A few Friday thoughts

This week my daughter came home with her weekly homework folder and the new assignment to complete an Acts of Kindness calendar. Each day she is supposed to choose one act of kindness and log what she did on her calendar. She was given a list of 100 different kid ideas ranging from: holding the door open for someone, picking up litter, telling a joke, or volunteering in a soup kitchen.

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At first, I thought this “homework” was a little odd. Definitely different from math facts and reading assignments. But then I came to realize, how much I actually loved the homework idea. And what a great way to look at the year ahead.

I had a friend once say that people can never get too many compliments. We often say the negative things before the positive. She put it this way—“If you are thinking something nice, say it.” “If you love someone’s hair, tell them, instead of wishing yours was like that, or letting jealousy creep in.”  A kind word, or simple act goes a long way and it usually makes someone’s day. These words have stuck with me and always will.

If there’s one thing I actually want my first grader to learn, it’s that the little things count. and kindness matters. That small steps can end up making big strides. Serving others is an act of love and small things can make a big difference.

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Lately, my husband and I have been exhaustively deliberating over our future. The big job. And honestly, it’s been a draining process—for both of us. After being several days or weeks into this, I have noticed that I think part of the exhaustion for me is all the “attention” or focus I am giving myself. All my brain power has basically been centered on one thing that’s all about me, and I feel like I’ve been frozen.  

And then thankfully this morning, I remembered Macey’s homework. There are little things to be done, even in the midst of uncertainty. And lots of good things are going on around me that I should be thankful and excited about. A huge shout out here to Angie and the safe return of her husband coming home this week from his deployment. My heart could literally burst for them. We love you guys and are so happy for your family!

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(Not our finest picture-but the shirts are just too good not to share with y’all!)

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One of my favorite lyrics in a song I’m loving lately is, “You are my best thought by day or by night”  and when I think of the Lord and where he has brought us, the peace He gives that no one else can, and the acts of love and kindness that can be done in His name–my heart swells and feels like its really beating again. He’s my best thought, through it all. (song here)

If you want some first grade homework lol, what’s a small act of kindness you could do today? A small kindness which could probably make someone’s day along with yours better!

Happy Friday friends!

Love, 

Liz 


Favorite Baby Essentials

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Well it’s only taken me a month to write this post, but I got it done LOL!

So with our second daughter born a few months ago, we pretty much had everything we needed in terms of baby gear. I got a few little extras (like a double stroller!) but other than that we were good to go! I thought I would share some of my favorite everyday items that you definitely don’t have to have, but sure do make life a whole lot more convenient!

Diaper Dekor
Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail, White

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Ok, like I said you don’t NEED a diaper pail, but they are super convenient! I actually have one at my house, my parent’s house, and in-laws’ house haha! I love how sleek and simple this one is because you can use it as a regular garbage as well! It uses less plastic than other diaper pails, they have regular plastic and biodegradable bags, AND they offer cloth diapering bags that fit inside if you choose to go that route! I only lasted 3 months with the cloth diapers, but oh well!

OXO Wipe Dispenser
OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser

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This is my husband’s favorite! He HATES normal plastic wipe dispensers because he’s always shaking the wipes out and pulls out more than he wants! This thing has a weight that allows you to remove one at a time! Again, simple and sleek looking so you can use it for doggie paw wipes when you’re done with kids!

Swaddles

Swaddles have been Liz and my jam in the infant phase! Our moms think our kids look like they are in strait jackets but they work! I use different ones for different ages.

Nuroo: This was great for the newborn stage! Thin, super soft material; easy to use with no zippers or Velcro! Great for hot temperatures or if you only want a thin layer over baby! They work as a sleep sack too when you don’t want to swaddle anymore!

Nuroo The Swaddler One Size For All Babies From Preemie to 9 Months- Goodnight Stars

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Halo Sleepsack Swaddle: I like these ones for the the 2-5 month age. I can wrap my babes super tight in these (safely of course!) They sell just the zip up wearable blanket for when your babes are done swaddling.

HALO SleepSack 100% Cotton Swaddle, Cream, Small

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Summer Infant Wrap Sack: These are nice for the 1-2 month stage. I think after that I like the Halo ones. Again, pretty easy to use and wrap your little ones up tightly!

