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Friday Favorites!!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Hey hey friends!!

Happy FRIDAY!

Am I the only one who thought it was Friday yesterday?!? 
I seriously cannot get my days straight!!

I sure hope you've had a good week. 
Our's has been filled with lots of FUN in the SUN and that has made me so happy!!

Here's a few FAVORITES of mine from this past week!!

Last Friday- Aaron had the day off and we got all packed up for the day and took a ferry boat to Cape Lookout National Seashore. It is one of our FAVORITE beaches to go to and we had the BEST day!!
We spent the whole day on the island...going on several long beach walks looking for shells, we played in the ocean, had a picnic lunch and truly just RELAXED. It was an absolute GIFT and I am so thankful we made the effort to go!!

Love this crew of mine...going on adventures with them is my FAVORITE!
For Father's Day, we got Aaron a Solo Stove. It was supposed to arrive by Father's day...but ended up getting delayed. We got it delivered last week and used it for the first time this past weekend!

S'more assembly line!!
 We had so much fun sitting around our new fire pit and the kids definitely consumed at least 50 marshmallows between the five of them. HA!
We got the most RANDOM rain shower a couple of days ago...and ended up with this incredible double rainbow in our backyard!!
I know FOR SURE it was my dad sending us a big hug :)
And my most FAVORITE thing that happened this past week...Marshall teaching himself how to swim!!
A couple of weeks ago...he decided, on his own, he was done wearing his puddle jumper and started swimming like a fish in the shallow end (where he can touch). Then just a couple of days ago- he told Aaron that he wanted to jump in the deep end without his puddle jumper! We totally encouraged him (Aaron was obviously in the pool with him) and he just WENT FOR IT! He is a total fish and has endless energy in the pool!
With him being our baby...I will definitely admit any time he hits a "big kid" milestone- it's bittersweet for me!! He's my last kiddo to do all the things. But as bittersweet as it is- I am SO SO grateful he is a healthy, growing boy who is SO excited to learn how to do new things!
What do ya'll have planned for 4th of July weekend?

We are laying low...we are going to have some friends over to swim in the morning on the 4th and then will just spend the evening together as a family. We're going all American with our menu and grilling out burgers and having ice cream cones for dessert! :)

I hope whatever you have planned...it's a wonderful time spent with either family and/or friends. And even though this 4th of July will look SO different than what we are used to...we have SO much to be grateful for...and it can still be a day to celebrate the amazing country we live in and the principles it was founded on.

Also...just a little heads up...I am going to be taking a break from posting for about 2 weeks.
We are headed on some summer adventures soon...which I can't wait to share about once we get home!!

Hope you have the most wonderful Friday and FABULOUS 4th of July weekend!

Linking up with Andrea and Erika!

Coffee Chat!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Hey friends!!!

Happy Wednesday!!

Happy FIRST DAY OF JULY!
Wow. How are we already in a new month?!?
Today felt like a good day to just have a good ol' fashioned chit-chat. I am currently drinking an iced coffee as I type this... and wishing I could have all of you over on my patio to just hang out and talk about all the random things!

We are headed out on a VERY fun family vacation soon and we will be going on a fun adventure. I needed a long sleeve rash guard for said adventure and ended up ordering THIS ONE from Lands End. I absolutely LOVE the pattern...it will go with either my black swim bottoms or my black running shorts- so I know I will get lots of use out of it- outside of what I need it for on our vacation! Lands End's prices are definitely a little higher...but I find their quality to be excellent.  For something that I am going to wear a lot- it's worth it to me to pay a bit more for it- and know that it will last!
Another fun purchase I recently made was this Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector. It comes in 2 shades and I got the "medium to deep" shade. It is SO pretty and it TRULY conceals and brightens at the same time!!! I don't know about you- but even with the little bit of a tan I have during the summer...right under my eyes always just looks a little DULL. This stuff really works wonders and a little goes a LONG WAY! You can get it at Ulta and Sephora....but if you are a first time customer with Becca.com- you can sign up for a 20% email coupon and they have free shipping and returns! Totally the way to go if you want to try it out!! That's what I did! :)


Okay...switching gears a bit...I am wondering how ya'll are feeling about it being July 1st?!?
Do you love a FRESH new month as much as I do??
Did you set some goals for yourself last month....and now you need to set some new ones??
Are you feeling like despite being at home MUCH MORE...time is kind of flying by and you don't know really know what the heck is going on most days!? HA!

