Sip On A Cup of I’ve Got This

#MommaMonday

Sip On A Cup of I’ve Got This

It’s Monday morning.

The kids are screaming.

You forgot to switch over the laundry, so the kids now have nothing to wear (or at least not if you consider clean underwear a necessity…).

It pops in your head that your gas light was on last night and you forgot to fill ‘er up.

You haven’t packed lunches yet.

Or brushed your teeth.

Heck, are you even wearing clothes yet?!?

Not to mention it’s 15 minutes before you have to be where you’re headed and it looks like you aren’t headin’ out for another good 30-45 minutes.

Cool.

Yeah.

Those are the best days.

The days that make you want to pull your hair out and ask God for a “do over.”

A few months ago I found myself having this kind of day almost every single day.

“What is WRONG with me?!?!” I kept asking out loud.

I just could NOT get it together.

Have you been there?!?

School started every morning at the same time.  And I knew it.  But, I just could not get myself up and motivated to get us there on time.

For a while I blamed the kids.  Well, if B had gotten up and gotten dressed like I screamed at her to…I mean gently encouraged her to do…we’d have been on time.

And then I blamed the hubby.  Well, if you had offered to pump my gas last night because you telepathically read my mind and knew that I needed some I wouldn’t have had to stop on the way to school.

And then I blamed society.  Because why on earth would any school (or anything in general, really) begin before 10:00 a.m.?!?

Eehhh.  Let’s just say, I needed to get over myself.  And fast

One night when I was channel surfing, I ran across a McDonald’s commercial that had nothing to do with my predicament, but I loved the tagline: “Sip On a Cup of I’ve Got This.”

Whoa.  That really stopped me in my tracks.  I LIVE for catchy slogans, people.

I am not a morning person.  Never have been, never will be.

So the notion of me getting out of bed to in the morning to claim that title of “morning super hero” eluded me.

But, this slogan made me want to be one.  Really badly.

So, I tried it…using the tiniest baby steps possible.

I set my alarm for 5 minutes earlier the next morning.

And spoiler alert: I did not explode.  Life did not come to a halt.  And if I’m being honest, nothing changed.

Each morning for the next week I backed up my alarm until I was waking up a whole 30 minutes earlier.

I’m not gonna lie to you, friend.  Those first few days of earlier rising were rough.  Like I’m ashamed of myself.

However, I survived.  My kids survived.  Even my hubby came out mostly unscathed 😉

I used those 30 minutes to collect my thoughts, read a quick devotional, pray and center myself.

I wish I could express to you through these typed words what a transformative process this teeny tweak in my agenda has had on my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all of the sudden in line for Mom of the Year or anything, but at least I’m not screeching in to carpool line on two wheels narrowly missing the safety patrol children each morning…

Maybe you’re like me, and the thought of rising any earlier than normal sends you into an unnecessary bout of over the top anxiety.

That’s ok.

Take those moments to Sip on Your Cup of I’ve Got This in the afternoon.  Or at night.

Whenever you can carve out 30 minutes alone, do it.

It will change your life.

As it turns out, no matter what our mommin’ looks like, we NEED some time alone.  Heck, the kids NEED some time alone, too.

We need to check out for our own little Mommy Time Out and breathe.

When we take control of our thoughts, we give ourselves back power and focus.

Sometimes all we need in life is to take a sip of I’ve Got This and keep it movin’, friends.

Do you need to take a breather?  What do you do to center yourself each day? Please share in the comments!

Welcome to the Tribe, Momma! SO grateful you are here today.  If you would like to connect with a group of real Moms doin’ the hard work of Mommyhood each and every day, you are in the right place!  We would love to have you join our once weekly email list (comes out on Mondays only) which will have all of our new posts for that week listed for your convenience.  Please subscribe below for weekly tips, recipes, encouragement and more! We need your voice!  Have a great week! 🙂

Mom Hack for All Those Holiday Cards

#MommaMonday

Mom Hack for All Those Holiday Cards

I LOVE getting family Christmas cards in the mail.

I love mail in general.  But, holiday cards are just next level, folks.

Those beautiful, perfectly posed, expensive little pieces of paper remind me that we are all doing our very dang best in this job of Mommin’.

