4/20/15

Good Weekend

Well we all survived the stomach bug!

Phew, that was a doozy. By Tuesday we were all functioning and back to normal but it took until Thursday before we were all eating normal again. That bug was bad. I would be perfectly fine without ever experiencing a family bug again in the future.

But all is well now and we had a great weekend. Friday night I planned to make dinner but Luke was craving Mexican food and suggested we get some to go. I will NEVER argue with chips, salsa and queso. So Friday night we enjoyed our little own fiesta.

We are at that weird point where the one year old is eating more than the four year old. Annie is growing and will eat anything you put in front of her and Eli is four and will find a reason to NOT eat anything you put in front of him. I try not to get exhausted with it, or cave and make him an entirely different meal but he's wearing me out.

Saturday morning I got up early and went to a women's tea at a friend's church. She asked me a couple of months ago if I would be the speaker for the event and even though I don't have a ton of experiencing speaking I enjoy it and agreed to speak at the event.

Well, I guess I do have a communication degree which required me to do public speaking a lot in college but that was almost 10 years ago. I was a completely different person then. I had a lot less pounds on me and I still thought Taco Bueno was healthy because the tacos had lettuce and tomatoes on them. I also thought I would never yell at my children and they would never throw fits in public because that just wasn't normal.

I've come a long way.

I do enjoy public speaking though and so enjoyed the process of putting together this message. Spending so much time with the Lord asking Him to lead me and give me the words to say. I spoke about sharing Christ in our struggles and I was able to talk about how we have used Luke's struggle with panic attacks to minister to others. And really how others have used it to minister to us.


Don't I look so serious here? This is probably when I was telling them that they need to purchase the Bissell vacuum that I blogged about. I'm serious, that thing is life changing

It was a fun event and the ladies of the church were SO welcoming to me. Plus it was fun to spend time with my friend Stephanie. We hardly ever get to see each other anymore because of kids and husbands and all that stuff that gets in the way.


That night Luke's parents came to see us which is always fun. We had a good time just visiting and eating, plus Luke and I got to drive through the Starbucks drive thru alone which is the equivalent of a dinner at a five star restaurant.

You know how a kid's nap in the car equals more time than it is? For example if a kid sleeps 20 minutes in their mind they slept 2 hours and they don't need a nap anymore. That is how dates are for Luke and I right now. From our house to Starbucks in back we spent about 15 minutes in the car so we went on a hour and half date. It was glorious.

Sunday after church we had a picnic with church friends and let the kids play on our amazing church playground.

It was just a great weekend! Beautiful weather, time with people we love and good food. Good times!


4/14/15

Our First Time

Well, there's a first time for everything and our family has experienced another first. These past couple of days we experienced our first family stomach bug.

Actually Annie has yet to get the stomach bug and we are hoping and literally praying that she doesn't get it. I thought for sure she was going to get it this morning because she slept way longer than normal and was acting a bit cranky, but soon she was acting like her normal self.

I'll spare you the details because really who wants to hear that mess but it started with me and went downhill from there. Eli wins the family award for handling it the best. Maybe it's a kid thing but he didn't slow down too much.

Do you notice how I'm using past tense to explain all this. I'm willing the stomach bug to go away. None of us feel completely 100% yet but I'm thinking by tomorrow afternoon we will all feel normal again. Please, please please.

The thought of my beloved Target sugar cookies still sounds gross to me. That's how sick you know I am!

I did manage to make some yummy chicken noodle soup from Damn Delicious. There is nothing better than chicken noodle soup when you feel horrible. Well actually none of us felt like eating for the first day, then after that chicken noodle soup with LOTS of broth sounded ok.



Because nobody wants to talk about the stomach plague of 2015 I will show you some cute new Scentsy warmers

Do you have a baseball fan in your family? These baseball warmers are FINALLY available and I am so excited! Eli has an LA Dodgers hat that he loves to wear (because of the Sandlot) so I can't wait to get that warmer for his room!


These gold warmer are all BIG sellers. Who can't resist gold? 


And the warmer In Bloom that is 10% off this month! 


As always please let me know if you have any questions about joining my team. This month alone with my paycheck I am making my car payment, paying for my house cleaner (necessities ya know), paying for my bootcamp that I go to three times a week and putting the rest towards our medical debt. What would you do with some extra money every month??  I would love to help you get your business started!


Hopefully by tomorrow our whole family is back to our normal selves.  I would have been ok without ever having experienced this first for us! 

4/13/15

Our fun new VeggieTales toy!

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and DreamWorks, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #VeggieTalesfun http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH



Just the other day Luke and I were talking about television and all the options that kids have nowdays. I know that makes me sound ancient but think about it, when we were kids we had one maybe two channels devoted to kids. 

