Five on Friday

Whew, it's been a busy Friday and I'm a little later than usual to post my Five on Friday. But, I'm linking up, nonetheless, with Darci {and friends} and Lauren Elizabeth.

{one}I have some pretty awesome friends and I am so thankful to have them in my life!!

{two} Giggles!!! I love how much Collin and Emma giggle together. My pray is that their friendship just grows stronger and deeper through the years!


{three} I'm so excited to be attending a Mamarazzi workshop in April with Mia!! We've had our eye on this class for awhile and I'm so excited to finally take it and really learn my camera and start busting out some awesome pics! :)

{four} As I told you a few weeks ago, I'm working on a project for the wall between the kiddos rooms. Well, I have my eye on this print from my lovely friend Elise. You should check out her Etsy shop!

{five} I made myself a blog button and I'd love for you to grab it and add it to your blog, if you'd like! :)

Well, that wraps up this week! I'm looking forward to the weekend with my family!


Thankful Thursday-Week 5

It's time for another Thankful Thursday post! I hope you'll join with Katie, Mia, Carly and I as we find something we're thankful for everyday. Link up with us at the bottom, we'd love to visit your site!

{Thursday, January 23} I do enjoy quiet afternoons (while the kids nap) spending time in the Word. They don't happen every day, but I'm thankful for the days they do happen.

{Friday, January 24} After a month without a microwave, I'm so thankful to have our microwave back! (Warranty replacements are so nice, yet can be so tricky!)

{Saturday, January 25} This girl brings such laughter and joy to my life!

{Sunday, January 26} I'm sorry for the back to back of Emma girl, but honestly, she's just the laughter I need!

{Monday, January 27} I've had a lot weighing on my heart lately, so curling up with Robert by the fire and pouring it out is just what I needed. Love the comfort of my hubby!

{Tuesday, January 28} It's not often, but sometimes Robert gets to work from home and we love it! He works all day, but it's just so nice to have him home.

{Wednesday, January 29} I love my coffee, so it's no surprise I'm thankful for a Vanilla Latte from my favorite local coffee shop.

There ya have it. Some things I'm thankful for this week. Now it's your turn. What are you thankful for?


On Motherhood


I adore being a Mom. Being Collin and Emma's Mommy. It's truly the best! I was talking with Robert the other day about how much I enjoy being a Mom. Sure, I reach my limit some days and have to put myself in time out. Or, I reach my limit and need a break, outside of the house, to refuel. But, even on those days, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a Mom, their Mom.

I have never done anything that has required absolutely everything in me...and then more, all the time. Some days can be tough, really tough. But at the end of the day, no matter how trying and tiring it was, my heart is overflowing as I look in on them sleeping peacefully. 

I have never known such deep, unending love until I became a Mom. This love that I get to experience as a Mom reminds me of how much the Lord loves me...and then more! Sometimes it leaves me speechless and in tears...at my love for my kids and the realization of His love for me.

I have never felt so inadequate or ill-equipped until I became a Mom. I'm learning right alongside my children. But He is so gracious and has surrounded me with incredible examples and encouragement as I walk this journey through motherhood.

I feel so honored to have the opportunity to stay home with our kiddos every day. Sure, there are sacrifices that have to made for that to happen. And there are days that can feel lonely and isolating. But those days are not the norm and the sacrifices are hardly noticed. I am so grateful to stay home with them.

I love being a Mom. I love being Collin and Emma's Mommy. May I never take my days with them for granted.


Chicken Pasta

This past week I made the most amazing Chicken Pasta! I'm not even kidding, this meal was delicious!!! We all ate it up and "ooh-ed and ahh-ed" about it the entire time. Even the kiddos. Now that's saying something!

I found this recipe from a blogging friend, Becky at This is Happiness. If you haven't checked her blog out yet, you need to. She has all kinds of awesome DIY projects, fantastic recipes and an adorable family! You'll love her!

So, here's the recipe. Put it on the menu tonight...or as soon as possible. You won't be disappointed!


Five on Friday

We made it to the weekend! Yay!! I'm linking up today with Darci {and friends} and Lauren Elizabeth. This is a random mix, so here we go!

{one} I'm not a big magazine subscriber, but I do subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens. I received a free subscription and have kept it up. But, I'm thinking about subscribing to Southern Living. Do any of you subscribe? Should I do it?

