family life, holiday, home, kids, Ramblings, Uncategorized

The Great Conundrum

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I am really struggling with a great conundrum. Are you ready for it?

I really want to decorate for Christmas, but it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

Don’t throw stones at me! I’m not sure what it is this year. I am so ready to put up the tree. However, I am also hosting our families for Thanksgiving. Our tree will go up in our basement, which is away from where everyone will be for our Thanksgiving meal.

That’s acceptable, right?

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The kiddos are super excited for Christmas. Addi picked a Christmas movie when we were at the library this week. We have been watching a few Christmas movies here and there. Christmas music has been on since before Halloween.

There is currently 3 or so inches of snow blanketing the outdoors, which only adds to my strong desire to get festive inside. The snow looks so beautiful clinging to the tree branches and rooftops. It’s magical.

Pure magic.

If we find time, I think we will at least get our tree put up. Maybe.

Do you decorate before Thanksgiving, or are you a strictly after person?

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family life, homeschool, kids, Uncategorized

Kids in the Kitchen

I love spending time in my kitchen. It is my happy place. I love baking bread from scratch and cooking up delicious meals for my family…and sometimes, the meals aren’t so delicious! I used to make homemade egg noodles pretty frequently, but haven’t made them in quite some time.

Harper has recently taken an interest in helping me in the kitchen. She helped me make the cake for Addi’s birthday party. She’s so much fun.

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Look at her sweet face!! She was so excited to use the rolling pin.

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I loved watching her watch me and what I was doing. She asks so many questions in her sweet little voice. IMG_0103

Egg noodles don’t have to be perfect. Once I had finished cutting them one way, I let her have at it. She actually ended up not pushing hard enough to cut most of the noodles, so I had to go back over them. She had a blast.

I am a HUGE fan of getting the kids involved in the cooking. My mom always had my sisters and I in the kitchen with her. She never worried about perfection if we were making something. She wanted us to learn how to cook. I want the same for my kids. I want them to be confident in the kitchen. The older girls are at an age where we feel comfortable letting them stir things in pots or pans on the stove top while we watch. I’m wondering when the fear of injury will go away.

My favorite day was when they learned how to make their own toast. Addi especially loves to make toast for herself and her sisters. I love that I can go a little slower on those mornings. They love feeling a sense of independence, and I love seeing them grow.

Do you encourage your kids to join you in the kitchen? I really can’t recommend it enough! Cooking is such a valuable “life skill” for everyone to learn!

recommendations, Uncategorized

Small Business Spotlight- My Little Bend

Last week, I featured Rachel Allene for my Small Business Spotlight. This week, I am featuring My Little Bend. I have shared my love of MLB in the past, but want to share again as Christmas is approaching.

Amy creates beautiful things at such an affordable price. Lightweight leather statement earrings? You’ve got it.

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Are you obsessed with graphic T-shirts? She’s your girl.

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Amy is always taking custom orders for t-shirt designs, which is awesome if you are a sports mom!

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She also does vinyl decals. My kitchen is labeled with the most beautiful decals, and it makes my organization-loving heart so happy.

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I love everything that she does.

Be sure to head over to her page and browse through her pictures. Send her a message if you don’t see what you are looking for. There are so many great and affordable gifts for you to chose from!

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Don’t Wait

I’ve had something nagging at me for nearly a week. A memory.

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Do you remember in the movies how a character will do something and suddenly they have a flashback as though they are in a different moment? Then, just as fast as it came, they are back in present-day. That happened to me on Friday.

Friday, Addi woke up really sick. She had a high fever, wasn’t keeping things down, and was struggling to breathe. I felt pretty helpless, so I put a cool washcloth on her head to help make her comfortable. I put my hand on the washcloth to say something to her, and my mind snapped back to September of last year.

I felt like I was standing in my father-in-law’s hospital room. I was telling him goodbye. He had a wash cloth on his head because he was running a fever. I was crying and telling him how much he meant to me; how much he meant to our girls.. how much we were going to miss him. I was trying to squeeze in goodbyes from the girls since they didn’t get the chance to say it. It felt so real and raw. Then, lightning fast I was back in present-day standing over Addi.

Ever since this memory crept back in– or rudely barged in–  I haven’t been able to shake it. I’ve gone over it again and again any time I’m alone. The tears stream down my face all over again. I’m not sure why it won’t go away, other than I have felt a little nudging from God. “Tell them.”

What am I supposed to tell you?

Don’t wait!

