m a s t e r b e d r o o m.

Hi friends! It has been a hot minute since I have blogged. I’m just going to put it out there, I am not good at this whole social media/blogging thing when it comes to being planned out and consistent. Yall, it isn’t my gift, and i’m not going to try and lie and say it is!:) I can organize a cabinet all day long, but a calendar where I plan ahead? Yeah, I need some serious help! But I am committed to getting better, and in honor of that commitment, I’m blogging today!

 

I wanted to give you guys a look into our master bedroom and the most recent decor updates I have made. Our room always gets the shaft when it comes to decorating. Usually it just houses all of the random decor that I have removed from other rooms and can’t commit to throwing away, so it just ends up in our room looking like a hodge podge, and I just can’t do that. So, I went on a little shopping spree and invested some time, money, and energy into making our bedroom a pretty space that we actually want to be in! I had the large items already, our bed, dresser, and nightstands. But the rest of the room was lacking in some simple, yet statement making decor. I wanted to mix my styles and make it feel both warm and luxe at the same time. How do you do that? Well, I’m not saying I know everything, but how I personally achieved that look was by mixing textures and patterns. I used a heavy velvet curtain and a brushed gold chandelier (the more luxe items) and mixed them with a more traditional style rug and a linen bedding set. AND, i threw in some fur, velvet, and linen pillows to blend the modern and warm style I was trying to achieve. Here is a closer look at the decor

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Another way to add warmth to a more modern space is by mixing in some vases with stems. I have a vase with olive stems on our nightstands, and a vase on our dresser with some eucalyptus. Yall, call me crazy, but i just don’t think there is a right and wrong way to design. I think it’s fun to mix styles and textures and taste and figure out how to make it all work. Because the truth is, I love so many different types of design, and i feel like there are so many ways to incorporate all of your favorite styles in one room without making it feel chaotic.

Anyways, I wanted to give you a breakdown of where a few of the items in our room are from. If you are looking for room darkening curtains like the ones i have, I did a lot of searching and made my final choice with the Ikea Sanela curtains. I am SO pleased with them. They look amazing, they are affordable, and they are total blackout curtains. Altogether, they are a huge win and a well worth it product. They come in a pair of 2, and i put two on each side of the window to give it a more grand look.

 

IKEA SANELA CURTAINS: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/sanela-room-darkening-curtains-1-pair-dark-gray-40414022/

 

The Chandelier is also from Ikea. Yall, it was only $89, which is a total steal, and it is totally stunning in person! I am so so pleased with it. We used to have a ceiling fan there, but i desperately wanted a chandelier, so when I came across this one, I had to have it:) Here is the link to the light fixture

 

IKEA CHANDELIER: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/atersken-ceiling-lamp-with-3-lights-opal-glass-10439401/

 

For the bedding, I will do a post on how I make our bed, because it is an intense process, but for now, I wanted to give you the links to our bedding. If you are looking for a neutral, linen style bedding, I absolutely love ours. It’s all from target, they have it in a few different colors ( we have the gray and the linen color up stairs in our guest room) and it is my favorite quilt/duvet I’ve ever had.

 

TARGET DUVET: https://www.target.com/p/lightweight-linen-comforter-set-fieldcrest-174/-/A-52987413?preselect=52903215#lnk=sametab

TARGET QUILT: https://www.target.com/p/cotton-cashmere-quilt-fieldcrest-174/-/A-53002276?preselect=52926860#lnk=sametab

 

Last, but not least, our pillows. I am always on the hunt for good throw pillows. And if I’m being totally transparent here, styling pillows is SOOOOOOO hard for me! I am not good at it. Any pillow styling I do is inspired by Pinterest because it is just something I am not good at….yet!:) I searched Pinterest for days trying to find an inspiration pic on styling bed pillows. I finally found one I loved and then bought the size pillows I needed to make it happen! I did euro pillows in the back, a king size pillow in front, two standard size shams in front of the king pillows, and then finished off the look with two lumbar pillows in front. And I am totally satisfied with the final look. Thank God, because i went through several different pillows and arrangements to find this one! This is my first pillow success story and I’m sticking to it:) Here are the links

 

TARGET EURO PILLOW: https://www.target.com/p/velvet-pillow-with-linen-reverse-threshold-153/-/A-54613157?preselect=54552118#lnk=sametab

TARGET LUMBAR PILLOW: https://www.target.com/p/neutral-faux-fur-lumbar-pillow-fieldcrest-174/-/A-52899523

TARGET PILLOW SHAM: https://www.target.com/p/gray-cotton-cashmere-sham-standard-fieldcrest-174/-/A-52926817

 

Well folks, that’s all I have for you today. I hope you enjoy and take advantage of the sales on some of these Target items if you are in need of them! Have a wonderful day friends.

