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Friday Favorites!!!

Friday, January 31, 2020

Hi friends!!!

Happy Friday!!

How was your week??
I don't know about you- but time felt like it was flying this week!!
And...the first of FEBRUARY is this SATURDAY? How??

Okay...some fun things to share today!!

First up- if you didn't see my blog post on Wednesday..go check it out HERE!
I shared all about a fun little getaway Aaron and I had last weekend in honor of his birthday!!! We had so much fun and having some special one on one time with my FAVORITE person in the whole world just made me so, so happy!
I will be doing a health and wellness update either next week or the week after...but one of my goals for this first "quarter" of the year is to run a half marathon (that's happening in March!). Training has been going really well and I ran my longest run yet- 9 miles- earlier in the week and I felt GREAT. 
So thankful for beautiful weather and a killer playlist on my ipod that left me feeling energized the whole time!!
This guy. 
He turned 41 this week and I am just VERY grateful for him!!

Friends. I don't think this is something you already didn't know...but marriage is NOT easy. 

Aaron and I have definitely had our share of VERY challenging seasons. And while those seasons were so hard...having gone through them has given us so much perspective.

He said the most simple and perfect thing this past weekend when we were talking...he said, "Being married to each other hasn't always felt easy but it's always been RIGHT." 

I couldn't have said it better myself!
Cheers to my FAVORITE person and the fact that he makes 41 look darn GOOD ;)
Speaking of Aaron's birthday....I got him the coolest gift!!

He works out at the gym before work and while he has a traditional gym duffle bag...he didn't really have anything that stored his dress clothes properly.

I found THIS BAG on Amazon and it looked like the perfect solution!
It has an area where you can lay dress clothes and then it rolls up into a duffle bag!
It also has a separate compartment for shoes! We were able to fit TWO pairs of Aaron's dress shoes in it!
The bag is VERY sturdy and I was so pleasantly surprised with how nice it is!
Aaron was also super impressed...which says a lot..because he is the HARDEST person to buy for!!
It is just under $40 and I feel like that is a great price point!!
Definitely check it out if you or someone you know needs a versatile travel bag or gym bag!!

And now for a FUN Walmart Find!!

I have a slight obsession with throw pillows. I definitely have a "more the merrier" mentality when it comes to pillows on our couch. HA!

I wanted a few new pillows to add to my "Valentines" themed pillows and so of course, I went to Walmart.com to see if they had anything that would go with my gray/pink "scheme" and I was so excited to find a couple pillows...ON SALE!

I got the horizontal gray striped pillow (you can find it HERE) and the rectangle mauve plaid pillow (you can find it HERE)! 
I ordered them on Monday night and thanks to two day delivery, they were delivered yesterday!
The gray striped pillow is $10.50 and the mauve plaid pillow is $9.00!! 
You just can't beat those prices!! I ordered two of the mauve pillows and ended up liking the gray striped pillow so much- I bought another one!


Walmart seriously has some AWESOME throw pillows right now...if you are feeling the need to do a little re-fresh in your living room definitely check out what they have!

Okay friends...that's all I have for today!!
We've got another fun weekend ahead of us...we're taking a little road trip to Greensboro, North Carolina to meet up with Aaron! He's been there since Wednesday, attending a conference. The kids are VERY excited to swim in the hotel's indoor pool and I am SUPER pumped that Greensboro has a Trader Joe's!
I was just there last weekend (in Raleigh)- but the kids have already eaten all of the treats I got them from there...so we will have to do some more stocking up! :)

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

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


Birthday Getaway to Raleigh, North Carolina!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

FRIENDS!!!

Hi!!

How are you???

This post was supposed to be published on MONDAY. 

And it's WEDNESDAY.  WHOOPS. HA!

I have to be honest with you...the past couple of days I have felt pretty off. 
Aaron and I had the best weekend and then as we were heading home from getting our kiddos from my brother's house...we learned of the Kobe Bryant tragedy. I am sure I share the same feelings as all of you which is of DEEP sadness for his wife and 3 other daughters...and for the other victims in the crash. 
So much DEVASTATION in just a split second.

If you have personally experienced death, then you know grief can slam you when you least expect it...which is kind of what happened to me. Thinking about the immense loss of Kobe's life and his precious daughter's life and all that it means for his family triggered me to go back to the events surrounding my father's death...planning his funeral, the actual funeral service and his burial. And just how much I MISS my dad.
I was definitely NOT prepared to be so personally triggered by the Kobe Bryant tragedy...but I was. And that's why they say grief comes in waves and a lot of the time..when you least expect it.

SO. Here I am :) I am feeling much better...thanks to prayer and the Hope I can only find in God's love and His promises. Also my husband is amazing and I was extremely encouraged by one of most special friends...and that has just been so good for my heart.

Anyway..I think it's important to be open about grief and hard stuff. It wouldn't be honest of me to just pop back in here and talk all about my amazing weekend without also sharing that amidst a lot of goodness...a layer of hurt kind of always exists. 
To paraphrase Daniel Tiger, "It's okay to feel two feelings at the same time." 
Okay!!
Now...let's talk about the super fun weekend Aaron and I just had!!

So- Aaron's birthday is actually TODAY!
But he is at a conference today through Sunday- so we celebrated this past weekend.
Last year, I surprised Aaron with an overnight getaway to Pinehurst, NC to celebrate turning the big 4-0. You can read about it HERE!