Now kids not only have a plethora of channels to choose from on TV but with the click of a button, or rather swipe of their finger they can use various tablets and phones to watch a number of shows. As a parent this can be a bit unnerving. While it can be nice at times to let your child have some rest time with a TV show, you also have to be on your toe,s careful of what they are watching. There are definitely some shows that aren't something we would want Eli watching even though they seem geared towards children. 

However one show Eli loves that we are completely ok with is VeggieTales. This is a show that promotes strong values and lessons of faith in every episode. Eli began watching it at church and then we got some DVD's to watch at home and then found that there are lots of episodes on Netflix that he likes to watch. 

Eli loves watching VeggieTales, laughing out loud and singing along with the fun shows. We have even been able to incorporate several lessons from the show into our family life. Their Christmas special was wonderfully done and helped teach about giving and not just receiving which we later used in conversation with Eli while discussing the true meaning of Christmas. We are big VeggieTales fans in this house! 

I was excited when I found out that VeggieTales was releasing a line of toys geared towards children who watch the show. Eli and I went to Wal-Mart this weekend and I let him pick out a toy to purchase. 




He was SO excited and picked the Larry that sings the theme to the show. It also shakes around which he thought Anniston would love, and sure enough she loves to hold the toy while it sings to her and shakes all around. 


It's nice to have this toy in our house as a reminder of this positive show that we all love. We watch VeggieTales in my classroom at church and I have plans to purchase this toy for the kids to play with in there. I know they will love it. 

 Both kids have been playing with Larry and having fun together with the toy. How nice that it's a toy that both my kids, 3 years apart can enjoy together! I love it because Eli already loves the show so he sings along to the song, while at just a year old Annie has not yet been introduced to the show so the toy is completely new to her but when she watches the show it will already be familiar to her!


If you have a child who loves VeggieTales I definitely suggest you go to Wal-Mart and treat them to one of these fun toys. There are several options in various price ranges, perfect for just about anybody!





4/10/15

Five Favorite Things

Five of my favorite things right now....

1. Starbucks Shaken Sweet Tea



Oh my heavens. I'm beyond addicted to this sweet tea. I don't even remember when I started drinking it....sometime within the last 6 months or so. I've been trying to quit drinking Coke (I've gotten better but still haven't quit all the way) so I needed to find something to fill that void. While I do love almost all sweet tea, the Starbucks tea does not compare to any other tea. It could be because it has a teeny tiny twinge of coffee taste in it which I love (not on purpose I think it's because everything in Starbucks smells like coffee so that smell gets in the tea, probably doesn't make scientific sense). I got a lot of Starbucks gift cards for my birthday and I've almost used them all. Sad day.

2. Iced Sugar Cookies at Target



Check your Target bakery to see if it has these amazing cookies. They come individually packaged and they are found in the cooler section with cakes and cupcakes. I first had one when I was at my parent's house. My sister introduced me to them and I thought she and my mom were crazy for saying they were so amazing, until I tried one. Oh my sweet manna. It's unfortunate though because Target rarely has them. I went the other day craving one and asked the girl at the bakery if they had any and she said a lady had just wiped them out, she took like 15. SEE. I'm not kidding when I say they are amazing. I think they are so good because you keep them cool. Plus the icing is just really good.

3. Thieves Essential Oil Spray



Unless you've been living under a rock you've probably heard of essential oils. We use them periodically here in this house and have done so for awhile (the Thieves cleaner from Young Living is the only cleaner I use). I feel like there is a BIG misconception from a lot of people thinking that you have to either use Scentsy or diffuse oils you can't do both which is false. We do both here. But that's a another story for another day. Anyways I carry this tiny little bottle of Thieves spray with me and use it SO much. I spray down a highchair at a restaurant  before Annie sits in it, I use it to spray the handle bar of the grocery cart, and my most favorite use is to spray her pacifier after she drops it on the Target floor (or wherever we are but usually Target). It's a disinfectant spray and completely safe. Plus it smells great!

4. Clinique Bonus



I don't wear much makeup.  I actually didn't realize this until I started watching makeup videos from beauty bloggers and I realized my makeup routine is sorely lacking. I've also always worn Clinique makeup but I went through a phase where I tried different foundations, eventually coming back to Clinique. I just love their stuff. I usually buy my makeup when they have their bonus time and right now their bonus at Macy's is awesome! I've been trying to wear a more colorful gloss lately (as opposed to just a nude colored gloss) and I'm LOVING the pink gloss that came in my bonus. I will be back to buy this for sure. It is called Kissy Fit

5. Jennie-O Turkey Burgers



I always have such a hard time figuring out what to eat for lunch and usually end up either just not eating anything at all, or eating the leftovers from the kids (mac n cheese, hot dogs, chicken tenders). But recently I started eating these turkey patties and it's been the perfect lunch meal. I just grill it for about 15 minutes and then put a piece of cheese on top and lunch is done. Simple and filling.