 

l e t s. t a l k. c o u c h e s.

Every time I post a picture of our living room, I get asked about our couch! I am always thrilled to answer any and every question anyone has, but I thought writing a whole blog about not just our couch, but some of my favorites (2 of which we own) would be helpful for those of you who are looking for a new couch to put in your space!

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I had my eye on a couch at Restoration Hardware for quite a while, and I was totally convinced I could find a way to pay for it….I don’t want to tell you the price because I’m afraid your jaw will drop to the floor and you won’t be able to pick it back up again!:) It’s roughly $10,000 or a little more by the time you add in tax and shipping and delivery. Sorry, I couldn’t help but tell you!

This is the couch….

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It’s a gorgeous piece. I’m still just as obsessed with it as I was a few years ago…and I’m still convinced I will get it one day. But, for now, I got the closest thing I could at a price I could afford. I searched E V E R Y W H E R E to find our couch. Literally. I wanted something that replicated this one as closely as possible. Finally, after googling and online searching for hours….actually weeks, I came across our couch at a store called Value City Furniture. Now, if you remember long ago, this store was like the Kmart of furniture stores. Not that Kmart is in any way bad, but that’s just what I remember it being like when I was younger. It would have never crossed my mind to check out VCF but hey, I saw the couch online, and I thought it would be worth it to give it a try. Needless to say, we drove to Charlotte to look at the couch, loved it, bought it that day on sale for about $2399. In this season of our lives, that was a much easier number to swallow! I have no regrets whatsoever with buying this couch. It’s crazy comfortable, cleans so easily, and provides the exact look I was going for in our living room! So much so we may end up getting another one for upstairs one day in the game room!

Anyways, Since so many have asked about our couch, I wanted to give y’all some of my top picks for couches. I have not seen all of them in person, nor have I sat on all of them to say if they are comfortable or not, I just love the look of these ones, and I love that they all vary in price. So, if you are on the hunt for a good couch, here are some of my picks.

 

1.507969

https://www.valuecityfurniture.com/product/group/living-room/seating/sectionals/plush-5-piece-sectional-gray/2224694/2011132

This is the one we have. It comes in over 30 colors/textures/fabrics. It’s a great couch!

2. 638378

https://www.valuecityfurniture.com/product/group/living-room/seating/sectionals/crosby-2-piece-sectional-with-left-facing-chaise-gray/2224603/2118691

This one is also from Value City Furniture and is a super cute couch for a smaller space.

3.588503

https://www.valuecityfurniture.com/product/group/living-room/seating/sectionals/ethan-comfort-2-piece-sectional-with-left-facing-sofa-curious-silver-pine/2224628/2056463

Another one from Value City Furniture…can you tell I like the store and their selections yet?! I love a couch with bench seating, it’s one of my favorite looks!

4.gamaliel-2-piece-sectional-by-ashley-homestore-gray

https://www.ashleyfurniture.com/p/gamaliel-2-piece-sectional-with-chaise/APK-45501-L2.html?cgid=sectional-sofas#start=10

This one is from Ashley Furniture and it’s really comfortable and a great couch. I have seen it and sat on it and it’s great.

5.0088011_nokomis-2-piece-sectional-with-laf-chaise

https://www.ashleyfurniture.com/p/nokomis-2-piece-sectional-with-chaise/APK-87701-L2.html#q=sectional&sz=12&start=22&gridOffset=%5B%5D

We own the couch and have it up in our game room. It is super cost effective, easy to clean with little kids, and works great in a smaller space!

