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Friday Favorites!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hi!!! Happy Friday!! 
What a quick week! Did it go by fast for you too??
We have a full day ahead of us...and our weekend is pretty packed too...but the weather is supposed to be beautiful (and hot- not complaining!! ;) and I am just happy I get to spend a couple days with MY PEOPLE. There is not much I love more than Saturday mornings, all of my kiddos snuggled up on the couch, and a big cup of coffee! :)

Time for some FRIDAY FAVORITES!!

//ONE//
I have mentioned several times here on the ol' blog that I do not eat dairy. About a 1 1/2 years ago- I connected some dots in regard to my health and stomach issues I was having and cut dairy out of my diet..I have felt SO much better ever since!
 I am also a Weight Watchers gal!! 
I LOVE WW and have followed their plan to help me lose the baby weight after I had Celine, James and now Marshall. 
I do Weight Watchers online and can't say enough good things about the program :)
ANYWAY...major tangent- HA!....I am always on the lookout for a dairy free "ice-cream like" treat that will satisfy my craving for the real thing...but won't make my stomach hurt AND that won't be 400 calories and 20 grams of fat for a 1/2 cup serving!! 
Enter: Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Desserts!! I found these fun little pints of goodness when I was shopping at Walmart a few weeks ago and bought a couple to try out. 
I am going to be completely honest- if you are looking for something to replace your Dairy Queen blizzard or your pint of Haagen Dazs...you will probably be disappointed.
 HOWEVER- I kept an open mind and LOVED the 2 flavors I tried out: Cookie Shake and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. The NUMBER ONE tip I have for you- and they say this on the container- leave your pint of Arctic Zero on the counter for at least 10-15 minutes to soften. You can NOT eat it right out of the container. Well you can- it just isn't good :) For just 1 WW smartpoint, I can have a half cup of cookie shake "ice cream"...which totally satisfies my wild sweet tooth AND keeps me right on track with my healthy eating!! 
Definitely my new FAVORITE treat for when I just NEED some ice cream!! :)
//TWO//
Last year, I wrote a post about a line of candles Walmart carries, called 719 Walnut Avenue. They are pretty much identical to the 3-Wick candles from Bath and Body Works!! I just picked up a new scent this past week...it's called 'Walk in the Woods' and it smells FABULOUS!!! Fresh, Fall-ish and just yummy-it's my new FAVORITE :) These candles are FIVE DOLLARS friends!! 
FYI: At both of my local Walmart stores- these candles are NOT found in the 'candle section,' they are found over by the glade plug-ins, air fresheners, and cleaning supplies! :)

//THREE//
We just got back from a trip to Southern Illinois for my cousin's wedding and before we left- we ordered Marshall a little carseat toy. I wasn't sure if it was going to work, since he is in a rear facing convertible carseat (we switch our babies out of the infant carseats pretty early because we grow such tall, big babies and they are always happier in the bigger, roomier convertible carseats :)- but it clipped on just fine and he LOVES it!! He is in that adorable stage where he is pulling on everything and just wanting to grab whatever he can get his hands on! We spend a lot of time in the car, driving back and forth from the girls' school and he is just so happy in his carseat with his fun little toy!! You can find it here on Amazon!! 
This would be a great, unique baby gift to get a friend- or maybe your little one needs it for their carseat!! :) 

//FOUR//
Speaking of my cousin's wedding...the ONLY thing I wanted was a picture of our crazy family of 7, all dressed up AND a picture of Aaron and me (we NEVER take pictures together!!)....well...the family picture didn't happen...my kids were having WAY too much fun with their cousins. BUT- I did get my sister-in-law to take a picture of Aaron and me after the wedding ceremony! 
Woo-hoo....we actually have an up to date picture of just the two of us now! :)
Love my handsome hubby so much...he's a MAJOR FAVORITE of mine:)

//FIVE//
And I just LOVE this. There are NEVER too many things to be thankful for in your life...
At this VERY moment..I am thankful for the little doctor kit that James left out last night- he was giving Marshall a check-up :)....for the big, warm cup of coffee that I am drinking and that I have a husband who always gets it ready the night before- so when I wake up at 4:45 it is hot and ready to go....and for the 5 little ones that are starting to wake up and get ready for the day...they make my life loud, messy and perfectly imperfect.

What about you?? What are your thankful for on this beautiful Friday?!?
Hope you have the BEST day and a FABULOUS weekend!!

PS: If you are in the mood to do some shopping, one of my best blogging buddies, Johannah, is having a fun online party!! You can shop her party by going HERE and/or I can add you to all the fun we are having HERE.  Email me if you have any questions!! :)

I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for their Friday Favorites Link Up!

