Friday Favorites!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hi!! Happy Friday!! I am writing this post from my brother's house in Raleigh, NC!
Tomorrow we leave for the beach and we are all so excited!!

Breakfast is almost ready- so I am going to get right down to it and share some of my FAVORITES from this past week! 

Loving this thermal tote from!! I have one that was gifted to me from my co-workers at my last job and it is such a handy tote to have!! It is huge, it is insulated and so great for packing road trip snacks!  I used mine yesterday while making the 12 hour drive to NC.  Definitely one of my FAVORITE bags!!

My sister in law got this toy for James for his birthday- and honestly, at first- we were quite skeptical about it!  Turns out- it is one of James' (and the girls) FAVORITE toys!  It has a soft puff that sits in between in his legs and he can go to town pushing all the buttons!  It really is a great carseat toy!! 

LOVING these board shorts I ordered from Walmart last week!  I got them in the mail the day before we left and was so happy they fit! They are colorful, lightweight and super comfy.  I know they are going to be a FAVORITE of mine all next week at the beach!  And get this- they are currently on SUPER clearance for $2.96!! 

These four. GEEZ- I sure do love them!! They were absolute rockstars on the long trip yesterday!! They are always my FAVORITES :)
It has been 2 years since I have been back to the beach and 4 years since our family has taken a vacation together.  To say we are excited about a week of unplugging, tons of family time and living at the beach would be an understatement.  I don't know about you- but I am an ocean girl all the way- the smell of the salt air, the sandy beaches, the waves- it is all my FAVORITE!! 
Okay- I am off to eat breakfast and do some baking with my sister in law! We are going to make some treats to bring to our beach house! :)

I hope you all have the best weekend!!

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!

Thoughts for Thursday: Road Trippin' With 4 Kiddos!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

We are headed to North Carolina for a week long vacation at the beach with my mom's side of the family- there will be 40 people all together!! 
I have been packing over the last few days and while there is a lot to remember for a family of 6- it is really not too bad as long as I stay organized!

As far as packing clothes go- I pack my girls matching outfits for every day.  Some people think it is totally over the top to have them match- but honestly- it is easier in regards to packing!! Instead of thinking about 7 different outfits X 3 girls- I just think of 7 outfits, pull them from each of their closets and stack them up in piles.  For James, it is a little different since he is our only boy :)  I pack several onesies, a couple pairs of jammies, some swimsuits and 7 outfits. He doesn't have any outfits that match the girls- but he does have a couple polo shirts that coordinate with a few of the girls' dresses :)
Here are the girls' outfits set out for the week!
Next, I put their play clothes/clothes to wear in the car and their underwear in a big ziploc storage bag and labeled it.  I am also packing some collapsible storage containers I got from the dollar store awhile back.  I am packing one for each child so that once we get settled in our bedroom, I can have their swimsuits and underwear in them. Few things annoy me more than rummaging through a huge, stuffed bag trying to look for ONE specific item.  Having those smaller clothing items out of the bag and organized will not only make things easier when it is time to get dressed- but it also frees up room in the bag for me to unfold their dresses and lay them flat so they aren't wrinkled messes when it is time to wear them!
Next up: The Road Trip Menu!
I know this might seem totally silly- most people just stop and get food when they are traveling, right?!? Well- I am a big weirdo and am NOT a fan of fast food places.  Also- that is not how we want to spend our vacation "fun" money!  Let me tell you- lunch for 6 people at McDonald's adds up QUICK!  That's why I plan out our meals for the car is easier, healthier and way better for our budget!
Having a "menu" planned out allows me to get items packed ahead of time and cuts down on bringing extra snacks we don't need! We are bringing A LOT of stuff...I need to streamline the multiple bag situation anywhere I can! HA!
 I will pack the girls breakfast individually for them.  For lunch- we plan to stop at a rest area so we can have a picnic and the kids can stretch their I don't need to pack individual lunches-  I will make sandwiches once we get to the rest area. Snacks are pretty self explanatory- I don't want to go overboard- especially since all the kids will be doing is sitting for 10 hours straight.  I want to keep our eating habits pretty much the same as they are on a "regular" day so we don't run into any upset tummies because someone had too much junk food!
Now the FUN part!!
Inside this super cute bag (that my husband got me about 8 years ago) are "car seat surprises!!"  When I was growing up, we would go visit my grandparents in upstate NY and go to Cape Cod.  It was a ridiculously long drive from Illinois- but it never felt that way because my mom always had little treats to hand out to us!! They were never big items- but I remember LOVING every thing she got us and feeling so special when she would give us a little surprise to make our time in the car a little more fun.
I love that now it is my turn to do this with my kids!! :)
Here is what I have stashed in my "car seat surprise" bag.  I have been picking these items up for several months now, always getting them on sale!! I ordered the beanie bag ponies and DVDs off of Amazon- and the rest of the stuff came from Walmart, Target and the dollar store! James isn't getting any car seat surprises this year- little guy just needs graham crackers and his milk and he is good to go :)
On past road trips, I have made the mistake of not planning for treats on the RETURN trip home. Not the best idea.  I have actually found the trip home is the one where car seat surprises are REALLY helpful because the excitement and anticipation of the vacation are gone and it just seems like A LOT longer of a trip than on the way there!
So- this time around- I wrote down what I plan to give the girls on the way to the beach and then on the way home.  I tucked the list in the front of my bag so I can have it as a reference if I forget- which I know I will :)
While I know being the car for 10 + hours with the kids won't be sunshine and rainbows the whole entire time, I am planning on it being a great trip! Like with everything in life, I am choosing to be positive and go with the flow when things get a little "special."  You can either resist the crazy- and it not be pleasant for anyone- or just leeaaannnn into it.  
It's ALL good- that's pretty much my husband and I's motto :)

