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.

Cozying up with Burrow

Chris and I have been super fortunate and have been given almost every single piece of furniture that we own as a hand-me-down. While this is so awesome, we have also recently learned that well worn in furniture sometimes doesn’t last so long and we also learned that the couch that once comfortably sat the two of us, could no longer sit all SIX of us. So, our hunt for the perfect sofa began.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI wanted a couch that could comfortably fit all six of us. I wanted something grey or beige because you know how I do.  I wanted something that was easy to keep clean, could handle 4 little monkeys and all their jumping and wrestling, something that would fit our space, and let’s be real… One that would hold up to all of the netflix and chilling that goes on☺️☺️ Chris’ only requests were that the couch be midcentury, grey, tufted, that it could handle getting a little burrito or coffee on it, and he seconded the netflix and chill criteria.

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I remember scrolling through instagram and seeing someone with the beige sofa from Burrow and loving it! I checked out their website and as soon as I saw this sofa, I knew she was the one. It met all of our criteria, shipped in super-easy-to-assemble pieces, and I’m really happy we went with this one. We chose the King Sofa in Crushed Gravel with High Arm, Dark Wood Legs and paired it with a matching Ottoman. 74B49745-FAA0-4028-AA42-5F00DC266789Chris says this is the first couch that he’s been able to lay all the way down on, he’s 6’4 and has plenty of space!!🙌🙌We are so grateful that we can all cuddle up together! Oh! And it has a phone charger!! So you can do adult things like charge your phone while you veg out and neglect your other adulting responsibilities.

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As I type this, Norah, our 6 year old, is laying with me and I asked her what her thoughts on the couch were and quote her exact words. “The couch? It’s good. It’s beautiful. It’s comfy. It’s really good for pictures. It fitteds all of us. We can sit down on it. We can watch tv as a family…and do i pee on it? Yes.” Her words, friends:D And she ain’t lying:D. We pretty much can’t stop laughing now.

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Actually, the only thing that I might change about the sofa, as a mother of peeing babes is to have removable covers on the seat cushions. But, the covers are really easy to clean! I just spray the sofa with my homemade pee remover, sprinkle with baking soda, and she’s as good as new. Mostly, I’m just in the stage of life where I prefer anything that can be  peed on to be removable😂 Oh, and that reminds me. The top and bottom cushions are reversible so you can have the tufted look, a super clean, minimal look, or that let’s-just-flip-the-cushions-over-until-we-clean-that-coffee-stain-off look:D

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Anyway, if you’re on the hunt for a lovely sofa and your criteria is similar to ours,  please pay Burrow a little visit! We are enjoying this sofa so much!!

pillows || @maewoven & @theivorygull

photog || @megganharrisonphotography

(Disclosure: This post was made possible by Burrow, but all opinions expressed are my own honest opinions.)



 

A Barn Full of Memories: An Interview with Framebridge

A corner shot of a room with a wicker chair and flowers on the windowsill. A framed drawing of a red barn hangs on the wall in a gold frame.

Years ago, Amanda Pahls and her husband Chris were married in a big red barn. When Amanda rediscovered an art print of the barn that was given to the couple on their wedding day, she had to get it up right away. Here’s the story of the day the Pahls began their life together.

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Why did you decide to get married in this barn? 

Chris and I knew we wanted an outdoor wedding, but the barn just kind of happened. We wanted a large venue and we were fresh out of college with a very tight budget and the barn just kind of fell into place! We drove out to look at the barn together and it was just gorgeous!

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There were chickens running around, beautiful fields of wild flowers, lush greenery, a gorgeous homemade wooden swing hanging from one of the large trees, the most beautiful sky, and it just felt so right. 

 

How did you come by this art piece of the barn?

The owners of the barn were so kind to us for our wedding. It was so special. When we arrived for the ceremony, the owner Gloria gave us this lovely print of the barn as a wedding gift. We saved it but never framed it. On the back of the print was a card that gave us the history of the barn and print! The print is titled “Fall Harvest” and is a Prismacolor pencil drawing done by Cherylene Caver.

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The site was homesteaded by Karl W. and Augusta Martin in 1893 and the spacious barn constructed in 1916. The barn served as a safe haven for livestock during winter storms and has now been renovated to be able to host special events like our wedding. The print captures a moment that was photographed in the Fall of 1921 and depicts Karl and Augusta’s son, Carl, putting the fall hay crop up into the barn. It’s so cool having this special piece of history to warm up our home and to remind us of our wedding day!

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To be honest, I kind of forgot about it until I was moving some things around in our new home and found it! I knew I wanted Framebridge to frame this piece as soon as I found it, as we have a few other special pieces framed by them that we really enjoy.