{two} You probably don't remember, but I've been on the hunt of the perfect desk chair for months. I had a couple picked out that I thought would be great, but I never 'bit the bullet' on them. And I'm so glad I didn't! I found this chair at Sam's Club, of all places, and it's just perfect!

{three} These two have been extra sweet lately and love to hold hands when we're out running errands. Totally fine by me! :)
{four} I have some family and friends going through some rough times and this song is a great reminder to me to always use my words to bring life to everybody I'm around.

{five} I've really been enjoying our Thankful Thursday link ups. I love visiting new blogs and meeting new people. If you haven't linked up with us yet, I hope you'll join us this week!

Any big weekend plans?


Thankful Thursday-Week 4

It's Thursday again and I'm so excited because that means it's time for another installment of Thankful Thursday with my lovely co-hosts Katie at Katie Elizabeth, Mia at MakeMeUpMia and Carly at Carly Blogs Here. We hope you'll join us this week as we share things we were grateful for this past week. Remember, there are no rules, per say, we just want you to focus on gratitude. If you follow us and link up with us, great!! We'd really love that! Here we go!

{Thursday, January 16} Collin had his first swim class and loved it! He's a natural in the water and I love watching him swim, which is good because I think swimming is going to take him far.

{Friday, January 17} This girl can test me like crazy, but one look at that beautiful face and I just melt!

{Saturday ,January 18} Daddy and Collin went on their first real trail hike. They were both so excited! He's such a good Daddy!!
{Sunday, January 19} I have never been so thankful to see a completed wall! After a week of mold repair, we have a new wall and the cause of the mold fixed!


{Monday, January 20} It was gorgeous here Monday and we enjoyed an impromptu zoo date with friends!
{Tuesday, January 21} Collin and I were enjoying a York Peppermint Pattie, or so I thought. I looked over at him and found him touching the pattie all over his face. He's makes me laugh! (I keep them in the fridge, so it was nice and cold and clearly felt good on his face. :))

{Wednesday, January 22}  I love watching Robert play with the kids. I'm very thankful for a hands on Daddy. Have I mentioned he's a great Daddy?! :)

Now it's your turn! We'd love to stop by and see what you're thankful for this week, so feel free to link up with us!


What I love: Essential Oils

I love essential oils. My mom introduced me to them about a year and a half ago and the more I use them and learn about them, the more I love them. Let me just say first off, I have great respect for modern medicine and all that Dr.'s can do for us, but God has made our bodies so incredibly, that with the right tools, our bodies can often heal themselves. (I'm not talking about life threatening situations, but rather common ailments we all face.)

As a mom, few things are more frustrating than watching your sick baby/child and being helpless to do anything about it. That's what first drew me to the essential oils. I hated when the kids would get a cold and not be able to breath, but have to let the bug run it's course, thus making them miserable. And then I was introduced to essential oils. They have been wonderful! Being able to use oils that I know are safe for them and offer them relief is amazing!

There have been a couple times that Emma has complained about an ear ache, so I've started using an oil on her to treat/prevent an ear infection and within a day, she stops complaining about her ears hurting. Or, rubbing a little lavender oil on the kids before they go to bed and having them sleep through the night...soundly. Or, seeing signs of a cold coming on and having an oil to rub on them to prevent the cold from getting any worse. Or, if they already have the sickness, not only rubbing it on them, but diffusing it into the air to provide over night relief.

Honestly, I can't say enough good about essential oils. And not just for the kids, but for myself (and Robert), too! I have this awesome book that is my go to for any kind of sickness/ailment. Seriously, this books lists practically everything and suggests the best oils to use and the different ways to use them.

If you're interested in essential oils, I'd be happy to answer any questions. Or, you can visit my mom's Do Terra website at http://www.mydoterra.com/lorieller/ and browse around there.

Or, you can check out my Simply Aroma website at http://www.simplyaroma.com/kristalstrong. Simply Aroma is a new essential oil company that offers 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils. {I'll be honest, most of my experience with essential oils are with the Do Terra oils, however, I'm switching over to the Simply Aroma oils.}

Finally, I want you to know that my intention is not to sell you any oils, but rather to share my love of them with you. I am a believer in essential oils! Have you tried essentials oils for yourself? Or know about who uses them?


