Create Your Own Bag Toppers using PicMonkey

Halloween is approaching fast and it hit me during dance class on Tuesday night that I needed a quick treat for the Halloween party. Usually when I … [Continue Reading]

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DIY calendar

For the past few weeks, we've spent most of our free time (which less face it, it's pretty much nonexistent) putting the finishing touches on my … [Continue Reading]

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Younique 3D Fiber Mascara Review

I was recently sent Younique's 3D Fiber Lash mascara to try. I've seen several people rave about this product, so I was interested to give it a try. … [Continue Reading]

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Erin Condren Holiday Collection 2014 {and a giveaway}

For the past several years, I've looked to Erin Condren for my holiday cards. Ordering holiday cards and sending them out to our friends and family is … [Continue Reading]

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My Whole 30 Story

Caroline, from Olive You Whole is posting my Whole 30 story today on her blog. Head over to check it out. Her blog is full of other success stories … [Continue Reading]

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expectations and realizations

When I decided to stay home, I had this picture in my mind. A picture of what our lives would like with me spending those 40+ hours at home, rather than in the classroom. I had high expectations for myself.

My house would be clean.

My laundry would never pile up.

Dinner would wholesome and homemade, ready by 6:00 o’clock each night.

I would set aside specific learning times for Braylen, and focus on a set of objectives in reading and math.

The list could go on and on.

In my head, it was going to be perfect. Actually, I was going to be perfect. Fantastic, actually, at this new job of mine. I mean, my house already stayed pretty clean, my laundry remotely caught up, I cooked sometimes, and I did all of these things while working. So not working was surely going to make me a top-notch Martha, right?

Wrong.

Somehow, I have less time. Or at least I feel that way. And it has taken me a few months to adjust to this new normal. I had set the bar so incredibly high for myself, that each and everyday I felt like I was failing by the time Allen came home. I felt unorganized and out of my element.

And I wondered, how in the world is this happening? I am failing at the very thing that I prayed so hard to be able to do, stay home with my kids. 

That’s when it hit me.

I didn’t choose to stay home so our house would be cleaner.

Or for my to-do list to get smaller.

I didn’t choose to stay home so I could change the sheets more often.

Or fold more towels.

I chose to stay home to focus on those two little joys that call me mom. 

A few simple realizations helped me to lower my expectations, and be better at this new job.

You see, they don’t care how clean the house is, or if I switch out their closets before the new season comes.

You know what they do care about? Playing at the park, and eating popsicles on the back porch. Having a picnic in the front yard, and building a fort in the playroom.

And there will be days when the laundry is caught up and the house is clean, at the same time. There will be days when I feel like I have it all together. Days when we bake cupcakes and actually clean up the mess before bedtime.

But, there will be days when those things don’t happen. There will be bad days and messy days. And that’s okay, too.

Because in the end we’re together. A little perspective goes a long way. The other day I filled out a field trip form for Braylen and I didn’t have to take a personal day. I signed up to help with the class party. I dropped her off at school this morning. Last year, I only dreamed of doing these things.

With any change I know there’s a period of adjustment, and I’m still right in the middle of mine, but as the days go by I hope my focus continues to shift from this version of the SAHM in my head, to the more realistic one the I actually am.

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And just because I love them, here’s a peek at our recent beach photos from Sarah Lyn Photography. 

**Note: This is in no way meant to be a working mom vs. SAHM post. I’ve done both, they’re both hard, they’re both rewarding. It’s an extremely personal decision that you have to make based on what works best for you and your family. I firmly believe you can be 100% happy as a working mom or a SAHM and there is absolutely no right or wrong option that works for everyone.**

monday catch-up

  • Let’s talk about the crazy events that unfolded since Judson was born. Obviously, I had a c-section to recover from, and that went well. I was finally feeling back to myself when I broke my foot. My foot heals, I get strep throat. I get better from strep throat. My bottom wisdom teeth start bothering me, I see an oral surgeon and have all four of them removed the next day. I’m feeling better from the wisdom teeth extraction and then a week post-op I get a horrible pain on the top right side of my mouth. My sinuses have intense pressure and everything hurts from my eye socket to my ear. Back to the doctor I go, he says perhaps there is an infection and sends me home with antibiotics. For the next few weeks I battle a horrible sinus infection/headache, and finally decide to go back. I get scheduled for a second surgery (that Wednesday). Turns out, there some oral-sinus communication.  Basically an opening in my sinuses from my wisdom tooth extraction. Dare I say, I think I’m actually feeling better? Y’all it has been crazy. This is coming from someone who didn’t even see a doctor (with the exception of check-ups) for nearly three years. I’m hoping I’m on the mending side of this wisdom tooth junk, and I’m ready to start feeling 100% again. This has been my view for the last few days, I’m thankful for a wonderful husband and great family that helps take care of the kiddo’s so I can rest.

