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Friday Favorites

I thought yesterday was the last day of August. Imagine my surprise when I woke up and it’s still August. Just building that anticipation for September, I guess.

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I hit up the local bakery and snagged the last unicorn cookie. Thankfully we didn’t have a world war amongst the girls and the other two were happy with roses. I feel like these cookies are too pretty to eat, even though that is clearly what they were made for. Kids don’t care. haha! I want to learn this skill.

My favorite of all favorites– Scott FINALLY has a Saturday off. Plus, he is taking Labor Day off instead of working it. I am so stinking excited. The only Saturdays that he isn’t working, we always have jam packed plans. There are no plans. I asked him if we could just rent tons of movies and lay around watching them all weekend. I wouldn’t turn down a date either. We are so tired.

We have made a couple of recipes from Magnolia Table this week, and they are all so tasty. I love comfort food, and these all fit the bill. I can’t wait to make all of the cozy foods with Fall coming up.

My sister has a black cat (yes, he is named Thackary Binx) and I think she would love this doormat. I’m not a fan of cats, but do love black cat things.

Tuesday, my sister text me telling me she was stopping by with something. I opened the door and she was holding a delicious coffee drink from the local coffee shop. She said she heard that I was having a hard week and wanted to brighten it. Almost immediately after, my mom asked if I had made lunch yet. I said no, and she told me not to. She was bringing lunch. She showed up with food for the kiddos and told me to get out by myself for a bit and she’d finish school with the kids. (She also showed up with a container of iced coffee. They know me well.) I had to fight tears the whole time. I ended up running to the grocery store to pick up some things I needed for our dinner. I ran into my sister and had lunch with her. It was so nice.

I’m not sure what has caused this week to be so rough. Every day it has been a struggle. Harper has gotten really destructive and was making huge messes every day while I would do school with the big girls. We rearranged half of the rooms in the house to make it so that I can easily keep my eyes on all of them at once. It has helped some, and I am going to just pray that it gets better with time. It’s all a balancing act.

Next week will be better!!

Happy Labor Day weekend, friends!!

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Glimpses of Autumn

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Stroller (the best ever) // purse

I had told my mom that we should meet at the candy place when they put out their first caramel apples, which they had a sign saying it would be September 1st. I saw on Facebook that they made their first caramel apples yesterday. I tagged my mom with loads of excitement!!

The girls and I walked there and met her. Somewhere between my front door and the front door of the candy shop, my kids lost their minds. The candy store is a frequent stop when we go for long walks because it’s close. This wasn’t my first rodeo. Maybe it was seeing Mimi, and the extra excitement there… Wowza. After a lot of “Put that down! Stop touching EVERYTHING! You can pick ONE! WHY DID YOU BREAK A SUCKER THAT COSTS $2.50?!?!?!” Ugh.. I refuse to be the person that breaks things and doesn’t pay for them. Anyone want a big sucker that’s shattered inside of the package? Anyone?

I picked two caramel apples– one that is covered in bacon and one covered in M & Ms. I know, you are so glad I cleared that up.

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We found really beautiful maple leaves on our walk home. I am so excited that I can officially start decorating for Fall tomorrow. I mean, I have two pumpkins and a gnome out already.. but that’s beside the point. Why do I love fall so much? It’s the little things that bring me joy; especially when it’s been a rough week.

 

I have been reading old posts on some of my favorite blogs. It made me think about how much I miss the old style of blogging. I loved catching glimpses into other peoples’  lives. It was just fun and relaxed. Now, everything tends to feel SO curated. Don’t get me wrong. I love that we can bring in income by sharing on our blogs or social media. I am SO incredibly grateful for every sponsored post that I get, because they help our family out. Plus, I get to share something that I already love with you all. But, I still miss the simplicity of the way it used to be. The way it still is for me. haha!

Tangent over.

I hope that you made time to do something fun this week. I think we’re all on the struggle bus after a couple of weeks of school being back in session. Happy last day of August, friends!

