Kiddie Book Club Vol. 2



I've had so much fun hunting for new board books to add to our collection this last month. Most of my book finds are thrifted, although, I'm not afraid to pick up a few here & there from retails stores. Having a wealth of books for the girls to enjoy means so much to me. It such a simple way to encourage their imagination, and while your at it, it is also a great way for them to have quiet time!

The first book I want to share is the Muddy Hippo, a play book, from Usbourne. I picked this up for less than two dollars at a consignment sale. I love busy books that allow interaction for the kiddos. It gives  broader scope for creative learning, and another bonus? Fine motor skills! Evie loves it.

The second book that I really enjoyed reading to Evie this month was One Spring Lamb. I've already written a review when I hosted the giveaway, but I should probably mention another great aspect: It encourages learning numbers! She's really into her numbers right now.

For my birthday, Josh took me shopping. One of my main stops was Barnes & Noble where I purchased another baby lit book to add to our growing collection. This specific title, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, encourages color learning. Beautiful, and simple. True to the Baby Lit style!

Last, but not least, I found a copy of Ten Tiny Toes. This specific titles encourges both imagination & creative play through interaction. Kids can learn about certain body parts: eyes, ears, mouth and nose! Super cute, and simple enough for young toddlers.

Those those are my favorite kiddie book finds of the month! What are yours?

Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 16


We had a beautiful Easter! Did you? I was blessed by our worship service. It's so easy to become calloused to the Resurrection, but yesterday, I was reminded at how humbling a reality it is that Jesus gave all so that we may have the gift of salvation! We are so blessed.


The weather...
The sun is shining, and it feels like spring outside!

Right now I am...
Sipping on my coffee. Today, I'm drinking it iced with whole milk and a dash of cinnamon.

Thinking... 
About getting back on a regular schedule & cleaning routine. Whenever life gets a bit overwhelming, sometimes I'll give myself a break, and lots of grace. But, by the looks of the house at the moment, it's time for a few simple routines to be put back into place. Just keeping it real, hehe. :D

On my TV...
We watched a couple of movies this weekend. One was Larry Crowne, and the other was About Time. They were pretty good. But honestly, would it be possible for them to make a comedy flick without so much language?? Am I just becoming more and more old fashioned? It gets old. :\

What I'm Reading...
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Home by Julie Andrews
Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

On the menu for this week...
Italian Chicken Bake with Wild Rice
Buffalo Chicken, Bake Broccoli, and Mashed Potatoes
Grilled Cheese & Avacado Salad
Scrambled Eggs, Fruit & Sliced Cheese
White Bean & Kale Soup
Blackened Salmon, Green Beans & Mashed Potatoes

On my to do list...
Load & Unload Dishwasher
Make Bed
Speed Clean
Wipe Down Bathrooms
Make Batch Burritos
Clean Out Car
Clean Out Purse

Looking forward to this week...
Relaxing at home with Josh & the kiddos
Visiting a community garden later this week

Verse... 

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” ~Ephesians 5:14

5 Scripture Memorization Goals


With Easter week half way through, I found myself being challenged to really know God's word. It is easy to sit down and read a verse or two. But, am I applying it? Am I saturing my soul with it? The simple answer was no, and so with my Bible, and journal in hand, I decided to remedy that. My goal is to focus the rest of the year on memorizing the following verses:


But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." 
Matthew 4:4

"He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 
1 John 4:8 

"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such there is no law." 
Galations 5:22-23

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 
2 Timothy 1:7

"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God." 
1 John 5:13

What verses have you memorized that comforts you?

Touches of Spring


I've been adding a few touches of spring here & there around the house. My favorite addition is a pretty white hobnail vase that I found at a loca thrift store for $3. I found some hydrangias at Kroger that seemed to fit the vase perfectly. I don't buy fresh flowers very often, but it's fun every once in a while!! :)


I added some Easter books to our basket by our couch. I like to keep themed books out around the house as Evie enjoys playing with them. Lends to the festive mood!


I love scentsy, and buy new scents each season. I was introduced to Bamboo Yuzu last year, and it was my favorite! It smells like spring to me! Very fresh, and makes our home feel more cozy.

So, there's a little glimpse at our home during spring. Happy Tuesday!

Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 15


The weather...
Spring is finally here! And with it came a bit of a cold snap...BUT it's a beautiful day outside, and the skies are clear blue. Can't complain! ;)

 Right now I am... 
Sipping water, enjoying the lull of late afternoon, listening to curious george in the background...

