Friday Favorites!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Hey friends!!!

Happy Friday!!

How has your week been??
Our's has been good! Not too much to report! 
I will say...I don't know why...but it has felt like a long-ish the days seem to be moving by quite slowly...but then again- it's Friday and it sure felt like it was Monday just a couple days ago! HA!

So...I've got some fun FAVORITES to share with you on this Friday!!

First- I wanted to share about something I did earlier in the week.
I am constantly in a state of purging and giving away stuff- I CANNOT handle clutter.
Like to the point that sometimes I get in trouble with Aaron because I throw away/giveaway things we actually need. HA!
Anyway- most of the items we no longer need, I donate to our church's St. Vincent DePaul Society- which helps members of our community who are in need. There is a food pantry and a "store" and it's open every Tuesday. I love donating things we no longer need or use to them because I know we are helping out our local community!
With that being said, I also feel a pull to help out in a global sense...there are just SO many worthy causes out there that need help in the way of money or donations.
ANYWAY- this is gettting wordy. HA!
We go through shoes pretty fast in our house...our kids are growing like WEEDS and Aaron and I run so much that we replace our running shoes frequently. I know that in many countries shoes are in HIGH need and wanted to see if we could donate our's somewhere!
After doing some research, I came across the non-profit organization, Soles4Souls and really liked their mission and what they are doing!! They make donating SO easy...I just grabbed a huge box from Aaron's practice, printed off a prepaid label- you can find that HERE on their website and dropped it off at UPS! 
Not only did it feel really good to know all our shoes are going to people who TRULY need them- but it generated some great conversations with my kiddos. I am constantly working on cultivating awareness of the needs of others with my kids and this was a great way for us to talk about how fortunate we having shoes (A LOT of them for that matter) is so "normal" and how for so many- this is not the case.
Ok. I am done now :) Just wanted to share this great organization...if you are in the middle of a New Year purge- check them out if you have shoes to donate!

Moving on to some fun recent Walmart finds!!
I have been on the lookout for a more put together jammie set. I am such a hot mess when it comes to pajamas. HA! I wear my flannel Christmas pajama pants from Old Navy and hoodie pretty much every night until it warms up enough for me to wear a pair of shorts and t-shirt to bed. SO CLASSY. HA!

Currently- Walmart has some ADORABLE, comfy pajama tops and bottoms. 
While I was shopping at my local Walmart the other day, I picked up this top (find it HERE online) and these cute striped pajama "jogger" pants! The pants are unfortunately not online...but they are in the stores!! 
I got a small in the top and it is a nice relaxed, comfy fit. I tried both the small and medium pants on...the small totally fit fine...but I ended up keeping the mediums because I like my pajama bottoms to be a bit more relaxed! The top is $12.96 and the bottoms are $9.96! The top comes in a couple of colors and the pants come in several different patterns!

I also picked up this ADORABLE St. Patrick's Day shirt for two of my daughters!! I know March is still a bit far off- but I have found the super cute holiday clothes at Walmart goes FAST- so if I see something that is super cute- I snatch it up!
I got my youngest daughter these shiny turquoise leggings to go with her t-shirt. She is ALL about everything shiny and I just thought the turquoise color was such a fun compliment to the t-shirt!! These leggings are by the 365Kids from Garanimals line at Walmart...they have the CUTEST clothes and they are SO affordable!

I didn't really care for any of the Valentine's shirts Walmart has this year...but ended up finding some super cute options at Target!!
I picked up the pink "LOVE" t-shirts for my 2 youngest daughters and I got the sign language "love" t-shirts for my boys!
I don't know about any of you mamas with young boys- but I have the HARDEST time finding cute, holiday themed t-shirts for boys that don't have a ton of dumb sayings on them or a dinosaur or skateboard. HA! I was pretty happy to find these cute t-shirts for them at Target after I spent waaayyy too long searching on the internet for something cute!