AIP, health, recipes, Uncategorized

Paleo Gravy

Probably the most difficult thing about switching to a healthier lifestyle is missing your favorite comfort foods. For me, gravy is life. But, most gravy made from scratch is not clean and contains refined flour. Over the weekend, I decided to play around and find a recipe that works and was thrilled when it worked out! Creating my own recipes is always a bit terrifying, but always worth it. (I say creating my own recipes understanding that someone somewhere has probably created a similar one. If so, I didn’t find it.)

paleo gravy

 

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Ghee
1/3 cup cassava flour
3 cups of bone broth
salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. Melt the ghee in a medium sauce pan. Slowly whisk in the cassava flour until combined and smooth.
2. Slowly pour in bone broth while you are still whisking. You want to be sure you keep whisking so that your gravy does not become lumpy.
3. Continue cooking until your gravy is bubbly and thickened.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

**You could make this AIP by omitting the pepper and being certain that you didn’t add any off-limits spices to your bone broth.**

 

Making gravy from scratch is so simple. I think people often get intimidated by it because of the fear of lumpy gravy with a funky texture. Give it a try! If I do end up with lumpy gravy made from broth or pan drippings, I use my immersion blender to smooth it out.

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Let’s Explore

We finally went on a hike this year. Finally. Scott works almost every Saturday, and if he’s not working it’s only because there is something planned. We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go after Scott got off of work.

We took a different trail this time. We ended up stumbling into this grove of pine trees. It was so beautiful and still beneath the shade. Well, it was still until our three banshee children went running in to play hide and seek.

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We also found this fun “teepee” in the midst of the pine trees. It’s such a fun thing to find, and apparently has been there for a VERY long time. It’s so beautiful in the woods. We found out later that this grove of pine trees was actually a Christmas tree farm that was planted in 1957. Most of the trees were never harvested, so now we get this magical place to explore.

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Another part of the trail went down by this pond. Harper was so cute in her little floppy hat. The water is a magical place. There is something so peaceful about watching water.

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When we finished our hike, we went into the building that sits at the entrance of the conservation center. Inside, they have all sorts of fun activities for kids to do to learn about conservation efforts, the animals they see, and how we learn about the past. It’s such a fun place to explore.

When we came home, Scott grilled dinner and we ate on the back deck. We are hoping to have more days like this now that the weather is cooling off.

 

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deals and steals, holiday, home, recommendations, Uncategorized

Fall Favorites

 

Fall Favorites

\\ Hello Pumpkin Mug // blanket scarf // knit throw // slippers // nail polish //

twinkle lights // buffalo check rug // wreath // Pumpkin spice coffee // knit pillow //

socks // pumpkin //

 

I know, I know. Someone will say it’s too early for fall. Get that negativity out of here. You have to shop in advance, right? Preparedness is key. I love all things cozy in the fall. There are so many warm colors and cozy textures. I just love it all.

Today feels like the perfect day to share these favorites. My windows are open. There is a cool breeze blowing through. My kids are sitting quietly at the table doing school work. I’m drinking a cup of pumpkin spice coffee. Scott brought me a gift for the first day of school…  pumpkin spice coffee creamer. He speaks my language and I love him for it.

So, lets dive in. I love twinkle lights. I don’t really burn candles anymore because they are full of toxins. (I saw you roll your eyes.) I miss the cozy light though, so twinkle lights take their place. You can put them just about anywhere to get the cozy light. Wrap them around a wreath. Put them inside of a wicker pumpkin. Put them inside of a pretty glass vase. I also put Thieves oil or any other spice oil (clove, nutmeg, cinnamon) in the diffuser to get that wonderful scent.

Cozy slippers, socks, blankets, and pillows are also key for fall. Big chunky scarfs are a great way to layer some warmth without adding too much. Some people really struggle with blanket scarfs, so any cozy scarf will do. I also really love the buffalo check rug. You can layer your normal welcome mat over the top and it is so pretty. I want one in every room.

I also love a good fall mug and pretty nail polish. I can’t wait to have some real pumpkins decorating our house as well. We try to save those for closer to the actual season of fall though.

What are some of your favorite fall items or activities? Is it too early to even think about fall for you?

 

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Favorite Homeschool Supplies

Today is our first day of homeschool for the year. We are doing Abeka for the second year in a row, and I truly love it. This year, we are doing Abeka Academy, where the kids watch the videos of class. I wanted to share my favorite products that we’ve used over the years. We are doing third grade and first grade, just for reference.