So- now I would love to know your strategies for taking long trips with young kids!! Any great organizational tips?? Super fun games or activities you play in the car?  I would love to hear about them! 

Hope you have an AWESOME day!

I am linking up with Annie and Natalie today!

Please say a prayer...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I had my "What's Up Wednesday" post all ready to go for today and then found out  absolutely devastating news that one of my favorite bloggers, Leslie Sisti had passed away on Monday.  I would be remiss if I didn't share a few words about her.  Leslie's blog was one of the first ones I started reading almost 5 years ago and I just loved her writing style, her optimism and fashion sense.  It was SO fun to see her meet and marry her husband (through Kelly's Korner Singles Day Link Up!) and have 2 beautiful baby girls.  Over the last few months, she battled major health issues and was always so graceful and positive when she would post an update on how she was doing.  While I never met her personally, I am deeply saddened by her death.  It takes my breath away to think about her husband losing his best friend and her precious girls being without their momma.  If you feel so inclined, would you please say a prayer for Stephen, Leslie's husband and their precious baby girls?  
I am praying for strength and peace, that only God can provide, to cover over them in the days, weeks and years to come. 
Leslie was an absolutely beautiful person, on the inside and out and I am so thankful for the chance to know her through her blog.

What's Up Wednesday!

Hi!! I am excited to be joining ShayMel and Sheaffer for their super fun 'What's Up Wednesday' link-up party!!

What we're eating this week: 
We are leaving for vacation later this week, so we are eating anything and everything to get our refrigerator cleaned out!! I bought the bare minimum when I was at the grocery store this past week and it would not be out of the realm of possibilities to be having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for at least one dinner before we leave! HA!

What I am reminiscing about:  I don't know why, but I have been thinking a lot about when my husband and I first met!  It was seriously one of the most INCREDIBLE times in my life when he and I first met and starting dating.  I just love thinking about how our love story began and where it is now...which is better than I ever imagined!
I had to share one of my favorite pictures of us...we had only been dating for a couple weeks when we took this picture- and MARRIAGE had already been discussed A LOT :)
If you're interested, you can find out about how we met here!
What I am loving: my life :)  I know that sounds cheesy- but it is the honest truth.  I am so acutely aware of the endless blessings in my life.  That is not to say everything is perfect, quite the opposite actually- but I choose look at the life God has given me and my family and just be thankful for it EVERY DAY.  Forever and ever AMEN :)
What we have been up to: This past month we have been up to quite a bit! Between the 4th of July, James' first birthday, a trip home to my parents' house and a week of Vacation Bible School, we have been on the go!  But- we have had so much fun and been busy in the best kind of way :)