I am definitely feeling a bit apprehensive about the upcoming school year. Our school year is set to start mid-August...but with everything continuing to change daily- I truly think it's going to be a game time decision on what plan our school follows (they have several plans set in place...it all depends on the current state of COVID at the time of school starting). I have considered taking the year off from regular school and homeschooling (I feel NUTS even saying that)- and I will never say never to that- but right now, both Aaron and I are feeling very strongly about sending our kiddos back to school. They DESPERATELY miss their friends and the social interaction....and if we do go back to remote learning- I know that the procedures our school has in place are very solid. Our teachers did NOT miss a beat when we started remote learning this past March and my kiddos continued to receive an incredible education. So that's where we are at with that right now.

As far as goals...I have been focusing on getting back to a place of wellness with my nutrition and overall health and wellness. I have been working on losing some extra weight that I have gained and really just trying to find a place of balance with daily movement, fueling my body with good food and working on my tendency to emotionally overeat.
I have to tell you- and you probably already know this- but there is NO magic formula for losing weight, becoming stronger and getting healthier. You just have to keep SHOWING UP. Every day. That's when you will start to see results. You are not always going to motivated. Heck...almost every day, at some point, I "lose" my motivation. It's what you choose to do in those moments which will lead to lasting, SUSTAINABLE success.
I am still working on losing a few pounds...but what has really kept me going is seeing the positive correlation between being consistent in my nutrition and daily exercise in relation to how my body FEELS (and is physically changing). The fact of the matter is- when I overeat- I physically and mentally feel terrible. Then that carries over in to me not wanting to workout. Which makes me feel worse. 
It's a terrible cycle and one that I have no interest in being a part of!
So consistency. Staying focused on WHY you make yourself, daily movement and proper nutrition a priority. We were meant to be fully alive...which is why God has called us to treat our bodies like temple. That's what I cling to when I want to give up, emotionally overeat or not show up for myself!!
By the way..I know most of you are familiar with my healthy and wellness journey- but if not- you can read all about it HERE, HERE and HERE!
Also- if you don't already- you can follow me over on my health and wellness Instagram account...where I talk about this stuff ALL THE TIME :) You can find me HERE if you are interested in following along on my journey! 

Okay friends...time for me to go!
I am getting my hair done this morning!!! YIPPEE!!

I had a MAJOR color malfunction back in December with a stylist who unfortunately ruined my hair. I have been going to a new stylist since January...but it has taken several appointments to correct all the damage. Today should be my last appointment for awhile...which I know will make my husband happy. HA! (After being married for over 12 years...he still can't fully grasp how expensive it is to get your hair done. HA!)

Hope you have the BEST day!!!
Thanks for "chatting" with me today! :)


Monday Musings!

Monday, June 29, 2020


Happy Monday Friends!!

How was your weekend??

