Tuesday Talk!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Hi friends!!! Happy Tuesday!!

Did you have a good Monday? 
I sure hope so :)
And if you need a re-start- it's only Tuesday!! The week is still FRESH :)

Okay- so this might be a super boring topic to chat about- but I have to think I am not the only person out there that is always trying to streamline ALL.THE.THINGS. my family needs and make things more efficient!

So- with all of my kiddos potty trained now and my "baby" being 3 1/2 years old...I don't carry around the massive diaper bag I used to when they were all much younger.

Like seriously- this TOTALLY describes me when I had 5 kids 7 years and younger!!
Now...I basically carry around my wristlet and make sure I just have my credit card and phone when we go anywhere!

I did have a little bit of a wake up call this past summer though and realized I needed to be a bit more prepared than my wristlet and a pack of baby wipes :)

We were taking a day trip to the beach and you can bet I had ALL the snacks and drinks- but I did NOT have any kind of medications like allergy medicine or tylenol for the kids or Aaron and me. 

Right as we were arriving to the ferry boat that was taking us to the beach for the day, Charlotte started not feeling well at ALL. Poor thing. I was scrambling, looking through my van and found a measly pack of expired aspirin. Thankfully my friend, who was going to the beach with us had some children's ibuprofen and totally SAVED the day.

After that little experience, I decided I needed to get my act together and make sure we were ready to go when we traveled...whether it was a day trip or a longer vacation!

So- I got a plastic bin at Walmart and filled it with everything we might need in an acute situation where someone wasn't feeling good!
To make my life super easy- I used the Walmart grocery pickup app and didn't even have to go in the store to get all the things I needed!

You can see all the things I put in our portable "medicine cabinet"- to name a few: ibuprofen, tylenol, juinor ibuprofen for my older kiddos, Benadry and inside the little blue and green pack is antibacterial ointment, ace bandage, medical tape and gauze squares (my husband is a foot and ankle surgeon- so we only have some of this stuff because I might have made him bring home some supplies ;)
And here it is- all packed up in one storage bin with a secure top on it!
I obviously don't have EVERYTHING we might need- but I think I covered most of our bases. I wanted it all to be kept in a fairly small bin so it wasn't cumbersome to pack.

I keep this bin in our bathroom closet and whenever we go on a day trip- I just put it in the back of the car! And it's so handy when we go on longer trips- because instead of going through our medicine cabinet and pulling all the different things we might need- I just grab our bin and put it in one of our suitcases!

It's definitely been handy to have and I feel much better about being prepared for an emergency- especially since we are going on more and more fun adventures with the kids since they are getting older!

Now for just regular driving around town- I also have gotten myself organized and have an "emergency" bag packed in the back of my van.

I keep an extra pair of shoes for Marshall in there (sometimes he just doesn't put shoes on and I don't notice! HA!), change of clothes for the boys, extra pair of underwear and leggings for the girls, a towel, baby wipes, bottled water and a couple changing pad liners (they are waterproof on one side and terry cloth on the other). I can't tell you how many times we have needed to grab something out of the emergency bag and I am always SO thankful I have a stash of stuff!! 

And finally- SNACKS. I am pretty adamant that my kids are never THAT hungry that they can't wait until we get back home to eat something- but sometimes everyone is losing their minds and if I offer a graham cracker to everyone- it helps matters just a bit. 
So you will always find a box of graham crackers next to a pack of baby wipes in front of the console in my van :)

And that's how I am currently rolling with my crew!
We are ON THE GO a lot and just taking a little time to be organized and prepared definitely helps me A LOT.

I'd love to know how you keep your crew prepared! Do you carry a huge bag? Are you still in a season of needing to have a stocked diaper bag? 

I recently purchased a sporty, cute backpack to have in my car as my purse, if I need something with more space than my wristlet and I have to say it is HANDY. Marshall is a WILD man in stores and it is much easier to throw on my backpack than it is to carry my big purse around!

Hope you have the BEST day!!

Hello Monday!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Hi friends!!

Happy Monday!!

How was your weekend??

We had a good one!! 

Saturday was LOOONNNG. Just keepin' it REAL. HA!
Aaron left super early for work, it rained all day long and the sun literally never came out. The kids and I ran a bunch of errands and then, of course, after a day of not being able to go outside, they were TOTALLY nuts by the afternoon. 
Poor things...they seriously are like caged animals (HA!) when they can't play outside!! 

But...Aaron got home from work 15 minutes before our babysitter showed up and we got to go on our date!! We went to a fun burger place and then ended up at Walmart where we bought the most random assortment of a couple Christmas trees, goldfish, apples and shower gel. HA!