Thinking...
About the faithfulness of God. It has been a tough two years, and honestly, every day is simply a gift. 

On my TV...
We are looking for a new show to watch. We've tried several new shows and they just don't seem to fit our taste buds. Any suggestions?

What I'm Reading...
Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman
Little Women

On the menu for this week...
Leftover Corned Beef, Colcannon, Irish Soda Bread & Sald (we had a big Irish themed dinner over the weekend)
Buffalo Chicken Casserole, Asian Slaw & Green Beans
Thai Chicken Soup & Rice
Turkey, Baked Broccoli & Mashed Potatoes
Soup & Salad

On my to do list...
Speed Clean
Workout
Answer E-mails
Work on Baby Books

In the craft basket...
Artwork project with Evie

 Looking forward to this week...
Quality time with friends & loved ones.

One Spring Lamb (Book Giveaway!)


I love working with Tommy Nelson Mommies! They offer some of the most precious books for kiddos, and One Spring Lamb is no exception. It is filled with gorgeous illustrations, pops of color, and a sweet storyline. It is a perfect book to read during the spring season.



As always, I'm a fan of the board book quality. It's perfect for Evie to carry around the house, and have her "reading" time.

Congratulations to Shannon R! You will receive an e-mail from me shortly. :)

I'm giving aways one copy tomorrow afternoon at 3pm. Please leave me a comment and tell me what children's books are your favorite! You can also check out my Facebook page, and tell me your favorite aspect of the Easter season! Open to US residents. Void where prohibited.

Thank you to Tommmy Nelson for a copy of my book in exchange for an honest review.

Cotton and May






Shortly after Ella was born, I found out I had won a beautiful baby blanket from my blogging friend Laura. She too is a wife & mother, and writes a gorgeous blog over at A Spoonful of Joy. When I saw her contest announcing her new etsy shop, Cotton and May, and baby blanket giveaway, I knew I had to enter!

The best part? The baby blanket that I won matches her room perfectly. I love that it's also a reversible blanket (the inside is white with pink polka dots!). I've had fun using it as a backdrop for my photography (you'll see another d├ębut of the blanket in my next blog post, hehe). I'm thrilled to support a blogging friend, and share her lovely work. You can learn more about Cotton and May at her coordinating blog, as well.

A heartfelt thank you, Laura, for such a lovely blanket for Ella. I think of you when I swaddle her in it. Best wishes with your new venture. :)

A Trip To Ireland!


A few years ago, we took a trip to Ireland. It had been a dream of mine for many years, due to the fact I have a long line of Irish heritage. When I was a teenager, I used to research our family history, and was able to trace all the way back to Ireland. I still haven't quite figured out where my O'Connell ancestors came from in Ireland, but I do know we are most definately Irish. Ha! ;)


Visiting the Cliff's of Moher were at the top of my list. We actually went on a bus tour, and our guide shared a lot of information about the area. I was surprised at how large the cliff's are. These pictures do not do them justice! I'm not a big fan of heights, so I was a bit weary.

It was so fuggy, blustery, and rainy that day! I'm glad I got a couple of good pictures despite that fact. I think it kind of lends a hand to the moodiness of the photo, anyway.


This scenery seems to sum up my thoughts on Ireland perfectly: lush, green, and simply beautiful. <3


My favorite spot during the trip was on the opposite side of the Carrick Bridge. The coloring of the water against the green was magical.



Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Hello, there!! (SUYL)

Eek! I remember linking up with Show Us Your Life years ago, but it's been a while. Well, it's being resurrected, and I wanted to hop on board. The theme this week is simply an "intro post" so you can get to know new bloggers.



(This is the only family photo we have since Ella has been born, ha!)

Hi there! My name is Heather, I'm a wife, mother & Arkansas native. I've been married to Josh for almost seven years now. He works in architecture, and does graphic design on the side. We have two daughters, Evie (Eh-Vee) who will be two this summer, and Ella who just turned two months old. Both of my girls were born at 36 weeks, but Ella ended up in the NICU for six days. She's now a happy, healthy, two month old sweetheart. Evie is our spirited little lady, who loves to dance to music, watch Curious George. She keeps us in stiches with her antics!