What I am dreading: I almost hate to say this, because I don't want to come off as a negative nelly, but I am dreading school starting!! I have enjoyed SO much being on our OWN schedule this is going to be a little rough getting back into the school drop-off/pick-up mode!  My oldest daughter will be starting first grade and my two younger daughters are in preschool and Pre-k...which means several days a week, I am driving 40 minutes round trip, 3 times a day, to drop them off and pick them up from school.  It is TOTALLY our choice to send them to a Catholic school 20 minutes from our house- so I really can't complain too much about the driving...but just between you and me- it is not my favorite- HA! :)

What I am working on: Last month, my goal was to finish my oldest daughter's yearly photo book AND start and finish my youngest daughter's book as well.  I am SO happy to say that I have done this!! :)  Now- I just need to get James' first year photo book done...and I will be all caught up until my daughter Cora's birthday at the end of August...and then I will need to start her book.  The cycle never ends with someone having a birthday every couple of months around here! :)

What I am excited about: VACATION!! Tomorrow, we are headed to my brother's house in Raleigh, NC for a couple of days and then headed to the beach for a week!! So excited for big, fun adventure before we have to come back and get ready to start school!!
What I am reading/watching: I am not currently reading any books (other than my daily devotional- it is wonderful and you can find it here!), but we have been enjoying watching Rookie Blue and the new shows on ABC, Save My Life and Boston EMS. I LOVE real life medical shows!! Last summer there was a show called NY MED that I was obsessed with! Save My Life and Boston EMS aren't as good as NY MED (in my opinion)- but they are still fun to watch....especially in this horribly boring season of summer TV!!

What I am listening to: One of my favorite singers is Matt Wertz. I have been listening to him for over 10 years now! Lately, when I have been working on my computer or just getting things cleaned up in the kitchen, I will pull up the Matt Wertz station on Pandora. I love how easy Pandora is to use and how it magically plays the best mix of songs!! 

What I am wearing: I have been reeaallllyyy fancy lately. NOT! :)  Since I have been packing for us to be gone for 10 days, most of my clothes are in a suitcase.  I usually will change out of my workout clothes once we get home from the gym...but that has not been the case this past week.  Rocking the sweaty workout capris and tank top allll daaayy long! And if I am being honest, I am kind of enjoying being a little bit more low maintenance!! :)
What I am doing this weekend: This weekend we will be checking into a beach house for the week!! We are going on vacation with my mom's whole side of the family (about 40 people!!) to a beach about 25 minutes away from Wilmington, NC.  My parents generously rented a beach house large enough to accommodate my brother's family, my sister's family, our family and them.  All 8 cousins (on my side of the family) will be together!! It is going to be a blast!!

What I am looking forward to next month: Next month is FULL!  We are on vacation the first week of August, then just a few days after we get home, my oldest daughter has her first day of school.  Just a few days later, my 2 younger daughters start preschool.  We are also celebrating my parents' 40th Wedding Anniversary, taking a trip to Cleveland at the end of the month and celebrating my 2nd oldest daughter's 5th birthday!  We are totally going to soak up the last true month of summer!! :)

What else is new: Not much else is new...other than getting organized and packed for a 12 hour road trip and 10 days being gone from home! Tomorrow I am going to be sharing my strategy for keeping my kids entertained and happy during our long car should come back and check it out! :)

Bonus Question: What will I miss most about summer? Well- that is SO easy.  I am going to miss the carefree days with ALL of my kids!! I have LOVED having everyone home for the summer. I gained such a new appreciation for summer break after having Charlotte in kindergarten this past year. SO thankful for the past couple of months with my girls and baby boy!!

Just one of my many favorite moments from this summer....celebrating our baby James' first birthday!!

