Uncategorized

Five on Friday

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1. We did some rearranging in our house. Our bedroom is now in the basement.  We moved the homeschool room up into the room that was our bedroom. It is still a work in progress upstairs, but we are loving it. The natural light in the school room is a million times better.
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2. Harper really loves taking pictures. Scott had Monday off, thanks to a mix up. We decided to do something “fun” for the kids since we had been gone all weekend. It was also down pouring. We landed on going to Chick Fil A, and then doing grocery shopping at a store that we don’t have in our town. (Chick Fil A isn’t near us either) They loved playing on in the play area. I loved getting to show them a massive produce section and talking about all of the different fruits and vegetables. #Alwayslearning

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3. This kid. When her sweet voice says “Say cheese with me, mama?” you can’t resist. Her little grin and sleepy eyes kill me.

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4. I gave Harper her first braids. She doesn’t sit still, so they were lopsided. That also means the picture was blurry. But, she looks so cute! I always struggle with her hair because of her glasses. They smoosh almost any hair do that I give her. This one worked out pretty well.

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5. Take. Me. Back. The weekend away with Scott was not long enough. haha! It was so nice waking up together and eating meals without having to scream at each other over noise. We weren’t interrupted every 2 seconds. I don’t think I could ever get sick of spending time with this man.

 

 

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Uncategorized

Back in the Saddle

Getting back in the grind after a really nice weekend away is no easy feat. There needs to be some kind of decompression period. My sister, from My Little Bend, made this shirt for me. I love it. (side note: if you go like her page, once she gets 100 likes she will do a giveaway!)

Part of the reason jumping back in the saddle is so rough is because I’m not feeling that great. Friday night after all of our sessions at the conference, my throat started hurting. I blame the lady next to me who coughed up both her left and right lung. Thankfully I felt decent during the day, and would just feel a little lousy at night. I ended up slathering Breathe Again all over my chest and neck to sleep. Once we got home, all bets were off and I’ve been coughing and blowing my nose ever since.

Next year’s curriculum came in last week. It’s bananas! The stack of boxes was over half my height. I still haven’t been brave enough to open them yet. It’s always a little lot intimidating to have a huge stack of books in front of you. Teacher books, workbooks, text books, flash cards and posters OH MY! It’s really fun, but daunting at the same time. We are using Abeka again, and doing parent led video curriculum. I can’t believe we will be doing first and third grade! (Multiplication. Hold me.)

Along the homeschool line, I get to share this planner soon. You should know by now that I am GEEKING OUT over playing with a planner. It is really hard to find a planner specifically for homeschooling. I bought a teacher planner from Target last year, and I’ve hardly used it. It’s just not very functional for us. I end up just writing what lessons we did each day at the end of the week.

I feel pretty accomplished this morning. I have dinner in the crock pot, a load of dishes washing, and a big load of laundry running. We’ve shifted our homeschool day to start later, and it has been a game changer. It may seem strange to start school later in the day, but everyone focuses so much better. Hallelujah!

 

Would you please keep my friend’s grandmother in your prayers? She had a stroke a couple of days ago, and they still aren’t sure how bad things are for her. A lot of her family has been flying in to be with her, so please keep them all in your prayers.

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family life, relationship, Uncategorized

Weekend to Remember

Scott and I got to get away this past weekend. We went to Family Life‘s Weekend To Remember marriage conference. Scott’s mom heard about it, and asked if we’d like to go. She sent us and watched all three girls Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. She is a saint.

First of all, we haven’t been away ALONE in 9 years. We dove right into ministry, and never stopped. Our first anniversary was spent  at a church hanging out with teenagers. So, when I say that this weekend was needed- it was SO needed. The past couple of years have been especially difficult. I am really thankful that by God’s grace, all that we’ve been through has drawn us closer together instead of ripping us apart.

We left on Friday afternoon to head up to Oak Brook, a suburb of Chicago. We grabbed lunch on our way out of town. That car ride was bliss. We weren’t yelling over kids. It was just us and The Greatest Showman soundtrack. There was road construction that had us stopped for quite a while, so we arrived later than we planned. We checked in to our room, got checked in to the conference, and headed to dinner. We ate at Redstone. The food was SO good.

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We headed right back for the first session of the conference. I loved seeing the variety of ages and stages of marriage that were there. They had a photo booth set up. I just realized that Scott and I were matching. We never plan that sort of thing.

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They had “assignments” for you to do during the longer breaks or at the end of the day.  It was a great way to apply what you learned during the sessions, and opened up a lot of conversation.

