Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ringing in the New Year with your Furry One

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  How about making some for your pet this year?  If you’re up for the challenge, start with my list and then add your own.  Your four-legged companion will love you for it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Food for the Body, Food for the Soul #5

I don't know about you, but I am feeling the need to get back to basics.  This month I have felt like a top spinning wildly out of control.  And it is during this time of year that all I really want to do is cuddle with my peeps in front of our Christmas tree, and forget my to-do list.

I can't help but think about how much easier our parents had it.  There were no Elves on a Shelf to remember to hide, no keeping up with the Joneses on Facebook, or obsessing over the ingredients list before taking cookies in to school.  Life was simpler back then.  Maybe not as "social," but maybe the lack of social media actually helped people spend more time on the things that really matter.  Like getting the kids into bed on time, savoring a home-cooked meal, and talking to each other.

So, today I want to share a one-pot meal with you that was a hit in our house.  And a verse to go with it.  The meal happens to be "roast beast," so plan on watching The Grinch afterward.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What I Wore Wednesday: Favorite Fashion Blogger Part 2

I am back today with the second installment of What I Wore Wednesday: My Favorite Fashion Bloggers!

I always feel a little weird sharing pictures of myself with the world on my blog, so I feel compelled to share a little bit about why.  As a busy mom of three boys, it would be really easy for me to run around in workout pants or sweats every day.  And while that definitely does happen, the days I put a little thought into my outfits, and take that time for myself, I am more productive, more careful about what I eat, and overall I feel better about myself.  Sometimes (like this morning), it takes getting up an hour before everyone else so that I can shower and dry my hair, but when I invest a little time into ME, I remember that I matter too.  Doing laundry, packing lunches, cooking meals, writing blog posts for PetPartners and my own blog, checking homework, and shuttling everyone to practice makes up the bulk of my day.  Investing some time into myself can be the little pick-me up that keeps me going when the going gets tough.  So, without further ado...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Toddler Tips for the Busy Seasons

When the holidays approach, I always find myself feeling guilty about not having as much time to spend with my boys.  One thing I have noticed is that the more I involve my littlest in what I am doing, the better.  Camden feels helpful and included, and I enjoy the company.  I also manage to get things done even when he is hanging out beside me.

Camden can help empty the dishwasher...

I let him empty the silverware, making sure I remove anything sharp first.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Fall Tablescape with Vibrant Colors

I have always loved decorating with flowers.  I'd have a fresh bouquet in every room if I could!  All it takes is a bunch of daisies or a mix of wildflowers to pack a powerful punch of color and happy into a room.

Flower delivery by BloomNation inspired me to use flowers to pull together a colorful fall table.  I have been seeing lots of pinks, yellows, and greens on this year's fall tables, and I love the look!  I still like the traditional muted browns and golds I am used to seeing, but the pops of color provided by vibrant pink and green just make me smile...especially with all the rain we've been getting!!!

So, I headed to my favorite spot for gathering the perfect flowers...Trader Joe's...and prepared to be inspired.  I brought home two medium-sized bouquets and got to work.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Rockstar at 100: Tips to Live By...

My grandma lived so gracefully.  I loved her dearly and have not really come to terms with the fact that she is not still living happily in her converted barn, doing her crosswords, and drinking her hot tea.  One thing I do know for sure, is that one doesn't get to 100 without doing some things right.  And I believe these are among the many reasons she lived so long and she loved so well...

1. She was always dressed.  As my Aunt Pam so eloquently said, "She was not a sweatpants and t-shirt kind of girl."  Grandma wore a blouse and slacks (that's what they call them, right?) every day.  When it was cold outside she wore a cardigan with a pretty pin.  She wore beautiful jewelry, much of it given to her by her grandchildren, and she always knew who had given her the different pieces.  One of my favorite conversations after Grandma passed away was in her bedroom.  As we looked through her jewelry box, remembering pins and necklaces she wore, I mentioned how awesome it was that Grandma always looked so put together and my mom said she always reminded her of Queen Elizabeth.  I dug a little bit into the archives of Queen Elizabeth and came up with this...


