Five on Friday

It's Friday...and Black Friday at that!! I hope you enjoyed a great Thanksgiving with those you love! I'm linking with these lovely ladies: Darci, A.Liz Adventures, Hello!Happiness, Carolina Charm &Lauren Elizabeth. Here's my top 5 this week...

{one} We had such a nice Thanksgiving yesterday at my parent's house. We enjoyed way too much delicious food, carried on our "Christmas Vacation after the meal" tradition and even had a visit from Cousin Eddie! Honestly, how hilarious and awesome is my hubby!! 

{two} I recently purchased a phone cover from To Gild The Lily and love it!! I have several other favorites that I'll have to eventually get. :) Do you see any you love?

{three} Snuggles!! We have had some great family time at home this past week and we are soaking in these moments!! Those three, my hubby & kiddos, have my heart! 
{four} I'm not so sure why it took me so long to get a pair, but I have finally discovered the loveliness of fleece jammies . I am obsessed and wouldn't mind finding another pair under the tree this Christmas.
{five} I'm super excited to be partnering with a couple of my favorite ladies, Mia and Katie, to do a Christmas giveaway beginning Monday! You'll have to check back Monday for your chance to win some awesome gifts!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with those you love! Did you get out and do any Black Friday shopping today?


Thankful in everything

Over the past month, I've talked some {here, here, and here } about the things I'm thankful for in my life. And if I'm being honest, there are so many things to be thankful for in my life, some I don't even recognize, that I could never write a complete list. But, I do know it's incredibly important to go through life with a grateful heart. That is something I've been mulling over and over in my mind...how to be grateful in everything.

Neighbor and I recently started going through the book One Thousand Gifts. We are not that far into it, yet, but my mind has been racing with how to be grateful when life doesn't go as we planned. When pain, unspeakable and unexplainable pain, enters our lives. How can we find gratitude in those situations?

It's easy to be grateful when the birds are singing, the sun is shining and life is "perfect". But it's another thing altogether when financial stress is upon us, we are battling our kids, there is tension in our marriage, terrible health news is upon us, or even death. How can we be thankful even in those situations?

The answer...thankfulness and gratitude is learned. We can't find ourselves in those situations and all of the sudden decide that we're going to be grateful. It's just not going to happen. We have to start in our everyday life, in the mundane tasks, and express gratitude.

We need to be thankful for that cup of coffee we enjoyed this morning. For the sun shining through the windows or the gray clouds promising rain. For the warm blankets we can cuddle up in at night or the cool sprinkler our kids can run through in the hot sun.

Only after we learn to be thankful in the little moments of our day will we be able to express gratitude in everything, even during the most difficult moments of our lives. It's a discipline we have to teach ourselves and our children.

My desire and challenge to myself is to slow down enough each and every day to see the blessings before me, in all things, even when they're difficult to see and thank God for every gift He has given me.



My favorite things: Stocking Stuffers

Today I'm linking up again with Cheers Y'all and Down with the Dearmores for My Favorite Things. This week we're talking about stocking stuffers. These are some things I'd love to find (or give) in my stocking.

{one} I've been wishing I would have picked up a bar of this when Mia and I went to Chicago (here and here) but, alas, I did not. It'd be nice to find in a stocking.

{two} Being the coffee addict I am, any type of coffee is welcome in my stocking. A gift card to Misty Brew or Starbucks would be great, too!
{three} I already have this book, but I think it's a great stocking stuffer idea. What better way to start your day than in the Word?! Sounds great to me!!
{four} This might be really silly to some, but I LOVE homemade gifts! In fact, Robert and the kids made me my absolute favorite gift ever for Mother's Day 2012. So, I think some kind of coupon book would be awesome! Ideas like, "Movie night" "Date night" "Mom's Day Out" "Mommy/Collin date" "Mommy/Emma date" "Back massage", etc. I love it!!
What are some of your favorite stocking stuffers to receive or give?
Also, the winner of the EC gift card  is Jana Kitts!


Five on Friday

It's Friday!! Yay! Robert had to go on an unplanned business trip this week and we just miss him so much when he's gone! Thankfully he doesn't have to travel often. But, he's home now and we have an open weekend, I feel like I've been saying that a lot lately, but it feels so good to have these open weekends after months of busyness, so we're looking forward to lots of family time.