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https://www.macys.com/shop/product/jollene-113-2-pc.-sectional-created-for-macys?ID=4381200&CategoryID=37394&swatchColor=Midnight%20Blue#fn=sp%3D1%26spc%3D346%26ruleId%3D78%7CBOOST%20ATTRIBUTE%7CBOOST%20SAVED%20SET%26kws%3Dsectional%26searchPass%3DmatchNone%26slotId%3D6

This couch is from Macys. I have sat on it and it is super comfortable. It’s a great mid-century style couch, and it’s a favorite of mine.

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https://www.macys.com/shop/product/dartford-114-2-pc.-fabric-sectional-created-for-macys?ID=7085769&CategoryID=37394&swatchColor=Bradford%20Granite%20Grey#fn=sp%3D1%26spc%3D346%26ruleId%3D78%7CBOOST%20ATTRIBUTE%7CBOOST%20SAVED%20SET%26kws%3Dsectional%26searchPass%3DmatchNone%26slotId%3D22

This one is also from Macy’s. We have had a Macy’s couch in the past and we really loved it a lot. They have so many to choose from with different size options and different fabrics as well!

8.metro-lounge-dove-2-pc-sectional_1039824P_high-res-image-room

https://www.roomstogo.com/furniture/product/metro-lounge-dove-2-pc-sectional/1029820p

This one is from Rooms To Go. It’s affordable and super cute. It would work great in a smaller living room.

9. https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S89193608/#/S59183979

For some reason I can’t get the picture to all me to place it on my page, but it you click the link, this sectional is an awesome choice. We owned this couch years ago and it was great!

10. https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S39192692/#/S39192692

This is another Ikea couch that I love for a more classic look. If I could get away with a white couch in my house, I would!!!! But it isn’t super conducive with having small children…boys nonetheless! It’s a great couch though!

11.Walters corner sectional7thumb

https://www.interiordefine.com/walters-corner-custom-sectional-sofa#JLA-8915-5/

Sorry for the horrible quality! This sectional is from interior define and I love it! I looked at this one for our own house.

12.Walters U Sectional1thumb

https://www.interiordefine.com/shop/walters-custom-u-sectional-sofa#NT-622723-6/

Again, I hate the quality of this pic but click the link and go to the website! I almost got this one four our living room, I actually don’t remember why I didn’t! I LOVE this couch and I love the two chaises. One of my favorites!

 

Well folks, there you have it, twelve of my favorite couches, all different sizes, all different prices. I hope you enjoy, and if you are on the search for a new couch, I hope this helps you out!

Have a great week!

s u m m e r.

Well hey there all. It’s been an eternity since I have written. I feel like I could easily say it’s because I’ve just been so busy, but if I’m being honest, it’s simply because I haven’t prioritized this within my busyness. So, I am trying to challenge myself in being more proactive in writing because I really do love doing it. There is just something about putting your fingers to the keys and typing your thoughts and observations about things that is weirdly calming. So, with that said, I am going to write briefly about why the summer is starting off so exciting in the McDonald household!

I was talking to my mom a few week ago about how I wanted to buy Parker something for graduating kindergarten. I mean, I will find a way to celebrate anything for my kids if  it means buying them something new and exciting:) So anyways, I was telling her about this inflatable waterslide on amazon that looked super fun (even for adults) but I couldn’t get it because it was a little pricey for a “kindergarten grad” present. All of that said, she, being the kindest person ever, told me to send her the link so she could buy it for our boys! Truly, she is always finding a way to give to our kiddos, and it’s so sweet. So just like that, we now have a dual waterslide inflatable in our backyard and our boys are LOVING IT!!!!! It’s been the perfect start to summer. I’m writing this as I’m watching them play together on it, and it’s a dream.

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I took this picture as I was sitting here writing so it’s definitely not the best, but let’s be honest, what kid wants to stop what they are doing and pose for a picture right?! So I did it in real time….which I totally think is better;)

Speaking of writing while watching them play, we recently redid our patio and ever since we did, I feel like we have spent every waking moment out here in our newly decorated space! You may be wondering why in the world we swapped all of our outdoor furniture…allow me to explain

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Does the picture explain it enough? Haha, I’m just kidding. Allow me to really explain. I loved our original patio furniture. We bought it in October I from Overstock. Honestly, the furniture looked great, but I just didn’t feel like it went with our house the more I started decorating the inside of our home. Also, not to mention, it wasn’t the most comfortable seating. I took that risk ordering it online without being able to sit on it before purchasing, and at the time it was worth the risk. UNTIL one day I was strolling through Walmart, and I was browsing their outdoor section and low and behold, this beautiful wicker furniture was just sitting there screaming to be sat on. So, of course I walked over and took a seat just to check it out. Y’all, this furniture is so comfy and so cozy looking….I had to have it!

