Some bells and whistles courtesy of the Samsung Family Hub

I’ll be honest with you guys… I’m not usually a bells and whistles type of gal. But when we were reached out to about trying the new Family Hub Refrigerator from Home Depot, the bells and whistles sounded real nice:D

We spend so much time as a family in our kitchen. We are having fun learning how to use the features of our Family Hub and are creating fun memories in the process.

We love dance parties! Like a lot, a lot! So when I saw that the Family Hub had our favorite music apps and a high quality speaker on the front of the door, I knew the girls would be so excited about it!

The girls are quick to turn on our favorite Spotify stations as we begin making our breakfasts each morning and it’s been really enjoyable.

Another favorite feature is the Doodle and Post It note apps. The girls will doodle drawings and create little love notes while we prepare our meals and cook. I truly love seeing their new creations and little love notes when I go to open the fridge.

Also, you know how I know I’ve reached like extra mom status? I got excited about being able to remotely add my calendar, reminders, and grocery shopping lists to our Family Hub. I can also upload pictures and videos and do all of this from my phone.

Remember the days when refrigerators were just boxes that kept our food cold:D But seriously, this thing has legit AI technology and can help me with meal planning, recipe searches, and can even help me do both based on ingredients we already have in our Family Hub. This is the closest to the Jetsons I’ve ever felt☺️

The girls don’t get overly excited about too many of my partnerships, but I’m warning you, the first thing they will ask you if you come over right now, is if you want to see their new fridge😀 They are super impressed with it and now think their Mom’s job is really cool:D

We got the 26.5 cu. ft.Family Hub 3 French Door Standard Depth in Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel. Chris loves the modern look and I love not wiping it down every day:D And dudes! There is so much space inside! The extra room is lovely, but the technology to help our foods last even longer is wild! I genuinely had no idea Humidity Controlled Drawers designed to help keep fruit and veggies stay fresh longer was even a thing before this fridge, and I‘m totally here for it.

Oh! And one more thing, and possibly my favorite feature of our Family Hub! If the doors get left open, she sings a little song to let us know! With 4 little ladies who frequently visit the snack drawer, leaving the fridge open is almost a game around here:D It’s so nice being able to make sure the doors get closed.

There are so many neat features I am excited to use on our Samsung Family Hub! If you’re currently on the hunt, I am happy to answer any questions you might have about our Family Hub.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored and made possible by HomeDepot and Samsung but all opinions expressed are our own.

And a huge thank you to Meggan Harrison Photography for taking these photos for us.

Layers are the secret!!

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Hi friends. I want to tell you a little trick I’ve learned in my years as a homemaker. There are lots of different secrets and tips to make you home look the way you want, but I am going to tell you my all-time favorite recipe for COZY!!

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We have the honor of working with our friends Garnet Hill to showcase the magic powers of LAYERING!!! I like to joke around a lot about my love of pillows and blankets, and also maybe chairs and wardrobes and then also baskets:D  But! there is a reality that I’m super influenced by my environment and when I feel cozy, our days just function so much better.
As the weather is cooling down and Fall right around the corner, this feels like the right time to show you how I try and create cozy spaces with layers.

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I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of typical Fall decor. I don’t think any less of people who decorate that way, but I don’t own any pumpkins or Fall-themed art. Those just don’t feel like us. However, what I do like to decorate with in the chillier months are more pillows and blankets! The only thing my husband loves more than my collection of pillows and blankets is when I add more pillows and blankets:D But for real, decorating your home should be personal. You should create an environment that makes YOU feel HOME!

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STEP 1. Mattress Topper! We have the Garnet Hill Organic Mattress Pad and are really enjoying it! It’s an easy way to add some extra comfort and protect your mattress. And let’s me real… a lot of stuff just gets peed on these days:)  Honestly, I wish we would have invested in a topper the moment any of us got a new mattress.. Still…better late than never:D

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STEP 2. Down Comforter. Theres something magical about a good down comforter to me! They just add so much coziness to a bed and bedroom. Their fluffiness makes me want to jump right in! I also love that they can be all-weather blankets. When I’m cold they keep me warm and when it’s hot, I don’t feel bothered by them.

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STEP 3. Linen Duvet Cover and Pillow Covers– While I will admit, I have to mentally prepare myself, maybe even stretch a little, before I change a duvet cover,  I love that linen bedding only seems to get cozier and cozier with each wash! Linen covers protect our comforters and are easier to wash than essentially a giant sack of feathers, making the challenge of putting a cover on worth it!

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Step 4. Pillows– Pillows might be my love language 😀 They’re a simple way to add depth, layers, and they can easily be changed out and moved around to make way for differnt color schemes and seasons!

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I like to add vintage pillowcases to our bed and Garnet Hill currently has some that I plan on adding to our room soon! This is a fun way to change up the bedding for the seasons or if you just want a simple refresh. Simple changes can make a huge difference!

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STEP 5. Textures. Don’t be afraid to mix and match textures! In fact, you should do this! Layering different textures and colors doesn’t have to be anything crazy. I like bright whites mixed with warm creams and deeper beiges. When it comes to textures, the more the better for me:D I enjoy layering cottons and silks,  linens,  quilts,  waffle prints and knitted blankets together,  and feel like mixing all of these beautiful textiles together makes for such an inviting space!

 

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STEP 6. The power of the throw blanket! It’s something so simple, but such an easy way to add warmth and layers all over your home! You can simply add a throw to the end of a bed for that lived-in cozy feel! Or easily stuff your messes in baskets and then cover that mess with a beautiful knit throw 🙂Even throw one over a chair or chairs to create cozy little nooks around the house.

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Layering doesn’t just have to be for the beds though! We store throw blankets in baskets and crocks and on the chairs and couches and try to create an environment that’s, not only pretty, but invites us to rest. It’s so nice to be able to have blankets close by to snuggle up in as we read our favorite books and watch our favorite movies together.

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Garnet Hill has such a lovely collection of linens, quilts, florals, waffle knits and we truly enjoy adding their cozy touches to our home!

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See?! layers and textures and patterns together can look SO pretty when it comes to bedding!

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A mix of layered make wardrobes look like this!

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And linen closets look like this!

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Another example of how we have paired a Garnet Hill down comforter and Striped duvet cover with vintage and handmade pieces.

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I think that even messes look pretty with the right textures and layers!

Disclaimer: This post was made possible by Garnet Hill but all opinions expressed are our own. Thank you Garnet Hill for helping us cozy up our home!

 

Celebrating Mother’s Day at Home: A few ways to make it magical for Mom!

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This Mother’s Day, many of us mother’s share something extra in common. Many of us will be celebrating at home with our families and with no plans to go anywhere else. I’ll be honest with you, I miss my friends and thrifting and coffee shop dates and game nights, but there is also no other place I would like to be than at home and with our family. Being a mother is the most incredible thing I have ever known! But it doesn’t come without lots of sacrifice and exhaustion. I am hopeful this will inspire you to cozy up and celebrate that special mom you are home with a little extra this year! 