Aaron is totally a "quality time" person and gifts are NOT his love language...so I knew the best way to celebrate his birthday this year would be another little getaway!!

My brother and sister-in-law (I know you are reading this Erica!!) are absolutely AMAZING and graciously agreed to watch our crazy crew while we snuck away. To utilize our time to the MAX- we stayed in Raleigh- which is where my brother lives. 
Since moving to Greenville, we have gone up to Raleigh quite a bit- but we haven't ever really done anything IN the city because we just always go hang out with my brother and his family.

So I was super excited for Aaron and I to explore Raleigh and just have tons of fun together!!

This is us after dropping off our kiddos. 
Not gonna lie- we were pretty pumped. HA!
(and so we are kids- they LOVE LOVE LOVE staying at my brother's house!)
The first place I took Aaron was Drive Shack!! It's almost identical to Top Golf.
Aaron is an avid golfer and I knew he would love love this activity!!
We "golfed" for about 2 hours and had a BLAST. There are all sorts of games you can play and of course you can just hit balls and see how far they go and the speed at which you hit them and all that good stuff. I am happy to report- I actually HIT multiple balls and Aaron was quite proud of me. HA!
Our waiter was so sweet and brought Aaron out a surprise dessert for his birthday!!
After we finished up at the Drive Shack, we headed to downtown Raleigh to have lunch at The Pit. This is an awesome BBQ restaurant that my brother recommended to me!
We had a delicious lunch...beef brisket for him and pulled chicken for me and left with happy, full tummies :)
After lunch, we headed over to the North Hills area of Raleigh where there is a bunch of shops and it's super cute and all outdoor! 
Of course we ended up at Lily Pulitzer...and I tell you- there is not a more cheerful store than Lily!!! 
There was a cute little grassy area with several benches and we sat down for a bit...just because we could. HA!
After a fun afternoon of window shopping (I did make sure to point out several things I liked at the Kendra Scott store- HA!), we got checked into our hotel and then headed to Saturday evening Mass at the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral. The cathedral was recently built and we have not yet been there to see it! It is absolutely STUNNING and Mass was wonderful!!
And as luck would have it- we saw someone who knew us from our home parish in Greenville. Of course, I asked him to take a picture of us! HA!
After church...things got a little interesting :)

I had made reservations for us to have dinner at this great restaurant my brother recommended. Or so I thought I did. I got the confirmation email for the reservation and realized I had made it for SUNDAY night!!!

Oh my goodness. I was so irritated. I immediately asked my brother, who is a total foodie, to recommend me some other restaurants in Raleigh. And of course, they were all BOOKED. Not a single restaurant had a reservation. 

So- we decided to try and see if we could get in to a couple of places...with just some luck. 
Um. Yeah. NO. First place- 1 1/2 hour wait. So we walked to another place. 2-3 hour wait. HA!
So we just took our chances and drove over to the original restaurant I made the WRONG reservations for- and guess what?!? As soon as we walked in- 2 seats opened up at the bar!!
You can bet we snatched them up and promptly ordered our food. HA!
The Oak- Kitchen and Bourbon Bar was amazing. The service was great and the food was amazing. We got fried brussel sprouts for an appetizer and OMG. I was obsessed. They were SO good!
After we finished up with dinner, we headed back to our hotel. 
Friends. I felt like the BIGGEST freak- but I had Aaron take a picture of me so you could see what dress I ended up picking! I got this dress from Amazon- but I will tell you- I majorly sized up. I am normally a small/medium. Both the small and medium fit me- but they were TIGHT. Like totally NOT my style. So I got a large..and while it was a smidge bigger than I would have liked...I was the most comfortable in it!
Can't beat the price tag..it was $22.99!
As we were walking back to our hotel (we stayed at the Hampton Inn in downtown Raleigh), we walked by a bar that had live music. I was super intrigued because the music sounded so great...so we hopped in to check it out!
Well...it ended up being a dualing piano bar and it was SO.MUCH.FUN.
The musicians were insane and the energy of the bar was on fire!
We had a BLAST!
Sunday morning we slept until 7:30 am. Felt like it was almost 11 am when we woke up! HA!
We enjoyed our coffee in bed and then made our way downstairs for breakfast!!
After breakfast, we checked out of our hotel and headed to Trader Joe's for a quick shopping trip before we needed to be at my brother's house to get the kids.

I LOVE TRADER JOES!! :)
While we were leisurely perusing the aisles of Trader Joe's, my amazing sister-in-law was wrangling the kids at church to get a picture. HA! It's Catholic School Week and the kids wore their uniforms to Mass! 
We got to my brother's house around noon, had a quick lunch and I made everyone take a picture. They were THRILLED. not. HA!
The kids had as great of a time as Aaron and I did...if not even MORE fun!
I think this picture says it all!!
So VERY thankful for a special weekend to celebrate my number one guy.
It was incredibly life giving to have some one on one time with each other and we just felt SO grateful to have had such a fun time with each other!!!

And one last thing before I sign off for the day....
I absolutely LOVED reading all of your comments on my 5 Year Blogging Anniversary Post!!
They truly made me SO happy!!!

I randomly picked a winner for the giveaway and that person is....

Lindsay from Minneapolis, Minnesota!!
Lindsay! I emailed you!! 

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


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 week....like 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 are...how 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." 
AMEN.

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!
SATURDAY: Out!
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!
 
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