Our's was pretty great!! 
Aaron had Friday off since he was on call last weekend and on Thursday night, we decided a beach day would be an awesome way to spend his extra day off! 
We chose to go to one of our most favorite places, Cape Lookout National Seashore, which you can only get to by a ferry. 
It's definitely an adventure to get there...but it is SO worth it. The water is absolutely stunning...there are no waves- so it's perfect for kids- and there are SO MANY seashells!!
 We set up our little beach "camp" for the day and stayed for about 4 hours...we always go on lots of beach walks, search for shells and the kids just have a ball swimming and exploring in the ocean!
Saturday was a pretty chill day...the girls and Marshall and I ran a couple errands in the morning (note to self- DO NOT BRING MARSHALL TO ULTA AGAIN UNTIL HE IS AT LEAST 10 YEARS OLD-HA!)- which included going to the mall to get some Bath and Body Works hand soaps. 
I am SO cheap that instead of paying for shipping to have the soaps sent to our house- I thought it would be fine to just run into the store (with our masks on, of course) and get them.
Boy was I WRONG. The staff at B&BW was wonderful- but they were only allowing a certain amount of people in and it was very crowded and it was just NOT a fun shopping experience AT ALL. I will NOT be going back to the mall any time soon and I will be happy to pay the $5.99 shipping fee to avoid going into B&BW. 
I don't know about ya'll, but going into stores, since things have re-opened, has TOTALLY lost it's appeal to me. It's just not the same and I would just rather stay home!

ANYWAY. Enough about that :)
We spent most of Saturday afternoon in the pool...it's HOT here and I cannot put into words how thankful I am for our pool!!
Sunday, we went to church and then spent the afternoon swimming again! We had 3 of the girls' friends, who live in our neighborhood, come over to swim and it was SO nice to hear LOTS of giggles and squealing in our pool! 

And now here we are...MONDAY! The last week of June...the first week of July! 
Do ya'll have any fun plans for the 4th of July? We are laying low. The weather is looking kind of iffy- with possible thunderstorms rolling through our area.
We just plan to have a nice, easy day...and if weather allows it- spend the day in the pool and grill out for dinner. And of course, light sparklers once it gets dark! 

Not sure if you are feeling like I do- but meal planning is one of the LAST things I want to do in the summer! But people need to eat (if it were just me- I would literally eat a grilled chicken salad EVERY night for dinner. HA!)...so I pulled together a VERY simple menu plan for the week. Here's what's for dinner at our house this week!

Okay friends...that's all I have for today!!!
I sure hope you have a wonderful Monday!!!


Linking up with TanyaLindsayHeather and Johannah!

What I am Loving Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Hey friends!!!

Happy Wednesday!!!

How is your week going???

We're just cruising right along over here! 
I will tell you- that I almost started frantically searching for day camps for ALL of my kids yesterday- until I realized there are no day camps because of dang COVID.
It was just ONE OF THOSE DAYS.
If I could have packed them all up in one giant suitcase and sent them off to my mom's house- I would have. HA!

ANYWAY. Today is a new day and I am thankful for that!

I wanted to share a few things that I am loving as of recently!!

Several of them are from small business owners, which I just love!

First up is this neutral colored, beaded cross bracelet. I have been wanting a chunkier, everyday cross bracelet and I was so excited when I found this one on Etsy! I ordered it from the shop, BeadedBlues. So here's a fun story....I ordered my bracelet and then a day later, got an email from the owner of the shop telling me that she lives in the SAME TOWN AS ME! How coincidental is that?! I was able to do a porch pick-up and save on the shipping charges- which was great- but it also made me SO happy to know I was supporting a LOCAL artisan! 
Next up are these super FUN and encouraging postcards I ordered from Crew and Co.
I have been looking for some fun cards to send to friends or to give to someone when I drop off a meal- and these are just PERFECT!
You can totally send them in the mail as a postcard or put it in an envelope with a Starbucks gift card to sent someone you love a little boost!!
And finally, I wanted to share these candles that I recently ordered from Southern Elegance Candle Company! I learned about these candles from Laura of Laura Cox Collections, when she was sharing about Black owned small businesses. When I went to the website I was SO excited to find out these candles are made right here in North Carolina! 
These candles came extremely well packed and they smell WONDERFUL. Not over powering at all...but they definitely have a good, strong scent to them. Does that make sense?! HA!
I have burned 2 of the 3 scents I have ordered and I love both of them! 
I am so excited to have found this company because I just realized in the past couple of months that I experience a really negative reaction to Bath and Body Works candles!! 
So does my husband! Our noses start running, we get super congested and it's just SO weird! Anyway...the Southern Elegance Candles burn super clean and we've just really enjoyed having them lit in our home!!
Okay- switching gears from small business goodies to something you can pick up at Ulta! :)
I have been using this conditioning mask by Wella for about 2 years now and I can't believe I have never mentioned it before!! In the winter months...I use it about once a week- but with us swimming almost every day and my hair just feeling way more dry and damaged...I use this as my primary conditioner. It smells AMAZING and a little bit goes a long way. It makes your hair feel SO healthy and soft and did I mention it smells AMAZING?!