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I don’t believe all mothers are built alike, so I want to also to emphasize that when you plan to celebrate that special mom, be sure to celebrate her in the ways that SHE wants to be celebrated. If she doesn’t like wine and sushi, don’t get her wine and sushi. If she hates waking up early, don’t surprise her with an early breakfast in bed. If she’s asked you to stop spending money, don’t buy her expensive jewelry. There have been times where a friend’s husband will share with me the surprise or gift he is getting for his lady and I’m like, “NOOOOOO! She will not like that!” On any occasion where you’re celebrating someone else, try your very best to make the gifts or surprises about THEM and something THEY will like!  Just because you saw a commercial or have heard it’s a tradition, doesn’t mean it will celebrate that mom the way she wants to be celebrated.  So, here are some ideas that will hopefully spark some ideas and some simple and special ways to celebrate the special Mother’s in your lives at home this year. 

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Breakfast in Bed: When I think cozy, I think of warm linen bedding, cozy slippers, my soft robe, warm coffee, and all of the snuggles I can get! I am already dreaming of waking up to my favorite record on, the sounds of the coffee grinder, the giggles and pitter patter of little feet, the sounds of dishes clinking and clanking as our daughters and my husband work on preparing a special “surprise” breakfast in bed for me☺️  

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I can smell my favorite smell of fresh coffee brewing! I can imagine the pretty little flowers and weeds from the yard that the girls gathered and put in old thrifted cups that they surprise me with so often!

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Some of the most precious memories I hold are the unexpected breakfasts I have been served in bed. While I’ve learned to look forward to this on special occasions, it still never get old!  It doesn’t matter what the food is… It is the incredible intention, excitement, and love the girls pour into all of it all that makes it so special!

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Maybe breakfast in bed is too early for some families.  You can always give mom the gift of sleeping in and a surprise her with a picnic in the living room or yard. Maybe a little brunch or evening charcuterie shared on a quilt in the living room is more her style❤️

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Homemade Gifts: I don’t think there is a ‘one size fits all’ gift for mom. We’re all different and all feel loved in different ways. But homemade cards and sweet little homemade gifts from our daughters are my absolute favorite!!!  There’s something so simple about a folded piece of paper filled with words that I taught our girls to spell. Letters and colors that I first showed them and taught them how to make pictures and words with. Pure magic, I tell ya!

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The best thing about homemade gifts, is you don’t need to go anywhere for supplies!  All you need is paper and writing utensils. A coloring sheet or maybe some scrap paper. Even craft paper left over from holiday wrapping works! Our oldest has started finding old pictures of me and my husband and glueing them to the insides of homemade cards and it’s the coolest thing to me! If you have an old frame lying around, frame their work so mom can keep it on her bedside table or display it somewhere special:D

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If your littles are too young to create cards themselves, trace their hands or give them some finger paints to smear on paper. My husband still has the piece of paper covered in a six month old’s first scribbles framed from his first Father’s Day! Google, ‘homemade Mother’s Day crafts’ and have your mind blown! There are so many awesome ideas out there!

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Movies at Home: One of the most special things my husband has done for me, was rent my favorite movie and surprise me with some of my favorite snacks and beverages. He didn’t tell me until the end of the day, right as we were getting the girls ready for bed. He was so exited and I was so excited that he had done this for me. Again, it was something so simple, but so sweet and fun. If you have a projector and a sheet, maybe you can set up a mini theatre in your living room or yard to make it a little extra or consider drinking a little extra coffee and stay up late binging her favorite show together!

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The gift of time and relaxation: What a beautiful, beautiful thing! Take the kids to collect flowers and play outside while mom takes a cozy and silent bath inside! You can maybe even make her a simple salt bath with epsom salt & her favorite essential oil. Lay out her favorite book, have a candle lit, maybe some music playing… make it an extra special bath for her!

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A fun scavenger hunt: Our daughters love scavenger hunts! You can get creative with you children and make a  sweet scavenger hunt for mom, leading her to a cup of fresh coffee or the homemade gifts or breakfast you’ve prepared for her!

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Leave notes throughout the home: A simple love note or love notes left in different places around the house sharing your favorite things about your wife or mother is another fun way to show mom you see her! Maybe a ‘Thanks for cleaning me so much’ note left on the toilet. Get funny and be comical if that’s your guy’s love language! Humor is special to me, so finding funny notes with sweet intentions in unexpected places for me is gold! Write special messages on mirrors or chalkboards in your home!

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Help: Maybe that special mom in your life has a project she’s been so hopeful to finish!  A bathroom that needs finished painting, maybe a drawer she’s wanted fixed. Maybe she has a cast iron sink sitting sitting on her dining room floor that she’s really excited to use!:D Surprise her with finishing, or helping her finish a project or make her a special note assuring her you guys will finish that special project when you can frequent hardware stores again.

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Serve her favorite food: Being that we can’t dine in anywhere, maybe consider having her favorite meal from her favorite restaurant delivered!

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Music: Sometimes showing love is as simple as playing her favorite music throughout the day. The girls will often go put one of my records on just to see my smile! Have her favorite music playing when she wakes up and add to the layers of special.

 

Whatever you do this Mother’s Day, do your best to let that special mom know that you love her! That you know this is a weird season and that you see how difficult it is sometimes. And to the mothers with essential jobs still working, THANK YOU! To the mothers who have been thrown into the world of home education, THANK YOU! To the mothers who find themselves a little more overwhelmed or maybe a little more grateful, THANK YOU! To all of the mothers, THANK YOU for your many sacrifices and for making us the Mother’s we get to be today! 

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Disclaimer: A special thanks to our friends at GarnetHill for helping make this post possible. While GarnetHill has gifted us pieces for this blog piece, all opinions expressed are our very own.

At Home with Kaley From Kansas

It occurred to me, as we are confined to our homes, that I never shared our home session with the very talented KaleyfromKansas. My favorite place to be is within these walls and with these people… I used to be a serious extrovert and, while my love for being around people and meeting new people has not changed, I love being home more than anywhere. Chris was home this past Holiday break and it was the most magical thing to me. The girls and I went about our homeschooling, Chris got to see what our days at home looked like, he helped me more with meals and laundry and dishes and all the things…We would all stay up late in the evenings, talking and playing games for hours. Chris and I began dating one another from home in the coolest ways! We slept in, made big breakfasts together, and the world slowed down for us so much. I remember thinking, this is all I want…I want a slow, simple life, surrounded by loved ones… And with many new emotions added to the mix, we have that again.