Saturday, they had the first session start at 8:30 AM. I thought that was cruel, but we were there on time. haha! Scott went and got a couple of donuts and some coffee while I got ready. His lack of hair makes his mornings very easy for him. 😉

We realized that lunch was going to take longer than the amount of time they give you, and we looked at the sessions before and after lunch. We determined that the session after lunch was going to be the most beneficial for us to attend. After we finished our assignment, we headed to Giordano’s to beat the crowd. We were really glad that we went early since we found out it took 45 minutes for the pizza to bake!

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I was really glad that we weren’t late for the next session, because it was so good! There was one more session that ended at 4, and they released you for date night. We decided to head into Chicago to see Cloud Gate, and then go back to town for dinner later. Cloud gate was really amazing to see. We would have walked around more, but it was SO cold.

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We drove back to Oak Brook and tried to go to a Japanese steak house. The wait was an hour and a half, and we were both too hungry. So, we searched for another one to try.

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When we got to Nabuki, it was not at all what we were expecting. We were seated at the sushi bar, and our waiter came out to take our order. Neither of us really knew what he said, because it was SO loud, but he suggested some sushi and we said “sure”. I have no idea what we ate.  I really liked one of the rolls and Scott liked the other one, but we felt so awkward and out of place. It was an ultra-modern and hip place. We ate as fast as we could and then left for the book store. Home. haha! We got dessert to go at the Cheesecake Factory and ate it in bed at 11:30 at night.

I was so sad to wake up on Sunday and realize that our weekend was almost over. We got breakfast in bed, which was really heavenly. I never make omelettes for myself, but love them. I got a spinach, mushroom, and feta cheese omelette. Scott got the usual man breakfast (eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast) and it was so nice to eat in the bed that felt like laying on a cloud.

They split the women and men apart for the first session on Sunday. I really loved hearing Janet speak. Scott said he really enjoyed his session also. Then, we came back together for a joint session. They had us re-state our vows to each other, which was beautiful. When you enter into marriage, you don’t fully understand the gravity of what those vows mean. I loved telling Scott that I was going to love him and stick with him in good times and bad, knowing that marriage and life are so imperfect and bring a lot of trials with them.

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We went to lunch at a place called Pappadeux. We ate gator, which is so stinking good. We ate it for the first time on our honeymoon, so it felt fitting. haha! We were so full from eating so well all weekend that we ended up bring almost all of our main dishes home with us. I was sad to leave such a perfect weekend behind.

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I want to say that no matter what stage your marriage is in, A Weekend to Remember is for you. There were couples of all ages there. The speakers were addressing the couples who were there as a last resort- divorce was on the horizon. They said even if you had to sit on opposite sides of the room as your spouse, please stay. It really broke my heart to know that there were probably a lot of couples in that room who were in that group. It just makes me cherish my husband even more. Our marriage has had it’s rough patches, all marriages do. I was glad that we, personally, have been in a really good place in our marriage. We were given tools to help us work through future conflict in better ways. Reminders of how to love each other best. It was all so, so good. If you are married, or even engaged (they did have pre-marrieds there!) you need to find a way to go. I am so grateful that Denise was willing to gift this to us. I am so thankful that Cliff helped us get a room, and left the sweetest gift bag for us.

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Today, Scott is back at work and we are back to the grind. I was sad to say goodbye to him this morning. I had four days with him, and it was so nice. That just means that I will be even more excited to see him walk through the door tonight.

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deals and steals, recommendations

Be Kind to Companies

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I took a poor quality photo to share something with you. These items were all free. If you notice, they are organic, gluten free, natural foods. For. Free.

The Solera fruit bars were a coupon that Kroger offered. Brazi Bites had a free coupon that you could register. These GF bread balls are seriously so good, and I genuinely love them. I’ve had them before. Yum. (Check out Hip2Save.com to find free products and samples) The other products were all free from me reaching out to companies that I LOVE and telling them so.

Something that I learned a few years ago was that if you e-mail companies, they typically will send you coupons. Here’s the thing though. I don’t believe in e-mailing every company claiming that you like them just to get coupons. That’s dishonest and wrong. I only e-mail the brands that my family uses and loves a lot. If there is a product out there that I want to try, I’ll e-mail the company and be truthful. I tell them that I haven’t tried their product, but would like to. Then, I ask if they ever offer any coupons. Most of the time, they will e-mail a coupon back to you.

