Friday, June 07, 2019

The Connection Time post that almost didn't happen

I am sitting here with my favorite latte at my second Starbucks (same latte) for the morning. The wifi wasn't working at the first Starbucks. . . which kind of put a damper on things. My plan was to go sit, drink coffee and get some writing done while my kids enjoy their last few hours of the 2018-2019 school year.  So, I am sitting here at the second Starbucks, coffee flowing through my veins and writing. I won't lie, I was frustrated and getting a little cranky because my plans weren't going as smoothly as I had hoped. 

It's been a while since I've posted a Connection Time post (February, if you are interested).  I've gone back and forth wondering if they are worth it, but I keep coming back to yes.  We can't always get out and have coffee in person, so we listen to podcasts and scroll our social media feeds to make us feel like we are connecting, but in reality, we are just watching on the sidelines.  This is a chance for you (the reader) and me (the writer) to sit down and have coffee and connect.  It takes a huge amount of bravery to leave a comment down below, but that's where the connection starts, when we share or agree with someone.  My goal with this little blog with readers that I have never even met, is to connect and maybe encourage you to live life with creativity and passion.

It's been a busy few weeks.  The end of the school year always is hectic in sort of a fun and exciting way.  We had a wax museum, multiple awards assemblies, field days, water days, talent show, class parties and softball games that filled our schedule to the brim.  It's been so busy, that even the kids are longing for the quiet, more restful days that summer brings.  I remember when the kids were younger, I was eager to fill our days with as much order and routine and activities as I could, but the last few years we have moved towards a more restful approach to summer.  We are going to spend time reading, playing games, watching tv, playing with legos and crafting.  We will allow boredom to come and spur creativity.  Minecraft will be played and tv will be watched.  There will be days where we will stay in our comfies and days where we will hit the movies or swim.  This year, we will once again have a summer Pinterest challenge. This year, we will be spending some time each week studying artists, and the techniques behind the artists.  Each week, I will post about those projects so, you can join in the fun. 

Time for the official "Connection Time" prompts.  I love these because they are the same every month.  Sometimes I have a lot to say about one thing, but not about another.  But, each month they are different.  I hope that you take the time to comment on one or two of the things, or even answer some yourself. 

Outside my window the sun is shining and their is a little bit of a breeze, which is a welcome addition after yesterday's triple digit day.

I am thinking
of Summer Vacation.  It's so close! 

From the kitchen
I made some delicious Rhubarb muffins that Ethan thinks are the best things ever! I hope to share the recipe with you tomorrow, because they were really tasty!  Plus, I think that sometimes rhubarb gets forgtotten about as a summer fruit, but it's really wonderful.  It brings a lot of memories of summers at my grandparents going through their summer garden. 

I am wearing some distressed jeans, Birkenstocks, and a new shirt I picked up last week.  

I am creating
nothing right now.  As soon as my house is clean, I feel like I can start creating.  I have triangles cut out for a quilt for Jon and paper pumpkin boxes that need to be made into cards.  I'm even pondering the possibility of teaching the boys how to use my sewing machine. 

I am going
to the beach tomorrow and I am ready to get my toes in the sand and breath the salty sea air.  It is calling me! 

I am reading
Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on water, and Loving the Bible again and it's so good! Rachel Held Evans wrote it and I've been waiting for the Kindle version at the library for months. She was a beautiful story teller! 

I just picked up a stack of books at our local Lifeway store since they are all super cheap because they are closing their storefronts (sad face), I am hoping to get to read a lot over the next few months!  I am going to try to sneak some fiction in, too! 

Around the House
it's a disaster!  But, I am okay with that.  Our shower is being installed along with tile! I can't wait to share it with you.  We've also been so busy that things haven't been done and then throw a day where the water was shut off and then last night the power was out. . . things just didn't get done.  I am hoping tonight I can get some stuff caught up!

One of my favorite things
is slowing down!  But, I am starting the She Reads Truth Summer Study next week and I am so excited!  I get to sneak away once a week and gather with some pretty cool ladies and talk about scripture and I just can't wait!   If you are local, you can still join me!  If you aren't you should go to here to find out more!