It's definitely a little bit pricey...but I feel like it's totally worth it! I always try to get it when Ulta puts their professional hair products on sale!
This graphic, made by Lauren Winter, who has the MOST inspiring Instagram account- you can find her HERE- really struck a chord with me.
I don't know about you- but when I feel like someone is just trying to "bypass" what I am really telling them or sharing how I am feeling- with an empty "I'll pray for you" or "God doesn't give you more than you can handle" - it leaves me feeling SO unseen. I just LOVED how this graphic showed what it means to "bypass" someone and to truly VALIDATE them. 
And finally- I am LOVING these doll beds my husband made our kiddos a couple of weekends ago SO MUCH!
All of the kids (with the exception of my oldest daughter) are VERY into their American Girl Dolls. The boys even have boy dolls from Target's doll line (you can find them HERE)!
Anyway...they were all looking at the American Girl Doll catalog and decided they all NEEDED dolls beds. HA! Well...their daddy is the BEST and he agreed to make them all a bed for their dolls instead of spending a million dollars on five dolls beds from the American Girl store. HA!

Didn't they turn out so good??! 
Aaron really is so talented...we are the LUCKIEST!

Okay. That's what I am currently loving these past few weeks!

What about you??
What's ONE thing you have been loving lately??

Hope you have the BEST day!

Hello Monday: Signs of Summer!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Hey friends!!

Happy Monday!!!

How was your weekend??

Our's was good!
Aaron had to work- but the weather ended up being really beautiful and that made for some great time spent outside.
He had to go to the hospital twice on Father's Day- but we still managed to go to church as a family, spend some time in the pool and grill out a yummy steak dinner and enjoy it al fresco!

And now here we are...MONDAY! The last week of June! HOW?!?

 We are in the full swing of summer and I thought it would be fun to just show some "signs" of summer at our house!
I absolutely LOVE summer break and having my kids home. With that being said, I am extremely OCD about how I keep our house...so every summer, I REALLY have to work on relaxing and being ok with things not constantly being picked up and tidy. 

One way I have really come to surrender myself to the messes is, instead of getting cranky or grumbling under my breath about "this house is a MESS"- I take note of the disarray and tell myself- "It's a SIGN of summer!" While this doesn't always make me less cranky (HA!)- it has helped me TREMENDOUSLY in my outlook and definitely helps me SEE the good in what I typically view as a nuisance.

So here are some not great quality photos of "signs" of summer at our house!