"From a regal childhood to her years as a newly coronated Queen and young mother, to her current status as the revered figurehead of the Commonwealth, the most impressive feature of the Queen’s dress sense may be its consistency..."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What I Wore Wednesday

Today I am starting a two part series to tell you about my four favorite fashion blogs.  I love to read fashion blogs for two reasons.  First, I love getting new ideas for outfits.  Second, sometimes I just need to escape the real world of meal planning, parenting, and running this crazy household! Don't pretend you aren't there with me.  Everyone has their guilty pleasures.  These ladies help me look cute and take mental breaks from time to time, and I am so thankful for them.  These are my favorites in the world of fashion:

The Pleated Poppy
The Sunny Side Up Blog
Pinterest Told Me To
Hi Sugarplum

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

It's the last Wednesday of October (wait, what?) and I am linking up with Pinterest Told me To to share what's up around here...

What we're eating this week...

Trying to get back in the saddle again when it comes to healthy weeknight meals.  We had Fish Tacos tonight.  Yum!  You can read Monday Meal Planning for more of our weeknight meals.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Meal Planning

Monday Meal Planning

It's been a while.  And I can tell.  When I don't plan our meals for the week, we end up eating grilled cheese and beef tacos.  Not that there is anything wrong with grilled cheese and beef tacos, but it does get kind of old.  And not so healthy.  So, here I sit to plan.  Hopefully I will carry out these meals this week...

Monday: Veggie Wraps
We have a baseball game, and baseball games nights are difficult to plan for.  Jonah gets so tired of sandwiches and pizza on these nights, so tonight I am going to let him build his own wrap sandwich. Wraps are great because they contain fewer carbs and more good stuffing aka veggies and protein. Here's how...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tiny Treat Bag Ideas

What can you do with tiny treat bags and some fun paper?  The possibilities are endless!!!

Put together your own birthday party favors...

Friday, October 2, 2015

What Your Dog Should Expect When You're Expecting

We welcomed our first tiny human into our home almost exactly 11 years ago.  Our sweet golden retriever was incredibly receptive, but there were some things we did before our little guy came home from the hospital to make the transition smooth for her.  After all, she was actually our first baby, and we wanted to make sure she still felt special and loved.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Tips for a Successful Garage Sale aka Let it Go

I texted my friend Leah shortly before our yard sale began last week.  She had asked how she could help, and I told her she could make it easier for me to get rid of things.  Her response?  Just think WWLD.  Translation: What Would Leah Do?

I have a confession to make.  I have a really hard time letting go of my baby boy's stuff.  Now that the baby is two, and the factory's been bombed (ask Justin), I have come to that difficult place of making myself part with our baby toys and clothes.  I'd rather just hide it behind closet doors and pretend it's not there, or find an excuse like, "Someone close to me may decide to have another baby!" but as closet space is running out and most of my friends are turning *ahem* forty, I know the inevitable will happen.  I will have to part with it.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Power of Authentic Tasks Part 2

Leah and her son, Drew, meeting Camden for the first time.  Camden loves his "Lala."
My friend Leah is a rockstar.

She is also the lab coordinator of nursing students at SPCC.  They are incredibly lucky to have her as a teacher of the nurses in training.  She is kind, funny, sensitive, caring, compassionate, talented, and a stickler for the rules.  I can think of no one I'd rather have as my nurse.  So I'd say she's the perfect one to be training people for this very important role.

A few weeks ago, Leah had an incredible idea that would allow her students to have some real live practice.  She drew up a plan and made it happen.   She borrowed my kids for a day and assigned them parts to play.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Finding Fall Favorites

I could stay up all night reading post after post from the amazing bloggers who posted on our Finding Fall Link Party.  But seeing as I have little people to rouse for school, I am thinking that would be a bad idea.  So, I picked a few I'd love to share with you.

My good friend Jennifer, who I met at the Haven conference is so talented!  She shared her Apple Pie Popsicles...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Food for the Body, Food for the Soul #4

I still remember one of the first meals I made for Justin when we were dating.  It was Ziti with Broccoli and Potatoes.  I made it in the teeny tiny kitchen I shared with two other girls in Boone.  And the recipe came out of Time Life Books Low Fat Pasta Cookbook.  No, not Pinterest.  I didn't google it, or type the ingredients I did want and the ingredients I didn't want into All Recipes.  I just picked up the cookbook, flipped through the pages, looking at the large colorful pictures of pasta dishes, and picked the one that looked the best to me.

