Time For An Update

Where did the last 4 weeks go?  I feel like I blinked and it should be March still instead of April 11th. Sorry for our lack of posts lately. Life has been great, but really full! Full of times with family and friends and also full of cleaning, clearing and preparing. To sell our house—again.

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If you were following along with the blog in the fall then you know that I wrote a post about our family moving. Check it out here if you missed it.

Well there hasn’t been any post since, about us moving. And the short of it is-we haven’t moved.

I wasn’t so sure what to even write for a while about the whole moving situation. Sometimes, when you are walking through something and have expectations about how it should go or end up—you are left kinda floundering and mostly speechless when its not what you pictured.

I’ll be honest and say back in the fall, I was super hopeful with some of the offers we had on our house and then really disappointed and deeply sad when it all fell through. I went through weeks where I didn’t feel like myself. Where I cried myself to sleep and when I just went to sleep (literally at 8pm) so I didn’t have to deal with my feelings about our house not selling.

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To give you a little background—We had a huge success selling our first home on our own when we lived in Ohio, and I really felt Iike we’d have the same scenario here with this house. That hasn’t been the case though. And its kinda crushed my pride and for lack of a better word, been embarrassing to talk about. As I type all of this, I know how silly and crazy it all sounds coming out—that I would be embarrassed and also so sad about my house not selling.

But looking back, I held so much weight on my shoulders about our move. Not selling our house meant two huge things to me: financial stress and our family being separated (aka—single mommin it). More on that whole single mom thing in a different post.

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So to finishing catching you all up—after 3 months on the market and also a change in heart we took our house off the market in order for our kids to finish the school year, for me to have a break and to reassess how we should go about selling the house in the future.

I felt really at peace with this decision and in the midst of the two things I mentioned above, I decided to find joy and contentment in staying in Augusta. I got out of my funk. Who’s to say my attitude could only be adjusted based on my situation? It’s a choice…to be happy.

We had (and continue to have) a great support system of friends and family and I knew that through this whole experience the Lord was growing, changing and strengthening me as an individual, mother and wife.

I said this in the fall as I was initially explaining our move that “it’s funny when we think or assume that our expectations and path only belong to us. Like we are in complete control or something.” That statement I wrote 6 months ago, completely is true, even on the other side of our situation now.

Looking back on the last few months, I would say staying here instead of uprooting so quickly was actually the best thing. In a lot of ways, I’ve felt protected in my marriage and challenged to face some of my flaws in parenting. Even though this wasn’t the plan I expected, I’ve seen God’s presence through it. And I’ve realized I don’t have to live perfectly. I just need to live fully and faithfully.

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So today we enter round 2. Our house goes on the market.

And once again, I’m stepping in to the unknown.

Thankfully, I’m fully known by Him.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7

Love,

Liz


Give Me Sleep NOW!!!!

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I just wanted to share a resource with you all that can be a LIFESAVER for you as it was me!

Since my daughter was born we’ve tried to use the Babywise scheduling techniques and wanted her on a schedule. As a side note, I know every parent wants what is best for his or her child and the method you choose is yours and no one should judge. For us, we wanted our daughter sleeping in her own crib and through the night. For other parents they may choose to co-sleep or again just do what’s best for their family.

Anyways, I would say for the most part we did pretty well, however, we have had issues on and off with her waking up at night as well as going to sleep for me…yes only me! She was perfect for everyone else, including babysitters she just met! We had two major issues we were dealing with in particular:

  • My daughter has the most sensitive gag reflex EVER!! We pretty much clean up puke every other day at our house. She throws up when she cries really hard so letting her cry it out is a struggle. And when I say throw up I mean it’s nasty and everywhere! The grossest!
  • My daughter can crawl out of her crib and has been able to for about 6 months so safety was a big concern for me.

About a month ago, after a really bad night of sleeping on the floor in her room while my husband was at work I had had enough! I was stressed, couldn’t sleep myself, and on edge when I did get her down, because I would be worried about when she would wake up!

I had a fellow blogger friend, Jennifer, A-Minus Mama, talk about a Pediatric Sleep Consultant on her blog. I have to admit; I was prideful and hesitant to contact someone for help. I mean, she’s an almost two year old, and I kept wondering “why couldn’t I handle this on my own!?”

