Life Lately October Edition


Look at those two! My little toots. ;) This cute picture was followed promptly by melt downs from both. But, it was worth it to get this shot. Hee hee! Life with littles, right? ;)


Such a big girl now! She was impressed with the pumpkins, and was determined to pick one up and hold it. ;)


My big girl. She makes me so proud! She is LOVING pre-school and works so hard at it.

And just for fun, I did another day in the life vlog for Vlogtober:




Happy Tuesday, friends!!! :)

Our Fall Home Tour 2017



Here's a quick peak at some of our fall home decor. This year, I am loving my B&B Works Candle, and my new wax melts from Scentsy! I think candles might be my favorite thing during this season. Also, I'm sipping a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Latte as I sip this...it's going to be a perfect fall day!

Happy Wednesday!

Happy Homemaker Monday - Fall Edition!




Fall is finally here! And with that came another heat wave---aka---living in the south! However, word has it that it's supposed to cool down again later this week, and I am READY.

The weather...Fall is finally here! And with that came another heat wave---aka---living in the south! However, word has it that it's supposed to cool down again later this week, and I am READY.

Right now I am...

Blogging and watching a few of my favorite YouTube channels. I've enjoyed learning about a few random things lately.

Thinking... 
About my new vehicle! Josh bought me a small sport SUV that I am just in love with it. He spoils me!

On my TV...
I've been watching romantic comedies lately. If you have Netflix, check out the movie "Coffee House", it's a Christian romantic film, super cheesy, but still cute. ;)

What I'm Reading... 

Anne's House of Dreams. The Anne of Green Gables series is my favorite hands down, and it has been so fun to re-visit my favorite characters!

On the menu for this week...

Sausage & Veggie Stir Fry
Chicken & Rice
Breakfast for Dinner
Soup & Sandwiches

On my to do list...

Speed clean
Laundry
Sweep/Swiffer
Dust

One of my simple pleasures...
Going for drives around town with the windows down, sipping coffee, and listening to music. Usually classic rock or oldies. :)

Public Service Announcement: The new Maple Pecan Latte from Starbucks is delicious!!! I ordered half the amount of syrup and added whip cream. Deeeelicious!

Linking up with Happy Homemaker Monday!

September Days


I've been waiting for the heat break that usually greets us a few days into September...and it finally arrived. The nights are much cooler (enough for hoodies! my favorite!) and the mornings have that crisp, new, feel to it.


Our roses are still blooming away, but our last blue hydrangea is still holding on. I am obsessed with how vibrant and blue it is!!


Happy Wednesday!

I Remember


I remember. It was the day I "grew up". The rose colored glasses were replaced with a new understanding of what "evil" meant. 2,996 lost their lives. Over 6,000 wounded. To this day, there are many who still relive that nightmare. Standing at ground zero reminded me of that.

Never forget.

Love


Nine years ago, in the early summer of '08, I moved into my first "little home" (a duplex with weird, extremely rude neighbors). He helped me move. He picked up my dryer & hooked it up, and stopped by when he found out my washer flooded my laundry closet.

For the next two months we started hanging out 'round the clock: taco bell dinners, church activities, bowling, coffee chats & guitar time.

As summer neared it's end, he asked to make it official. I said yes, and the rest is history.

And every year, as the end of summer tangles with the beginning of fall, I feel that crisp newness. It's all the memories coming back. All the sweet stories, the fun times.

I found a stack of  pictures from our dating days, and carefully put them into a little photo album.

"That's my mommy and daddy!" Evie exclaims with each picture. Ella, gets equally excited, yell's "Josh, Josh" at each one. It makes me all sappy silly inside.

This week may not be filled with romantic dates (I've had a stomach bug, Josh is working like crazy, and then all the little things that daily life entails...you know ;)), but  goodness is it filled with the wonderful satisfaction that I am with the right one. He is good, kind, handsome and faithful.

I love him so much more now than I did then.


Home


I loved having a extra long weekend with my favorite guy and my girls. We ate tons of food, took long drives around town, had a date night, de-cluttered the house, and visited with family. It was so nice. A comfort for me during such a crazy season of life.

And by crazy I'm referring to toddler life and preschool life. Most days I'm just winging it at everything. ;) :P


As my girls get older, I see things differently. I feel things differently. I realize that they are going to grow up in a tough world. Those things have made home all that much more sweeter for me. It's our safe place. It's our white noise against an ever increasingly noisy world. It's where we laugh, we fight, we cry, and we love. Home is important. I've always known this, but goodness, becoming a parent makes it even more apparent.


Happy, safe, warm, loved. I hope that's what home will mean to them as they grow up and spread their wings.


Happy Homemaker Monday Vol. 31




The weather...
Partly cloudy...The weather is slowly fading into fall. I'm a big fan!

Right now I am...

Blogging :)

Thinking... 
About chores that need to be done!

On my TV...
We finally watched the new Beauty & The Beast this week. It was SO GOOD. And the music...stellar!

What I'm Reading... 

I  just finished reading Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. One of the most difficult books that I've read (emotion wise). It's based on the Roman Empire (their lifestyle) and what Christians would have (most likely) faced as they lived out their faith. Not for the faint of heart. 

On the menu for this week...

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Hamburgers & Veggies
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Chicken Caesar Salad
Black Bean Nachos

On my to do list...

Speed clean
Laundry
Sweep/Swiffer
Dust

One of my simple pleasures...
Sipping hot chocolate with extra whipped cream. Preferably with my blankets and in my rocking chair. ;)

Linking up with Happy Homemaker Monday!

First Day of Preschool


Well, the last few weeks have been busy! I was planning to wait until next month to start Preschool with Evie, but every morning for the last two weeks, she has asked, "Mommy, can I learn my ABC's?"

She was ready, and so excited to start. So we chose today. We took about 100 pictures this morning, worked on flash cards, made a craft, and of course, made a mess. That's what it's all about right?

She loves learning, coloring, crafts, chalk, playing outside, going shopping, dressing up, and playing with her sister. She a mini me in so many ways, but she's has Josh's sneaky smile and sense of humor. ;)

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. :)