Thursday, January 29, 2015

Stitch Fix Shipment #4

I received my fourth Stitch Fix shipment earlier this week.  I have to say, the boxes are getting better each time.  I really like three of the items I received this time but now I am trying to decide if I really want to pay for them.  I have learned through this whole Stitch Fix experience that I have a warped view of what clothing should cost.  Since I am a huge Old Navy and Target shopper, the thought of paying more than $24.99 for a top makes me sweat a bit.  I selected "as low as possible" for my pricing range with Stitch Fix and I still have sticker shock with each item.  Most of the items have averaged the $55-$65 range - for a top!  I could easily get three tops at Target for that price...  I know, I need to readjust my mindset.  I am working on it. :)

So, let's see what was in this shipment.

1.  Black and gray striped dress.  This was a huge no - no.  I looked like a Kardashian sister from the back.  My curves do not need horizontal stripes because those stripes become waves!  This will be the first thing I put back in the box.


2.  Black, shear top with embroidery.  This top is pretty but it hit my hips at a weird length.  I don't love it enough to pay the price.


3.  Gray sweater.  This item I really like.  I love sweaters and I especially like the detail on this one.  It is so soft and I find the design very different.  I like how the fold at the top ends up being the pockets on the bottom. I already have a gray sweater that I have owned for a couple of years.  I bought when I was forced to buy a swimsuit.  The sweater made me feel a little better about the shock and horror of the swimsuit.  Since this one is gray I am having a hard time justifying it but I really think it is a keeper.


4.  Navy top with embroidery and button detail.  I was surprised I received two tops that seemed so similar.  I thought this one seemed to mirror the black top I showed earlier in the post.  However, I really like the detail in this top.  The back has three gold buttons that are so cute.  Since, my hair is so short (too short but that is another story) the buttons will show.


Here is an up close picture of the back buttons.  So cute!


5.  Orange and white blouse.  This is my favorite piece out of the entire shipment.  I love everything about it.  The sleeves are especially cute.  It is hard to show them in the pictures but the cut at the bottom of the sleeve is something I have never had before.  I will most definitely keep this top!


This is the back of the sleeve where the elbow will show.  


Overall this has been my best shipment to date.  Of course, since I was thinking of canceling! :)   The prices still seem really high but the items are things I typically don't see in stores around town.  I think maybe I just need to relax and learn to spend a little more money on my clothes....maybe $40 per top... :)  That statement makes me hyperventilate a little...I need help!




Thursday, January 22, 2015

He Knows the Way to My Heart

It never fails, when I am tired, stressed, overwhelmed, or just plain moody, he knows the way to my heart.  My husband is the calm one in our house.  He is always level headed, never rushing around in a frantic state, always relaxed...and so am I am - NOT!  I often refer to him as my blankie or bee-bee (what my son called his blanket as a toddler).  He is my comfort zone.

This week has been rough.  Just to touch on a few of the highlights.

He has been working crazy hours as his family prepares to open the new location of their meat market ( in about 14 hours).  When my blankie is gone I get cranky!

Our fifteen year old, diabetic cat had a serious episode Sunday night which landed us at the emergency vet - ugh.  This led to two days of her staying at our vet's office while her medical bills went up, up, up.  This is about the 5th time we have prepared ourselves and the kids that we may have to put her to sleep.  Once she gets to the vet she perks up and returns to her fat and crabby self.  Again and again we bring her home.  We love her but seriously, how many lives does this cat have?!

My daughter ran a fever of 104.2 and was diagnosed with Flu A, despite having the shot.  Stupid flu! Stupid flu shot!!!  She is doing much better - enough to have talked non stop today... non. stop.

Our backyard was professionally landscaped and finished yesterday.  We love how it turned out.  However, it was a bit tricky to homeschool while dealing with the noise of tractors, dump trucks, etc.

We have been without meat all week!  This is probably my real issue.  Let me explain, my husband is a third generation butcher, we live in Texas, we grill out year round, we do not understand having dinner without meat!  The family meat market has been closed this week while they transitioned into the new location.  My husband told the kids and I not to expect any meat this week.  We just starred at him, jaws on the ground, dazed...confused.  I managed to get my hands on a package of bacon.  I am cooking it right now.  The sound and smell seems to be coming from Heaven.  I am sorry to offend (those who do not eat meat), but I do not understand life without meat.