LOTS of muffins cooling on the stove top.
I know I am not the only one who has kids that are HUNGRY ALL DAY LONG. 
In the summer, I am baking a batch of muffins or making some homemade granola/cereal every day! I am not a huge fan of making big messes in the kitchen on the regular...but when I see these muffins it makes me so happy to know that my kiddos love what I make them and are always begging for more! :) 
LEGOS. TINY LITTLE legos EVERYWHERE. HA!
Friends. I have a love/hate relationship with legos. My kids LOVE them...especially my youngest daughter and two sons. I try to keep them tucked away for rainy days...because my boys would stay inside ALL day and just play legos if I had them out all the time! Always. I can't handle all the tiny pieces. I am literally ALWAYS stepping on one of them! HA!
I was walking in from our pool, into our sunroom and all of these legos were on the floor....another SIGN of summer at our house!!
Puzzles! LOTS of puzzles! My girls have gotten into puzzles this summer and it's actually pretty cool to see them work so diligently to put together an intricate puzzle!
My not so favorite part of this new found hobby is that they have all of their puzzles on our dining room table :) It's not really a big deal since we eat outside every night as long at the weather allows it...but gone are the days my dining room looks tidy and ready for a dinner party. HA!
Just another SIGN of summer!
Trips to the grocery store with ALL FIVE kiddos in tow.
This is absolutely a MAJOR sign of summer since I always do my grocery shopping while they are in school during the school year. COVID has made grocery shopping extra interesting...and Aaron and I are trying really hard to only go by ourselves...but there have been a few times where logistically- the kids and I had to go.
Luckily, my girls are awesome helpers and if I bribe my boys with food WHILE we are shopping, I can manage to get out of the store with minimal screaming fits. HA!
RANDOM stuff EVERYWHERE. I know this "mess" probably doesn't look like much- but to me- it is. HA! A leftover plate of crackers from lunch, CUPS galore, toys, cut up pieces of paper, tape, books...you name it...you will find on top of my kitchen counters.
I have really had to work on not nit picking all day long to have my kids pick up and really stay focused on my mantra of "this is a sign of summer!"
The house is always picked up the end of the day and my kitchen is spotless when I go to bed...and I have learned that that is good enough during this season of summer and young kiddos at home!
I have to be totally honest...having the kids home an extra three months early to COVID has definitely made me feel stretched in ways I have never experienced as a mother. Summer break, while a welcome reprieve from remote learning, has brought it's challenges, just due to the fact that we've already been home together for a long period of time (I am hoping some of you are nodding your head in agreement with me?!?)

And when I read this quote...WOW. It resonated with me SO much!
Here's to all of the moments of motherhood...let us honor ALL of them and trust that no matter what our day looks like...our kiddos KNOW without a doubt we love them :)
Even if they are the messiest creatures EVER.
HA!

I'd love to know...what are some "signs" of summer in your home?

Hope you have the BEST day!

Linking up with TanyaLindsayHeather and Johannah!









Friday Favorites!!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Happy Friday friends!!!

How was your week??

Our's was pretty good! If I am being totally honest, it felt a bit long...like on Wednesday I felt like it FOR SURE should have been Friday. HA!
But now it really IS FRIDAY...and that makes me happy!

It was one of the busiest weeks we've had since quarantine started...my oldest daughter had dance camp every afternoon, she started taking "in person" piano lessons again and she had her first swim team practice. It felt SO good to do some normal things. We are still making an effort to stay home as much as possible...but having some regular things on the schedule was very refreshing.

Oh. And we had an orthodontist appointment for two of the girls....and one of them needs braces. FUN TIMES. HA!

I have a few random favorites from this past week to share with you!

First up- PUZZLES.
We've been getting SO MUCH RAIN here in Eastern North Carolina these past weeks. 
I brought out a bunch of puzzles and it's become one of our new favorite things to do! 
My girls have completed almost all of them and I told them once they have- we will go to Hobby Lobby and pick a few new ones to do!
I got a craving for chicken enchiladas earlier in the week and decided I would be making Aaron and I our FAVORITE chicken enchilada recipe for dinner. I have been making Skinnytaste Chicken Enchiladas since we lived in Ohio when Aaron was in medical school! This recipe NEVER disappoints. You must try it out if you haven't already!!
You can find the recipe HERE!
A couple days ago, I was sharing on IG stories about some mini Mexican chicken pizzas I was making my kiddos for dinner and I was wearing this cute "Good Vibes" tank that I got last year from Amazon. I had several people ask me where I got it from...so I thought I would share the link here on the blog!! It's such a FUN top to wear! It comes in a bunch of colors and has a really great length to it! My girls LOVE when I wear it...which makes me feel slightly like I am a cool mom. HA! It's definitely one of my FAVORITE summer tanks!

You can find it HERE on Amazon!!!

And in cased you missed these posts from earlier in the week- you can read more about the BEST sports bra EVER by going HERE
You can go HERE if you want to check out a fun little "re-fresh" we did to our laundry room!
What's your weekend looking like??
Any big fun plans for Father's Day??

