{Christmas in July}

Christmas in July Gift Exchange.

How fun was this? Thank you to Courtney from Sweet Turtle Soup and Jenny from The Chronicles of We for setting up this fun gift exchange! The boys and I had so much fun preparing a package for Laurie’s little one.

The day our package arrived from sweet Ashley of Words About Waverly, was such an exciting day for my little ones. This package brought us hours of fun entertainment as a family- thank you so much Ashley! Make sure and stop by and say hi to Ashley, she has an amazing sense of style for her and her daughter.

Here are the fun items we received in our Christmas in July Package:big bubble wand, toy guns, popsicle molds, water balloon launcher, balloons with little pump, squirt guns, and rings for baby. Everything was just perfect for these boys! *I forgot to take a picture of little Claire!

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As you can see, we had a great time! These gifts have been the perfect addition to our summer fun! I definitely hope this gift exchange will happen again next Summer- thanks again.

Sweet Turtle Soup

 

{Simple Coffee Station}

Coffee in the morning, and usually in the afternoon, is my special treat. It is something I look forward to.  I have special memories of my grandparents stopping by in the afternoon and my mom serving coffee with some cookies (we always had homemade cookies in the house, my mom is just that amazing). This was a relaxing time as we sat and shared stories with one another, so even though my afternoon cup is usually drank among the craziness of 2 little boys making LEGO creations or racetracks being built, it is a comforting habit.

Why not, then, make my coffee area look just a little more lovely? Today I will share how I created a simple coffee station. Here is the coffee area before hand:

Coffee Station BeforeThe coffee maker was a recent Christmas gift from my husband and will grind the coffee- which I love. The white container is what holds my coffee. In the basket (which I got from Goodwill) are teas, my vitamins, and the phone charger. One of my favorite things in our kitchen is this mug holder. It was a great find at a little shop back in Michigan.

Project determined- I got out my chalkboard paint and taped off a little rectangle on the container and started painting!

Coffee Station PrepHere is the finished product, below, and I am pleased with it. Although I do want to get a chalk pen and try using that to make the writing neater.

coffeechalkI love having this chalkboard label on my coffee jar- it breaks up the white of the jar and adds to the space. What are some ways you like to use chalkboard paint?

CoffeeStation Post

{Toddler Tuesdays}

Hello friends~ Today, I am over at Life on the Parsons farm sharing some fun activities to improve language/communication in your toddler. I came across Ashley’s Toddler Series a couple months ago and just loved the idea! It is so encouraging to read the weekly posts from moms all over who are going through similar things with their little ones. I know you will enjoy reading about Ashley’s life on the farm- it fascinates me and my boys would just love growing up with all the animals! Make sure and hop over to read about the activities I shared and to read some of Ashley’s latest posts.

Life on the Parsons Farm

 

 

 

 

{Letting Go Of The Worries}

Worrying and being a parent seem to go hand in hand. Lately, my worries have mainly been centered on my oldest starting school in the fall. I will wake to feed our youngest and then lay there long after she is back in bed, thoughts swirling. Are we making the right decision for school? Will he be okay making new friends? Will it be too much? The worries go on and on…

Have you had these worrying thoughts? It can become rather consuming Today, I want to encourage us to focus on letting go of the worries.. Whether it is worrying about the future, the present, or even what has already happened- we need to learn to let it go.

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I love this verse in Psalms- in HIM my heart trusts. I do not need to fear or worry because I can have trust in God. Life may not go how I have planned, but I can trust in His plan.

Lately, when I wake in the middle of the night and the worries kick in, I start to pray. I pray that God will provide the right teacher… for the other kids… and for my Jack. Honestly, I still have moments of worries and fear. This will probably always be an area I struggle in, especially as a parent. However, I know I don’t want to waste my days worrying about every little thing. I am working on choosing to let it go and go to God. It is hard… Even as I write this, in the back of my mind worries still linger. So I pray and I seek God praying to simply trust in HIM alone.

Thank you for joining me again for Honest Moments. If you have one you would like to share please contact me. Also, make sure and stop by to read what my friend Sarah is sharing about today.

{Morning 5 Must Dos}

Everyone has their own routine. Even if you say you are not a routine person, there are things you may do everyday without even realizing it. For me I have come to find there are 5 things that are must dos for me each morning. If I can do these simple things, my day gets started out right. Even if by lunchtime it is pure insanity over here ;) Usually these 5 things take about 1 hour for me to do… So I like to have them all done by the time my littlest is up, currently at 9am. Then I feed her and we get going on an activity.

Morning 5 Must Dos

(1) Pray, pray, pray- Seriously, friends, the power of prayer is huge and lately I have needed every ounce of extra strength as a parent. Some mornings are slower than others and I have moments to sit at the table eating breakfast and can read and pray a little (don’t get me wrong in the background there are usually requests for more food, arguments to break up, etc). But some mornings we have stuff going on and so I just talk to God as I get ready or make breakfast. God listens no matter what so the point here is simple- talk to Him!

