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Tuesday Talk!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hi friends!! Happy Tuesday!!
I hope you're week is off to a great start!!

Soooo....a couple weeks ago Aaron was out of town for 5 days for a conference in North Carolina. It was the longest time he had been away from me and the kids since we've had Marshall and while I knew I would be totally fine...I was a smidge apprehensive with how sane I would be feeling when he got back from his trip. HA!

The kids and I ended up having a great time, everything went really well- the kids were rockstars and I am happy to report I didn't even think about having a meltdown. HA!

I am not a stranger to flying solo with my kids...Aaron works A LOT and we have never lived by family- so it really has always been that way for me!  Also- when Aaron was in medical school, his 3rd year, he was gone for four month-long out of state rotations- so it was just me (I was pregnant with James) and the girls. 

Anyway...I guess what I am trying to say is that- I have found my "groove" to not only surviving while Aaron is gone from home- whether that be long work days or business trips- but actually thriving and enjoying my time when it's just the kids and me! 
I thought I would just share a few things that help me stay positive as well as decrease the usage of my "scary mom voice." HA! 

1) Light candles- I know this might seem silly- but when my house smells good...it just makes me happy. And when mama's happy- everybody's happy. HA! Seriously though- When I know I have a full day ahead of me, staying at home with the kids- I want to create a calm, positive environment...some yummy smelly candles burning throughout the house totally help creative that "vibe!"

2) Eat well/drink lots of water- I don't know about you- but it is REALLY easy for me to ONLY drink coffee- nothing else- and realize around noon- that I haven't eaten any food or had any water to drink. And then I wonder why I completely flipped out over my daughter forgetting to put away ONE stray barbie. Hangry much!?!? HA! Normally, I work really hard to make sure I fuel my body with good, clean foods and drink tons of water- but when I am flying solo with the kids- it can be really easy to let that fall to the wayside because I constantly getting distracted taking care of someone. When Aaron was gone recently, I make a concerted effort to make sure I was eating well and staying hydrated and it made a huge difference in my overall attitude!! 
3) Plan 1-2 activities for the kids- I am not the type of parent that feels like I constantly need to be providing entertainment/activities for my kiddos- but I find that when I have 1-2 "planned" activities for my girls (the boys are too young to care)- it makes our day go so much smoother.  This not only applies to when Aaron is gone- but also on the weekends when they are home from school! Activities my girls enjoy are play-doh, painting, necklace making, tea-party with their dolls and a special snack tray made up by me, trip to the library, baking cookies/muffins, playing cards...nothing BIG. They just LOVE knowing that I have something planned for them to do- and it helps with them being more willing to play independently.  I will say, "You go play for 30 minutes in your room- and then we are going to be bakers, wear our aprons and make sugar cookies!" Obviously nothing earth shattering...but it works well!

4) Serve EASY meals- when Daddy is gone...I am NOT cooking. I am not a huge fan of cooking in general...and the mess from cooking stresses me out- so when it is just me and my kiddos- we are eating grilled cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, scrambled eggs and pancakes and pizza. I don't stress about whether their meals are "balanced" or if they had the same exact dinner the night before- my goal is to feed them and not have a massive mess to clean up afterwards! HA!
5) Focus on keeping the house "picked up" versus "clean"- I have finally let go of the fact that in this season of life with young kiddos, my house is never really going to be SUPER DUPER clean. I do my best on a regular basis to keep up with mopping the floors, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, etc..but I definitely wouldn't pass a white glove test. HA! Especially when Aaron is gone, I just don't stress about if I have had a chance to clean a bathroom or dust our family room. My goal is to keep our house picked up and organized.
 I always make sure my kitchen is cleaned up after every meal and throughout the day- I am picking up around the house. My kids are responsible for picking up after themselves and they do a really great job with small chores like sweeping, emptying the waste baskets and clearing off the table after we have eaten. After everyone goes to bed, I like to circle through the house and make sure everything is tidied up- because it makes me happy knowing I am going to wake up to a "picked-up" house. NOT necessarily clean- but at least not messy :)
6) Set a couple of goals each day to accomplish- I am a goal-setter :) Even on days when I don't leave the house- I still set goals for myself...it helps me stay organized AND it is encouraging to know at the end of the day, I did in fact DO SOMETHING. HA! 
"Goals" for me could be washing all the dirty laundry and getting it put away, prepping dinner ahead of time, spending intentional time playing with the kids, returning emails/making phone calls...nothing HUGE at all- but when I write down a few things in my planner that I want to accomplish for the day- it gives me direction and helps me plan out my day as to when and how I want to accomplish my goals. I always like going to bed at night, knowing I got a few things DONE other than just keeping my kids alive. HA!