Sunday, Aaron was out the door super early again- but he was able to meet us at church and instead of having to go back to the hospital- he was able to come home- which was SO great.

Luckily, the rain had stopped- so the kids got to play outside a bit- but they ended up spending most of their afternoon in the kitchen playing multiple rounds of "Chopped" with their play-doh :) They are obsessed with that show and it is seriously so funny to hear them being like the judges and chefs on the show!!
I had done all of the week's lunch prep on Saturday and got all our grocery shopping done- and on Sunday morning, I prepped our dinner.  So for the first time in MONTHS- I actually sat down and read a book while the kids played play-doh and Aaron got caught up on work stuff. Of course, I could have cleaned something or folded some laundry- but reading "Winter Storms" was SO much more delightful!!
We have a JAM PACKED week ahead of us, with multiple things going on each evening- 
so I put together a super SIMPLE meal plan. 
I am utilizing some convenience foods I normally don't buy- because this mama needs some shortcuts this week! I am also taking advantage of meals I have stashed away in our deep freezer!!

Here's what's for dinner at our house this week!!

MONDAY: At home "Chick-Fil-A" chicken sandwiches, 
waffle fries and steamed green beans

TUESDAY: Potato corn chowder, grilled cheese 
& carrots and cucumbers with ranch for dipping

WEDNESDAY: 4 Ingredient chili, cheesy biscuits and side salads

THURSDAY: Chicken tenders, mac 'n' cheese and steamed broccoli

FRIDAY: Pizza! 

SATURDAY: Leftovers!!

SUNDAY: Meatball Subs and steamed broccoli

What's on your menu plan for the week??

What do you have going on this week? As I mentioned we have quite a bit going on...which if I am being honest- is making me feel slightly twitchy. HA! 
But it's all good stuff and then next week is Thanksgiving week and the kids and Aaron will have a few days off of school and work and we will have some nice down time together.

Here's to having an AWESOME week and inviting God to be with us in whatever we are doing...whether that be changing dirty diapers, grinding it out at work, driving your kids all around town, cleaning up a million messes or just your "regular" day to day duties. 
Gratitude changes EVERYTHING!
Hope you have the BEST day!

I hope you have the BEST day and a wonderful start to your week!!

Linking up with HeatherJohannahTanya and Lindsay!

Friday Favorites

Friday, November 15, 2019

Hi friends!!!

Happy Friday!!

How are you doing? How was your week? Our's was pretty good! It definitely was what I like to call a fast/slow week. HA! It feels like it flew by- but certain moments of this week definitely felt LONG.

And now its FRI-YAY! 

We've got a fairly full weekend ahead of us...the kids and I will be flying solo since this is Aaron's weekend to work. My two youngest daughters are going to a cute pottery class Saturday morning and as long as everything goes smoothly for Aaron at the hospital- we have a date night scheduled!!! He has already told me his schedule is nuts- but also promised me he is going to do everything he can to be home in time for our date.
I am crossing my fingers AND toes it works out- because WE NEED A DATE NIGHT. 
You know what I mean?!? 

Okay- enough about all of that.
Here's a few FAVORITES of mine from this past!!

This past Sunday, the girls and I left the boys at home to play and we went to Kirklands to look around and then to Barnes and Noble. I got caught up on some stuff on my computer and the girls played in the kids' area and read books. It was SO fun to do a couple of things that are NOT easy when James and Marshall are with us and just have some girl time!!
LOVE my girls so so much!
We have a special date night set up for our kiddos so that once a month they get a little bit of one on one time with just Aaron and me. On their birthdate every month is their date night. We set a timer for 20 minutes (because if we don't- the kids looovvee to find ways to drag out their date and avoid bed. HA!) and we play whatever that specific child wants to do. Celine recently had her date and we played Uno and this super fun Scrabble card game called "Slam."  Have you ever played it? It's SO easy and fun. And it's a great "brain work" game since you are trying to figure out how to spell different words! Definitely one of our FAVORITE games to play in our house. You can find it HERE on Amazon- it would be an awesome stocking stuffer!!
Oh my goodness. I came across this Thanksgiving Gratitude Game and instantly knew that would be a part of Thanksgiving Day! 
You can find the free printable and more about the game HERE!
It's such a cute, simple way to get a conversation of gratitude happening with your kids while playing a fun game!! LOVE IT!
I talked a little bit in my post yesterday where I am with decorating for Christmas- you can read that post HERE! Basically- I decorate early-ish...but this year I am not feeling as motivated as I normally do. So we still have our fall/harvest/pumpkin decorations up :)
What I have been doing is listening to Christmas music. I LOVE it. November 1st rolls around and I am playing all of my Christmas play lists on Pandora. My husband finds this totally obnoxious. He is of the mindset that Christmas music should be played on December 24 and 25- and THAT IS IT. HA!