The Pahls Family

Such a simple moment, but something I will miss all too soon. Almost every time we go down the stairs, Frankie reaches for me to carry her down. When she first started talking and walking, she would lift her arms up and say, “can I hold you” or the sweetest little “weeach”. I think I’ll cry when the day comes that she no longer asks me to do this…

We have found ourselves in a really weird place. I remember when I was pregnant with our second daughter, Charlie. My best friend found out she was also pregnant. We were so excited and it was amazing and then a few days later…she miscarried and lost her baby. It changed my pregnancy with Charlie so much. I was so happy and grateful, but I also carried a heavy sadness, a deep grief, and honestly a tremendous amount of guilt. I hurt for my friend so much. Her suffering didn’t mean I wasn’t experiencing great joy, but it greatly altered the way I felt it or could express it. This is similar to what I am feeling now….

The Pahls Family

I am so grateful that we are home and well and have jobs that allow us to keep doing what we were doing from home. Chris is a college professor and while his days look different, he is still able to connect with his students and teach and grow, and learn along side them. I am so fortunate to bring home a little income through sharing our days and partnering with wonderful companies. I feel so weird in this. I look around and see so much chaos, but all I feel is peace. I find peace in knowing we are all experiencing this together, that we aren’t in control, that tomorrow is not promised.. and then I feel weird, and almost guilty, for feeling peace in these things. I feel what I felt with Charlie. I would look down and see my belly and feel her kick and my heart would swell… and then it would sink… I am so happy for what our family is getting to experience. The peace, the joy, the stillness…But then I look around and am met with mourning.. and I have to mourn with those who are mourning…I don’t know how not to. I am hurting so badly for our friends and family and all of those who are being affected negatively by this strange virus and this new normal. I don’t want people to be sick or full of fear.  I don’t want people to have to suffer. I am aware of my privilege more than I ever have been. I have gained many new perspectives that grieve my heart. But, even in the mourning, I can’t help but see so much hope. I see the rainbows painted on windows and bears on porches and I can’t help but feel so much hope.

The Pahls Family

I went to the grocery store and saw the empty shelves.  I went to the Post Office to find barricades made of boxes and plastic sheeting to separate customers from employees. I feel the weirdness. That, ‘is this really real life?!’ feeling… BUT, my friends and I are fasting and praying with one another and texting deep stuff along with the best memes of our lives.  I am feeling a deep love and appreciation for my friends in a whole new way; a deepening love for their spouses and children and my spouse and our children. Our family feels more glued together than it ever has been… What strange emotions to process…

The Pahls Family

I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t want to or need to know. For now, I am choosing to focus on right now. I am choosing gratefulness and joy and trying to be the peace amongst the chaos. I am enjoying every moment with Chris home and this stillness we get to have with the girls. Life seems to be on pause, or in slow motion at least… I know life is weird, friends… Like, this is real, real weird. Have I mentioned how weird this is… But for real, I hope you find yourself full of so much peace and hope right now. We are all in this together, friends!   With that being said, here are some moments that I am so grateful to have been captured. Thank you so much, Kaley! Little reminders of the beauty that lives in the simple moments at home, whether we’re quarantined or not.

The Pahls Family

Just as Ada grew out of the coloring on walls stage, Frankie joined in. I’ve painted our hallway 3 times since living here because of it. And I’m totally ok with it. In fact, we gave Frankie a yellow colored pencil to color away because I genuinely don’t want to forget these sweet creative installations that have filled our home through the years…

The Pahls Family

Kaley did such an incredible job capturing us in an organic way. She prompted us and I was happy to go with any of her creative idea because, if you’ve seen Kaley’s work, you know you can trust her to create magic!!

The Pahls Family

 

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The Pahls Family

I don’t ever want to forget the sound of their feet running up and down these stairs. The giggles as we chase on another or play hide and seek… Those sounds are so special to me!

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

We have a balcony off of our bedroom. The girls have always thought it was the coolest thing. Sometimes, the magic and glory seems to sometimes become less as we age.. But the girls have brought so much magic back into our lives! I never would have thought to do photos our here, but I am so glad Kaley did!

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The Pahls Family

I look at this photo and want to scream the word, REDEMPTION! There are so many parts of my past that I thought would define me and prevent me from having the dream of a loving husband or family or any of this… Man, grace and healing and forgiveness and redemption are words with so much meaning for me!

The Pahls Family

Dance parties are a huge deal in this family! We have them several times a week and we can get pretty into it. Kaley put on the new Aladdin soundtrack and we just did our thing. The sun shining on us, dancing in the breeze… It was magic!

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

Frankie and Ada loves pretending to be puppies. Recently I’ve joined their puppy crew. Frankie pulls on my belts and belt loops and says, “come here mommy puppy”. More magic.

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The Pahls Family

Did you guys know I was told I most likely wouldn’t be able to have children? I went through a season where I felt devastated at the thought of this. We have 4 incredible promises reminding me of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

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The Pahls Family

Chris’ sister made the girls the most incredible food for their kitchen play set. She is one of the best gift givers and most talented people I have ever known! She is such a blessing and blesses these little ladies with absolute treasures!

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The Pahls Family

When Norah and Charlie were younger, we had picnics and snacks out here several times a week. We actually locked ourselves out one day and I yelled at a neighbor, whom I had never met, and asked her to come walk into our home, make her way to our bedroom and let us in. She kindly did and I am grateful for a neighbor like her.

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The Pahls Family

Thumb wars are a new favorite game in this home!

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The Pahls Family

Find you a man who plays with your kids… Like builds blocks with them and reads books, and has dance parties, and jumps with them on the trampoline… Not because they feel obligated… but because they love their children and are happy to be with them in their element.

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The Pahls Family

This wardrobe is SO special! Like, the story of getting it literally changed my life and faith. I will share about it in detail later, but it is another reminder of God’s faithfulness in my life.

The Pahls Family

The day I weened Frankie I had to leave the house. Weening was so hard for me this last time emotionally. I didn’t want to but knew I needed to. Ada and I went to the thrift store and on our way out, after not finding anything, she said, “mom, can I please have that toy?” I looked over and saw this beautiful buggy that instantly reminded me of being her age living in Germany… and $3 later she was ours! It’s so special to us!

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

Oldest and youngest. The moment Norah and Charlie learned to read, they became better teacher than me I think.

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

I went through a stage where I thought bonnets were hideous. Man, I was SO, SO, SO, SO SO, SO, SO, SO, SO, SO wrong!!!!

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The Pahls Family

Be right back… this photo makes me need to go kiss this guy.

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

This is going to sound super dramatic but… I had been wanting photos done with Kaley for a long time.. but it just never felt right. I had a few larger collabs happen so we had a little extra monies and Chris asked what I wanted to do with it. We could use the money and celebrate, maybe buy something special, or even invest it…  I feel like like we did all of that. These photos were a bit of a celebration for me. I had just lost 60 lbs and for the first time in a long time I felt like myself. These photos feel like a major investment in something so very special. 

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The Pahls Family

The way Kaley captured small details of the girls and our home….. SO GOOD!!!