I've been a stay at home mom now for nearly two years, and I've loved every minute. I'm a bit on the nerdy side and enjoy all things homemaking related: cooking, cleaning, organizing, decorating, budgeting, etc. I also enjoy keeping up with my passion of blogging which provides me an outlet to pursue two of my other passions: photography & reading.

I love traveling! Pre-kids we traveled extensively (5 countries & 12 states together). France & Ireland were two of my favorite trips of all time. We are planning a mini vacay for our Anniversary next month, and I am SO excited. I love watching Disney movies, consignment sales, iced coffee, flea markets, sunflowers, Project Life, and dressing my daughters up! I'm also an avid fan of Downton Abby, Parenthood, and Gilmore Girls.

My faith is a huge part of my life. I am thankful for salvation through Jesus Christ. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for Him. I'm also thankful to be surrounded by friends who challenge me in my daily walk with Christ. I'm currently working through two Beth Moore Bible studies (Breaking Free & Audacious). I also recenlty started Bible Journaling, which has been a great creative outlet for me. 

Thanks for visiting, and I can't wait to "meet" you all through SUYL!!

Ella Bug (Two Month Update)



Our sweet girl is now two months old! I just can't handle it. How in the world did that happen? She has grown so much, and gained quite a bit! I call her our chunky monkey. This girl has some serious rolls going on. I had to put her newborn clothes away (cue the tears again!), and she's almost out of size 1 diapers!

She is just the SWEETEST little thing. She's rarely fussy, and loves to smile. She sleeps through the night, and is very content to just soak in her surroundings. She's also a total cuddle bug. So, I think I'll sign off for now and go kiss those chubby cheeks of hers. ;)

I love you Ella bug!

Rainy Days



We are under the gun for five days of rain. I'm busy piling books to be read, movies to watch, and new recipes to try. And maybe a new game or two for Evie. I think Ella will be content to just snuggle the rainy days away. 

Five Places I Want to Visit (Inspired By My Favorite Books)



I was browsing some of my favorite book memorbilia on Pinterest, when I realized that many of my dream vacations are inspired by my favorite books. Some of these places I've traveled to before, but I would love to visit them again now as an adult.


  • Prince Edward Island -- This is hands down at the top of my list. Anne of Green Gables is probably one of the most beloved novels of all time. I read the books, watched the movies, devoured the show, and occasionally cooked up "anne inspired" recipes that I found online as a teenage girl. Even now, the movies bring back some of my fondest childhood memories. To walk the shore, and visit the house...well, that would just be amazing.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Rocky Ridge Farm -- The Little House on The Prairie series was equally devoured by yours truly. I grew up watching the show each morning, and have read the books multiple times. I got to visit her farm as a child, but I would love to go back and visit as an adult. I may have already put the bug in my husband's ear. ;)
  • Austenland -- Apparently, there's a cult brewing...and it's a unique one. There are Jane Austen inspired weekeneds & vacations modeled after the books. There are numerous opportunities, but this article shares more in depth information!
  • Oh, Copperfield! -- I may be the only human on the planet that loved David Copperfield (even the most devout Dickens fans didn't like this novel), but for some reason, I found it to be a story that stood out in my mind all these years later. I remember reading it late into the night as a teenager. I'm also a huge fan of The Christmas Carol. Needless to say, visiting the Charles Dickens Museum would be a day in paradise for me!
  • Last, but not least, I would love to visit the Hill Top home of the beloved Beatrix Potter. I loved her books, and still do. I'm slowly working on collecting all the sweet little novels for my girls to read one day.
If you could visit anywhere based on one of your favorite novels, where would you go?

Linking Up: Five Favorites |

Why Knowing Your Personality Is Important


I'm a HUGE personality buff. I've always been that way. I think I was 15 or maybe 16 the first time I learned that we all have different personalities. It helped me understand why my brother and I could be SO incredibly different and still have a few common traits. It later served me well when understanding why certain careers or hobbies appealed to my personality. And now, as a wife & mother, it has helped me learn why certain things are tougher (or easier) for me to deal with.

1) It helps you understand what makes you tick!

This may seem so trivial, but knowing what little things make me tick seems to aid in an overall sense of happiness. For example, I LOVE making lists. By starting my day (or even ending my day) with lists helps me feel more accomplished. It also helps me to stay focused & motivated. Which is a huge blessing, because I am easily distracted. It's the little things that add up!