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  • On a lighter note, are you watching some great shows this fall? We’re hooked on a few. I’m pretty happy to see Olivia Pope back on my screen (and back in D.C.). We watched all of the past episodes of The Good Wife when Jud was first born (and we had plenty of late nights). The only problem with binge watching shows is that I end up getting spoiled to watching episode after episode. Waiting a whole week is no fun. Grey’s Anatomy has always been a favorite of mine, and dare I say, I like it just fine without Yang. I know, I know. I’m on the fence with How to Get Away With Murder we watched the first two episodes, but I’m not hooked just yet. What about you, what’s on your DVR this fall?
  • Judson had a four-month-checkup (yes, we’re a month late). He had a clean bill of health, was not happy about the shots, weighed in at nearly 16 pounds and is 27 inches tall. Long and lean, like his sister.

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  • I’ve been blogging from my new office downstairs and I can’t wait to give you the tour! I have just a few more finishing touches. My mom and I have random craft nights. Basically, I call her with a fun new craft project and she always comes over to play. We’re both loving the new crafting area, it’s quiet and we can make a huge mess, and then put everything back in its place. Friday night, we made a quick trip to Hobby Lobby to replace the Cricut with a Silhouette (the Silhouette is SO much better), and taught ourselves how to make tassle garland.

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  • BK and Jud together are seriously the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. She sings him songs, and has conversations about princesses with him, and he doesn’t understand a word she says, but he laughs and talks to her the whole time. I was seriously worried about the age gap, but I think they’re going to be best buds, and I love watching the two of them together.
  • Were you feeling the fall temperatures on Saturday? It was a fantastic 60 degrees here all day and we spent the day watching football on the back porch. Everyone is happier outside!

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Fill Me In Friday… Lunch for Kids

It’s time for another Fill Me In Friday and today I’m talking about BK’s lunches.

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I absolutely love making cute themed lunches for Braylen. Sometimes, I get some grief about the cutesy lunches, but y’all I promise it doesn’t take too much extra time. I say that and many times get the side eye. But, this is also coming from a former kindergarten teacher. I love cute and sometimes over the top ideas, I love to make simple things fun and special, I’m all about the magic and excitement. And I won’t always be able to do this for my children, so I’m going to enjoy it while I can.

Today, I’m going to share everything with you, from where I keep everything to a few lunch box ideas.

I think the storage aspect of the necessary items is a big part of the success of themed lunches. I just made a spot in our pantry and purchased a few clear plastic storage drawers to organize the necessities. Most of these things I use for baking, too.

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On top, I keep the lunchbox containers. In the first set of storage drawers, I have silicon containers, edible markers, food coloring, piping bags, sprinkles, picks, and other embellishments for lunches (or baking). On the other side, I have tons of cutters. For now they’re organized into three different types. Letters and numbers on top, themed cutters (mostly holidays) in the middle, and animals on the bottom. It’s simple and keeps me sane. I love it when everything has a place!

Let’s take a closer look at some of the necessities, or my favorite things to have on hand when packing lunch. I randomly order things from Amazon from time to time (that one-click purchasing gets me every time).

lunch box favorites

ONE- Bento picks are perfect to add a little color and fun to lunches. You can stick them in sandwich pieces, fruit, vegetables, or create mini kabobs out of turkey and cheese with them. 

TWO- Easy Lunch Boxes are my favorite way to pack a lunch. The large compartment is big enough for silicon cups or larger portions.

THREE- Edible pens are fun to have on hand to add faces to sandwiches, write notes on marshmallows, or whatever else you might need to add a little color to.

FOUR- Edible eyeballs are perfect to make animals come to life. 

FIVE- This set of animal cutters is one of our most used sets of cutters. 

SIX- Silicon cups are great for adding color and dividing items in the lunch box.

SEVENMini alphabet cutters are perfect for spelling longer words, or cutting out your childs name.

