // Table & Chairs (on mega sale)// activity cube // dollhouse (similar) // farm // swaddles // Tissue box cover // pink truck

Our lives are such a testimony to the goodness of God. This time last year was an incredibly painful time for our family. It was a struggle that felt endless and impossible. Many tears were cried. I can see how God used it all for His glory and we are so thankful for His provision and protection.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week enjoying the cooler weather and changing leaves.

Thanksgiving Inspo (Kid Friendly)

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just weeks away? I feel like this year has just flown by! This will be the first Thanksgiving in SIX years that we have been with my family. My WHOLE family. All of us girls and our wild bunches will gather at our childhood home to celebrate. Just thinking about it makes me feel incredibly emotional. Living far away from family is always difficult; especially around the holidays.

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Cheese wreath // Turkey Snack Bags // Placemat // Cheese Turkey // Gratitude Tree
Links and Image sources

Between the three families, we will have 8 children. The ages range from 11 all the way down to 1. It’s so loud and crazy and fun. I thought that I would gather up some kid friendly inspiration for Thanksgiving. All of the links will take you directly to the blog posts with instructions for these fun snacks and activities!

I love this article with several activities for toddlers to do. 4/8 of those kiddos are TODDLERS! My poor mama has had a lot of problems with her back lately, so we are gearing up for lots of work in the kitchen. I have made Thanksgiving lunch/dinner all of these years, so I am used to it. I have never cooked for 16 people. Many hands make light work!

It’s hard to write about Thanksgiving when I am so excited for Christmas. haha! I always have to force myself to stop and enjoy what IS instead of what is coming. We have so much to be thankful for in our family. We are richly blessed, and I can’t wait to celebrate!

What plans do you have for Thanksgiving? Do you go black Friday shopping?

Volee Weekend

Welcome to Monday, friends! It is a cool and drizzly day in our neck of the woods. It makes me want to snuggle up in bed.

This was a pretty busy weekend. We spent a lot of time packing boxes and at the new house priming and painting the big girls’ room and baseboards. It is so surreal to stand in that house and know that soon we will be making it cozy and ours. It truly is a dream come true.

Sunday was a special day at our Church. We had our first ever Volees banquet. This was a special evening to dress up and recognize the volunteers of our church. We have so many incredible volunteers that make things function well; from children’s ministry to cleaning the building. I never hear anyone complain about “having” to help. We even had volunteers show up early wanting to help!! (The night was all about them, so we didn’t let them help! haha!) I feel so blessed to serve alongside of the people of CCC. I also feel incredibly unworthy of this blessing.

Our pastor brought in some entertainment for the evening– Paul May. Paul May is the founder of Clear Vision Drama Company. I am a huge fan of his, as CV was the drama at almost every camp that I ever went to as a teenager. I was able to sit next to him at dinner and Scott and I were able to be a part of one of his skit (I wore a chicken hat and bocked “Ice, Ice baby”). Teenage me was geeking out and completely fan-girling. If you ever need some entertainment at an event, he is your guy!

dress / shoes (sold out)

I tweaked my knee somehow over the weekend, and being on my feet working for several days straight have caused it to give me some grief. I don’t have time for it to hurt, so that knee needs to get over itself. Our living room is slowly being taken over by boxes. We are hoping to take a load over on Tuesday to get a head start on everything. I am able to go and unload boxes as I please, which is a huge bonus to moving in after friends move out.

Our new home has a red brick fireplace that goes all the way to the ceiling. It is beautiful, but there isn’t a mantle. We are wanting to see if our landlord would allow us to build on. He is a pretty easy going guy, so we may get to. If not, it is not the end of the world. I like a rustic floating mantle like this one. What do you think? Here is a really terrible quality photo of our fireplace and boxes for reference.

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I hope that everyone has a fantastic week ahead of them! And, if you need some holiday Starbucks in your life, they have buy one get one free holiday drinks from the 10-14 of this month!

Post-Halloween Recovery

How is everyone’s post-Halloween “hangover” going? Yesterday was R-O-U-G-H. Thankfully, today is going much better and everyone (myself included) is much more pleasant! I am drinking coffee and surprisingly not stuffing my face with Halloween candy!

Halloween was SO much fun. We have NEVER taken any child out trick-or-treating before. Can you believe that? Chloe was only a couple of month’s old when she had her first Halloween, so we opted to stay home and hand out candy. I was so excited to hand out candy (since that was also a first in our new home) and we had two, maybe three, kids come. I was so bummed. Anyway, all of the years following, we did a trunk-or-treat at church. Scott worked the whole evening, and I was not about to take them out alone in that town. haha! Needless to say, I was completely psyched about taking the girls out to do something that is such a fond childhood memory for me.

Am I the only mom who feels like the hour or so leading up to going out is madness?! Truly, I have great respect for my mom. It was pure chaos trying to find the pieces to everyone’s costumes. Addison changed her mind for the 8734983795873587th time and wanted to wear her Pinky Pie hoodie as a costume. Once we were out though, it was bliss. The weather was perfectly warm– NO JACKETS EVEN! I loved watching them go up to the door and say trick-or-treat. Harper kept walking INTO peoples’ houses, which was hilarious and embarrassing. haha! Everyone loved her glasses and was giving her extra candy because of them.

One house had some scarier decorations out; including a zombie with flashing eyes that was stuck in the ground. Harper was so busy watching another one of the decorations that she almost walked right into it. She turned just in time to be face-to-face with it and she darted away so fast. She didn’t cry though, but she was not about to take her eyes off of it.

When the girls had sufficiently stuffed their bags half-full, we headed home. I told the girls that we were going to turn our light on and hand out candy if anyone came. They were very disappointed that they didn’t get to give anyone candy, so we are going to let them give candy to our teenagers tonight.

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We start moving into the house in 9 days, and I have approximately 10 boxes packed. We’re doing well.. or something.. Shortly after we move, we will be traveling to see family. It is going to be pure chaos this month.

HOWEVER, once things settle down, it is time to decorate for Christmas!!!!!!!!  I got a peppermint mocha yesterday and played Christmas music today. It’s so weird saying that Christmas is next month when it’s 80 degrees outside!

Happy Hump Day! May you blissfully slide into the weekend and not tumble. 😉