These crayon boxes are my FAVORITE. They have been used for years and still look brand new other than some pencil/crayon marks on the inside. I know that they are expensive, but I personally would rather use it year after year than have the plastic ones break and get thrown away each year. Plus, these hardly make any noise when moved around. Addi’s actually is a lunchbox because it was cheaper than the crayon box. I like the Jumbo size.

These portable DVD players are what we are using for Abeka Academy. I didn’t want to invest in laptops for such young kids. They are new to us this year, but it has a 4 1/2 star rating on Amazon. I did get a protection plan in case they break.

Book bins are so handy. Each of the girls has their own book bin that holds their workbooks and folder. I also have some in storage to hold construction paper and other supplies. I found a wide one at Target’s dollar spot that holds all of our readers for the year in one place.

Pencil Sharpener. I’ve shared my love of this pencil sharpener here. I can honestly say  two years later that I still love it. It’s easy to get jammed lead out. The kids can’t sharpen their pencil down a a nub, and it is really quiet! (If you want an electric sharpener, I’ve hard this one is THE BEST from many sources.)

These 5 pocket wall hangers allow me to get worksheets out for the whole week. We can just pull Thursday’s folder down and have all of the papers we need. It’s great for planning ahead and easy for the kids to get on their own. I’ve had these since I started homeschooling. You can also get replacement folders to make it more fun or subtle. Always check Target’s dollar spot!

This dry erase board is my favorite. It’s magnetic, so we can hang things from it. It cleans super easily. Love, love, love.

Counting Blocks make teaching math a breeze. I learn so much better when things are hands-on, and my kids have picked up adding and subtracting with ease because of these. Chloe also used them for learning multiplication and division last year.

I still love my laminator. Laminating things allows them to last through multiple children. I can’t recommend it enough! This one is what I have, but this nicer one is on MAJOR sale currently.

This 1-100 chart was a huge lifesaver when the girls were learning to count to 100. Seeing it as a reference really helped them. Now, we don’t really need it until Harper starts counting to 100.

Desk lamps are a huge help if you have a dark room or it’s just a cloudy day. I got something similar to these and love them. I’m really glad that ours aren’t LED. Is anyone else so sick of LED lights?

I love hitting up Dollar Tree for fun things like cork board boarders, stickers, and tape. Target’s dollar spot in July and August also always has loads of fun stuff. I like to have fun stickers and rewards for the kids to pick from. It helps push them through days where they are struggling more.

 

Our table and chairs were both freebies. The table was from a friend and the chairs were a curbside pickup. We had been using desks, but I just didn’t like the setup. I missed doing school around the table where I could sit next to them and help easily. I was going back and forth about what to do when Addi’s desk literally fell apart on me. So, that forced me to change to a table. This also gives Harper a spot to sit and work on some pre-K work. I do have Abeka’s K4 books to do with her, but I’m not setting a schedule. She is a bundle of energy and would distract her sisters more than anything at this point. I’m hoping she will calm down soon, but I also firmly believe that preschoolers learn best through play.

 

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Happy 8th Birthday Chloe

Today, the girl who made me a mama turned eight.

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three (She was so proud to have helped build her dollhouse)

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six

seven

eight

 

How in the world have eight years just flown by in the blink of an eye. This girl has moved so many times, and kept a positive attitude through it all. She is full of life and loves everyone hard. She is the most creative person in our family, and the biggest dreamer. She always wants her hair in a braid, and wants to be just like her cousin, Faith.

 

1. What is your favorite color?   purple
2. What is your favorite toy?  Umm… Barbies
3. What is your favorite fruit?   grapes
4. What is your favorite tv show or movie?   Barbie and Lego Friends
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  sub sandwiches
6. What is your favorite game?   the Lego Friends game
7. What is your favorite snack?   fruit snacks
8. What is your favorite animal?  bunnies
9. What is your favorite song?   Umm.. Til the Day I die by Tobymac
10. What is your favorite book?  The cat chapter book from the library.
11. Who is your best friend?   Lillian
12. What is your favorite cereal?   Goodnight Cereal (this is what my kids have called Lucky Charms as long as I can remember)
13. What is your favorite thing to do outside?   hmm… play soccer
14. What is your favorite drink?   water
15. What is your favorite holiday?   Christmas
16. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?   my build-a-bear (a bunny)
17. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?   goodnight cereal or cupcakes or muffins
18. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?   sub sandwiches
19. What do you want to be when you grow up?  a police officer
20. What makes you feel happy?   umm. my family

 

I love looking back on these surveys. It’s so fun to see how their answers change. We’ll enjoy our sub sandwiches tonight and soak up celebrating our sweet girl.