Summer Infant SwaddleMe WrapSack Blanket, Transport, Small

wrapsackLittle Lotus Swaddle: I came across this brand when I was pregnant and LOVE their company mission! These swaddles and wearable blankets are a little more expensive but for good reason (I waited for a deal before I bought one). First, “Little Lotus products feature Outlast® technology first developed for NASA spacesuits. The special proprietary fabric draws away excess heat when babies get too warm, and releases it when they start to cool down. It keeps your baby at an ideal temperature in a safe and comfortable way and fewer temperature fluctuations means better sleep.” Second, “With every Little Lotus product you purchase, they will donate proceeds to save a baby in the developing world with the Embrace incubator.” So it’s a win-win! You get an AWESOME product and help save babies! Score!

Little Lotus

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Love to Dream Swaddle UP 50/50: This was a new one I found because my daughter was breaking out of the swaddle at 4 months no matter how tightly I wrapped her. I like how this version lets them keep their hands up and then you easily transition by removing one sleeve at a time! It looks so funny though, haha!

Love to Dream Swaddle UP 50/50, Gray, Medium, 13-18.5 lbs

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Bottle Rack & Bottle Warmer

I use a bottle rack every single day for all my pumping supplies and bottles. My favorite is this one:
Munchkin High Capacity Drying Rack, White

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The bottle warmer is definitely a convenience thing but it really does help when you’re quickly trying to warm a bottle! I’ve used two and have liked both!
Munchkin High Speed Bottle Warmer, Orange/White, 1 Count

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Sound Machines

I’m kind of obsessed with sound machines. My husband says “you couldn’t hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant” with how many sound machines I have LOL! Excuse my Christmas Vacation reference. We have one in every room of the house! My two favorite ones are these:

Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural Sound Machine, White

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myBaby SoundSpa White Noise Machine, Plays 6 Soothing Sounds, Adjustable Volume Control, Lightweight, Perfect for Travel, Baby Soother, MYB-S205

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Infant Optics Video Monitor
Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor with Interchangeable Optical Lens

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This has been the only video monitor I’ve ever tried and since I have been happy with it I have to recommend it! I did not want a Wifi monitor that I had to check on my phone so if you want Wifi this is not the one for you. I like that you can add up to 4 cameras (we currently have two) and how it automatically cycles between cameras every 5 seconds. You can leave the video part on or turn it off. It definitely lasts! We’ve been using ours for over two and a half years so to me it was worth every penny!

Overall it just comes down to preference. Use what makes you and your baby happy! Hope this helps even in a small way for you and your family!
Love, 

Angie

 

*I did not receive any compensation for these recommendations. These are my personal preferences. 


December Favorites

Its been a while since I’ve posted about the things I’ve been loving, and it seems like there are so many things lately–so here’s a long over due favorite things post! 

Christmas Advent Devotional-So we are only 3 days into this Christmas devotional and I’ll be beyond impressed if we can do this everyday, or make it past day 7–but so far my kids are really liking it. The introduction is written so beautifully and also comically for parents. It’s a gentle reminder that the devotional isn’t meant to get you brownie points with God, or make you and your family start a tradition that just becomes a burden and stressful.  With wise words the authors say, “Let it serve you and your family; don’t serve it.” Maybe we’ll do it everyday or maybe forget and also just do it a handful of times–either way I love the way it’s laid out and the words written within!

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Stuffed Acorn Squash- This is a Skinnytaste recipe that I recently found on Instagram that is hands down one of our favorite dinner recipes now. I have made this almost every other week since I discovered it and it’s so so so delicious. At first, the combination of squash with a turkey chili seemed kind of odd to me- but the flavors go together so nicely. Also this meal is low cal and very filling. We always have leftovers that heat up really well. Try it-I promise you’ll be impressed. 

