Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Instagram Moments and a little catch up

I can't believe it's been over a week since I posted.  I also can't believe that this post and the last one were both about Instagram.  I really should think about mapping out some sort of posting plan, huh?

I could get very chatty about why I'm not posting regularly, but the simplest answer for anyone who might be wondering is that summer has swallowed me whole.  I have enjoyed almost every single minute with my kids.  

I've been very keenly aware that these 8 weeks are my last 8 weeks with them, since they're all going to school this year!  That sounds a little dramatic, but you get what I'm saying, don't you?  I've been with them non-stop for all these years, so I'm gearing myself up for a few days of adjustment.  Okay.  I have a husband & a few friends who know me that are reading this, and they keep me completely honest on this here blog.  I'm sure they are shouting at their computers right now, "WEEKS.  It'll be WEEKS of adjustment."  Boy, am I sooooo thankful for those people because they'll be the ones praying with me and talking me off the edge!!!

I don't have long on the computer this afternoon, but I wanted to show you my July Instagram moments.  I seriously can't believe that July has come and gone.  GONE.  I should have numbered the pictures for you before I decided to go and talk about each one of my favorite moments, but that was going to take time that I didn't have today, so just know that I'm starting at the top left and going in order 'til I finish on the bottom right. 

1. Bittersweet.  I adored this book.   I laughed and cried and thought of all the grace that God has shown me in my life during hardship.  Each chapter stands on it's own, and invites you to remember grace in your life's story.  I wrote 8 pages of notes on this was that good.

2.  Christmas signs in July.  I feel like we're as bad as Walmart putting out their Christmas stuff before fall even gets here, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek on a few of the signs that we're offering this year.  I can't wait to show you the rest of what we're making....that'll come in a few weeks!

3.  Lydia got her first pair of tennis shoes.  I feel like she might hold it against us one day that we didn't buy her tennis shoes until she was almost 7 years old.  What in the world?  How have we not bought her tennis shoes?  She loves them, needless to say, and she learned how to tie them in one lesson from her daddy.  She's way too smart for us. :)

4.  Speaking of Lydia and her daddy.  Check out her mad stunting skillz.  They do it non-stop at the pool.  It's one of their favorite things to do together.  It's so funny.  I can't believe he used to throw me in the air like that all those years ago.  I've gladly surrendered it to her....I couldn't throw a heel stretch like that now, if my life depended on it!  

5.  This picture of my friend Marybeth perfectly captures our time together.  She made a list of everything we needed to talk about in our visit together at her house.  We do this.  Do you?  It helps us stay focused.  We're both a little A.D.D. {and by a little, I mean a lot.}  She's a friend I could visit with for hours and leave still having things to discuss.  LOVE her.

6.  I went to the blogger brunch in July and saw Paige!!!  I love her.  She's awesome.  I wish I lived next door to her.  In the meantime, I do live in the same city as her sweet daughter, SMK, and I can't WAIT for her to get back to Athens for fall semester.  

7. My boys got into a scuffle and they did the right thing without being forced to do it.  Those are the moments we live for, right?!  I told them I was taking a picture of it, and they allowed me to because of that Instagram board I made.  They love it so much, they know these moments are worth allowing me to capture. 

8.  Lydia learned to blow a bubble.  This didn't come so easy.  She's been trying for months to learn how to blow one, and one day, it finally happened.  That one day was when she talked me into some legit bubble gum.  After she learned, she kindly told me that she could have learned forever ago if she had had real bubble gum.  Oops.  My bad.  I guess sugar-free gum really isn't the best for blowing bubbles.

9.  I just finished another book I've been reading this summer with some friends...some dear friends...some friends who make me SO thankful I'm doing this season of life with THEM.  These 4 friends will be a lifeline to me over the next many years, and they'll never know how grateful I am for their presence in my life.  If you're raising pre-teens or teens, I'd run to the bookstore and pick up Running the Rapids.  

