Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankful Thursday #4 & Our Christmas Books

First of all, I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving!  We were so blessed to spend time with family, and we came home with some great bingo prizes!  Read: CANDY!  :)

Sorry for missing my Thankful Thursday post this week...  I was too busy enjoying life to post about it.  So here it is.  I'm so thankful to live in this country.  I'm thankful for my friends and family.  I'm thankful for my loving husband and my amazing children.  I'm thankful for a roof over our heads and food in our cupboards.  I'm thankful for our church and the freedom to openly worship the one true God.  I'm thankful for the freedom to homeschool and the experience of watching my children learn.  I'm thankful for Jesus and the hope that He brings.  And I'm thankful that the season of celebrating His birth is here!

Thank you, Father God.  You are so good.  Thank you for meeting all my needs.  Thank you for your abundant blessings.  Thank you for Jesus. 

And with that, I want to share with you a list of Christmas books!  Last year, as part of our Advent countdown, I brought out a new Christmas or winter book each day leading up to Christmas.  These are just books that we have collected over the years.  Many of them are from Scholastic.  I've had quite a few people ask me to share the complete list, so here they are. 

These are some great books about the real reason for the season: Jesus!

Room for a Little One
J is for Jesus
God Gave Us Christmas
What Is Christmas?
Christmas in the Manger
My Christmas Gift
Fear Not, Joseph!
The Last Straw

And these books are just fun!

Little Porcupine's Christmas
Christmas Mice
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
Corduroy's Christmas Surprise
A Small Christmas
Froggy's Best Christmas
Froggy Gets Dressed
The Little Snowflake
Gingerbread Mouse
I've Seen Santa
The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever
The Biggest Snowman Ever
Clifford's Christmas
Jingle Bells
Christmas Wishes

In addition to the books, we hung a countdown clothesline.  I made cards out of some fun scrapbook paper and number stickers.  About as crafty as I get... 

Each morning we would open a card to find a note with something fun we were going to do that day.  To make it easy and also reusable, I would just put a sticky note inside the night before for the next day.  That way I didn't have to plan too far ahead!  I will be posting a ton of advent ideas soon!

The clothesline will go up tonight, and our first activity is putting up the Christmas tree!!!  Tomorrow!  Yay!

What are your favorite children's Christmas books??

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Last Minute

Happy Day Before Thanksgiving!  AH!  I cannot wait for tomorrow! We'll be spending the day at my Aunt & Uncle's house, eating way too much and playing a pretty cutthroat game of Bingo!  Yes, our family tradition is to play Bingo on Thanksgiving, and we love it!  Where will you be, and what will you be doing??

Cardigan: Target / Tee: Old Navy / Skinnies: Old Navy / Shoes: TOMS

I don't have a lot to say about this outfit.  I wore it, was comfortable, and loved it!  Any questions?!  :-D

So... I thought I would share with you a super simple recipe that you can throw together last minute for tomorrow's festivities!  I'm not totally sure where this recipe originated, my step-dad's mom, maybe?  I got it from a homemade cookbook my mom gave me when I got married.  It's a great alternative to a blob of jellied cranberries.  :)  Yes, this is what I'm bringing with me tomorrow.  I brought it a few years ago and it was requested that we never go another Thanksgiving without it.  :)  And no, I don't have pictures, because like I said, last minute!!

Simple Cranberry Salad

1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 - 11 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Mix all ingredients in a pretty bowl, and serve!  Enjoy!

Linking up:
pleated poppy

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday #3

It's Thankful Thursday again!  This time I have a simple list to share.  :)

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  James 1:17 (NIV)

A nice, warm home
Meat in the freezer
No more bugs
Girls night
Baby giggles
Giveaway wins
Hands to hold
Supportive friends

Thank you, Father, for every gift you have given me.  Big and small.  Your blessings abound.

Please share, what are you thanking God for this week?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tripod VS Husband

I usually use my tripod and the timer on my camera to take my outfit photos, but let's face it, they turn out totally crappy.  Once in a while, I ask my husband to snap a shot or two.  And here's what happens...

Hmmm, I'm not sure that's much better.  Hehehe.  Maybe I'll just look out the window and pretend he's not there...


Top:  Kohl's / Jeans: H&M / Shoes: TOMS

I know I've said this before, but seriously, someday I'll figure out how to use my camera.  My crappy photos are embarrassing.  And I have a really nice camera!  Hmm, maybe I should put this book on my Christmas list...  Of course, then I'd have to actually take the time to read it.  :-S

Linking up:
pleated poppy

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Anti-Morning Person

I am the exact opposite of a morning person.  Seriously.  If I wake up before 7:00, I just don't feel good.  I prefer to sleep until at least 8:00.  Later would be even better.  And I'm really not ready to start my day until I've been awake for a couple hours.  To be honest, that's totally one reason why I homeschool.  I love not having to drag myself out of bed early in the morning and rush my kids off to school.  I'm not sure why I'm telling you this, other than because this picture was taken on a Sunday morning when I had to be to church at 8:00 to get communion ready.  I was still half asleep. 