A few plans for summer
are to relax, travel, create, and hang out with my boys.  They are getting so big and equally just as busy.  I can't wait to just sit on the couch and read with them!
What I am listening to
Everflow, by Austin Stone Worship, and Newsboys Hallelujah for the Cross along with the Disney Hits playlist on Apple Music. I have a feeling that once VBS starts next week, the kids will want to listen to the Power Up music, too. 

Now, it's your turn!  Grab your coffee and let's connect! You don't have to do them all! I can't wait to hear from you! You can even private message me if you don't want to make it public.  

Outside my window
I am thinking
From the kitchen
I am wearing
I am creating
I am going
I am reading
I am hoping
I am hearing
Around the House
One of my favorite things
A few plans for the week
What I am listening to  

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Traveling: Northern California {Palo Alto and San Jose}

Adventures are my favorite.  Whether with kids or without, I love adventures.  So does the rest of my family and I love that it ranks high on our must do list.  It gives us energy and brings us joy.  I hope that these travel posts inspire you as much as they are getting me excited reliving last year's adventure and anticipating our next one! 
The last part of our adventure had us exploring the San Jose area and Palo Alto.  Palo Alto is a cute town between San Francisco and San Jose and is the home of Stanford University.  We left San Francisco shortly after breakfast and drove South a bit for some adventure and to check into our hotel in Palo Alto.  Our main plan for the night was to attend a San Jose Earthquakes vs LA Galaxy soccer game at Stanford University that night.  Once we checked in, we spent the day shopping at their beautiful outdoor mall and meandering down their cute downtown.  Also, we ate so much food and it was worth it!  We even had time to rest and veg out in front of the tv (and air conditioning) before heading to the game.  We can call that a win. 

Palo Alto was fun!  I definitely want to go back and explore some more (because Jon told me we couldn't move there. . . ha ha!). Plus, now they have a Shake Shack and a Salt and Straw (which recently came out with some amazing dairy free ice cream!).  Whalburgers was definitely a highlight and hopefully we can get back and eat their again! Stanford University was absolutely amazing.  Ethan decided that's where he wants to go. . . until we showed him how much it cost.  eek! Maybe we should start a go-fund me to get Ethan to Stanford in 8 years. . . ha ha!  We ate so much food during the day that we weren't really hungry at the game, but after the game. . . at 11:00, we were starving.  So we stopped by the PF Changs that was conveniently located on our walk home so we grabbed some take out and ate before heading to bed.  The kids still talk about how cool that was! 
The Next day we headed down to San Jose for some more fun and adventure.  San Jose is a place we go often, because we are San Jose Earthquakes fans.  But, apart from attending the game and trying to find parking at Santana Row to eat my favorite ice cream (Pressed), we haven't really done a lot here.  This was our chance!  We purposely stayed downtown in the cutest hotel so we could be spend our time walking around and exploring the town, and it's architecture.

Our first goal of the day was to spend time at the Tech Museum. On the way, we found a fun little park across the street that had several lawn games set out and some ping pong.  We may have spent a bit of time here enjoying the cool mid morning shade until we headed into the museum.  We have heard some really great things about it and had a blast!  So many hands on activities for the kids, as well as us parents.  Jon even had a blast working on their Cryptography exhibit with Ethan.  We spent a couple of hours hanging out here and then headed in search of food.  We found an Earl of Sandwich not far from the museum and went to grab some delicious sandwiches (we love the one at Downtown Disney) and then went exploring for a bit and then back to the hotel for some resting.  
 One of our favorite things about our hotel was the bocce ball area.  The kids were obsessed! I am pretty sure that they could've done without the walking around and just played that all day!  We spent some time before heading to try a local coffee shop and finding dinner.   We got to try out Academic Coffee, which got bonus points for having Oatly and a non dairy option (insert happy dance here).  While we drank coffee, we headed over to San Pedro Square, which is a street that is filled with delicious restaurants. We finally decided on eating food at the San Pedro Square Market, which is filled with a couple of bars and several different restaurants, where we could all eat something we wanted. . . kind of like a really nice food court and an old Adobe house in the outside picnic area. We even got delicious desserts at Treat Bot. . . which was a trailer inside the building.  Then we headed back for more bocce ball and some drinks before heading to bed. 

