Five on Friday | Spring Lately

22 05 2015

Oh hey! Linking up with April for Five on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey, Friday.

one | Did you see my nursery DIY post earlier this week? I made wall decor using a reclaimed pallet and love how it turned out! We also refinished a dresser, made closet built-ins, and hung the baby’s race medals.

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two | Our family enjoyed strawberry picking this weekend! It was overcast and thundering, and a train roared behind the patch – we had a great time! We ended up with 8 lbs. of strawberries to use for salads, canning jam, milkshakes, cereal topping, and just eating!

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three | Every time that I think I want to move, I am reminded of why I love where we live. Here are 3 different views from my window that were all taken on Monday!

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four | On Tuesday, we woke up and quickly realized we needed to take E to the pediatrician. He had an ear infection, upper respiratory infection, and conjunctivitis. You’d never know except that his eye was pink! I took a rare sick day – E and I went to the doc and then on a Dunkin Donuts date! My husband and I pinky swore that we would not have a donut this year, and so far, we’ve stuck to it. My coffee came with a free donut, so E got to pick and he chose pink! He mostly just played with the sprinkles.

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five | We are probably the last people to plant, but we got our garden tilled and planted over the weekend.

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Happy Friday!





Nursery Transformation

17 05 2015

Much like how any actual progress on our nursery transformation went down, I wrote most of this blog post on 7/3/14 and then didn’t return to it until today. We decided to move our oldest son out of his nursery and into a toddler room, and convert the nursery into a guest room/nursery with new decor.

We don’t have a theme for our new nursery other than “rustic,” but things are coming together. I don’t like themes because I think they lead to collections. Our first order of business was a closet makeover. It’s still a work-in-progress, but much more functional and keeps a lot of toys off the floor.

We worked our design around a crate we found at Homegoods. We never found the match after searching every Homegoods in a 3-hour radius, but we did find 2 matching smaller crates. My husband designed, built, and painted shelving along the bottom of the closet to fit the crate. We removed the closet doors, making that area of the room so much more open. Once I rearranged the furniture, it became a larger play area.

Closet reno part 1

[Wow. My child doesn’t look like this anymore]

Next up was the dresser. We have a super-nice baby dresser from my sister, and I was itching to try chalk paint – the dresser was the perfect piece, since its wood is already a different color than everything else in the nursery.

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I watched a ton of Annie Sloan chalk paint tutorials, but in the end, the paint dealers were always either closed or out of what I needed, so I went with CeCe Caldwell’s chalk paint in Sedona Red. I had a one-day window in which to finish while my son finished out daycare for the year, so CeCe’s it was! I was able to support a small local business with this purchase – a win-win!

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With chalk paint, there is no prep work or sanding required. I loved painting haphazardly on purpose! That’s what gives it interesting texture, especially when it’s time to add the wax.

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After two layers of chalk paint, I applied a coat of clear wax:

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And before you start thinking it looks too pink or coral for a boy… let’s change lighting. It reminds me of the red of a weathered picnic table. Or the natural clay at Arches National Park.

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On to the hardware. I removed the existing hardware and searched high and low for spherical dresser pulls to cover. I eventually found what I needed at Michaels and bought 120 feet of twine (to resemble jute rope), which was just enough for my husband to cover all nine knobs with a monkey fist knot. He drilled into the knobs to make them compatible with the hardware from the original knobs, and they fit perfectly! These would have been expensive to custom-order, so I’m glad he knew how to do it.

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Okay. Picking up now where I left off. Fast-forward 10 months. The baby is almost 8 months old and has barely visited the nursery. We’ve had a pallet in our yard since before he was born, waiting to be turned into wall art. While my husband tilled our new garden yesterday, I went to work on the pallet, removing 4 boards to expose the inner slats. My son helped me scrub it, and then I sanded off the rougher sides. I added a touch of wood glue here and there, and then hung it today – it’s so secure that you could probably climb on it. But don’t tell my kids that.

Pallet art - nurserywall art - nursery 2I cleaned the nursery up a bit and tried to hide the awful skirt on the guestbed that my vacuum burned. I took a few pics, although it was late and they’re dark! All we need now is the newest tenant to move in! But I’m not ready for him to leave my room just yet! :)

Nursery - May 2015

I’m terribly sentimental, so everything has a special meaning to me:

  • Ladder/medal rack: displays medals from 4/6 races I ran while pregnant with the baby, including 2 full marathons!
  • Laminated quotes from my “beautiful mess” baby shower and a Radio Flyer wagon painted by the art teacher at my elementary school
  • The bear card is also a watercolor by the same art teacher, but it was from my baby shower with E
  • Pallet art – by me! – full of all kinds of pieces sentimental to me. I think this might be my new quiet place!
  • The pail of daisies was one of our wedding centerpieces, and the clay handprints and footprints were molded when Sage was a week old
  • The bandana quilt was a labor of love from my mom

It’s kind of eclectic, but I love that it doesn’t scream “baby.” Which is good, because we wouldn’t want to wake him up. You know, if he ever moves in.