Has summer been crazy fast for your crew, too?  
Are you wanting to dig your heals in, like me, and stay in a state of denial that it's almost over?  
Spill it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Printsagram for your Instagram

I used to be a scrapbooker.  Ever heard of Creative Memories?  Been to a "Crop 'till you drop" party?
I would go a few times a year sporting my cart full of supplies like I was getting paid for it.  You could spot me easily. I was the girl who came, sat down, spread her stuff out and worked non-stop until they told us to leave.

I've made scrapbooks since middle school.  I think I've got every movie stub from 1985-1991. No joke.
But when I became a mother, I took it to a whole new level of crazy.  Keeping up with my kids' scrapbooks was something that hung over my head because it was so hard to stay on top of it.

I was on a roll and doing good to keep up with all of it until we left for China to bring Lydia home.
Something about the third kid and moving to Orlando and starting a blog sort of put a fork in scrapbooking.  

Over the past several years, I've tried to organize and store our pictures on CDs, and I even have a scrapbook board on Pinterest because deep down I'm holding out hope that one day I'll get back to it.  
But the truth is, I don't know if I'll ever find the hours that it takes to create those books like I used to.  I'm thinking a shutterfly book or one of those cool blurb books is the way to go from here on out!  

Anywho...this past year I joined Instagram, and it wasn't too long afterward that I started seeing people printing their pictures.  When I saw a friend's project at her house this summer, I knew it was time to do a little project of my own.  She told me about Printsagram, and within a few days I was ordering 48 of my very favorite shots from this past year.  I ordered the 4x4 pictures, and I was so excited to see that they're on a thick card stock.

Within a few days my order arrived, and I used some twine I had on hand and a bag of small clothespins that I picked up from Hobby Lobby to create my miniature banners on the chalkboard.  

Y'all.  We love them.  I'll randomly find my kids at different times staring at each of them.  Andy looked them over and over and over and thanked me several times for capturing memories for us.    My boys are even asking to have their pictures taken more. Miracles do happen!

I get such better candid shots on Instagram than I've ever been able to get with my big girl camera, mainly because there are so many times that I don't want to carry my big Nikon.  A few months ago I bought an app called A Beautiful Mess so I can add messages to some of my pictures.

I think I'm going to order my favorite shots at the end of each year and write on the backs of all of them a little about each picture.  Even if I do eventually get back to scrapbooking, I don't think I'll ever regret capturing and printing all these amazing shots of our life together.

This might be my all time favorite picture of Lydia.  I can't look at it without smiling.  She has the best laugh ever.

He surprised her on her birthday with pink roses, a pink starbucks drink and a pink cakepop.  He's smitten.

We went to my parents' house on Seth's birthday, and mom surprised him with a mound of zebra cakes.  What you need to know is that I never buy zebra cakes, so my mom gave him a heaping pile of them.  This is Seth's face when he's on top of the world about something, and I captured it perfectly.

This is probably my favorite shot of our vacation this summer because it's us doing our favorite thing, which is all of us cramming into bed together and snuggling.

She blew her first bubble after months of trying, and she's been blowing them ever since.  We're keeping bubblegum companies around the world in business.

She's goofy.  She loves to make us laugh, and she does it often.  This is Andy's favorite picture.  He has it stored in his phone, and he says he looks at it a few times a day because it brightens his day!

This is my MOST favorite tree in Athens in the fall.

Our Washington, DC trip from this past Christmas.  Andy and Luke are so alike, and I love that I captured them having a silly moment together.  That trip was amazing for us....such a special bonding trip...well, it was until I got food poisoning.  You're lucky THAT wasn't captured on Instagram!  

Have you printed your Instagram pictures?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Life Lately and a Discount on Signs

I  hope you guys have a great weekend with your family and friends planned!  We have no plans, and I couldn't be happier about it.  It's been busy in all the good ways.

So what has life lately looked like?

We had one of our former students over on Monday night for dinner, and her former campus pastor and  his wife, who just happen to have also been in our small group this year.  It was so cool for us to all be together.  I think it was crazy for her that her former youth pastors and her former campus pastors are all sweet friends now.  Believe me when I say she is loved on well, and she can count on all of us being very much "in her business" pretty much for the rest of her life.