The next morning, we headed over to the Santa Clara Mission to add another mission to the list.  It took us awhile to find parking since it was located on the University of Santa Clara, but once we did, it was beautiful. My favorite things about the missions are the Verandas that run along side the mission.   
 Then we headed for a longer than normal drive home.  We decided to head South to check another mission off our list.  The Mission Soledad is out in the middle of lush farmland and is completely free to see.  It shows the ruins of the original location before it was moved 100 yard to where it was rebuilt.  It was definitely worth the trip!
 Then, we headed further South to the Western side of the Pinacles.  It was really hot by then, so we drove to the visitors center, let the kids (who were by then really hot and tired) get their National Park badges and then headed home. 

This trip was so much fun!  It as nice to take a break from explore other states and do some things we've never take the time to do and with the kids.  I hope that this trip gives you some inspiration on ways to explore Northern California with your kids or even explore your own state.  

Palo Alto hotel
San Jose hotel
Tech Museum of San Jose

Friday, May 17, 2019

Making Room for Scripture

Once upon a time there was a tired mom who was struggling.  The kids needed her, her husband needed her, the house needed her, her commitments needed her.  She began to be angry and short tempered.  Sometimes, the littlest things brought her to tears.  It was then that she realized she was missing something.  She was worn out from doing things for other people and not doing the things that mattered most. 

You see, because this tired mom doesn't like to let people down, she was serving in her church in multiple capacities that she often didn't actually get to attend the church service.  Not only that, she was tired. all. the time, and she began to struggle with getting things done like the housework and her Bible study.  She was on empty. She found that when she had a few minutes to sit, she binged watched her favorite show instead of other things.  She was running on fumes and it was taking her toll.  She knew she had to make some changes.

So she learned to say no to things that she didn't have to do  and said yes to the things that mattered and she learned a lot about herself and her Savior. 

You see, that tired mom was me. 

My tank was on empty and my family suffered.  I had to humble myself and ask for help when I needed it.  Once a month, my Mother-in-law came and watched my boys so I could go have some much needed me-time.  I packed my tote bag with my Ipad and notebook and headed to the local coffee shop, where I could dig deep into God's Word.  The distraction of people and things needing my attention was gone and I could sit, read, write, and be refreshed.  Also, I got to enjoy my coffee without setting it down to become cold and forgotten. 

The old me had filled my days with so many things that I was not leaving room for the thing that mattered most.  Time with God.  Sure, we had conversations throughout the day. . . a lot of them like this:
 " Give me patience with these kids, Lord."
 "Keep them safe, Lord."
"Give me the energy to make dinner"

I wasn't giving God my whole me and I was missing out on God's best.

Last Sunday, our Pastor spoke on Money, and in that sermon, he talked about tithing.  It got me thinking that if giving God the first fruits of our finances is an act of obedience and trust of God's provision, then why don't we give God the first fruits of our time? 

I sure wasn't. 

There are 24 hours in a day.  We sleep for part of that.  We work, we cook, we clean, we run errands, we serve,. We schedule in Girls Nights and play dates. Are we scheduling in time with God. . . the very one who created us for a relationship with him?  Or are we giving him our leftovers or anything at all?

I sure wasn't.  

The funny thing was that I had wiser women, who were ahead of me in life, who patted me on the back and told me, "It's okay.  This is the season of life you are in." I can't even begin to tell you how often I heard this and still do.  There will always be a season in our lives that will make it hard to take the time.  The thing I learned as I started saying no to things and giving myself time to sit down and read the Bible was that any excuse to NOT get into the Word is a lie.  No matter the season your life finds you in at this very moment, there is never an excuse to skip studying God's Word on your own.  It is the very thing that fuels us.  There is power in God's Word that can get you through the day, through a hard patch, an illness, or your busy commitments.  It is God's Word written down for us to read.  He doesn't have to communicate with us via prophets or Old Testament Priests anymore.  We have the Holy Spirit to guide us and encourage us through Scripture.  We need to make God's Word a priority in our lives.

Once I started taking time to dig into Scripture, I changed.  I didn't rush to say yes to everything anymore.  I was more relaxed and wasn't loosing my temper as often.  Things were better.  I was enjoying the things I was saying yes to and  I found myself craving scripture.  I wasn't reading the Bible because it's what a good Christian does, I was reading it because I loved it.  God loved us so much that he breathed his word into some godly men and they wrote it down.  His heart for his people (us) is in that Bible and it's how we grow. 

