Thursday, October 23, 2014

friday favorites & a free printable

F R I D A Y   F A V O R I T E S

This week has flown! We have been at home mostly, recuperating from our trip out to Indiana. Ephraim has become a terrible sleeper at night, and our immune systems are all down because of it. We are hoping to get him healthy and sleeping through the night very soon!

Here are some of my random favorites of the week!

Favorite 1: Newly-found food staples

I'm not leaving my Land O' Lakes any time soon, but I had to try this new Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa since I love products that don't have preservatives and fake flavors/colors. This only has cocoa, nonfat milk, sugar, natural flavor, and salt. And it's pretty delicious!

I picked up these Ghirardelli Minis and let's just say the bag is gone :)

 Duncan Hines makes a blueberry streusel muffin mix called "Simple Mornings." Again, it makes me happy because there aren't artificial ingredients. I didn't have muffin wrappers, so I followed the instructions on the side for "quick bread". Turned out amazing!! Nolan called it "blueberry cake", and asked for serving after serving until I cut him off :)

Favorite 2: "Trick or Treat" package

In case you missed this on Monday, I had a lot of fun putting together this orange and black package.

Favorite 3: The Boys, as always

Nolan's favorite thing this week has been TRAINS TRAINS and more TRAINS! Little brother's favorite thing to do is stand up on the train set and knock it over, like a little baby Godzilla :) 

Favorite 4: New Aaron Shust song

We've been listening to my current favorite song, Aaron Shust's "No One Higher" on repeat for a few days. It is so good! I made a little print of it (above), and I can't wait to get it up on our walls! The print is formatted to a 5x7. Just right-click and save to your computer! :)

Hoping you have an awesome weekend!!
You'll find me cuddling this sweet thing :)

Linking up for Friday Favorites with Andrea, Erika, & Narci.

indiana, part two

We are in major cousin-withdrawal here at our house. Nolan had the best time this past weekend, and it’s too bad that we don’t live right next door to these sweet little girls :)  One of our favorite adventures from the trip was visiting their library, which had endless computer games, toys, and even a smart table. On Friday, we were treated with a trip to the zoo—something to cross off our fall bucket list. I LOVE seeing the animals through the eyes of little ones. They were enthralled by all of the creatures, even furry little caterpillars inching along the sidewalk. Dolphins, sharks, walruses, orangutans, lions, giraffes . . . so so fun!

See the orangutan on the top right?!

Oh you know, sharing a Diet Coke with Emily :)

Four, three, and two (two for a couple more months)

The long way home. Notice how the baby likes to fall asleep holding my hand. Sweet memories :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

indiana visit

Last Tuesday, after Steve got home from work, we headed out to Indiana to see Steve’s brother and his family. We drove halfway on Tuesday night, and halfway on Wednesday, which was the perfect solution for the craziness of driving with two little guys. Nolan was so excited to spend a few days with his girl cousins!

Our days were full with visiting the library, trekking around the zoo, singing karaoke, playing with Play-Doh, and eating Swedish Fish. One of our nieces danced around in her bright green Tinkerbell dress every day. The other loved to sing us endless songs that I can’t believe a two-year-old has the memory for!

My sister-in-law, Dana is expecting a new baby in two weeks—so it was wonderful to spend some time with them while they’re still a family of four. (Though I wish the timing had worked out with fall break so that we could meet the baby!)

This craft was so fun! Dana mixed food coloring with vinegar in little bowls. Then she poured baking soda all over a tray. She gave the kids little medicine squirters to shoot vinegar onto the baking soda, and make colored fizz! They loved it!


At one point, Ephraim walked across the living room floor pushing this table!


Meanwhile, the guys went for runs and worked on projects around the house.

Blue sand!

Checking out the little lady bug she caught outside.


I have more photos (mostly of the zoo) from my other camera to follow tomorrow!


Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY “trick or treat” package

Trick or Treat Package

Hello! We were on vacation for the past six days, and I didn’t have much of an internet connection. But we’re home now, and we’re getting settled in tonight. :)  I want to share with you a little package that I put together for two awesome friends—one in Missouri, and one in Texas. I am not hugely into the symbols of Halloween, but I still love the black and orange colors of the October season!

Trick or Treat Package

All of the above was found at Walmart this month:

1. Orange and black striped straws (2 different kinds)
2. Wilton pumpkin cookie cutter
3. Land O Lakes “Chocolate Supreme” hot chocolate packets
4. Jello in orange flavor
5. Darice black baker’s twine
6. Scotch candy corn washi tape
7. Black and orange cupcake wrappers
8. Orange sugar sprinkles
9. Black and orange chevron napkins
10. Black and orange tea light candles
11. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear nail polish

All of it was sent in a shoe box with orange crinkle paper (found at Walmart last Easter). I chose items that were light so that the boxes wouldn’t be over a pound each.

Do you have anyone that needs a little “Treat”? :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

“the hardest peace” giveaway

the hardest peace
I’ve been so blessed by this book. I hope this review can do it justice.

Kara Tippetts and her husband Jason are church planters in Colorado Springs, and they have four young children. Kara has stage four cancer that began in her breast, and has since metatasticized to her ovaries, uterus, brain, lymph system, and her blood. She’s been blogging her journey for the past couple of years at

Kara writes that God has not promised us a perfect and happy life—but He has promised us His presence as we walk through it. He grants us peace when we are in places of hopelessness and worry. And He provides us grace in the times of suffering.

I am so encouraged by Kara’s faith, and the book is beautifully written. I immensely enjoyed reading about how she met Jason when they were counselors at summer camp (I can relate ;) ). I loved hearing about her sweet children, and I ache for them because I have been in their shoes. As Kara writes about the future, she speaks honestly of the pain that comes with leaving your family too young to go be with Jesus.

Here is a little snippet:

“Cancer is a gift. There, I said it. I can say that cancer and suffering give the beautiful gift of perspective. It is the gift you never wanted, the gift wrapped in confusion and brokenness and heartbreak. It’s the gift that strips all your other ideas of living from you completely. The beautiful, ugly raising to the surface of the importance of each and every moment. I have loved motherhood in all its nuances. I never cared if a baby slept, I enjoyed snuggles, nursed for years instead of months. I have met my kids in the kitchen, on the dance floor, in their bedrooms quiet at night. There were days I loved interacting with my children, and there were certainly days when I wanted to hide alone in my room to consume a book and let my mind think big thoughts. I have loved my calling as a mama—loved it! But to call it simple would be condescending to the calling. It took me years to find contentment in the mundane momentum of loving in motherhood. Before cancer, I sought kindness in motherhood. The days were not all blissful and simple, but life in the midst of little children was never dull. Tiring, yes; boring, no. I begged for grace to point my precious charges to Jesus, but I lived each moment gluttonous. I ate and ate on the joys of parenthood with no thought of it ever coming to an end. I expected a long life; I may have even thought I deserved a long life.”

Kara’s outlook is heavenward. And I will be praying for her— for as many days as possible with her babies, and for heaps of grace and peace.

Kara Tippetts

I am giving away a copy of Kara’s book. Please enter the Rafflecopter below. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway



"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Must live in U.S. or Canada.”


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