Hope you all are having the best week! 
Thanks for taking the time to stop by my little corner of the internet!! :)

Little Weekend Recap + Make Your Own Almond Butter!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hi!! Happy Tuesday! 
Since I linked up  with Andrea and Erika yesterday for their "Favorite Things Party"...I wanted to wait until today to give a little recap of our weekend!
Friday evening ended with quite a daughter Cora Maye decided to act like an acrobat on the monkey bars and ended up falling, hitting her cheek on the side of the slide and having to go to the hospital to get 7 stitches!! My husband and her first went to our local hospital's ER and then they were sent downtown to the children's hospital so a pediatric plastic surgeon could be the one to do the stitches.  It was quite a night- but she was a champ and they only ended up being gone about 4 hours- which is SO not bad for an ER visit!  Needless to say, we took it easy the rest of the weekend! We had some friends over for dinner on Saturday night and went to church and the pool on Sunday. 

Here is our sweet girl after she got her stitches! My husband said she was so brave!! 
She got the SWEETEST handmade blanket and pillow- EVERY child that comes to the children's hospital ER gets one! My husband said it was so cute, because as soon as she was given the blanket, Cora asked for 2 more for her sisters!! HA! The lady giving her the blanket was like, " about some stickers for your sisters???" HA! 
Cora was good with that :) 
Another fun thing I did this past weekend was make my own almond butter! I am a peanut butter FANATIC- I would eat copious amounts of it if it wasn't extremely high in fat and calories :)  I have been doing a lot reading about almond butter being better for you in that it has more heart healthy mono-saturated fat, more fiber and more Vitamin E....BUT- it is SO much more expensive than peanut butter! Even still- I thought it would be fun to make some and see if I even liked it!  I looked up a bunch of recipes- but ended up just tossing 2 cups of oven roasted almonds in my Ninja blender- using the food processor attachment.
This is what the almonds looked like half way through the blending process!
I had to scrap down the sides of the food processor several times and it probably took about 8 minutes total to achieve the creamy consistency I was looking for.  I would definitely NOT recommend trying to make almond butter (or cashew butter or whatever) unless you have a high powered blender like a Blentec, Vitamix or Ninja.  
At the very end, I added 1/2 of a stevia packet- just because I wanted my almond butter to have a slight sweetness to it.  
And here is the final product!  It was DELICIOUS!! And SO DARN easy! I mean- all I did was blend up two cups of almonds!!  
So now here is the price breakdown: I bought my 12 oz bag of all natural almonds at Aldi for  $5.79.  Then I spent a good 20 minutes of my time making the almond butter (about 9 minutes making it) and then cleaning up the mess that making the almond butter made (another 10+ minutes).
Aldi sells a 12 oz container of organic almond butter for $5.99.  So for a $0.20 difference I can bypass the extra work and cleanup.
 You can find the almond butter at Aldi right by the peanut butter!
They are also carrying organic peanut butter now and have organic cashew butter!
I really liked the almond butter I made- but I didn't like the price.  While almond butter is healthy is some respects compared to peanut butter- I am not going to make the switch.  I am too cheap and I like my good ol' natural peanut butter! :) I am glad to know that it is super easy to make and even easier to buy for almost the identical price- if I want to start eating more of it!

Sooo..are you a peanut butter person?? Or have you jumped on the almond butter train??
Such riveting thoughts...HA!

Hope you have the best day! :)

Favorite Things: Red, White and Blue Edition!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Hi!! Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

I am excited to link up with Erika and Andrea today for their Favorite Things Party!!
Today's theme is: FAVORITE RED, WHITE and BLUE!

I happen to LOVE the patriotic color combination of red, white and blue!! My girls have several patriotic dresses that we wear a lot during the summer- because what is cuter than little girls, dressed up in the colors of the good ol' USA?!? 
These dresses are what the girls wore last year for the 4th of July and I am OBSESSED with them!! I just LOVE them!  If you can believe it- they are from Walmart and were only $5 a piece!!
My other favorite red, white and blue item is this wooden flag my husband made me!
He put it together with scrap wood he had in our garage and painted it by hand!! I was supposed to do the painting portion- but I totally weaseled my way out of it- I am just really not cut out to do crafty/DIY projects!! We are such a good team...I come up with all the ideas and he executes them for me! :) I love how the end project turned out and I smile every time I pull up to our house and see our flag hanging up!! 