(2) Eat something and always have coffee- I am a big believer of eating a good breakfast. Currently, I am enjoying oatmeal in the mornings with my coffee. Just eat, girls it will give you energy for the day! And I have a serious love for coffee so I always will have at least a cup (usually warmed up about 3 times because I never just sit and drink it all at once).

(3) Get ready for the day- Now this may mean changing out of my pjs into yoga pants and a tank. That is okay. I always feel better about the day when I at least change my clothes, wash my face, and brush my teeth. Some days I may put some makeup on or an actual outfit, it all depends on plans for the day and how our morning is going (aka how well the boys are playing while I do this).

(4) Clean up breakfast- Okay, I know I am OCD about things and this is one of them. Usually while my coffee is brewing and breakfast is cooking or whatnot, I quickly unload the dishwasher. Then after we eat, the boys bring their plates to the sink and then we load the dishwasher again. I wipe down the counters and ta-da it is clean! One thing that helps here is that the night before dinner was cleaned up and the dishwasher was filled up to run during the night.

So that is it- my 5 simple morning must dos. What do my boys do during this hour? Well usually they watch tv and eat their breakfast. As much as I am not a fan of the tv… During these morning hours it is a much needed. Some mornings they may play with something or be on the iPad. It varies and I do not stressabout it because for me I need this hour in order for our day to have any chance of survival!

*Special note- Remember grace. I shared in the past about throwing out the routine We all have those mornings. It is okay. Just pick back up the next day :)

What do you find helps your day start off right?

{DIY Dry Erase Family Calendar}

The other day I was sitting at the dining room table eating oatmeal and drinking my coffee and our family calendar caught my eye- immediately I realized I had a new project to tackle. I shared before how I used an old picture frame from Goodwill and some scrapbook paper to make a dry erase calendar for us. I absolutely love this calendar. When plans change I can simply erase… No messy pen scribbles.

This calendar has been one of my favorite projects but there was one problem- I now have 3 little ones and so of course seeing just 2 pictures on it, I knew I needed to change it.

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A normal person would have just pasted in a picture of the baby and be done. But the more I looked at the calendar, the more I wanted to change the entire thing. So I got out my scrapbook paper and set to work.

Lately, I am pretty obsessed with bunting (remember how I added it to my pallet board?) so I finished off the project with a little bunting on the top. All I used for this was some tape and scrapbook paper. Super simple and now I have a whole new look to my calendar! Of course as I see it hanging there I want to repaint the frame maybe a light gray? But that’s for another day :)

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Want to make your own dry erase calendar? Go for it! Head to your local Goodwill or thrift store and find a frame of your desired size. Break out the scrapbook paper and have fun! Let me know if you make one- I would love to see it!

Don’t forget about the fun link party going on. Head on over and link up your family activities, I am loving seeing all these great ideas. :)

Linked Up At:

Moonlight & Mason Jars @ Five Heart Home

Just a Girl and Her Blog

{It is Okay Dear Mama}

For when you are too tired to cook dinner- It is okay dear mama
For when you let the kids watch more cartoons than you ever would have dreamed you would allow- It is okay
For when you are still in your pjs and it is noon- It is okay
For when you eat that entire bag of chocolate- It is okay
For when you feed your lil ones pb and j for lunch and dinner- It is okay
For when you leave the house and realize your son clearly does not match at all- It is okay
For when the house is a mess- It is okay
For when you don’t have the strength- It is okay

If we are honest, haven’t we all had these moments? And you know what? It is okay dear mama…  You are not a bad mom, you are just a mom like every other mom striving to do your best in raising little ones.

It Is Okay Dear Mama

Rather than let guilt consume us and tell us we are the worst moms ever, we need to give ourselves Grace… Because you know what? There are no perfect moms. Yes, you say but you don’t know my friend so and so. Trust me friend, everyone has rough days.

So I urge you today, as you stare at the piles of laundry, step on Cheerios, lose your patience… Give yourself some grace. You are an amazing mom dear one, you are raising some incredible kids. Let go of the guilt and let the grace flow in.

The past couple weeks, I have been trying to regularly share Honest Moments. I am so excited to announce that this will be a regular thing on Mondays. Also, my friend, Sarah from Abiding In Grace is going to be joining me for this series. I know you all will love Sarah, so make sure and stop by and see what she has to say! She is an amazing mom of 3 little ones who shares her faith, about adoption, the trials of life and much more.

* If you are interested in sharing an Honest Momentplease email me at livinginthisseason (at) gmail (dot) com

It is Okay Mama

Don’t forget to join in on our Family Fun Link Party

{Family Fun on a Budget}

It is the 2nd Monday of the month which means it is time for another link party! This week the theme is Family Fun.