Now, the real reason I am writing this post.  The kids and I had a very long day.  My daughter is getting over the flu, it has been rainy and we are just plain sick of each other (all of us).   I decided to turn the mood around and cook breakfast for dinner...this requires meat. B.A.C.O.N.  Bacon always puts my family in a good mood.  We drove over to the market as soon as we found out meat was available (pathetic, I know).  The kids ran in to grab the bacon and I stayed in the car.  This was a weird feeling for I have never done that before.  But sense they aren't officially open I felt more comfortable letting the kids run in.  Plus (and most likely the real reason) I was wearing old, worn out yoga pants.  You know, the type that when you put them on you better be going through a drive thru and pray that you will not get a flat tire.  Yep, I was looking HOT, so I decided to spare everyone and stay in the car.  My blankie, my hero, my main squeeze could see the look on my face (from the window)- showing exactly how our day went.  At that moment he brought me the most wonderful thing....

A BAG OF CRUSHED ICE AND A COKE!  HALLELUJAH - I LOVE THIS MAN!!!



Do I have to say anything else?  A bag of crushed ice, coke, and bacon = happiness!

It is the little things in a marriage that make it wonderful.  The small things show the biggest acts of love.  It shows that you truly "get" one another, that you are on the same team.

He knows my heart so well.  :)



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Landscaping the Backyard

A couple of months ago, the saga of our pool contstruction finally ended.  If you didn't keep up with those posts as we went, you can find them herehereherehere, and here.  Let's just say it took awhile... :)

While the pool looked fantastic the rest of the backyard was still in really bad shape.  We have tried and failed and tried again and failed again when it comes to landscaping.  We have also learned landscaping is not our talent... NOT. AT. ALL.  We decided that this time we would hire a landscaping company and just leave this project to the professionals.  I kept telling the landscaper that we need hardy plants that don't need a lot of attention and have patience for their owners.  :)

When our original layout, blueprint, (not sure what the exact name is) but the plan for the landscaping and the bid arrived, it was beautiful!  It looked like it came right off  HGTV and Backyard Crashers.  However, it also had a budget that did not really (okay, at all) match what we wanted to spend.  So, we made some (several) changes (cuts) and settled on what we felt would look nice and wouldn't put us in a state of budget shock.  Unfortunately, the majority of our budget was spent having the yard graded and laying new sod.  We kept the original plans and will probably add to the landscaping a little at a time.

Here are a few pictures of the our yard after the pool but before the landscaping.  This is the point where I take a long exhale and remind myself that showing these pictures to the world is a form of therapy.  We admitted we had a problem, made a plan, and followed through.  :)









AND. NOW. THE AFTER!!!! TA-DAH!!!

Lucy was very excited to run, sniff, and well, do her doggy business on the new grass.

My kids were also excited to get in the backyard.  Even my youngest (far right) who had the flu and a very high fever insisted on exploring.


I cannot wait for spring when everything starts blooming.

I should have taken a before picture of this area.  It was the oddest dead space between the house and the pool.  I love how the landscapers filled it in.

In the middle of the two palm trees is a bird of paradise plant.  This was specifically requested by our kids.  :)  It was a running joke with the landscaper - cut the budget but make sure there is a bird of paradise somewhere in the backyard. :)





We have rosemary bushes on each side of the entrance to the fire pit.  I am looking forward to using those when I cook.


We have had the fire pit for a few years.  My husband has laid it twice but after a ton of rain this fall, it sank horribly on one side.  The landscapers moved each and every rock, re-leveled the area and then laid everything back down.

Since it is "winter" (I use that term loosing for where we live), the grass is dormant.  We are really looking forward to spring when the grass turns green and all the plants bloom (being we can keep everything alive that long).





Friday, January 16, 2015

Hope for the Weary Mom - Join Me!


I am so excited about the new book Hope for the Weary Mom by Brooke McGlothlin and Stacey Thacker.  As mom, we are have seasons of being tired, overwhelmed, and just ready to throw in the towel.  I have followed Brooke through The MOB Society (Mother of Boys) for a couple of years.  Her wisdom, insight, and ability to make my feelings of weariness seem normal are such a blessing.  Since I believe in so much of what Brooke and Stacey have to share with other mommas, I have become part of the Weary Mom launch team.