Five on Friday

15 05 2015

| Linking up with April for Five on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey, Friday |

Palindrome Week

| nifty right? |

one | We had much to celebrate on Mother’s Day! We dedicated our son at church alongside 12 other families.

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two | Mother’s Day was also my husband’s birthday. While we didn’t do a huge bash like last year (I cannot even fathom pulling that off again with 2 little ones!), we did have 9 people over to celebrate after the dedication, including our mothers. My mother-in-law made a Boston cream cake, and I made him a creamy Swiss chicken bake for dinner. Who washes the dishes when it’s Mother’s Day and husband’s birthday??

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Mother’s Day weekend this year started out especially difficult for me, but I was encouraged on Sunday and blessed to be with family all day.

three | I just LOVE Emily Ley and her whole story. So even though I had been toying the idea of a Plum Paper planner, I caved and purchased another Simplified Planner for my 3rd year in a row. And by “purchased” I actually mean tracked down, because right when they launched last week, my school held an unannounced lockdown drill and I had to go into lockdown mode with my students. By the time the lockdown was over, they were sold out. That evening, I called retailers all over the US and had one shipped from Kansas. I’m still debating whether to keep it – it’s much smaller this year! I selected the gold pineapple academic weekly.

emily ley simplified planner

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four | I am now growing herbs in my kitchen alongside E’s sunflower. So far I have basil and lemon balm. I found several interesting ways to use lemon balm that I’m excited to try. What uses do you have for lemon balm?

five | Brothers. I love watching the boys together as they interact more and more. We have dance parties for them, we play outside, we watch them laugh together in the car, and we have lots of cuddles. I’m so glad they have each other.

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Happy Friday! I will leave you with a toddler tantrum. You’re welcome.

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Moccs, Rocks, and Kettle Corn

3 05 2015

This weekend was my 3rd weekend in a row solo with the kids. My husband was running in a 205-mile relay race across our state that lasted 2 days (which, by the way, WHAT?! And their 11-member team came in first in their division!), while I got in some quality time with the boys. There weren’t any tantrums, but Sage wanted to nurse pretty much every second that I was holding him, since there was no one to pass him off to. But we managed to squeeze in tons of fun together.

On Friday, I picked up some books on hold at the library and zipped into my local natural parenting shop to select some baby shower gifts and a cloth diaper wool overnight solution. I also bought a pair of baby moccs that I’ve loved ever since I saw them back in February. They are the softest, most buttery leather I’ve ever felt, and they are a perfect fit! The burnt orange is just crazy enough of a color that they can pair with anything.

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That evening, we were listening to some chill music my neighbor recorded, and my 2-year-old actually got the baby to fall asleep to it before falling asleep himself, so I had a rare quiet evening to myself!

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Saturday morning, I awoke to the happiest baby ever, plus a toddler in my bed.

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It took me from 5-10 AM to get them ready to get out of the house! We headed to a friend’s yardsale to soak in some Vitamin D and pickup a fun playmat.

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I just had to go back to the natural parenting shop to grab a few things I had been debating about. Like another pair of the same buttery soft orange moccs in a larger size, and one more overnight cloth diaper.

We played on the playground at our library and then went inside to feed the baby, read, and play – it was pretty much deserted because it was too gorgeous outside to be cooped up inside!

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I thought I’d take the boys to Chick-fil-a, but it was so crowded that we grabbed it to go from their iPOS server and picnicked elsewhere. Our lunch began as a tailgate, with all of us in the back of my SUV, until I remembered the playmat I had purchased at the yardsale that morning. So we quickly moved our lunch to the grass – it was E’s favorite part of the day, he would tell me later. I topped off my evening with a 1/2 price frappuccino at Starbucks.

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By Sunday, my husband was back home, and we covered the nursery at church – 13 babies! I came home and immediately inventoried our entire house with my camera after talking to a woman at church who just lost her home in a scary fire. We’ve been slowly getting things together for emergencies – I recently purchased a 2nd-story fire escape ladder as well.