Tortellini Taco Bake

A few weeks ago I made Mix and Match Mama's Tortellini Taco Bake and it was a huge hit with my family! I'm pretty late in the game to the different tortellini packages you can pick up at the grocery store, but boy are we all loving them! I think you will, too! {Side note, if you haven't visited Mix and Match Mama before, you should definitely check her out! She's full of great, easy recipes!!} 


Five on Friday

This week has pretty much taken it out of me, so I couldn't be happier to see the weekend upon us! I have a random collection of thoughts this week, as I link up with Darci {and friends} and Lauren Elizabeth.

{one} I've decided to have one decorating project a month. We've lived in our new home for almost a year now, but there are still places and walls needing decorated. So, I thought one project a month would be doable and not too overwhelming. I have some ideas floating around in my head for a wall for Collin and Emma. It will include something like this for both of them.
{two} If you follow me on Instagram, you know yesterday was Collin's first day of swim classes. He is a solid swimmer for such a young guy. My parent's have a wonderful pool that we practically live in each summer, so I kid you not that Collin is like a fish! And now we have a pool, too, so I know he's going to be in the water even more. And because of his passion, really, for swimming, we thought we'd put him in some classes that ultimately lead to a junior swim team. To say the least, he's pumped and we're so excited watching him be so passionate about something!
{three} Also at swim classes yesterday, I met a mommy friend! I love when that happens, especially when you discover you have so much in common...just within a short 30 minutes. I'm looking forward to chatting with her more each week at swim classes.
{four} This week has been full of surprises from unexpected (expensive) home repairs, to a health scare with my mom. Yet, despite these things, I have felt the peace of the Lord like never before. Sure, I've freaked out a bit about what's going on, but when I calm myself down and really sit quiet, I'm overwhelmed with the peace that He's with me, none of this takes Him by surprise and if I just focus on Him, everything will fall into place. Praise the Lord!

{five} In honor of Mia's brother, Christian, I am participating in my first 5k. It's the Color Run, so it'll no doubt be fun! But for this girl who isn't a runner, I'm determined to give it my best running shot.
I hope you have a good weekend! Do you have any exciting plans? Nothing too exciting happening for us this weekend, which is ok with me. :)


Thankful Thursday-Week 3

I hope you're enjoying these weekly posts as much as Katie, Mia, Carly and I are enjoying them! 2014 has already thrown some curveballs my way and I'm so thankful to have the reminder each day to find something I'm thankful for that day! We hope you'll join in with us this week and year as we focus on gratitude each day. Here's to week 3!

{Thursday, January 9} This little sweetie has been having a terrible time sleeping lately and I don't know why. But, that also means we get some sweet, early morning snuggles.

{Friday, January 10} After way too many gray, cold days, the sun came out and it was seriously so glorious to see it! After it broke threw the clouds, we immediately put our shoes and coats on and soaked up some rays outside!

{Saturday, January 11} The beautiful sunshine and even warmer temps continued through the weekend, allowing Robert and Emma to wash his car. So sweet! He's such a good daddy!

{Sunday, January 12} This girl....need I say more?! :)

{Monday, January 13} I love being a boy mom and watching his imagination as he plays with simple things like a shovel and dirt. He was digging for ants and buried treasures.

{Tuesday, January 14} My grandma has given me several different perpetual calendars over the years and I love them. They remind me of her everyday and they always have timely words of wisdom. After some not so great surprises with the house, this reminder was exactly what I needed.
{Wednesday, January 15} As I was opening the blinds, the sunrise literally took my breath away, it was so beautiful. Can I just say how incredibly grateful I am that every day is a new day and a chance to start over. My stress levels have been a bit high the last few days, which has bleed over and onto those I love. I'm not ok with that, at all. Praise God for His infinite graciousness in giving us a fresh start every, single day!

Now it's your turn to link up with us! We'd love to hear what you're thankful for this week!


What I love: Nature Box

Is it just me or can snacks be hard to figure out? Especially when it comes to my kids. I want something quick and easy, but something that is good for them too! Well, I think I've finally found the answer. Nature Box.

This past Black Friday, I received an email from Nature Box with an offer to try a box for $1.97. Now, I had seen ads for Nature Box on Facebook before, but was very skeptical of it because I didn't personally know anybody who had tried it before, plus, it creeps me out how Facebook has "personalized" ads for me now. But that's a whole other topic.  