A poster my husband designed for our family. My hand in his with the lyrics, “we are family, I got all sisters with me”, a song Chris sings to our daughters often.  

 

A family portrait painting from @lachlanandlenny and one of my favorite family photos taken by my friend @bethanymeysenburg framed in some of our favorite Framebridge frames.

 

What does having the framed piece in your home mean to you?

I look at this print and I remember the way everything felt on our wedding day. I remember the big ol’ white fluffy clouds that look like they were straight out of the Toy Story movie. I think about all of our friends and family from around the globe who joined us and made the day so special for us.

I remember my little brother walking me down the aisle and how strange this was. I had always imagined my father doing this, but our father and sister were killed in a tragic car accident a year before this special day. I remember my brother telling jokes as he walked me towards my almost husband and the incredible mix of emotions I was feeling, but how the joy of marrying my best friend was stronger than all the other emotions.

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To most people, this will just look like a photo of a barn, but when I look at it, I feel so much peace, love, and joy.

I look at this print and remember the life that led up to the day that we said “I do” and all of the life that we have shared together since and grateful is not nearly a strong enough word.

 

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(Disclosure: This post was made possible by Framebridge but all opinions expressed are my own.)

Operation Purty Mouth

3E3C464E-740E-48FD-9AE1-693F9CC93938.jpegOk, so recently I have felt this big urge to take better care of myself. I wouldn’t say that I have completely let myself go, but I have definitely neglected a few things that I don’t want to neglect any longer. I gained many a pound with Norah and right about the time I would get back into my pre-pregnancy pants, was right about the time that I found out I was pregnant, again and again and again:D But for real! I have said it several times, but I have been pregnant and breastfeeding without a break since late 2011. While I love this with every ounce of my being, those ounces, along with some other poor habits, have really added up, and I am ready to nourish my body in ways I just haven’t been doing well.

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I’ve started eating better, juicing again, working out a bit, celebrating the Sabbath with our family, am trying to incorporate several new habits and routines into our days at home and have even committed to taking better care of my teeth! Teeth you say?! Yep! Guys, my teeths be jacked up! A lot of it is due to poor habits, years of not taking better care of them, several weird teeth injuries and then they seemed to have actually gotten worse while pregnant and breastfeeding? Maybe that’s because I have chosen extra sleep over flossing too many times, but anyway, I’m ready to take much better care of and fix my mouth!

IMG_6476I don’t consider myself an insecure person, but as my teeth have continued to shift and their condition has deteriorated, I have found myself becoming insecure about my smile.  I tried finding recent photos of myself smiling confidently in the direction of the camera, and I couldn’t really find any. My go to poses are kiss a baby, look at a baby, laugh at a baby, and have a baby 🙂 I do genuinely enjoy candid photos more than posed ones, but I have definitely noticed that my being insecure about my smile has affected the way I interact with cameras.

With all of that being said, I am so excited to share that I have teamed up with a local dentist to commence ‘Operation Purty Mouth!” I’m not saying I don’t feel pretty or don’t like my mouth, I just think I will like it more with a full set of teeth that line up in a fancier fashion and match one another:D So, over the next few months, I will be sharing this super fun collaboration with you guys!

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Meet Dr. Guy Gross.  He’s the man behind ‘Operation Purty Mouth’. Dr. Guy  has been working on some really cool stuff that I had no idea even existed before visiting with him. He and his wife, Dr. Kate, started their family friendly practice, New Horizons together and they’re working really hard to take care of people and boost their confidence with a healthy smile.  Dr. Guy focuses almost exclusively on dental implants, restorative, cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry, along with educating other dentists so they can use these awesome new techniques and technologies to fix up them pearly whites! I’ve been to many dental practices and this was honestly one of the nicest I have ever been to! I was greeted by the friendliest ladies at the desk and one of the first things I saw when I walked in was the little coffee bar! Blessed be! There was plenty of stuff to keep the little ladies entertained and did I mention the coffee? Ok, before I talk any more dental jargon or share with you the details of my experience so far, let me introduce you to my mouth.

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To begin, I am missing a tooth that I had to get pulled recently because I most likely cracked it while wrestling Chris in college:D No, I’m not using an innuendo, I have legit broken my tailbone, had double whiplash, had both feet sprained and a had a tooth or several cracked and chipped while wrestling around with friends. So fun, but also maybe a bit costly. I should note, I’ve retired my wrestling career to ensure the safety of all my new teeth and the rest of my body parts. While I am sure that some people are super into missing teeth, I really miss her and am excited to have a new tooth moving in!