 

Happy Birthday, sweet Chloe.

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Our Journey to a Diagnosis- Part 2

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You can read part 1 here if you want to be caught up.

Yesterday was my daughter’s first half of the screening for dyslexia/ADHD/delayed processing speed. I felt sick to my stomach all day. I had no idea what was going to happen and wasn’t sure how to fully prepare her. I didn’t know how she would feel about it. There were so many unknowns, and I HATE not knowing what’s going to happen. I like organization and planning to a fault.

When we got in the car to leave, my mind would not be quiet. I let my daughter pick the music we listened to, shifted it to the back of the van, and tried to let my brain work through all of the thoughts I had. I came so close to turning the car around. What am I doing? Why am I doing this to her? Does it really matter? Am I making a huge mistake?

I never expected to feel such a struggle. Part of it is that I know that I am on an island with homeschooling. It’s so hard to have so few people in your corner fighting WITH you instead of against you. I’m always questioning myself because of how often I get questioned by others. It’s a battle.

Anyway, we got to the office and I let my daughter bring in a couple of her favorite books and her stuffed animal that I didn’t see she brought. She told me that she was nervous. She didn’t know what to expect, and neither did I. I told her she was going to do great and the doctor is SO nice. She sat in the waiting room reading her books and clutching her stuffed animal. Dr. C came out and introduced herself to my daughter. “Are you ready to come back?” She gave a nervous laugh and said “yeah”. I asked Dr. C if she’d prefer the books and toy left out, and she said it was up to my daughter. She couldn’t make up her mind, so I told her she should take her stuffed animal with her to help her feel more calm. Back they went. When the door clicked shut, I had to fight tears. Again, WHY AM I DOING THIS TO HER?

I sat in the waiting room reading this book. I am so thankful that the two hours went by fairly quickly or it would have been torture. They say you don’t have to sit in the waiting room, but there was no way I was going to leave.

When Dr. C brought her out, she said they were able to get through quite a bit, and next week would only take one hour instead of two! My daughter came out with a huge smile on her face and skipping. My heart breathed a sigh of relief!

I wasn’t told anything about how it went. Zilch. Bummer. I set up an appointment for next week to finish up the screening.

When we left, I asked her if she had fun. She said she did. She told me that Dr. C held up a book and she would make pictures with blocks based off of the pages. They read some off of a paper. The blocks were her favorite part.

I am guessing that they won’t tell me anything next week. They will probably want to make a separate appointment so that we aren’t talking about my daughter in front of her. But, I could be wrong. My impatient self really hopes that I am wrong.

That’s not much of an update, but it’s where we are. I’ll have more to share next week.

Thank you to those of you who have reached out and offered your support and prayers. It means more than you know!

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The Wright Stuff Chics

I want to share a super fun company with you today. I am a huge fan of graphic t-shirts. I pretty much wear one every day during the summer. In the winter I wear one with a cardigan. I know, I’m so trendy. But, really, who doesn’t love a good graphic T?

The Wright Stuff Chics has the most fun screen printed graphic t-shirts. I have one (momma teacher blessed) that I have worn more times than I can count and it still looks new. Here are some of my favorites.

There are youth sized t-shirts, so you can snag one for your kids. The “Be the nice kid” one is my favorite. Size up in the shirt if you want it to have some room. (Men may want to size up twice because I feel like they may run a little small.)

 

I am hosting a virtual trunk sale with them. If you to go their website, you can browse through all of their great shirts. Be sure to use the code ashleypullen at checkout for your order to be included in my trunk sale!

 

Happy shopping!