And now, many years later, I am still making meals from that book.  Sometimes I feel like our moms had it so much easier than us.  We think technology has made life so much easier, and it has in more ways than I can count, but it has also given us (and especially those of us who tend to be indecisive) too many choices at times.  When I want a recipe that I know will be good, I can always count on Time Life Books to give me a hearty, delicious dish.

Another book I am truly enjoying is Jen Hatmaker's book, For the Love.  One of my favorite chapters is called Not Buying, and in it, Hatmaker gently reminds us that women have been cooking for their families for years, and that is really isn't rocket science.

We should stop listening to this nonsense.  Women have nurtured their families with good, real food since creation.   It simply isn't true that cooking is beyond our capacity.  To feed the machine, advertisers use buzzwords like quick and easy, no-fuss, ready in minutes, heat and serve.  But do we even want those qualities around our tables?  When did chopping onions and peeling carrots become so abhorrent?  Isn't that how women have fed their people all along?  With stuff that came from the actual earth? page 38, For the Love, by Jen Hatmaker

My eight year old actually loves to peel carrots for me.  He also ends up eating a couple as he's doing it, so I don't mind so much.  :)  He's learning how to help in the kitchen, and eating veggies.  After I read this chapter, I decided to make another one of my favorite recipes from the pasta book.  Penne Bolognese.

As my boys came into the kitchen that night, I remembered why it was a favorite of mine.  Carson said, "What are we having for dinner?  It smells amazing!"  And when we sat down at the table, Jonah said, "That looks so good!"  When pasta is involved, Camden is game, so he was happy, too.  They absolutely made my night.  And dinner was quite good, if I do say so myself.  Penne Bolognese is one of those meals that takes a little longer to make, but the result is a delicious, hearty, one pot meal that makes everyone happy.

Hatmaker includes a recipe for Beef Bourguignon at the end of her chapter.  I can't wait to make it.  She has five kids, so if she can do it, so can I.  I certainly feel challenged by Hatmaker to feed my family well.

Do you have a recipe your kids love to smell simmering on the stove?  I'd love to hear about it!


Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Favorites


Whew!  It's been a crazy week.  Fun, but crazy.  Big kids are settling into their new classrooms, Camden started preschool, and I have had a little time on my hands to get myself in trouble get some work done around here.

So, what have we been up to?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

WIWW--Summer to Fall

Every year around this time, I get so excited about the change of seasons.  Not only am I ready to enjoy a meal on our covered porch without sweating, but I am also ready for a wardrobe change.  I am sick of my shorts, over my flip flops, and ready for the layers and boots that speak the language of fall.

But at this time of year, I also have issues figuring out just what to put on in the morning.  Pants or shorts?  Flats or boots?  Leggings or jeans?  So I am forced to come up with outfits that can transition well.  And there are some items to which I am just not ready to say goodbye, so I have to find a way to make them work for the fall.

Here is an outfit I have been loving this summer.  It is so comfortable and easy.  The maxi was a steal, and with the right jewelry, I feel like I can  dress it up.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Finding Fall

Lots of things come to mind when I think of fall.  The usual--pumpkins, Halloween, leaves, giving thanks.  But in our house, there is one thing that is highly anticipated, thoroughly planned out, and joyously executed every year.

The Turkey Bowl.

When our oldest was six, it was his dream to pull together the kids and dads in our neighborhood, play a little football, eat a little turkey, and have lots of fun. Thus, the Turkey Bowl was born.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

PetPartners Blog Debut

For years, my little blog has been read by my family and close friends.  I love blogging because I love writing, so this summer I took a leap of faith and attended my first blogging conference, Haven.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Food for the Body, Food for the Soul #3

After the stress of the first week of school and the resuming of most after school activities, I am preaching to the choir with this post.  But I figure, what better way to remind myself to be kind and cheerful than to write it out.  So this one's from the heart...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Easy Dog Bone Recipe...Happy Birthday, Summer!

Happy Day After National Dog Day!!!  In honor of our precious pooch, I am posting today about her recent birthday celebration and sharing a yummy recipe for peanut butter dog bones.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Power of Authentic Tasks...Date Night

A few weeks ago, Carson came to me and told me he and Jonah wanted to give us a date night.  He said he knew we didn't get to go out that much, and he wanted to be able to give us an in-house date.  I had no idea what those two had up their sleeves.  Here is how it played out.