A couple of my kids think I am crazy- and the rest of them are here for it.
So basically...for now..I secretly listen to Christmas music when nobody is home. HA!
Once December gets here- all bets are off- it's going to be played 24/7!! :)
I recently listened to Brene' Brown's Ted Talks on vulnerability and shame- and WOW. She is incredible and I was just blown away by her research and insight. I know she has written several books and I definitely need to get my hands on them because I was so taken by what she had to say in her Ted Talks. You can find them HERE and HERE
I can't recommend listening to them enough!! She gives such an amazing perspective on connection and how we relate to one another and it's just all SO GOOD.
I'd love to know if you've read any of books, which one was your favorite? 

And just for fun- here's an extra FAVORITE....
This sums up our life in one picture :)

Now it's your 
What's made you smile this week?
I'd love to know what one of your FAVORITES has been!!

And in case you them- here's my other blog posts from this week:

Hope you have a FABULOUS Friday and a WONDERFUL Weekend!

Linking up with TifBeckyDella,and Katie too!

Linking up with AndreaErika and Narci!

Thoughts for Thursday

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Hey friends!!

Happy Thursday!!

How's your week going so far?? We're soooo close to the weekend!

Feeling chatty I just thought I share some random thoughts today!

Sooo...I shared this on Insta-stories last week- but I am LOVING using the Peloton app for working out!!! I definitely go through seasons where I feel more motivated than others to exercise ...and while I am feeling very motivated to work out currently- I have definitely been feeling bored. I have a hard time finding classes at my gym that challenge me enough AND I don't have an unlimited amount of time to spend in the gym. I just finished my 5th workout using the app this morning and I am HOOKED. I am loving the challenge of the Peloton workouts and just how easy it is to find a class that fits my needs in that moment and then pressing "start" and it's READY.TO.GO! 
If you are looking for a change in your exercise have nothing to lose in trying out the classes on the app for free for two weeks! Ok..I am done gushing about Peloton. HA!

I know it's VERY controversial (which I don't know WHY)- but I am curious where you stand in Christmas decorating and when you do it?!

I just thought this was too funny. HA! People are SO serious about this topic!
So..the past couple of years- I have done it in early November because Aaron works every 3rd Saturday (I need his help with our trees) and then we have been out of town, traveling to Illinois, for Thanksgiving. My birthday is in early December and I always like to have my decorations up before that- so decorating early has made the most sense for us!

This year, we're not going anywhere for Thanksgiving, so I don't feel the push to get out our decorations just yet. I am thinking we will put up our trees next weekend and then I will spend the following week decorating. If I am being honest- I am feeling kind of apathetic at the thought of getting everything's weird! I don't feel anxious about all the work that goes into decorating...I just don't really have a huge motivation to do it. But on the flip side...I want to make our house feel festive and it's important to me to decorate. AHHHH. This is how my brain works! I am ALL.OVER.THE.PLACE. HA!

Ok...time for a little heart talk.
Parenting has felt quite INTENSE for the past few months.
Aaron and I have coined the phrase that we are joyfully trudging through this season with our kiddos. HA!
My girls are all SO different and very intense in their own ways...and we have a lot of growth and maturing happening which lends itself to a lot of resistance and testing boundaries. 
My girls are not PHYSICALLY exhausting to take care of (they are SO independent!)- but mentally they can DRAIN me.

And my sweet boys. WOW. God knew I really needed to be humbled when he gave me James and Marshall. These boys are SO spirited and push boundaries ALL.DAY.LONG. 
 And we're not talking pushing boundaries like not cleaning up their toys or wrestling too hard with each other- more like leaving the house to go down the street to play with the neighbors without telling me, after I have told them YOU MUST ASK ME. Or like finding their dad's ladder, moving it over to the deep freezer, climbing on it (not completely set up) and going inside the freezer. Let's just pretend these are hypothetical examples and not real life. HA!  Anyway...they are requiring a lot of discipline and demand almost all of my attention and it's just A LOT. 

I share all of this because I hope my vulnerability might make you feel less alone if you are in a particularly hard or challenging season of life- whether that be parenting or another type of relationship. I feel like if we share that we are having a hard time- people assume we aren't grateful or aware of our abundant blessings- 
which is exactly what my children are: ABSOLUTE GIFTS from GOD. And he is teaching me, slowly, surely and at times quite painfully, that I can do none of the work I have been called to do as a mom without him.