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(Photo credit- Skinnytaste.com) 

Can of Sangria-Now I know this will lead you to believe that I’m super classy (jk) but I’ve been really liking my wine in a can lately, lol. This flipflop Fizzy Sangria is so tasty. I usually get it at Kroger for a great deal and it is one of our favorite sangrias now–with the perfect amount of fizz!048b359e-6305-480a-bef2-9451d6c1cbed_1.e7e0e76b143033deb88a51cc108b34b4

Athleta pants– I’ve been a huge fan of Athleta for a while now but the prices are a little high for my liking typically. As a birthday present though I used a gift card and let myself splurge on a new pair of skinny jeans (I got them in the grey wash.) They are now the most comfortable pair of jeans I own! They stretch easily and are made of a really nice and soft material. They also have tall sizes at Athleta which is another reason why I love their clothing. 
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Norwex body cloth– Some of my friends have had a few Norwex Facebook parties and over the years I’ve tried their different cleaning cloths and really like them. If you haven’t heard of Norwex is, its definitely something to look in to–especially if you are trying to limit chemicals in your home or want to save money on cleaning supplies. Anyways, the most recent product I received was a body cloth. With just warm water, I’ve been using the cloth at night to clean my face and take off my make-up. It works so well! Eliminating the strong make-up removers that have always left my face a little irritated and using the cloth with only warm water makes my face feel perfectly clean. eb831adcc7e3458e2f6fd16749fcda4db550418a

Amazon Music-I’m probably behind with this favorite thing, but I recently just started using Amazon Music and I’m in love. After trying a free trial of Apple Music I thought I’d be disappointed to switch and try Amazon–but I was wrong. The music selection is just as good and the price is definitely lower. The kids are really liking the different stations you can play like, “Holidays for Kids” and “Disney Favorites.” And I like being able to add and download songs to a playlist while I go on a run or am driving in the car.  IMG-7294

Bridgewater Sweet Grace Candle- This is my absolute favorite candle of all time, and if you know about my love for candles or as my husband likes to call it, “my candle habit” then you know that I have a lot of candles to choose from. I also love that each candle sold by Bridgewater provides 3 meals for orphans overseas through the Light-A-Candle-Feed-A-Child-Program. This candle smells so amazing and I would burn it everyday if I had a life-time supply!  

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Goodreads- This is another thing that a lot of people are probably already using and loving, but its also surprising the number of people I’ve talked to who don’t know about Goodreads and love to read and get good book recommendations. This year has been a fun year for me to get back into reading for enjoyment and I love using the Goodreads app. For me, my favorite thing about it is keeping track of what I want to read (instead of keeping a paper list) and also seeing what my friends are reading and loving. Goodreads also recommends books you might like and does giveaways for free books that they know are on your want to read list. I love this app! 

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Tea tree shampooFor someone with a dry and itchy scalp, this shampoo has changed my hair and skin drastically in just a few uses. Having sensitive skin, I can see a remarkable difference and also I like that tea tree oil has a lot of other beneficial qualities–for hair thinning and lice prevention. (In our house we all use lice prevention hair products since we get frequent notifications about it being present in the kids’ schools–ugh!)

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Hope your December is off to a great start!

Love, 

Liz 


Its the little things, really.

I love this time of year. With back to back holidays approaching, time with family and friends and lots of traditions to be had—it’s an exciting time!

With all the preparation and things to look forward to though, I’ve noticed lately a trend about myself. What I’m learning is that I do a really good job of “holding my breath” in a sense. Making it to the next “big event” in life. Anyone else feel like this? Just make it to vacation next month. Make it to Thanksgiving break. Focus on the wedding, that’s 9 months away. Look forward to the new job…

For me, it’s easy to pick a date and wish away the time in between so that I can get to the next goal or thrilling moment. This has become some what natural for my heart and mindset–especially being married in the medical world.

For our family, it’s interview season (not for more school or residencies but for an ACTUAL job in the summer.) The potential to move again, and the excitement of the next phase—which we’ve been waiting for since my husband started medical school is just right around the corner now.

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In medicine, there are lots of milestones to cross before you get to the finish line- and its easy to set your brain in the mode of “making it to that next phase.”

Go to med school. Take Step exams. Pass exams. Apply for residency. Finish med school. Move. Start residency. Take roughly 546 exams, including board certification exams. Pass all exams. Move again (if you are like us.) Interview for real jobs. Finish residency. Move again.

