Friday, October 30

happy friday, bring on november

Only two more days until November 1st. For me, it really cannot come soon enough - not because it's my birth day, but because I am seriously finished with all of the Halloween celebrations. 

As a parent who is on the fence about whether to let my children celebrate it to the fullest extent, partially, or absolutely not at all, I am in a completely torn state - having to choose between disappointing my child or caving to conform with the ways of the world. 

Since, I'm behaving as a double minded man on the topic, I really have no right to complain or even express my frustration. So, thanks for letting me vent and my apologies for it as well.

Now, on to more exciting and pleasant things. Like the fact that it's the weekend and Thursday was my Friday - a much needed three day weekend awaits! Let's kick it off with my week in a nutshell.

There is no denying that I have eaten well this week. On Monday, we tried out Kelsey's recipe for Taco Soup. It was amazing, literally amazing. I'll share a recipe post in the days to come since I did deviate a bit from hers.

On Tuesday, it was so cold and rainy. I suppose that's why my friend and I were craving warm bowls of soup from Panera. I splurged on the Tomato Soup and couldn't have been happier with my choice. Bonus, I had a free birthday pastry on my Panera card! So... I also had a warm, gigantic chocolate chip cookie. Yum!

In case you missed it, on Wednesday I shared what I'm currently crushing on. A gorgeous pair of rain boots, some fitness motivation, flawless flats, and a really cool car gadget.

Hunter Women's Original Rubber Boots EUR 37 Red Brand Emmie Flat

We may have not participated in the trick or treating festivities in our neighborhood, but I did cave on preparing a holiday related snack for the party at school. Little J and I settled on these Spooky Boo Brownies. And for the record, he was totally okay with not going trick or treating if it meant he could help make the brownies. 

I feel like we have lots going on this weekend. That's part of why I am taking a Trista-Day on Friday. Plus, I haven't felt great this week and it's been super busy. I am looking so forward to the extra day at home. Saturday is hair day for me and picture day for the boys. I'm trying to decide if I want them to match or just coordinate. What are your thoughts?

Option 1
Blue and White.
Chaps Button Front Checkered Shirt Boys 4-7  Chaps Cable Sweater Vest Boys 4-7Chaps Basic Chino Pants Boys 4-7Carter's® 2-Piece Plaid Bodysuit and Corduroy Pant Set
Option 2
Black and Red plaid. The plaid bodysuit below is similar in style but off in color. The one we actually have matches the shirt perfectly. 
OshKosh B'gosh® Buffalo Check Flannel Shirt Boys 4-7     OshKosh B'gosh® Long Sleeve Plaid Bodysuit
Would it sway your decision if I told you the pictures will be taken outside on the farm? Think fall foliage and a red and white barn. I can't decide. Maybe we can just do both...

Lastly, just a reminder that I'm partnering with a group of awesome ladies to have the best giveaway ever - $165 Paypal cash. Check it out here. Giveaway ends in two days.

I so hope your weekends are fabulous!

Linking up with April | Five on Friday, Erika | Friday Favorites, and Karli | Oh Hey Friday.

Tuesday, October 27

currently on my wish list + a giveaway

So... I may or may not have a birthday looming about. Little J asked me this morning what I would like and I told him I didn't need a thing. However, I'm secretly hoping that the husband takes a rare peek at the blog, this post in particular. Ha!

Hunter Women's Original Rubber Boots EUR 37 Red 

I am seriously crushing on these beauties. I love the red, but think the navy or dark olive would be pretty too.

I have had my eye on a Fitbit for awhile now. I know a lot of folks say the Charge is worth the extra $, but I like the slimmer version of the Flex. I like the red, slate, teal, and navy. The navy or slate is probably the most versatile though, fashion wise.
Lucky Brand Emmie FlatLucky Brand Emmie Flat
I actually already have these flats in the Bourbon color. I wore them completely out - they aren't professionally presentable anymore. Although I like my Gap Classic Ballet Flats, I feel like these were way more comfortable and lots more supportive. So, I'm in the market for both the black and bourbon pairs.

Koomus CD-Air CD Slot Smartphone Car Mount Holder Cradle for All iPhone and Android Devices
 I've been thinking about a phone holder for a few weeks now. I rode with a girl at work one day and was immediately smitten with the little gadget that held her phone right on the dashboard beside the steering wheel. It was perfect. I can't seem to find one exactly like the one she had, but I really think I'd like this one.

And then there's pretty much anything and everything at the GAP that I'd love for my closet to call its own.

Would love to know what you're crushing on these days!

 Oh, by the way... I am partnering with an awesome group of ladies and we're having the best giveaway ever. Check out the details below, and be sure to enter!