Aaron is on call all weekend...so I am hoping that we can still squeeze in some good quality Father's Day time with him on Sunday afternoon!
Father's Day is a bit of a mixed feelings day for me...I LOVE celebrating Aaron and the amazing father he is to our five kiddos...and it's makes me miss my dad extra. I try to honor ALL of my feelings and just be gentle with myself.
Hope you have a FABULOUS Friday and a WONDERFUL weekend!!

Linking up with Andrea and Erika!


A Few Fun House Updates!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Happy Wednesday friends!!!

How is your week going so far??

It has been raining NON STOP since Monday morning and I may or may not be going slighty crazy. HA!
I am all for a cozy, lazy day spent inside...but multiple days...um no. 
I MUST GET FRESH AIR. HA!


Moving on from my complaining about the weather....let's talk about fun house improvements! 
In the last couple of months, we've (and when I say "we" I totally mean Aaron) finished a few projects we've had on our master "house list" and I thought I would share them with you today!!

First- a little laundry room "re-fresh!"

Technically speaking, we don't really have a true laundry room. 
I call it a laundry "space." Right as you walk into our house from the garage, you are in our laundry "space." It's small and cramped...and up until last month- it was also pretty lackluster.
With it being such a small space, we knew we needed to keep the improvements small- but the few things we changed- made a big impact!

Here's a "BEFORE" view of the laundry room.
Basic cabinets with a coat of spray paint on them.
And here's our laundry sink. Again- just a basic sink with white (plastic) doors.
The biggest improvement/change we made was adding a shiplap "background" behind the washer, dryer and utility sink!
Aaron came up with the most clever idea for this shiplap background. We could just add shiplap to the back wall because of the washer/dryer hookups and the lines for the sink.
So- being the super creative guy he is- he built a shiplap wall and installed it on hinges!!

He built it out a couple of inches so it would accomodate all the hoses and then installed it on hinges so that if/when a repair needs to be made- it can be lifted up!!!
The next improvement he did was build doors for the utility sink that matched the shiplap background!
Love this handy husband of mine SO much!

The final change we made was switching out the handles on the cabinets and painting them completely white. Simple changes- but they made such a big impact!

Here's the "AFTER!" 
Everything just looks so fresh and finished- which is exactly what we were going for!
Here's a view of the utility sink...see that cute little towel rack??
Aaron made the towel rack out of black iron piping that is used for gas lines!
Here's another view of our laundry space...this is coming from the garage entrance.
Didn't the utility sink doors turn out so good? 
Again- such a simple change but they just look so finished and go with the overall "look" of the space!
The other project that we completed is our gallery wall in our living room! I have been meaning to print out our family pictures since LAST FALL and get them up on our gallery wall. I finally took the time to print out some of my favorites and I ordered more picture frames.
I got all the pictures put in the frames and then Aaron and I got them all hung!

The wall is now FULL of family pictures from the last 4 years and I just LOVE it!
Here's another view...I took this picture standing in our kitchen. 

I am undecided if I want to eventually paint this wall an accent color or maybe do some sort of trim. I feel like the bottom half of the wall might be missing something?!
For now though...I am considering this a "finished" project. 
This wall of pictures makes me so happy!!

The final project we just finished was re-doing our master bathroom shower!! This was a BIG project and one that Aaron is SO happy to be done with.
I will share more about that "re-do" in a separate post!!!

I am curious to know...have you been tackling more home projects since the quarantine started?? 
I would say for us- being quarantined wasn't the reason we did these projects as Aaron has been working the whole time. We are just "project" people. HA! We always say, after we finish a project that it's going to be our LAST ONE. Then we take a break for a couple of months and then we forget about how much work it is to do home renovations with 5 young kids and then we start another one. HA! What can I say, we are gluttons for punishment!!

I can definitely say FOR NOW- especially with our shower now being done- NO MORE PROJECTS (at least for the next couple of months ;)

Hope you have the BEST day!
 
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