And wrap up my ramblings for the day...let's get SUPER serious and talk about PUFFY UNDER EYE SYNDROME.
Yes. This is a real thing. I have diagnosed myself with it. HA!

I am not getting any older and I am becoming more and more conscious of taking care of my skin and if I am being honest- pretty self conscious of the puffy area under my eyes. I don't necessarily have dark under eye circles as much as I do major PUFFINESS.

Give me your best eye creams and I will be SO thankful!!

Also- if you have a certain anti-aging/wrinkle cream(s) that you love- I would so appreciate you sharing those with me too!

I am in the process of trying to figure what I should buy, how much I should spend on said items and I really want to NOT waste money on products that really don't work.

Okey dokey...that's all the random I have for today :)
I am off to drink some more coffee and celebrate the fact that tomorrow is FRI-YAY!
Hope you have the BEST day!!

What I am Loving Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Hi friends!!!

Happy Wednesday!!!
How is your week going so far??

Am I the only one looking around, scratching her head, saying.."How are we HALF WAY through November already?!"
Gosh- time is FLYING by these days!

Sooo...I have a few fun things to share with you today!
Here's what I am loving lately!

I am loving this simple outfit for Thanksgiving!! Of course, all of these pieces are from Walmart- because that just how I roll. HA!

My favorite jeans, this SUPER cute and VERY well made top (it comes in several other colors- but I love this mustard color for fall/Thanksgiving) and these adorable fur lined booties!!
I made the kids some muffins this past weekend and I used my Aldi brand protein pancake mix (exactly like the Kodiak Cakes mix- but half the price!) and followed this recipe. I subbed out honey for maple syrup and my kids LOVED them!! And I LOVED knowing they were eating a muffin that not only tasted yummy- but was packed full of good ingredients and lots of protein!  This is definitely a new go-to muffin recipe for us!
While I was baking muffins, 
I also made a huge pot of our family's favorite potato corn chowder!
Here's the recipe for the soup! It's from my mom :)
This soup is definitely a labor of love to make- and because of that, I double the recipe. 
It makes a HUGE batch and it freezes great! 
The kids and Aaron had grilled cheese and potato corn chowder for dinner Sunday (I had chicken and vegetable soup) and everyone's tummies were VERY happy!
This past weekend, Aaron and I did a talk for couples preparing for marriage in our church. The topic we discussed was Communication and Conflict Management, because goodness knows, we are experts in that, right!?! HA!
We included this graphic in our presentation because we thought it was SO good. This something we have started doing...and it makes SUCH a difference in our intentionally we are communicating!! And I definitely don't think this just applies just to romantic relationships..I think these are great questions to ask others who you are very close to- whether that be a family member or friend!
Credit to this awesome graphic goes to @gratiadesignco

And I am going to end with this.
My day just does NOT get off to a good start unless I wake up early, drink a cup coffee and fill my heart and mind with Scripture and prayer. 
I would love if you'd share something you are loving this week!!
Tell me in the comments!

Hope you have the BEST day!

Linking up with StefanieKeriMauriSarah, and Lindsay today!

So Much Love and Respect for Our Veterans

Monday, November 11, 2019

Hi friends!! 
Happy Monday!!

Today is a special day- it's Veteran's Day.
I know a lot of people get mixed up with the meaning of what we celebrate on Veteran's Day (versus the meaning of Memorial Day)-- today we honor any man or woman who has served in a branch of the United States Armed Forces.
Aaron and I are both incredibly privileged to have multiple family members who have served or are currently serving in a branch of the Armed Forces.  We both grew up with a strong respect for the United States Military; and now as adults, understand the seriousness and true sacrifice that is made on our behalf by all of the people serving in our Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.

I would love to share a little bit more about the Veterans in our family and shine a little light on their service for our country!

My dad's father was in the Army and fought in WWII. I unfortunately never met him, as he passed away when my dad was in college- but my dad spoke so highly of his service and how it shaped his career as a physician!

My mom's father, my grandpa, was in Pearl Harbor, when it was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. He was 17 years old, had just joined the Navy and was loading up his submarine. My grandfather then went on to serve 30 years in the Navy as a chief engineer on submarines.  He would go out for 6 months and be home for 6 months. My mom and SEVEN sisters had the unique and amazing experience of being part of a military family and lived all over the East Coast.  The stories and experiences my grandfather has from his 30 year career in the Navy were nothing short of amazing and he always shared them with so much humility.

Aaron's dad served in the Texas Army National Guard for 6 years and was a Military Policeman while serving! 