I just realized that three of my favorite things this week are food/beverage items. Oops.

4/7/15

My Simple Presence

We encounter God in the ordinariness of life: not in the search for spiritual highs and extraordinary mystical experiences but in our simple presence in life.
Brennan Manning, Abba's Child

I first read the above quote in a book in the middle of my college experience. From the moment I read the sentence it struck a chord in me. It was as if it jumped out of the page at me and changed me. I read it over and over taking it in for what it was worth.

It was during a time when I was trying to figure out who I was in Christ. I was a little confused about my spiritual walk and what it meant and what it was "supposed" to look like. I was afraid most of the time that I was doing life in that aspect all wrong and I wasn't pleasing to God. 

But when I read that sentence I knew I had been living a lie. I was seeking a feeling when really life with my Creator was as simple as breathing. He was there with me at all times, through times when I felt Him and times when I doubted and even times when I ran. He was always with me.

As I've grown older this quote has never left me. There are times when I forget it and then suddenly, without even really thinking about it, the sentence will reappear on my mind. A testament that it has been imprinted on my heart. 

And now, in this season of my life I find this truthful quote to bring so much comfort. During a time when I am raising my babies. A time that can seem so far from extraordinary. 

From the time I wake up to the time my babies go to bed I am "doing" something usually for somebody else. 

Through cleaning the house, picking up laundry, reading the same book aloud over and over with many interruptions, picking up the playroom only to watch it become a disaster again in 30 seconds. Sitting down for a minute to fold the laundry and then watching the one year old spill her dry cereal all over the floor. Going on a walk for the 10th time around the neighborhood because it is the only thing that quiets my daughter during the witching hour. Sitting outside watching my son ride his bike when I can think of so many other things I could be doing inside.

At times, it can all start to feel mundane and I begin to wonder what is my purpose? 

And then recently I reread this quote and it reminded me that through it all, through the craziness and the chaos. Through the moments of peace and quiet, I am encountering God. 

When I clean the kitchen and do the laundry I am encountering a God who serves. 

When I apologize to my four year old for losing my temper with him I am encountering a God of forgiveness. 


 When I attempt to read my bible and do a little "quiet time" with the Lord and I'm interrupted a million times only to eventually give up I am encountering a God of compassion and grace. 

                                   

When I am losing my patience with my children because I know what is best for them yet they won't listen to me I am encountering a God with a sense of humor. Sometimes I feel like I can almost hear Him saying "does this remind you of anybody? You try to control your life yet I know what is best for you."

     

When I check on my sleeping babies at night, watching the rise and fall of their chest, wondering how on earth I deserve the goodness that they bring into my life I encounter a God who heard my prayers. 

Life as a mom (parent) can sometimes feel exhausting. If I'm not careful I start to feel like I'm going through the same motions over and over, but when I step back and look at the big picture I see the Lord with me through it all. Showing me that these aren't just motions over and over but they are opportunities to live life together. Opportunities to show my children grace, forgiveness, love and kindness. 

It may seem simple, and it may feel far from a spiritual high or mystical experience but I see through the simpleness of it all I am encountering God in every moment. 

And I pray that through everything I do I am a living example to my children and husband of what God is doing and has done in my life. That I don't get caught up once again in trying to figure out who I am, but I realize that right now, in this time in my life I am serving God through serving my family. This is my calling and this is my simple presence that I am thankful for. 



3/31/15

Decorating the Playroom

When I was planning the kid's party I put myself on a pretty strict budget. Thankfully I have my Scentsy income that provides extra money for stuff like this. But I also knew it wouldn't be wise to spend so much of my paycheck on a birthday party.

With that said I wanted the money I spent to be smart. I wanted to be able to use most items for a purpose other than the birthday party....which isn't always easy. But I will say I definitely got my money's worth out of the cake. I alone, ate on those two cakes for dayyyys. So yummy. Good thing I had leftover money to pay for bootcamp, that cake isn't doing my hips any favors.

When I saw the "pin the hat on the birthday kid" game I knew it would be perfect because I could take those giant prints and use them in our playroom. I had been looking for the perfect thing to complete the back wall in that room and this was it! I of course got the idea from Pinterest because that's where all good ideas come from.


This is the page where I saw the game and here is where I got the idea to put them in our playroom.

