Coffee and A Saturday Night Drive

Last weekend, my kids spent time with grandparents, so Josh and I could have a much needed date night. Except we were SO tired. We decided to pick up coffee and go for a drive.We stopped at a little coffee shop and I ordered an Almond Joy Frozen Coffee. It was delicious! I love dessert coffee every once in a while.

We drove around the countryside for a while, and then headed to the lake! Surprisingly, the lake was fairly empty, so we walked around for a while. It was nice for a chance to talk and dream about the future.

The sunset was breathtaking. This was taken out of a moving vehicle, so yes, grainy! But, I had to take it anyway. Memories. :)

I Might Be Awkward

1) When I am feeling blue, I like to listen to upbeat music. Mainly Disney soundtracks, oldies or Christmas music. They make me feel good and bring a smile to my face. I grew up as a "radio kid" (my dad has been in radio for 40 years), so I think this may be why music is my escape.

2) I am a really slow text-er? Is that a word? Anyway, I like texting, but to me it's like an e-mail. I have to sit down and think out my response and what I want to say. It drives most of my friends crazy, but I think they love me anyway. I think? Haha! Also, my husband does NOT text unless he is in a meeting or can't get a hold of someone.

3) I really, really love decorating. Switching out pillows, changing out candles, moving accessories around the house make me happy. I've always enjoyed seasonal decorating over the years. Decorating for fall and Christmas are my FAVORITE. I'm already making plans for both. I also love decorating the girls rooms. What is it about sweet pastels that make me so happy? I don't know, but they do.

4) My style is a mix of country and traditional. I love traditional layouts and accessories with a splash of country patterns or wood. I think this just makes my ADD brain happy. Ha! Also, I love adding white & blue around my house. My grandma ALWAYS decorated with blue, and now it's my go to color scheme.

5) When it comes to dessert...I almost ALWAYS go for chocolate unless there is Tiramisu in the house. There's just nothing like it. Who wants to bring me a slice?

6) I am seriously old-fashioned and just slightly awkward. Ok, maybe I'm super awkward. I avoid TMI conversations like the plague. I think little girls should wear smocked dresses. And why do people post weird, over the top pictures of intimate situations? I just don't get it.

7) My guilty pleasure is most definitely Instagram. I might need therapy. Or something. Or maybe not. I tell myself my kids will love looking at all those photos someday, right? Right?

So, there you go. Random for the win. ;)

A Mini Vacation

On Saturday, we packed up our bags on what was supposed to be a day trip. At the last minute, we decided to make it our first mini vacation with the girls---gulp--and stay in a hotel. This allowed us to drive further into Missouri and take our time just getting away!

We stayed in Springfield, Mo at the Hilton Garden Inn. The hotel is one that we've stayed at before, and I just love it. They offer a delicious breakfast, an indoor pool, and the rooms are very comfortable and clean. The staff is always very helpful, and I'm impressed with how they make it feel like an escape from every day life. So nice!

The first night we ate at Culver's (I love their old-fashioned butter burgers!) and then headed straight to the hotel to let the girls swim. They both love the water, and Evie goes crazy when she sees "big" pools. She is most definitely our water baby.

The next morning we took our time enjoying breakfast, then headed off to visit the original Bass Pro Shop. This place is fun even if you aren't a big "outdoors" kind of person. There are indoor oversize fish tanks, turtle tanks, and even alligator's! Eek!

On our way home, we stopped at an Italian Restaurant that's a bit off beat. Hence the giant meatball picture above! Haha.

We made a few pit stops mainly for coffee, and ice cream. If you are ever in the Ozarks, visit the Keeter Center Creamery and try their Ice Cream. I had the Bob Cat Crunch that was loaded with all sorts of goodies nestled in creamy rich chocolate ice cream. It was sooooo good.

Well, that's a wrap. I'm ready to stay home for a few months to recover! I'm kidding. Sort of. ;)

Family Photos Summer 2017

On Saturday, I asked my mom to take a few pictures of us. I needed to update our family photo that we have framed in the living room, and I also wanted some pictures of the girls in their sweet smocked dresses that I bought for the summer time. It was so hot! But, the park was heavily shaded, which made for pretty lighting. 

Thankful for sweet photos of my little family. <3

They have changed so much this summer. I love having photos to reflect on different stages of life. Memories are precious. <3

Rambling Friday Post

It's Friday! I am probably a little too excited, but yet, it was a long week for some reason. We stayed home most of the time, and I had a lot of catching up to do around the house. And now that I feel much better about our current laundry situation...I'm ready for a little adventure around town.

What are some of your favorite thing to do when you are out an about? My favorite things would include book shopping, picking up an iced latte, and getting a pedicure. I also love to visit antique stores and flea markets. So, I may squeeze in one or two of the above later this afternoon. We'll see.