That’s basically been the flow of life for the last 10 years.

But thankfully, by the goodness of several friendships and some small and sometimes large nudges on my heart, I’ve been reminded that I have got to find a way to enjoy the present, the unknowns, and the savor the journey. To really show up for the small things going on in my life. To remember the small moments are just as meaningful as the big ones.

I started a study with a friend, and I feel like the timing could not be more perfect with how life feels right now. Melanie Shankle’s, Church of the Small Things. This study is such a sweet reminder about how being faithful in the small things is just as important as the big ones. 

“A life isn’t made from one thing, one big moment, or one huge success. It’s created moment by moment, often with pieces that don’t look like anything beautiful on their own but are the very fabric of who God meant for us to become as we pack lunches, raise kids, love our neighbors, and simply be who he created us to be; nothing more, nothing less.”  -Melanie Shankle, Church of the Small Things

With the holidays approaching and also a lens of valuing the small moments, this month, as a family we are writing down on a pumpkin something each day we are grateful for. And while explaining the “rules” to my girls before we started, I told them they would need to think of something different each day and also something that was specific to that day. It’s a harder exercise than expected and I’ve been challenged to think of something small and special about my day that I’m grateful for too.

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Gratitude is a huge character trait I wish to instill in my children, and I also know that for them to see gratitude in action, it’s going to demonstrated and taught best through the thankfulness they see in me.

Gratitude is a small thing.

A small thing that I can do everyday to enjoy the present and also see the hidden beauty in serving and loving those around us. Today, I’m thankful my girls woke up (relatively) happy. That we got to school in one piece. That I could to kiss and hug everyone before they buzzed off. That my lunch packing was a notch down from panic mode. And that my dishwasher got emptied before 3pm. 

It’s the little things, really. 

I can hold my breath waiting on the big job or the graduation that is now 229 days away. I can place my thoughts on the next best thing or big event. Or I can focus on the daily things, try not to miss them– and let the Father use those small everyday pieces to build up my life. 

Love, 

Liz 


When Life Hands You Lemons…You Just Survive

Ok y’all! I’m BAAACK! Well kind of! I am slowly trying to crawl out of the rock I’ve been living under for the last few months! I swear, having a baby throws you for a loop! So I guess that’s where I will begin! We welcomed our second daughter, Nora Ann on July 25th!


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She was 3 days late, but actually the timing was perfect! My doctor was working in the hospital that day and my mother-in-law had come to stay with us just a couple of days earlier! So when I went into labor we were able to just leave Elaina at our house with her, and focus on Nora’s delivery. I started having contractions at 3am, and around 6am, I told Austin we should head to the hospital. I got my epidural at 9am and was ready to push by 3pm. And Nora entered the world at 3:23pm! I seriously thought she was a boy with how different the pregnancy was, but of course I was wrong! So now we have two daughters and it seriously is so sweet to see Elaina want to love her sister…most of the time haha!

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The following days after Nora was born, life was kind of rough. I had a post-epidural headache (WHICH TOTALLY SUCKS by the way!) that would not go away and you’re basically supposed to just lay flat for your spine to heal (which I wasn’t doing because I am too type-A and can’t sit still). Finally, my husband dosed me with LOADS of caffeine as a last resort before we were going to go back to the doctor for a blood patch and the headache finally went away. In the middle of the whole headache ordeal, we found out my husband was getting deployed…supposedly 1 week later! All I can say is that I flipped a lid.

It just all hit me hard… I was hormonal, I was tired, Elaina wasn’t sleeping and of course neither was the baby, and I was scared for my husband to be shipped off halfway around the world. We kind of knew the deployment was coming. But the crazy part was the timing–the idea of him leaving a week after having our 2nd baby. I know so many of you awesome military mamas who do this deployment thing regularly, but this was our first go around and like I said, I wasn’t in the best mental state after having just given birth!

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Well, I’ve seen over and over again in my life how God works everything out, even in the midst of what seems like the end of the world. The military was able to push my husband’s deployment back a couple of weeks. This extra time allowed us to spend more time together as a family of 4 and also to travel back to Ohio, so the girls and I could stay with my parents for a couple months. 

