“He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.” continue reading here
While driving in our minivan this week, two car seats buckled behind me, I couldn’t help but think to myself “This is the life!” (Yup, while in the minivan. Sometimes I still can’t believe that I drive a minivan. And love it. Ha!) Our life is no where near perfect. We have our less than stellar moments, terrible, horrible, no good days, kids crying at the grocery store checkout line, and toddler tantrums. I lose my patience and run on exhaustion, dinner is typically an afterthought, the laundry is piled up all over our dresser and I often feel like I do the same thing, every day. And yet, I can’t help but think I have the luckiest job in the world. It’s exhausting and hard and the hours are killer, but it’s the most satisfying, rewarding job I’ve ever had. Nothing beats hearing Addie laugh for the first time or having Ellie wrap her little arms around my neck and say “You’re my best fwiend!”
I’ve been trying to be better at capturing this stage we’re in. I always remember to photograph our adventures and vacations, but sometimes I forget that our moments together at home are just as important, if not more so. It’s where we have the most learning moments (for all of us!), the most laughter, the most memories. Along with photos, I’m trying to take a few more video clips of our days at home. The juggle between playtime and chores, naptime and sneaking in a little work. Building blocks and pouring milk. This little video below was one of my absolute favorites to put together:
Whether we’re at home or out and about, I’ve found that these LuLaRoe pieces are my absolute favorite! Be it the skirts, leggings, dresses, or tops, they’re the perfect combination of cute and comfortable. I love that they add a playful sense to my wardrobe – both in terms of pattern and color and the fact that I can PLAY in them! I love when I find clothing that allows me to get down on the floor and build trains or chase Ellie around at the park, but still looks cute!
My cute friends, Sam and Missy, are graciously offering a LulaRoe Julia Dress to one lucky reader! And you won’t be disappointed. This dress is amazingly comfortable and has the perfect sleeve length and fit! I think I’m going to have to stock up on several, I could wear these everyday! The giveaway will run through October 9th, open to US readers only. All entries will be verified. You can enter the giveaway below! Good luck!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TrickOrSweet #CollectiveBias
Yes, yes, I know I have the reputation of being a Halloween Grinch, but over the years, I’ve slowly been coming around. Having kids has made me a little bit less Grinch-y, and this year, I’m determined to make it our best Halloween yet! First stop, a Halloween party! I mean, who doesn’t love to party? Ok, ok, parties generally come with a little stress for the host (ahem, me) but I’ve learned a few tricks over the years. Here are five tips to make it your best (and least stressful!) party yet!
1. Start Preparing Early
In my mind, it’s never too early to start prepping for a party! I tend to stock up on party goods throughout the year when they’re on sale. Brian thinks this might be too early to start. ;) At least start a week or two in advance. Planning your dates, food, décor, and activities early will help eliminate bumps in the road and give you time to change your game plan if necessary!
2. Pick a Theme
When it comes to Halloween, there’s SO many different directions you could go in terms of a theme. Spooky soiree, gremlins and ghosts, country fall themed, or super kid friendly. Try to pick one theme and stick to it. That includes a color palette! For this party idea, I wanted it to shout Trick-or-Treat and kid friendly. I liked sticking with the classic colors – orange, blacks, and whites. I tried to stay away from anything too spooky or scary.
3. It’s ok to have help!
When it comes to food, I always like to bake and make everything myself. It has taken me a long time to realize it’s ok to get help! I used store bought (gasp!) cupcakes and premade mini sugar cookies as part of the desserts. (They were delicious, by the way.) Ellie helped frost the sugar cookies and made them little orange pumpkins. Be sure to plan accordingly for treats! Everyone usually wants to have at least one of each treat, so I normally go mini sized (or appetizer sized) for food. That way everyone gets to try it all, without filling up on the first item and food going to waste. Another thing to keep in mind? Party sized treats! Buy in bulk, my friends! These large bags of Hershey's Candy are a must for the Halloween season and the perfect addition to your festivities! I purchased mine at Walmart and they were perfect for filling up my apothecary jars and doubling as treat bag favors.
4. Have something for guests to do
When guest walk in, avoid that awkward period and give guests something to start working on right away! These DIY trick or treat bags are the perfect craft to keep your guests busy. Kids can totally do participate (especially if you have everything prepared beforehand). Another fun game? Don’t Eat Pete! (I seriously loved this as a kid!) Tutorials and downloads for both activities below!