When they start pouring in mid to late November (I see you Over Achiever Moms 😉 ), my hubby and I even start a friendly competition of who wins us the most nods in the form of cards for the year.  It’s quite honestly one of my fave traditions to date…

And once the tree comes down a few days after Christmas I can’t help but stare over at those gorgeous cards and feel utter shame as I drop each one tenderly into the trash bin trying ever so carefully not to bend the edges …as if they aren’t about to meet their final destination in an over-crowded dump.

A few years ago my card dumpin’ dismay really got to me.  I was tossing upwards of $ 40 – $ 50 worth of people’s hard earned (and very well designed, might I add…) holiday treasures in my trash can like yesterday’s discards.  And I just couldn’t do it anymore.

So, I came up with a solution!

Now, when I receive your holiday card, it gets displayed from the day I receive it until Christmas is over.  THEN, I add it to a special annual ring of cards.  For the remainder of the year my family and I will commit to pray over you and your family.  We may not say a prayer for each family every day, or even every week, but your family is gettin’ prayed over up in here!

My girls love to sit and go through our little rings of love all the time.  It’s so nice (and sometimes necessary) to remind ourselves of all the wonderful people God has placed in our lives.

Creating a family / friend prayer reminder ring can do just that.

These little creations become gorgeous coffee table pieces and excellent conversation starters when company is over.

In fact, some of the best moments are when one of the families is over at our house, recognizes their card and inquires about its existence in our home months after Christmas.

It’s always so fun to share the little prayer pack idea and see them filled with joy that their work of art was not discarded like they had imagined.  Not to mention how grateful they are after learning about that extra breath of prayer over them from time to time.

If you are like me, and feel some kinda way about discarding your loved ones’ holiday cards, this idea may be a great one for you.

And if not, be sure to tell your packrat / borderline hoarder cousin about it.  This should be right up her alley 😉

By the way, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!!

What do you do with your holiday cards when you are finished with them?  Ditch or keep?

Please share in the comments!

Welcome to the Tribe, Momma! SO grateful you are here today.  If you would like to connect with a group of real Moms doin’ the hard work of Mommyhood each and every day, you are in the right place!  We would love to have you join our once weekly email list (comes out on Mondays only) which will have all of our new posts for that week listed for your convenience.  Please subscribe below for weekly tips, recipes, encouragement and more! We need your voice!  Have a great week! 🙂

Earthly Blemishes and Heavenly Reminders

#MommaMonday

Earthly Blemishes and Heavenly Reminders

Last week on Thanksgiving, I shared my whole “glass-half-full” approach to Mommyhood with my fam.

Because, as with every family, some of my loved ones were feeling, well, bogged down in the business of Mommin’.

Some were even negative about it, commenting about all the ways motherhood has changed them.

And I totally agree.

Motherhood does change us.

ALOT.

But, I think motherhood has changed us all for the better.

It’s all in the way we look at things.

All of us have blemishes now because of our journeys.

We may dress differently.

Look differently.

Act differently.

Think differently.

But, at the end of the day, we Mommas have all been changed for the better.

If you need a little perspective change-up, check this out:

These stretch marks remind me that I was gifted two precious children. I was able to carry them on my own. God chose to use my body as the vessel to bring them into this world. And He just so happened to leave a special reminder of those moments. Rather than scoffing at their presence, I will thank Him for blessing me with my family.

This cellulite on my thighs seemed to pack on pretty fast after baby number one. As a relatively fit human, I was appalled at its emergence. But, now I look at it as a constant reminder that we all have areas of improvement. I thank God for the opportunity to explore those improvements. My body is a temple, as I keep reminding myself. And even the grandest of temples have blemishes.

These bags under my eyes represent the hours I spend nurturing my little ones. I could be enjoying blissful sleep with no distractions, but I am called to something so much greater. My babies need grace and love. Just like I do. And these bags, while temporary, are permanent reminders that a little lack of sleep is certainly worth the love I share with my God-given gifts.