Cardigan: Target / Tank: Forever 21 / Skinnies: Kohl's / Boots: Kohl's

I'm wearing my floral tank again.  This shirt has proven to be quite versatile.  See how I've worn it other ways here and here.  I thought it would be fun to play off the blue flowers this time and pair it with my blue skinnies.  I like it!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Crock Pot Love

I've been trying to make a better effort lately to actually cook a decent dinner.  And that means menu planning and grocery list making and finding recipes that are easy enough for me to make!  My days are busy, and I don't have a ton of time for complicated recipes with lots of prep work.  We also have tumbling and dance two days a week, right before supper, so I'm not always home and able to babysit something on the stove. And let's be honest, I don't really like to cook.  So one day, I thought to myself, "Self, we should use our crock pot more." So I searched around Pinterest and found some tasty looking recipes.  Here are a few that I have made and loved!

Ranch Pork Chops:  SO easy and crazy delicious!

Dr. Pepper Roast:  Most tender roast I've ever made, and so full of flavor!  I can throw away every other roast recipe I've ever used.

Spinach Artichoke Dip:  O. M. G.  So good!  I no longer need to go to a restaurant for one of my favorite appetizers!

Try these!  You won't regret it!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday #2

I've had a rough week, starting with last Thursday.  So I'll be honest, I didn't follow my own suggestion and write down something I'm thankful for every day.  So today I'm going to share about some of the people in my life that I am so very thankful for.  God has placed each and every one of them in my life for a reason.

I mentioned him last week, but of course, my husband.  We have been through so much together.  And he still loves me!  This man is seriously my best friend.  The one person I can talk to about absolutely anything and know there will be no judgement.  He is my biggest fan, even when I don't deserve it at all.  I couldn't do life without him.

Oh, my kids.  Someday I will share our journey to becoming a family of five.  There's a lot more to it than most people know.  These kids are my life.  They are a dream come true.  They drive me crazy, but they fill my heart with so much love that I oftentimes feel like it's about to burst.  They challenge me and bless me every day.  I am so blessed to be their mom.

My Mom.  She has taught me so much, and she's always there for me when I need her.

My Dad.  I'll always be his baby girl.  :)  And he's the world's best grandpa!

My in-laws.  I was super fortunate to marry into a wonderful family!

My pastors and church family.  I am so blessed to be a part of such a great church!

My awesome mommy friends, C, Q, and J.  These three ladies know me, love me, support me.  We are sisters.

I could go on and on about all the amazing people in my life... My step-dad, siblings and siblings-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, MOPS moms, blog followers (Hi! You're awesome!), children's workers at church, small group members, neighbors...  It's so easy to feel like I'm all alone, but if I think for just a minute, I realize that that is so far from the truth. 

So, THANK YOU for being in my life. 

Thank you, Lord, for all for all of the beautiful people that you have placed in my life.  They are each so special to me in so many different ways.  They have helped me learn and grow, laugh and cry.  They have shown me love and support.  They have prayed for me and reminded me to keep my eyes on You, Jesus.  If any one of them was missing, life would not be the same. 

I would love to hear what you are thankful for this week.  If you haven't thought about it, taken a few minutes and think about all the different people that you get to go through this life with.  Who are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sister Sister

A couple weeks ago, you got to meet my new favorite shoes.  Today, you get to meet... My sister!  :-D  I am so thankful to have her in my life, and super duper thankful that she was able to move to the town where I live this past summer.  I love that I get to see her and my nephews nearly every day.  With a five year age difference, we weren't really close growing up, but we've really bonded as adults.  We were pregnant with our oldest boys at the same time, and being moms together is such a blessing.

Plus, she's crazy gorgeous and dresses super cute!  Here we are a few weeks ago, ready to go see my niece's play.

Yep, I'm wearing basically the same outfit I wore in my last style post.  Well, kind of.  Same awesome jacket and shoes.  Striped tee, this time gray and white.  You can never go wrong with a striped tee.  This time I threw on a different pair of jeans and a polka dot scarf!  I was pretty impressed with the number of patterns I managed to squeeze into one outfit!  :-)

Jacket: Kohl's / Tee: Old Navy / Jeans: JCPenney / Shoes: TOMS / Scarf: GroopDealz / Belt: H&M

Chambray: Forever 21 / Skinnies: H&M / Scarf & Shoes: Target

Love her outfit!  Chambray is such a staple piece these days, and I'm a huge fan of black skinnies!  And her scarf, so pretty!