2) It helps you understand what makes you uncomfortable.

Even though I'm an extrovert, I'm actually what they call a "hybrid extrovert". Meaning, I enjoy being around people, but at the same time it can make me very uncomfortable. I'm the kind of person who can rarely say no to a party, but it also gives me anxiety. Why? Because I'm very in tune with people's emotions. If I go to a big get together, I can usually sense right away if something is wrong or if someone is upset. Which in turn, makes me upset. It's just how I respond as an ENFP.

3) It helps you understand your homemaking style/career/hobbies/etc.

I've often wondered why a typical 9 to 5 job with the same 'ol routine doesn't appeal to me. Now, give me a job that allows me to be in tune with my creative side and has great flexibility, and your singing my tune. If all people understood this, I think the work force would be a much happier place.

So, how do you learn more about your personality? Here's my go to vices:
  • The Myers Briggs personality test is fantastic. You can learn more about MB at their web site here.
  • Here is a great breakdown of what all those letters & terms mean.
  • I also recommend reading the book Have A New You by Friday by Kevin Leman. This book really breaks down personality traits and how to use that information to better yourself. He's an amazing author, and honestly, his books are some of my favorite! I may devote an entire post to his work, soon. :)
Do you know what your personality is? I'd love to hear about it!
Linking up at Homemaking Mondays & One Project.

Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 14



The weather...
It's a bit cloudy today. Rain is moving in soon, and it's supposed to stay for a while. Better pull out the rain jackets! Then again...I don't have one. Ha!

Right now I am...
Drinking coffee, listening to Evie chatter.

Thinking...
That life doesn't always pan out like you hope. And it's ok. God's plans are always better. 

On my TV...
I haven't watched any of my shows lately. Maybe with the rain coming, and more time at home, I'll start a new show. Any suggestions?

On the menu for this week...
Blackened Salmon, French Green Beans &  Mashed Potatoes 

Buffalo Chicken Casserole & Veggies
Breakfast for Dinner
Turkey, Baked Broccoli & Mashed Potatoes
Chicken & Veggies 

On my to do list...
Speed Clean

Work on the girls Baby Books
Fold Laundry
Quiet Time
Workout

In the craft basket...
Catching up with Project Life

Working on my Bible journal
Putting together a simple spring wreath
Some kiddie projects for Evie

Looking forward to this week...
Dinner out with a couple of my friends. It's been a long time!

What I'm into (February Edition)


I'm a little late posting this, but here's a fun recap of the things I LOVED during the month of February...

{Reading}
With February being my birthday month, I splurged on a copy of Little Women. It's from Usborne, and offered precious illustrations.

I also continued reading Audacious by Beth Moore. I'm going through this with my friend Lauren, and we are using it as a Bible study. I also started reading through the The Power of a Praying Wife devotional. I read through it last year, and wanted to do it again this year. It's an amazing, eye opening book. I love being challenged to pray for specific areas!

{Television}
We finished watching the entire show of Frazier. It was really sad for me. I really learned to love Frazier despite all his quirks, and it was fun watching his family find happiness. I also zipped through the second season of When Calls The Heart on Netflix. Ya'll, I just LOVE that show. I'm a total sucker for sweet and sappy love stories. I also watched the 4th & 5th season of Downton Abby. I should probably note, I don't usualy watch that much TV, but I was still in "post partum" recovery mode, so laying on the couch took place more than usual. Oh, and I may or may not have started Parenthood again. It's a beautiful show on so many levels. If you are a fan of Gilmore Girls, I recommend it. Yes, there was one season that I could have done without, but other than that, it was just good. So good.

{Movies}
We didn't watch many movies during the month of February. The only movie we rented worth mentioning was Bridge of Spies. I'm a big Tom Hanks fan, and this movie did not disappoint. We also watched Inside Out. It is such a precious movie! It earned  rank right next to the beloved movie Up. Disney rarely disappoints me. ;)

{Music}
As for music, Adele's album 25 has been on repeat in my car. I don't fangirl much, but ya'll, she's worth fangirling over. I've also enjoyed Elevation Worship via YouTube. If you like contemporary Christian style worship, they've got some gorgeous songs.