Well I needed sleep and couldn’t deal with the anxiety of our nighttime routine anymore so I swallowed my pride and contacted Kristi at Little Sleepers, Big Dreamers and let me just say, HALLELUJAH!!!! Even though Kristi is based out of Ohio, we did everything through FaceTime.

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Kristi came up with a plan for us and it only took one really bad day to get over our issues! She had so many suggestions and is specifically trained in pediatric sleep and what is best. She offered me several plans and asked me what I felt most comfortable with.

We did choose a type of cry it out method, but I had the support of Kristi to get me through. She suggested changes I could make to my daughter’s room such as removing the crib bumper, having her use a wearable blanket (the one with feet so she can still stand in the crib and we call it her “Princess Bag”), getting rid of her nightlight, and changing the room temperature. We ended up implementing the OK to Wake! clock as well which my daughter loves!3475063248682m

Halo Early Walker Sleepsack Wearable Blanket, 100% Poly Knit, Elephant, Cream, Medium

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OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light

We have a special little sleep book with her sleep rules that we read before nap and bedtime each day. 

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Kristi was amazing and all about making the whole process POSITIVE for both my daughter and I. I liked how if the plan I chose didn’t work, she said she would be ready with another one. Kristi was worth every penny to me because I no longer have anxiety about putting my daughter to sleep.

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Yes, I know we will and have had those nights were she might be sick or just has a bad dream, but 99% of the time she is sleeping in her crib ALL NIGHT and that makes me one happy mama! I know a lot of people are probably like, “you couldn’t get your own child to sleep?” But for others, they might be feeling the same anxiety and stress I had.  

So, I want you to know there are resources out there to support and help you! Don’t be afraid to use them. If it saves your sanity, then it’s worth it! If any of you are needing help with your little one’s sleep, contact Kristi or another certified sleep consultant!

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Let yourself get rest because you need it! Happy Sleeping!

Love,

Angie


2 Is The New You!

Today, my littlest girl turns 2. I’m admitting now that since she has no baby book, or for that matter, printed pictures in a real photo album, I’m laying some memories for her, here. #thirdchild

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(Photo credit-Angel Murphy Photography)

To my wild, loud, and tender 2-year-old,

Today, I can officially call you a toddler. But you are my baby—the one that will forever be my baby. Below are a few special things about you, from this last year. And also a few things that because of you, have changed me—for the better. 

Let’s just be honest, you get away with murder. (And I thought I would never let this happen!)

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You’ve got pipes—to speak your mind—however, it’s not usually in the English language. (We are working on the whole talking thing) 

You consume more apple sauce in a day, than any other kind of food or drink. You literally drink it like water. The first thing you say in the morning when I get you out of bed is “sauce!!!” …Libbey, apple sauce packets are the way to your heart.

You love ranch dressing—it’s how I get you to eat carrots.

You love being outside—you are content and thankfully more quiet there than inside.

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You love puzzles and the movie Home. Every night, I sing you the movie’s theme song, “Dancing in the Dark” because it’s your favorite. How random, but adorably sweet at the same time. 

You eat grilled cheese and mac and cheese in a constant lunch and dinner rotation.

You know how to put on your own shoes—score for me!

You love your sisters—even though you hit, kick and yell at them! You hold your own quite well for being the youngest. You have voice, and it’s definitely heard. 

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You are determined and driven—even for the smallest rewards–like an applesauce.

You hog FaceTime conversations with everyone we call. Sometimes, we have to hide the phone from you. 

You pray with me every night—for your dad, your friend Elaina, and your family. (You say everyone’s name aloud to me, including every one of your cousins’ names) 

You’ve got a super soft spot for your dad, and when he’s not home, you usually say “he’s in the car.” (don’t know how that whole thing started.) 

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You are pretty adorable and work your magic on me most days. 

I have to be honest and say– you are clingy and shout way too much. You definitely test my patience. But you also strengthen it. And really, truthfully, you strengthen a lot of who I am as a mom. YK0A5800

Before you were born, you gave me this in-explainable strength to push through. To be brave, strong and carry on. You were the sweetest and most necessary surprise in my life, when I found out I was going to be your mom. You helped turn so much hurt into so much joy. To this day, you remind me how precious God’s timing and plan is in our lives. 