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The Pahls Family

baby thighs and tippy toes… 

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Clothing Resources

Tights: RyleeandCru

Norah, Charlie, Ada’s dresses + Frankie’s Romper: TheSimpleFolkCo

Ada’s Dress + Frankie’s Bloomers: Minimom

My Sweater:Sezane

My Jeans: Madewell 

Charlies Bows: ShopAcre 

Frankie’s Bows: KDBird

 

That rug really tied the room together | Warming up our home with Rugs Direct

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Rugs Direct, a specialty online retailer of decorative area rugs, but all opinions expressed are my own.

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When we moved into our home, it was covered in baby blue shag carpet and like two inches deep! The previous owners had already pulled up a lot.. but it was still all over. We’re talking in the closets, on the stairs, channeling that blue song from the early 2000’s kind of feels. But under all that shag were gorgeous hardwood floors in immaculate condition! We quickly learned though, that all of that hardwood made for a loud, echoey, and cold space. Not just temperature cold, but there was something missing.

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We started adding rugs, but discovered that we were getting the wrong rugs for us. I remember our first was this thick black and white rug that was just felt too intense for me. As our tastes changed and we added more babies, we got more of a feel for what we liked and wanted in our space. We liked pretty, but we also needed to start focusing on the practical.

The Pahls Family

The Pahls Family

I originally learned about Rugs Direct through Instagram. I entered a giveawayand won! That’s one of the best feelings! It was a lovely rug which we got questions about all the time. I’ve linked it here . It didn’t take long for me to learn that I needed less. The rugs we bought at first were bold and had a lot of colors and contrasts. I learned that I wanted something more simple for our space. Something that would add warmth, would be easy maintenance and give off the cozy feel that I want people to feel in our home.

The Pahls Family

We have this area in our bedroom that kind of feels like a walkway. And it felt so empty. I knew I wanted a rug that was thick, with lots of texture, and neutral colors that would go well with our bedroom. We had a different rug in this spot previously that was pretty, but just did not fit in here. I gifted it to a friend and recently visited her home and it looked amazing in her hallway! Side note: If you’re no longer feeling your rugs or other decor, but they’re in good condition, gift them to friends! It’s such a fun feeling to change your space and get to help someone change theirs at the same time! I love seeing items we have previously loved being loved by someone new!

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Anyways, I saw this one and knew it was the one. Our bedroom has so many warm creams and beiges that it needed something that would match, but not be the same colors. This rug has cooler yellow and sage tones which compliments the wood floors, oatmeal bedding, baskets and leather in our room. It warms up the space so well and made this area feel so much more cozy! I love getting out of bed and walking on it. The textures are so nice to me.

The Pahls Family

Bohemian Collection by Safavieh

This particular Bohemian collection is an all-organic, biodegradable and recyclable, hand-knotted in India, and harvested only from Cannabis Sativa (commonly known as the true hemp plant). It’s a quickly renewable resource that excels in length, durability, anti-mildew and antimicrobial properties. So, she’s pretty, but also really  kind of amazing thinking about how much work has gone into such a piece.

The Pahls Family

We have several Jute rugs in our home, and while I love the look of jute, you know the cons if you have one. They’re beautiful and durable, but they stain easily, shed, and are pretty dang itchy. I have found that they work best in high traffic areas like a landing or an area like an office or under a bed where you can see them but not have to sit on them necessarily. They add such a warmth to a space, but are not great if you’re going to be spending lots of time sitting and playing on them.

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We originally had this beautiful bleached Jute rug in the girls’ room, and while I loved the look of it, it just wasn’t cozy to sit and play on. The girls spend so much time in this space and every time I would sit t play with them, I would think about how uncomfortable it was and stand up to find my clothing covered in jute fibers. We needed something much softer and that wouldn’t shed on us.

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Confetti Rug by Colonial Mills

I stumbled upon this Confetti Rug and loved it! It had that beautiful braided and classic look of Jute, but it’s made up of chenille and cotton. It’s so soft and the textures, colors, and oval shape are the perfect compliment to the girl’s room. The soft chenille fibers, soothing colors and reversibility really makes this an amazing rug for a nursery or child’s room. I’ll say that again, this bad boy is reversible! I maybe spilled a cup of coffee and while I got most of it out, I went ahead and flipped her upside down and now she looks brand new!

The Pahls Family

They had several colors, but this one had sweet pops of this gorgeous tan and it instantly made me think of our 3 year-old daughter.

The Pahls Family

Our home is made up of lots of neutral colors, with layers of whites, creams, wooden tones and, in one room in particular, LOTS of oranges:D If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that our 3 year old loves the color orange like her momma loves the coffees.

The Pahls Family

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I had originally picked out this rugfor our school room, but it only took about a week with it in that space to realize I had these rugs in the wrong rooms. I switched them and moved the Confetti rug to Ada’s room and it fits this space perfectly!

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Did I mention how well it softens the sounds of towering blocks being knocked down:D

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I’m no genius or interior decorator… But here’s what I’ve learned about rugs. Get what you like and what works for your home. Get a rug that makes your space feel how you like it. Sometimes we’re quick to get a rug because we see someone else have it on social media, which isn’t necessarily wrong, but be sure to invest in what you really like and what’s most comfortable for you and your family!

The Pahls Family

Get a rug that is both pretty AND practical! We learned this the hard way! Norah and Charlie, our two oldest, wanted a super fluffy rug. The first one we got was synthetic and had such a strong and overpowering chemical smell, we felt sick and had to send it back. So research the materials and make sure you’re ok with them. We then returned it for the fluffiest white wool rug I could find. And it was beautiful… But NOT practical! That thing was soft, but it swallowed up little toys and barbie shoes and I probably stepped on a sharp little something hiding in its untamable mane every day. Also, no matter how much I vacuumed, that stuff collected dust bunnies, seemed to multiply like bunnies, and there were wool clumps all over our home! And I’ll never forget finding an orange crayon that had made it’s way to the bottom, been mashed up, and melted, and well… that was not a rug we were able to gift:D

The Pahls Family

I have learned what kind of rugs I want in our home. Something with neural colors and made with mostly natural materials, that can be cleaned easliy and hide coffee stains well, that is soft and enjoyable to play on, run on, wrestle on, maybe even make some babies on:D  A rug has a classic and timeless look, but doesn’t need to be combed or deshedded like a dog, that is friendly to our vacuum, and where lots and lots of memories can be made!

The Pahls Family

There are so many different kinds of rugs and rug shopping can be overwhelming! I’m currently trying to choose a few more and it has literally taken me months to decide:D However, I hope you found this to be helpful and I am happy to answer any questions if you have any! I also have a giveaway happening right now on INSTAGRAM you can be a part of. Head on over for more details and maybe win a rug of your own! Thank you friends for being here and reading, and thank you RugsDirect for helping us cozy up our home!

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Several Photos in this blog are by Bethany Meysenburg andKaleyFromKansas.