We headed this way so we could have some help during the whole newborn stage especially with a toddler running around. And even though my parents work during the day (and sadly most weekends) I have them here for the evenings! It’s awesome to spend time with family that we don’t really get to see! We are also traveling to Texas in a couple of weeks to spend time with my in-laws until Christmas.

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Some days are good and some are bad. I have to be honest, I cry about 90% of those days, and Elaina always asks “Why you sad Mommy?” I simply tell her I miss Daddy. So now every time I cry she thinks it’s because I miss Daddy haha! We are doing our best to keep busy…maybe too busy. We’re going to bible study, Elaina is doing a Child’s Day Out here and I even got her in swim lessons every day of the week! I don’t know what I was thinking, but oh well! We are pushing through and I am really trying not to wish this time away. It’s hard because I want it to go fast and I want my husband back. I seriously miss him like crazy. But I also know I will miss this time with family and the newborn phase…even though Nora is rough (Unfortunately, I think she may be colicky).

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I’m trying to get used to this whole 2 kid thing which is harder than I thought and I feel like every spare moment, I’m wiping a butt, cleaning up puke, or sitting next to one of them to get them back to sleep. Like I said, I don’t want to wish it all away, but I’m feeling pretty drained. My prayer is for God to give me the strength I need for one more day…which he always does. I know he is faithful and that doesn’t mean He promises life will be easy, but He always provides. So overall I’m going to try to keep writing when I have a moment to sit, but it will probably not be very much in the next few months. Liz is my lifeline again and she is truly a treasure to me; she’s always encouraging and just there when I need it! So until next time my friends!

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Love,

Angie


Living in Love

Is anyone else a little speechless with everything that’s been going on the last few weeks? It’s hard to post about the silly or simple things when we live in a world that often times is dark and weary. 

I’m not an expert on politics or solving the world’s problems, but what I’ve been thinking of during the last few weeks is how precious life really is and how I can make my mark. Making a conscience decision about how to live my life–in this moment. Especially when its fleeting and often times unexpectedly different than we thought.

What really leaves an impact? What moves people? What truly inspires people down to their core? It’s cliche, but I’m pretty confident about the answer. An answer that is simple to say, but incredibly hard to deliver. And in my little bubble of a world currently–it can be a struggle. LOVE.

This is a struggle (living a life of love) especially when I’m parenting my sweet and often times not so sweet children. The children that we will send off into the world one day.

Has anyone else seen the ugly, defeated and not-so-lovely parts of themselves while parenting? It should be easy right? It the midst of the world’s craziness, I should be able to parent and have control over at least one important thing right? However, in my reality, this is not true.

My day is filled with moments where I can snap in an instant if I choose. Situations where I can use ugly words and unruly authority to “make things right.” Sometimes throughout the day I don’t recognize myself. 

Ugh, it is a real battle. What I want to be as a parent is often times the opposite of what I look like. 

I know that my biggest calling and responsibility in this phase of life is to love the little people in my house and show them what an unconditional love looks like. And to be honest-some days I’m really bad at it. Teaching and showing my girls the Lord and planting seeds deep in their hearts to experience love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control is my true desire. And then watching them hopefully love others that way.

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I’m not trying to do this perfectly by any means and/or be a cookie cutter mom. And as a family we struggle–aka, my children are not angels, and as you can see-I can be a hot mess. But, I’m trying to remember the big picture (loving well) and letting that lead me through the ins and outs of my day. 

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In a world with so many unknowns- I want my kids to be sure that they are known. Their worth, identity and hope is in something greater than this chaotic world. 

Sometimes, I think about my kids 20 years from now and wonder what parenting will be like. I know it will look different and the dynamics will most definitely have changed. (No more wiping butts-haha!) But I’m hoping that a few things will be the same with my parenting. I’m hoping my girls will see I’m not perfect. That I need grace and lots of patience each day. That my strength doesn’t come from myself. That my hope doesn’t come from this world. That I’m still working on being the best mom for them. And that love never leaves them–from me or from God. 

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“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 1 John 4:16

And that’s what I’m focusing on as the momma of crazy-little ones at the moment, when the world seems shaky around me. Living in love. Making waves and changes in hearts by relying on the love God has for us. (Even when I’m ready to pull my hair out and have this silly girl style it, lol!)