7) Keep things in PERSPECTIVE- This is the BIGGEST tip I can share with anyone- whether you're husband travels a lot, you're getting used to being a stay-at-home mom, you are a working mother, balancing your roles at work AND home, whatever the case may be....taking care of babies, toddlers, young kids, or older kids can be A LOT- especially if you are doing it on your own frequently. 
BUUUTTTT....HARD does not equal BAD. 
I entered Aaron's last trip away from home with a mindset of wanting my kids to know I LOVE being a mom- yes- things get crazy and they are annoying- but I wanted them to see that amidst all of that- LIFE is GOOD and nothing is really that big of a deal.  
Because- as you all know- there is so much HARD stuff people are going through...my daughter spilling her milk everywhere at dinner? Annoying- but NOT a big deal. My son throwing an epic tantrum while I have to change a gross diaper on him? Frustrating- but it's over in about 2 minutes. 
Yes- on day 5 of Aaron being gone, when all the kiddos were up before 5 am...did I feel like being a grouch and was more than ready for him to be home? Sure! But guess what- I said a prayer to be calm and peaceful AND I thought about my sister-in-law who's husband is deployed in a war zone for at least 9 months and I got over myself very quickly. 
Perspective is EVERYTHING and it really helps keep me grounded and in a positive frame of mind!
Okay...I feel like I have really rambled on and on today. HA!
I just want you all to know- I hope you don't think I am acting like some parenting "expert" and acting like I have it all together....because I sure don't. 


For me- it's all about gratitude and grace. 

I am SO grateful for my messy, loud, never-have-a-minute-to-myself life as a mom to 5 kiddos and I would not be able to function without God's grace that he so freely gives me- even though I am totally undeserving.  

I would love to know your thoughts...does your hubby travel a lot...do you fly "solo" quite a bit? What works for you??

Hope you have the BEST day!!!

Just a few things to remember for the Tuesday Talk link-up: 
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
Whitney at Polka Dotty Place | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram

Full Hands Full Heart

Friday Favorites!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Hi friends!! Happy Friday!!
I have been MIA for most of the week...the boys were sick with a yucky stomach virus last weekend, my daughter caught the tail end of it on Monday, which resulted in her having to stay home from school for 3 days and then I got sick! UGH! I started feeling yucky on Sunday...started running a fever on Monday and ended up at the doctor on Wednesday afternoon. I got a yucky case of bronchitis. BLEH. SO grateful for modern medicine...I am feeling SO much better after taking an antibiotic for a couple of days!

Needless to say...not too much has been going on here except trying to keep all the germs away, the laundry from not over flowing and me drinking an insane amount of hot tea. HA!

I sure hope your week has been healthier than our's has been...and if you are in the same boat- I FEEL YOU. I really do! :)

Soooo...enough talk about being sick. Let's talk about some of my FAVORITES from this past week!

//ONE//
LOVING this tunic sweatshirt my mom got me!!! It is from Nordstrom (I searched high and low for it on their website- but it's gone!! Must have sold out!) and she ordered it last fall during the semi-annual sale. It is SO comfy, can totally be worn with leggings (full booty coverage for the win) for a comfy "at-home" outfit, but it also looks really cute dressed up with dark jeans, boots and a vest! P.S. I have no idea how so many people take such great mirror selfies. I am ridiculously awkward and you don't even want to know how long it took me to take this picture! HA!
//TWO//
I felt REALLY bad on Tuesday night and as soon as Aaron got home from work, I crawled into bed and let him wrangle our Fab 5 :) I passed out while the kids played and had dinner and when I woke up- I had these two adorable get well cards on my nightstand!!! Can you even handle the cuteness??? 