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Thank you for making me a stronger momma.

When I look at you, I really feel like one day you could move a mountain. 

Happy birthday my sweet baby, 

Love, 

Mom

 


Rustic Pizza

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Today I’m talking about a super easy and delicious pizza recipe! I can’t take all the credit for it though. Living in Texas, there was a flatbread pizza I used to LOVE from a local restaurant. I tried recreating it, since I knew everything that came on it—and my recipe turned out so good! When you make the pizza, you can use whatever crust you like, such as the prepared flat outs in the grocery store or even pita bread! I use pizza dough since I like it so much. And yes I add LOTS of goat cheese because it is AMAZING!

The recipe is below…warning it’s DELICIOUS! (Full recipe at bottom of page)

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I spread the dough out really thin so I can get lots of pizza. After pre-baking the crust, spread the olive oil and garlic all over. (You can make it as garlicy as you want!)

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Add the prosciutto and cheeses and bake some more!

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Top with tomatoes and arugula and put it back in the oven for a couple of minutes to get them roasted. (I like to load the arugula on so I can feel like I’m being healthy haha!)

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Cut into square pieces and enjoy!!

Love,

Angie

Rustic Pizza Recips

Ingredients: (add as much or as little of the toppings as you like!)

  • 1 pizza crust
  • 2-3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 package prosciutto
  • goat cheese
  • Shredded parmesan cheese
  • Grape tomatoes, halved
  • Arugula

Directions:

  1. Spread the dough across pan. The thinner, the more pizza!
  2. Pre-bake the pizza dough according to instructions. (I do 7 minutes)
  3. Drizzle olive oil on crust and brush all over.
  4. Spread garlic all over crust and olive oil.
  5. Cover with slices of prosciutto.
  6. Crumble goat cheese all over.
  7. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake 8 minutes until cheese are melted.
  9. Top with halved grape tomatoes and arugula.
  10. Bake another 2 minutes.
  11. Slice & Enjoy!

Favorites in February

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post about my favorite things and today’s favorites are definitely random! From working out and self-tanning, to wine and puzzles…it’s all in there! Although very random, it’s what I’ve been loving lately and wanting to share with you all!

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•Self tanner drops•

Tired of looking ghostly and also prepping for a vacation in a few weeks, I stumbled upon someone on social media talking about self tanner drops. I have used different types of self tanner lotions and wipes before, but always hated the smell of my skin afterwards. So these drops were super intriguing to me—because basically you add concentrated self-tanner to your everyday face lotion and body moisturizer and the result is you end up smelling like your own lotion instead of that nasty burnt smell–you know the smell right?! I ordered drops on Amazon and have liked the results so far. I’m not sold out on just one brand yet—but if you are ready for some pre-summer color, I’d look in to these drops!selftanner

•Aaptiv• 

I have a hard time making it on time to the gym for a workout class, and also have some weird introvert fears about being in a class full of people I don’t know…so Aaptiv has been an awesome solution at the gym for me. It’s an app on your phone with access to unlimited work out classes—in your headphones! You can select from treadmill, elliptical, strength training, yoga, 5k training, stretching classes—and those are just a few of the things they offer! I’ve found that I work out harder when I’m following along with the classes, instead of just giving up when I’m tired lol! I can customize what I want to focus on and the amount of time I want to spend doing the workout too. They have different levels of difficulty and also workouts that are 10 minutes or up to an hour.

I’ve been recommending this to my friends and tried it for a week on a free trial before I committed to paying anything. If you are looking to try something different in your workout routine—I’d definitely recommend trying Aaptiv!

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•Box wine• 

In general, I enjoy a glass of wine a few times a week, but don’t love the taste of already opened wine 4 days later. My sister told me about Bota Box wine and I was pleasantly surprised when I gave it a try. It is way cheaper than buying a bottle and also stays fresh much longer—up to one month after opening! I like it because the dispenser in the box keeps the wine air tight, and I don’t have to worry about wasting my money if it’s not used within a few days! You can find it your local grocery store!