Don’t wait until your loved one is slipping away to tell them what they mean to you. Make sure they KNOW without a doubt how much they mean to you long before it’s time to say goodbye. Maybe I have said it a thousand times before. Maybe you are afraid of feeling silly. I remember ALMOST not telling Jim all of those things because I wasn’t alone. I was afraid of feeling silly. But, in that moment, it felt like just Jim and me. He couldn’t respond. He may have told me to quit being so sappy if he could have, because he was just funny like that. The regret I would have carried for not ever telling him what he meant to me would be unbearable.

Don’t wait.

If you see good in someone, speak it. Speak it right then and there, even if it’s as simple as “I like your hair!” Don’t you remember how much it makes you smile to hear those things? Speak it!

Just don’t wait…

Uncategorized

Small Business Spotlight– Rachel Allene

I decided that I waned to showcase a different small business on Mondays leading up to Christmas. It is just a way of encouraging you to shop small, and also help you discover some really wonderful shops.

First up is Rachel Allene. She does really beautiful hand lettering. She designs mugs, travel cups, beautiful prints, sweatshirts, calendars, gift tags, notepads, you name it..

I’ve always drooled over her mugs, and finally took the plunge a few weeks ago. Let’s just take a moment to admire this beauty.

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It is so well made, and so beautiful. I love the heart in place of a period at the end. It’s so dainty and sweet. Not only does Rachel make beautiful designs, but she is just so down to earth and genuine. She is a mama who is hustling to make things happen in her home!

I also want to comment on the size.  I have a really hard time determining if a mug is going to be big enough. This mug is an 11 oz mug. I am able to use the largest size on my keurig and put creamer in my coffee with no problems at all.

Her packaging is just as beautiful as her products. I am kicking myself for not getting a picture; I was way too excited to see the mug. There was a sticker that matched the mug design that was holding the box closed. She also sends a seasonal recipe with each order. Rachel puts so much care and detail into every single order. It’s fun to see a behind the scenes of the process on her Instagram stories.

She is going to have a lot of fun things coming up in her shop, so I really encourage you to follow along with her on Instagram and keep an eye on the shop! When she does a new seasonal release, all of her e-mail subscribers have the opportunity to get a discount as high as 50% off!

I really want to encourage you to shop small this year where you can. You are supporting moms and dads– people in general– who are following their passion in creating. Many times, they are creating right in their own homes. Most of the time, you are getting a much better quality product that was designed with love and care.

 

Amazon, baby, deals and steals, recommendations, Uncategorized

Amazon Favorites- Baby Edition

Amazon Baby Faves

Here are my favorite Amazon baby purchases. These are all things I actually have ordered from Amazon and LOVED. I’m out of the baby phase now, but I still remember the things that helped make my life easier. Especially since I didn’t have to leave my house with a baby to get them.

Cloth Diapers // This was the brand I had the most of. They are affordable and work well. Honestly, my favorite was for sure the BumGenius, but the Alvababy are much more wallet friendly at half the price. I had a couple of BumGenius, but at least ten Alvababy.

Teether // These are the best. I love the size and shape. They are so good.

Balm! Baby // This is the greatest chest rub. It works so well, and doesn’t have all of the yucky ingredients. It’s also in a glass jar, so once it’s empty you can repurpose it! Or, you can choose the stick version and be mess free!

Sound Machine // This has a lot of sound options to choose from and also projects three different themes of pictures on the ceiling. It looks really cute, too. Love, love it.

Humidifier // This humidifier is THE BEST. If you read the reviews, you see people complaining that it soaks everything around it. You have to adjust the output. Don’t put it on full blast. If we need that much moisture in the air, then I put towels around it just to be safe. You will want (sometimes NEED) one in the winter months especially.

Stroller // If you haven’t heard me rave about this stroller, you probably are new around here. I had other strollers with my older kids, but never loved them. The Baby Jogger glides so smoothly. It turns on a dime, looks sleek, and is just all around great. I still use it for my four year old!

Stroller hooks // I love these for hanging my diaper bag from the stroller. You can also attach them to your shopping cart so your bag doesn’t take up even more space. They are wonderful and easy to use.

Swaddle blankets // These are my favorite baby blankets. They are huge, light weight, but don’t take up tons of space. They are so soft and breathable. There are loads of prints and patters available to choose from.

Tula // I loved this carrier. It was comfortable for baby and myself. Tulas come in tons of fun colors and prints.

 

Uncategorized

‘Twas the Day After Halloween

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Look at these cuties. They were so excited to put on their costumes. It’s no fun when someone in the family is sick. I started my new job last night, which meant that I couldn’t be home with the sick one while Scott took the well ones. Bummer. Addi apparently sat on the steps inside the house and would say “Welcome to our haunted house!” any time trick or treaters came. So adorable.