I don’t know if every company sends everyone the same things, so don’t be upset with me (or them) if you get anything different. Maybe I just have a way with words. HA! (kidding)

HappyFamily is the brand that sent me coupons for the free pouches and snacks. Harper is obsessed with applesauce pouches. I still like to buy the baby food pouches for her because I know she will get more variety of nutrients– just in case anyone wondered why I got baby food. She wouldn’t quit stealing them while I was trying to get a picture, so this is what I got.

I love Perfect Bar. They are REAL FOOD bars that you keep in the fridge. They have tons of protein and nutrients, and I like to eat them for breakfast. I asked them if they would like to partner up, and I would share their brand on my social media. They sent me a couple of free bar coupons, and I shared that I was eating them for breakfast on my Instagram stories. I had shared that I was eating them for breakfast before that, so it wasn’t really abnormal for me. haha!

Hellmann’s mayonnaise is my jam. I love mayo. They sent me THREE free product coupons when I raved about how much I love them. And, if you know me, you know that I literally rave about mayo.

Silk and SoDelicious sent me three $1 off coupons each. These are great for us because of Harper’s dairy allergy, and are some of the brands we buy most often. They are under the parent company of WhiteWave Foods, so if there are any other brands of their you like, I imagine you’d get something similar from each.

Daiya is a brand of vegan cheese, yogurt, macaroni, salad dressing, etc. This has been our go-to for Harper so that she can have the same food we are eating; just adjusted some. I contacted them quite a while ago, so I can’t exactly remember the coupons. I want to say that they sent a couple of $1 off coupons.

Back to Nature sent me a few $1 off coupons. They have lots of really yummy snacks and soups.

Annie’s homegrown is a brand that is ALWAYS in my house. Always. They respond with a link to where you can print coupons out on your own.

Now, my favorite. I LOVE International Delight coffee creamer. I know some people like black coffee. You do you. Me, I love some creamer. I e-mailed international delight when we were living with my parents. I don’t remember what I said to them. They sent me a few $1 off coupons. Then, a month or two later, a package showed up at my parents’ house. I was really confused because I hadn’t ordered anything. I opened it up, and they had sent me a coffee mug, earbuds, crochet coffee cups, a book full of inspirational and funny quotes, and a coupon for a free creamer. I’m not sure why, but it made my day. I felt really special.

Some companies will simply respond with a “thank you” and say that they will pass my kind words on to their team. Either way, I genuinely love the brands that I am reaching out to. If my words only solicit making them feel good, I am totally ok with that. It feels good to lift others up; even people that are a part of a big company.

I will be sure to update this if I get any more coupons. I encourage you to reach out to brands that you love and tell them how much you appreciate what they are doing. It feels really good to spread some sunshine.

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family life, Ramblings

A Hodge Podge

Happy Monday.

I feel like an ultimate failure today. I usually go all out for holidays. St. Patrick’s day is usually full of green milk and green pancakes.. all of the green. I don’t do the leprechaun version of elf on a shelf. I don’t get that.. St. Patty’s day was always just fun green stuff.. not pinterest worthy things. Stop the madness.  I did none of those things. In fact, I’m the only one who put on green– last minute.

Ugh.

Easter is soon. I need to drag out our decorations and get on it. Valentine’s was also a bust, so I have a lot to make up for. I still can’t decide what to put in the girls’ baskets. Part of the problem is that they are overwhelmed with stuff. We literally took almost every toy out of their bedroom, except their dolls and dollhouses, because they would not clean up. It’s been over a week, and they haven’t missed any of it. I did get sidewalk chalk for their baskets. Have you seen these? Amazon’s deal of the day is Crayola items, so go check them out!

I purchased next year’s curriculum. The girls are enrolled in Abeka for another year, and I’m actually excited. Addi will be in first grade, and Chloe will be in 3rd. We decided to do the video lessons, which will take A LOT of pressure off of me. Our start date is August 13th. I am just praying that life will stay settled down for a while. Our school year didn’t go as planned AT ALL this year between moving, losing a loved one, and illness all at once. It put us way behind, and has left me feeling completely frazzled ever since.

My sister created a facebook page for her earrings. Go give her page a like to see all of the awesome new products that she is launching. I am wearing the rose gold metallic earrings today. Pictures don’t do them justice.

We are in the process of rearranging our house. Again. We are going to be moving our bedroom into the basement, and moving the school room upstairs. This way, there will be more natural light. The biggest reason is that I can check on Harper much easier. She has been leaving the water running, climbing on EVERYTHING, and finding things to color on the walls with. It’s been stressful. For the past month, our homeschool room has gone unused while we have school books and papers spread all over the dining room.I am painting downstairs, which we’ve been needing to do since we moved in. Next week, we’ll move the furniture around. I’m pretty excited about it. Being in a cold basement at night just means I get to snuggle up close to my husband..and put my freezing feet on him. It will be nice to have everything on one level, except out bedroom. We aren’t ever in there anyway.