By the time I received that email offer, I had a family member and friend who had tried Nature Box and had nothing but praise for it. So, I decided to give it a try. I signed up for the deluxe package, picked out my snacks and waited for the package to arrive.

A few weeks later, our first Nature Box arrived and we checked out our snacks. We enjoyed everything but one, so we made sure to remove that for our next box. Overall, though, we were very happy with our first box and decided to continue receiving them.

Since then, we've received our second box and love it even more! I love having healthy snacks on hand to give my kids and myself. If you've seen advertisements for Nature Box but have been unsure, I encourage you to give it a try. You can even receive $10 off your first box by clicking this link. I'd love to know what you think about it if you try it.

*I received no compensation for this post, just wanted to share something I really enjoy with you.


Homemade Pancakes

Typically, we don't have big breakfasts around here. Robert leaves early and the kids get up at different times, so we just have a mix and match breakfast. Saturdays are the day we'll have a big breakfast, if we do them at all. But, we do enjoy breakfast for dinner. Growing up my mom would always make homemade pancakes from a recipe my Uncle gave her. And they are delicious! Maybe you'll love them, too!

Do you enjoy big breakfasts? Or maybe breakfast for dinner?


Five on Friday

It's Friday and I am happy about that! I think it's kind of funny, though, that I get excited about the weekends. Being a mom, it's not like anything really changes on the weekends, like it does for Robert being home from work. But I guess that's the change I look forward to most...Robert being home! So here's to Friday!

I'm linking up like usual with Darci {and friends} and Lauren Elizabeth.

{one} I downloaded a couple new wallpaper screens that I'm a bit obsessed with....seriously, how cute are they?!
 {two} My mom (and dad) gave me an adorable fringe scarf for Christmas that I'm a bit obsessed with, too. :) (Also, I still hate selfies of myself. I just never know where to hold the camera, whether to look at the camera and smile or be serious?? Too much to figure out, so this is what you get)

{three} I'm going to be reading a new book with a couple girlfriends called Hands Free Mama. I'm pretty excited about reading it and I'm sure I'll be sharing thoughts about it here as I'm reading.

{four} I realize we're pretty late in the game on this, but Robert and I just started watching Parenthood and are loving it! Thanks to Amazon Prime, we started on Season 1 and have made our way into Season 2.

{five} I know much of the country has been in the throws of this Arctic blast and ,while we haven't had it as bad as some around the states, we've had our fair share of cold weather. That being said, next week's forecast holds lots of 50s and sunshine and I.CANNOT.WAIT. Seriously! We all need some good outside time! Bring on the warmer weather and sun....pronto!

This week's edition was rather random, but it's what I'm excited about this week, so there ya go. We have no plans this weekend other than enjoying the beautiful weather (hopefully!). What about you?


Thankful Thursday-Week 2

It's our second edition of Thankful Thursday and I'm so excited for those who linked up with us last week! Thank you!! And, I'm excited about those who mentioned they'd like to link up with us this week. Katie , Mia, Carly and I are so excited that you're making 2014 a year of gratitude with us! Here we go on week 2!

{Thursday, January 2} I enjoyed some time in the Word during the quiet of the afternoon.
{Friday, January 3} The kids and I enjoyed a challenging game of Chutes & Ladders. :)
{Saturday, January 4} I picked up some adorable boots for little Miss at Kohls and she loves them!
{Sunday, January 5} It was cold, snowy and slick outside but we were still about to tune into thechurch.at. So thankful for Alex's teaching and our church!
 {Monday, January 6} Monday nights are date nights for us. We get the kids to bed then spend the rest of the evening together, watching a show, playing a game...whatever. I love Monday nights!
{Tuesday, January 7} It's no secret that I love family dinners. And although my parents, brother and grandparents live in the same city as we do, we have to be intentional about getting together for family dinners. I love that our new(ish) house comfortably holds us for those dinners.
{Wednesday, January 8} One of my guilty pleasure TV shows is back on...The Bachelor. While I'm still trying to figure out how (or if I should) work in the time to watch it this season, I sat down and enjoyed a cup of coffee and the show from Sunday night.

Now it's your turn!! We'd love to stop by your blogs and see what you're thankful for this week! Please feel welcome to add your link!