I didn’t feel any guilt about going back to work until Addi got sick. Then, I felt sad seeing pictures of the kids dressed up and hearing stories of what they did tonight. It’s silly. We had a Halloween party for school and ate yummy treats and watched all of the fun movies during the day. I only missed a few hours.

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My sister brought over some tea lights so we could light up our pumpkins. (Seriously..the year I remember candles will be a miracle.) You guys, my husband rocks. Everyone acts like dads are super incapable; and I’ve heard stories from wives who are frustrated by their husband’s lack of initiative. Whatever.. My husband is the best. He even did Chloe’s hair like Jasmine’s. He lit up the pumpkins. He fixed them a fun dinner. How can I have guilt when they are left with the fun parent?

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The library handed out treats last night, so I got to join in the Halloween fun! My nephews and niece even came by in their costumes. So cute! A coworker (Hey, girl!) put together goodie bags for each of the girls. And, I noticed the extras that got thrown in. 😉 They were really excited this morning to see their loot.

It has already been a day. A curtain is ripped out of the wall, because my kids love destroying everything. Addi is still sick and in the most miserable phase, so she’s having a rough day. Chloe has school going on, which is really tough when one has school and one is sick and not doing it. It’s complete chaos right now. My neighbors probably think we’re all insane from the fighting/yelling/crying happening. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for all of my teacher friends in the classroom. Yikes.

I hope that you all had a wonderful and safe Halloween! It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Uncategorized

What Alice Forgot- book review

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Friends, this book was so, SO good. I didn’t expect it to be so thought provoking.

Alice wakes up on the floor of her spin class. She has hit her head, and has completely forgotten the last ten years of her life. She thinks that she is 29 years old, pregnant, and happily married to her husband, Nick. In reality, she is 39, the mother of three children, and in the middle of a nasty divorce.

The reader follows Alice through the weeks that follow as she tries to piece back together her life. How did her marriage fall apart when they were so happy and in love? Who are these children that she has no recollection of? What are these incredibly sad thoughts that wash over her? Why is there such distance between her and her sister? What has happened over the last ten years that has made everything so.. different? Who has she become?

You catch a glimpse into Alice’s sister, Elisabeth’s, life and her struggles as she writes letters to her psychotherapist as homework. Elisabeth’s story is heartbreaking, and so many women can relate to her.  You also catch a glimpse into Frannie’s life. Frannie is a pseudo-grandmother to Alice and Elisabeth. I don’t really understand why Frannie’s letters were sprinkled throughout the story. They were sweet, but I found myself wanting to skip over them.

I hate to give too many details of a novel, because I’d hate for the story to be ruined. There’s so many twists and turns. So much emotion. So many questions. It’s great.

I found myself feeling the need to slow down and savor the memories from each day of my own life. Not wanting to worship the “busy, busy, busy” lifestyle that we seem to embrace in our culture. It left me wanting to squeeze my girls and slow down with them. It made me want to hold on to Scott and not let him go or ever take him for granted. I want to take up journaling (Um, hello, blog.) so that I never forget anything.

I read this book over the weekend. It is 400+ pages long, but so captivating. There was a turning point in the book that left me feeling sad. I had it worked out in my mind how I wanted the story to end Then, the epilogue. The wonderful epilogue that left me grinning from ear to ear.

It seems fitting to be writing a book review today. I applied at our local library a couple of weeks ago. With my weird availability, I knew it was a long shot. I was brought in for an interview. Later, I was told that they ultimately had to find what they needed even though they wanted me. She said I was going to get an official letter telling me the position was filled, but also wanted to tell me that there may be something opening up in the next year. The letter arrived a couple of days later– on Thursday. Two rejections in a week. HA!

Then, the phone rang on Friday. What on earth?! I am going to be working at the library. THE LIBRARY!! The opening came sooner than expected. I had already given up on it. But, here we go into dream land. I love that library. I love literacy. I am so thrilled and thankful.

 

health, natural living, recommendations, Uncategorized

Amazon Favorites- Wellness Edition

Now is the perfect time to share my favorite wellness purchases from Amazon. All day yesterday, Chloe kept complaining that her head hurt. I told her it was probably from all the noise in the house. (You know the scene from the Grinch when they say “the noise, noise, noise, noise!”? That’s my house.) Anyway, I took her temperature because she felt a little warm. Hip, hip, hooray! We get fevers today!