My Dad, served in the U.S. Navy for 25 years and retired as a Commander.  I remember growing up my dad going to "drill" on the weekends, as well as when he had to do his yearly training at Camp Pendleton.  I didn't like him being gone, but we were so proud of him! My dad told me so many times throughout his life that the Navy was one of the best things he had done with his life.   

Both of my brothers served in the Army National Guard while they were in college.  My brother Garret, got "called up" several times while he was in college, to serve as a military police man in Germany, Panama, and several places in the U.S. He served for 6 years in the Army before transitioning to the corporate world :)

After college, my brother Michael, got commissioned as an Officer in the U.S. Navy.  He is now a Captain in the Navy and his "job" in the Navy is a critical care pulmonologist. He has spent two years running the ICU department at the Naval Hospital in Guam and did a year long tour in the Middle East, running the ICU of one of the biggest fleet hospitals in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He gets to currently call San Diego is home :)

Aaron's brother was commissioned as a Marine Corps Officer when he graduated from college. He is a Major in the Marine Corps Reserve and is a pilot. He has done NUMEROUS overseas tours, including multiple deployments to the Middle East.  He is an incredible leader and just an all around amazing man.  

I think we can all get so caught up in our lives and make the biggest deal out of the smallest things.  We forget that there are SO many people really living with BIG STUFF in their every day lives...and when it comes to being in the military- it is a choice to sacrifice parts of their OWN LIVES to serve OUR country.
There are so many organizations that help support our Veteran's- just a few of them are:

If you are so inclined, I encourage you to take just a little bit of time today to say a prayer for our Veterans AND their family members or better yet- if you see someone in uniform today- approach them and THANK them. 

With respect, honor and gratitude- 
I say THANK YOU to our Veteran's today.

I hope you have the BEST day and a wonderful start to your week!!

Linking up with HeatherJohannahTanya and Lindsay!

Friday Favorites!!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Happy Friday friends!!!

Phew! What a week! Is anyone else barely making it or is that just us? I hate using the cliched "time change" reasoning- but I am telling you- when it starts getting dark at is just NOT good. My kids have been WONKY and I have seriously considered hiding in my closet come dinnertime. HA!  Needless to say- I am super grateful the weekend is almost here and we get a couple days to recharge and hopefully find our groove!!

Here's some FAVORITES from this past week that have been making me smile!

This past Saturday, one of my best friends came to visit us! My friend Michaela lives in Chicago (I used to live there with her many many years ago!) and she too a quick flight to Raleigh and Aaron and the boys went and picked her up on Saturday morning. We did tons of fun stuff, ate some pretty yummy food and on her last day- we got some special girl time and I just LOVED every second of it! She flew back to Chicago on Tuesday and we are already planning our next visit!
I go through stages where I ALWAYS want my nails painted. I am currently in one of those stages. HA!
While I love a good gel manicure done at the nail salon...I just do NOT have the time for one of those in this season of life! What I have been doing lately is getting Marshall and I in the car about 10 minutes early before we need to leave to pick the kids up from school. I do my base coat and my nail color before we leave the house. Then my nails dry all the way to school and then I do my top coat while I am waiting in the car pool line. Gotta make every minute count, right?!? HA!

I was feeling a neutral color this week and pulled this pretty purplish gray color out of my nail polish bin and I am LOVING it!
I have several colors of this LA Colors brand...and it's a totally great nail polish for just under $2.00! It definitely doesn't last 10 days for me- but I can get a good 4-5 days out of it and that's not too bad in my opinion!
Did you see my post from yesterday?! I shared about this AMAZING faux fur vest that is from Walmart and is under $20!! I put together 5 different outfits- using the vest as the focal point! I had SO much fun creating some fun, AFFORDABLE outfits- definitely go check it out HERE and let me know which outfit is your FAVORITE!
I shared about this special cabinet in my post on Wednesday- but I had to share another picture of it again- because it is definitely one of my FAVORITE pieces of furniture in my house!! This hoosier cabinet was my parents and my mom recently gave it to me! My husband had it re-painted for me and it is in my office, housing all of my craft stuff and sewing machine! I just LOVE it!
Friends. This quote. Wow. It is speaking to me!!
Aaron and I are currently setting some pretty exciting goals and dreaming BIG and I think this perfectly describes what it means to really set a GOAL!


What's made you smile this week?
I'd love to know what one of your FAVORITES has been!!

Hope you have a FABULOUS Friday and a WONDERFUL Weekend!

Linking up with TifBeckyDella,and Katie too!

Linking up with AndreaErika and Narci!