This pain in my back has resulted from years of lifting and chasing little ones. I could sit and complain about it, or I could take a Tylenol and remind myself that there will come a day when I will wish I could chase them around at home rather than at the mall or at some boy’s house nearby…

These missed calls from friends are reminders that my priorities have drastically changed…for the better. Rather than spending my time appeasing my selfish desires, I am reveling in the opportunity to create my newest little #squad 😉

This empty bank account is super stressful. These stacks of bills make me wanna crawl in a hole and hide. But, snuggling at home is way better than the hustle and bustle any day. Ramen noodles never tasted better since they come coupled with a big bear hug. And the smiles on those innocent, grateful faces make every penny … and lack thereof… worthwhile.

This trashed car looks like a city dumpster. You would think I have 27 children with all the trash collecting going on up in here. But, those crackers crushed into the carpet means somebody was fed that day. Those crayons melting into the seats means someone found joy in coloring. And those ballet shoes strewn about in the backseat means someone is on a fun adventure. Today, I will be grateful to even have a vehicle to transport these little ones on their journeys of life.

This laundry room full of dirty, nasty, stinky clothes is overwhelming, quite honestly. I avoid it at all costs most days. But, today I am going to gaze at the tiny dresses and think about the little bodies who wear them. The little bodies that danced into my life and changed my life (and my laundry room) for the better.

This den is full of junk. My guests must think we have been collecting for a gigantic charitable donation for months. Wait, guests…? What are those? There’s been a “quarantined” sign on my house circa 2012…But, that’s really ok. I don’t wanna don my apron right now anyway. I probably do need to tidy up this den, though… Ok, rather than gritting my teeth as I clean, I will reminisce about all the fun moments we share here. And plan for hundreds more…

This sloppy getup I’ve got going on is probably not appealing to those forced to view it… But, to my babies, these PJs mean Mommy is ready to be jumped on, snuggled with, kissed, and wrestled in the floor.  They mean I’ve got all the time in the world to do some lovin’.

Whew.  That’s a whole lotta “little merry sunshine” for this Monday morning.  But, I hope that as each of us gets down, because we will from time to time, we will always remember that these earthly blemishes are heavenly reminders of God’s infinite blessings.

What earthly blemishes have you struggled with lately?  And how do you overcome them?

Please share in the comments!

Welcome to the Tribe, Momma! We are so thankful you are here 🙂 If you want to be updated each time there is new content including Momma tips, recipes, fashion inspo and encouragement, please subscribe to our Monday newsletter here:

 

A New Kind of SuperMom

#MommaMonday

A New Kind of SuperMom

You’ve seen her…

The perfect mom.

The one who appears to walk right off the pages of Southern Living with pearls softly draped around her neck and a freshly baked batch of homemade mini muffins in her designer tote that are still warm for God’s sake.

She would never have spaghetti stains on her ankle jeans.

She couldn’t possibly know what it’s like to scrub poop off a crib at 2 am.

And we kinda don’t like her, do we?

Even though we have NO CLUE what goes on in her home.  Her head.  Or her heart.

Have we gotten to know her?

Do we really know what goes on in her Pinterest Perfect life?

I’m guessing if we are honest, the answer is a resounding, yet sheepish, “No…”

But we sure are judging her, aren’t we?

And if we’re being honest, it’s because we’re chillin’ in our sweatpants during carpool jammin’ to the latest rap watching her strut across the parking lot in her stilettos … and we just feel….well, inadequate.  Less than.  Not totally up to this crazy intense challenge also known as Mommyhood.

What if we stopped creating mental standards?

What if we committed to stop using the phrase, “there goes that mom again.”

And we just loved each other.

And supported one another.

And (gasp) what if we took the time to actually get to know one another?

Because every single Mom is incredible in her own way.  And the real beauty behind the whole “Mommyhood” thing is that we have our own unique strengths…and weaknesses.

We can celebrate both.  Together.

It is in our darkest spots, that God can come in to shine the Light.

In a world where kindness is sadly a rarity, let’s be the Moms that love one another unconditionally.  No matter how Pinterest Perfect…or lack thereof… 😉 each one of us truly are.

There is a new #SuperMom in town.  And girlfriend, allow me to share a little secret …it’s YOU!

Have you ever struggled with being labeled or maybe labeling other Moms? 

Please share your experiences in the comments to encourage others!

Please sign up for our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Crises to Convictions

#ThoughtfulThursday

Crises to Convictions

Hey, friends.

I sure have missed y’all.  I wanted to apologize and offer up an explanation of why the past few weeks have been pretty quiet on the blog.