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Love,

Liz

 

 


Recipes To Try This Fall

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It’s time to bust out the crock pot and soup recipes, because it’s finally feeling like Fall around here!

I’ve been on a huge Pinterest kick the last few weeks–going back and making old recipes I love along with trying new ones that look easy and delicious. I usually try to find recipes that don’t require a crazy amount of prep time and can either cook all day in a crock pot or come together within 20 minutes in a pot. Check them out below– they are perfectly fitting for the fall weather ahead! 

Also–I’m guessing most of you know this, but ya’ll have heard of crock pot liners right?! They are a game-changer for crock pot clean-up and I personally think they make the food even tastier (less burnt, or over cooked!) Give them a try with some of these recipes below–you’ll become a fan if you aren’t already!81LGyU2aZ3L._SX522_

Easy One Pot Lasagna Soup- I love lasagna, and was worried that this recipe would be disappointing-but it wasn’t!  It was easy and totally delicious! There were way less dishes with this recipe than making a normal lasagna and also less cheese-if you are more dairy sensitive or watching your calories. You literally dump everything into one pot and let it cook for 30 minutes–it was so easy!Lasagna-soup-main1

(Photo credit: carlsbadcravings.com)

Delicious Turkey Chili Recipe- I’ve been following blogger, Sazan Hendrix since I heard her on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey- and I just think she is so fun and sweet. I came across her chili recipe and decided to try it because it used ground turkey and it also called for spices instead of using a chili packet (nothing wrong with the packets–just wanted something a little different.) Anyways, her recipe was easy and turned out great! It’s on the leaner and healthier side of chili recipes-which is awesome! We are big chili people in this house and I’ve made this multiple times in the last 2 months. 

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(Photo credit: sazan.me

Easy Pulled Pork- My mom has been making this for years and its the easiest recipe around! 3 ingredients in the crock pot: onion, a can of Coke, and BBQ sauce. That’s it! The pork turns out wonderful each time. I made this last week for our family and a friend and it’s always a hit. (This is a similar recipe to one we use.) 

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(Photo credit: thefrugalgirls.com

Cheesy Potato Soup- The recipe is always a winner and is the laziest (lol) version of a potato soup out there–but so good! It’s great with different toppings and is pretty low-cost! Great for taking to a party!

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(Photo credit: worthyoftheprize.blogspot.com)


All of these recipes are awesome as leftovers and make a ton! Hoping this gives you some new and different ideas as you head into Fall! 

Love, 

Liz 


Updated! {Ready, Set, Potty Train}

Ya’ll! I think we did it! I think we have reached the end of an era! The diaper days are behind us (except for nap-time/nighttime)–and it feels like a freedom I can’t explain!

Now that this transition has happened 3 separate times with our girls, I can 100% say that I believe in the potty-training method we used to get the job done. (See my previous post below for the details!!)

With our youngest, Libbey–who if you know her, is fierce, determined and sassy–I was a little nervous walking into the potty training stage. So, I pulled out all the stops to get her excited for our fun, long weekend of “potty adventures.” Doll, undies, candy, stickers for her chart, juice boxes, etc. You name it. I bought it. (I figured, if it kept me from buying diapers in the future–I’d spend the money to make the potty the best and most exciting thing in the world for my daughter.) 

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We hit the ground running with minimal accidents after the first day, and thought by far, our hardest child was the easiest to potty train. Then around day 3-4 we had some bumps in the road for a few days. Although super frustrated, we stuck with it and after almost a week with no accidents–I can say I think there is light at the end of the potty training tunnel. 

Just for fun, I have to share this adorable video of our WHOLE family, encouraging and entertaining our daughter while she was potty training. Reading books, watching movies, coloring pictures and doing puzzles was at the top of our Labor Day weekend plans while the potty training was going down, haha!

Potty training-take 3! from HometownHoneyBlog on Vimeo.

If you are planning on potty training and looking for a method, check out my post below about potty training our middle daughter. We used the same book and method with all 3 of our girls and I would recommend it to anyone!