My kids are growing like crazy and are always hungry.  We keep our pantry stocked with healthy options to feed their growing bodies.  I like to think that our relationship with God is like a growing kid.  My kids will become tired and hangry without proper meals and snacks.  We, too, become hangry for God's Word. The Bible uses food a lot.   Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and we need to go to him to be fed. We need to feed that growing relationship with God daily, just like our kids need to eat to grow into young men and women. 

So I thought I would share a few strategies/resources to help you get into God's Word daily. 

1.  Look at your schedule.  On busy days, I actually write in how I am going to study Scripture that day into my planner.  It's one of my check marks I make.   See when and where studying God's Word works best for you.  Most of the time, I do mine at night,  because most of my distractions are already done with and my mind can focus.

2.  Set an alarm.  I've heard that it takes 28 consecutive days to make something a habit.  That is a little less than a month, but I promise that committing to reading the Bible daily will be life changing.  If it doesn't change you, write me a letter.  Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to read the Bible.  Don't hit the snooze button and put off your commitment.  There will be another excuse each time you put it off.  The more committed you become, the more you will find you crave that time with God.

3.  Join a Bible Study Group.  Commit to joining a Bible Study and do the daily homework.  So many women come weekly to Bible studies, yet don't fully commit, and wonder why they didn't get a whole lot out of a study.  There is so much food in between session of a Bible Study that you will miss out on if you don't take that daily time to spend with God. 

4.  Get an accountability partner.  Ask someone close to you to keep you accountable to studying the Bible.  Meet weekly or monthly to check in with each other.  Pray for each other that God would use your daily dates with God to nourish your soul and grow you closer to Him. 

5.  Don't give up.  Getting into the habit is hard work.  There are tons of things that call out for us to do instead of reading the Bible, but if you fail (I still am working on this), just get back up and start again.  We aren't perfect, God doesn't expect perfection or even a legalistic approach to reading scripture.  Read because you want to get to know your Heavenly Father better.  If you skip a day or two, get back up and continue.

I am praying for each of you!  Let me know how you are doing or even what your studying!  Let's keep each other accountable! 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Biscuits your kids will fight over!

Summer is so close and I am already counting down to the last day of school and checking off end of the year projects. I'm pooped!  Who's with me.  Then the Holderness Family posted this today and I'm like YES!!!!  So, I'm sending your all high fives and reminding you (and me) that we can finish this school strong and then celebrate summer.

Obviously, I am exhausted.  I've been busy playing taxi and doing all the things that dinners have been kind of funky lately.  I haven't menu planned in weeks and it's hitting hard.  My husband has been doing some workshop things a few nights a month and when he's gone, I don't really cook.  So, we eat eggs since he doesn't and one of our favorite things is egg, sausage (or bacon) and cheese biscuits.  Super easy because I make these biscuits ahead of time and they freeze amazingly!  Because of this, I can keep biscuits stashed in the freezer for quick breakfasts and dinners.  Also, they are so good, that my husband has been breaking into my stash when I do a veggie based dinner.  Each time he eats one he tells me they are "Amazing" and "Best Biscuits EVER!" These biscuits are so handy to have on hand that I will probably definitely keep these on my regular freezer stash rotation.
These really are the best muffins and it is so worth it to have these stashed in your freezer for a quick meal or to add to a dinner at the end of the month when you're getting low on options.  I'm not going to lie, these have saved us on more than one occasion and so flaky and delicious you will seriously fight over the last one!  In fact, we have 3 left in the freezer and I know that I need to make another batch next week that I'm wondering how long I can make the last 3 last?  hmmm.  Probably not for long because now I am hungry for one of these biscuits!  Keep scrolling down for the recipe and make some. . . I promise you, you will be so glad you did! 
Buttermilk Biscuits
adapted from Bake from Scratch

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups frozen, unsalted butter
2 cup buttermilk*
2 Tbsp butter melted

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients with a whisk.  Taking one stick of butter out at a time, grate the frozen butter with a hand grater.  Do all three sticks and then use a fork and cut frozen butter into the flour.  Use your fingers to smoosh the butter into the flour, if necessary.  If butter starts to get really soft, stick your bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes and then continue.  The colder the butter, the flakier the biscuit.  Slowly, add in butter and stir it together. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle flour on a flat surface and put the dough on top.  Spread and flatten out with your hand. . . no need for a roller here (that's just one more thing to wash and why bother when you can just use your hands?).  Try to keep it at about 1 inch thick.  Use a round glass to cut out your biscuit rounds and place on lined baking sheet 2 inches apart.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes (but I don't. . . I am so impatient and they still turn out wonderful). 