Y’all have become my family…can you believe we’ve been hangin’ out each week for almost 2 years now?!?!

And I love every minute of “doin’ life” with y’all!

So, I want to thank you for your patience.  Some of you reached out, and I felt the need to extend my hand back with some extra inside info 😉

Bare with me, this is still a bit raw…

Last week my youngest (3.5 years old) woke up one morning and was unable to use her legs.  She could barely stand and when she did, she screamed in pain, fell to the floor and writhed as if her little insides were being internally attacked.

Just as any Momma would be, I was shocked, scared out of my mind and in tears.

After a loooong appointment at her pediatrician’s office, the doctor stared at us and shared that he thought she had early onset arthritis.

No.

Nope.

Wait.  WHAT?!

My overly bubbly, in your face amazing, gigantic smile-creating sunshine of a child was now suffering from something that Mommy couldn’t wipe away with a tissue, or kiss away like a scrape…

My little one just stared into the doctor’s eyes unaware of what her future might hold in those moments.

Over the next few days we were able to secure an appointment with a rheumatologist.  We went to bed the night before the appointment having no idea whether or not our daughter was destined to years of therapy, medication and whatever else was required to return her to her “new normal.”

The morning before her appointment with the specialist, I heard a familiar lilty voice peep on the video monitor.  I think I fell out of bed jolting to look at my little one!!

SHE HAD CRAWLED OUT OF HER BED AND WAS WALKING AS IF NOTHING HAD EVER HAPPENED, PEOPLE!

I kid you not.

Miracles are real.  God is real.  He is with you.  He never forsakes you.  And He goes before you to pave the way on which you will walk.

We are each going to face trials in our lives.  That is promised.

But, God can use those moments to shape us into an even better, stronger tool to be used by Him.

Even in those 3 am, crying moments when we don’t have any of the answers, God is there.

And He is the only one who does have those answers…

Just gonna leave this little gem right here:

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

I’ll tell you what, though.

That is not the only lesson that God was teaching me that day.

When we arrived at the rheumatologist’s office I began to gaze around the waiting room.

I saw a mother carrying a child in her arms who was unable to walk.

I witnessed a child attempting to hold her sippy cup and it falling from her hands because she could not grasp it.

I watched as a little boy cried into his mother’s shirt in pain.

And I stopped and asked God for forgiveness.

How many times do we take everything for granted?

How often do we yell at God for the tiniest of storms that pop up in our lives when others are going through nightmarish ordeals?

And do we truly thank Him for the calm moments He so graciously provides?

God used this hiccup in my child’s life to teach all of us so many lessons.

The one I cling to every day going forward is to be grateful.

When we wake up and we have breath in our lungs, let’s thank God.

When we walk to our kitchen to fix a meal (even when it’s just cereal and water before a grocery run), let’s praise God for providing.

When we look at our families, let’s exalt the Lord for His goodness.

Life goes a million miles a minute at times.

And it can seem overwhelming, like we don’t have a second to spare.

How about we take a few moments each day this week to reflect on God’s goodness…

And about how we can address the needs of others…

The world is hurting.  The world so desperately needs Jesus.

Let’s take a meal to a neighbor,

offer to love on someone’s child for a bit while they take a much-needed break,

send an uplifting word of encouragement,

donate clothing and food to a local shelter,

volunteer at a local hospital, or

offer to help a loved one in a time of need.

Let’s actively live in gratitude.

Let’s give back to God’s world.

And let’s remind them that He is there in crises and in miracles.

And He is always good…  All the time.

What lessons have you learned this week?  Have they come in surprising forms? Please share in the comments!

Welcome to our tribe!  We are so thankful you are here 🙂 Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly recipes, fashion inspo, tips and encouragement!

 

5 Tips for Organizing and Storing Children’s Artwork

#MommaMonday

5 Tips for Organizing and Storing Children’s Artwork

One of my favorite things about my kiddos being back in school is all the incredible artwork they bring home.

But, you know what one of my least favorite things is about my kiddos being back in school?

All the incredible artwork they keep bringing home…

This is what one of the corners of my house currently looks likeBRACE YOURSELVES:

Because, of course, I’m that Mom that legit keeps a toothpick if it even remotely appears that my kid engaged it with some kind of creativeness.