 I am also linking up with April for Five on Friday!
 Joining Karli for her, Oh Hey Friday Link Up! too!



And lastly, linking up with KatieTifDella & Caitlin for High Five for Friday!

Thoughts for Thursday: Super Random Edition! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hi!! Happy Thursday!!!

This week has gone by SO FAST!!! 
Is anyone else just scratching their head, wondering how next Saturday is October 1st?!?
I say this every year- when school starts- I feel like once everyone goes back to school, time moves at warp speed and before you know it- it's Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas and BOOM. Happy New Year! It's crazy, isn't it?!?

Soooo....lots of random things floating around in my mind....I thought I would share a few to them!! 
LUCKY YOU! HA!

Whitney posted a recipe for these pumpkin streusel muffins last week and I can't stop thinking about them. They look absolutely amazing. Pretty sure I will be making them this weekend!

I am wanting a pair of new, comfy black lounge pants. They would be especially perfect after I indulged in several of those pumpkin streusel muffins :) I tried out this pair from Nordstrom- and while they were definitely comfy- they weren't amazing enough for me to keep them. (they are $38- not crazy expensive but definitely not super cheap either!)
So now I have my eye on these pants from you guessed it, Walmart! ;) Fingers crossed they meet my COMFY standards!! Especially since I like the $9.88 price tag a lot better :)
Our church is having their annual Fall Festival this Saturday and because I am a FREAK, I am already planning out what my kids will wear to it. Obviously- they will all be in some sort of Fall/Halloween attire. DUH :)
Luckily, the girls have PLENTY of cute fall/halloween clothes to pick from, but James and Marshall need a few new shirts...aren't these Halloween themed t-shirts from the Children's Place cute?!?
This pumpkin shirt comes in both short and long sleeve...and the sizing starts at 6 months! This is so perfect- because it means I can get one for Marshall and James- so they can MATCH :) 
And HELLO- right now all of the Baby/Toddler graphic tees are $6 or less!!!
And because I know I am not the only Type-A, everything-has-to-be organized, control freak out there :) 
This spoke to me :)
Hope you have the BEST day friends!!!

Linking up with Annie and Natalie!

Recipe Club!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hi!!! Happy Wednesday!!
How's your week been going so far??

I am super excited about today- because it's Recipe Club day!! Two of my best blogging buddies, Johannah and Heather, host Recipe Club, every 3rd Wednesday of the month. All you have to do is share one of your favorite recipes and link up with them!!

I have been in a "recipe rut" for about the last month...I feel like I have been making the same things over and over again! I can't wait to get some new recipes to try out! 
Here's the recipe that I am sharing with you today:

Crockpot Brown Sugar Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin

The kids and I are not huge fans of pork tenderloin when it is grilled or cooked in the oven....but put it in a crock pot- and we just LOVE it! I think it might be a texture thing...I know it is for me- I just prefer my pork to be more "shredded"....does that make sense?!? HA! 
This is such an easy recipe!! Start in the morning and dinner is ready 6 hours later!
Be sure to use a crockpot liner to make clean up SUPER easy!! :)

adapted from Big Oven

And to make this the easiest dinner EVER, I serve my pork tenderloin alongside mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli! I pick up a pre-made package of Bob Evans Homestyle Mashed Potatoes and a steamer bag of broccoli from Aldi, warm them both up in the microwave and dinner is DONE. 

Dinner is delicious....the clean up is SO easy...and everyone in my family enjoys this meal!
That makes this recipe a winner for me!

Definitely let me know what you think if you end up making it for your family!!

Hope you have the BEST day!!

Tuesday Talk: Weekly Walmart Finds!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hi!! Happy Tuesday!!

I hope you've had a great start to your week!!
We were out of town for a wedding this past weekend...so I spent yesterday doing waaaayyyy too much laundry :) The good news is- I only have one more basket to put away and then I am DONE. Am I the only who feels like they can't move forward with life when there are A TON of clean clothes just piled up in laundry baskets, waiting to be put away?!? 

Anyway...we had a great weekend...I've got us almost totally unpacked...laundry is almost all put away....life is good :)

Okay- enough about my boring life...let's talk about shopping!!
You all know how much I love "The Walmart." 
Well...I haven't done a Weekly Walmart Finds post in awhile...so I thought it would be fun to "feature" Five Fall Fashion Finds (whoa- that's some alliteration right there for you! HA!) from Walmart! They seriously have some super cute stuff!!

I am so excited to show you what I found! :)
//1// I LOVE this open front cardigan!! The wine color is perfect for fall and the little lace insert detail is just SO pretty! It's $12.88!! So perfect to wear over a tank top or a t-shirt!!