Brush tops of uncooked biscuits with melted butter an dbake for 18-20 minutes. 

Serve warm or place on baking sheet and flash freeze for 2 hours and then place in a freezer safe bag or container and store in the freezer.


Wednesday, May 08, 2019

I got away

I signed up for a Women's retreat.  I've always came up with excuses for not going.  But for some reason, I really wanted to go on this one.  I think that it might have had something to do with it was going to be held at a conference center not far from the beach and I am always a sucker for the cool coastal air, the smell of sea salt in the air, and sand between my toes.  So, I made my deposit and secured a room with my bestie and went about my life. 

I'll be honest with you, I still came up with excuses to change my mind. Food, sleeping arrangements, schedules, the what ifs. . . they all went through my mind.  But, I didn't give into my fears or second guessing.  I went and left feeling refreshed and ready go finish off this school year.  I am tired because, who needs sleep when you get to hang out around a fire pit with coffee, dessert, and sweet friends? 

Sneaking away to one of the most beautiful places was amazing.  I don't remember when the last time I have gotten away from my family, which is not why I went.  I went because something deep inside me told me to go and my husband said go.  I think he was looking forward to a guys weekend with the boys, because they had a blast watching soccer games all day and playing miniature golf and ordering pizza!  But, either way, he knew I needed to go and I am so thankful. 

There has been a Travel and Leisure article floating around social media these days that says taking a trip with your girlfriends is good for your health.  The best part of it is that is backed up by all sorts of scientific statistics that may or not be true, but sound great!  And while I went on this trip alongside some of my favorite people, I laughed a ton, was inspired, and also just enjoyed some gorgeous scenic views and breathed in the salty sea air I don't think it cured me of anything.   I did, however, leave refreshed, energized (still tired), and encouraged after a weekend of friends, some really good worship, and time with God.

Taking time to step away from your normal routine, the people who need you the most, and just do something for yourself is worth it.  It's an investment in your mental well-being.  Trust me, that's so important!  There are days and weeks that go by where being a mom is incredibly exhausting.  It doesn't matter if you are a stay at home mom, a work from home mom, or a go to work mom.  We are ALL tired.  We are all stretched thin.  We all bite off more than we can chew. 

 So, in the aftermath of unpacking (I'm pretty sure I still have a couple of things in my suitcase), I thought I would take a few minutes and jot down a few of my thoughts on why should we go away.

1.  You're family can handle things with out you.  You're kids and husband will survive.  They might eat grilled cheese sandwiches and order pizza all weekend, but they will not go hungry.  They probably won't clean. . . and that's okay.  Let them have their weekend, too!  I know we think we need to do everything all the time, but our husbands are actually really good dads and while, we do make things easier for them, they can, in fact, keep the kids alive for a day or two! 

2.  You need to take care of yourself. I know that this sounds so selfish, but getting away is good for the soul.  I didn't have to cook food for anyone or have anyone NEED anything from me.  That was nice.  I've always been pretty intentional about taking time to go out to lunch or to a movie by myself, but never for a whole weekend.  I jumped right back into our busy schedule, but even though I am tired, I feel so refreshed, like my battery got charged.  If you can't sneak away for a weekend, I highly recommend taking the time to treat yourself to a coffee or lunch or even a pedicure, where you can sit down, read a book, maybe do some journaling and even pray.  You will thank me. 

3.  Leave your fears behind.  I can't even begin to tell you how many fears came through my head in the weeks that led to the retreat.  What if I starve?  What if a kid breaks a bone while I am out of town?  What if. . .  honestly, so many What if scenarios that I just sort of had to "lift it and leave it." (Ha ha. . . just heard one of my favorite instagrammers say that. . . and totally loved it).  Anyway, I brought food and told reminded myself that God had this.  I was going.  And guess what, I had a great time.  My husband and boys had a great time.  It was a win-win.  Don't let a case of the what ifs cause you to miss out on a great recharge adventure.