Addi’s birthday is tomorrow and we probably are going to have to post-pone her party. Pray for her sweet heart. She is being so kind and saying that it’s ok, but I can see in her eyes that she is sad. Last year, she was the only one who didn’t have Papa P. at her birthday and she was grieving his passing greatly. Sickness in the house this year is a bummer. I told her she’ll get TWO unicorn cakes if we post-pone, so hopefully that helps.

Moving on.. My favorite purchases from Amazon for wellness. I need to re-stock some of these.

Amazon Favorites Wellness Edition

kids Vitamin D3 // No one is getting as much Vitamin D in the cooler months. This supplements in a great way.

kids multivitamin // (this one is good, too.)

kids probiotic // Gut health affects overall health. Don’t neglect it. You can refer back to this post for some information.

elderberry // (my kids prefer this liquid or these) Sambucol elderberry has actually been scientifically tested and proven. You can’t go wrong with it.

oscillococcoinum // Once flu season starts, this ends up sold out everywhere. I’d buy some now to have on hand just in case. This helps combat flu-like symptoms and is safe for kids also. Boiron is one of my favorite holistic brands. Children’s cold calm is really great, too.

Multivitamin (women) (men) // Don’t buy just any junk vitamin. Your body may not absorb the fake nutrition, and you are basically throwing away money. Get a good quality vitamin and you won’t regret it.

Cough Drops // These are my favorite. They taste great and actually WORK! Yes, they are pricey, but I am not popping several cough drops at a time. I’m able to use one and have it work to suppress my cough. I give these to my kids.

Chest Rub // I honestly prefer using RC or sniffleease essential oils in the place of a chest rub, but I do have this and really like it. There’s no junk in it. I’m not a fan of rubbing petroleum on my skin. (Remember, everything you put on your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream.) This one is great for babies and little ones!

Probiotic // I’ve already raved about this in a previous post. But, here is a completely unsponsored plug for how much I love it.

SinuCare // I love this if I have a cold or any congestion.

Roller bottles // I use these all the time. I make oil rollers for wellness, respiratory support, head support, etc. in these. If you use oils, you should get some of these!

Don’t forget WATER! Drink tons and tons of water. If you a cute cup to drink out of, you are more likely to drink more water. It’s science. (Ok, not really, but it works for me.)

 

As I’ve said in the past, I’m not a doctor. Don’t take this as medical advice, and always ask your doctor! I’m simply sharing what we have used and love. 

 

Uncategorized

Taking Inventory

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I haven’t done one of these in a while. I’m trying to shake this funk that I’m in today. I’ve had a rotten week, and I am so ready for the weekend. The weekend is really just a rushed Sunday because Scott works six days a week, which leaves me stranded at home all. the. time. I’ve been really uninspired and grumpy.

Making: I’m still trying to decide on pork chops or a chicken recipe from Against All Grain. Can I just order Chinese takeout instead?
Drinking: coffee. Always coffee. From the mug in the above picture because I love it and sing this song from October-December!
Reading: What Alice Forgot. Janssen never steers me wrong. (I also have My Lady Jane ready to read next after reading this post of hers!)
Wanting: A nice jacket. I scored an incredible deal on a j crew jacket. It was a dream. Then, I got an e-mail from them saying that they cancelled my order because they over sold it. I didn’t find out until the day after it was supposed to arrive! I’m so upset and back at square one.
Watching: I haven’t had time to watch much of anything lately. I always turn on Gilmore Girls while I fall asleep. I’ll never quit it.
Listening: Don’t judge me. Michael Buble’s Christmas album. I KNOW! I’m ashamed of me, too.
Wishing: I’m not even going to answer this.. my answer is too depressing and I don’t want to be in a funk!!
Enjoying: When Scott walks in the door. The girls all squeal and run to him yelling DADDY!!! and it is the sweetest ever.
Loving: The time I get with Scott after the kids finally fall asleep. It’s only a few minutes, but I cherish every second with him.
Hoping: I have been planning to make some fun “spider cookies” (from this cookbook). I hope today is the day we have time!
Needing: To bake the cake for Addi’s birthday this weekend and wrap her presents. She is so fun when she opens presents. Everything is so exciting to her. Unicorn birthday #2 is coming at you! (She also wanted a unicorn birthday last year.)
Wearing: These jeans. Target had a sale and certain jeans were only $15 a pair. They are stretchy and comfy. NO DISTRESSING and dark wash! I love them. I just want flare jeans to come back! (If you join my Deals & Steals group on facebook, I’ll be sure to share the next sale!)