On Wednesday night, we had one of my oldest and dearest friends and her kids over because her husband is in Africa for 16 days doing mission work with local pastors in Uganda.  Our first choice is to go there ourselves, but since we couldn't, the next best thing that we can do to be part of his amazing trip is to love on his family while he's gone.  They're so easy to love on...she's so incredibly dear to my heart and so are her kids.

We love having people over for a meal.  There isn't much anything that's sweeter than breaking bread with others and sharing life together.  The first part of the summer was busy, and we weren't able to have people over.  Not only did Andy and I miss it, but our kids noticed and missed it, too.

This week has also been a little extra busy because our oldest son was asked to work at a children's day camp everyday this week.  We were so excited for him to get the opportunity to make some cash for himself and to learn some life lessons that every 13 year old young man needs to learn.  He's realizing the importance of going to bed earlier in order to get up and do a day's work.  He's also working with young children, and the very first day that I picked him up, he said without hesitation, "Mom, now I know what you and dad mean when you tell us that you guys aren't our cruise directors.  I am playing cruise director to 2-3 year olds all week, and it's exhausting!"

Those life lessons are worth every single penny of the tank of gas it has cost me to drive him back and forth this week to his "job!"

I also wanted to share with you some of the signs we've shipped out recently and tell you about a coupon code that we're offering to Heather from Life Made Lovely's readers.

You can get 10% off your order when you order for the rest of July using the coupon code:: LIFEMADELOVELY.  Happy Shopping!

Have a great weekend!!  Tell me about your life lately....any vacations you've taken or special time you've had with family and friends?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A SUMMER SALE at Sacred Made

Have you heard of Sacred Made?  
My friend Cat, who blogs at Constant in Chaos, joined forces with her friend Becca to begin an on-line print shop together back in March.  The story of their friendship is proof that God can bring people together in the craziest of ways and cultivate friendships that last a lifetime.  Interestingly, Cat helped create the new design for my blog.  It was a real joy getting to  know her through that process, and I'd highly recommend her if you're in need of a new blog design.  She was as patient as could be in helping me!!

Sacred Made provides beautifully designed scripture art that can serve as sweet conversation starters about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Cat and Becca hope that as the Lord blesses their vision, they will in turn be able to bless two ministries that are near and dear to both of their hearts.  Program 21 is a supplemental feeding program in Uganda Africa founded by Becca, and The Ark House is a Chinese foster home that Catherine partners with in ministry.

They are having a SUMMER SALE through the 20th, which is two short days away!  I looooove my print from them and wanted you to be able to take advantage of getting three prints for the price of two!  

Until the 20th, you can order any two 8x10 prints and get a third one of your choice for FREE.  I loooove free, don't you?  Remember, buy 2 8X10's and get your 3rd one custom prints.

Here are just a few of the amazing prints that you'll see in their shop::

I hope you'll hop over to SACRED MADE and take advantage of the sale.  I've got a few friends I need to order for, and I can think of a couple of graduates that would love to have these in their new dorm rooms!

Monday, July 15, 2013

When Blogging Meets Real life and Scripture Cards

Last week I was invited to a brunch in Atlanta hosted by the extremely kind and generous Courtney Defeo.  Of course, I forgot my big camera, but Paige didn't, so pop over and see some of the sweet faces and the beautiful home that she captured.

I'm trying to remember how I actually connected with Courtney.  I guess I'd have to say it came through Paige because she had written a beautiful post showcasing the launch of Courtney's new business.  Our initial connection came because we're both from Georgia, and we're both involved in North Point at Athens Church and them at Buckhead Church.  It was so crazy when she emailed me to tell me that her family was moving to Orlando, because Andy and I had just accepted a position back in Georgia.  Argh!!!!

Sometime this past year, she asked me to join a few others in being contributors on her blog.  Say what?  You can imagine my surprise, since I barely contribute to my own blog.  After thinking about it for all of ten minutes, I jumped at the idea to join these other women...because who doesn't love surrounding themselves with strong, creative, kind, like-minded women?  I sure do!