LOVE Red, White and Blue- and all that it represents in our amazing country!!

Hope you have the best day!!

Friday Favorites!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hi! It's Friday! Did you have a good week??
Our week has been all about Vacation Bible School and the pool.  That pretty much sums up our week :)  
As I was uploading my pictures for this post, I started to think how much I enjoy writing about my "Friday Favorites." Even if I think we haven't done much or it has been a fairly "boring" week, I always look back and think- "Wow! We had a lot of fun!"  It is just a great reflection for me and a wonderful way to be thankful for the littlest things and moments in life! :)

Here are my FAVORITES from this past week!

While I was home last week, my mom gave me an antique metal tray.  I had Aaron spray paint it for me and now it is sitting in the middle of our kitchen table!  I LOVE it!  I am keeping it stocked with napkins, forks and spoons so that the girls have everything they need, ready to go, when I ask them to set the table for dinner.  Functional and totally cute- definitely a new FAVORITE of mine!  PS- I sent my mom this picture to show her how cute her old tray turned out and responded by saying, "I want it back!" HA! :)
Even with 4 kids and several years of parenting under our belts, Aaron and I are still figuring out what works best for our kids on a CONSTANT basis :)  Dinner time has historically been pretty special and involved a lot of whining and even some tears- not the best time of day for our kids.  Well...we pushed up the time we eat from 6:00 pm to 5:30 pm (SO thankful Aaron's current schedule allows this!) and it has made SUCH a difference.  Everyone is happily eating their dinner, no meltdowns and the best part- we have time after dinner to play!  We are either taking a family walk or going out in our backyard.  Last night we were in the back yard, blasting our Vacation Bible School CD and swinging. It was the perfect summer night! My youngest daughter hopped on my lap and we did some tandem swinging together and she was SO tickled by it!  She was hysterically laughing....which made me laugh!! Pardon our super squinty eyes in the picture...but we were having too much fun not to document it! :) Totally a FAVORITE moment of mine this week!
Confession: My husband and I are pretty big dorks. One of our favorite things to do before bed is watch an episode of House Hunters or Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the computer.  This past week we have been watching multiple episodes of the Triple D and I just love it! Guy Fieri is HYSTERICAL and my husband cracks me up with how excited he gets about the food they are making on the show. Hands down, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is one of my FAVORITE shows to watch! :)
I am that girl that needs a sweet treat after dinner.  I don't know what it is- but I just need something!! I had my husband pick me up some of these Outshine Fruit Bars last week so I could have one every night after dinner and I am embarrassed to say they were gone in like 4 days! HA! They are SO good. Seriously the perfect summer treat- and totally guilt-free! 2 of my 3 girls also loved them!  Definitely one of my FAVORITE food items!!
As I mentioned before, we have been going to Vacation Bible School all week. Charlotte has been with the "school-age" kids and Celine and Cora have been with the preschool age kids. James and I have been in the nursery, where I have been volunteering. We have had such a great week and I am so proud of my crew!!
I was telling Aaron the other day..."I know this might sound weird-but I am totally obsessed with our kids!" HA! And he responded and said, "I get that. I am too." HA! A man of many words, that husband of mine.
 Love these 3 girls and 1 little guy so much- they are always my FAVORITES!
Here's to an awesome Friday and a wonderful weekend ahead!!

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!

Thoughts for Thursday!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hi! How has your week been?? 
We have had Vacation Bible School all week- so our schedule has been a little different.
My 3 older girls are attending VBS while I take James with me to volunteer in the nursery.  There is a group of us that is watching all the kiddos 2 years and under who's parents are volunteering at VBS.  
So, I have been spending my mornings this week watching about 20 toddlers and babies!

While it is definitely a long morning- we get there at 8:30 and we aren't home until 12:45- my girls are having a blast and I am having a lot of fun hanging out with a bunch of cute kids and some women who go to my church, but who I have never met before! 
There are adult volunteers in the nursery and then there are about 10 young ladies, in junior  high and high school volunteering as well.  I have been SO blown away by how awesome these girls are!! They are SO helpful, so kind, wonderful with the children- I have really had so much fun getting to know all of them!