So, I did what I always do, I act impulsively and I immediately put our furniture on facebook marketplace to sell! It took a while for someone to agree to buy the entire set, but the moment it sold, I went to Walmart and bought our new furniture, and guys, it has been a dream. I’m not lying when I say we have spent every day out here on the patio since we bought it, and I’m loving it.

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With the new furniture came new inspiration so I did purchase a few additional things for the patio. I brought our big black planter boxes from the front porch (I had them there empty for 2 months because I was too scared to plant anything….I don’t have a green thumb) but when I got everything in place on the patio, the planters made sense here. So, again, I did what I do and I went and bought plants and dirt impulsively of course and tried to make these planters come to life. Y’all, right now, they look great….I’m just doing everything I can to keep these beauties alive so we will see how it goes from here!

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I also thought lanterns on the posts out here would look really beautiful and kind of seal the space. I bought some remote controlled candles for the insides, and they just complete the space out here. My future plans are to try and figure out how to get a dining table outside next…probably when it starts to get a bit cooler. But I’ll keep you posted:)  

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Well guys, that’s all I have for you right now. I am going to put the links down below to everything on our patio. And if you are looking for a good review on this furniture, take it from me, it’s super great. I would buy it all over again a million times. I hope y’all have a wonderful Monday. Stay tuned for more!

PATIO FURNITURE

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Better-Homes-Gardens-Hawthorne-Park-4pc-Sofa-Conversation-Set/500066230

(I bought two sets)

PILLOWS

https://www.target.com/p/beige-geo-patchwork-toss-throw-pillow-threshold-153/-/A-46775271

PLANTERS

https://www.target.com/p/recycled-square-tapered-planter-smith-hawken-153/-/A-53925562?preselect=53863631#lnk=sametab

LANTERNS/HOOKS

https://www.target.com/p/outdoor-lantern-black-hood-threshold-153/-/A-54281443?preselect=53793538#lnk=sametab

https://www.target.com/p/wall-hook-smith-hawken-153/-/A-54055350?preselect=53543983#lnk=sametab

AREA RUG

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B7MTYFK/ref=twister_B07QHL81XX?th=1

WATERSLIDE

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CNPXNXZ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

 

 

 

e n t r y w a y s.

Happy Wednesday y’all! We are half way to the weekend! I’m getting my hair nice and blonde on Friday, so I am especially excited for the weekend to start. There’s nothing like some fresh bleach all over your hair:) If you are a blonde, you understand that you’re never blonde enough right? Haha, anyways, this post has absolutely nothing to do with hair but I felt like it was an important detail pertaining to my plans this weekend:)

I wanted to write a quick post about entry ways. I don’t know why, but I just have a thing for a good entryway. They are one of my favorite spots in the house to decorate and accessorize because other than your front door, the entryway is your homes first impression for people as they come in. So, I wanted to post a few photos of our entry and talk all things console tables today. I am going to post a few tables that I absolutely love, including the one I have, all ranging in different prices. There are endless amounts of tables out there, but I’m going to share of few of my favorites:)

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Our console table is from Restoration Hardware. And let me just say this before you think I just casually have the money to spend on a table like this…(because they are rather expensive) we were blessed with some extra money from insurance after our house flooded a year and a half ago (which at some point I will share that entire journey) so I was VERY particular about how I spent it and what I wanted to spend it on. For the first time ever in my life, I patiently purchased items for our house and spent more money on the things I knew I would keep for a long time and not get tired of, this table being one of those things:) My go to stores for furniture like this are usually Target, Wayfair, Overstock, World Market, and Home Goods. So this one was a special treat for us and our home!