Each one of those long storage containers represents a year of school for one of my children…

Quick Embarrassing Fact: When my oldest child was about 8 months old, she accidentally hit my brother’s printer and caused it to print a blank piece of paper.  I kid you not, I swiped up that piece of paper and wrote: “Bellalise’s first time to print / June 7, 2013.”  Devastatingly, I am not joking.  Are you crying for my sanity, yet?!?

Jesus. Be. A. Trashcan.

It’s like our little Picassos are busy from the second we drop them off ’til the second we return to pick them up.

And, I LOVE IT.  We sure are gettin’ our money’s worth, folks!

But, the cleanliness (or lack thereof …) of my house…not so much.

After giving myself a mini therapy session the other day, I am officially here to help.

Do you need to dump 75 rolling carts worth of childlike creativeness?  Got you, girl.

Wanna clear your head and your closets of clunky, glue-dripping insanity?  Track with me today, sister.

Feeling like you just need to build a storage shed out back and call it a day?!?  Love you long time.  #SoulMate.

Whatever your choice may be, today I am sharing 5 Ideas for Organizing and Storing ALL our babies’ beautiful artwork.  Take this journey towards sanity with me, will you?

Here goes…

(1) BE SELECTIVE

For a recovering pat-rack-aholic, I can tell you that this will be the toughest thing to conquer.  What does selective even mean when it comes to your child’s artwork?!?

Some people follow the handprint / footprint only philosophy, but I think that’s a little too restrictive.

SO, here are some guidelines:

– Is there a handprint / footprint?  Yes = definitely save; No = Proceed to next questions…

– Is there any of your child’s handwriting? Yes = definitely save; No = Toss OR proceed to next questions…

– Is there any identifying info about your child (i.e. the teacher has answered questions on your child’s behalf after asking them the questions; developmental info like hair color, eye color, height, weight; graded project, etc.?  Yes = definitely save; No = Toss OR proceed to next questions…

– Is it a coloring page that does not go with anything else and appears to be ripped out of a standard coloring book or a free teacher printable? If the coloring is extra spectacular = I would save; If not = toss.

– Is it a craft that required your child to use a special skill such as cutting, gluing, measuring, etc.?  I would save, but it’s up to you.

Hopefully, you are able to begin answering more “No’s” and tossing some things.  If not, I’ve got you covered on some organizational / storage ideas…

(2) DOWNLOAD ONE OF THE APPS MADE TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM!!

Who else is screaming for joy right now?  Yours truly has tracked down a mega list of all the apps to help you with this very issue.  Each one of these apps will take photos of your child(ren)’s artwork and turn them into beautiful coffee-table quality books for you to cherish for years to come.  So, now you don’t have to join the television show Hoarders…like I’m destined to do….

All you have to do is upload photos of your child(ren)’s art projects into the app and it takes it from there.

Each one of these apps has different capabilities and products.  Plus, they have different price ranges as well.  So, check each of them out and find the best fit for your needs.

Without further ado I present them to you… and happy hunting for the perfect one for your family! * Just click on any of the links below to head straight to the sites to pick the best one for your family!

ArtKive

Art My Kid Made App

Canvsly

Keepy.me

As a quick bonus, here are some photo organizing / storing solutions:

Google Photos – upload your photos to this app and then you can delete off your phone to make room for more memories!

Shutterfly App – Upload directly to Shutterfly to order prints, photo books, gifts and more!

Sandisk Smart Phone Disk Drive – This is so genius, I am thankful one finally exists!  Sync your phone and computer = voila!  Photos are ready to organize / store / print!

(3) Take Photos of Your Children’s Artwork, Upload to Chatbooks and Print a Keepsake Book

– A little trick I have is a secret Instagram account.  Nobody knows the username of my super-Top-secret Instagram account except for my Mom and Dad.  Predominantly because who else wants to see 100 photos of my kids every single day…?

It’s really neat because I can upload ALL our photos for the day and not send all of my friends / “followers” into rage induced oblivion when 45 of MY photos clog their newsfeeds.  As a heads up, all of us love each other, but NOBODY wants to see 45 pics in a row of any of our kids except for us and maybe our Moms…trust me on this.

