Bird Watching, Books and Brownies

If I'm being honest, it has been one of THOSE days. You know the kind....where you feel like everything goes wrong, you snap at the kids, the house looks like a war zone...and...the list goes on.

But, I know that's just life.

So, today, I gave myself a little grace. I loaded the girls up and we headed to my husbands office to meet him for lunch. We ate at a new restaurant (Zoe's) and it was delicious. When I got home, I looked up a few new recipes to try for dinner. That always turns my mood around! Cooking is therapeutic for me. Anyone else?

I can't believe Spring is here! I am so happy. Next to fall, it is one of my favorite seasons. This year, we invested in a large bird feeder, a Purple Martin bird house, and a few hummingbird feeders. Over the last few days, we've had dozens of birds visit us! The girls love it. I joined the backyard bird watch program, and now I want to get the girls binoculars (Ok, I just want them for myself). I plan to do a unit study on birds for the kids this spring, as well!

In other random news, I picked up a Terri Blackstock book, If I Run, from Mardel's last week, and it has been quite the page turner! Nothing like a good mystery/suspense novel. I'll have to review it soon when I finish. I also read Francine River's latest novel. It was interesting! Not my normal style, but interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. Have you read anything fun lately?

I'm off to join my family on the back porch for brownie sundae's.

Happy Tuesday and Happy SPRING!!!


I bought this little hybrid cactus last night, thinking it would fit perfectly on my kitchen window sill, and it did. I loved the color pop! I also love my milk glass collection. It's tiny, but it makes me happy!

I'm thoroughly enjoying these days leading up to spring. Afternoons are warmer, the days are getting longer, and plans are being made for vacation. Speaking of vacation, any tips on getting kids to sleep while staying somewhere "new"?

What is making you happy today? Happy Tuesday!


I'm thankful for...

A wooden swing in our backyard. Josh put it together, and it's been a little dream come true.

Beautiful, bright sunshine streaming through our windows this morning!

Fresh flowers, and a to do list to help me tackle spring cleaning. It's time! I love spring cleaning.

Iced latte's, good books, random road trips, and an entire weekend with my little family.

Life is good! Happy Monday!

My Morning Routine

I thought I'd share my simple morning routine. I love to read other people's routines, tips, and tricks. It's amazing how much it inspires me to stick with what I' doing or occasionally add/take away from my current routine.

During this season of life, I'm learning that having a schedule keeps our days running smoother which makes for a MUCH happier mom. Can anyone else relate?

1. The first thing I do every morning without fail is to say a prayer of thanksgiving and protection over my family. What better way to start off my day than to thank the one who gave it to me? I've done this for as long as I can remember.

2. Next up, I make my bed. It immediately makes my room look more put together and honestly, it makes me feel better.

3. The second thing I do is get dressed and do a 5-10 minute Pilates workout. I've been doing this since last fall, and it has really changed my overall mindset. It helps wake me up, clear my mind and set the tone for my day. It also helps me relax so I can enjoy my morning without feeling stressed. It has been such a game changer for me (and I rarely use that term...).

4. I drink half a glass of lemon water. Some days it's fresh squeezed lemon and other days I use lemon juice. My friend Naomi got me started on this trick and the health benefits are fantastic. It's a great way to detox your body before starting the day!

5. Finally, I sit down with a cup of coffee, my planner and my computer. This is my "me" time before I get the kids up. I like to write my list of things to do, check my e-mail, and read.

What does your morning routine look like?

A Little Life Update

The sun is streaming through the windows this morning. The sun!!! We've had some gloomy days as of late, and it's so nice to wake up to spills of light at my kitchen table. I'm sipping coffee, and working on my "to do" list before I get the girls up and going for the day.

Part of the reason I haven't blogged lately is that our house has been in remodeling mode for the last few weeks. What we thought would take three days, took more like two weeks. He he. We had wainscoting installed in our living/dining/hallway area. Despite layers of dust everywhere and a disrupted schedule (note: I'm officially one of those people...I NEED my schedule to function. Just ask Josh. Ha!), it has really turned out to be a nice addition to our home. The bonus, being that we chose to paint the wainscoting and wall pure white which brightened up our living room! I love it.

I've been busy with the girls, gearing up to join our "new" church and learning new traditions to add to our daily routine. We've been reading Psalms 23 together every day, and both girls are working on memorizing the first verse. It amazes me what kids can do!

I have to say, I am ready for some warmer temps OR I would also take some snow if it's going to be this cold. I'm feeling slightly jilted by winter this year. ;)

Off to finish my coffee! Happy Thursday. :)

A Daniel Tiger Birthday Party

We celebrated Ella's 2nd birthday over the weekend. She was so excite to eat cake! Both of my girls LOVE cake. But, when it came time to cut the cake and eat, she got super shy and embarrassed.

The cake is from a local bakery. It was a lemon cake with buttercream frosting. AMAZING.