4.  It's good for your husband and kids.  This kind of goes with the first point, but oh well.  It is so good for your husband to have some one on one time with the kids.  I feel like we have let ourselves believe that we are the only ones who can care for our children and that is unhealthy.  Our husbands are just as capable to do our jobs as we are, we just need to let them.  Our kids need to create their own memories and bonds with their dads, just like we do.  Let your husband create strong, positive memories with the kids and give yourself permission to enjoy yourself away from your family.  If they eat junk all weekend and play video games way longer than normal, it's just a weekend.  Release your control and have fun. 

5.  It's okay to miss something.  I missed my son's first softball game.  He ended up starting and getting a base hit and I missed it.  And guess what, life went on and I got to hear the story a bunch of times afterward.  Our kids need to know that our lives don't revolve around them, but we still love them and care about the things they do.  We can't be at every event, field trip, sporting event all the time, but we can call and see how things went and hear the excitement in their voices.  We can come home rehear their stories and share in their joy and sometimes even their disappointment. Our kids can be confident that even though we are not there, they are loved and valued, and we can't wait to hear all their stories. 

6.  Stepping away from the normal routine opens doors for God to speak.   Sometimes when we step away from the our normal crazy life, we open doors for God to come in and do some soul work.  This one is probably the most important reason for going on a retreat.  Retreats force you to slow down and listen.  It might not feel like you are slowing down, but when was the last time you just sat and watched a waterfall, stuck your feet in the water and just praised God for his creation or had a heart to heart conversation with a friend?  Taking the time to really invest in your relationship with God is something that we shouldn't take for granted.  We often chase the busy in exchange for the quiet because it's easier, safer, and we can stay right where we are. . . comfortable.  God wants to move us into a deeper, stronger, and more vibrant relationship with Him and that takes moving away from the constant distraction of life and all its busyness and stepping into a quiet moment for your heart to be challenged.  Maybe God trying to tell you something and you've been running?  Maybe you're longing for a good friend?  Maybe, if you keep staying busy, no one will notice the hurt and pain you are suffering from?  What if we took a risk, signed up for that retreat, and made a new friend or even better, started experiencing the healing power of our Savior.  It is essential for us to make room for God to speak, and going on a retreat is a great way to make that happen. 

 I know that retreats can be expensive and maybe you don't know if your church has one, but find out if there are any coming and find ways to save up for one or even get on the waiting list at your local christian camp and see if any spots open.  Step out of your comfort zone and see what happens when you do! 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Friday Favorites: 5 things I'm Loving Right Now

It came close to hitting triple digits today.  It's April. Send Help.  Just kidding.  Or not.

I promise it's not completely horrible. This is actually the summer weather I love.  Cooler mornings, breezy, and beautiful evenings are the best!   The evenings are perfect and no one wants to go to bed because it's perfect ball playing or splashing around in our little blow up pool .  So, sorry to my kid's teachers.  Oops.

Ethan counted that there were around 30 school days left, not including weekends. I haven't double checked his numbers, but we are ready for quiet, lazy days and adventure!

Also, I am beach bound without kids tomorrow and it's going to be in the 60's.  Bring on cute hats and sand between my toes.  I am ready!

Let's talk about some things I am loving lately.  I don't even know if you really care, but these are cool things that I really am enjoying.  No one is paying me to say anything.  Just things that are cool.

1.  Honest Mascara
I have been looking for a great mascara that doesn't clump and I thought I would try this one.  This one is awesome! I haven't had any issues with clumpiness and it continuously gives me longer looking lashes. . . and that's something I need!  Plus, it's at target for about $15.99 and it's super clean (I am turning crunchier by the day!).  The pink end is a primer and the white end is the mascara part.  I love having them all together!

You can find it here.

2.  Minidip pools
I came across these a few weeks ago, when it wasn't warm enough to even think about jumping in a pool and knew we needed something like it.  They are cute (my boys don't even notice I picked out the girliest print) and think it's pretty awesome.  They have grown out of those small little pools and we needed some way to cool off when we can't invite ourselves over to friends for swimming (we don't have a pool . . . it would mean sacrificing our grass/soccer field for a pool).  We tried this one out tonight and it worked great!  The material is super thick and I am pretty sure it will last all summer. . . and maybe next year, too!  We don't fill it up all the way, because that's a lot of water, but they were able to splash, soak, and immerse their whole bodies!  It's marketed towards adults and claims to fit 3 adults in and it totally can!  I am pretty sure this family of 4 might find their way into it this summer!