//THREE//
So- I am a BIG fan of shopping clearance sales and getting things for NEXT Christmas, birthdays that are several months away, etc. I just had to share with you my receipt from a recent order I placed with Crazy 8. These were all items that were on clearance and then I had an extra 15% off coupon AND free shipping- no minimum. I picked up my girls' Christmas jammies for THIS year for $5.09 each!! I always get my girls an outfit for their Easter basket and was able to score shirts for each of them for less than $3.00 and fun shorts for $3.55!! I got them each a really pretty heart shirt for Valentine's Day- they were $3.56 each!! BOOM! So excited about the deals I got and LOVE everything I ordered!! 
Do you ever shop at Crazy 8??? They have a TON of CUTE stuff and their sizes range from baby all the way to big kids! 
They also have GREAT customer service- one of the shirts I ordered had a little stain on it- the representative I spoke with was great and emailed me a free shipping label and promptly ordered me a new shirt at the same price I had purchased it!

//FOUR//
With all the sickness that has been going around our house...you can imagine how much laundry I have been doing. You know what's been making me happy to load after load?? These Purex Cyrstals...I LOVE this Fabulously Fresh scent!!! I used several of the other scents Purex Crytals and loved them all- they make your clothes smell SO good!!

//FIVE//
SO happy Friday is here :) We have a fun weekend ahead of us! Today, my youngest 3 kiddos and I are going to do a little birthday shopping for Aaron! His birthday is on Sunday!! And tomorrow night, we are going on a double date with some great friends to a new brewery that just opened up in the little downtown area of our town. My girls have informed me they would like to play "lots of games" and my oldest daughter wants to pick out her First Communion dress. Needless to say, we have BIG plans this weekend! HA!
Hope you have the BEST day and a WONDERFUL weekend!!!

Also- P.S. Thirty-One is having an AWESOME sale on their retiring products- they are going to be up to 50% off starting at 9 am EST today!!! Click on over to this page to see all the items that are being retired and their sale prices!!! There are some good deals to be had!! 
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!

Tuesday Talk!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hi Friends! Happy Tuesday!!

I had a post all planned for today...but the stomach virus hit our two little boys this past weekend...and then my youngest daughter caught it yesterday :( 
Needless to say...I have been knee deep in laundry and some serious marathons of Sid the Science Kid and Super Why. HA!

Unfortunately, I haven't had any time to get my Tuesday Talk post together...but you can all still link up down below!!

I think (major fingers crossed) everyone is all better!! You can bet I will continue spraying down every surface in our house with Lysol for the next few days- just to MAKE SURE all of the germs are gone! :)

Hope you're having a great week so far and that everyone in your house is healthy!!

Just a few things to remember for the Tuesday Talk link-up: 
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
Whitney at Polka Dotty Place | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram


Full Hands Full Heart

Hello Monday!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hi friends! Happy Monday!!

I am joining my lovely friend Johannah for her "Hello Monday" link up party...and sharing a few randoms to start the week off! 
I picked up a few new items of makeup on Friday...which is always so fun!! I have been wanting to try ELF's Sheer High Definition Powder, so I got that as well as two highly rated under eye concealers! I always check Meg. O's ratings on drugstore makeup brands- check her blog out HERE! She suggested two concealers by Maybelline- so that is what I got! I bought Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind concealer, have used it twice and I really like it! The other one I got was Maybelline's Fit Me Concealer. I am going to try that one out sometime this week! 
I shared this a couple times last week- but wanted to let you all know- today is the last day to sign up for the Nail Polish Swap Johannah, Heather, Jennifer and I are hosting!! The more people who sign up for the swap- the better! We would love if you joined us! It's so simple and FUN- just fill out this FORM and you will get paired up with a friend! You send her some new nail polishes and she will send you some! I already have my nail polishes ready to go for my friend- I am so excited to send them...I got some fun colors!! :)

Speaking of makeup and nail polish...isn't this little pouch the cutest?!? I have my regular makeup bag that I keep in my bathroom and then I keep this smaller makeup bag in my van. I throw it in my gym bag when I take a shower after I work out and sometimes- I still in the driveway while James watches a show in the van and put on my makeup! HA! You do what you gotta do, right?!? And P.S.- my adorable mini-zipper pouch in this cute charcoal polka dot pattern is on sale right now!!
And since we're talking all things girly...how about some pretty pink and red sugar cookies?? We don't let the kids have dessert during the week- but on Saturday and Sunday they get a little treat after dinner :) I made some sugar cookies yesterday (using my favorite sugar cookie mix from Aldi!!) and dipped them in pink and red sprinkles per my girls' requests :) We made ice cream sundaes with sugar cookies on the side and we had some happy kids at the dinner table! Heck- who I am kidding...Aaron and I helped ourselves to several cookies too! HA!
 It's the last full week of January...can you even believe that?!? 
Hope you have the BEST Monday and an AWESOME week!