Hacking laundry with Whirlpool

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(Disclosure: The following post was sponsored by Whirlpool. I received product and compensation, but all opinions expressed are my own.)

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As a home-educating mother of 4, it feels like we are always on the go. Did I mention our four children are all little ladies under the age of 7?! If you have children, you know this means that they each wear about a load of laundry a day:D  I absolutely love our days at home, but I am also all for the little life hacks that can save time and simplify our lives right now!  I’m not sure if it’s I’m still recovering from the holidays or it’s just this season of life, but it definitely feels like there is more to do and less time to do it. Anyone else? Is this just part of motherhood? Anyway, I was beyond stoked when we got the new Whirlpool® Smart Front Load Laundry Pair with Load & Go™ XL Plus dispenser a few months back.

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The features are beyond cool! For example, The Whirlpool® Smart Front Load Laundry Pair with Load & Go™ XL Plus dispenserallows you to pre-load detergent and fabric softener for up to 40 loads, meaning you can skip a step with this beautiful, time-saving feature! Being able to pre-load our detergent and save a little time is so lovely!

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Plus, many of these features make it easier for the girls to help me. They think the touch screens are the coolest thing, and they aren’t wrong. The imagery makes it easy for the girls to follow directions and they truly enjoy helping with the laundry as much as they can!

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The girls have truly enjoyed helping me with laundry since we started using our Whirlpool washer and dryer! We can save our favorite settings, and I can simply have the girls push the onscreen button, which they get so excited about,  and it’s that easy to get our laundry started. We are truly grateful for this beautiful washer and dryer and wanted to share a few personal time-saving laundry hacks that we’ve adopted to help make laundry as enjoyable as possible.

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TIP #1: MAKE YOUR LAUNDRY SPACE COZY

If you know us, you know we like to re-purpose as much as possible. I’m a little too short to comfortably enjoy having our washer and dryer stacked, so we have ours next to one another. We had an old door laying around in our basement when we moved in and decided that it would make the perfect table top to help store baskets of our laundering goods and give us a better place to fold laundry. I topped the table with an old linen shower curtain that we had. You could also easily thrift something similar, or even use a sheet or table cloth. This doubles as decor and also provides a clean and washable surface for the table. Any other friends have a creepy basement laundry room? It’s the only space we had washer and dryer hookups so we’ve done our best to make this space cozy and try to keep anything we may need for laundry in this space so we’re not having to run up and down the stairs each time we do laundry.

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That leads me to what we keep up on our table top. Baskets, always baskets! They make for the prettiest storage and, again, can easily be thrifted. We keep our detergents, softeners, stain treatments, our DIY fabric refresher and all of our dryer balls here in baskets on our little homemade table.

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Also, wool dryer balls:  another beautiful, non-toxic, time-saving laundry hack I hope you’re using! They speed up the drying time, soften clothing naturally, are hypoallergenic, and because they cut down on drying time, they save you money. I’m not actually sure how often you’re supposed to change them out, but I give mine a good wash with towels every 6 months or so and they’ve held up for several years!

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TIP #2: DIY LAUNDRY REFRESHER

Another fun laundry tip is you can add your favorite essential oils to the balls to make your laundry smell delicious without having to add any toxins to the mix! I love using lavender & citrus oils!

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I store our essential oils for laundering in pretty thrifted crocs as well. I store our laundry balls in pretty thrifted glass vessels as well. To spruce up our basement a bit, I put some fresh lavender on the top of our washer and dryer. Not only does it smell good, but helps this creepy basement feel much more cozy! 

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I mentioned above a DIY laundry refresher! Sometimes our laundry just smells musty. I feel like our towels and linen napkins get this way especially. I mix white vinegar and a couple drops of my favorite essential oils and add about 1/2-1 cup of it to our laundry to keep our laundry smelling fresh! We also find that this helps soften our laundry. To treat stained linens, I use the pre-soak feature on our Whirlpool and pre-soak linen items in 2 cups of vinegar for 30 minutes. Before I tried this hack, I could never get stains out of linen and now when I do this , stains come out easy peasy!

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Also, one of my favorite things about the washer is theFanFresh® option! If you know you won’t be able to switch laundry right away or want to start a load and go run some errands, Fan Fresh modekeeps clothes fresh for up to 12 hours so you can finish the laundry when you’re ready and avoid that musty smell that occurs when the laundry sits wet too long. This is just genius and I’m convinced a mom must have come up with the idea! 

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TIP # 3: STORE YOUR SOCKS

Another time-saving hack we have adopted is collecting and storing all of our socks in a big bag or basket. We put all of the clean socks in here and then while we watch movies, we all pair them up together as a family. It makes it a fun family responsibility instead of another boring, tedious chore.

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We are so grateful for our Whirlpool® Smart Load Laundry Pair Load & Go™ XL Plus dispenser and the sweet, sweet time these innovations save us. If you are currently on the hunt for a new washer and dryer, we would highly recommend this set!

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To learn more, visit https://www.whirlpool.com/laundry/washers.html#load-and-go.

Bathroom Fun

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This morning Norah came into our room to check herself and her outfit out in our stand-up mirror, as the girls usually do. As she stood in front of the mirror, I noticed her  step back, cover her mouth, and start to cry. I asked her what was wrong and she began to pull on her shirt, like she was trying to make it longer…She said, “This shirt. This shirt. It was just too big on me a little bit ago and now it’s almost too small.” She began to cry pretty hard so I had her come sit with me so we could talk about what she was feeling. She shared how she felt really emotional about growing and didn’t know quite how to explain it but that it was weird because she can’t control it and it’s just happening too fast… And then also that this was one of her most favorite shirts and it’s not going to fit her for very much longer. (Insert all of the sobbing emojis here). I told her that it was a strange thing to grow and change, but also how wonderful it is that God designed our bodies to work and grow and change in the ways He did. I also explained that it is ok to feel new emotions about the changes. I explained to her that as a lady, our bodies get to go through so many amazing changes and, although it can seem weird at times, it’s such a beautiful thing and that this means she is healthy and her body is doing what it’s supposed to. Guys, this motherhood stuff is RICH! It can be hard and messy and weird, but man… It’s the coolest thing!

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this girl. so, so, so special!

A few weeks ago my friend Meggan came over to snap some photos for a collaboration I was working on. I loved them so much that I decided they needed a place here! When I look back to this time in our lives, I’ll have memories of all of us crowded in our bathroom.

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There is so much about this season that I never want to forget… Elastic bands all over the floors no matter how many I pick up every day, thrifted step stools all over the place, a counter top forever covered in kid’s toothpaste and mom’s bath salts, a bath mat that seems to never be dry, antique kitchenware from the girls’ play kitchen that double well as bath toys.. And one mirror that everyone is trying to use at the same time:D These are truly the days. I already miss this time in my life.

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Her and her little tongue 😀

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one of my favorite mugs made by my husband and a spot in the corner that I’ve had to repaint several times due to water damage from splashing babies.