Second, I have a tooth we will call snaggletooth whom loves a fresh breeze and is slowly working her way out so she can better feel the full effects of the wind against her sideways self. Dr. Guy gave me several options to correct this tooth and after weighing some options, we decided caging her up with some discrete, comfortable and convenient Invisalign trays would be best to tame her curious and outgoing ways. She’s been a stubborn gal for a long time! You can see me back in my prime when we tried to tame snaggletooth’s wild ways a few years back:D So thankful for the technological advances in dentistry!

 

Last but not least, I’m getting a blue tooth upgrade! When I was a teenager I was being super cool and jumping on the trampoline with a hose. Smart! I was feeling so cool splashing around under the hot summer sun… That is until the metal end of the hose whipped up and broke one of my teeth in half. So lame, but made for a good laugh and a great tan! I had a root canal and a crown put on the broken tooth but over the years she has changed colors, been replaced and popped off many a time. Blue tooth has gone adventuring on her own while white water rafting, hiking, boogie boarding, simply biting into a delicious baked good and one of my all-time favorites, the time she jumped out of my mouth while I was just checking out at the grocery store:D Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds and you have to ask your cashier if they could kindly hand you your tooth:D Blue tooth and I know how to persevere!

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signature look at a baby pose:D

I tell you all of this fun history so you can understand how truly grateful I am for this partnership! Let’s go back to where this partnership began. Have you guys ever done a smile virtual consult before? I hadn’t either but am glad I did. Dr. Guy had me submit a couple photos of my teeth to their website and share what I was hopeful to correct about my smile. He then got back to me a few days later with a video highlighting all of the options there were to fix these things; Different procedures, different timelines, different prices and shared some pros and cons of all of them. It was so nice to learn the specific options for my case from the comfort of my couch. Did I mention this was all free?! So cool! . If you’re needing some work done and are wanting to know your options, you have got to check this smile virtual consult out. From there, I made an appointment and went in to meet Dr. Guy. I was super impressed with their staff and facility! This place be fancy! Two words, massage chairs! We then decided what we would do to my mouth and that’s where the fun begins.

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A few weeks later, I came back in to begin the implant process. I got nestled into my massage chair, was given a cozy blanket and was just treated so well. Dr. Guy uses a pretty incredible technique that he has been fine crafting and I am super impressed! It’s a minimally invasive, super fast technique that makes for an almost instant recovery, very little pain, no bleeding, no stitches and overall a pretty pleasant experience. I maybe sort of watched him do my procedure via the reflection of an iPhone, and it was seriously so cool. The whole thing from start to finish lasted 6 minutes! And, I was barely sore afterwards. I’ve left wrestling matches feeling much worse. In all seriousness though, I was incredibly impressed with how easy and convenient this procedure was and with, Dr. Guy’s skills and with New Horizons as a whole.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetFor those of you who might be wondering what exactly an implant is, let me enlighten you. It’s a big ol’ metal post, titanium to be exact, which is what Captain America’s shield was made from. Don’t be silly, that was vibranium, and yes I totally just goggled that. Anyway, that post was literally implanted into my jaw bone where my former tooth used to be using some kind of magic because I saw no blood and felt no pain. Let me repeat, a big ol’ metal rod was implanted into my bones and it didn’t bleed or leave me feeling like I just had a metal rod inserted into my face! The bone will now grow around my new metal buddy and create a replacement “root”, providing a cozy new home for new tooth to go! Welcome home new tooth! This badboy should last a lifetime, and can help prevent further damage to the bone, tissue and other teeth surrounding the implantation site. Plus, ain’t nobody gonna know its fake… except for all of you:D I have been amazed at how many people have shared with me they need an implant since staring this process, so if you’re in need of an implant and have been hesitant because of fearing the process, you need to look into this. You can read more here.

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Now let’s move on to Invisalign ! I later met with Chelsea and Dr. Kate to discuss taming ol’ snaggletooth.

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I decided on Invisalign because there are two things my husband has asked me not to do since we got married; get bangs or metal braces. So, you’re welcome husband. These trays are for you and sweet snaggletooth. There were no weird gels or molds or alginate that I had to cram in my mouth, just a scan that makes a digital mold of my teeth. Technology is seriously so cool! Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

After getting scanned, Dr. Kate walked me through what the next few steps would look like. In my specific case, I need 13 trays to get my teeth where we want them. I’m almost 2 weeks in and very impressed to see that my teeth have already shifted! If you’re not very familiar with Invisalign, they’re pretty convenient. You wear each set of trays for about a week, take them out to eat and brush and leave them in the rest of the time. Ideally, the trays should be worn 22 hours a day and, I’ve found that’s pretty easy to manage. Today I’ll start my second round of trays and I kind of can’t belive that this process is so fast! Each case varies, but I’m just so impressed with this technology!