We all headed out to the river for some rock-skipping, swinging, and running around the playground, then we decided to go driving, since it was too pretty to head home.

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We went back to Starbucks again for more half-price frappuccinos, then took our coffee and explored parts of our town we’ve never seen. We sampled the local kettle corn from a food truck and happened upon an old mansion. It was such a spontaneous, fun date while the kids napped in the car – they NEVER nap on the weekends, so this was a rare treat. The best weekend I’ve had in a long time! I hope you’ve enjoyed yours!





Five on Friday

1 05 2015

Our weather has been all over the place lately (I had to DEFROST my windshield this week), but we’re plugging along doing all the spring things. Our tulips and dogwood trees have bloomed! Yay!

Spring 2015

one | My husband’s spring has been so busy, from off-roading trails to a 205-mile running race. One weekend, he setup a booth at a local craft show. I was so proud of him and took the boys to surprise him. He sells handmade 550 paracord survival gear, from Jeep grab handles to fire mummies, belts, and bracelets.

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two | While he was selling, I took the boys to a Great Cloth Diaper Change event and a birthday party. I won a BumGenius prize pack! This was my second year – here’s my 2014 GCDC recap where we set a Guiness World Record.

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The birthday party was an adorable Little Red Riding Hood/woodland theme. We had such a good time with our friends, and I survived the entire trip solo!

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three | My school had a spirit day – Superhero Day!

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four | I co-hosted another bridal shower – we have 5 weddings to attend this season. I love putting together outfits for the boys to wear to the weddings. I’ve been finding most of their clothes lately on Instagram and Kidizen. For this shower, I mostly planned the games, but I also made white-chocolate-dipped-silver-sprinkled Oreos, fruit pizzas, and more advice jars for anniversaries 1-20.

Brittany - bridal shower

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five | Making healthy choices – My friend has been bringing Trader Joe’s salads to work each day, and I wanted to try one out – yummy, but way too many onions for me!

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Another friend gave us a jogging stroller – I NEED to get running back into my life ASAP!! I would really like to sign up for another half to get back on a real training schedule.

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And there you have it. I crammed 10 things into my Five on Friday. BOOM. Linking up with April for Five on Friday and  Karli and Amy for Oh hey, Friday.





Sage | 7 Months

29 04 2015

Monthly onesies - Sage 7 months

Our big boy turned 7 months this week! I can’t say that he has any new tricks, but he has certainly grown! His weight is in the 80th percentile, and head is holding strong in the 99th. He is ONE HAPPY KID.

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Infographic inspiration here!

Loves:

  • Reading
  • Mommy singing
  • Laughing with his brother
  • Playing peek-a-boo with him
  • Tickles
  • Fruit purees
  • Pulling socks off
  • Chewing on his fingers and toes
  • Sleeping on his belly
  • Rolling all over the place
  • Neck kisses and snuggles
  • Nursing
  • Playing in the walker
  • Sitting
  • Riding in my Boba 3G

I love, love, love his sweet interactions with his big brother.

Sage - 7 months brothers

At school, he loves watching the other babies, swinging, going outside, one-on-one story time, table time, and eating purees and puffs. We’ve been trying to go on walks at night, and he has no problem in the stroller.

He says, “Hey,” “Hi,” and “Da-Da.”

We will dedicate him at church next month and pray over the friends and family in our lives who will influence his own. God, please watch over my baby as he sleeps, give him the appetite he needs to grow, and form his heart to love You. Amen. 

Month by month:

Birthone | two | three | four | five | six

Sage - 7 month collage





Giving Myself Grace

23 04 2015

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now. I’m at a point in my life where I have to realize that I can’t do it all. As much as I would love to feel like I’ve done my best work on everything I’m expected to do, I know that I can no longer hold myself to the standard I set for myself before I had kids-plural. Back when I had more flexibililty to take care of my pets, train to run a marathon, scrapbook, call people, and make handmade cards for every occasion. Handmade cards. I can’t even imagine.

I feel like I’m always running late these days. There are so many variables that could go wrong in the mornings that even if I think we’re on time, the baby needs a last-minute extra nursing session and then spits it up all over me just as we’re taking our 5th load out to the car before 7 AM. Julie nailed it this week with her post. Oh and then there’s this. YES.

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We have so many unfinished projects around the house. I have stuff I’ve bought that is still in the original packaging and sometimes it doesn’t even make it out of the Target bag. This has been my half-bathroom for days:

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And we’ve had the pallets for this nursery project in our YARD since before the baby was born. They’re still there. He is almost 7 months old.