I think because I have had so many unusual ups and downs through my ten years of motherhood, I have an overwhelming feeling to help other moms.  I will be posting images and inspirations on Facebook, Instagram and through my blog as this books gets ready to be launched.

If this is something that you can relate to please follow the link Hope for the Weary Mom to view all that Brooke and Stacey have to offer.  You can also join the Facebook page here and become part of this wonderful group of moms.

I hope you jump in and find this as much of a comfort and blessing as I do.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fireside Mix: My New Guilty Pleasure

Over the holidays, a dear friend of mine gave me the most glorious, tummy warming, adorable drink mix.  It is called Fireside and I LOVE it.  Also, the mix came in a mason jar, with ribbon, and decorative top.  I pretty much love anything in a mason jar! :)


This mix became my little treasure.  I didn't offer to share it with the kids because it contains coffee and my husband wasn't overly crazy about it.  So, there - ALL MINE!!!  MINE, MINE, MINE!  Sorry, the "only child" comes out every now and then.  I drank my treasure in the morning, during the afternoon, and at night after the kids were in bed.  I went through the mix rather quickly (to the point of embarrassment).  Since, my stash ran out I found the recipe on Pinterest and decided to make my own.

It is so simple, a little instant coffee, non-dairy powdered creamer, hot cocoa mix, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Here is the link to the original recipe I found on Pinterest (allrecipes.com).


Fireside Mix pictured here on our coffee bar

Such a beautiful sight! :)





Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Glimpse Into What He Sees

Earlier this week we attended First Wednesday at our church.  Once a month (on the first Wednesday), our church holds an evening service filled with worship, communion, and baptisms.  For as many years as we have attended our church, it is probably unusual that we have never attended First Wednesday.  It starts at 6:30pm which means if we are going I am flying solo because my husband is still at work.

I can't speak for all moms, but for me, events like this make me feel anxious and a bit overwhelmed (wonder where my son gets his anxiety...).  I have said this before, my husband is like my security blanket.  If he is there I feel calm and willing to attend various activities.  However, if he is at work, I would rather just not attend and stay home.  I am a huge home-body and I just prefer to keep my crew under my roof, my watchful eye, and away from the judgement of others.  Due to my son's anxiety, ADHD, and ODD, new events and sometimes events that he should be used to can cause the worst meltdowns and reactions.  And let me also bring up, these moments are not quiet and un-noticed. Nope, these moments are always an interruption and moment of entertainment for everyone else.  So, one episode after another, it just became easier to stay home.

Now, what so many people don't get to see is the softness my son has for the Lord.  He may not always  show it, but he truly loves God.  Last year, he prayed the Prayer of Salvation during the Christmas Eve service at church.  As he prayed aloud, his voice was filled with so much confidence and joy.  It was such a beautiful moment witnessed by my husband, myself, his siblings, and my parents.  A year later, he is really beginning to ask questions about being baptized.  He heard about First Wednesday and asked me if we could go.  Knowing that this was something that meant a lot to him, I pushed my feelings and anxiety aside and made a commitment to him that we would attend.

He reminded me every day for a week that First Wednesday was coming.  I assured him we would go and then I would pray and remind myself that I could do it. :)  I made a plan of action in my head.  It went something like this:

1.  Use the book, If I Could Ask God Anything (Amazon link) to explain to the kids about communion and baptism.  Side note - this book is amazing.  I use it all the time with our kids.  It is great for those tricky little questions that you can't quite find the right words to answer.
2.  Explain the baptismal pools and why the people being baptized are not "swimming".  (Get my kids around anything that looks like a pool and they are ready to dive in.)
3.  Think of the the sanctuary and plan where to sit.  It must be on an end, it must not be too close or too far back so all three kiddos can see.  It must be in a location for easy departure, in the event "something" comes up.
4.  Limit liquids four hours prior to leaving the house so the bathroom thing just doesn't come up.  Okay, okay, I didn't really do this but the thought did cross my mind.  :)
5.  Plan a good dinner so everyone has nice full bellies and good moods.
6.  Pack a roll of Lifesaver candies in case anyone decides they need to talk.
7.  Explain to the kids that the small cups of grape juice and tiny wafers (for communion) are not a snack, do not ask for more, do not complain that the wafers have the appearance of styro-foam, do not make gross faces or gagging noises if the taste is not preferred.