Once you’ve uploaded the pictures to Instagram and synced with the Chatbooks app, simply select the size book and send to print.  Within a week, you will have a beautiful photo book keepsake and none of the clutter!

P.S. While you’re in there, go ahead and print some photo books for the whole year.  You’ll be so glad you took the extra 10 minutes now rather than waiting for 5 years once ALL the kids are finally in school…I see you, girl.

(4) Create a gallery art wall in the children’s Playroom / Bedrooms

Not all art is created equal…I think we could all agree on that statement 😉

But, there are some really great pieces of art that deserve a place on the wall.   Meaning, of course, that there is a free space in your storage box for yet another piece of memorabilia.

For example, here are some watercolors that my daughters painted a few weekends ago.  I plan to have them framed and hung in either the playroom or my bedroom for a splash of color.

SO, Mommas, don’t always look at artwork as a waste.  SOME of those millions of pieces might just be wall-worthy!

(5) Old School Scrapbook Session

Takin’ it all the way back to eighth grade when rather than packing the latest cold brew to chill with our homegirls, we packed up all the silly edged scissors and decorative stickers we could find…And don’t forget the Cricut!

Scrapbooking now feels like a chore.  But, it doesn’t have to be!  Get the kids involved for a weekend of fun!  Give them some kid safety scissors and let them go to town while you scrapbook to your heart’s content!

Phew!  Ok, Mommas.  This post gives us lots of solutions to our artwork / photo storage concerns.  Let’s hop off the stress-mobile and onto the happiness wagon!  WE CAN DO THIS!

How do you store your child(ren)’s artwork?  Please share in the comments!

Please sign up for our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Marble Masterpiece Mini Pumpkins

#MommaMonday

Marble Masterpiece Mini Pumpkins

Fall is in full swing and the pumpkin patches are gettin’ picked over.

Turns out, there is a certain little pumpkin that often gets looked over…the little white ones!

Confession: those have always been my faves!  They are just so petite and fun!

Head back out to your pumpkin patch and / or Trader Joe’s, etc. and grab 5-10 for this craft.  Most places (including pumpkin patches) sell these little pumpkins for $ 1 or less, each so grab as many as you wish.

Side note: White pumpkins make gorgeous placeholders for your Fall / Thanksgiving dinner tables…just a heads up 😉

Back to the craft…

You will need:

5-10 small white pumpkins

4-5 different colored nail polish (preferably fast drying polish)

Large Plastic Bowl or Tupperware container

TIP: The container you use will most likely have paint stains on it afterwards that will not be easily cleaned.  Consider using a container that you do not mind turning into a crafting container later on 😉

Room Temperature Water

Directions:

(1) Pour room temperature water into the container.

(2) Quickly drip several drops of each nail polish into the water in rapid succession.  Use a toothpick to swish around in the water and mix the colors.

(3) Holding your pumpkin by the stem, carefully dip into the water and allow the nail polish colors to adhere to the pumpkin.

VOILA!  Marble Masterpiece!

This craft could not have been any easier and was perfect for a Sunday afternoon with my girls!

My girls are 3 and 5 and they loved every minute!

This will definitely become a new tradition in our house 🙂

So what do you think –  Will you try marbling with your family?

And do you have any fun October traditions with your kids? Please share in the comments!

Please sign up for our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, fashion inspo, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

7 Fun and Easy Fall Crafts / Outings for Families

#MommaMonday

7 Fun and Easy Fall Crafts / Outings for Families

There was a little fall crisp in the air yesterday morning and I did my Fall Happy Dance, Y’ALL!!!  The time has finally come for us to embrace all the pumpkins and all those snuggly fall feels…

I thought I would put together a post with some fun fall-themed activities (hopefully a few even new to you!) you can try with your family!  Here goes… Happy Fall, Ya’ll 🙂

(1) Pumpkin Hunt – As it turns out, children love to hunt things all the time…not just during Easter…. 😉

You can find tiny plastic pumpkins at Wal-Mart, Target, Dollar Tree, etc. for practically nothing.  Encourage your kids to grab their Trick-or-Treat buckets and hunt for something much healthier than candy for a change!

(2) Thankful Board – LOVE this!  I found this exact Thankful board at Hobby Lobby, but you could VERY easily DIY this in under 20 minutes.