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I have visions of a beautiful homemade farmhouse table. And homemade growth chart rulers. Projects that will have to wait until summer. Until then, I’ll stare at the hundreds of crumbs wedged between the inlaid glass and bamboo of our current dining room table that drive me CRAZY and just relish in the company around the table, my cozy family. They really are the best.

The pile of clothes in my closet that needs to be hand-washed drives me crazy. But I ran out of Woolite and who remembers to pick up Woolite??

I’d love to plant a(n edible) garden full of rich tomatoes and basil, but at this point, I’m finding grace in the tiny sunflower my son planted at school and brought home to me. As long as I’m remembering to wash my hands at the sink, I know it’s getting watered. That’s about all I can muster.

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My memory is terrible these days. It’s true. If I don’t write it down, consider it gone. I usually forget something at home, usually some part of my Medela pump – the ice pack, the bottles, even the SHIELDS the other day. The baby’s wet bag. This week I ate my salad with a spoon because that’s what I packed instead of a fork. I’m losing my mind. Blame nursing. A couple days ago I left our doggie bag of YUMMY EXPENSIVE leftovers in my car overnight. Perfectly good meal – into the trash. Just a smelly car to show for it.

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Recently I’ve been co-hosting a few family bridal showers, which I love doing; they’re right up my alley. Then I remember I don’t have the kind of time I’d like to devote to them because of my typical day. And then I’m called-out because I relied on Pinterest as a shortcut to creativity. But whatever, because I’ve learned that even when I use my own ideas, people will assume they came from Pinterest anyway. SHAKE IT OFF.

Sometimes I remember at 10:30 Sunday night that I need to write a preschool lesson for Monday morning and I HAVE to come crawling back to Pinterest. Or rob Peter to pay Paul – use part of next week’s lesson tomorrow.

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(I really do love Pinterest.)

Making the same recipe over and over for different events. How many times have we made Peanut Butter Fingers this season?

Let’s not even talk about marathon training. Lately, exercise consists of walking laps around the cafeteria during my 40 minutes of lunch duty. No, seriously. It’s dizzying.

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We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. I’ve tried hard not only to give myself grace, but also others. Like when my employer accidentally docked FIFTEEN extra days off my sick leave than they should have after my maternity leave. (PLUS docked my pay for them.) Oops! I showed them so much grace in the process of getting it corrected. Or when daycare left the baby’s lunch out all afternoon instead of refrigerating it. GRACE.

And 30 years of perfect dental history (minus 4 wisdom teeth out) shot after my 3rd pregnancy robbed me of my enamel and cost me 4 cavities in 6 months. Grace.

And Wednesdays, when I can’t possibly squeeze in an afternoon pumping session, and the empty bottles I bring home make me cry because I know I’ll have to dip into my precious freezer stash to get by for Thursday. Grace.

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See those shopping bags on the floor? Grace. A child who’s long-since outgrown his Rock n Play, but we haven’t made the switch to the crib yet, despite the pediatrician’s best pleads. Grace. A toddler who stumbles into our bed around 4 each morning after a solid night in his own bed and we don’t send him back – grace. IMG_2691

But then my little one wakes up from his first night in the Pack n Play and whimpers, and with a few touches of my palm to his back and warm kisses against his neck, he settles back down for a few seconds. They get my best, and that’s the best I can give.

I lean on my husband so much more these days, even though I know his plate is already busting at the seams. He gets up around 4 AM to start his day with a run and never slows til the kids are bathed, bottles washed, lunches packed.

I’m also remembering to seek the Holy Spirit amidst the busy-ness, because let’s face it – in a toddler world there is no quiet. In the car listening to Christian radio, in the dentist waiting room, during my lunch, while I tuck my toddler in at night.

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God gives me more grace than I deserve. This is one verse I read in the waiting room at the dentist’s office, the very chapter our minister asked us to read this week:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (NIV)





Five on Friday

17 04 2015

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Thanks for stopping by my little corner! I’m making this post brief bc it’s the second time I’ve had to type it after my computer froze last night.

one | My family won passes to see Home in theatres this weekend. E did SO well! He’s never watched a movie all the way through, but he came close with Home, falling asleep on his daddy’s lap 5 minutes before it ended. Sage snoozed in my lap (in the Boba 3G) for most of the movie but did watch 15 minutes of it fairly intently. Cute movie!!