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If you are currently looking for a new dentists or are curious about your options, New Horizons has several practices you can choose from! New Horizons Dental Care belongs to New Horizons Dental Practice Management, with 6 other practices in Salina, Wichita, Tulsa, Rossville, Lenexa, Shawnee, Olathe and are continuing to grow.

Thank you so much Dr. Guy and the New Horizons team! We are so thankful to get to partner with you!

(Disclosure: This post was made possible thanks to Dr. Guy Gross and New Horizons Dental team, but all opinions expressed here are my honest opinions.)

 

 

 

Spring baking with Rough Linen

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If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know momma likes herself a baked good!

You know what I also like? Baking delicious baked goods with our daughters!

You know what else I like? Linen!

You know what I really like? Matching with the little ladies!

You know what I really, really like? Baking delicious goodness with our daughters while wearing “matchy matchy” linen pinafore aprons!!!

I am so grateful to get to partner with the lovely shop Rough Linen!  What is it about linen that is so perfect?! I can’t get enough of it! If I had to choose one kind of fabric to live in, it would be linen. I want to wear it, sleep in it, use it in the kitchen and dining room and bathroom and on my furniture and pretty much it is just the best ever!

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For real though, I absolutely love baking with the little ladies and I am so grateful to get to partner with such a beautiful company to make our baking sessions ever more enjoyable!

The girls love wearing aprons when we bake, but they love it even more now that they all have their own special pinafores!

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Tricia Rose, the owner of Rough Linen  says her company kind of started by accident. She used linen that was very special to her to make lovely things around her home and her friends started asking her to make the items she was making or herself and from that passion and sharing her gifts, Rough Linen was born.

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I have the Regular Natural Pinafore and it is absolutely perfect! The girls have both the Children’s Smooth Natural and the St. Barts Aqua.  And, if you know a mom and daughter crew who might love these, Rough Linen is currently offering a Pair of Pinnies Gift Set made up with a mom and daughter pinafore in the colors of your choosing! Seriosuly so adorable!

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Ada’s pinnie has been very well loved!

Since Spring time is among us, making lemon bars just felt right! I love lemon bars. Homemade lemon bars paired with a delicious cup of coffee is like one of my all time favorite pairings!  My husband’s too! So, I asked him if he would take some photos if I paid him in lemon bars and coffee and he kindly obliged. Thank you husband! You are awesome!

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Chris and I have been trying to eat much healthier, but we definitely splurged with these bad boys! We were inspired by a Paula Dean recipe, and man… she does not disappoint! I have to say inspired though because I promise the girls took some serious creative licensing with the proportions in this recipe. However, I’ve never enjoyed a lemon bar more, so good job ladies! Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 preset

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While I absolutely love baking with the girls, things have also changed a bit since Ada has joined the girl club.  She is amazing and hilarious and the sweetest kind of sweet that exists… But, she’s also TWO!  So, as lovely as it is to bake together, you also need to know that I definitely lose my patience with the girls in this season of life too. We have a blast, but after the third prematurely cracked egg and fifth handful of flour in Ada’s hair, we also had to have a regroup, an explanation as to why mom is yelling and another cup of coffee:D Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

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sooo much flour in ada’s hair:D and the table and the floor and in the pockets of her apron and just errrryyywhere. #worthit!

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aaaaaaand, we still haven’t finished painting the kitchen:D we’ll get there!

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The crust was the most delicious thick buttery shortbread and the lemon filling was moist but almost more like a cake brownie than your normal “gel like” filling. The edges were super chewy and caramelized and I don’t know what the girls did, but I definitely wish I would have been taking notes!

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Paula Dean Inspired Lemon Bars

Here is the Paula Dean recipe we used, but like I mentioned above, the girls got pretty creative:D

Ingredients

  • 2 cups for crust, plus 6 tablespoons for filling all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus more for dusting confectioner’s sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 sticks at room temperature, plus more for greasing butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
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Directions

Preheat that oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease 9x13x2-inch pan.

Make the scrumptious crust by combining 2 cups flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture or have toddlers smash it up in their hands for a more spa-like experience. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and by press, I mean let your toddlers punch it in the pan for 15 minutes. You may need to dip your fingers into a little flour or confectioner’s sugar to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. We’ve also found that dolloping heaps of flour into the crust and everywhere else works great! Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, mix the eggs, granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons flour and lemon juice. We’ve found that it’s more more time efficient to crack the eggs into a bowl. Pour this over the well- beaten and baked crust and bake for 25 minutes longer. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and try your best to practice that self-control!