From Amy at The Farmer's Wife
There are few things that I like more than free cash.
 And today, that's exactly what we are giving away.
 $165 dollars to be exact.
 Just in time for the holidays!
 I can think of SO many things that I would love to buy with that amount of moola.
 And it is honestly so SO easy to win it.

This group of beautiful ladies is to thank...

As if that cash wasn't enough to get you excited, Rachel is giving away a darling handmade "gather" sign from her Etsy shop: The Little Homeplace.
Perfect for Fall. 
Perfect for anytime.

 Check out her shop for more adorable custom signs.

SO, let's sum this all up, shall we?
$165 dollars via Paypal from a bunch of beautiful ladies AND a cute handcrafted sign.
I think this is a win for any human. Ever.

Go get yourself entered, and follow some of the best blogs that you've ever read.
You've been missing out on life if you don't already follow them!


Monday, October 26

my weekend of bliss

Happy Monday, Friends! How were your weekends? Mine was great - everything I had hoped it would be!

On Friday evening, we grabbed Papa John's Pizza and mainly just chilled out as a family. The Husband has been doing a little work around the barn, so we hung out there for awhile and watched him work. The Littles love being around the equipment and of course, the dirt. If you look closely, you can see Little J's toy equipment by the rock pile.

Saturday, we got all gussied up for a wedding. Thanks to my mother-in-law, we were able to leave the boys with her and make it a date for us.

 Alyx Dress | Cosmopolitan Heels | Jessica Howard Cardigan

I wore some serious heels (since I wouldn't be chasing or carrying a one year old - I deemed them less of a safety hazard than usual.)

The wedding was beautiful! I've known the bride since she was a little girl. My husband and I worked the church bus route years ago. She came with her friend one day and has been faithful ever since. It blesses my heart to see her all grown up, living for Him, and happily married. Isn't she beautiful?! Congratulations Cortney!

After the yummy reception, we stopped by our local ice cream shoppe and I splurged on some Rocky Road. I haven't had Rocky Road in ages, but someone mentioned it this week at work and I couldn't pass it up. I can promise you it was just as delicious as it looks.

We spent Saturday evening trying to get caught up on NCIS and Scorpion. We weren't very successful and crashed early.

Sunday, the boys actually slept in! I think I logged a full 8 hours and felt like a million bucks. After church, we met family at Cheddar's and enjoyed lunch in honor of my husband's grandfather's birthday. I ate my weight in Chips and Queso and then the New Orleans Pasta. Oh WW, we have got to get back on track Monday...

I am loving the true Fall weather! The trees are so pretty this time of year and it's the kind of temps where we do not need the heat or the air conditioner on. Check out the view on my way into town Saturday morning. I literally stopped in the middle of the road to take this picture.

Lastly, I saw this circulating on my Facebook feed over the weekend. I couldn't help but chuckle. 

Hope you each have a fabulous week!

Linking up with Biana | B Loved Boston, Meg | Life of Meg, and Ashley | A Cute Angle.


Friday, October 23

happy friday

Hey there, Lovelies. It's time to welcome Friday with a little recap of the week. And in an effort to log a few more zzz's, I have full intentions of being short and sweet with this download. 

First up... Gilmore Girls is set to return!!! Based on this article, Netflix is planning to air four 90 minute episodes. Eek! I started watching this show when I was a junior in college. My girlfriends and I would meet in one of the student lounge's right after class to watch the newest episode and start on our homework. I've watched the full season once and am almost through it a second time. I am super psyched about this! Gilmore Girls is hands down my favorite show of all-time.

I did some shopping for the boys this week. Check out some of the super cute pieces I picked up from Belk. I can do some serious damage to my wallet on a one hour lunch break!
  Carter's® Appliqued Moose Tee Boys 4-7  Carter's® Printed 'Big Brother' 2Fer Tee Boys 4-7  Chaps Eastford Plaid Button Down Shirt Boys 4-7 
 Carter's® Dinosaur Sleep and Play  Carter's® Rocket Striped Sleep and Play  OshKosh B'gosh® Long Sleeve Striped Jersey Bodysuit   Carter's® 2-Piece Plaid Bodysuit and Corduroy Pant Set
I was already in the neighborhood, so I thought I might as well pick up my absolute favorite face wash - the Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser Mousse. And since lately I've been inspired by some of your make up posts, I splurged on mascara - the Clinique Lash Power Mascara in dark chocolate. I usually only wear the stuff on super special occasions but am thinking about making it an every day staple just to shake things up a bit. We shall see. Did I choose a good one? Because I honestly know absolutely zero about mascara.