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two | We had another breezy spring day recently, so we could finally use our sidewalk chalk paint in the driveway! The colors were so pretty!

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three | It’s been so nice to get back into a groove with our church Life Group after taking a winter hiatus with the new baby. The fellowship and adult discussions of Scripture add so much to our workweek. And it was so cute to see all the kids running all over the stage like they owned the place. Even this shy guy:

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four | i participated in my first “Workweek Hustle” challenge on FitBit this week with some teachers from another elementary school. It’s encouraging to feel accountable, and it’s surprising to see how many miles I walk just during a normal workday, especially when I feel tethered to nursing once I get home and am reunited with the baby! I really want to get back into a running rhythm soon, though. This was earlier in the week:

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five | I took Sage to his 6-month well visit with his pediatrician, and he came away diagnosed with a double ear infection, bronchiolitis (which he’s had for 5+ weeks now), and the possibility of asthma and an order for x-rays in 2 weeks if he’s still wheezing. After the appointment, I updated his stats in his baby book (50 percentile height, 99% head, and 78% weight) and FINALLY took the time to graph both boys’ growth in the books. I wish Emily Ley had come out with her new baby book 7 months ago!!

IMG_2656 IMG_2655Looking forward to a weekend full of events with the little ones while my husband works a craft show! Who could resist this lil fella??

IMG_2648 And maybe hanging the mirror (not pictured) I bought for the half-bathroom we renovated back in 2013! Target always nails it:

IMG_2641Happy Friday!! :)





Five on Friday

10 04 2015

Linking up for Five on Friday with DarciChristinaApril, and Natasha, and oh hey, Friday with Karli and Amy.

Summer is within reach, and I’m trying to prioritize our summer plans, many of which would require buying passes (pool, lake, amusement parks, admission to local events – so many choices!). Recently, I’ve chosen some thrifty habits that will help us save our pennies for what really matters!

one | Contests

I’ve always been lucky at contests – it’s how I won most of my cloth diaper stash, for example. When my midwife practice offered up 30 chances at family passes to a private screening of “Home” at our movie theatre, I tried my luck and won! With little ones at home, we never go to the movies. N-E-V-E-R. So this was a huge deal for us. It will be both boys’ first movie in a theatre. I still remember mine – Bambi! I also recently won a baby product at our local cloth diaper store and am hoping for more freebies at an upcoming cloth diaper event.

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two | Promos

I try to take advantage of promos when I can, like when JC Penney sends me “$10 off a $10 purchase” coupons. Our ice cream shop just offered free cones to anyone who entered their Easter coloring contest, so both boys came away with free ice cream. (I might have ordered a lemon gingersnap cone…A-MAZE.) Busch Gardens offers free passes to preschoolers (ages 3-5), so we snagged one for E; it’s good through September!

Coloring contest

three | Warranties

Sometimes when things break, I’m quick to replace them. But recently when my breastpump (which I got free through insurance!) malfunctioned, I called the company first before buying a spare part, and they had the new part airlifted to me by lunchtime the next day, free of charge. It never hurts to ask – especially politely! Companies want to support their products.

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four | DIY

I’m all abou DIYs when I can find the time. I even skipped the salon to attempt haircuts myself last week. Recently I made much of the decor for a bridal shower and returned what I didn’t use to the store afterward.

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five | Planning ahead

I don’t really have a knack for thinking of gifts spur-of-the-moment. But if I can collect things over time as I come across them, I can get good deals. The kids’ Easter baskets, for example. Almost everything was free.

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And here are the boys enjoying some of their favorite (free) activities. We are also big fans of our library and enjoyed their programming over spring break.

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Happy Friday!





Easter Sweets

6 04 2015

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We enjoyed a weekend spent with family, food, fellowship, worship, sweets, and lots and lots of eggs!

2015 Easter Basket Blog Hop

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My 2-year-old played SO hard with his cousins. Allll weekend. He would LOVE to have a big sister oh my WORD. He kept up with the big kids for the most part, but every so often he’d run upstairs crying for Mommy to kiss a boo-boo or wipe away a tear, then he’d scramble back down to the basement to play.

He still needs me. <3

It reminded me of this Mama-Mommy-Mom post I just read.

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My sister was so sweet to fill eggs specifically for the babies – with treasures like baby puffs, grippy socks, and bath toys! E methodically combed the perimeter of Great-Grandma’s backyard during the egg hunt while everyone else ran amok- he was so proud of his loot and happily traded eggs with his cousins all afternoon.

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We hope that you had a sunny, safe, and blessed Easter.








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