Thursday, February 28, 2013

Joe's IEP

Just a couple of weeks ago I had Joe's IEP meeting with his teachers and therapists.  I remember how scary the first one was.  I stressed a lot leading up to it, then I cried during and afterward...  Each time it gets less and less overwhelming.  One thing I have appreciated is that he has had the same PT and OT since he started developmental preschool nearly three years ago.  So they really understand how far he has come and they rejoice with us in his progress (both big and small).  A newer therapist or teacher may not have the same appreciation for the work that he is doing if they hadn't seen where he started.
While progress for Joe is slow (sometimes painfully so) it is progress none the less and we are thankful for that.  He is such a sweet boy and he is a blessing to those who know him.  It warmed my heart to hear his teacher and therapists share little stories about things he has done at school.  You can tell that they really care about him and want to help him be the best version of himself that he can.  I am so thankful for all the special people that have been brought into our life to work along side us to help our kids become who God wants them to be.

Psalm 28:7 -The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Belated Reception

Its been a busy year for our family.  My youngest sister got married last August.  Two of my sisters had babies in the fall.  And my sister (who lives out of state) had a beautiful courthouse wedding in November.  Well, since friends and family were not able to celebrate with them then we had a belated wedding reception for them this past weekend.
Being the frugal family we are we wanted to keep costs down and one way we did that was reusing some of the decor from the August wedding.  We used all the same flower arrangements but instead of being a literary theme we went with a country BBQ theme.  After much "pinning" to the wedding board we decided to change a few things up here and there and add a lot of bunting to create our country barbeque reception.  We were so happy with the results!
We loved being able to use the awesome chalkboard again.  My mom is so awesome! And we found work for my dad also.  He worked hard making several wooden candle holders inspired by these.  We literally strung bunting banners around most of the room, and on a few tables.  We chose somewhat modern patterns to keep things playful and fun.
 We put together a playful popcorn bar for the guests.  When we first pitched the idea to my mom she was not really into it.  But she went along and was really happy with the results, and so were the guests! 
We hand stamped brown paper bags with this Mason Jar stamp we found online.  And we had several seasoning mixes for people to add to their popcorn.  
The yummy buffet featured grape salad, a salad bar, baked beans, corn casserole, fried chicken and bbq pulled pork. So good!  Thanks to all the ladies who helped with the food!
Check out the cute country cake!  My mom made it.  Its chocolate cake with peanut butter icing.  YUM!  One of my sister's favorites!  And the cute bunting banner cake topper was inspired by this cake found online.  Rather than have just cake we enjoyed a plethora of yummy treats on the dessert table.
 Because my sister lives out of state now we aren't all together in one place very often.  So thankful for the time we got to celebrate their marriage!  Love you guys!

Matthew 19:4-6 He answered,  ”Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said,’Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a free appetizer buffet from The Claddagh Irish Pub.  They had a giveaway on their facebook page and I entered it... and forgot about it.  What a fun surprise when they called me up saying I won!  Well, something that cool had to be shared!  So I gathered a bunch of girl friends and we had a great girls night out.
This is me and one of my best gals!  Our birthdays are just a couple of days apart so we shared the birthday girl status at the party.
Well, I feel like one blessed gal!  I am so thankful for all the special ladies that came for our girls night out.  We definitely need to do this more often!  ;-)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stationery Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mix N Match

I've been trying to branch out in my clothing choices lately.  I don't want to spend a lot of money on clothes, I just want to know how to use what I have in creative ways.  Pinterest is great for getting fashion ideas.  I have found several fashion blogs through pins that I have fallen in love with. 

Putting Me Together has tons of great posts with tips and ideas for building a re-mixable wardrobe.  And isn't she adorable?  I mean really.
I love it when I find posts that show one item of clothing styled a bunch of different ways.  Like this post found on Fashion Worship. Denim button down shirt worn 21 ways!  Love it!

While I still have a lot to learn about how to dress my body I am having fun with my clothes for probably the first time since I became a mom.  I think I stopped trying for a long time.  Then I kept thinking I'd "lose the weight" or whatever... and I need to make the most of what I have now! And I am rockin' it!  ;-)

Friday, February 08, 2013

Creative Date Ideas

We are a week away from the big day.  You know, V-day.  Love day.  Valentine's Day!  ;-)

Some may argue that its a commercial holiday made up by card companies, jewelers and restaurants to encourage the general public to overspend in an effort to impress their significant other.  To an extent I respect that theory.  It had become over commercialized.  But so has our culture in general, so its no big surprise.  I prefer to find simple, inexpensive ways to make my husband feel special and naturally I encourage him to do the same.  ;-)

The 2010 movie Date Night portrays an out of touch married couple trying to spice things up with a fancy date in the city.  And while the antics that follow are comedic and extreme, the rut the couple is in at the beginning of the movie will be all too familiar to many married couples.  It does not have to be that way, people!