We are gearing up for a weekend away soon. I seriously cannot wait. Every time the kids are going bananas, which is often, I count down the days. I can make it. We have never had a getaway since having kids. Really, we haven’t been away since starting ministry in 2009. Bless my mother-in-law for being brave enough to watch the girls for three days. Also, pray for her and bring her diet Coke.

There you have it– the hodge podge of things going on in our lives. I hope that you don’t have a toddler stealing your coffee this morning.

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Uncategorized

Friday Favorites

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Happy Friday! I’m so relieved this week is over. It has been ROUGH.

1. Abeka online streaming– Right now, you can buy at least $50 in online streaming and get another $50 worth (10 hours) of streaming for free! Just use the code 50for50 when you check out online. Fifty dollars will get you 10 hours of streaming, so you can get 20 hours of streaming any grade/class that you want for just $50. It’s expensive, but so worth it. I was wanting to get streaming for a couple of subjects so that it would free up some mental space for me, and was thrilled when I saw this deal going on. I’m not sure when it expires, so don’t hate me if it’s gone before you snag it.

2. This shirt. I love it.

3. Have you been watching Lily Jade’s stories on Instagram? They have been releasing lifestyle bags, which thrills me. I’m not really in the diaper bag stage anymore, but I love drooling over these new bags. A purse for mom. A weekender. I LOVE their company, and would honestly sell every bag I own just to have one Lily Jade. The quality is amazing. The heartbeat of the company is incredible. I love them.

4. Has anyone read this book? I’ve heard good things about it. This phase of parenting is so dang hard. I know some people find great joy in this phase of motherhood. Me? I’m struggling every day to find the joy in it. I’m trying REALLY hard to change my attitude, but I struggle.

5. Pizza and a movie night! Every Friday night, we make or order pizza and watch a movie as a family. I love it. It is a good way to kick off the weekend. Plus, most of the time we ORDER pizza, so it gives me the night off. HA!

6. Spring. Spring is only 4 days away. I know that winter tends to stick around like an unwanted guest, but just knowing that it is Spring makes me feel lighter.

 

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

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Uncategorized

Easter Basket Inspo

Easter Basket Inspo

// mini waffle maker // eco grass // Dear Bunny // sidewalk chalk // rain boots // umbrella // beeswax crayons // piggie paint // watercolor paint // Spot It //

 

We like to do really useful gifts in the Easter baskets for the girls. I don’t like filling them with junk that gets thrown in the garbage after a week or loads of candy. Craft supplies are always the favorite with our girls. haha! I love the mini waffle maker. My kids love waffles, and Chloe loves to cook. I’m thinking we may put that in her Easter basket because I know she would love it!

Do you do Easter baskets? What do you fill them with? I feel like I repeat things each year. New paint sets, books, more sidewalk chalk… the usual. I’m always looking for new ideas.

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Uncategorized

Hot Mess Express

Stroller // Sippy cup // blanket

What year is it? Is it 4 in the morning? Where do we petition to stop the insanity that is Daylight Savings Time? My hatred for it runs deeeeep.

I went to the doctor on Friday for a medicine refill. I left making three new appointments. Oh, the life of chronic mystery thyroid disease and epilepsy. Maybe this will be the year for answers. I am getting another ultrasound done on my Thyroid this Wednesday,  so please pray for answers! My doctor is also repeated the test that determines Hashimoto’s. I don’t care what the answers are at this point, as long as I get some.

Saturday, Scott had to work again. There was a business expo in town. I always looked forward to it as a kid. You walk around and get free pens and notepads. It was like Christmas. I wanted to take the girls to it, but it was pretty cool out in the morning. My mom is amazing and picked up extras of all of the fun stuff for the kids, and for me! I checked the temperature and decided that we could probably walk up there after lunch and make it with some time to spare before it closed. Most of the tables had been packed up when we got there.. 20 minutes before it was supposed to end, mind you. I was really thankful for the few tables that were still set up. Addi kept saying “This was the best day EVER” as we walked back home.

Sunday we dragged ourselves out of bed for church. We were late for Sunday school.. or extra early for service depending on how you look at it. Harper apparently had woken up in the middle of the night and Scott was asleep on her floor from 3 AM until she woke up at 6. I evidently was dead to the world, which is really rare.