Friday Favorites!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Happy Friday friends!!
January is just flying by, isn't it???

How has your week been?? Our's has been good!! Not too much going...except that little Marshall seems to have caught a stomach virus :( Poor baby was just off yesterday and had some really yucky diapers (is that TMI??? Sorry if it is! HA!) and then last night after his bath, while we were playing, he threw up ALL OVER Aaron. He slept all through the night- so I am crossing my fingers he wakes up feeling better!! Precious little thing- despite not feeling well- he is still happy, smiley and such an angel!!

Okay- time for some FAVORITES from this past week!!

//ONE//
Aaron was out of town for 5 days last week and the girls were SO excited when he got home on Sunday afternoon. I ordered the game, Headbandz, and they had it all set up and ready to go for when he got home. He literally walked through the door after driving for 9 1/2  hours straight and the girls put a headband on him! HA! We had SO much fun playing and we were SUPER happy that Daddy was home from his trip!! If you don't already have the game Headbandz- I highly recommend it!! 
I would say it is good for ages 4 and up....as a speech language pathologist I LOVE this game because it totally promotes asking questions and higher level thinking!! :)
As a mom I love it- because it is an EASY, not messy game our whole family enjoys playing!! HA!
//TWO//
I wanted to thank you all SO VERY MUCH for sharing in our excitement about our big move to Greenville, NC!!! If you missed that post- you can read about our new adventure HERE!
Your enthusiasm and kind, encouraging words meant SO much to me!!
//THREE//
As a girl who has lived in the "North" for most of her life, I have never really known much about Lilly Pulitzer. I KNOW. I have been kind of living under a rock. HA!
Well...after everything got finalized with Aaron's job and our new house in Greenville, I decided to celebrate our new impending Southerners' status and pick up a few items from the most recent Lilly Pulitzer sale!! I was SO excited to receive my goodies in the mail!! 
I just love them! I got the two tank tops pictured below (the blue-ish one is off the shoulder- it's SO cute!) and a hot pink tank top. They are all going to look so cute with my variety of J.Crew colored shorts and my white jeans! 
//FOUR//
Thirty-One is having a 20% off sale on 20 items that will be retired as of February 1st!! Click HERE- I listed all the items that will be on sale!!
If you just want to go straight to shopping- click HERE to shop all of the 20% items!
//FIVE//
Hope you have the BEST Friday and a WONDERFUL weekend!! 
I am getting a massage I have had a credit for since I was pregnant with Marshall this afternoon!! Then, as long as I have enough time (I have to pick up my girls from school), I plan to get a coffee from Starbucks and go pick out some under eye de-puffer/concealer. The struggle is REAL my friends! HA! If you have any recommendations for an affordable under eye concealer- PLEASE send them my way!!! 

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!

Recipe Club: Slow Cooker Sesame Garlic Chicken!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hi friends!! Happy Wednesday!!
Today I am joining two of my blogging besties- Johannah and Heather
and linking up with their monthly Recipe Club!!
Today- I wanted to share a recipe with you that I got from my sister-in-law.
She made it for dinner while my husband was staying at their house and when he told me how yummy it was - I knew I wanted to put it on our menu plan!
You can find the original recipe for this Slow Cooker Sesame Garlic Chicken HERE- it's a Betty Crocker recipe- so you know it has to be good :)

Ingredients: 
1/2 cup diced onion
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
tablespoons olive oil
teaspoon sesame oil
to 4 cloves garlic, minced
boneless skinless chicken breasts
teaspoons cornstarch
tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sesame seed
Directions:
In small bowl, mix onion, honey, soy sauce, ketchup, oil, sesame oil and garlic. 
Set aside.
Place chicken in 4- to 5-quart slow cooker. Pour honey mixture evenly over chicken.
Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 hours.
With slotted spoon, remove chicken from slow cooker, leaving sauce in cooker. In small bowl, stir cornstarch into water until dissolved. 
Pour into slow cooker; stir to combine with sauce. Cover; cook sauce on High heat setting 10 minutes longer or until sauce has thickened.
While sauce is cooking, shred chicken with 2 forks.
Return shredded chicken to slow cooker; toss with sauce. 
Sprinkle with sesame seed before serving.