All of that to say, here are some console tables that I really like and would totally have in my own home if I had another entryway!:)

1. https://www.target.com/p/glasgow-metal-console-table-black-project-62-153/-/A-52343330

This one is currently on sale for $85.49 with an EXTRA 15% off in the cart, and an additional 5% if you have the red card…which we all should by now:)

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2. https://www.worldmarket.com/product/everett+foyer+table.do?sortby=ourPicks&from=Search

$329.99

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3. https://www.worldmarket.com/product/graywash-wood-and-metal-keenan-console-table.do?sortby=ourPicks&from=Search

$99.99 (majorly on sale right now)

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4. https://www.worldmarket.com/product/graywash-wood-and-metal-keenan-shelf.do?sortby=ourPicks

$174.99 (also majorly on sale right now)

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If you are on World Markets email list, which I am of course, they send out coupons often for 30% and sometimes even 40% off furniture so you can get these at a great price!

 

5. https://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod14890049&categoryId=search

Starting at $749

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6. https://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod3200258&categoryId=search

Starting at $993

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7. https://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod12500017&categoryId=search

Starting at $862

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8. https://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod2461283&categoryId=search

Starting at $1012

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9. https://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod3040929&categoryId=search

Starting at $636

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I have had nothing but great experiences so far with RH. Their customer service is amazing, and their products have been wonderful in our home so far. I highly recommend signing up to be a member. It’s a one time fee I believe and it is totally worth it. Especially if you are going to shop their more than once!

Well y’all, there you have it! Some great console/entry tables with various different prices. Truly, I think any of these are great options. And to be honest, I’m kind of looking at these thinking I need a different one now! Haha, story of my life! I hope you enjoy, and if you have any questions, please feel free to comment. Have a great day!

 

m o t h e r s d a y.

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I remember when I was 16 yrs old, and I begged my mom to let me drive to downtown Chicago to go hang out with some friends. To add some context, I grew up in Rockford, IL, and it was about an hour and a half to two hours outside of my city. In my mind, I was for sure the best and most experienced 16 yr old driver out there. I know I had just gotten my license, but I knew everything there was to know about driving. Sounds like a typical teenager right? But I was different. I was sure of it. I was mature, I was aware, I was cautious, there was no reason for my parents to say no because of how grown I actually was. I was so confident they would say yes before I even got the full question out.

Among all of the things I was certain I was, I was also completely delusional to think that my mom was going to let her 16 yr old daughter get into a car and drive to a city I had never driven in on my own before. And to my absolute surprise both her and my dad gave me a very hard no. Like a no that wasn’t even worth negotiating with, reasoning with, or fighting with. But that didn’t stop me. I tried negotiating, I tried reasoning, and when neither of those options worked, I most definitely picked a fight I was sure I was going to win. I’m sure you’re wondering by now what the outcome was right? Like on the edge of your seat just dying to know if I was able to drive myself to Chicago to have a great weekend with my older college friends. Well, let me ease the suspense. From what I can remember, I’m pretty sure I spent the weekend in my house grounded from tirelessly arguing with my parents trying to convince them that they were wrong and I was right. Needless to say, I never made it to Chicago that weekend. Or any weekend for the next year or so.

It’s funny how we challenge our parents way of parenting when we are younger. How we question why they say no to certain things when we are sure they should be saying yes. I could write a novel on the amount of different arguments I got into with my parents from questioning why they wouldn’t let me do what I wanted to do all of the time. Because we as the kids always know best obviously:)

Six years ago I became a mom. I remember everything about those first few days in the hospital, welcoming my perfect baby boy into the world. I was instantly in love. Instantly in awe. Instantly in wonder. Instantly protective. Instantly fearful. Instantly convinced that I would do whatever I could to keep him safe, and whole, and loved. It was within the last couple of years that I was talking to my husband about how in 11yrs or so Parker would be driving! Obviously I started crying at the thought of my first born son being out on the road just driving around without my supervision. I know you guys, it’s a lot of years away but moms, lets be honest, time flies and 11 yrs will be here before we know it! But it was in that moment when it hit me. I was brought all the way back to that time when my mom wouldn’t let me drive to downtown Chicago by myself, and I spent the whole weekend mad at her for it. It didn’t make sense. I didn’t understand. And to be honest, it wasn’t possible for me to fully understand why she did the things she did fully until I was in the same position of life she was in….as a mom. Now I get it. Now I understand. She wasn’t trying to keep me from having a great weekend. She wasn’t trying to make me upset and deprive me of what I deemed as the most exciting, the most can’t miss event happening that weekend. As a mother, she was making the wisest choice she could to keep her daughter safe. So that I could have a lot more weekends to enjoy in my future. She did what her motherly gut told her at the risk of me being horribly upset with her because she knew it was the right choice. And now, now I respect her for it. Now I honor her for it. Now I’m grateful for it. Why? Because I get it.