It was so awesome to finally meet the other women last week at the brunch.  I left regretting that I didn't get great time with every single last one of them, but I was so encouraged by my time with this girl, this girl, and this girl, and of course Paige, the Queen Rockstar.

Absolutely, my most favorite part of my day with them was hearing Courtney celebrate each and every person around the table.  I love being around people who have learned the art of celebrating others.  I also loved hearing more of Courtney's heart for families and in particular moms.  Her business was born  out of the passion for families and moms that God himself put in her heart.  I think her business is succeeding because she has zero financial goals or personal status goals.  Her heart is to give generously, to feed those that do not have meals, to help mothers adopt, to pour into families and to  bring faith to life in homes everywhere.

My second favorite part of the day with them was soaking up "all things truly southern."  The table was decked out with fresh flowers down the center, and each place setting was smothered in pinks and greens and monograms.  We drank mimosas out of fancy stemware and ate on the finest china.  There were cheese straws, delicious chicken salad and Petit Fours, or as I like to say...Petty Fours.  I left my house feeling dressed up because I was sporting wedge heels, but as you'll notice in Paige's pictures, most everyone else there had on their Sunday best.  Lets just say it has been too long since I've been to a brunch.

Lesson Learned::  More is More at a southern brunch and drag your pearls out next time!

As we left, Courtney gifted each of us with monogrammed note tags and cards that were pink and green, naturally.  She also handed each of us a set of her Scripture Cards.  I came home and immediately put them in Lydia's room.  They're colorful and creative and the perfect way for us to learn scripture together.  In fact, that first night, we read nearly every card and picked our favorites, which happened to be just about every single one!

I often second guess blogging.  I started three years ago because we had moved to Orlando, and it made was a way for me to document our life for family and friends, and it gave me a creative outlet to write and connect with some like-minded people.  Moving back to Georgia has made it a little more difficult for me because my family and so many friends are here.  As you well know, it's hard enough to connect with your real life people....sometimes making connections with strangers seems, well, strange.

Just when I think I might hang this hobby up, I go and get invited to a brunch where I meet people that I would never have the privilege of knowing were it not for blogging.  There are so many others I've connected with over the past few years that I so hope I get to meet one day!!!  So for now, I'm going to keep posting recipes and talking about adoption and showing you pictures of our home and posting DIY projects, and writing letters to my thirteen year old, and talking marriage and writing book reviews.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Easy Summer Dessert

Lets take a few minutes and give a shout out to all those food bloggers out there who regularly cook and stage their food.  It's no small task to make something that smells up the whole house and then have your family wait as you take...oh I don't know...thirty pictures...of whatever it is you've cooked.

You wanna see people who need a big dose of anger management?  You just try taking pictures of a peachy perfect cobbler, while the Trader Joe's ice cream is melting on the countertop.

This family of mine don't play around with their sweets.  They could care less about pictures for a blog.  Anyone relate?   

So, here's how this cobbler came to be.  
Lydia begged me for peaches at Trader Joe's this week.
I made her twist my arm, and then I bought them.
Those peaches had the nerve to start going soft on us within a day of purchasing them.
And then I remembered my mom's easy cobbler recipe. The end.

This recipe has been around forever, but I'm giving my mama credit for it because she's made it every summer for as long as I've been alive.  
If your mom made it for you, then by all means, give her credit for it, too. 

If you're having company over this summer or heading to someone else's for a meal, and you need a super easy dessert, you need to look no further than this post right here.

Here's what you'll need::
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 stick butter
Fruit of choice (frozen or fresh) (strawberries, blueberries, peaches all work great!)
1 super cute helper *

I know, right?  Does it get any easier than this?  
Not unless you plan to pick something up at Kroger, it doesn't.

Here's what you'll do::
Melt your stick of butter in your dish in the oven. (you can use a pie dish or a casserole dish)
Mix your flour, sugar, milk and vanilla in a bowl and let your super cute helper stir it reeeaaal good.