Now do you see why it is just easier for me to stay home?

So, are you wondering how the evening turned out?

It. Was. Amazing!!!!

The kids were great, they loved every part of it.  They danced, clapped, and sang their little hearts out.  They used excellent manners during communion.  I successfully opened four communion cups and distributed to the kids without spilling (this was a huge concern of mine).  The containers have those really strong seals, one wrong move and you are throwing it across the sanctuary.  I watched my kids through teary-momma eyes.  It was such an awesome moment that God allowed me to witness.  I felt like I was watching my children through His eyes.  I did not feel any anxiety, stress, or worry.  I only felt pure joy, the type of joy that can only be given to you by God.  I felt God's love wrapped around the four of us.  I sensed Him telling me that their futures will be fine and that we (my husband and I) are doing a good job.  I felt Him assuring me that we are instilling in our children a love for Him and His kingdom.

It is so easy to only look at our children through our own eyes and often times those eyes are tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious.  It was such a gift to have an hour of watching my children through His eyes - eyes of joy and love.  It was a huge reminder to seek out those moments instead of hide from them.  I thank God for placing First Wednesday on my son's heart.  Through his determination to attend, I experienced a wonderful moment.




Monday, January 5, 2015

Let's Keep Things Real

Happy 2015 to everyone!  Isn't it crazy that we are now in the year of Back to the Future 2?  The movie made the year seem so futuristic.  I think this is going to be a great year.  I am usually not a gushy, warm-fuzzy, overly optimistic type person but this year I just feel it in my bones.  Now my realistic (sometimes pessimistic) side is reminding me that it is only January 5th and to give it some time.  I am trying to tune out my Negative Nellie and just enjoy the optimism I am currently feeling.

I have several personal goals for this year but as far as my blog goes, my main goal is to keep things real.  It is true, those of us who blog (for the most part) only post the fantastic, smiling kids, awesome craft, life changing moments.  When you read blogs as much as I do it is so easy to forget that other bloggers do the same thing.  The same is true for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.  What was the last picture you posted?  Was it a great holiday, family moment?  Or was it a small video of your child throwing a huge temper tantrum in the middle of Target?  My bet goes to the first option.  We all do it - we highlight the great moments.  BUT as weary, tired moms sometimes it is really nice to hear about another mom's not-so great moment.  It reminds us that we are not the only ones that don't always have it all together.

About a month ago, I was having one of those not so great days.  I caught myself spending way too much time on Facebook and wondering why my life didn't look as rosie as everyone else's.  Have you done this?  The same is true for Pinterest.  It is the best place to get ideas but it can also make you feel like you are the least creative person, worst cook, and own an outdated and boring house.  My dear, dear friend reminded me that social media is fake and to keep things in perspective.  She even joked and called Facebook, "Fakebook".

Our conversation really stuck with me and it made me wonder if my blog appears fake.  The last thing I want to do is make other's feel like I have it all together and they don't.  When I started the blog I was told that people really don't want to read about the "icky" moments of motherhood and life.  I should really stick to writing about the super positive and overly cute moments.  Now, that I have managed my little blog for almost two years, I think I can mix both worlds.  Yes, you better believe I will post those great days and awesome homeschool ideas or activities.  However, I also want to post about other moments - the moments that happen all the time.  The way I look at it, if someone doesn't like what I am writing they don't have to continue reading.

I want my blog to be a place of comfort for the women I love.  One of my most favorite ways to spend my time (without children) is at Bible study.  Okay, see that statement sounds so goodie-goodie (insert eye-roll).  But let me explain myself.  I do enjoy learning and studying the Bible but I really enjoy the fellowship with the other women.  This is the time we check-in on one another, share stories, offer encouragement and much needed wisdom.  That is the tone and mood I want for my blog.  It means so much to me that anyone would take the time to read what I write.  If you are taking that time out of your schedule then I want it to be a place of comfort (even better a place of comfort with a cup of coffee). :)

I wish everyone a wonderful 2015.  Now I have the urge to watch Back to the Future 2 to compare what is correct for 2015 and what is still way out there and futuristic.  But that will have to be for another day, in exactly 4 minutes we have to begin our homeschooling lessons (after three weeks off).  Please. Pray. for. My. Sanity......:)