After church, we headed straight for a nearby outlet mall. We still needed to get Easter dresses for the big girls. Scott needed a new zip-up hoodie since his are all covered in grease from the factory. I also discovered that the sole of my brown dress shoes was almost completely off when I was at church. HA! I wore those shoes for 10 years, so I can’t really be upset. Thankfully these shoes from Old Navy were almost half price, and SO comfy. So, we snagged them also. They are 40% off online, so if you need some new shoes I highly recommend these for comfort. We took the girls into a Justice store for the first time, and their eyeballs about popped out of their head. So many loud colors and so much glitter.

I sprained my LCL last weekend. I think all of the walking made it really angry because I was in a lot of pain last night. It hadn’t really been hurting me the past few days. It is really tight, so I limp around even without pain. So weird. Knees are weird

Harper didn’t sleep very well again last night. I slept on her floor after she woke up around 4. I feel like garbage now. Seriously, DST is cruel… Everyone is grumpy. All aboard the hot mess express.

I hope that your Monday is as great as the Monday after a time change can be. 😉

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recipes, Uncategorized

Caramel Mocha Affogato

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I received a free kit from MyMagazine Sharing Network. I was given the supplies to create my own Affogato. Affogato is basically a scoop of ice cream, coffee, and any other delicious toppings that you want to add.

Coffee and ice cream? Sign me up!

Here is my recipe:

1 Large Scoop of Kroger Deluxe Churned caramel delight ice cream
1 8 ounce cup of Kroger Donut Shop Blend Coffee
A splash of Kroger Vanilla Caramel coffee creamer
A drizzle of Kroger chocolate syrup

Scoop the ice cream directly into your coffee mug. Pour the coffee and creamer over the top and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Enjoy dessert and coffee all in one!

I strongly encourage you to sign up for MyMagazine Sharing Network. You can try out a lot of really awesome products this way!

natural living, recommendations, Uncategorized

Sustainable Kitchen

I know Earth Day isn’t until next month, but we should start being responsible NOW. Plastic is a huge problem, and recycling isn’t the total solution. This video was really eye opening.  We absolutely should be recycling, so don’t misunderstand what I am saying. Responsible recycling is so important. But, trying to eliminate waste is the best solution.

I’m going to share some of my favorite products that we use in our kitchen to eliminate waste; since most of our waste comes from there.

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Stasher Bags– I know I’ve shared these before. They are pricey, so just buy one at a time when you can afford it. They are so thick and well made. They have the easiest zipper to use BY FAR. I’ve tried several brands, and this one is the winner. They come in three sizes, which is awesome. You can put them in the oven, freezer and dishwasher. I put them on a drying rack to make sure they are completely dry before storing it away. But, honestly, it goes from use to use.

Produce Bags– I love these. My only issue is consistently remembering to take them to the store. I prefer to pick my own produce rather than grab pre-packaged produce. I can make sure I’m not buying beat up fruit and veggies. These are really soft, and there are so many sizes. (At the time I am posting this, there is a 5% off coupon that you can clip.)

Water Bottle–  (15% off with this link) Water bottles are probably the biggest culprit of plastic clogging up landfills. A stainless steel water bottle keeps your water cold. Get a cute one that you love, and you are much more likely to use it.

K-cup– This is a cheaper way to enjoy a single serve cup of coffee, and you waste a whole lot less. I also just discovered this coffee company that has a compostable k-cup. I bought some of their coffee and it is delicious!!! (Salted Caramel is the best.)

Cloth Napkins– I love using cloth napkins. I’m admittedly a messy eater. How Scott didn’t leave me sitting at the table alone on our first date, I will never know. I go through a LOT of paper napkins in one meal. Cloth napkins work so much better. Plus, there are so many cute patterns. I watched the end caps at Target, and was able to get a lot of cheap napkins that way.

Bee’s Wrap– Full disclosure- I have NOT tried this yet, but want to so badly. I’ve seen tutorials for making your own. I just need to find the right fabric. This would be great for wrapping around fresh bread.

Glass food storage– I love my pyrex food storage containers. The don’t stain like plastic does, which is a huge win for me. This set is on sale right now for a great price!!

Other tips are the obvious avoid using paper plates and paper towels as much as possible. Also, start a compost pile. It doesn’t have to be huge. Throw your food scraps in the compost bin/pile/whatever. They break down and are so good for the soil.

We have made these small steps over several years. Change isn’t always easy. It’s hard to get used to using reusable zip bags instead of grabbing a plastic baggie and throwing it away when you’re done. I’ve loved the money we have saved in the long run. Napkins aren’t super expensive, but the savings add up over 8 years!

Is there anything you would add? Do you already use any of these in your own home?

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