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they copy me so much right now. they’re interested in most things that I am. they love watching documentaries and home birth videos and staging photos and taking photos and reading with me, and I love listening to the conversations they engage in when we’re out and about. they call people dude and it’s so wonderful and convicting at the same time, watching them want to be like me.

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if you look closely to the right, you’ll see a teeny glimpse into the girl’s trashed bedroom. there’s also a HUGE pile of laundry out in that hallway that we maybe had to move because it was blocking every doorway when Meggan arrived. a reminder that behind every beautiful photo, there’s a mom struggling with something and a laundry pile in every room.

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I don’t want to forget these sweet pigtails

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so many heart eyes

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using my makeup brushes to put on lotion:D which reminds me, it’s time to get some new make up brushes:)

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I maybe thrifted another adorable little step stool yesterday and Chris was as excited about it as he is every time a new blanket or pillow joins our family:D  When your husband tries to enforce a one-in-one-out policy for your chair/stool, you know you might have a problem:D 

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Thank you so much for capturing these images for us, Meggan. This is such a special time in our lives and I’m grateful for these memories frozen in time:D

Our little basic sets were gifted from ShopARQ and FinandVince 😀

Something for everybody; a little holiday gifting guide

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Hey guys! We recently had the honor of sharing a little gifting guide with our friends @finandvince. You can find that post here, but I decided to share a little more detailed gifting guide here. I’ll share what we like to gift the girls, one another and loved ones.

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We have 4 lovely little ladies under age 7. We want Christmas to be magical for them, but not be strictly about stuff. We practice the giving manger in our home and look at December as a beautiful month to remember how to serve one another well. I love spending December baking more, making more crafts together, and finding fun ways to love people. Along with this, when we do gift, we want to try and gift things that are both pretty and practical. My husband emphasizes things should have form and function. Our older girls are developing new, and rather strong opinions, as they grow and we want to respect their personal styles & interests as we gift. We really like the the idea of gifting a want, a need, something to read, and wear. Here are some gifts that meet this criteria,  have been a success in the past, and that will be gifted this year!

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For the savvy…. Do not be afraid to thrift toys for gifts. Some of our most treasured toys have been thrifted and are being so well loved. That baby carriage was $3!!! Thrift stores are magical places where you can find so much unique goodness! Plus you can thrift throughout the year and gift it at Christmas. Almost every piece of the girl’s Christmas set we gifted them last year was thrifted and so beautiful! I think the most expensive thing I got was $.29 so you can really make magic happen when you thrift for the goods!

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For the artist: Amazon has some seriously amazing art supplies. We have some favorite shops that also sell wool roving and beeswax crayons and molding sets. I’m going to come back and add some links to our favorite shops a little later:D We go through so many crayons and paint that Christmas is a great time to restock those supplies!

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The girls love matching with one another! We’ve adopted a tradition that came from my husband’s childhood of gifting them new jammies every Christmas Eve. They get to open them and then wear them all day Christmas! We spend our Christmas Day serving and enjoying one another. We make everyone whatever they want for breakfast, enjoy this big ol’ feast and open presents and play and I just love it so much!

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These photos are like a year old already! HOW?!

Pajamas kind of meet a need, a wear, and a want, so they’re a great gift! We have gifted them sets from @happyhannahs, @finandvince, @thesimplefolkco,  @chasingwindmillkids, @shoparq @jamiekay and this year we’re gifting them hot pink butterfly thermal sets from @garnethillpics and extra little thermals for the two littlest who want to live in pajamas lately. Fin& Vince thermals are so nice and cute enough that we can throw on a coat and boots and leave the house in them!

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Because our girls are so close together in age, we like to invest in quality gifts that can be enjoyed and passed down to one another. I don’t want to collect a bunch of little plastic things that will break easily but want to invest in well-made, heirloom quality toys that will be enjoyed for years. Some of our favorite toys are wooden stackers, puzzles and blocks. @woodenstory @grimms and @thewoodenwagon are some of our favorite shops for these! Wooden toys hold up really well and, let’s be real.. they’re beautiful😊  Even when their room is destroyed, somehow wooden toys thrown all about are still lovely!

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Books!! We love gifting books! Personalized books, i-spy books, and book series make for really fun gifts. Something I have learned in a family of book lovers is that books can be expensive! I enjoy thrifting books and using thriftbooks.com because you can find gently pre-loved books for incredible prices!

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We also want to gift memories, so games that we can play together as a family are a great investment! We love gathering around a table and playing Uno, pass the pigs, go fish and lots and lots of memory games! My ideal evening is pizza, lots of pillows and blankets, cuddled around our ottoman, playing games together. The girls have learned to talk some pretty serious smack and it’s just one of my favorite ways to spend time together.

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Something fun this year will be special slippers. The girls have been asking for slippers for quite some time but I couldn’t find any that I liked as much as they did. But! We recently found some really fun boiled wool slippersfrom @garnethillthat are cute little animals and such a fun addition to their matching jammies! This might sound lame, but we always gift the girls a fun new toothbrush. Honestly, they’re usually more excited about this than any of their other gifts ☺️

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When gifting to our friends and family, Chris and I love making one-of-a-kind gifts in large batches so we can spread the love as much as we can. We’ve made salsas, breads, body scrubs, bath salts, lip balm, hair balm, boot balm, bears balm, body balm… basically all the balms😂 we love gifting items that we have handcrafted with love and it’s so fun collaborating with my husband for these little projects. I don’t have any pretty pictures of stuff we’ve gifted.. so you just have to trust me:D 

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Chris and I have mixed feelings about gifting things to one another for the holidays. We both always tell each other we don’t want anything, then surprise each other with something sweet and sappy, and then each year say we’re really not doing anything for each other, and then decide we want the girls to see us gifting to one another, and so the cycle continues:D

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This year, I’m gifting the girls and a few friends some extra little goodies that our friends @beekman1802 sent plus over two try. A few face care products for mom and some  fun body butters to share! The girls are very much into body care items and doing whatever I do lately.  I’m gifting them and some of my lady friends the fragrance free pure goat milk body butters. Things like these make such fun stocking stuffers and sweet little gifts.

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Welp! I hope this was a helpful gifting guide and that everyone has a lovely holiday season full of peace, rest, and joy for you and your family! ❤️  Gifts are cool my friends… But people are so much better! Love your people well and have so much fun!!!!

(Disclosure: Some of the items featured in the post have been gifted and/or sponsored, but all opinions expressed are my own. )

Photography featured in this post from @amandapahls, @kaleyfromkansas and @megganharrisonphotography.

 

A few things I don’t want to forget about right now

One of my friends, MegganHarrisonPhotography asked if she could come over and try out her new camera lens in our home. I’ll be honest. I totally forgot about it, definitely didn’t bathe, the house wasn’t clean or put together and I didn’t have any expectations about what she might capture… But man, I am seriously so grateful for these captures. This stage of motherhood has been so interesting to me. I’m learning so much about myself and who I am as a mother and home educator and friend and wife and all the things. I am so grateful that I get to be home with these girls and very grateful for these little moments that might seem mundane, but are truly so full of magic! 