So, even though I'm not a fan of Halloween, I do enjoy seeing my kiddos dress up like super heroes. The school they attend held their Fall Festival this week, and the Littles (mainly Little J) got to play games, take a hay ride, and eat lots of candy. I will not lie, these are seriously the two cutest super heroes you will ever see. 

By the way, in case you missed it, I confessed my struggles with the holiday earlier in the week. Would love to know whether you like, dislike or are somewhere in between when it comes to Halloween. (That rhyming was pure accident.)

I'm looking forward to the weekend. If all goes as expected, it should be fairly low-key. We have a wedding to attend on Saturday and then church services on Sunday. Mix in a few loads of laundry, a little bit of cooking and cleaning, and a whole lot of relaxation, and I'll see you back here on Monday.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Linking up with April | Five on Friday, Erika | Friday Favorites, and Karli | Oh Hey Friday.


Wednesday, October 21

i have a confession... i dislike halloween


I realize I'm basically alone out here on this little island of dislike, but as much as I have tried, I cannot shake the uneasy feelings I have towards the holiday. 

We have basically been able to ignore that it exists until now. For the last couple of years, we've handled Halloween as a time to dress up as your favorite character and receive/give candy from/to friends at school, never really referring to it as Halloween. This year however, Little J is old enough to comprehend wearing costumes, trick or treating, etc. in honor of the Halloween holiday. Even more, he is thrilled about it. 

I will not lie, I cringe at the very mention of the word. Hall-o-ween. Every time that he says it, I tell him Mommy doesn't like Halloween but offer him no real reason as to why I don't. Possibly because I'm divided. What he is doing at school - dressing up as Spiderman, carving pumpkins, playing games, and begging for candy - all seem relatively harmless, fun even. So, what's the big deal? Why the dislike? Before you count me crazy, hear me out for just a moment.

1) Halloween has associates
When you think of Halloween, what other words come to mind? Scary. Mischief. Spooky. Ghosts. Devils. Superstition. Goblins. Spirits. Evil. Occult. Magic. Vandalism. Mystery. Crime. Spiders. Witches. The list goes on. To me, none of these words bring me warm fuzzies. As a matter of fact, in all seriousness, these are all very scary. I know there are folks who truly enjoy being scared, but I am not one of them. And I certainly have no desire to make friends with evil spirits, devils, or ghosts, even if it is only for play. The devil is real and even though there is innocence in children participating in these activities, does the innocence remain if it's in the devil's honor?

2) Halloween is the night that ghosts of the dead return and cause mischief and vandalism. 
Seriously, this is the basis of the holiday. Based on some research I conducted, Halloween originates from the Celtic festival Samhain which represented the last night before a new calendar year. Ghosts would return, revisit their homes, cause trouble, damage crops, and the devil would be the center of it all. People would wear costumes to disguise themselves from the ghosts that may be looking for them. They would light bonfires to ward off evil spirits and burn animal sacrifices to keep their crops safe. Some however, welcomed this day of the year, hoping to communicate with the ghosts of the dead.

3) Halloween is plain scary.  
I know I mentioned this to some extent already, but it warrants it's own discussion. I am not interested in instilling fear into my children, on any level. (Unless of course, it's the fear of God - which is a reverential fear, not an I'm scared kind of fear.) Everywhere you turn - commercials on TV, advertisements, neighbor's decorations, the news, books, etc. have scary visuals. Dead people, witches, ghosts, gore, and more. I can monitor the TV and the advertisements to filter out the Halloween scariness, but it's frustrating that it's constantly in your face. 

Did you see where one woman's decorations were so scary, she may have to take them down? I'm pretty sure if I lived on her street, I would be furious. My 5 year old does not need to see that. I prefer he sleep at night rather than having nightmares, and I wouldn't want to have to explain to him over and over again that what he saw wasn't real. You think it's mostly innocent, but is it? An example - this morning while the boys were playing before school, Little L started to walk into the closet that is underneath our stairs without the light on (an area full of toys). I hear Little J say in a spooky tone, "be careful L, there are ghosts in there."

So, I'm at a divide. My children attend a church affiliated preschool that celebrates the holiday each year, not with gore and things of fear but with costumes, pumpkin painting, games, and trick or treating. I believe all of these activities are conducted with pure and innocent hearts - not one of their teachers is secretly worshiping the devil and communicating with the dead for the ultimate goal of scaring my children.

But I cannot completely let go of the possibility that the devil is secretly winning each time we, as Christians, celebrate this holiday. I ask myself what exactly am I teaching my children when it comes to the purpose of Halloween? I realize at their age they do not understand it's true origination, but is ignorance bliss? We are to abstain from all appearance of evil, does this count as an appearance of evil?