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It’s funny how when you become a mom you start to understand the depths of what motherhood actually looks like. What it feels like. There are just some things in life that nothing can prepare you for outside of experiencing it for yourself. And being a mom is exactly that. You can read every book, listen to every piece of good advice, read as many articles as you can find, talk to moms that have been moms for 50yrs and still it will not prepare you fully for becoming a mom. It’s one of those things that you have to do in order to understand.

Being a mom has got to be one of the most selfless positions in life you will ever play. And I don’t say that vainly, I say it because even if you wanted to be selfish, which I do often, it is rarely possible. Your money isn’t yours to spend on yourself anymore, your bathroom breaks are never private, your showers are never longer that 3 minutes, your dinner is NEVER eaten hot, your mornings are never for sleeping in, your bed will never be yours again, your personal space is completely irrelevant, your conversations are never uninterrupted, I mean moms, our bodies aren’t even what they were before we had children! It’s hard to be selfish because when you are, at least this is true for me, I feel what we call “mom guilt.” Not all of the time, but a lot of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing things for myself like getting my nails done, taking a 15 minute nap when I can, having an hour and a half of silence when the kids are napping….but there is a part of me that thinks my nails don’t have to be done, I should be cleaning while they are napping, and in the silence I should at least fold a load of laundry or two. The “mom guilt” struggle is real.

Being a mom is hard work. My whole life all I wanted was to get married and have a lot of kids. I have always loved holding babies and being around kids. They are just so fun and so life giving. And I was so sure I knew exactly what I was getting in to when I was pregnant because I nannied and babysat for years! So surely, just like when I was sure I was the best and most experienced driver out there at 16, I was going to be the best mom because I had watched everyone elses kids for years. Haha, like I said before, I was obviously delusional. It’s so different when it’s your own child and you are with them, caring for them, nurturing them, loving on them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Every mom out there knows exactly what I’m talking about. But I say this, not because it sounds right and it is what you are supposed to say, but truly, in the most raw and honest spirit, though being a mom is the hardest full time job I have ever had, it is absolutely the most rewarding privilege I have ever had in my life.

I love being a mom. It’s challenging, tiring, rewarding, exciting, surprising, frustrating, and beautiful all at the same time. You can be upset with your kids all day, breaking up fights, wiping stains off of the walls, cleaning crayon off of your cabinets, mopping up the spilled milk and food from the floors, and then after they finally go to sleep you stare at them while they are quiet and peaceful and think to yourself how perfect they are. How amazing they are. How incredible it is that God chose YOU to be their mom.

What an honor it is to be a mom. To be smothered with hugs and kisses from these little humans that, even on your worst parenting day where you feel like the most awful mom on the planet, they still think you are the best. Those of you that have teenagers may feel a little different because they may not be as quick to forgive and forget…trust me, I was a teenager at one point too and thats why I’m praying extra hard for my boys now because having teenagers terrifies me!:) But truly, what a gift motherhood is, and I’m grateful I get to experience it on this earth.

To all of the moms out there, I want to encourage you in the way I try to encourage myself. You are doing a great job. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Keep doing what you know to be right, and when you’ve had a really bad day or a series of bad days, take a deep breath, start over, and remember that you are not alone. We have all been there. And will all be there again. A good friend of mine and I were talking a few days ago, and I was having a rough parenting day. I hadn’t communicated that to her, but for some reason she just said “you’re doing better than you think you are.” I hadn’t mentioned at any point that I felt like I had been a horrible mom lately, so her words were extra special because it was exactly what I needed to hear without knowing I needed it.