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you ever just look at your babies and want to cry the most grateful tears

 

 

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don’t be fooled. they were actually fighting over the stool:)

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she doesn’t look 12. she doesn’t look 12. she doesn’t look 12. why does she look 12?!!

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Thank you so much Rough Linen for helping make our baking even more exciting!

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(Disclosure: This post was made possible thanks to Rough Linen but all opinions expressed here are my honest and genuine opinions.)

Baby, It’s cold outside…

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Back in December, which literally feels like yesterday, we had the privilege to meet up with a super sweet and local photographer, Meggan Harrison, and warm up in one of our favorite local coffee shops as a family of SIX! Still not over saying that:D  We used to take Norah and Charlie to this coffee shop most weekends and now with 4 it’s gotten a bit tougher… But we have such sweet memories in this place and enjoy making new ones! Coffee shops with my loves will always be one of my favorite things! Here are a few of my favorite photos from our visit with Meggan.

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Ada’s first time having whipped cream and she was so happy about it:D

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I love watching the girls grow in independence, but I also already miss them needing me to put on and take off their coats and all of the little things I will only get to do fro them for so long…

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I love watching them order for themselves these days.

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Records have become a new fun family hobby and this guy loves taking his little ladies to find new records in new shops.  There is something so fun about putting on a record and having a dance party! 

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Why does she look 12?!

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I think about the ladies and who they will be and look forward to the many things we will share with one another over our favorite coffee drinks.

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I HAVE FOUR DAUGHTERS!!!!!:D

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I mean…

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Oh sweet Frankie… She’s already changed so much since then….

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These ladies are so blessed to get to call this dude their dad. He’s seriously the best!

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Chris taught me how to play chess in this coffee shop. We used to have late night coffee & chess dates and he beat me every time.

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Ada is definitely a daddy’s girl and watching them together gives me feels beyond feels.

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Oh Charlie! She

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They kind of flipped out when they found Star Wars:D

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Their daddy got them hooked on Star Wars and I’m totally ok with it!

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But seriously!

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Watching their imaginations and relationships with one another grow is one of my all time favorite things right now!

So many memories in a sweet little coffee shop that I just don’t ever want to forget. Thank you so much Meggan!

 

Norah and Charlie’s dresses and tights are from IraLovesMae

The Girls’ bows are from SewLovedCo

Ada’s dress is from SheLovesHerMama

Frankie’s romper from PetiteCoo

Momma’s Ring Sling from Kanthabae

Dress from DwellandSlumber

Leggings from LalabuLalabu

It’s Cutie Time

We are very grateful to have partnered with Cuties and their 100 Days of Sunshine campaign to share with you our love of kindness and delicious little clementines, of course! Cuties has launched this campaign in the hopes that these little clementines will be a reminder to spread the light and to motivate us to brighten the lives of those around us through kindness. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Did you know that February 16 is Random Acts of Kindness Day? I did not, but now that I do, we want to celebrate by making something we can share with our friends. The little ladies and I decided that making up a sweet little care package for some friends who have recently had babies would be a fun way to spread some of that sunshine and Cuties love! A handful of Cuties, a few cute baby items and a little something made with love from the ladies and I!

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We could eat a bag of Cuties a week, and sometimes we do, so I asked the girls to start saving their peels in a jar for me instead of throwing them away.  Luckily, Cuties are easy to peel so the older girls can help themselves.

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I share with the girls that we would be making something special with the peels, an all-natural, clementine cleaner, safe enough for the little ladies to help me clean with and one we feel good about gifting to our new momma friends! Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

So, now that Cuties are back in stores, go grab a bag, eat as many as you want, try this cleaner out and share it with your friends!

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All-Natural, All-Purpose Cuties Cleaner

Ingredients

Cuties peels (enough to fill most of the jar of your choosing)

White vinegar (enough to fill up your jar and cover them peels)

Equipment

1 large canning jar with a fitted lid
Strainer
Big ol’ bowl
Spray bottle

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Save your Cuties peels: As you use are saving these, you can share with your children that a lot of things we often throw away can be repurposed and used again and discuss the beauty of recycling and repurposing and see if they can come up with some creative repurposing ideas!

Add that vinegar: Once your jar is halfway full to all the way full, pour vinegar over the peels until it fills the jar. Cover your jar with a lid, and allow it to hang out in a dark place for two weeks. This turns one of my least favorite smells into one of my favorite smells! You can talk to your jar or play music for it, but I couldn’t find any evidence that this would make your cleaner any better:D You know I love me some mom jokes:D

Strain it: After two weeks, strain your Cuties cleaner using a fine strainer and catch that liquid goodness in your bowl. Now you can throw away your peels or add them to your compost or maybe make some fermented Cuties earrings.. Totally joking. Don’t make fermented anything earrings, please.