I'm linking up with A.LizAdventures, The Good Life Blog, Carolina Charm and Hello Happiness, plus Lauren Elizabeth for this week's edition.

{one} Today, my mom, practically sister and I are heading to An Affair of the Heart. It a women's shopping event full of a wide variety of goodies. They have vintage things, handmade things, home business items, clothing, etc. Lots of fun things to look at and sometimes buy.

{two} Then tonight, Mia, my mom, her friend and I are heading to our church's yearly women's event, The Christmas Gathering. Mia and I went last year and had a good time. They have a little shop set up, with proceeds going to different mission organizations, then a light dinner, followed by the main event. The main event focuses on things women love for the home, themselves, for others, etc. It's almost like Oprah's favorite things in that during each segment they do, they give us some sort of goody to represent that segment, does that make sense? It's a lot of fun and I'm a big fan of leaving with goodies. :)

{three} Now, you know how I feel about selfies of myself, but recently I talked about needing some hair help and I wanted to give you an update on that, as if you really care about my hair. Ha! Well, I got it trimmed up, it had been since March I believe, so it was really needing some loving. And then Mia and I colored my hair. Well, she did while I sat there. Thanks Mia!! :) I'm LOVING the color so much, and really love how much I saved by doing it myself. :)
{four} I need your help on this one. I'd like to get an advent calendar this year to help teach the kids about the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus. Of course we've taught them this every year, I just thought an advent calendar might be a fun, hands on way to be reminded of that daily leading up to Christmas. Do you have a favorite calendar you use? Or do you even use one? If not, what are some of your favorite ways to help your children understand what Christmas is really about?
{five} Finally, this past Wednesday I revealed the winner of my first giveaway! It was SO fun doing a giveaway that I decided to do another. :) I finally picked my 2014 Erin Condren life planner, after several months of trying to decide, and when the order arrived, I found a $10 gift card in the box. Sweet! So, I decided to give that away to one of my lovely readers! Make sure you enter today, the contest ends on Monday.   

Do you have any suggestions on an Advent calendar? Are your Thanksgiving festivities beginning this weekend?


And the winner is....

Back in August I posted about needing help picking my 2014 Erin Condren life planner. Well, I made my decision and it arrived in the mail this past weekend! There are few things more exciting than receiving this beauty in the mail. :)  

I thought I'd give you a little preview into my planner and show you all the reasons why I love it! Plus, I have a little giveaway to use towards your favorite Erin Condren products! The planner that fit me perfect this time was the E-Sea Sand Dollar.


Fun sayings throughout....
Three full page spread for Birthday and Anniversaries, with a laminated tab for easy reference...
Two page year at a glance...
Laminated tabs! This year they added Special Occasion, 2013/2014, Notes & Contacts tabs...
Two page month spread...
Weekly spread, complete with weekly goals and to-dos and my favorite addition...
This section for notes at the bottom of your weekly spread...
Lined and blank pages for notes...
A page of important number and contacts...
Several pages of labels, including blank ones; a two sided pocket folder; a clear, zippered pouch, including gift labels...
Finally, a glance at the coming years on the inside back cover.

Do you see why I LOVE this planner?! It has it all, it's so colorful and fun...just lovely! And the team at Erin Condren is so wonderful to work with and almost always includes some kind of "thank you" surprise in your order. This time they gifted me with a $10 gift card...and I would like to gift it to YOU!
Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. :)
Or, if you can't wait that long, follow this link and sign up for their emails to receive $10 off your order now. 
One last thing, the winner of the Scentsy giveaway is...Dawn Burns!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A Few of my Favorite Things

I'm linking up with Elise @ cheers y'all and Jen @ Down with the Dearmores' to bring you My Favorite Things this Christmas.

{one} I'm loving this coffee mug and spoon. Being the coffee addict I am, this would be the perfect Christmas gift. You can find the mug here and the spoon here

{two} I recently bought a great new desk, which you can see here , but still need a desk chair for it. I'm thinking this one or this one would be perfect. Which do you like?