On Wednesday, I celebrated my 5 Year Blogging Anniversary!!
I am doing a fun little giveaway as BIG "thank you" to all of you amazing women who take the time out of your day to read my blog! You can read the post HERE! And if you haven't entered the giveaway yet- make sure you do! 
Hands down- one of the most FAVORITE parts of my week as been reading all the amazing comments ya'll have left on my anniversary post. You are all SO kind and I am having such a great time finding out what kind of posts ya'll enjoy!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your encouragement and support!!

This was the verse of the day in one of my morning devotions earlier in the week and WOW. It really spoke to me. God isn't "suggesting" we trust him. He's not asking us either. He commands that we are STRONG and COURAGEOUS- because HE is with us wherever we go. 
How can you not feel completely encouraged and empowered knowing that?!
For us personally, we are currently walking through some uncertainties- and I am re-reading this verse over and over again when I start to feel anxious, worried or do what I like to call, "Mental gymnastics (basically obsessively thinking about stuff). 

"The Lord you God is with you wherever you go." 

Okay friends...that's all I have for today!!
We have a super fun weekend ahead of us and I can't wait to share all about it next week!!

I hope you have a FABULOUS Friday and a WONDERFUL week!

Linking up with AndreaErika and Narci!
Linking up with TifBeckyDella,and Katie too!

FIVE Year Blogging Anniversary!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

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

Today is a fun day...because I am celebrating this little ol' blog's FIVE year anniversary!!
Yesterday was the official date, 5 years ago that I started blogging! You can read that post HERE. I had NO idea what I really planned to do...I just knew it was on my heart to share about my life as a woman, wife and mother and hopefully connect with other women along the way....and here we are 5 years later!!

When I started blogging, I had FOUR kiddos. James was about 6 months old when I wrote my first blog post!
About 9 months into blogging, I shared with ya'll about us expecting our FIFTH baby in the fall of 2015!
Ya'll cheered me on as we became a family of seven in 2016!
I got to share the fun news of us moving to North Carolina in 2017!
You stuck with me when I needed to take a break in August 2017 and were SO supportive and welcoming to me when I started blogging again in April 2018!
You all were SO supportive as I took ANOTHER blogging break, as I walked through probably the hardest year of life, marked by the death of my father in March 2019.
 And now here I am...5 years invested into this tiny little corner of the internet and I really can't tell you how grateful I am for this space. 
I have chosen to keep this blog PURELY fun....and not turn it into anything else. 
(I have been offered many a chance to do sponsored stuff- but I just have zero desire to turn this into any kind of "job.")

I absolutely LOVE checking in with ya'll about the random things going on in my life, talking about all of my Walmart finds, sharing my (somewhat lame- HA!) weekly menu plans and also occasionally sharing my heart with ya'll regarding motherhood, my pursuit of living a life of wellness and how God is ALWAYS working in my life. 

I sincerely hope, whether you check in on a regular basis to read my random ramblings or if you just pop in occasionally, that you have felt a sense of belonging and camaraderie. 

I TRULY would love to have a coffee date with every single person who takes the time to read my blog.   

In a spirit of celebration and gratitude...I am doing a little FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY giveaway!! 

I want to gift one of ya'll a few of my FAVORITE things as a "thank you" for sticking with me over the last 5 years.

The giveaway includes a gift card to Starbucks for a cup of coffee, a copy of "I've Been Thinking" (one of my favorite books of prayers and reflections), a pair of FUN earrings from one of my FAVORITE shops (ADV Designs) and a copy of my new FAVORITE meal planner! 
To enter the giveaway- all you have to do is leave a comment telling me (1) where you are from and (2) how long you have been reading my blog,  and (3) for fun- if you want to share your favorite type of post I write- you can (but you don't have to ;). 
Finally- please leave your email so I have a way to reach you, if you are the lucky winner!

I will pick one name at random and share the winner next Wednesday (January 29).

I hope ya'll know I wish I could give every single one of you all of these goodies- 
but #budget. HA! 

I hope you have the BEST day and thank you, thank you, thank you for all the kindness, support and encouraging words, comments and emails you have shared with me over the last 5 years!!