Pour you Cuties Clean into a bottle: Add your Cuties cleaner to a spray bottle, use it as you would any other all purpose cleaner and gift away! Oh, and if you want it to be extra hip, print off a cute label and give your cleaner a fun name!  We stuck with, Cuties Clean, but I bet you could get creative and name your cleaner something awesome!

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe girls and I had a lot of fun making this and had fun conversation in the process. We ate Cuties together, counted Cuties, maybe even tried to juggle Cuties, and learned that we should probably just stick more to the eating and counting part.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetAnyway, I hope that you will join us in blessing someone with a random act of kindness, not just on February 16th, but whenever you think to do it. And as silly as it may seem, let those sweet little Cuties act as a reminder to be the sunshine and spread it around as much as you can!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

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(Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Cuties by all opinions stated are my honest opinions.)

Picnicking at Home with ALDI

There truly is no place like home. I actually look forward to winter because it means more cozy moments spent inside our home. Don’t get me wrong, I love going on adventures and getting out, but there’s just something so perfect about hanging out at home, especially during these extra chilly months.

FC3D0431-4AFC-4763-906B-FC3A353D3D05One of the girls’ favorite winter activities to do as a family is to have indoor picnics. Indoor picnics are so easy and fun! We lay down a leather mat and some blankets, spread out, and enjoy a sweet little meal together on the living room floor.

Indoor picnics are wonderful and there are endless possibilities of the foods you can serve and so many fun, even educational, themes you can create within a picnic.

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The girls had been asking us to have a big picnic for a while, so when ALDI reached out and asked us to share some of our favorite ALDI items that have received the Chefs in America American Masters of Taste Gold Medal Endorsements, I didn’t hesitate to say yes! After I read the list of their 46 award-winning Items, I got pretty excited!

Fancy meats, cheeses, and booze?! Yes please! There were several other items to receive the Gold Medal Endorsements in 2017, but these ingredients are basically my love language, so… Let the fancy indoor picnic party commence!
For real though guys, we love ALDI!  I never knew about ALDI until we had been settled in and married for a while, and it makes me so happy. We pay half of what we were paying before on our groceries, we always find delicious, organic foods, and the girls now save quarters around the house for our cart, which we then hand off to somebody each time we go.  It’s only $.25, but it truly does teach our girls and gets them excited about small acts of kindness.

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This time, Dad went all out and made us poached eggs and prosciutto on buttered sourdough toast. SO thankful for this husband of mine!
So, let me share with you what we got to make Momma’s fancy indoor picnic dreams come true. You can get everything pictured here from your local ALDI, so your picnic dreams are only one stop away!

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First you need to get them fancy meats. Appleton Farms Italian Styles Capocollo, Sopressata, and Prosciutto. Guys, if you like meat… just yes.
Then you need some cheesy yum yums! Happy Farms Preferred Apple Smoked Cheddar, Rustic Red Cheddar, and Vintage English Cheddar.  Momma likes her some cheddar! The Rustic Red literally felt like it melted in my mouth and it may or may not have paired perfectly with some sweet red wine for a little late night snack with Dad.

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The girls ask us to have apples and grapes with every picnic we have so we also picked up some red grapes, organic gala apples, Savoritz crackers, sourdough bread and some apple juice for the little ladies.
You put all of this together and, BAM! Perfect winter indoor picnic! I hope you guys enjoy lots of indoor picnics with all of your favorite people and foods this winter!

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(Disclosure: This post was sponsored and made possible by ALDI, but all opinions expressed are my honest opinions.)

Mogging: When Motherhood meets Blogging. It’s a word now:D #TheMomBlogCollective

Welcome to the fourth installment of The Mom Blog Collective: How to Balance Motherhood and Blogging.
If you’re new here, here’s the scoop. Once a month, our group of amazing and inspiring mamas will answer the same set of questions to do with blogging, Instagram, photography, collaborations, sponsored posts, balancing it all with motherhood, and more. We each have different perspectives and different opinions, so this is a fun way to learn from one another. We hope you’ll join along!
Check out the hashtag #themomblogcollective to see everyone on Instagram, and I will also link you to all of the amazing blog posts here at the bottom of my post!

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I am so excited to be a guest on #themomblogcollective” this week!

Blogging is one of those things that I really enjoy, something that I want to be better at and is an area that I want to grow in many different ways. The world of blogging and Instagram have introduced me to many friends, have offered me so much inspiration and encouragement and has opened me up to a world full of opportunity that I didn’t even realize existed just a few years ago.