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•Puzzles with Libbey• 

My little girl will be 2 in just a few days! I can’t hardly believe it. I also can’t believe her new found love and obsession for puzzles. She is a beast in terms of puzzle completion! She loves doing puzzles that were once my husband’s as a kid (so sweet!) and also is really in to all the puzzle apps on the iPad and tablet we have. Here are the links to a few apps if your little one is a puzzle-lover too!

Animal Puzzle For Toddlers 

Animal Games For Kids

Toddlers Farm

Money Preschool Lunchbox (is app has more than just puzzles–but really good!) 

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•Connecting in real-life conversations•

Its been fun this month to have face-to-face or at least voice-to-voice (is that a real thing?) conversations with friends and family this month. So often I realize that when I communicate with people its mainly through a screen—texting, messaging, liking, commenting, etc. Although technology is a wonderful thing, I do really miss the moments where I can talk to someone over lunch, on a walk or to hear their voice in an actual phone conversation. It’s been refreshing this month to catch-up with people the “old-fashion” way!  

 

•This is Us•

I’m guessing, you already love this show and are recommending it for everyone to watch—but on the off chance you aren’t, you need to give this new show on NBC a try! It will wretch you—in a good way with all the emotions! It airs Tuesday nights, but I’m always catching up later in the week on Hulu. If you are looking for a new show—this is probably the one!

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Hope your February has been fun!

Love,

Liz


What’s Been Cookin’ Part 2!

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So last week Liz mentioned a new strategy she’s been trying to make meal planning easier at her house called PrepDish! Check out that post here if you haven’t already! 

I wanted to try to do better with my meal planning as well because food truly is the way to my husband’s heart, haha! But with my “all-day” morning sickness I had been dealing with, I seriously did not want to look at food, think about food or prep food! Thankfully, I received a coupon in the mail from HelloFresh and thought I would give it a shot! All I had to do was cook what came in the box!

Each week, HelloFresh has a menu of 5 recipes and you select the 3 you want delivered. Everything comes to you in one big box separated by each recipe–it comes pretty much ready to go and it’s actually kind of fun! I chose the Classic box for 2 people which includes 3 meals. They have a veggie box and family box option as well and you also have the ability to change the number of people the box will send food for. 

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HelloFresh has an app that makes choosing your recipes super easy. You can even put in preferences, for example– we don’t really eat pork so I selected “no pork” recipes. This is a subscription-based meal plan, but you can jump ahead and skip weeks as well. I’ve actually skipped my weeks for like the next 3 months just in case I forget! I can go back and change it if I decide I want another box. 

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So far the recipes have been great and everything really was FRESH! I like this meal plan because there are so many different recipes that I hadn’t tried before. You also get to keep the recipes that come with your box and have to ability to make them again, on your own. We’ve recreated a few meals that we’ve really liked already! 

Overall, I like the idea of getting meals delivered to my door. They do portion control the meals pretty accurately, so we really haven’t had leftovers. I do think it’s a little expensive at its normal price, but I’m considering the idea of ordering 1 box a month or every other month just to mix it up!

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Also, just a side note— I do know they have really great customer care because my sister tried a box and some of the meat had leaked a little. She called HelloFresh and they took care of her right away!

I am probably going to try some other meal delivery companies as well just to compare. Thankfully, I have coupons I get regularly in the mail to try everything out! So if you want a fun option to spice up your dinner routine give HelloFresh a try!

Love, 

Angie

(I did not receive compensation of any kind from HelloFresh for this post. All opinions are my own.)


Locally Grown

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Well if you heard me vent the other week about being a mom, a lot of my physical exhaustion right now can be attributed to a positive thing…We’re expecting baby #2 mid July! 

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I’ve wanted to share the news with you all for awhile, since I talked about our failed embryo transfer back in October in a post here. (If you don’t know our story–we had our daughter through IVF and stored the other successful embryos back in Texas where they were all “locally grown” haha.)

After October, we were still in the routine of all the medications and procedures, so my husband and I just decided we would go for another embryo transfer immediately again in November. I flew back out to Texas alone this time and was there for about 24 hours just to have the transfer done. We waited 10 days and instead of taking an at home pregnancy test like last time, I let my husband look up the blood results at the hospital. I wanted to hear the news from him either way!