Linking up with StefanieKeriMauriSarah, and Lindsay today!

Hello Monday!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Hey friends!!

Happy Monday!!

How was your weekend??

We are starting our week with a day off school for the kiddos...which is such a NICE treat!

Our weekend was pretty low key. Aaron was on call this weekend and he had an especially long day on Saturday....which definitely wasn't my favorite...but OH WELL. HA!
We were able to meet him at our favorite pizza place for our monthly family date night and we ended up at Sweet Frog (a frozen yogurt place) to celebrate the girls getting straight A's this past quarter. Our never ending Saturday had a happy ending :) HA!

Sunday, Aaron left for the hospital super early- but was able to make it to church with us. 
We had family quiet time- we started this last week and it is definitely becoming something we want to keep up! Aaron catches up on work/studies, I get caught up on whatever I need to ;) and the kids watch a movie/play quietly/read. 
After quiet time, we went to the park and then came home for dinner and ice cream sundaes. 
It was a good day!

I did a little shopping on Saturday and thought it would be fun to share with you what I picked up!!

First- I got two different "little black dresses" to try on for an upcoming special date with Aaron. I can't give away too many details right now because in the VERY slim chance he checks in on the blog- I don't want the surprise I have planned to be ruined. I will share all about what I have planned next week!

Anyway- I wanted to get a new black dress to wear out to dinner and decided I would try these two dresses. I ordered both a small and medium in these dresses because they look very fitted...which I am not really into. I am hoping one of the sizes fits and looks "fitted" without it looking like I am wearing a spandex dress. HA! I will keep you posted!
If you had to pick- which one is your favorite? The one on the left or right??

(I am leaning toward the one on the left...I think the 3/4 sleeves look SO classy!)
Next up is this woven wrap dress from Walmart. This is a new dress that has been added to the Time and Tru line and friends- it is GOOD. I ordered it on a whim and it arrived on Saturday. The dress is lined and is very well made. It fits like a glove and is SO flattering! 
I picked up this snake skin pattern and can see myself wearing it on date nights as well as to church!! It comes in several different patterns as well as some solid colors. 
It's under $20 and is a really great classic style dress!!
And finally- I took advantage of a deal on Shutterfly where you can get a custom made mug on sale PLUS free shipping!! The deal runs through today- just use the code: MUGS to get your free shipping!  I made a mug for Aaron (his birthday is next week) and I know he is going to love it. He loves cheesy gifts like this- and I actually think the style I picked out is pretty cool!!
(I am REALLY hoping he doesn't decide to check my blog today as basically all of his birthday surprises will be ruined. HA!)

Before I sign off - I thought I'd share our menu for the week. I was feeling less than inspired to come up with meals this week- hence the VERY basic dinners I have planned out. HA!
MONDAY: Crispy chicken salads (grownups) and chicken, applesauce and green beans (kiddos)
TUESDAY: Tacos! Kids can pick between a soft shells or crunchy shells!
WEDNESDAY: "At home" Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, waffle fries and steamed broccoli
THURSDAY: Meatballs over pasta and salads 
FRIDAY: Pizza!
SUNDAY: Hot dogs on the grill, mac 'n' cheese and green beans 

Hope you have the BEST day!! 
Here's to an amazing start to our week!!

Linking up with HeatherJohannahTanya and Lindsay!

Thursday Thoughts!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hey friends!!

Just checking in this morning to share a few random thoughts with you!!

I am drinking some hot tea as I write this blog post...are you a tea drinker? 
I would rather be drinking coffee right now...but I need to hydrate. And water isn't my I have found making a big tumbler of tea has been helping me drink my water! My current favorite is lemon zinger. Not sure what the brand is...I just picked it up at Walmart!

I read this devotion yesterday and it really spoke to me...and wanted to share it with ya'll.
Here's the first part of it...

“Good . . . good . . . busy . . . really busy . . . but good.” Those are my standard responses when people ask me how I am. And every single time the conversation ends and we part ways, I ask myself,
 Why did you feel the need to tell them you were busy, in the midst of also being good? And every single time, I vow to not do it the next time someone asks me how I am. 