You are doing better than you think you are. Love your kids, pray for them, and ask God to give you wisdom on how to parent them, to lead them, and to love them. I pray that often because the truth is, I don’t know everything there is to know about being a mom. And just when I think I have a handle on it, my kids change and evolve and I have to re learn how to parent in every season life brings us. Being a mom is hard enough, try not to make it harder by always being hard on yourself. Give yourself some extra grace, take a deep breath, and remember, you’re doing an amazing job.

Happy Mothers Day.

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s w e e t s.

Well y’all, it’s no secret, I LOVE dessert. Truly. If sugar was a nutritious and healthy substance for our bodies, I’d be the healthiest person around:) And if I was the type of person that could eat anything I wanted at any time of the day and not gain a pound, I would have dessert before and after every single meal. I’ve prayed more times than I can count that God would take away my sweet tooth and make me totally disgusted at the thought of sweets. I know, both weird and crazy. I would just rather the desire for sweets to just go away than practice the discipline of saying no….BUT since the love and craving for desserts hasn’t left me, I guess I’ll just continue to enjoy them:)

My husband and I are young adult pastors at our church, and once a month we have our leaders over to eat, enjoy each others company, and dream about what we want the future of the young adult ministry to look like. And when there are people in our home, there is almost always food! I love to make food for people. Especially desserts:) So for tonight, I wanted to keep everything pretty simple and sort of picnic like. I was inspired by a pin on Pinterest of strawberry shortcake and based the food for the night around that of course. Instead of doing a large dish of dessert, I wanted to do little portions because I think it’s less intimidating and more inviting to eat that way:) I did half strawberry shortcake and half dirt cake because let’s be honest here, who doesn’t love either of those options?!

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How cute are desserts when they are in small portions?! Typically I would have done cute little mason jars, but since there are a lot of people, I thought for tonight plastic cups would make an easier clean up at the end of the night. So, as promised, I am going to post the recipes for both. I have already tried them…I couldn’t resist, and they are delicious! These are so great for any party, gathering, baby shower, etc. Super easy, incredibly inexpensive, and delish:)

Here are the recipes for both:

Strawberry shortcake.

1 box of angel food cake // 1 tbs sugar // 1 1/4C milk // 1 box of cheesecake flavored instant pudding // 1 carton of cool whip // 1 large carton of strawberries

-bake the angel food cake per box instructions

-slice strawberries, put them in a bowl, and sprinkle the sugar on them

-make the cheesecake pudding per instructions on the box

-once angel food cake is cool, cut up into small pieces

-layer the ingredients in the cup (cake, pudding, cool whip, strawberries)

(recipe is compliments of “uncommon design” found on Pinterest)

Dirt cake.

4oz cream cheese softened // 1/4C butter softened // 1/2C powdered sugar // 8oz cool whip // 1 box instant white chocolate pudding mix // 1 1/2C milk // 2 sleeves of Oreos

-smash up Oreos in a bowl. don’t remove the filling

-mix cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar in a bowl. add cool whip until blended.

-in a separate bowl mix pudding mix with milk, once combined add it to cream cheese mixture

-layer your ingredients in your cup or jar. Oreos, pudding, top with Oreos. Repeat if you have room. Then for garnish add a full Oreo at the top

 

There you have it! Hope you all enjoy, and have a great weekend!

 

t h e m i d d l e.

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Y’all, every few days I always intend on posting something new. And then every few days goes by, and then another few days go by, and I realize I haven’t written in what seems like forever. Life has been a bit crazy the last few weeks, and I am promising myself I will get back on track over here at some point!:) I actually really enjoy writing…way more than taking photos, trying to edit photos, and then posting photos! Haha, I guess it’s somewhat therapeutic for me to type my thoughts out and try to organize them so they make sense to you!

So anyways, I started to post this photo on instagram earlier with a caption that ended up being like 10 paragraphs long, so I decided writing a blog about it would be more efficient:) I am on week 3 now of my new work out program, and I am actually enjoying it a lot, surprisingly. But, because sometimes habits are just hard to break, I can’t seem to kick my sugar addiction!! Ah! It’s so funny because I will look at myself in the mirror and feel instantly defeated and resolve that I’m never eating anything else other than celery and lettuce. I know, I know, so extreme. But after eating a mini Twix, a mini milky way, and a couple of now and laters after lunch (the candy jar was screaming for me to come take candy out of it, I couldn’t say no) I was like that’s it, that’s my last piece of unhealthy food until I lose 20lbs! Hours later I find myself staring at my freshly baked sugar cookies in the kitchen, and I am presented with a choice. The choice to say no because I already had sweets today AND I know how it’s going to make me feel and the downward mental spiral that decision is going to take me on, or I could say yes and feel terrible and start the downward journey in my head about how I am never going to reach my goal weight, I am never going to get healthy, and working out is never going to actually work for me. You know, the usual.