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Our first born. I can hardly believe she’s this grown already.

 

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We got a record player and there’s just something magical about it. Norah puts on a different record almost daily and it’s become a fun family thing. When we travel, we try and find a good record store and pick something out together. Chris and the girls often come home from coffee shop dates and it’s just something that’s become very special in our home.

Norah’s taking 7 very seriously. 

Norah asked me the other day if I thought she would look like me when she grew up. Before answering, I asked what she thought about maybe looking more like me when she was older. She took a deep breath in, pulled her hair to the side, looked in the mirror, breathed out, looked at me and said, “that would be so great.”😭😭😭😍😍😍I’ve never felt more beautiful in my whole life😭

We were driving as a family a few weeks ago and Norah asked me what my name meant. I told her ‘worthy of love’. They asked Chris what his name meant and he said virile. Norah then proceeded to tell me that her name meant napkin, Charlie’s meant towel, Ada name meant tissue and Frankie was “scrunchin, wait scroungey.. OH! squeegee!”  I laughed out loud and asked Chris where they came up with such a thing. He let me know that he’s been telling them these are what their names mean for a few months😂😂😂 #winning😂😂😂

The girls all still love wearing their favorite colors: Pink, blue, orange and grey. These colors make me so happy now.

Frankie and Ada are in love with dresses with pockets. They request to wear a pocket dress daily:D

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I joke that Norah is like a little mommy, but she truly loves us all so well and has such a beautiful heart. I love seeing the creative ways they serve and love others.

 

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We went to get blood work for my whole October fiasco a few weeks ago and decided a stop at Red Robin would be a good idea. We don’t go often, but when we do, they each get a balloon and these things stay inflated for weeks!

We’re still having lots of dance parties, doing funny workout videos together and Chris and I love getting to introduce the girls to new music. They’re favorite songs/ bands right now are , Aladdin soundtrack, zombie from the cranberries, John mark McMillan, what does the fox say, Allen stone, thunder from imagine dragons, gummi bear, señorita, BABY SHARK, bird machine, oldies, bird is the word, bombaleo, look what you made me do- and Frankie singing this is one of the funniest things I’ve ver known. She repeats the lyrics but delayed and totally monotoned. its so funny!

Charlie and Norah have been what I will call sassy. They have grown up so much the last few months.

Frankie is in the repeat stage and the things she chooses to repeat and her timing brings us so much joy.

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So many times during the day, the girls ask for a hug or for me to pick them up. I try to always do it. something so simple, but memories I will hold so dear.

Frankie’s favorite song, ‘5 little monkeys jumping on the bed’. When it comes on she’s screams, “This is my tadert song!”

A few weeks ago Chris and I were putting Frankie to sleep and she kept doing monkey impressions. She would almost be asleep and then she would say, “Monkeys do dis” and shake her little body and make little monkey noises and make a monkey face. Chris and I couldn’t stop giggling. 

Norah and Charlie surprise me with breakfast in bed every couple of weeks. It’s so precious. They always include their sisters and make their breakfasts when they do this.

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Ada sneezed this a few week ago and Frankie said, bess you😍 it melted all of us! Frabkie, “I lub my bading soup” on repeat and now asks, you love my bading soup? Her bathing suit. Her and Ada put their suits on most days. Ada and Frankie change their outfits at least 4 time a day. 

When Frankie says basket it most definitely does not sound like the word basket. Ie: I want my batshit.:D 

I weened Frankie on her birthday, September 20th. I nursed her for her morning & afternoon nap and then told her we were done. My heart hurts a little still and she’s still asking to nurse daily. She still asks me if she can come in when I hold her and that means she wants me to wrap her all up in my shirt. This is the longest I haven’t breastfed since 2012.

MHP_3981MHP_3986Frankie started saying dangit and growls at everyone at the table for meals because she knows it will make her sisters laugh real good. She loves making them laugh. 

Frankie has mastered responding to my favorite question: What comes before part B?! PART A!!!! When I ask it all the girls yell, “PART AAAA”, and it assures me I’ve at least taught them something:D

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We were driving to get pick up our favorite Italian take out and Ada started singing that song, “Up down funk you up” and totally nailed the f word every time. Chris and I laughed pretty good. That song will always make me smile now.

Frankie started saying “iontknow” when we ask her questions with the funniest little attitude 😂😂😂  It’s one of the best things I’ve ever heard.

The way Frankie crawls up onto our bench to get into her bed. Something about it melts me.

I made the girls little lavender pillows and they’re all still sleeping with them.

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Frankie says “heh heh” just like a Simpsons character when something funny happens.

Charlie will quietly sneak away while we’re watching a movie or playing games and come back with a glass full of ice and water and the biggest smile on her face. It’s her way of saying, “I love you” right now and it’s so sweet. 

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Frankie talks more than any two year old I’ve ever known. She repeats us often and her voice is so dang cute. She has a little cold right now and it’s even cuter than normal. She’s super cuddly and loves snuggling but has never liked her legs covered.

Charlie gave Ada a haircut that required her getting bangs to “fix” the situation. She was made to have bangs I think. Ada loves her having bangs and tells people her friend Hannah made them for her.

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Our dear friend Hannah gifted the girls with kinder eggs and these were the little toys inside. They’ve all been wearing them as earrings since.

Right around 7pm every night, Frankie gets this second wind and gets super hyper and so funny! That usually tells us it’s time to dance or play tag or hide and seek. We’re really into hide and seek right now and it’s so fun!

Ada has started making up songs and parody’s and recently sang a song with the lyrics, “1,23, it’s time to sh&t”😂😂😂😂😂Chris and I laughed so hard! 

Frankie has started coming up to us, randomly hugging us, and saying,” I wuv you. I wuv you iso much, mommy. You wuv me?!”  😭  It melts me every time!

Ada and Frankie want to be sung to every night. We have a handful of songs they request every night. ‘Jesus loves me’, ‘Apples and bananas’, ‘God is so good’, ‘I like bananas’, ‘Twinkle twinkle’, ‘Abc’s’, often a remix of the last two, ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands’, and ‘Jesus loves the little children’ but we had to add the color orange to make the lyrics, “orange, red, yellow, black, and white” per Ada’s request. We often have to add pink, blue, and grey as well:D

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I’ve noticed I have less and less photos of Charlie lately. She loves spending time alone, creating art, making sculptures out of found goods, and collecting treasures to store in special places in her room. When you walk by her room, she’s usually creating something. She loves putting on puppet shows, telling stories, and is truly so creative. She really enjoys ‘I Spy’ books. I ordered her a bunch and surprised her with them and she was so stoked! School comes super easy to her lately and her sweet little 5 year old self is excelling past a 3rd grade reading level. I just love getting to know her more.