You can read the entire reflection HERE. It just really got me thinking about the glorification of busy and how much of our identities are attached to And how a lot of the time- what we are prioritizing as important or NEEDS to get done is not actually what God is asking of to focus on!
Definitely something I am still thinking through and praying about!

Switching gears COMPLETELY- I picked up this facial oil from Walmart a couple days ago. Johannah shared about last week and I was VERY intrigued. I have really been trying to pay MUCH better attention to how I take care of my skin and at the same time- not have to spend hundreds of dollars on products. I have used it several times already and I am really loving it. Obviously it's going to take some time to see "results," so far so good!

So on Monday, (you can read the post HERE), I shared about how we are shopping around for a new reading chair to put in my office. Well- we found a couple we liked at Ashley Furniture and the prices we were quoted for them, by the salesperson, were RIDICULOUS. Like over $800 for a chair and ottoman. Um. NO.
So...I have continued my search online and wouldn't you know it- the chair I really like is $200 cheaper on Ashley's website! HA!
And the matching love seat is CHEAPER than the chair. I mean. What the heck? HA!
So...I think Aaron is going to go into the store and see if they will price match the website's price and we're going to get the love seat. I will keep you posted as the saga continues to play out. HA!

Okay friends...that's all the random I have for today!! Just wanted to check in and have a quick "chat!"
Hope you the BEST day!

What I am Loving Wednesday!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Hey friends!!!

Happy Wednesday!!

How is your week going so far??
We're cruising right along...we've been pretty drama free at our house with is definitely NOT always the I am feeling grateful for that!! 

I have a few, random things that I have been loving lately...and I thought I'd share them with you today!!

First up- is this SUPER simple meal planner!
I wanted something small and handy to plan out our meals every week and this little planner, that is only $6.99, has been PERFECT! You can find it HERE!
I am using this meal planner along with this daily/monthly planner to keep my life organized this year. Friends- I am LOVING this planner!! I have primarily used Plum Paper planners for the last few years and several of you recommended I try out the Emily Ley planner or an Erin Condren planner...but I stumbled across this one while "shopping" on Amazon and I loved the fact that I could return it so easily if I didn't like it. Well- I ended up loving it and seriously feel like they created the layout of this planner with me in mind :) 
It is under $30 and is just a smart, simple planner!
This is a new "system" for me- but so far I am loving my new planner and then having my meal planner as a specific place to map out our menu for the week!!

So- I have had my eye on fun pair of striped workout leggings from Gap for quite awhile...and when I saw they were "on sale"- I got so excited! 
Well- the sale price of $42.00 was still more than I wanted to pay for a pair of workout I didn't get them. I was bummed, though, because I really thought they were so cute!
Well guess what? I found an almost identical pair of striped leggings at Walmart for $16.96!!
The Walmart pair is on the left and the Gap pair is on the right.
The one difference is that the Walmart leggings have a little side pocket and the Gap leggings don't. It's such a small difference it didn't matter to me!

I was SO pumped when I went to my local Walmart and they had ONE PAIR of these leggings left in my size! I totally did a little happy squeal and a happy dance. Definitely had a few people give me a strange look. HA! 

Aaron got me several great gifts for Christmas this year...including this beautiful pair of earrings from Kendra Scott. They are dainty, lightweight and seriously go with everything! I have been wearing this almost everyday and love that they are from my hubby...makes them feel extra special!!
So...this is a whole separate blog post..but suffice it to say...we have been in a season of parenting for quite some time that has felt extremely MONOTONOUS and at times like we are making no progress. Our kids are getting older and we are in the thick of doing a lot of training with them. Teaching them how to behave at the dinner table, teaching them how to clean up after themselves, teaching them to be on the lookout for their siblings, teaching them how to clean a bathroom, teaching them how to be responsible for their things...the list goes on and on. I have felt like a broken record and unfortunately a nag at times...but it is all being done to instill extremely important virtues that we value deeply as a family.
We are really starting to see some of the fruits of our labor...even with our two youngest kiddos! It is a slow as molasses process and not for the faint of heart...but I am so thankful that God is teaching Aaron and I about self-control, gentleness, fortitude and temperance in the season of parenting. 
And it's pretty amazing to have kiddos who can clean bathrooms, put away dishes, clean up the dining room after dinner, get their siblings dressed and make their beds- all with a good attitude (most of the times- HA!)
I am so thankful for my awesome kiddos :)

What about ya'll?
What are you loving lately??
Share with me in the comments!!