When I first started blogging I was just doing it to kind of journal our days and share a few thoughts on motherhood as a brand new mom. I had no idea that people were paid to blog, I didn’t know what a collaboration was, or that this was a career for many and I definitely had no idea that blogging would one day be a way I helped support my family! Fast forward 5 years and, while I have so many areas I need to grow in, I want to answer some of the questions often asked when it comes to blogging and using Instagram.

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When & How often do you blog/ post? Remember that whole, ‘areas I need to grow in’ thing. Consistency is one of those areas I really want and need to grow in.  I post much more on instagram than I blog, mostly because blogging is much more time consuming, and in this season of life, scheduling time to blog has been a bit difficult. So when do I blog? I blog when I think about it and have time, or when I have a deadline. Deadlines help me a lot and force me to sit down and accomplish a task.  I have found that even creating deadlines for myself, will help me to get things done.  Even if I do it at the last minute, I am more likely to get it done!

Blogging happens when the babes go on a trip with dad to the store, when the girls are napping, when they’re content coloring, painting or watching an afternoon movie. I used to work a little in the evenings but now those are prime binge drinking hours for Frankie and I want to sleep as soon as I get a chance to now… #momlife.

Time management is another area that I find myself struggling. Like, I maybe put on a bra while peeing because I forgot I wasn’t wearing one and we were out the door to leave for our weekly church cell group and maybe I’m typing this line while in the bathroom while at the group. #momfail. So… yes. I definitely have room for growth in the area of balancing motherhood and blogging!

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How many collaborations do you take on and how does that number work with your schedule as a mom?

When it comes to collaborating, I am learning when to say no. When I first started taking on collaborations, I basically said yet to everyone. Then I learned how time consuming that could be! Even now, taking on less collaborations, I still find myself  playing catch up lately.  I have been so fortunate to work with such kind and patient people but I’m working towards accepting fewer collaborations while in the “catching up” process. I love partnering and collaborating with both small and large companies but want to be better about creating blogs, photos and content all together for companies faster and, about to use the C word again, more consistently…

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetI am always amazed by the generosity of some of the companies we work with, and I want to return the generosity by providing high quality content at a fast turn around time. I have about 5 blogs I need/want to do this month and I am learning that I have to give myself deadlines to get them done.  Collaborating has been a wonderful way to provide for our family and a super fun hobby, but its also a job. And, again… I am learning how to create more routine and manage my time.

I also only collaborate with companies that I feel I can honestly represent well and I think that’s an important thing to consider when blogging and collaborating. I’ve turned down a few high paying partnerships because they were for products our family doesn’t use and as much as I wanted those moneys, I believe as an “influencer” you need to be honest first.

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Awhile back I received several e-mails from someone who was very angered by my collaborating.  They used phrases like, “You’re a giant walking ad”, “You tag so many people in your photos”, You’re so fake”,  “Isn’t your family worth more than things”, and “You Instagram moms are all alike”.  While these things could be hurtful, I have to understand that this person does not understand that this is a job for me and for many of my “Instagram Mom” friends. Yes, I do partner and advertise for many companies as that is how I provide for our family right now while our girls are young and before I head back to work as a Therapist.

In response to these comments and questions, I do tag many companies in my photos as this is how most of my collaborations work. Just as someone may be asked to wear a company shirt while representing their company to an event, I am asked to represent my partnerships via social media by sharing how we incorporate different items into our day via tagging and blogging. While I do not believe I am fake, in order to represent certain things best, I do curate and style certain photos to achieve a certain aesthetic, just like a photographer would do.

Also, my family is more important than any material thing and they are very aware of that. They also are aware that they have nice clothes to wear, cozy beds to sleep on and well-made toys to play with because of momma’s job that provides these things along with extra money for groceries, education supplies or those unexpected bills we all love so much! Being a wife and mom comes first, but just as with any job, there are commitments and deadlines that have to be fulfilled.

And yes, there are many of us “Instagram moms” who share a specific aesthetic. I like to joke that “who cares if we like white walls and baskets”:D That’s totally ok, and just as ok as someone else’s style! While Instagram and blogging can create amazing opportunities to connect, journal and capture moments most of us genuinely do not want to forget, it is also a way for us to receive products we could normally not afford (#PastorsWife) and provide an income for our family’s AND we are able to do it from home AND in a way we really enjoy! I am genuinely confused as to why these things would upset people, but I am happy to converse with anyone who wants to about this topic.