EIGHT- Mackenzie Gray Butterfly Lunchbox- I love the Mackenzie boxes from PBK, the Easy Lunch Box containers barely fit, but they do fit, which makes them keepers for us!

NINE- Spencer Bento Box Container- I bought this container for this school year, and it’s great for variety style lunches, but it doesn’t do as well with themes because of the limited space within the sections.

Now, let’s take a look at some of BK’s recent lunches. I just try to make them colorful and fun and full of her favorite things. I want her to have a good variety of food, and I use what’s on hand.

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And sometimes I get a little more creative and give her a theme. Last year, I tried to theme her lunch around the letter of the week. It was a fun and we would play a little game where she tried to guess what I included based on the letter. It was a great way to have her practice beginning sounds and a fun little game.

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my latest fix

I must say, I’m still loving Stitch Fix! It’s been about a year since my first fix , and I’m still loving this service. I took a bit of a break when my pregnant belly didn’t want to fit into normal clothes, but I’ve since resumed and I’m just as smitten with clothes showing up at my door as I was when that first box came.

If you aren’t familiar with Stitch Fix, here’s a run-down:

You fill out a style profile, complete with tons of questions about your style, and size. Then, you schedule your fix and it comes straight to your door. What exactly do I mean by “fix”? It’s a box put together by a stylish (based on your profile) and it includes 5 different items.

The initial cost of the box is $20, BUT you can use that $20 as a credit if you chose to keep at least one thing from the box. The box also comes with a prepaid postage envelope to ship back the things you don’t like. So, free shipping and free returns, and you only lose the 20 bucks if you don’t like a single thing in the box. The odds are in your favor, at least mine were.

I haven’t been showing you all of my items (sorry!), but I thought I’d start showing you some of the keepers. Now that I’ve sent the box back, I’m kicking myself for failing to take a photo of the other items in my box that weren’t keepers.

You live and you learn, right? And I have a box coming later this month, I’ll be sure and take a few photos of everything so you can get a better idea of the whole picture.

I requested items for Fall this month, and I was secretly hoping for a light-weight coat, and would you believe I ended up with this pretty little coat?

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As soon as I saw it I knew if it fit, I would keep it! I’m loving the color and it makes me even more excited for cooler temperatures.

The only other thing I kept was this comfy red sweatshirt. Now that I’m staying home, I think comfort is key. Between chasing BK at the park and sitting in the floor to play with Jud, my work clothes just won’t cut it anymore.

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I also received an infinity scarf, but it was just too bulky for my taste. My fourth item was a white sweater tunic, and I just can’t see myself wearing bright white and introducing Jud to solids. It just seemed impractical for this season of my life.

The fifth and final item was a great navy tunic and I was very close to keeping this item.

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But, it was very similar to this past Stitch Fix item from last Fall. I love this black and white tunic, but I decided I didn’t need both, so I sent it back.

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Have you tried Stitch Fix yet?


celebrate the occasion: BOO! box

Let me just go ahead and say, I’ve been horrible at keeping up with the blog over the summer. I promise series and reoccurring posts and I’m always falling behind. Thankfully, I found my early morning groove again this week and I am hoping that it’s just what I need to get back to regular posting. Basically, here I am starting off the month on the right foot and making a commitment to come back to the blog with some dedication. I’m going to try my hardest not to be such a flake in October.

Remember back in July when I brought you the first celebrate the occasion box? Well, forget August and September, and let’s look forward to October. I started this little project in order to make good on my resolution to send more snail mail. Let’s finish out 2014 strong.

I was thinking about that fun little game we play around Halloween where you Boo your neighbors (if you aren’t sure what I’m referring to, click here). I thought it would be fun to play on that same idea and send a box of Halloween treats in the mail.

Here’s a look inside the BOO! box for October.

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BK and I went to the store and we had the best time picking out fun things for the box. Keep in mind who you’re sending your box to when purchasing your items. Since our box is going to friends with littles, we wanted to make sure they had some fun surprises in the box.

We included:

  • Pumpkin cups
  • Halloween themed Play Packs
  • cupcake liners
  • cupcake toppers
  • creaseless hair ties
  • a Halloween books
  • Reese’s pumpkins
  • festive paper straws

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It’s all packaged up and ready to go, I can’t wait to put this fun little box in the mail in a few weeks!

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