Hope you have the BEST day!
Linking up with StefanieKeriMauriSarah, and Lindsay today!

Hello Monday!!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Hey friends!!

Happy Monday!!

How was your weekend??

Our's was good! Just the right of amount of activity and rest!!

Saturday morning- I had a meeting at church for an upcoming women's retreat we are having. I met up with Aaron and the kids at Ashley furniture afterwards, because I want to get a new chair for my office. The one we currently have is too big and just doesn't fit the space well. Also- it doesn't go with the vibe I am trying to create. HA! 
Of course, everything we liked was SO expensive and I just had to laugh at what they were wanting to charge for an ARM CHAIR.

Anyway- here's some ideas of what I like...comfy, neutral...basically- just a nice little reading chair!
If anyone knows where I can find either of these chairs and they don't cost EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS...let me know!! HA!
Saturday evening, we had friends over for dinner and it was SO fun!
I made italian beef in the crockpot- I shared the recipe I love and use in last Friday's post- you can check it out HERE! Our friends have 2 ADORABLE daughters- so the kids were SMITTEN with them the whole time. Aaron and I had an awesome time fitting in bits and pieces of grown up conversations with our friends...they are the neatest couple! 
After they left, we got the kiddos in bed and COLLAPSED on the couch. 
I was so tired (I hadn't been feeling super for a good part of the day) that I contemplated not washing my face or brushing my teeth. It was that kind of tired. HA! 
(I did end up doing both...I'm not that gross)

Sunday was a pretty quiet day...we had church and then came home for lunch.
I thought of my friend Whitney who always is making the MOST FUN lunches and dinners for her family with her creative charcuterie boards and was inspired to make my kiddos a snacky lunch. They LOVED and just thought it was SO fun!!
Then we had QUIET time at our house from 2 - 4 pm. 
No one was allowed to make a peep. HA!

Aaron is currently studying for a super big exam and I desperately needed to get caught up on my family blog (I have had a private blog only for family and extremely close friends since 2009...I update it weekly and it's basically our family scrapbook)- so the kiddos were sent upstairs with a couple of movies and instructions not to come downstairs or talk to Aaron or I until 4:00 pm. James came down once to tell me he was hungry but other than that- it was SILENT and oh my was glorious!!
Just what everyone needed after this first week back to school and our faster paced schedule!

We had our favorite 4 ingredient chili with corn muffins for dinner and then of course, ice cream sundaes for dessert...because that what's we do on Sunday's!

I am feeling pretty good- because I did get a chance to plan out our menu for the week!
Here's what we'll be having for dinner this week!
Monday: Crockpot meatballs with pasta and steamed broccoli
Tuesday: Shredded beef burrito bowls (shredded beef and cheese nachos for the kids!)
Wednesday: Crispy chicken tender salad (and chicken nuggets for kids)
Thursday: Cheeseburgers, waffle fries and green beans
Friday: Potato corn chowder and grilled cheese
Saturday: Family Date night!
Sunday: Shredded beef over egg noodles and steamed broccoli

The game plan for the shredded beef is that I will make one big beef roast in the crockpot and then use it for Tuesday and Sunday dinner! I am really trying to work smarter and not harder when it comes to dinnertime!!

Okay friends- it's Monday and we GOT THIS.
I hope you have an amazing day and a wonderful week!!

Linking up with HeatherJohannahTanya and Lindsay!

Friday Favorites!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Hey hey!!

Happy Friday!
Who else is feeling pretty darn accomplished to have the first week back to reality after Christmas break under their belts?!? I know I am feeling pretty triumphant! HA!