Every time Charlie prays, she asks for God to heal all the people that are sick and hurting.

All of us ladies still fit in the bath together, but barely.

Ada and Frankie both call,”Cat in the hat’ ‘Hat in the Cat’.

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If I sit down with a drink or food , this is code for , ‘mom has drinks and treats for us’. 😀 This morning I made an egg and sat it down on my desk for it to cool while I ran up to find the girls’ coats… I came back downstairs to see Frankie covered in my egg and exclaiming, “mmm, you egg good, mom.” It never makes me mad.. just sometimes a little extra hungry.

Frankie calls the girls, “guysh” and is so in love with her older sisters!

The first thing the girls want to do when they put on anything new is show their dad.

When Frankie wants you to lay by her she says, “youwannlaywithme?” and taps the pillow next to her and says “hereygo”. She also started taking her diaper off whenever she fills it… so probably we’ll start potty training soon.

Norah wants her ears pierced and she’s in a making jewelry and fake nails stage:D She has been wearing a lot of my clothes and it makes me so happy.

Frankie likes to kick for fun and will randomly approach people with a “Hiya!” and a chubby little kick. She also hisses at the girls when they tell her no to something and its SO funny! They always start laughing and it’s just so cute!

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I’ve started making sure I always have a glass of water on our nightstand, as it never fails that 1, or all 4, will make it to our room asking for water during the night.

We watched Little Women for the first time while Chris was out of town recently and sobbed. I love being apart of this girl gang. We realized that the girls’ age gaps are the same as the girls in the story and that one of our best friends who we keep trying to get to move in with us shares the same name as the house help in the story. But seriously Hannah, the basement is ready for you. 

Frankie so concerned about owies, especially when others get hurt. “You k?!” she asks?

Chris learned how to fishtail braid from our local hair academy and is so much better than me. These girls don’t realize how good they have it.

We were cleaning up the girls’ rooms and Frankie found Norahs old pink flip flops. She put them off and didn’t take them off after that😂 Fipfop she calls them and is so proud of them! She sleeps in them she loved them so much!😂

We told the girls to put away their flip flops while cleaning and Ada replied in the saddest little voice, “I don’t have any flip flops”. Chris and I decided to change that. I took her to Old Navy and we found this lobster pair for $1 that she freaked out about. She wears them with socks and tights daily:D I told her once my dad wore socks with flip flops. She asked me if she looked like her Grandpa Ricky. Having her talk about my dad is incredibly special. They never met him, but I’m so grateful for the memories I get to share with them. She’s also been sporting the, ‘two different boots on the wrong feet’ a lot lately.

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This landing never isn’t covered in boots or coats or piles of random toys… It’s accidentally become a catch-all spot and while we probably need a better system, I still don’t want to forget this.

There’s a lot more. I try to take daily notes because I don’t want to forget these tiny details that make right now so special. I love being a mother. I hate that I can suck so badly at it sometimes. We’re all learning together.

Make a joyful noise

This summer I had a fun opportunity present itself. I was put in touch with a local vocal instructor as she was looking for a local blogger to check out her classes. I am always looking for fun classes for the girls to try out and happen to dabble in the blogging, so it worked out just right! We talked about the classes that were going to be offered over the summer and I got so excited when she said she was teaching a Greatest Showman vocal class! The girls are obsessed with ‘The Greatest Showman’, so much so that we dressed as the crew for Halloween this past year! 

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Maybe not our best..but with little moneys and what we had.. we made it work and the girls were so pumped!!!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the class, but I signed Norah and Charlie up and was so happy I did. We want to let the little ladies experience lots of different things to help them discover what it is they love and the explore the gifts they’ve been given.  They had been showing lots of interest in singing and I am happy to share that they truly had a blast!

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Side note, have I mentioned lately how much I love Norah and Charlie being so close I’m age?! I’ve always loved it, but now it allows them to be in most of the same classes and is just so cool to me! They’re basically inseparable and it’s very special to me that they get to enjoy so many awesome things like this together! Sisterhood is the coolest thing! 

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I got emotional thinking about the two of them and how it almost always feels like they’ve had one another. I had to find the very first time they met, and my first photo with both of them, right after our home water birth with Charlie. It was the most special moment!

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Like… I can’t even…this moment was so special. Norah was instantly in love and Charlie was just born into such a cool relationship.

Okay, so let me tell you a little bit about the class and why I am happy we enrolled the girls! Melissa Burrows is the owner of Joyful Noise Studios and has been a licensed Kindermusik® educator since 2009 along with teaching private piano and vocal lessons. She teaches music at our local Classical Education Center and is very passionate about what she does. It was easy to see upon first meeting her that she loves what she does, and that excited me. 

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As a home educator, it’s important to me that I give the girls opportunities to socialize in different atmospheres, with different peers, instructors, and influences. I found a lot of comfort in knowing that they were being taught by someone who genuinely cares about what they’re doing.

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The more research I have done, the more I discover that the benefits of music are truly transformational. Chris is currently teaching Norah ukulele and it’s so exciting thinking about where their passion for music will take them. They’ve been talking a lot about forming a band like the Cranberries and are already staring to write songs. One of the things they have been doing since they were old enough to sing is making parodies out of their favorite songs and it will always be one of my favorite little things they do.

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“The study, practice and discipline of making music gives the brain a complete workout.  When you sing or create music, we use all the parts of the brain: left, right, front and back.  All these parts collaborate.  Which is something very unique!  To access the benefits of music one does not need to be an artist! Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than those without musical training.  Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory.  Research has shown that after two years of music class the brain has large improvements in processing speech and reading.  Beyond all the brain science music is fun and is an easy way to challenge the mind and bring joy!”-Melissa Burrows.

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These are just a few reasons that enrolling the girls into these classes seemed like a great idea! The girls met for an hour each week and it was so fun listening to the girls practice their little vocal warm ups and songs they were learning throughout the week! I also didn’t mind the little weekly break to grab coffee and thrift with the younger ladies.☺️ They practiced and practiced and celebrated with the most darling recital at the end of the Summer where Melissa had all of her classes join together for the Greatest Show (pun intended:)

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If you are on the hunt for vocal classes for your littles, I highly recommend Melissa and her classes at Joyful Noise Studios! We also tried one of the family Kindermusik classes that was so fun! Chris got super into it and I know the girls loved it!

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Melissa is accepting enrollments now and offering $15 off any class when you enroll using the code, AmandaPahls.

Thank you for giving us this opportunity, Melissa, and we look forward to more classes with you! 

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“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.”-Plato

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Chris and I could not stop laughing at the girls on stage. They were being so sweet and goofy and maybe still need a few lessons about what not to do when on stage:D So special getting to watch them perform what they had been practicing though!

Disclaimer: This post was made possible thanks to Melissa Burrows and Joyful Noise Studios, but all opinions expressed are my own.