-Stencil (download bat stencil here)
Print out desired stencil and trace onto freezer paper. (Make sure the shiny side of the freezer paper is faced down.)
Using an exacto knife (and cutting board!), carefully cut pieces of your stencil. If you have a Cricut machine, you could totally have multiple stencils cut out in one go, and save yourself some hand cramps!
Iron freezer paper onto tote bag. Make sure it is ironed down well, anything that isn’t ironed down is at risk for getting painted. When doing this for a party, I recommend having all the steps up until this point ready to go! (Especially if they’re younger guests!)
Begin painting! I used regular acrylic paint. (With t-shirts I typically use fabric paint since its going through the wash a lot!) I’ve learned that dabbing the paint on works the best! Ellie absolutely loved this part.
Let the paint dry.
When paint is dry (or close to dry!) carefully peel off the freezer paper.
Tie desired ribbons and bows onto handles.
And now, fill with treats! This was such a fun and super simple project that’s perfect for a Halloween party! And, my favorite, Don’t Eat Pete! Download the free printable here.
5. Stop stressing!
Once you’ve prepared and organized and done all that you can do, take time to ENJOY your party! That’s where the memories are made. (Easier said than done ;)
It’s that time of the month again! No, no, not that time of the month. Rather, the time of the month in which I pretend that I’m not a complete dork in front of the camera and Brian goes into photographer mode telling me how to stand and look. Despite the fact that I feel totally awkward being in pictures by myself (Where are my children? Aren’t they usually in photos with me? Ha!), I love participating in Brooke’s “How We Wore It” collabs. There’s no shopping involved, just sorting through my closet for a Pinterest inspired outfit. Which, until I cleaned it last weekend, my closet was just a pile of clothes on the floor a few feet high. No joke. I’m fairly certain it drove Brian crazzzzy, but he didn’t say anything. ;) Anyway, this was our inspiration:
via Life with Emily
I was loving the loose shirt, ripped jeans, and heels, so that’s what I based my look on. Heels? Haven’t worn them in months! The only time I wear them nowadays is when I have Brian with me and he can carry the car seat or Addie girl. I tend to…be a little accident prone in heels. ;) This white feminine top is my absolute favorite, especially when it comes to my postpartum body. I am working on being more confident in my postpartum-ness and being happy with the now. This quote hangs in our living room and it’s such a good reminder! Every once in awhile I catch myself thinking “I’ll be really happy when (fill in the blank)” and I quickly try to purge those thoughts as quickly as they came. Happiness is not a destination or an end goal. Happiness can be made now.
Check out these lovely ladies and their looks this month! (And sign up for next month’s collaboration on Brooke’s blog below!)
Brooke at Silver Lining
Robin at Penn and Quill
Kyla at FordOlogy
Bekah at These are the Days
Sierra at Sierra's View
Sharlee at My New Lines
Aubrey at Aubrey Zaruba
Jennifer at The Pepper Express
Amy at Harris, Inc.
Ashley at Absolutely Ashley
Berkley at Berkley Anne
Riley at Riley Jo
Tayler at The Morrell Tale
Jacqui at Drink the Day
Stephanie at The Artist + The Architect
Tori at The Doing Things Blog
Ashley at Practically Imperfect
Maren at Mark and Maren
Brooklyn at Brooklyn Jolley
Sarah at My For Real Life
Kallie at Life Through a Lens
Madison at Madison Custer
Amy at Lamb and Ivy
Alicia at Snowstorm
Shelby at R + S Brereton
When we moved into our townhome, I knew I wanted to make it a comfortable place for our kids to play. Ellie was about 9 months old when we moved in, and for the first few days before our carpets were cleaned and rugs were laid down, she played in a big moving box because I wouldn’t let her touch the nasty floor! Ha! Poor girl. Since then, we’ve put down new flooring and made a fun space for play. Our playroom houses a slide and fun playhouse/crawl space, our ottoman opens up into a ball pit, and we’ve made sure every room in our house is ball tag friendly. ;) I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect swing for awhile, and I have finally found one! I wanted something both the girls could eventually use and this fabric swing from Rockabye Colbie has been the PERFECT addition. Now that Addie has more neck strength, she has started to try it out, too! I’d say from that smile on her face, she adored her turn.
The swing can hold up to 50 pounds, so both Addie and Ellie will be able to enjoy it for a long time. It’s perfect for indoor AND outdoor use, and can easily be moved around our home to different rooms. I love that it’s extremely padded and comes with a pillow for extra support. I only wish I had one in my size!