We found ours at Target for 39.99.
Here's a link.

3.  Everything Bagel Cream Cheese (non dairy)
The lure of Kite Hill products being 40 percent off for Prime Members made me do it.  And Oh, my! It's so stinking good!  My kids really liked it too!  I don't think it's going to last very long.  But, really they had me at everything. . . I am a serious sucker for everything EVERYTHING.  This is a great one for bagels and I'm thinking it might taste really good with egg over easy on top.  Okay, I am getting hungry just writing about it.  It's good. It's dairy free.  It's amazing!

They also have a strawberry one that Weston is waiting for me to find.  These new flavors are just the best!

Also, Amazon prime for the win.  It's really enabling my love of high end non dairy finds! 

You can find out more here.
We bought ours at Whole Foods.

4.  Write the Word Journal
I am loving this journal!  Writing scripture down is just one way we can engrain it into our hearts stronger than just reading it, and this journal is perfect for that.  Plus, it has a whole section for daily prayer.  I've really been loving the challenge in my life to become more of a woman of prayer and this book is really helping.  I've been marking the spots in the margins where God has just answered something. . . even the littlest thing and it's pretty amazing the ways that he works daily, that I often miss because I'm not taking the time to write my prayers out.

I started this in July and I don't do it everyday, but it definitely is something that I have been trying to do a few times a week.  I already know I am going to buy another one (they have other themes).  Plus, they are simple and pretty all a the same time!

If you are looking for a simple way to challenge your faith, prayer life, or work on being more joyful, these books are perfect!

I got mine on Amazon!

5. Navy Blue. 

 I just bought the kids some spring clothes, because they keep growing.  It's an endless cycle.  They eat (a lot) and grow (a lot) and need new clothes.  Apparently everything I am buying right now is Navy Blue.  From my dress to the boys shirts and a few other new additions to our wardrobes, summer will be very blue at our house. I'm completely okay with it.  Also, denim and chambray. 
(Both boys shirts and my dress came from the Gap.)

I hope you all have a wonderful time this weekend!  Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog!  I can't tell you how much it means to me. . . seriously, it makes my heart so happy.  If you don't mind, I would love for you to comment below and tell me something you are loving right now.   I love hearing from you! 


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Teacher Appreciation 2019

 Teacher Appreciation Week is coming soon.  Actually, it's the week of May 6th, which is just a couple of weeks away.  If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you might know that I love spoiling teachers.  They need all the encouragement they can get and many times their job is thankless.  But, really, teachers are working so hard daily and in their spare time to make our child's school experience wonderful and their brains full of knowledge.  As a former teacher, I know all of this first hand and want my children's teachers to feel loved.

 I have had the privilege the past few years planning out our Parent Faculty Club's celebration of Teachers and it's just so much fun that I thought I would pass them on to you.  I have created a page of tags that you can use to bring your child's teacher a little gift all week long.  They are fun and I promise won't break the bank. 
 On the first day, We gave the teachers one of our favorite pens and an invitation to a taco feast at the end of the week.
 You're a very POP-ular Teacher!  Just add a popcorn package and this one is set.  Get a little crazy and add a redbox coupon for popcorn and a movie!  (you can order codes on their website). 

 You're SO-DA Bomb!  I had fun making this one to match coke bottles, but you can find what the teacher's favorite soda is pretty easy. . . you're child might even know! 

 This Mint Printable is created to wrap around a pack of gum or a small container of Altoids.
  And finally, a bag of chips to wrap up the week! 

All of these are super easy and super cost effective and a lot of fun!  Plus, even though they are easy and inexpensive, just taking the moment to do something special really makes your child's teacher fill loved!  A teacher doesn't need you to buy them expensive gifts, but even little notes from your child to say thank you go a long way! 

You can click here to print out the printable.  

 Don't forget to tag @jolieklassen or use #outoftherightbrainblog to share 
how you are spoiling your teachers! 


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