Let's see what else I can ramble about today.....

My kids go back to school in 2 1/2 weeks!! I am SO sad about this!! I have absolutely loved summer with my kids!! So much so that I asked my oldest daughter if she wanted me to homeschool her this year- HA! I was being only being half-serious- but she immediately, granted with a sweet smile on her face, said- "NOPE! I want to go to school!"  DARN! :)
In all honesty, I think I would entertain homeschooling my children if I felt more equipped to teach them.  Just because I have 2 college degrees doesn't mean I am cut out to be a teacher! I seriously don't think I could get beyond 2nd grade math if my life depended on it- HA!  

My precious baby James is SO dang cute. I really can't handle him!! He is "talking" up a storm- but still hasn't said a "real" word yet....he is following several little 1-step directions like- go get your milk, wave bye-bye, clap your hands! and my personal favorite- give me a kiss.  I literally ask him to do this 10 times in a row and the sweet boy walks over every time I ask him and plants a big open mouth kiss on me. CAN'T. GET. ENOUGH!!

When you get your hair colored or highlighted, do you ever feel like your hair needs a week or two for it to "adjust" to the color?  I always feel like my hair looks better about one week post getting highlights.  I got my hair done last Tuesday and I really liked it when she was finished, but now after washing my hair a couple of times- I am LOVING the color.  I don't know- I am probably just super weird! HA!

The weather has been absolutely GORGEOUS here the past few days and since we have been at VBS all morning, we have been hitting up the pool every afternoon.  Our family LOVES the pool.  My kids NEVER get sick of swimming- which I think is so awesome! I love having a place, outdoors, for my kids to just play and have tons of fun.  Yesterday, my girls were all playing at the splash pad together, making "stew" in one of their buckets...and I just said a huge prayer of gratitude for that moment and tucked away the simple, precious memory of my girls smiles and sun-kissed faces.

Fortunately for kiddos are all up and at 'em (I usually write my blog posts early in the morning :) so my rambling must come to an end :)

Hope you all have the best Friday EVE!

Linking up with Annie and Natalie today!

Weekly Walmart Finds!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

We are headed to the beach later next week and while looking through my closet the other day- I realized I could use a couple of dresses to wear while we are there.  With a very limited budget, I headed to my favorite place, good ol' Walmart :), to see if they had anything that might work for me.  Here is what I found!

This dress is so simple and so perfect...especially at only $7.00!!
It is a racerback tank style...which I am not normally a fan of- but I think as a casual, throw on type of dress while we are at the beach, 
it will be just what I need to have in my suit case! :)

How much FUN is this dress?!? This just screams BEACH to me!! And I think it would look super cute with a jean jacket for cooler nights!! And it's on sale for $7.99!!
Since I will be wearing flip flops and sandals the entire time we are on vacation, I want to paint my toe nails with a new fun color...isn't this one perfect?!? It is called Cabana! LOVE it!
I actually didn't know until recently that Walmart carried the Essie brand of nail polishes- but they do!  You can find this particular color here!
Since 90% of the time, I am going to be in my swimsuit, I thought I would try out these shorts! Isn't this print cute? They are only $5.00!! I am not sure how they will fit me- I have a hard time with shorts given the junk I am have in my trunk-HA!! But- if they don't work- I can just take them back at my local store!  One of my favorite reasons about shopping online at Walmart is I can order things from the convenience of my home- and return anything I want- without penalty at the store- obviously with my receipt:)  
(I sound like a sponsored ad- which I am NOT- 
I just really appreciate stores with a no hassle return policy!!)

Fingers crossed all of my "beach purchases" work out!! Let me know if you have made any fun purchases at Walmart lately- I would love to hear about them!!

Hope you have the best day!!

Show and Tell Tuesday: House Tour!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hi!! How was your Monday? I hope your week is off to a great start!!
Today I am linking up with Andrea for the Home Tour Edition of Show and Tell Tuesdays!