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I hear a lot of friends say, “I want to start a blog but I don’t have a lot of time and I don’t think I would be very consistent”.  While these things are very important, you can still get started! So, if you’re thinking about starting a blog, my advice is to go for it!  You might not have a ton of time, you might not be able to post as consistently as you would like, but there is room for you to grow and a lot of opportunity to still experience while growing! I’m still learning many things and balancing motherhood and any job or responsibility can be difficult. It’s truly all about learning what works best for you and your family and finding the little ways to make the things you want to do come true! Some days you might put your bra on while peeing… and that’s ok. ☺️

Check out some of my amazing “Instagram Mom” friend’s blog posts here!
occasionallyperfectstyle.com | @occasionally_perfect
mrsseacannon.com | @mrsseacannon
britthavens.com | @britthavens
koleimpressions.com | @steph__pollock
cultivatemotherhood.com | @cultivatemotherhood
www.ashleynoel.life | @_ashley_noel_
hellobabybrown.com | @hellobabybrown
henaandcompany.com | @henaandco
momwifefoodie.com | @momwifefoodie
Thank you guys for reading!

You had me at Apple Fritter Monkey Bread:D Partnering with ALDI to make some delicious fall goodness!

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If you have been following us for awhile, you know we love to bake together as a family! You also probably know then, that we like to purchase things as inexpensively as possible. After shopping in our little Kansas town for awhile, we have learned that we can get some of the best quality foods for the lowest prices at our local ALDI store!

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We have learned that we can literally double our regular shopping list without doubling the price once we started shopping at ALDI!  For a growing family of 6, this is wonderful! We can get all of our favorite foods, all of our baking ingredients, fun seasonal items and delicious organic produce all in one place and at incredible prices!

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ALDI also offers a slightly different shopping experience that our family has grown to love! You bring your own reusable bags, which cuts down on having to spend extra money just to collect plastic bags that you’ll keep forgetting to recycle and is way better for the environment!

You also rent your cart!  You put a quarter in and get it back when you return the cart. This was new to me but has actually become a beautiful opportunity to teach our daughters about generosity, kindness and blessing others.  When our shopping is done and unloaded, we just leave that quarter in the slot for someone else to have, walk our cart to somebody else going to get one or give a quarter to someone going to get a cart. It’s just a quarter, but it is the act of doing something to bless someone else that we want the girls to enjoy and grow to do more and more selflessly every day!

 

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With Fall right around the corner, I have been craving one of our favorite easy-to-make together breakfast treats!  So, with that, I give you one of our favorite fall breakfast recipes.

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APPLE FRITTER MONKEY BREAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 (12-oz.) cans of refrigerated Bake House Creations Buttermilk Biscuits or Bake House Creations Crescent Rolls. My husband maybe accidentally got crescent rolls this time, so we learned both will work great! 😀
  • 6 tbsp. Countryside Creamery Butter, melted
  • 1 apple of your choice. We used delicious organic Fiji apples from ALDI!! Peel, core & finely chop those bad boys!
  • 4 tbsp. Baker’s Corner Brown Sugar
  • 4 tbsp.Baker’s Corner Granulated Sugar
  • 4 tbsp. Stonemill Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. Baker’s Corner Powdered Sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp. milk- Friendly Farms Organic Whole Milk. We use Almond sometimes as well when making the glaze.
  • Extra Cinnamon & Sugar incase your dough needs a little more love

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 8×3” round cake pan with coconut oil or butter.
  2. Tear, or let your toddlers tear the biscuits, or cut each biscuit into little 1-inch pieces.  Dunk the little pieces in the melted butter then toss them in cinnamon-sugar until evenly coated. Lay your lovely biscuit babies in an even layer in your pan.  Sometimes we’ll add more cinnamon and sugar if it looks like some of the biscuits are too naked.
  3. Toss apples with brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Scatter as much or as little of them apples on top of the biscuit babies.
  4. Drizzle the rest of the melted butter over the biscuits and apples.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, until the biscuits are a deep golden and the apple mixture is bubbling. Cook a bit longer if the dough in the center is still too gooey. Let cool for about 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make that magic morning glaze! Whisk together powdered sugar and milk until nice and smooth.  You could substitute this step with a butter & brown sugar glaze or honey, but we chose this scrummy glaze this time!

Remove from oven, allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then drizzle that glaze on top of the bread. Spoon out generous servings & serve warm.

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There are lots of ways you can mix this recipe up, but we hope you make this and enjoy this on a beautiful Fall morning! And, if you’ve never been to your local ALDI go check it out!  You’re in for a treat!

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It has truly been a pleasure to partner with ALDI to share some of our favorite items and a recipe containing ingredients that can all be purchased from ALDI. Check out https://www.aldi.us/ to see your local weekly specials and gain some mealtime inspiration!

 

(Disclaimer:  This post was sponsored by ALDI, but all opinions expressed here are my own, personal and honest opinions.)