Well the blood test was positive and I cried and then called Liz and cried to her of course! I had an ultrasound two weeks later at 6 weeks gestation and got to see the little heart beat–still so amazing to me!

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And after that, my excitement was overshadowed by awful morning sickness or as I want to call it ALL DAY sickness. I literally turned into a hermit for about 7 weeks laying around my house with puke buckets everywhere! My husband was AMAZING and did everything around the house when he wasn’t at work. 

I had never had morning sickness with my first pregnancy and wouldn’t wish it on anyone! Let’s just say my daughter had to watch A LOT of TV and Liz babysat a lot including letting her sleep over so I could rest! 

I’m happy to report that I am over the sickness for the most part at almost 18 weeks. During all that sickness, I just kept reminding myself how thankful I was to be carrying this baby, but prayed God would help me overcome all the nausea. 

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So we’ve been telling our daughter “there is a baby in Mama’s belly” and it’s funny how she always wants to lift my shirt and point at my not-so-cute-yet-bump! 

We’re planning on waiting to find out the gender until this little one makes their appearance into the world! Like with our first baby, we have fun being surprised, so you can all be surprised with us too! 

Anyways, like I’ve said before, I want you to know our fertility journey, the highs and lows, our feelings and all that’s in the middle. I’ll post every so often about the pregnancy.

My heart still knows the ache of longing for children and how hearing these kinds of announcements can bring pain to others. If you are in a state of longing and pain, I’m praying for you and will continue to pray.

I am thankful for the miracle growing inside of me and all that awaits our future!

Love,

Angie


What’s Been Cookin’

To mix things up, over the last few weeks Angie and I have both been trying different methods of meal planning. Angie has been using Hello Fresh (which she’ll talk about) and thanks to a college friend and also my love for Jamie Ivey’s podcasts, I heard about a subscription prep-ahead meal plan called Prepdish.

We both went two different meal planning routes but have thoughts so far with our adventures….

Today, its Prepdish. And I’m a fan!prep-dish_thumb

This meal planning subscription gives you a weekly menu for 4 meals, 1 salad, 1 snack, 1 breakfast and 1 dessert (8 dishes total.) In an email each week, you have a specific shopping list and then a set of prepping instructions that should be done all at once to have your meals ready for the week. The instructions are easy to follow and focus on “chopping” all at one time, followed by blending, sautéing, etc. in an organized, calculated order.

The prep takes between 2-3 hrs at the beginning, but then during the weeknights, it’s a no-brainer when you are wondering what’s for dinner. Thankfully after the prep, there are very little dishes and cook time each night.

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The way this has worked for me successfully in the past few weeks is to do the grocery shopping on one day (or Clicklist—amazing to use if I am well organized the day before) and then to prep the food after my kids go to bed at night on a Monday night. The prep has usually taken me about 2 hours, but its goes by quickly when I have my headphones in and my kids aren’t pulling at my legs.

The one week this didn’t work so well was when I tried to shop, prep and send food back with my husband all in one day. I also did all the prepping in the morning/afternoon when my kids were being bonkers and I had breakfast and lunch to work around too.

One bad prep day aside, I’d totally recommend giving this meal plan a try. The meals are HEALTHY and super delicious (gluten and paleo options available.) They can also be adjusted towards your taste and are definitely more creative than the meals I think up in my head. I usually have leftovers which I eat for lunch during the week. The grocery bill really is the same or less than normal too. 

Below are a few pictures of a really delicious Beef and Root Vegetable Stew I made with Prepdish! 

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I’m a fan of Prepdish and definitely will continue using it (especially during busy seasons!) I know a lot of my friends are trying to make meal planning a priority and with a low-cost subscription–Prepdish might be just what many of them are looking for!

Happy meal planning!

Love, 

Liz 

(I did not receive compensation of any kind from Prepdish for this post. All opinions are my own.)


Valentine’s Day Traditions

In honor of Valentine’s day being one week away, I thought I’d go back to last year’s post about what we do as a family to celebrate “love day.”

Just to update–our 2017 traditions are underway and this year has been especially fun to read through the hearts that I post on my girls’ doors each morning!

My oldest daughter is well aware of this  “heart” routine and anticipates her little piece of adoration each day. While my almost 2-year-old, giggles and points to things that I mention on her hearts while we read them– like her “cute ponytail” or “beautiful smile.” It’s a fun tradition!