Teaching our children gratitude is something that can never begin too early.  The more we instill thankfulness in our babies, the more they will approach the world in kindness rather than expectation and entitlement later on.

Consider crafting or picking one of these up and each day, jot down what your family is thankful for.  It will transform your mindset in a hurry and over time cause us to remind ourselves of all the things we have to be grateful for.

“Thankful for” Board: HERE

(3) Pumpkin Patchin’ – This one is certainly not legendarily groundbreaking, but can be such a fun fall day for the fam!

Google pumpkin patches in your area because there is a good chance there is one (or several) close by that offer train or tractor rides, mazes, s’mores, face painting, games, inflatables, etc.

Make it a fall family day of fun tradition!

(4) Fall Themed Crafts – If you haven’t hit up your Hobby Lobby in a while, make a point to swing by there when you get a chance.

Each holiday season I always make it a point to stop in (obviously for all the incredible décor inspo), but also for the awesome children’s crafts!

All of these crafts are under $ 7 and they are 40 % off on top of that!  Can’t beat that!

Pilgrim Thanksgiving Table Craft: HERE

Turkey Craft: HERE

Acorn Craft: HERE

(5) Pumpkin Paintin’ Party – Again, not worthy of front page news, here.  But, nothing is cuter than watching your little Picassos create on the pumpkin they selected themselves! 

(6) Gratitude Tree –  Taking a nod from the Thankful Board I mentioned above, I discovered this gratitude tree in the Target Dollar Spot over the weekend!  I love the vision here.

The children can paint the wooden tree (at least 30 minutes of fun 😉 )  Then, over the next few weeks, encourage them to list something they are grateful for everyday and write it on a leaf.  Place the leaves on the tree and by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, they will have a beautiful tree full of thankful reminders!

(7) Cookie Decorating Party – You don’t have to wait ’til Christmas to decorate those cookies, friends.  Why not pick up some orange food coloring and go to town?!?  We have made this a family tradition and the whole family (even grandparents) join the fun!

What fun things do you do with your little ones during Fall?  Please share in the comments!

Please sign up for our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Dill Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

#TipTuesday

Dill Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

This is one of my FAVE H ello F resh recipes I have received to date, so I am going to share it with you here.

Added a few of my own tricks ;), but this is mainly just their rendition of Dill Chicken.  Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

You will need:

2 Chicken Breasts

Yukon Gold Potatoes (enough to serve 2 adults)

Green Beans (enough to serve 2 adults)

2 Tablespoons of sour cream

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

Chicken Stock Concentrate

Balsamic Vinegar (my addition) 😉

Dry Ranch Dressing Packet (my addition) 😉

Olive Oil

Dill for garnish

Salt and Pepper

Dish Deets:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25-35 minutes

Feeds: 2 adults

Directions:

(1) Preheat oven to 450.

(2) Dice potatoes into small 1/2 inch cubes.  Pick the dill from the stems and finely chop.

(3) Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place potatoes on the pan.  Douse them in an even mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dry ranch dressing and salt / pepper.  Toss until all potatoes are evenly coated.  Roast potatoes in oven for 25-30 minutes or until browned and crisp.  TIP: Toss the potatoes half way through cooking to ensure even cooking.

(4) Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Sear chicken on each side until no longer pink.  Add chicken to the potatoes pan for the last 7-10 minutes of cooking to finish baking completely throughout.

(5) Line another baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place green beans on top.  Toss green beans in olive oil and salt / pepper to taste.  Add some balsamic vinegar and dry ranch dressing if desired.  Roast in oven until tender (10-15 minutes).  TIP: We like our green beans almost burned because they have an incredible flavor then.  That requires almost 20 -25 minutes cooking time…heads up 😉 )

(6) For the dill sauce: stir together the following ingredients in a pan over medium heat: 1 teaspoon dill, sour cream, stock concentrate, 1 teaspoon mustard, 2 tablespoons water.  * Use the pan that you cooked the chicken in to make the sauce.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

(7) To serve: Arrange the green beans and potatoes evenly on the plate.  Place a chicken breast on top.  Drizzle the dill sauce on top.  Serve and enjoy!

What are you fixin’ in your kitchen this week? Please share in the comments!