//2// This long sleeve v-neck top is the perfect "transition" piece! I am LOVING the lace detail and that the hem is just a bit longer in the back than in the front- hello-extra booty coverage! My favorite color this top comes in is 'olive' but it  also comes in black, cream, and a beautiful dusty blue! And it's only $9.88!!

//3// So check out these super skinny denim jeggings!! They have a 4.4 star rating from over 100 people and they are only $16.88! I am loving this dark wash- it's called 'super dark enzyme.' I have been looking for a pair of super skinny jeans...but really don't want to pay a lot for them...these jeans seem like a GREAT option! Can't wait to try them out!

//4// Um. How fun are these wedge booties??? The whole fold-over look with the zipper is SO cute and they would look SO great paired with the super skinny jeggings and the open front cardigan?!? They are $24.97- totally a steal for a cute, on-trend bootie!

//5// Okay- so I saved the best for last...how fabulous is this cowl neck poncho sweater?!? I absolutely LOVE the look of it and think it is such a perfect transition piece! You can wear it right now with just a tank top under it...and as it gets a little cooler- you can put a long sleeve shirt under it! I am obsessed with this "toasted heather" color it comes in...but you can also get it in black, charcoal grey, and bordeaux (a deep burgundy). It is $14.96!! At that price you could totally get more than one!! :)

Sooo...what do you think?? Any of these items catch your eye?
I am definitely going to order the booties, jeggings and cowl neck poncho sweater. I need to branch out a bit and add some trendier pieces to my wardrobe...and I think those 3 items will definitely spice up current my fall/winter clothing collection! HA!

Okay- now it's time to link up with my favorite ladies for Tuesday Talk! 
Just a few things to remember: 
Please follow your hosts in some way- we would love to connect with you!
- Visit the other links and leave some comment love.
- By linking up to this link party, you give us permission to feature an image on our blog and social media. Proper credit and links will be given!
- Remember to link back using the button or text link.
- Optional: On social media #TuesTalk as you share your post
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Full Hands Full Heart

Friday Favorites!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Hi!! Happy Friday!!
Was it me or did this week go by FAST???
I really am having a hard time believing we are halfway through September!! 
TIME: Please slow down!! Just a tiny bit! HA! :)

It's Friday...so I have a few FAVORITES to share with you!!

//ONE//
So- confession: I do NOT like Pumpkin Spice Lattes. GASP. I know...I am in the minority BUT I do love pretty much everything else PUMPKIN. 
One of my all time favorite treats is the pumpkin pie blizzard from Dairy Queen. Who knew something in a little cup could be SO yummy?!? Well...I have been dairy free for about 1.5 years now...so I have gotten pretty creative when an ice cream craving hits!
I recently found this recipe for a dairy free pumpkin pie smoothie and OMG. 
It is SOOOO good!!!
It is my FAVORITE treat lately...and I may or may not have made one every night this past week after the kids have gone to bed :) 
Photo courtesy of PaleOMG

//TWO//
Speaking of FAVORITE treats...on Tuesday, I shared FIVE of my 'go-to' dessert recipes that I make ALL.THE.TIME. If you are craving a yummy treat this weekend or need to bring a dessert to a party or cookout...definitely give one these recipes a try!!! 
//THREE//
Sooo...it's not quite sweatshirt weather here in Indianapolis...BUT...I wanted to share with you one of my FAVORITE comfy, cute tops I wear once the weather gets cold. It's from Target and they call it a Cowl Tunic (by Mossimo). The sizes are really limited online..but it says a lot of the colors are in the store!! If you are at Target this weekend- definitely look for this top!! It is SO comfy, it's long enough to properly be worn with leggings and it is one of my FAVORITE tops to wear in the fall and winter!! And will you do me a favor?? If you find this in your local Target and they have it in an aqua/turquoise color in a size small- will you email me??? I might just have you buy it for me and send it to me!! HA! 

//FOUR//
Speaking of being in Target this weekend...read my post from yesterday (if you already haven't) and consider helping out Noah's Bandage Project!! So many of you have already emailed me, asking for details- and I am just SO excited!! Buying a couple boxes of cute, fun bandaids, seems like such a small thing to do...but it is going to have such a huge impact for so many precious little boys and girls who are going through treatments for pediatric cancer! Email me if you have questions about helping with Noah's Bandage Project in honor of September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!

//FIVE//
Would it be just absolutely stating the OBVIOUS if I shared that weekends are my FAVORITE!?! HA! They really are :) 
I am going to go ahead and assume I am not alone in feeling this way. HA!
Hope you have the most WONDERFUL weekend...and that it's filled with the perfect mixture of getting some things done, stealing a couple relaxing moments on the couch or hammock and some good FUN adventures!! :)

Have the BEST day friends!