And for kicks and giggles, here we are 7 1/2 years ago...

Linking up:
pleated poppy

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday #1

Sorry this post is so late in the day.  It's been...  one of those days.  I need this post more than you know.

So, here we are.  Thursday.  And that means we get to share what we've been thanking God for in the past week.  Here is what I noted as I went about my days.

November 1:
  • Kids doing their morning sheet on their own.  Right outside the kids bedrooms there is a sheet on the wall with their "good morning" tasks.  Wake up, go potty, get dressed, make bed, brush teeth.  Let's just say it's been forever a while since we've actually been following any this routine.  That morning, my two older kids came upstairs all ready for breakfast.  They had picked out their own clothes and helped each other make their beds!  It was a super encouraging start to my day!
  • Hand me downs.  I just love seeing my little guy running around in the clothes his big brother wore five years ago!  We've had to fill in a few gaps here and there, due to size and season differences, but for the most part, we haven't had to re-buy clothes for little brother.  I get to be sentimental and save money at the same time!
  • Baby belly buttons.  Yep, I'm strange and I thank God for belly buttons!   I've always been weirded out by belly buttons, but I love those little things on my kid's bellies.  They remind me of those precious months carrying them in my belly, when we were physically connected.  Miraculous.
  • And on a related note, Miracle babies.  We were honored that evening to celebrate the birthdays of  one of my best friend's daughters.  These girls are both miracles in their own ways.  Their family is so beautiful.
November 2:
  • Kids that know how to sleep in!  We were up late, and hubby went hunting that morning, so it was SO nice that the kids were able to sleep in, therefore so was I!  I know a lot of kids get up at the crack of dawn even when they've stayed up past their bedtime...
  • Generous friends.  We came home from the party Friday night with a bunch of leftover food, so lunch was taken care of!  :)
  • Affectionate children.  My kids know how to show love.  They love hugs and kisses and cuddles.  Me too!
November 3:
  • That I get to have multiple kids and see them enjoy friendship with each other.  I am SOOOO blessed to get to have my three children!  After years of infertility, we were so happy to finally have one sweet child.  He was enough.  But we were lucky enough to be able to have two more, and now I can't imagine them not having each other.  My older two kids are the very best friends, and they absolutely adore their baby brother. 
November 4:
  • A successful school day!   We've been having a hard time getting school done around here lately.  We just can't seem to get into a routine that works.  But we had a good day.  It took allllll day, but it felt good to get a lot done!
November 5:
  •  My mommy network.  I am so glad to have so many awesome moms in my life.  Friends that I've met through friends of friends...   All these relationships bless me in so many unique ways.
  • Our dear friend Christy.  She let us move into her house when we were homeless and she barely knew us.  She is now family.
November 6:
  •  My husband.  And specifically, a husband that I want to spend time with.  I miss him all day long.  I hear other women complaining about their husbands, talking about how they would drive them crazy if they were around all day...  I love my husband.  And I like him, too.  He's my very best friend in the whole world.  I can't get enough time with him.
November 7:
  • Nephews.  I have five of them.  (And only one niece, who I am also super duper happy to have in my life!)  Two of my nephews I get to see almost every day.  They are wild animals, but great friends to my kids.  The other three, unfortunately, live far away, but on that day I got to spend a couple hours with one of them.  I wish he lived closer!
  • That my husband gets to be a dad.  I love hearing our babies call him Daddy.  He is a really great dad, he loves our kids unconditionally, and I'm so glad that I get to be the one to do this parenting thing with him.
Big things, little things, there are so many good things if we open our eyes, ears and hearts.

Thank you, Father, for these blessings.  Thank you for miracles, for mercy and grace.  Thank you for all the love you surround me with every day.  Thank you for family and friends.  Thank you for dreams fulfilled and needs met.  Thank you for Jesus.

What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Give Thanks

I've had this idea brewing for a while...  To document my blessings.  To be thankful.  To share and encourage others to be thankful.  And what better time to start than now, as we enter the holiday season.

I realized recently that I've become a pretty negative person.  I focus a lot on the bad, the hard, the ugly of life, and have a hard time seeing the good that's right in front of my face.  And I'm suffering for it.  I need a change. 

So here's my idea.  Thankful Thursdays.  There really aren't any rules.  I just want to make it a point to open my eyes and heart, to see all the ways God blesses me every day.  And thank Him.  So every Thursday I plan to post what I'm thanking God for that week.

To start, my goal is to write down, at the very least, one thing every day.  Of course, more is better.  :) 

I would love for you to join me.  If you have a blog, write up a post.  I'll either figure out how to do a link-up, or just have you post a link in the comments.  If you don't have a blog, just make your list!  Pop in and let me know how it's going.  I expect it to be encouraging and eye-opening.

Psalm 100 
A Psalm of Thanksgiving.

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.