Our week was very routine and honestly has gone pretty smoothly. SO very thankful for that...because we have plenty of weeks where all I feel like I am doing is putting out fires.

I didn't realize how packed our December schedule was until this week when I looked at our calendar and we saw that we have a lot more margin now. I love the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the "extras" that come with it...but it sure does feel good to fall back into a rhythm that isn't quite as frantic! You know what I mean?!?

Alright- It's Friday- so I have a few FAVORITES I wanted to share with you!

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, then you know my husband is pretty handy and he is always so gracious to say "yes" to making me a variety of things :) I have been wanting to add a little something to our coffee area and when I came across this mug holder from Pottery Barn- I knew it would look SO cute next to our coffee pot! I wasn't completely sold on the price or the fact that it was all metal- so I used it as an inspiration to find something like it.
So then I came across this mug holder made by the fabulous girls of Shanty 2 Chic and knew immediately that was the style I was really looking for!
I sent the plans to Aaron and he created this mug holder!
I LOVE it! It's just a little something that makes our coffee area extra cozy!
I also love having those mugs out for when we have guests.  
YAY for a super awesome husband who is always happy to tackle a DIY project for me :)
So a couple weeks ago- after Aaron had basically been working for 2 weeks straight (during Christmas), I decided I needed to pop out for a manicure ;)
I really love having my nails painted- but I just really can't seem to get a good at home manicure system down. I had heard really things about "dip" manicures and the fact that they are better than gel manicures- so that's what I got. OMG. 
I am a dip manicure CONVERT!
I am going on week 3 of this manicure and while you can see some outgrowth at my nail beds- the manicure itself still looks amazing!! I have been on a vacation with my family, scrubbed bathrooms, done dishes EVERYDAY, put away all our Christmas decorations and all sorts of other things...and my nails still look great. I am amazed. HA!
Downside: at my nail salon a dip manicure is $40- and then of course I tip my nail technician. I am hoping by making a few tweaks to my "extra" spending budget I can work in getting a dip manicure every month. It is for SURE a splurge- but I feel like it really is SO worth it!
Have you ever had a dip manicure?? Did/do you love it as much as I do?
Does anyone else get kind of giddy about getting new shoes?!
I am not really a "shoe" person, but with how much I run, I have really had to prioritize wearing good shoes having having a pretty AWFUL case of plantar fasciitis for a good portion of last year! 
I got these Brooks to train in and wear for the half marathon I am running in March (I will continue to wear them after that too). We are BIG fans of Brooks for running shoes- they are a REALLY good shoe and so comfy!
And then I picked up these fun Saucony sneakers to wear on a more everyday basis. It's kind of hard to tell- but they have a subtle camo pattern on them and I just think they are super fun. But still neutral- which I wanted since I wear them with everything!
We're having some friends over for dinner and in anticipation of that, I made a big batch of Italian beef in the crock pot. FRIENDS. Why haven't I been making this recipe more often? 
It's EASY and DELICIOUS and takes little to NO effort. I also love how versatile it is. We're going to serve it sandwich style tomorrow with crusty rolls, mac 'n' cheese (thank you Bob Evans- your the best at making that for me ;) and a big salad. I plan to put the leftover Italian beef over mashed potatoes with roasted veggies for Sunday's dinner. YUM.
The leftovers would also be amazing for tacos or a burrito bowl!
(Side note- the recipe I linked to calls for 1 jar of Chicago Style Sandwich Mix. I couldn't find it at my Walmart- so I just left it out. I am sure it adds an amazing layer of flavor- but we didn't miss it!)
NOT my photo! Click HERE for the source- also has the recipe!!

Okay- friends!!
That's it for me today!!
Hope you have a FABULOUS Friday and a WONDERFUL weekend. 

And just so you know- I am VERY thankful for each and everyone of you who take the time to visit my tiny little corner of the internet and share along in my random ramblings!!

Linking up with AndreaErika and Narci!
Linking up with TifBeckyDella,and Katie too!