I do not think that a lot of money has to be spent.  I do believe that time needs to be invested in our marriage relationship in order for us to sustain the love we share.  It won't always feel like the exciting newness we had in the beginning.  But it grows over time and through trials and we love one another more now than we did when we were first married.  It is only because we purposefully set aside time to devote to one another that we are able to grow closer to each other.  So, I would encourage all married couples to do whatever you need to in order to carve out that time.  If you cannot afford a babysitter you can swap babysitting with another family or have naptime or after bedtime dates.  If you cannot afford fancy dates then you can get creative and go to free museums, cook at home or use coupons when you dine out.  Be intentional and find ways to be together intimately.

Dating Divas post creative date night ideas all the time.  I love seeing their themed date nights!  So fun and creative (and usually inexpensive too).  They have printables and activity ideas that would appeal to a variety of interests.

Modern Parents Messy Kids has a fun post with ideas for a Daytime (in some people's case a "naptime") Date.  Pair some cheese and fruit with a little afternoon delight maybe?

Redbook shares 100 Date Night Ideas.  Wow!  They range from  taking a bubble bath together to heading to a jazz club, to making ice cream sundaes together after the kids go to bed... and many more great ideas!

A friend of mine pinned a list of unusual date ideas on Pinterest.  There are some really creative (albeit a little weird) things to do together on this list.  Check it out here.

Time Warp Wife shares candidly about how we often become lazy (I know I do) when it comes to looking nice for our husbands.  She certainly doesn't encourage wives to parade around like prom queens... but really, I think we all can tell a difference in how we feel and how we are seen when we take a few minutes just to put ourselves together instead of staying in our pjs all day like we all would like to do.  ;-)  So, especially when you are able to have a date night, take the time to wear something you feel good in and do your hair up nice... because he is worth it!  And so are you!

“Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:13

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Guest Post by Kristin Hill Taylor

I am excited to have a guest poster on the blog today.  Her name is Kristin and we met on facebook via the No More Perfect Moms launch team group.  She was gracious to have me guest post on her blog a couple days ago and I'm happy to have her here now.  So looking forward to getting to know her and learn from one another! 

Our heater had to be replaced so everything from that closet was piled elsewhere in the basement. I had moved my 3-year-old boy to his new room, which prompted purging of one hallway closet and his old closet, rearranging his new closet which is so large it’s really still a family closet, and sorting through clothes that don’t fit my growing boy anymore. That all created separate piles to consign and give away.

There were crumbs from various past meals still lingering under the table, which had some sticky spots leftover from my boy’s fingerprints from choosing not to use his fork. Recyclables filled one side of my sink while dirty dishes awaited my attention in the other. Really, why do I put off unloading the dishwasher when it takes about seven total minutes?

Both my kids had various pairs of shoes and socks scattered like a trail through the living room. A basket of cleaned and folded clothes sat near our bedroom door and plenty of dirty clothes waited for their turn in the washing machine.

I had forgotten to thaw something for dinner. It’s nice having meals already prepared in the freezer, but, um, they don’t cook themselves. My family wanted butter for their rolls, but I had used the last of it the day before and I wasn’t going to the grocery store for one condiment.

The new-to-me minivan had a flashing light on the dashboard that was telling me a sophisticated tire pressure monitoring system needed attention. Thankfully, my tires were fully aired up. Yes, I checked, even after my husband told they were fine. And more than a week after my dentist put a crown on one of my back teeth I was having sporadic but intense pain.

While observing this and trying not to think about how I just didn’t feel great, I said to my husband, “This house will never been clean again.”

Without hesitation, he said, “That’s alright.”

Then I realized he didn’t reassure me cleanliness and organization that meet my often-too-high standards would happen. But he did reassure me that my worth as a wife and mom wasn’t found in my housekeeping habits.

The crumbs will get swept. The piles will be organized and given and stored. Our heater is fixed and those dishes have been unloaded so others could be loaded. The laundry is a never-ending cycle, but, hey, I love these people who need to be clothed.

I had thought Jill Savage wrote “No More Perfect Moms” for me. But I soon realized I’m not alone in needing to be reminded to let go. Her words have echoed what God had already been speaking into my heart.