So- as you can see- I am a total rule breaker and did not mix up all the ingredients before pouring them over the chicken. I literally just dumped everything into my crock pot (and I omitted the onions- because my kids do NOT like them) and it still turned out great!!
I made some white rice and microwaved two bags of my FAVORITE frozen broccoli florets from Aldi to go along with the chicken.
This is what my kiddos' plates looked like...I wasn't sure what sort of comments or reactions we were going to have at dinner- but surprisingly everyone ate their dinner without any complaints! I wouldn't say it was their favorite meal- but they tolerated it- and I consider that a win!! HA!
And here's what the grown up plates looked like :)  
It was such a yummy, EASY (hello- crock pot!!) meal- and a nice break from our normal rotation of meals! 

We have enough leftovers for at least one more meal for Aaron and me- and I am thinking I might make a big salad with the sesame garlic chicken, some broccoli and cabbage slaw, some crispy chow mein noodles and a yummy Asian dressing!!

If you end up making this recipe- I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!
Hope you have the BEST day!

Tuesday Talk: Adventure Awaits!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hi friends!! Happy Tuesday!!!

So last week, I alluded to some big things happening for our family in 2017...and I am so excited to share all the details today!

Just a little back story for those of you who don't know about the journey we have been on for the past 10 years....

A year after Aaron and I met (and 2 months after we got engaged), Aaron made the decision to go back to school- medical school specifically. Because his bachelor's degree was in Political Science, he had to first get an associate's degree in Biology before he could even apply to medical school. So for two years, he went to school, full time at night, while working full time during the day as a rehab technician. THEN- after the "fun" application and interview process, he got into medical school and we moved to Cleveland, OH, where we lived for 4 1/2 years while he went to school.  THEN- he graduated and we moved to Indianapolis in May 2014 and he began his 3 year residency.  And now we are here- less than 6 months away from him graduating from residency!!!
The last 10 years has been QUITE THE ADVENTURE. HA!

All of the stress, countless hours of studying, and LOTS of time not seeing each other have been totally worth it because Aaron has been pursuing his dream and he absolutely LOVES what he does. And- he is really good at it :)

The question we have been asked a lot this past year is: "What are your plans after Aaron is done with residency?"  We have had several different sets of plans...but really wanted a certain "plan" to work out.  And I am SO crazy excited to share with you that it DID!
After a whirlwind interview in early December, Aaron was offered a position with an incredible practice in GREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA!

We are moving to the South Ya'll!!! :)

Our goal, ever since Aaron started residency, was to get a job in North Carolina...but there were quite a few hoops to jump through to make that dream into a reality. As with this whole entire journey we have been on, we just stayed focused, stayed positive and did what needed to be done. Well- Aaron has been the one studying, taking ALL THE EXAMS, interviewing, ect...but we're a team- so I say "we." :)

Living in Greenville, will mean that we are 1 1/2 hours from my brother and his family (they live in Raleigh) and 1 1/2 hours from Aaron's brother and his family (they live on the NC coast). We have NEVER lived that close to any family since we have been married- so to say we are just giddy with excitement would be a mild understatement :)
We are also only 1 1/2 hours from the ocean...EEEKKK!!! :)

We just signed papers to start building a house- the builder should be breaking ground in the next couple of weeks and our house should be complete by the beginning of June- which is a very good thing- since we will be moving in the middle of June! 

We are just SO very excited for this chapter of our lives and SO very thankful!!!
So- that's our big news!!! I still can't believe in less than 6 months we will be moving to a new state and a completely different part of the country!!! 
We are ready for the adventure that awaits us!


Also- I posted about this yesterday- but wanted to share it again today!
JohannahHeatherJennifer and I are hosting a fun little nail polish swap!! 
We would love it if you joined us!! 


 
Here's the details: click on this LINK and it will send you to the sign-up form.
You will get paired up with a friend to buy some nail polish for- the maximum you can spend is $15 (not including shipping).
Send your friend her nail polish by Jan. 31st and blog about your goodies (or share on Instagram if you don't have a blog!) on February 7th! SO easy and FUN. The perfect little pick-me-up to give and receive during this kind of BLAH winter season! :)


Hope you have the BEST day!
 Let me know if you have any questions about the nail polish swap!


Just a few things to remember for the Tuesday Talk link-up: 
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
Whitney at Polka Dotty Place | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram


Full Hands Full Heart

 
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