I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for their Friday Favorites Link Up!

 I am also linking up with April for Five on Friday!
 Joining Karli for her, Oh Hey Friday Link Up! too!


And lastly, linking up with KatieTifDella & Caitlin for High Five for Friday!

Thoughts For Thursday: Doing Small Things with Great Love!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hi!! Happy Thursday!!!

I have something that I wanted to share with you today :)

Earlier in the week, I got an email from my sweet friend Johannah, who was sharing an email SHE received from Britanny, who blogs over at Just Another Day in Paradise
Are you following this so far?? HA!

Brittany's next door neighbors sadly lost their precious boy Noah to pediatric cancer last June. One thing sweet little Noah realized while going through all of his treatments was how un-cool it was to just have the boring skin colored bandages all over his body with all the pricks and pokes that comes with treatment for pediatric cancer.  
If he felt that way, he knew other kids did too.  He started a drive to collect fun bandaids (that all our kids love) and distributed them to other kids at Children's Mercy Hospital in downtown KC.  What started as a small drive, turned into something much bigger.  The KC Royal's got involved, the KC news, etc.  While he did end up passing away in June 2015, his family and friends are working hard to ensure his amazing project: Noah's Bandage Project, lives on.  

So in honor of September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month- I wanted to share about this amazing project and let you know how, in a very simple, easy way, you and your family can help :)

Here's a couple ways you can help out:

//1// 
If you would like to send colorful and fun bandaids to help Noah's project live on please email me and I will pass the information along to you!! What a fun activity to do with your children this weekend...it's such a simple way to teach your child about being aware of other's struggles and how to care for them in a tangible way!

//2//
If you are a blogger and would like to participate in spreading awareness about pediatric cancer and Noah's bandage project, plan on publishing a post on Wednesday, September 28th to share you and/or your kiddos buying lots of bandaids!! 

//3//
If you would rather just send a donation to Noah's Bandage Project- that is WONDERFUL too!
You can donate HERE.

I don't know about you- but sometimes I can feel overwhelmed with all of the excruciatingly HARD life situations other people are going through. I want to help- but I just don't know where to begin.  
I think we can all get caught up feeling like if we can't do something BIG or donate A LOT money...our efforts aren't really that helpful.
NOT TRUE.
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, "Do small things with GREAT love."

Please contact me if you feel led to donate some boxes of bandaids to Noah's Bandage Project!! can't think of a better way to spend an hour or so this upcoming weekend, than by taking a quick trip to Walmart or Target to pick out some fun bandaids for a precious little child fighting the awful battle of cancer.

I hope you have the BEST day!!!

Linking up Annie and Natalie today!


TEN YEARS!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Hi friends!! Happy Wednesday!!

How's your week going??
Our's is cruising right along....no complaints here! :)

Today is a fun day for Aaron and me!
It is the TEN YEAR anniversary of our first date/first time meeting each other!!
And the LAST first date for both of us :)

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time- you know that Aaron and I met via Match.com!!

You can read about all the details HERE- DISCLAIMER: it's definitely a bit, ahem, lengthy (have a big cup of coffee poured)- but it's a really fun story!!

Basically- in August 2006, I moved to Austin, Texas, by myself to essentially "start over."
I had lived in Chicago for the past two years and I was ready for a change and some SUNSHINE. HA! 
(I love Chicago!! But the winters were ROUGH for this warm weather loving girl!)

I quickly got settled into my cute apartment, started working at my new job (as a speech therapist for a local school district) and was ready to meet some people....of the male variety. HA! 

I took a HUGE leap of faith and joined Match.com for 1 month.
I went out with several guys- and had so much fun! Every single guy I went out with was super chill and really nice- just not a 'match' for me. All while I am doing this...my confidence was growing...and I was realizing how awesome it was to be on this new adventure in Austin!  It was truly an amazing time in my life :)

Not sure of the exact date...but I think on September 7 or 8- I got an email (via Match.com) from a guy named Aaron :)
We exchanged a few emails...then ended up talking on the phone a couple of times...and then on September 14, 2006, he came over to my apartment to pick me up for our first date.
I knew the second he opened my front door and gave me a big, warm hug that this guy was something super special.

(Picture of us a week after we had met! :)
And now here we are....10 years later...with 5 beautiful children and we still both can't believe the incredible love story God orchestrated for us!
I know some people think it's silly to celebrate your "dating" anniversary or the "first day you met" anniversary....but for us...this day is SO special. For us...September 14 is the day both of our totally lives changed...and it is etched on our hearts forever!! :)
Hope you have the BEST day!!
 
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