 {three} I have been on the hunt for new bedding for our bedroom. We have a gray/deep purple color scheme going on in there. Bless Robert's heart for letting me do purple. :) He's a good man. I'm really like this one from Target and this one from Kohl's. Which is your favorite?


 {four}I'd love to have a rug in our den. We have carpet in there, which someday we'll replace with hardwood, but for now the quality of the carpet is great! Unfortunately, it's cream colored carpet, which with kids and pets doesn't work too well. I'm liking this one  from Target.

{five} Now, you might find this unbelievable, or maybe you don't have one either, but we don't have an iPad. I'd really love one, though. So, that's my big wishlist item this year for Christmas. (It looks like Best Buy will have a good Black Friday sale on them, but no way will I be standing in line!)

So, these are some of my favorite things/wish list. What are some of yours?


Be courageous....be obedient

Last night in our community group we had a great discussion on the life of Daniel and his encounter in the lion's den. What an incredible man he was. It's amazing that when scrutinized by men who wanted to destroy him, he was found without any fault!

But something that can be overlooked in this story is how Daniel got to the lion's den. His actions leading up to his miraculous encounter with God. (Pete Wilson gave an incredible message on this passage if you'd like to listen to it. You can find it here.) It is absolutely fascinating watching Daniel's obedience to God in the big and small things.

For example, look back at Daniel 1:8-21, you see some relatively small ways that Daniel obeyed God. He refused to eat the king's food or drink the king's wine, so he and his friends only ate grains and vegetables and only drank water. And God blessed him and his friends and they found favor with the king.

Over and over you see where Daniel continually served God and obeyed His commands. And over and over, God showed favor upon Daniel and he advanced one way or the another.

What's interesting, though, is that Daniel continually obeyed. Even when it meant that he would be in danger of losing friends, breaking a crime or even facing death. He valued what God said and thought above what man said or thought.

Through Daniel we see that courage begins with obedience. And not just in the big things, like defying the injunction that commanded him to pray to no one other than King Darius. But the little things to, like eating only the things God commanded him to eat.

We know the verse "Be strong and courageous". But have you ever thought about it this way..."Be strong and obedient". That gives it a different spin, doesn't it?

"Be strong and obedient in loving others like I love you."
"Be strong and obedient in spending time with Me daily."
"Be strong and obedient and take that small step of faith I'm asking you to take."

Be strong and courageous. Be obedient. Take that step of faith.

What is that small step of faith God is asking you to take? Will you take it?


Five on Friday

Happy Friday, everybody! This Friday finds me so much happier than last Friday. The kiddos are 98% better and the week has been much better. Today I'm linking up with my normal Five on Friday ladies (Darci, April, Christina & Natasha) but I'm also joining Lauren . Here we go...

{one} Today I'm headed to Bethany with Mia to visit Christian and her parents. I'm excited to see them again...it's been quite awhile. The kiddos get to go along, too. Collin is very excited to visit Christian at the hospital. He's been praying for him since the accident. You can keep up with Christian's story here .

{two} I know, I KNOW it's early....but we put our Christmas tree up this week. Now, you know how I don't want to skip Thanksgiving, BUT the Christmas season this year is so short that I thought it'd be ok to put it up early. Plus, this is our first Christmas in our new home and you know how thankful we are to be here, so it's an extra exciting holiday season. :) That's the only Christmas d├ęcor we currently have up, but we're all loving it.

{three} This might be kind of weird, and I'm hoping I'm not alone, but I'm really enjoying having our heater on. Hear me out...since the nights get dark so fast, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are upon us, there is something so cozy about putting your jammies comfy clothes on, snuggling up on the couch with the hubby and enjoying the night in the warmth of your home. Weird that I'm thankful for our furnace?

{four} If you follow me on Instagram you already saw this, but we were out playing in the leaves the other day and I really wanted to get a picture of the kids. Collin cooperated, but Emma, Emma gave me this
I told her to look at how nice Collin was smiling and this is what she gave me. That girl...I just love her! Such a goofball. :)

{five} Finally, I'm pretty excited to be doing my first giveaway just to say "thank you" for reading my blog! I've so enjoyed getting to know other bloggers and appreciate those who read mine and thought a giveaway would be fun. If you're reading this, go enter! :)

Do you have any plans this weekend? Our weekend is pretty open for whatever we'd like to do...just how I like it. :)


Thank you...and a Giveaway!