Good luck, 

Liz


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This weekend are are tackling the lovely hurdle of potty training our middle daughter, who is 2 1/2 years old. imgsvr

The time has come…and actually she was probably ready a few months ago, but as much as the whole potty thing is a commitment for our daughter…it is for us too. No more jumping in the car or walking around the zoo without 17,000 potty breaks.

We have carved out time with the long weekend ahead to specifically work on potty training… and with our method, we are going to stick to it!

Our oldest daughter had great success potty training! Over the course of 1 weekend (3 days roughly) she was using the big girl potty completely. I know everyone has different children with different methods, books, ideas, ways, strategies, etc…but the method we used worked well for us and we are looking forward to it working with our 2nd daughter too! Again, fingers crossed!

The book we read to prepare for potty training and where all of our success is due, comes from- Potty Training 1-2-3 by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. 1600_Potty_Training_1_2_3_Cover__53965.1415575851.304.400

(Side note–If you are into parenting books, the Ezzos wrote the Baby Wise books and Growing Kids God’s Way books. Since we are huge fans of their parenting books/strategies we naturally looked to their book on potty training!)

Without sharing the whole book on the blog…

here are my… “TOP 10 TOILET TRAINING TIPS:”

1) Make sure your toddler is developmentally ready to be potty trained. (there are indicators that show signs of readiness in your child–check out the book!)…you don’t want to start too soon. 

2) Set aside a long weekend, with no plans–where potty training is your only focus. 

3) Have all the training equipment–potty seat, undies, doll, snacks and drinks.

4) Prep your toddler by talking to them ahead of time about the upcoming potty training task-get them excited!

5) Get a doll!–to “practice” or “teach” going to the potty. (this is one of the key parts in the method of training)

6) Have treats/rewards for your training toddler–treats for “staying dry” and a bigger treat for going potty. 

7) Set a timer–on your phone or microwave to be consistent with checking for dryness and trying on the potty.

8) Position the potty in the right location–in the kitchen or close to the living room so that your toddler doesn’t have far to go and doesn’t feel excluded from everyone else. 

9) Keep the drinks coming–hydrating and the urge “to go” helps them the master the process of using the potty quicker. 

10) Put the undies on and keep them on–excluding naps and bedtime, be consistent about using undies and potty training. Don’t confuse your toddler by having them in underwear one day and then a diaper the next. 

I highly recommend this short and simple book on successful potty training, and for accomplishing it in a matter of days! 

Love, 

Liz 

 


Solo Parenting

Our school year is up and running! It’s been a busy few weeks transitioning into new routines and different school environments, but thankfully, my girls are pretty flexible and have adjusted nicely to all the “newness” of the school year.

It’s been on my mind for a while to write a little something about parenting– and in particular “single parenting.” As some of you know, our family spent most of the last school year separated. My husband took a new job about 2 hrs. away from our home and commuted back to us on most weekends. We did this for about 8 months.

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Since May we have been under the same roof again,  and I can say looking back now, it’s all kind of a blur, lol! At least all the day to day stuff.  But as a whole, I definitely see a clearer picture of what that experience was like and how I’ve learned and grown through it.

As I write this, I have several friends in mind that are experiencing some version of parenting solo, and as much as I want to say to them “you’ll be fine!”….I truthfully know the amount of energy it takes and the emotional roller coaster of feelings it puts you through to parent little ones on your own.

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Also, I know there is a whole, completely different level of single parenting that I cannot speak to or understand —and that is the group of parents who parent alone with no end in sight. To those parents, all I can say is you are an everyday hero…like literally a hero every single day. You have all the weight (good and bad) on your shoulders, and you parent without a lot (or probably zero) recognition. Even if some days look ugly or aren’t your best, you surpass most others with your level of patience, energy and love.

For me, I’ve learned a lot about the good & bad parts of myself through the “single parenting” stretches. Here’s a quick look:

GOOD-Challenges are a good thing. I am more independent than I realized. I’m strong-physically and emotionally. I can do more than I give myself credit for. I can “manage” most household issues. I’m not afraid to be by myself. I enjoy alone time. I can find joy in a situation, even if it is not going my way. Happiness is a choice—even when life feels hard and tricky. My daughters can see me flourish or fail—and I want to be the most successful mom I can be for them.  