I is SO tempting to go Pinterest crazy for their birthday parties (nothing wrong with that), but I decided on simple. I bought almost all the decor from Walmart (minus the party hat decor) and Amazon, ordered the cake and made punch and cookies. Easy peasy and cute.

Now, the one thing I obsessed about was finding cute Daniel Tiger shirts. Ella adores that show, and that was our theme. But, finding those shirts proved to be a problem! I finally ordered some on Etsy! Etsy is wonderful. ;)

So thankful for our Ella Bug!!

Our January Home

In our January home, you'll find lots of Mrs. Meyer's Products. This scent is my favorite. It smells so fresh and so clean! I like to give our house a big scrub down during the month of January.

Also, this is such a yummy candle. It smells so good! I've already switched it out again, but I'll bring it back out when we get a snow. *crosses fingers* We haven't had any snow! Or sleet! Or anything! Just below average temps and very damp days.

Which means, it's been Crockpot meals kind of weather! I know the Instapot is all the rage, but I just can't part with my good 'ol friend Crockpot. I've had him for years, and he works like a champ. Plus, what's better than the smell of dinner cooking throughout the afternoon while you work? To me, it's the best part of homemaking.

We are also back into the swing of preschool at home. We are focusing on letter sounds and recognition, using colorful counters, learning through play, and lots of snuggle (reading) time together.

And then She was Two!

I remember it like yesterday. Prepping her nursery. It was a tiny room, but perfect for our baby. We painted it green, and Josh hand drew the artwork that hung above her bed. The nursery was bunny themed, and yes, I bought a fluffy, pure white rug. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

I think we were all excited to bring her home and be a family of four. Between strict bed rest, multple overnight hospital stays, and a then week stay at the hospital after her birth, we were all ready. So ready to be home.

Look at that little snuggle bug!!!! She was a dream boat baby. Slept through the night by her first month. She napped like a champ. She loved being cuddled!

Where has the time gone, little one?

But, this last picture? It describes our Ella perfectly. The wild hair and a face covered in peanut butter. She's curious and mischievous and oh so ornery. ;) When you tell her "no" she laughs and does it again. And again. She's sweeter than honey and cute as a bug...hence her nickname, Ella Bug.

I love her so much. And now she is TWO.

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day 2017

"For it is in the giving that we receive." ~ Francis of Assisi 

My favorite thing in the whole wide world: buying my girls Christmas dresses. Truly, it just makes my heart pitter patter. And then when I see them wearing said dresses, it just makes my heart skip a beat. I love being a momma. A girl momma is the most fun, I believe. So, on Christmas Eve I snapped this picture to remember the red frilly dresses with a gold crown. Celebrating the Prince of Peace right down to their Christmas dresses.

Christmas Eve has always been the big family dinner night on my side of the family. Every year, my entire life, we gathered around for food and presents. This was the first year without Mimmie so it was very sad. And my papaw is very sick, but he came. And I should back up....the day before, I had my hair trimmed and dyed. I had wanted bangs, but forgot to ask the hairdresser until he had already styled my ahir. When I got to my parents, my mom had the idea to ask papaw to cut my bangs. He's a barber...has been for 40+ years. And so he did. Snip snip.

The night before....the excitement was high! It may have taken over an hour to get a certain 3 year old to settle down enough to sleep. Hmm...wonder who that could be?

This is what they saw on Christmas morning! I had hunted for months for that dollhouse. It's discontinued, but I finally found one. It came with all the pieces!

"Christmas is the day that holds all time together." ~Alexander Smith

Their favorite gift was from daddy---a PJ masks car! They are obsessed.

We ended the morning with cinnamon & orange rolls, a tradition.

It was such a wonderful Christmas in every way. So happy. :)

"For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself." ~Charles Dickens

After all that excitement, mommy and daddy needed coffee. Of course. ;)

"It's true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you'll find you've created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul." ~Caroline Kennedy

Our Family Jammy Night

Well, Josh returned to his regular work hours today (cry face) and I figured it was a good time to catch up on blogging! Every year, I like to make a dinner just for us, and stay home a few days before Christmas. This year, we had Broccoli Rice and Cheese Casserole, and sparkling cider in our Christmas glasses. We put on Christmas pajamas and settled in. I totally forgot to take a picture of the actual meal...but, I figured pictures of our yummy dessert would suffice, eh? Ha!

I have heard rave reviews about this cheesecake. It's from the Carnegie Deli in Chicago. I ordered it through Gold Bely, and it arrived on our doorstep within 24 hours. I really loved it! It's creamy, and very dense. The crust was a surprise though, it's more of a sugar cookie crust than a traditional cheesecake crust.

She was excited about family time. :)

We watched A Charlie Brown Christmas, and the girls got to open a gift from their Aunt and Uncle. it was a wonderful night at home. :)

Up next, Christmas day recap!