I have mentioned in several other posts, but we are renting our current home. We are not sure where Aaron might get a job at the end of his residency (2 more years to go!)- so we did not want to be tied down to a house in the event we might pick up and move!  
Despite the fact our house is not technically "our's," it definitely feels like "home" to us for right now and we feel so blessed to have found such a wonderful house to live in for the time we will be living in Indianapolis!
***Disclaimer, while I feel like I can do some things pretty well, home photography is NOT one of them! HA! Please bear with some of my pictures!! I had a hard time figuring out how to work around the bright sunlight pouring through our windows!!***

Now- let's get this tour started!!
Here is our front porch!
When you walk into our house from the front door, there is a fairly large entry way and what is meant to be a formal dining room on the left and a formal living room on the right.  We use both rooms as play spaces :)  This is our "downstairs" playroom and it is to the right when you open the front door.
I love having a dedicated play space downstairs...especially since my youngest daughter loves to play with her all of her toys...BUT...
she likes to be in close proximity to mommy too :)  She has a ball in her playroom and will periodically just run and come check in with me...then go back to playing!
James also has a ton of fun destroying this room :)
Moving upstairs, this a view of our master bedroom!  My husband made this bed for me!!
This is Charlotte and James' room!
This is Celine and Cora's room!
This is our upstairs playroom.  It is pretty large, so I did a panoramic shot to show all of it :)  If you are coming up the stairs, our bedroom is on the left of the playroom and the other three bedrooms on are the right of it.
Now moving downstairs again! This is a fun panoramic shot of our family room.  It is a REALLY big room- so it is kind of hard to photograph!  
Here is the view of our living room as you are walking in from the front door.
This is the view of the fireplace looking husband made our coffee table and the side tables on either side of our couch.  Yes- he is pretty amazing :)  We got our couch and love seat almost 8 years ago at a consignment store!! They were in almost brand new condition for $700 for the set! Down the road, we would like to have all leather furniture- but for right now- they are SO comfy, actually clean up VERY easy (they are sueded micro-fiber) and still look really nice!

This is one of my "favorite" areas of the house.  My parents made me the top shelf, my husband made me the bottom shelf AND the console table.  I am a lucky gal :)
I change out the decor on the shelves throughout the year...this is currently my summer scheme.
Love my mantle!!
At first, I wasn't sure how to "style" a corner mantle, but I am just always switching things out and messing with different "looks." 
I made the print on for $8 (I had a 60% coupon code at the time!) and my husband made the frame from scrap wood in our garage! :)
Now onto our kitchen!
Sooo...our kitchen is one of those rooms in our house that I would change in a heartbeat if we owned this house versus renting it.  The pro's of our kitchen is that is it HUGE and very open- perfect for a big, young family like our's.  The con's of the kitchen are: it is outdated, I do not care for the color of the cabinets, it needs new counter tops and I do not like where the refrigerator is located.  ALL of these "issues" are obviously first world problems! If anything, this kitchen has helped me develop a very specific vision for my kitchen once we settle down and buy a home!
This is the view of our kitchen from the family room.
 This view is from the pantry...
 Our kitchen table used to be my husband's family's table when he was growing up! A couple years ago for our anniversary he re-stained and painted it for me! I LOVE it!  My parents gave us the end chairs about 6 months ago- we (obviously) still need to get them stained/painted- but honestly- I kind of like the eclectic look! :)  You can see James' high chair the background- that was the high chair my husband and his siblings used growing up- except it wasn't painted turquoise until we got our hands on it! ;)
 This is my command center :) You can pretty much always find in this nook of the kitchen :)
And that concludes my house tour :)  I left out a few rooms, but they are boring- so you aren't missing out on anything- HA!

When we were looking for a house to rent prior to moving to Indianapolis, Aaron and I both were praying for a safe, spacious home with a fenced in yard and parks within walking distance of our house with a dedicated guest room for my parents (and other family/friends) when they come and visit us (I didn't photograph it- but we have a finished basement that has a big bedroom and it's own bathroom-which is our guest bedroom).  This house met all of those requests!! So while I am not a huge fan of the carpeting or the brown cabinets, I am SO thankful for this home! It is everything we need and much more for this season of our life!

Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful day!! :)