I mentioned that I printed the engineer prints at Staples for just over $3. I first went to Office Depot and they refused to print a portrait at that size and said it was for blueprints only. In fact they were pretty rude about it.

I went to Staples and they were as nice as could be about it however, they did tell me that they have been tossing around the idea of not letting people print portraits because it uses so much of their ink and clearly at just over $3 a pop they aren't making a lot of money off them. So just FYI this could come to an end soon but HOPEFULLY NOT!

After the birthday party I went to Hobby Lobby and bought foam board. I think it was a little over $2, I then took the pictures and positioned them how I wanted them on the foam board and taped it down with scotch tape.

Then I put these command strip things on the back and hung them up.


And the completed project:


We've been in our house about a year and a half now and I'm still decorating little by little. I guess a house is always a work in progress!


If you are wanting a large black and white print in your house I would highly suggest going this route. Obviously it isn't the most amazing quality but it's not bad at all! Just FYI I did use my Nikon DSLR camera for these, I'm not sure how great an iphone picture would turn out.

3/16/15

Choo Choos and Tutus a Joint Birthday Party

For a couple of months prior to March I debated whether to have a joint birthday party for the kids.

Their birthdays are nine days apart so it logistically made sense, but now that Eli is four I didn't know if he would want to share his party. He has been talking about his birthday party since before Christmas and proclaiming how excited he was about it. 

Then I also considered not doing a first party for Anniston but decided it probably wouldn't be fair since I did a one year party for Eli. So after asking Eli if he cared if Annie shared his birthday party I decided to plan one big joint bash!

Next came deciding on a theme. Every time I asked Eli what kind of party he wanted he would of course say "Polar Express". So I decided to do a train theme. It was hard trying to figure out how to incorporate Annie into that. I searched Pinterest and it wasn't much help but I saw a card for a "Trucks and tutus party". I liked it but it still didn't click on what to do for my kid's party. Then that night while texting with a friend and having a brainstorming text session she suggested "choo choos and tutus" and bam our theme was born. I thought it was perfect!

I decided to use our church for the venue because we have an amazing playground that the kids could play on, plus a big room for cake and presents and it was FREE.

So let's get to the party. All of the pictures are a collection of pics from my sister's phone, a few that Luke took on our camera and some that my neighbor took. 

In the entryway I had the "sign in" table with this adorable birthday canvas I had made by Crafting and Cocktails. I decided not to make the birthday canvas the party colors because I want to use it every year. Plus I plan on taking the kid's picture with it every year on their birthday to watch them grow throughout the years.


 

I kept the favors simple and did suckers tied around a bottle of bubbles. All of the print designs (including the above invitation) came from One Good Name on Etsy She did an AMAZING job on everything. I just realized I didn't get a picture of the favors at the party but here is one from my office with my messy floor in the background: 



I used big frames and displayed all my "Trees on Sundays" pics throughout the party (if you follow me on Instagram you know that I take pics of my kids every single Sunday and have done this since the first Sunday Annie went to church)



More Trees on Sundays pics...



As the kids arrived we had a bounce house for them to bounce and slide on. 



 I found a fun "pin the hat" game on Pinterest that I used at the party. I took pics of the kids and blew them up into "engineer prints" for $3.89 at Staples and then made party hats out of neon poster board. Kids took turns trying to pin the hat on the birthday kid (blindfolded of course).



I wanted something for the kids to do between the bounce house and going outside so I printed some free coloring pages from Pinterest and then Amy (One Good Name) designed the cover. I put markers and crayons in mason jars.

 

Cake time!! Eli's cake was of course Polar Express and Annie's smash cake was a sweet pink ruffled cake.

I love that the cake had a golden ticket with his name on it. Eli gasped when he saw it. 






At first Annie didn't know what to think about her cake and took her time delicately sticking a finger in the icing and then licking it



But soon enough she realized how delicious it was and loved it. She might have thrown a little fit when I took it away from her to cut some pieces off.


 All of the amazing banners were done by Looks Like a Party. Which definitely saves me a lot of time! 


Then it was present time!


Then outside to play! 



Both Eli and Anniston had such a good time. Of course Annie didn't understand it all completely but Eli was beside himself all day. All his friends in one room was like heaven to him. 




It was such a wonderful day. It was actually  my 31st birthday and I got lots of birthday wishes for myself as well. I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my own birthday than celebrating my two precious babies. We had so many friends and family come out to love on our babies and celebrate their new age, what a blessing it was!

Happy birthday Eli and Anniston. Let's do this joint birthday thing for as long as possible because now I'm done party planning for a year. HOLLA!