This morning, I went through the girls clothes to take note of what we needed for both fall and the coming Christmas season. I know it's still summer, but our local consignment sales tend to start early in August, so I need my lists ready to go.

Speaking of fall, I've spent the last year slowly collecting books and activity sets for Evie as she starts preschool at home this fall. I found the cutest little counting set on Amazon, and tons of Scholastic and Usbourne books at a local thrift store. I'm all about hands on activities and sweet books to read this early in the game, but Evie really does enjoy the learning process. This summer, she took it on herself to learn colors. She would randomly walk around the house trying to guess colors. So, I picked up flash cards and a couple of books that covered that topic. She soaked it all up like a sponge. I really am in denial that I have a preschooler on my hands.

Another thing I worked on this week was re-vamping my menu planning process. Typically, I do my shopping once a week on Monday's and build a meal plan for 4-5 meals (honesty moment--we eat out several times a week). I've decided to start doing my shopping on Thursday evenings, and planning for 5-6 meals each week. That we can still enjoy eating out or ordering take out, but just wanting cut back just a tad. Also, I'm trying to rotate one new meal each week just for kicks. All that to say, it just worked better with our schedule. Ok, that was probably a boring paragraph? I'm nerdy like that. ;)

Happy Friday!

So Loved

The other day we were getting ready to head off to my parents house. As we walked to the car, Evie Grace pipes up as she climbs into the back seat:

"Momma, you are loved. So, so loved."

Those words are something I have said to the girls since they were born. If there is one thing I want them to know, it is how much they are loved. Not only by their parents, but by our Heavenly Father. And so, I often whisper in their ears that they are "so, so loved".

When we were foster parents, I remember hearing from others about the power of our words to children. They really hear everything that we say, and they take those words to heart. So, yes, hearing her say that to me was priceless. I may mess up many times as a parent, but I hope they know those words are from the depths of my heart. And that they believe them with every fiber of their being.

How deep the Father's love for us

How vast beyond all measure

Summer Weekending

I think this picture sums up their current life pretty good: Water play, cute swim suits and lots of ice cream! I think that it makes summer magical. I'm all about magical childhoods. They only get to be little once, so why not create the sweetest memories? Pun intended ;)

Also, what is it about first born daughters? I see her growing up so quickly. It leaves a catch in my throat. She loves learning new things. She loves being a big girl. Her face lights up when she learns something new...that I can hardly stand it. Please, won't you slow down and stop growing up for a while? These days are going by much too fast. Stay little, okay?

And what about those baby rolls? She is such a cutie pie. And she KNOWS it. And let's you know that she knows it. I think she will forever keep us on our toes. If you look up the word spunk in the dictionary, you'd find her name there. ;-)

Motherhood: It's exhausting, it's fun, and it's my dream come true. <3

Jane of Austin

Who doesn't love a good Jane Austen novel? Better yet, who doesn't love a fun twist on an old classic? Those were my thoughts when I picked up "Jane of Austin" by Hillary Manton Lodge.

Not only was I intrigued by the gorgeous book cover, but one of my favorite authors penned the book!

The story follows three sisters: Jane, Celia and Margot as they make the move from San Francisco to Austin, Texas. Not only are they in for a rude awakening (read: culture shock) they are also in for a few twists and turns that seemingly uproots their otherwise low-key lifestyle.

The girls have been on their own since their mother's death and their father bailed town after his business scandal. The older sisters, Jane and Celia, care for their teen sister, Margot, who is studying ballet while trying to finish high school.

As they set out to put down roots and create a new life for themselves they are soon faced with betrayal, true love, and a life changing event that marks their sisterhood forever.

*Spoiler Alert*

While the story includes three sisters, it mainly focuses on the older two, Celia and Jane. Celia goes through a rough breakup, but eventually makes amends. I wish they had explored more of Celia's character and shared details on the "why's" of the breakup. But, perhaps it's just room for another novel? One can only hope.

Also, while Jane is considered level-headed, I find her reasons for dating someone she barely met a bit odd. Not too far-fetched, but enough that I knew early on that the relationship would fall through the cracks. And it did.

Otherwise, the novel was a fun and quick read. Perfect for a lazy summer afternoon!

I Love Extra Long Weekends

Hot Springs has been our day trip destination for years. No matter how many times we visit, we always enjoy the shops, the architecture, and all the history that is there. It's also home to one of our favorite Ice Cream shops, Kilwin's! This time, I had Chocolate Peanut Butter. It was pretty much a Peanut Butter Lover's dream...