When we decided that I would stay home with the kids, we knew that meant living on a smaller budget. I have always found little ways to make a little extra which has been such a blessing. However, I am currently not making my usual extra, so the money has been a little tighter. So we have been creative with our family fun. But you know what? This summer has been filled with some of the most special moments and memories- I would not change a thing. Today I will be sharing some ways to have family fun on a budget!

Family Fun

1) Games- Playing a board game together in the evening is always a great way for us to spend quality time together.

2) Camp Out- One of my oldest son’s favorite activities is to have a family camp out on the living room floor. We will make beds on the floor and then watch a movie together with popcorn. Always a ton of fun!

3) Family Walks- After dinner, I like to do something to get the kids energy out. Going on a walk around the neighborhood or at the local park are perfect for this. Grab the kids bikes and head out together . Talk with each other as you walk.

4) Water Play- Summer means humidity here… So when we go outside in the afternoon we try to do something with the water. Usually we love going to the beach, but with a newborn this summer the beach is just not very easy. So we have been enjoying lots of water balloon fights, squirt gun wars, and playing in the pool! The Dollar Store has some great squirt guns and you can easily buy one for the whole family without spending much.

5) Ice Cream & Treats- I have a huge sweet tooth so of course I had to share an idea related to sweets :) Sometimes I will make a special dessert for us in the evening. Other times we will go out for ice cream or frozen yogurt. This is always a favorite of the boys.

I cannot wait to see all the family fun ideas linked up this week!

Want more great family fun ideas? Check out the great ideas my co-hosts are sharing!

Becky @ BYBMG
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Britt @ The Fisk Files
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Denise @ Gratefully Inspired
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Elizabeth @ All Kinds of Things
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Katie @ The Lane Above
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Sarah @ Abiding In Grace
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Tara @ Mrs. Coach Sims
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Keri @ Living In This Season
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Now it is your turn.. What are some ways you have fun as a family? I can’t wait to see all the great ideas this week! Make sure and grab a button below.

Living In This Season
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{Are You Lonely Dear Mama?}

Sometimes it can be hard to be honest- to truthfully share your heart and what is really going on. We fear what others may say or think… Instead of sharing our frustrations, our messy moments, we hide behind smiles and responses of “I am doing great!” when really on the inside we are still crying from a morning of tantrums and a fussy baby.

You know what happens when we don’t share these moments? Feelings of loneliness creep in. Dear friend, has loneliness found a home in your life? Are you lonely, dear mama? Because you know what? It’s trickled into my life before slowly making me feel like I was the only mom in the world with a trying toddler and fussy newborn.

I’ve shared before about how it was a very hard adjustment for me going from 1 to 2 children. It was during this stage I felt very lonely at times. I was exhausted and just wanted to know I wasn’t the only mom struggling to balance it all. Combine the sleep deprivation and overflow of emotions, it is natural to have these moments.

Thankfully, during this time I was able to reconnect with a friend, Michelle, from when we lived in WV. She encouraged me in my spiritual walk and we would send each other little texts throughout the day such as how are you today? I’m praying for you today. Hang in there! We were both in similar stages of life and able to provide encouragement to each other. *Side note- We started reading Desperate by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae- this is a must read for moms!

So how do you meet your Michelle? Look around at your friendships and see if there is someone you really connect with or may be in the same season as you and start building that connection. Go out for coffee or invite her over for coffee. If it is a friend who is not local, start texting or emailing.

Is there a local moms group you can join? A few months after Michelle and I reconnected, I saw our church was going to be starting one and quickly joined up. This group was the perfect place for me to meet like minded moms to connect with.

Perhaps you are sitting here reading this and neither of the above options work, then I encourage you to continue to pray. Pray, dear friend and I know God will bring you a kindred spirit. Remind yourself you are not alone… Go sit outside in the sun as your kids play (the outdoors is amazing, I think, to lift spirits), ask your husband to watch the kids so you can go out kids free. Sometimes just doing the grocery shopping by myself can be unbelievably refreshing.

Now here I am almost 2 months in with 3 little ones. How am I doing this time, you ask? Honestly, yes there are still lonely moments and I think if we are honest we will always have little moments of this. But it is what I choose to do with the loneliness. Do I let it sink in and dwell on it or do I pray, text Michelle, reach out to a local friend and plan a time to meet up? Just recently I was able to meet up with a couple girls for a much needed break thanks to my sweet husband for caring for the kids while I did so.

What about you dear mama, are you lonely? If so I hope you know you know you are not alone Reach out to an old friend or take steps to make a new friendship. Remember it takes time for a friendship to grow, but as it buds and blossoms you will be so thankful you invested in it.

How do you handle the loneliness of motherhood? Please feel free to comment below or email me livinginthisseason (at) gmail (dot) com

Do you have a honest moment you would like to share? I am looking for bloggers who would like to guest post about honest moments of parenting, friendship, marriage, or life in general. Please contact me if interested livinginthisseason (at) gmail (dot) com

Don’t forget about the Intentional Living Link Party going on! Make sure and link up what you have been up to this past month.

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