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Our Favorite Bath Products- and a Discount

All three of my girls struggle with eczema. I always had super sensitive skin as a child, and still do as an adult. Addison has had it the worst. She used to be covered in dry, itchy patches of skin constantly. The other two would get patches here and there. I switched bath products and went on a quest to find a regimen that works well for all of the kids. Enter Tubby Todd. This post is 100% not sponsored at all– I am sharing because I genuinely love them and have been using only their products for YEARS. I do have a link to share that will give you 15% off your first order.

This is our current stash. It is worth every darn penny. If your child has eczema-prone skin, or you live in a cold climate you need to jump on this train. They have so many products that it can feel a little overwhelming, so I’ll help break it down for you.

All Over Ointment– This was my first purchase from Tubby Todd. It is a thick and creamy tub of goodness. This is really great to put on the dry patches of eczema. You will honestly start to see a difference overnight. If you live where the winter is bitter cold, put this on those chapped baby cheeks!

Dream Cream– This is really good for when skin is starting to get dry, but isn’t quite terrible yet. To be honest, I use this as hand lotion a lot of times; or I did before they released their Mama line. It’s got a hint of peppermint, so it may cause a little irritation on some babes. I honestly almost always reach for the All Over Ointment. You just can’t go wrong.

Everyday Lotion– It is just that. Use this daily after baths to keep skin moisturized and smelling completely wonderful. Every scent is incredible, and I love their seasonal scents. My husband is obsessed with the cranberry orange scent, so I stocked up around Christmas. We keep a bottle in our room, in the bathroom; everywhere.

Hair and Body Wash– I honestly have used this on myself. I love the smell of this. I have three girls– which is proof that I know good hair care. I love simplifying our bath products and having less bottles in the shower. I bought the extra tubby pump bottle of this, and it has lasted forever. I think that this played a huge part in helping clear up the eczema. When your daily products are clean and free form the harsh ingredients, it makes a HUGE difference.

Hair Conditioner– I bought this for my tangly girl’s hair. It smells like lemon cake. I honestly don’t use it on my kids very often because the hair and body wash is just THAT GOOD. I’ve used it on myself also and really love it, and I am picky.

Hair Detangler– This. is. amazing. I’m going to share a before and after picture.

 

 

Addi’s hair often looks like this after playing, riding in the carseat, sleeping, etc. It gets tangled so easily. She SCREAMS when she gets her hair brushed because her head is super sensitive. When Tubby Todd came out with this last year (I believe it was last year) I could not order it fast enough. I have tried SO MANY detangling hair sprays. They all don’t work or leave a greasy and gross feeling behind. This one leaves hair feeling clean and fresh. Plus, in between these pictures, there were no tears. Life changing stuff here. I ran out, and didn’t order some for a while.

Mama hand cream– this smells SO good. I really really love this hand cream and have used it for body lotion as well. So good. The whole Mama line is so good, but the hand cream is my favorite.

Belly Oil– this is super moisturizing and good for helping reduce the look of stretch marks. (I am NOT pregnant.. just hoping to say buh-bye to my stretchies a little.)

Mama Freshening Spray– I love having this on hand to help me smell good after a lot of mommin’. Some jobs just stink– literally– and this helps me feel a little more alive. I have also used the Baby Fresh Spray on myself and the kids. It smells wonderful, but I only had it for a short time before Harper dumped THE WHOLE BOTTLE out on the floor. I almost cried.

They also just came out with sunscreen, but I haven’t tried it out just yet. I have it, but am finishing up my other container of sunscreen before opening a new one. Waste not.

If this post overwhelmed you, I’ll try to simplify. If your child has eczema, start with the all over ointment. It will clear up those miserable patches for your kiddos quickly so they have comfort. If your child just has sensitive and mildly dry skin, switch to Tubby Todd’s hair and body wash and grab some every day lotion. They even have some travel sized products if you want to test it out before committing to a full size product.

Do you want to know the best part? Andrea, the founder of Tubby Todd, went through the awful cycle of trying to find a product that worked for her kids. She created a line of her own, and Tubby Todd was born. Now for the best part- if your child has a reaction to Tubby Todd products and they don’t work for you, you can e-mail them and they will REFUND YOUR MONEY!!! Y’all. No other company is that good to you. Plus, you are supporting a family with a real face. Andrea is so sweet and wonderful, and her kids are adorable.

Be sure to shop through this link to get 15% off!!!  You will love them.

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