They asked me to take them grocery shopping so I took them to Trader Joe's so they could buy the ingredients they needed.  Their restaurant was going to specialize in soups and sandwiches, so they built their shopping list around the entrees they would be offering.  They even wanted to buy items for appetizers.  Who was I to argue?  

They hung these streamers in the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room.  They explained that they didn't want us to be able to see them cooking while we were enjoying our dinner.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Why I Wore What I Wore Wednesday...I Will Never Be That Mom

Why I Wore What I Wore Wednesday...and Why I Will Never Be That Mom

I wanted to do a WIWW post this week, but as I looked back through my pictures from the last few weeks, this is what I found.

...Krispie Kreme hats...

Monday, August 17, 2015

Food for the Body, Food for the Soul #2

A few weeks ago I posted my first Food for the Body, Food for the Soul post. It was so helpful to me to review my sermon notes and be able to summarize them into a few sentences that would stay with me throughout the week.  This week, I have a new installment of food for the soul from Sunday's sermon, Making Headlines. It was so amazing.  I think we spent most of the sermon standing on our feet.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Organized Craft Closet and Why Now's the Time

Cleaning out and organizing often comes on the heels of frustration.  When you've thrown up your hands in exasperation because you can't find what you need to finish a project, or you go to the store to buy something you thought you were out of only to find a stash of that something in the back of the closet.

This organization project was born out of just that--FRUSTRATION.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Boys in the Kitchen and a Free Printable

As the summer is drawing to a close (really? how did that happen?!), I find myself searching for things to do with my kids that involve using their brains.  And last week I was so excited to come up with an idea that encouraged teamwork, reading, math, and basic common sense.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Me Time and a Giveaway!

Me time.  When you hear those two little words, do you wonder, what's that?  Is me time a distant memory?  Do you feel guilty about having me time?

I'm with you.  As a busy mom of three boys, I totally get how difficult it is to find time for yourself.  But let me tell you, the benefits far outweigh the struggle it may take to make it happen.  Below, find three reasons I believe me time is so important, and some suggestions I have to carve out time for it.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Day in the Life

You know that quote that goes something like this..."No one on their deathbed ever wished he had worked more" ? I've been thinking about that a lot lately.  And this little guy was just one of the reminders I had over the course of one day, to slow down and enjoy the now.  Kind of ironic I was reminded by a turtle to slow down, huh?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Food for the Body, Food for the Soul

This week is Love Week at our church, and our pastor delivered an amazing message to kick it off. He preached from 1 John 4:7-12.  It was a fantastic sermon.  You can find it here.  He told how when Jesus was going to be crucified, the part of the cross that is vertical was already in place, but Jesus was carrying the horizontal part on his back.  God has already done his part (symbolized by the vertical part of the cross), but until we love one another, as Jesus loves us, the cross is not complete (symbolized by the horizontal part).  Until we love one another, and our love spreads outward, people cannot see Christ's love in us.

{Carson drew this for me to use as an illustration.} 

After church, we joined hundreds of people at stations outside our church and stuffed bags of toiletries to be distributed to people in need.  Our kids loved serving.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Haven Recap (and kind of an outfit post)

What started out as an outfit post has turned into a whole lot more.  I went to the Haven Blogger Conference this past weekend. It was an amazing experience.  The sessions were so informative and encouraging.  But what made the trip worthwhile was the friendships I made.  I wish I had carried my camera around the whole weekend, so that I could share pictures of the wonderful women with whom I connected.  Many of my pictures were taken with my phone and they are just too blurry to share.  

One of the most exciting things about the conference was the excuse it gave me to pick up a few new things--even though technically I am not supposed to buy clothes until August.  Justin and I kind of shook on it.  But he sort of looked the other way.  I think he knew I'd feel more confident if I had a new dress or two.  He's sweet like that.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Get Up and Eat

We can never hope to crash the chatterbox until the signal (God's word) becomes louder in our lives than the incessant noise around us that clamors for our attention and depletes our courage.

I fell into bed late one night, after washing the smears of navy paint I found on my elbow, my knuckles, even my big toe, down the drain.  I felt defeated.  I felt drained.  I felt like I might not finish the task I had set out to do.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Ready or Not

Ready or Not

I leave for Haven in less than a week.  Wait what?!  I don't feel at all prepared for this blogging conference.