So, I am having so much fun blogging and getting to know you better that I thought this would be the perfect time to do a giveaway and say "Thank You!" for following along and reading my blog. :) I am thankful for YOU!

Although my blog has been around for several years, I only haphazardly blogged for much of that time. This past May, though, I decided I wanted to regularly blog and I haven't regretted that decision. It's so neat how you can build a friendship with somebody you've never met in person. I look forward to getting to know you better and better!

Since I love Scentsy (I'm a Scentsy consultant. You can check out my website here), I thought I'd give away one of my favorite warmers and my absolute favorite scent! I'll be giving away the Daphne mid-size warmer and a Welcome Home bar. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. :)
(U.S. & Canada residents only. Sorry!)

I'm curious, what do you enjoy about blogging?

Make sure you enter the giveaway here...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!! And thank you! :)


Weekend fun and cupcakes!

We had such a nice weekend! Friday night I met our dear friends, Andrew and Angela, first baby...a sweet baby boy! Mommy and baby are doing great and they are all settled at home. I'm so happy for them and their new adventure as parents. They are going to do great!

Then, Saturday I enjoyed a great lunch with Mia and Cassie. What a treat it was to meet up with fellow bloggers and turn a blogger friend into a real life friend! We had the best time brainstorming together about different ways to improve our blog, goals we have and just plain encouragement for one another. If you haven't checked them out, please do! You'll love them!

Cassie-True Agape

Sunday night we enjoyed meeting with our community group and studying the Word together. It's so refreshing to get together,enjoy each other's company and study. Sometimes I feel like there is a misconception that you can't be a Christian/study the Bible and have fun, but our Sunday nights together say the complete opposite...and I love it!

I made some yummy filled cupcakes for us last night. My mom made these when I was growing up and they are so good. I thought I'd share the recipe with you. :)

Filled Cupcakes

1 pkg. German choc. cake
8 oz. cream cheese
Pinch of salt
6 oz. choc. chips
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1. Prepare cake mix per package directions.
2. Fill cupcake holders 2/3 full.
3. Mix cream cheese, salt, choc. chips, sugar, eggs & nuts together.
4. Deposit cream cheese filling by tsp. on top of cake batter.
5. Bake @ 350 until done (~12-14 min)
6. Enjoy! Store them in the fridge.

You'll have to let me know if you try them and what you think. I hope you're having a great Monday!


Five on Friday

Whew, this has been a tough week, for many different reasons. I'm glad it's coming to a close and the weekend is upon us.

{one} My kiddos are finally feeling better, almost 100%. We had one of the scariest nights with Emma last Friday night. She was all croupy and couldn't catch her breath. Honestly, I was border line panic attack. Nothing is scarier than watching your child struggle for breath. Thankfully, we got her calmed down and able to breath again and it didn't happen again. And after a week of battling a nasty cold, both are almost better. Thank you, Jesus!!
Little sweeties napping together. They insisted on napping together and Collin was convinced it would make her feel better. Love them!

{two} The red cups are back!!! I've enjoyed a couple drinks in them already this week. My normal Misto somehow tastes even better in a red cup. :)
{three} I was going through one of my drawers the other day and came across my grandma's wedding ring. She passed away December 16, 2008. She was (is) one of my favorite people ever. I miss her like crazy. Wearing her ring makes it feel like she's right there with me every day. Thank you, Mom, for letting me have it!

{four} Tomorrow I get to have lunch with Mia and Cassie. Mia and I have gotten to know her thanks to blogging, so we're really excited to meet her in person!

{five} Our sweet friends Andrew and Angela are in the hospital right now awaiting the arrival of their sweet baby! I'm SO excited!!! This is their first baby and they don't know if it's a boy or girl yet, so it'll be really exciting. They are going to be such great parents! I'm planning/hoping to go up this evening and meet him/her. Auntie needs some baby snuggles!!
Me, Ang and Mia at the shower we threw for her. (Emma is down there, too)

What are your weekend plans? Or highlight from the week?