This morning I even had the thought that if I were clever enough I could’ve saved the hearts I made from the previous years and made a little “love book” for each of my girls over the years! Still think I have time to start that?! 

Anyways, if you didn’t catch my post from last year, below are a few fun things we do each year to love on our girls for Valentine’s Day…


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I try to hide it but, I’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day—and its just around the corner. I’m not necessarily into all the “Hallmark holidays,” but Valentine’s day is fun for me… especially now that I have little ones.

Having 3 girls, and knowing what their future Valentine’s Days could potentially turn in to is kinda scary. Heart break, hurt, loneliness, or even the opposite– excitement, romance, and love… all future outcomes are quite terrifying actually!

So with the tenderness of their hearts in mind,  I have always had a dream or goal of making their Valentine’s Day feel special–every year. 

For now, at their young age, our Valentine’s Day traditions will look different than in few years or even when my girls are 18 and on their way to college.

With the help of Pinterest, here’s what we have been doing! (you may recognize some of these ideas if you are a Pinterest lover like me!)

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We love this cake and its so easy! With 2 circular baking pans and some pink frosting you have your own Valentine’s Cake. The cake is definitely not professional looking, but the kids love it each year!

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(Our latest, 2016 Heart-cake picture)

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I copied this idea from Decorating by Day and I absolutely love it! The past 2 years I have had my kids help cut out construction paper hearts as an activity. Then each morning a heart with something we love about our girls is on their bedroom doors. My oldest daughter understands this the best– she wants to read her “heart” first thing each morning…then she’s usually talking about her “heart” all day. This a great and personal way to individually show your kids love. 

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On Valentine’s Day we do this also in the spirit of love and feeling special. I found this idea on Somewhat Simple. My kids love treats and this drink or dessert takes little to no time at all.

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We have a good time with Valentine’s Day at this house. And I’m hoping and praying my girls will always understand our love for them–regardless of the day.

Love, 

Liz 

 


For the friend with a broken heart

One huge part of my story and walk in faith over the last 3 years has included huge heartache.

If you are like me, its really easy to assume that life should look the way you’ve planned. You have dreams, and do all the “right things” to live a happy, fulfilled life.

As one who grew up following the rules, carrying little baggage and having a strong family—I really lived in a sweet bubble. I went to college, found friends, a ministry, and married my high school sweetheart. After college, I got a job and found ways to be plugged in with the ministry I held dear to my heart. I started to grow my own family in my hometown and life seemed to go as planned.

Until 2013.

Before, I would’ve said life had its difficulties and there were things that were hard to face. But now I can say, I hadn’t even touched the feelings of sorrow and heartache until then.

Heartache is such a real thing. A life-changing thing. And for me, I will say it has taught me two specific things—

The first is that, Jesus is in fact near to the brokenhearted. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18. This couldn’t have been truer in my life. Never before in my well calculated, “good” girl, “did all the right things” life had I felt the presence of the Lord more then when my heart was crushed. Having a broken heart is painful and messy—but for me, it made God even more real for me. He showed up, when no else could or would.

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The second thing I really have understood much more through heartache is simply the act of seeing people. I know that probably sounds weird or seems almost too simple. But, for me—it wasn’t until I was at my lowest, that I really paused, appreciated, and understood the walks of life that other people had. Before, it was super easy for me to say or assume that I understood people’s struggles. But in reality, I really just understood those who had my similar life-style, or had the “over it in one day” type of struggles.

I needed heartache in my own life to show me the depth of other people and the power of their story.

I needed heartache to make God’s word real— something I literally clung to for the first time in my life.

Though I would never wish a broken heart upon anyone—I can say with assurance now, that I am thankful for what it has done in my life. 

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Today, my heartache has shaped me to love deeper, listen closer and feel the world in a much more real way. 

It’s crazy how life’s lowest moments do the most work and change for your heart. I’m thankful that God promises He’s near during those times–and that redemption is the business he’s best at. 

To the friend that is deep in heartache and basically feels crushed to the bones today—you aren’t alone —you are loved, and it’s actually in the greatest way possible. 

Love, 

Liz