Put your fruit of choice in your dish on top of the melted butter and then pour flour/sugar/milk mixture over the top of it and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream and watch your people drool and lick their plates.  No joke.  They will.
Or is it just my family?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

MIscellany Monday {On Tuesday}

I'm out on my back this week.  
Apparently, when you have mushy, c-section abs, you don't need to take an hour long ab class.
I took the class on Friday and felt fine, but while running errands on Saturday, 
 I bent down for something, and I couldn't come back up.
I'm well on my way to being back on my feet again, but in the mean time, our house may just fall apart.

There isn't a surface anywhere in my sight that isn't a total mess.
Our summer books are every room.

The good news is...I'm reading, the kids are reading, we're ALL reading.
When you're homebound, it makes tackling those summer reading lists a ton easier.
Still, I'd rather be reading poolside.

The recycle stash is growing... and for some reason not moving off the kitchen countertops.
Heeeeelllllloooooo family.  There's a recycle bin in the garage.
I'm out of my favorite creamer and feeling very overly dramatic about it.
Note to self:  Make the grocery list for Andy NOW.
Oh and another note to self:: Tell those boys to stop drinking coke like it's water!!!

I asked the kids to unload the dishwasher for me, and they jumped right on it.
However, they forgot to put away all the silverware.
And, there's a random jump rope laying up there for some strange reason!
I also spy a tiny little flower pot from Lydia's dollhouse up on that box.

Why oh WHY doesn't laundry stop when Mama's down in her back?  
It's the chore that keeps on keeping on.  Presently, there are three loads on my bed.
I would tell you all about the old beams Andy used to frame out the door that's our headboard, but that post will have to be saved for another day.
...another day when there aren't three loads of laundry keeping me from capturing it in all it's beauty.

I wonder if I can fit anything else on that desk or that chair?  I bet I can!

I spy a dog collar, a coffee cup, and some medicine and melatonin that need to find their rightful homes.

Lydia is using this time that I'm on my back to redecorate her bookshelves.
I'd say she's got a thing for ribbon wrapped around oh....EVERYTHING.

This is the current condition of the top of her bed.
You should see her floors.
Notice, I haven't shown you the boys' rooms.  You can't even imagine.

One last shot of the kitchen countertops for you.
We don't believe in leaving any of them out...
one of them is covered in the of them is covered in the recycle stuff... 
and the rest of them are covered in papers, calendars, books, shirts, and sunglasses.

I've got a few deeper and more meaningful posts swirling around in my head and heart,
but this is all I've got this week.
I'm gonna lay here and finish reading Bittersweet while my house cries out for help!

{thankful for}
785. a husband who is gladly pulling double duty while I'm on my back.
He has mastered working all day and coming home to cook our dinner and entertain the kiddos.
786. my sweet friend, Jackie, who has my kids today!
She's even bringing me my favorite salad from Chic-filA.
787. time to read lots of those summer reads this week.
788. these yoga pants I've been wearing since Saturday...nothing feels better when you're on your back.
789. JOY in the midst of a hard week...thank you JESUS for being my everything.
790. THANKFUL that this mess I'm looking at doesn't really bother me AT ALL.
{That's growth people!!!}

Read all the other random miscellany mondays' at lowercase letters.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

June Favorites...

1. Lydia's personality in a nutshell.
2. The most beautiful rainbow evah.
3. And now we know why the vacuum wasn't suctioning.
4. He's my person.
5. My container garden is a happy spot for me.
6. Vacation was beyond amazing with our sweet friends.
7. Do you ever just watch one of your kids and fall in love all over again?  I do.
8. My morning walks at the beach were a gift.
9. God's grace is all consuming, and staring at the ocean for a week reminded me.
10. Andy surprised me with a new painting for my birthday...I named it "Sweet Jesus."
11. I turned 40 this year!!!  It's a gift to enter another decade..praying for more freedom in my forties!
12. Andy planned a weekend at the lake with some friends...sweet times.


I'm reading this book with a group of friends this summer, and it's amazing.
If you're raising a teenager or close to it, run, don't walk, and pick it up!


Five ways to add summer style at Inspired Room
Ever fond by Flowerpatch Farmgirl~
We've all had a sponsor by Edie~ {prepare yourself for tears!}

What about you?
Any favorite things from June?