I do not have the answers, and have chosen - for this year at least - to not take a stand for or against Halloween when it comes to my children celebrating the holiday. Immediately, the verse a double minded man is unstable in all his ways comes to mind. I struggle with trying to explain to Little J why Mommy and Daddy dislike it and him being the only child not participating when it comes to wearing a costume or begging for candy. If we chose to follow through with not participating, I would pull him from school for that day and we'd have a family fun day. But, he's talked about their party day at school for several days now, so I'm not sure I could even shield him from it if I wanted to. 

Well, being the pushover that I am, I headed to the mall Tuesday to snag some costumes for Little J and Little L. I found a Halloween store in the mall and picked up Little J a Spiderman costume and Little L, Superman. It hurt me to give them my business, it really did. I hid the bag from Little J because the bag was scary! Little J absolutely loved his "suit." So much that he wanted to sleep in it. 

Do I want him to miss out on the simple joys of dressing up as his favorite super hero? Of course not, his excitement was precious. But, I wouldn't have minded buying this costume any other time of year for the sole purpose of having fun either.

I would love to know your thoughts on this. Is anyone else on the dislike island with me?

Linking up with Alanna

Tuesday, October 20

let's be friends blog hop: 140th edition

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.

Dear Friends, What a day to celebrate! This is the 140th week of the Let's Be Friends blog hop! Thanks for joining us on this special day. Chelsee and Tiffany are extremely delighted to see the way this hop has grown and love to see your faces each week! **IMPORTANT HOUSEKEEPING NOTE! We are looking for co-hosts for our blog hop for October/November! This is a great way to gain new followers and network with other bloggers! If you are interested please email! Thank you!

Join us every Tuesday at 7am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. LINK UP YOUR FAVORITE POST from last week in this fun content-sharing blog hop! I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!

The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win. Only those who link up a specific post are eligible to be featured! *You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of The Dwelling Tree or Southern Beauty Guide. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Chelsee about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!

Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs, comment, and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news!

 Let’s Be Friends
***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop.

Meet your hosts:

The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'
Southern Beauty Guide: Blog, Bloglovin'

Meet this week's co-hosts:

Lindsay @ The Flynnigans

Thank you all once again for continually linking up at our blog hop. It is such a fun time and I am so impressed each week with all the amazing posts. Please continue to link up an actual post instead of your blog. We want to keep reading your content and it makes it more fun to pick a winner!
Is there anything we can do differently or better? Please share in the comments!

...on to the Winner! ***This weeks featured post from last week's hop:


Monday, October 19

let's chat about the weekend

Hey there, Lovelies. I'm a little later than usual with my weekend download. I normally write my posts in the evening after my kiddos have gone to bed, but last night I opted for sleep instead.

I want to first say how thankful I am for all of your encouraging comments! I love knowing that I am not alone. I feel a lot better about giving myself a little more leeway in my meltdown now. I am guilty of holding myself to unattainable standards at times, but honestly, I think most women do. We expect more of ourselves than anyone else would even consider.

I will admit, the uncontrollable emotions have not completely passed but my extent of control is definitely improving. I'm certain the weekend with the ones I love had everything to do with it.

On Saturday, the boys and I made the hour and a half trek to my parents' farm. My mom grilled hot dogs and hamburgers and made the yummiest cherry cobbler. My favorite part, aside from seeing them and the farm, was getting the chance to relax a little bit. She chased my children while I took some me time just to read and eat my lunch without being on constant alert! 

Saturday evening, we had an impromptu bonfire - Little J's idea. We roasted hot dogs around the fire and had s'mores. It was such a nice evening.

I can promise you I completely ignored the number of WW Points I consumed this weekend. I gave myself a free pass to eat my feelings but am back at it today. As of this morning, I am only 6 pounds away from my goal weight

On Sunday, our Pastor preached on falling in love with Jesus. The more you fall in love with Him, the more you'll love your spouse, your job, and others. He described the feelings that you have when you're falling for someone - you want to spend more time with them, get to know their every like, dislike, and thought. It should be just the same when it comes to our relationships with Jesus. I know that I am guilty of not making time for Him. I'm guessing I'd have a better handle on these emotional encounters if I were stronger in my faith and better trained at keeping my eyes solely on Him. 

Remember my post on skirts? I put this ensemble together on Sunday and was really pleased with my creativity. The sweater is JCPenney brand and the skirt is Worthington.

That about sums up the weekend for me. I wasn't able to "rest" nearly as much as I would have liked, but all of the fun things that happened instead were priceless.

Hope you have a great week!

Linking up with Biana | B Loved Boston, Meg | Life of Meg, and Ashley | A Cute Angle.