Please sign up for our Monday newsletter to receive weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂

Friendly Word to the Wise

#MommaMonday

Friendly Word to the Wise

You know what I want everyone to get out of reading this post?

You.

Do.

You.

That’s it.  That’s all I’m interested in communicating today.  I just want my Momma Tribe to unite and love one another.

For our similarities and our differences…

Here lately, I have seen some pretty divisive stuff on social media and I feel obligated to address it.

To stand up for those who can’t or won’t stand up for themselves.

And, honestly to stand up for every Momma out there!

Allow me to explain…

Has anyone noticed how all of a sudden Google has decided to make every single day of the year a national day of recognition.

Like, there’s a National Taco Day.

A National Siblings Day.

And even a National Give a Hug Day…

Well, the first week of August was apparently “National Breastfeeding Week.”

And I’m wholeheartedly cool with that.  I support all you breastfeeding Mommas out there!  You go, girls!

But, this subject creates a little soapbox moment for me as well…heads up: things are about to get real.

** Eases up on the good ‘ole soapbox **

Mommas – I love every single one of you.  Imagine me reaching my arms out and hugging each of you.

I am so thankful to be a Mom.  And I am SO thankful that you are in this tribe with me.

You are a rockstar.  Did you know that? 

I don’t even have to know anything about you and I can tell you that if you are a mom, you are amazing.

I think whatever method you choose to feed your child is incredible (so long as it’s FDA approved, and you know, not toxic… 😉 )

I think you are ALL SuperMoms and I am confident of that fact because God divinely selected you to be a Mom and gave you children as gifts and blessings.

But when some of you hashtag your breastfeeding posts with #BreastIsBest, #BreastfeedingSuperstars and #BoobsOrYouLose I kinda wanna cut ‘ya a bit.

WHOA.  That took a serious turn real fast, huh?

I know.  I warned you this was a soapbox moment…which is not my norm….

Real Talk: There’s a whole lot of Mommas in this world that would give our left arm to breastfeed our little ones.

In fact, some of us…errr…(I) almost did offer to cut it off to do so.

But, for one reason or another we were unable to join the ranks of the #BreastfeedingSuperstars.

My oldest daughter was born early and spent the first week of her life on a bili bed due to severe jaundice.

I had to sit down with in-home nurses, physicians and pediatricians to discuss the prognosis of my daughter’s condition within hours of her birth.

During that time, as anyone would imagine, I was not focused on pumping, and keeping my milk supply 100%…I was a little preoccupied with keeping my daughter alive.

So, when I discovered weeks later that breastfeeding wasn’t in the cards for us, I was devastated.

I had read all the books.

I saved up and bought the dang $250 breast pump.

I even spent three weekends attending breastfeeding prep classes on Saturdays leading up to her birth.

And none of it mattered because that was not the plan God had for me and my child.

My story is VERY small potatoes compared to the journeys that some of my friends have faced: we’re talking NICU for months!

With my second child, I was able to breastfeed for 9 months, which is still not a significant amount of time, but I was proud nonetheless.

I was so proud that I documented the entire journey because to me it was a huge accomplishment.

But, I never tried to shame other mothers for their journeys.

Each mother’s journey is unique and special in its own way and all of them deserve to be celebrated: both bottle and breast!

My guess is that these hashtags and constant photo postings do not have any malice behind them.  I am assuming that like me, you are proud of your accomplishment and want to share it with the world.

But, my plea to you today is to be careful how you share that journey.   Make every effort to be the change towards positivity between these two camps.  Let’s put a stop to the wedge being driven between formula feeders and breastfeeders.

Both sides of that playing field are equally amazing and equally worthy of praise!

Friendly Word to the Wise: There’s quite enough Mommy shaming to go around in this world these days.  I think we can all agree on that!  So, let’s be the Momma Tribe that welcomes all, loves all and celebrates all.

That’s right, Momma.  I welcome YOU, love YOU and celebrate YOU for exactly who you are in all your awesome Momma glory!

Love you all SO much and blessed we are doing life together!

If you feel led, please share in the comments a moment where you have been able to encourage another Mom in her journey!

Please subscribe to our Monday newsletter for weekly tips, recipes and encouragement! 🙂