We also stopped at the Christmas Shoppe this year! I don't think it has ever been opened when we were there, so it was a treat. The store is very small, but every square inch is covered in all things, well, CHRISTMAS!!!!

Daddy and his girls:

By the time we had circled the downtown area, we were worn out. It was very humid, and well, toddlers have a way of making you extra tired. ;) So we stopped at our favorite coffee shops, except this time, I ordered an iced fruity tea. It was so good!

And now, I'm ready for  quiet day at home in my jammies, and catching up on housework. Hope you had a great weekend!

Our Home at Summer

I've been decorating here and there for summer, mainly the 4th of July. These check slipcovers are from Ikea (went shopping last weekend!). I really love that they add a bit of a country touch to the couch. I guess they aren't necessarily a "summer" accessory, ha.

I picked up this candle a few weeks ago. "Stony Cove" by Yankee. It smells a little bit like summer and the ocean. Perfect. :)

Added a mini flag to this flower arrangement. It used to be in my laundry room, but now I keep it in the kitchen. For now. ;)

I put this birthday card (it was Evie's) in our kitchen, because I thought the illustrations were adorable!

These little lanterns came from the Target dollar spot. The kids however have claimed them as their toys. It's a battle to keep them on the table. :P

We are excited about the extra long weekend ahead, and celebrating the 4th of July next week! Happy Friday. :)

Petit Jean Mountain

I was feeling a bit restless the other evening, and what better than a dose of fresh air and sunshine? So, we headed to Petit Jean Mountain known for it's sprawling views, waterfalls (during rainy season), and hiking trails. It's also a booming campground during the summer and holiday weekends.

It's a bit of a drive, but it was worth the trip! The sky was so blue that evening, and the weather was perfect. I love seeing our state from different perspectives--and this one certainly did not disappoint.

This picture = my heart. And if you can't tell, they are both 100% daddy's girls. ;)

It's very serene and peaceful. A good place to clear your thoughts and of course, explore.

Josh wrangled the girls for a few minutes, so I could walk around to find different angles for pictures. So thankful for a fun hobby that always points me back to the awe struck wonder of our Creator. Isn't His work magnificent?

The sunset on the way home was fantastic, but I failed to capture it's beauty. Two little girls had had, home we went. ;)

Happy Wednesday!

Girl Mom and Chocolate Stains

The other day, as I was getting the girls ready for the day, I realized how much fun we have together. Evie is at the stage where she loves pretty dresses, and Ella loves getting her hair brushed. I have to say, being a girl mom is so much fun, right down to washing all their hair bows.

As I washed each bow and set them down to dry, I thanked the Lord for letting me be their mother. It is exhausting, but it is so rewarding. I love it. I love being a mother. I also love that their bows are crisp and clean, ready for more dress up times with my girls. ;) Yes, I'm nerdy like that.

Another thing I love, is learning great homemaking tips. I am the kind of gal who will read Heloise books and Emilie Barnes books. I love anything to do with keeping home. Which brings me to my point: CHOCOLATE STAINS. Ahem. I certain little girl I know had M&M's for the first time. Which was cute, but left chocolate on her dress. Anything I had tried in the past left the fabric dulled and in some cases, completely washed out. So, I tried a new trick. I soaked the dress in baking soda for about half and hour. Then gently rubbed a couple of dabs of Dawn soap onto the spot. The chocolate stain came right out, and you would have never known. Yay!

Linking up with A Bowl Full of Lemons.

Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 30

The weather...
It's hazy at the moment.

Right now I am...

Drinking my iced chocolate almond latte and trying to wake up!

About recovering from a busy weekend. Getting the house back in order. 

On my TV...
I've been watching Friends, and Gilmore Girls by myself. Josh and I are watching Frazier and 
Escape to The Country on Netflix. :)

What I'm Reading... 

I have a stack of books that I'm plowing through this summer. I just finished Taken by Dee Henderson. 
It was so good!

On the menu for this week...

Summer Salad with Ranch
Hot Dogs and Chips
Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Salad and Sandwiches 

On my to do list...

Speed clean
Make Bed
Tidy Bathrooms
Change out pillows in the living room

One of my simple pleasures...
Watching old I Love Lucy reruns. They always make me laugh, no matter how many times I've watched the episodes. 

Linking up with Happy Homemaker Monday!

Wednesday Ponderings...

“Today’s young people want to know everything about everyone. They think talking about a problem will solve it. I come from a quieter generation. We understand the value of forgetting, the lure of reinvention.” ~The Nightengale

Weekend Wrap Up

Our weekend consisted of food and fun...

We celebrated daddy with breakfast and new work shirts. And then I made dinner for my family on Sunday evening.

I also decorated the house for summer. I found several cute things at Target! I'll have to share a post on that, soon. :)

Happy Monday!