{Sipping}
I've been on both a coffee & tea kick. When Ella was in the hospital, there was a tiny coffee bar located on the ground floor. After visiting her each morning, I would grab a latte to head back to my room to rest. The latte I fell in love with was a Raspberry Vanilla Latte. It tasted so good, and for some reason, I still enjoy that flavor combo. It offered a small piece of comfort during those long days alone. And then my friend Felicia's got me hooked on Thai Tea. It's a nice change from coffee.

What have you been into lately?

Linking up with Leigh Kramer

Dear Evie Vol. 2


I had a perfectly posed picture in mind. You were having none of it. I snapped three pictures, and put the camera away. Sometimes, the "real life" photos turn out much better, anyway. I love you, you little feisty pants.

Dear Ella


I just loved the way you looked in the window light. It was a rainy morning and you were so peaceful and content just laying on the rug. It's hard to believe it's been two months since you arrived. Those first few days were rough, and they seem a distant memory now. I just need to remember to snuggle you up more, and savor that newborn smell. Time is moving quickly. And I want to savor every little second of your baby-ness. 

I love you, always. 

Kiddie Book Club Vol. 1


We have little shortage of kiddo books around here! But, I'm always looking for new titles to share with Evie. She loves her board books, and looks through them multiple times throughout the day. I've noticed that the more color & interactive the storylines are, the more she is apt to listen, even at her young age. Not to mention, fun illustrations keeps her busy when she 'reads' them herself. My goal is to start sharing more kiddie book reviews! Oh, and I will be hosting two kiddie book giveaways this month, so be sure to check back soon.

Here's five books that we've been reading lately...

1) Count My Blessings 1-2-3: This charming little book is a favorite of Evie's. They have raised artwork and an interactive storyline. When we started reading this, she would say the world "2", and point to each item. I'm surprised at how quickly she caught on!

2) Thank You, Lord, For Everything: I just love this book. It's such a simple, and easy way to remind your kids to be thankful for all that the Lord blesses us with. The illustrations are precious, and Evie loves me to read this one to her.

3) I'm a Big Sister: I was so excited to find a copy at my local Target when Ella came along. We read this one A LOT when we were transitioning to a family of four. I don't know if she really grasped the concept, but she brings this one to me ALL the time for me to read to her. So, I'm thinking she gets it. Hehe.

4) If I Could Keep You Little: Ok, I'll admit, I bought this one for myself. It's the sweetest story of a mother telling her child how she would love to keep them little, but why she cannot. I might read it more than I'd like to admit. Because, yes, I want to keep them little, but I cannot. It's balm for a mother's soul.

5) Muddle & Match: My daughter was first introduced to these cute books by my friend Kristina. She is OBSESSED with these books. She pulls them out and flips through the 'muddled' story lines throughout the day. It's very interactive, and a great storyline for a wide age range in my opinion. Plus, the illustrations are super colorful. You can check out these fun Usborne books here (it's through my friend's web site).

Linking up with Five Favorites | What To Read Wednesday

Dear Evie



Dear Evie: I love watching you play. And capturing those wild curls with my camera. I brought my wedding dress out for you to play dress up. You had your own ideas...you ran and jumped on the poofs of the dress for hours. Followed by tons of shrieks and squeals. I'm amazed baby sis slept through all that, but she did. I hope you always love the little things in life. You are so very loved, and cherished.

Love,
Momma

Linking up: Little Things

March Goals


February Recap & March Goals...

Faith: I've enjoyed having quiet time each day, and spending more time in prayer. My goal again this month, is to carve out a few minutes throughout the day for scripture reading & prayer time.

Health: I have really stuck to my guns on this! I've been working out, drinking plenty of water, and stuck to an 80/20 rule with clean eating. I enjoyed the occasional treat, and did so without guilt. And honestly, I've had a blast learning ways to make our favorite meals healthier. 

Marriage: We were able to enjoy a date night last week! We've also enjoyed watching movies after the kids go to bed. It's been nice. :) My goal is to continue having date nights, and to start reading a devotional together.

Project Life: This is the only area that I didn't get to work on. I'm more hopeful for this month!

Reading: I read one book, and started another. Not bad! My goal this month is to read two books. One non-fiction, and one fiction book.

Linking up with Grit & Grace!

Twenty-Sixteen 52 Weeks: February





Well, I took an image each week for my 52 Week project. I love taking time to snap images that convey our life. I realize most of these already showed up on the blog, but I wanted a direct link to each month. ;) Happy Tuesday!

Linking Up: Through My Lens | Life Thru The Lens |