But I have decided that it doesn't matter how ready I feel.  I was reading another attendee's blog (check out Lost and Found--Melanie does amazing things with paint!) this morning and I heard her saying, do I really have what it takes to succeed in the blogging world?  

The answer, I believe, is ultimately up to us.  To me.

For the past few weeks, I have considered offering my ticket to someone who is actually in the same league as the other bloggers I read. Then I had a really cool conversation with my dad that clarified the reason I am attending.  He reminded me that the conference was a chance to talk to other moms who make writing a priority in the day to day happenings in their own home.  It is a vacation of sorts, where I can pick other's brains about how they balance taking care of their kids with finding time to write, organize, paint, create, and plan.

My blog is really just my creative outlet.  A little piece of me that I share with the world.  Even as I write this, my heart is racing a bit as I get my ideas down on paper.  Or maybe I've had too much coffee. :)  My blog challenges me to organize.  It challenges me to DIY.  It challenges me to be a better mom, and then to share the tricks (the ones that work) with others.

As I look back through my archives, I realize that a lot of my projects wouldn't have even happened if I hadn't been so excited about sharing them with the world.

Like this one...

Which gave me the confidence to tackle this one...

Organization is not as nearly as fun when you don't have people to share it with.  Let's face it, my boys do not get giddy over an organized pantry.

Last week's WIWW didn't get much love, but my friend and web designer, Amber let me know one of her friends was inspired by an outfit I shared and dug out her distressed jeans, with a fresh outlook on how to throw together a new outfit.

This top was pinned by someone else.  Pinned.  Like on Pinterest. What?!

And when a friend passed along my blog menu ideas to her friend and she let me know she copied my plan for the week and her family loved every meal?  That makes my day!  

This was shared by Fit with Deb.  My meal was shared on social media by one of my heroes.  Seriously???

I have realized that it doesn't matter how many views I get, or how many comments I get.  It is the one person I inspire.   Or the one person who learns something new from reading what I write.

And isn't that really what LIFE is about and where is all starts?  Start by affecting one person, and just take it from there.

All this to say, just do it.  Write.  Organize.  Plan.  Create.  You never know where it will take you.

Ready or Not

Just Ready.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


What I Wore Wednesday

I am linking up with The Pleated Poppy this week for WIWW.  Lindsay started What I Wore to challenge herself to get out of sweats and pjs and into real clothes.  I really have to challenge myself to get out of the rut of wearing workout clothes all the time.  I feel so much better and am more productive when I put a little thought into my daily outfits.  So here goes...

Top--gift from my parents from Swagger (store is in Cary, NC at the entrance to my parent's neighborhood--probably good there's not such a cute store that close to my house!), Jeans--J Crew, Sandals--American Eagle, Earrings--Boone Belles (yep, preppy store meets hippy town), Watch--Kate Spade, Bracelet--Brighton

Justin surprised me with this bracelet last summer.  I love it so much.  It has two beads for each boy.  One is their birthstone, and the other is their favorite sport.  Here is a link to the website where you can build your own.  I love that Justin built mine for me--I am so indecisive, it would've taken me forever.  He picked the perfect beads.

Date Night
Top--Versona, Cami under--Costco, Jeans--STS Blue, Shoes--Toms, Earrings--Nickel and Suede, Bracelet--Stitch

I tried the ever popular view from the top.  Still needs a little work. ;)

Date Night (would you believe we've had two of these this month?!?!  Our babysitter's home from college. :)

Top--Golden Tote, Skirt--Gap (old), Shoes--Boone Belles {Pierre Dumas}, Earrings--Boone Belles

Running Errands

Top--Anthropologie, Jeans--Vigoss Thompson Tomboy, Shoes--Boone Belles
Earrings--Nickel and Suede

I wore my new Pierre Dumas' to an appointment on Monday.  A lady in the waiting room pointed to my shoes and said, "I lost my Jack Rogers somewhere in my house and I am so mad that I can't find them!"  My first thought was, How do you lose $100 shoes???  My second thought was, How big is your house???  I told her mine were knock-offs.  And she said, "Well, they look exactly the same!"  

Can you tell the difference?
Mine were $24.  :)

Happy Wednesday!!!

pleated poppy