BAD-My patience after 5pm with my children is basically non-existent. At some point in the day, I just start ignoring people. When I’m tired, my discipline becomes inconsistent and lazy. When I need a break and it doesn’t happen, that makes me want a nap that much more. Sometime I make dessert to hide my feelings (sad but true, lol!)

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If are you in a stretch of parenting on your own, below are some of the things that helped me survive for 8 months:

Good friends & family-the people that called, came over, or did the smallest thing to make the day go smoother (meals, babysitting, playdates, etc!)

Time with Jesus-Usually my solo parenting was a lot more successful when I was in prayer and spent time reading God’s Word. My perspective became eternal instead of temporary and I clung to promises like this one: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are made new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’” Lamentations 3:22-23.

A good book/TV show- Especially at night after the kids went to bed. Through this phase, I rediscovered my love for reading and also caught up on some shows I wouldn’t normally watch.  

Caffeine & an adult drink- I had my mandatory coffee to get me through the day and would sometimes have a glass of wine to relax after a crazy night (keeping it real, for ya)!

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Every parenting journey is different, and after the many months of having to do it in a solo way, I am thankful for it all. I feel like a better individual, mom and wife because of the hard moments. Its the challenging things that shape you and also help you appreciate life.

If you find yourself in a similar phase or if you’ve been at this whole single parent thing for a while now, I’m rooting for you! 

Love, 

Liz 


9 Days Before Our 9 yr Anniversary {& a short video tutorial!}


I tried a little experiment for our anniversary this year.

I decided to make a video. (Definitely nothing fancy or professional-just memorable and sweet.)

When my husband and I got married nine years ago, (before Pinterest) we didn’t have videography at our wedding. Although we have awesome pictures and some footage from the day (thanks to my aunt!), there isn’t much video of the two of us in general over the last 9 years. 

After talking to a friend about how she made a video to music on her phone, I thought I’d try it for myself. My plan was to take 9 days worth of video before our 9 year anniversary—kinda like a catchy way to get a little glimpse of our family now, 9 years later. 

The video worked pretty well–but here’s what I realized– It’s actually really hard to get video of just my husband and me. It’s a ton easier to get clips of my kids or my kids and my husband….but just the two of us–it was a struggle. 

I actually really love how the whole thing turned out. It wasn’t forced or “staged.” It was simple moments of my guy and our girls together. Moments where David and I would be standing next to each other watching our kids–and I’d think, “Hey this is our life and really what we are actually doing right now–get a video of it!”

If you know us, then you know David and I are far from perfect, so this video isn’t meant to look like a fairy tale–just a glimpse of us.

A glimpse of life 9 days before our 9 year anniversary! ❤️ from HometownHoneyBlog on Vimeo.

Watching it back, I guess the pool was a popular place for us 9 days before our anniversary– can’t beat Georgia heat, haha! And the last part of the video is us walking to our anniversary dinner together. A fun experience and our first real date night since we moved to Atlanta. 

The video was fun to do, easy to make, and a special surprise for David (even though he knew I was making some kind of video.) 

I feel inspired to make more short videos like this–mainly to document our family and the slice of time we are living in. Pictures are priceless–but make a video and add some music to it–and you’ve basically created gold, lol!

If you are a beginner like me, have an iPhone (sorry I’m not familiar with Android stuff) and are looking to make an easy video to music for whatever occasion, check out my quick tutorial below:

Easy iMovie Tutorial: 

  1. Take short video clips (usually 3-5 seconds) in landscape. (holding your phone horizontal) 
  2. Open the iMovie app on your phone. (it comes already installed on your phone–I think!)imovie
  3. Create a New Project and then select video clips and/or pictures from your camera roll. Once selected, hit “Create Movie”imovie2
  4. Crop, edit, add text, make transitions and add audio once your movie is started. 
  5. Go back and edit as many times as you want after you’ve saved your movie!imovie3

If I’m wayyyy behind the times and you all know how to do this on your phone already, than my bad, haha! But if you are like me and are wanting some special videos of you and the ones you love-give this a try! It’s fun!

Love, 

Liz