“We can’t be perfect parents, but we can act in partnership with a perfect God. There is peace, hope, and expectancy in that statement.” {From “No More Perfect Moms” by Jill Savage}

While embracing imperfection, I’m seeing how God perfects me through the ordinary moments that don’t go like I see them with my no-good perfectionist ways. We won’t be perfect in this lifetime, but we are being refined and matured and strengthened and made into versions of ourselves that reflect the creator of the universe.

Seems like a perfect partnership to me.

Kristin Hill Taylor lives in Murray, Ky., with her husband, Greg, and two kids – 5-year-old Cate and 3-year-old Ben. She can often be found trying to beat her husband in Words with Friends, playing games of Settlers of Catan with her best friends, watching “Parenthood” or “Bones,” listening to her daughter’s stories, reminding her son to be careful, or texting her friends. She believes in taking road trips, living in community, and keeping her camera and iPhone close. You can keep up with her at or follow on her Twitter.


Monday, February 04, 2013

Imperfect Guest Post

Today I have the honor of guest posting at - Kristin and I met via the No More Perfect Moms launch team online.  We are eager to share our own imperfect experiences with other moms. Please head on over and check out my guest post on her blog today... and then come on back here on Feb 6th to read Kristin's post.  ;-)

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Best Big Brother

  A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  Proverbs 17:17

Normally I like to end my posts with a bible verse.  But today I am beginning with one.  Recently I have been reminded how awesome Nate is.  Sometimes he can be high energy and asks a lot of crazy questions that make me want to scream... but in his heart of hearts he is a kind and wonderful boy who amazes me daily. 
There are times when Joe and Christine are both being challenging and I just want to withdraw and disengage and hide myself away for awhile... and believe me, Nate feels that way sometimes too. 
But sometimes while I am on the verge of freaking out I see Nate go over to his two complicated siblings and embrace them.  Not always literally, but he reaches out to them in a way that I don't always have the patience to do.
He talks to them sweetly and tells them its alright and begins to coax them out of their tantrum or funk that they are in.  Nate has a way with Joe and Christine like no one else does.  He doesn't think there is anything "wrong" with them.  He completely accepts them just as they are.  He often says that Joe or Christine is the "best brother/sister ever".
I am noticing over time I am learning so much from Nate.  The way he thinks is so different from me and yet there are times when I see myself in him.  I'm not sure if its "nature" or "nurture" but we are clearly very much alike and very much different at the same time.
I suppose every parent hopes that their child will gain all of their good traits and none of their bad ones... but we know that never happens.  Nate exhibits both good and bad qualities from both of us.
He is so faithful in his prayers.  When we have him pray he never fails to end his prayers with "and thank you for my (X-number of) Lego sets".  He is constantly telling me he loves me and that I am the best mom ever, in the whole universe...
 There are so many things that I have to be thankful for and Nate is definitely one of them.  And I truly believe that he is the best big brother ever.  ;-)

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3John 1:4

Friday, February 01, 2013

No More Perfect Moms Bonuses!

Ladies... I have been told that there are some awesome bonus gifts that you will get if you order No More Perfect Moms during release week (Feb 4-9).  You can order online or in a store to qualify.  Here is a rundown of the great gifts you'll get for being one of the first to own this powerful book:

6 Sixty Minute Audio Workshops (MP3 format) from Hearts at Home

• Desperate for Wisdom - Dr. Juli Slattery
• How to Fight for Your Marriage - Dr. Juli Slattery
• It is Well with Your Soul - Jennifer Rothschild
• Multiple Intelligences - Dr. Kathy Koch
• Ten Stress Strategies Every Mom Needs - Jill Savage
• The God Who Sees You - Tammy Maltby

4 Printables from Hearts at Home

• 10 Stress Strategies Every Mom Needs
• “Love Is”—I Corinthians 13 for Parents
• Mom Rules
• How to Fight Fair In Marriage

3 Free E-book’s (including PDF, Kindle, iPad, and Nook editions!) from Moody Publishers

• Live Free by Kendra Smiley
• Growing Grateful Kids by Susie Larsen
• Real Moms Real Jesus by Jill Savage

1 Contest Entry

You will be entered in a drawing to win hotel accommodations and two Hearts at Home Mom Conference registrations for you and a friend at a conference of your choice! (If unable to attend a conference, a Hearts at Home Conference To-Go will be substituted for the winner and a friend.)
I don't know about you but I am excited to get my hands on those resources!  Motherhood is a hard job and we need all the help we can get!