All of that to say, I couldn’t resist that dense, soft on the inside and lightly crisp and crunchy on the outside, mouth-watering sugar cookie just staring me in the face..so I did what most would do…I said no. Not today.

YEAH RIGHT! I took that cookie and devoured it like it was the last thing I was ever going to eat for the rest of my life. And I felt great about it….for about 30 seconds. And then when it was all said and done, I hated that I did that. Not because you should never eat a cookie, but because I didn’t exercise my self control. I had no discipline in that moment. And I hate when I feel like food has control over me, when in all reality, I have control over it! But, what’s done is done. So let’s move past it and get on with the rest of our day (I’m speaking as though you all had the exact same experience today too!:) )

Bringing it back to this photo, I wanted to keep posting photos of myself on the journey to becoming healthier. I love a good before and after. There’s nothing like them! But how often do we show photos of what the journey looks like after we start and before it ends? That freaking middle portion of everyones journey is the part we never want to show because it’s kind of messy, it’s incredibly frustrating, and honestly, I don’t want a progress photo, I just want to see the end result! But the “in between” is so important and so necessary because if you ever want to get to the end, you have to go through the process first.

So with that said, This photo was taken this morning right after I had worked out, curled my hair, and put some make up on before getting dressed for work. I am wearing my husbands sweatpants….let’s talk about why my husbands sweats fit me please?! I honestly wear them because they are a little loose, and they make me “feel” smaller than I actually am. I’m a real person too folks, I don’t totally love my body YET so yeah, wearing bigger pants that hide some things and make me feel smaller are my vibe right now! Also, if you zoom in, and use a magnifying glass, and then zoom some more and maybe even squint a little, you can maybe see that one small portion of half an ab on my stomach!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA! And the reason I am even pointing it out is because last night I was just talking about how I’ve been working out for 2+ weeks now and nothing has changed. In fact, I feel like I’ve actually gained weight, like how does that even happen?! But then I saw this photo, and I was like, wait a hot second, is that the beginning of what could be one singular ab in there?! I THINK IT IS!!

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I think it’s important to celebrate even the littlest of things on our journey. Even if it is just three quarters of an ab, it’s worth celebrating because it signifies growth and progress. It’s almost like it’s a sign that reminds you to keep going, you got this, you can do this, and it’s working! Now, would I like to do one 10 minute ab video and walk away with a 6 pack? ABSOLUTELY I WOULD! But in what world does that even happen? The answer is none. It doesn’t happen. Hard work produces results. Even if the results take longer than you want them to, you will see them eventually if you keep on pressing.

I know for me, I have had two babies and with those babies came two c sections. I would like to believe that my stomach can be flat and toned and strong again. I would like to believe that one day it isn’t going to feel like jello everytime I touch it. I would like to believe that even after having kids, my body can still be the best it has ever been. And for all I know, that could definitely be true. But right now, I have extra skin on my stomach that just hasn’t gone away yet, I have fat in other areas of my body that I didn’t even know existed until I accidentally looked in the mirror after I took a shower and probably haven’t looked in the mirror again since then because I was traumatized!:) Just kidding, I wasn’t traumatized but I was definitely alarmed. But I think part of the journey to loving yourself and all that comes with you, both internally and externally, is embracing who you are and where you are on the way to where you’re going.

There will always be someone else who has a flatter stomach, smaller legs, better hips, more toned thighs, a better butt…and the list goes on. But comparison doesn’t get you anywhere. Scrolling through instagram desiring to have a stomach like hers doesn’t make your stomach any different. I want to encourage you to figure out what you want, and start making daily decisions that take you in that direction. I want to be fit, but I want to be healthy to. So for me, I am going to keep trying and keep doing my best to move forward, move forward right past that sugar cookie next time!:)

Hope y’all have a great night!