Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Out and About

The boys are hanging out with Nana and G-Dad {my parents} for the week. 

My Mom will offer to babysit the boys throughout the year, allowing Greg and I the opportunity to spend some quality time together. We love it! It's like a mini vacation! And judging by the pictures she sent me this afternoon, I would assume that the boys aren't missing us terribly, either. 
What do you think?

Some friends of ours found out that we were kid free all week and asked us what our plans were {probably expecting us to go out on date nights every chance we got} and we jokingly replied: "Oh you know, the usual. Walk around Lowe's and Home Depo- getting quotes and estimates for future projects around the house. Browse Target and Walmart... just because we can. We'll probably throw in a couple of trips to Starbucks- you know, to spice things up a bit." 

So Far This Week, We Have:

Deep cleaned and re-organized the boy's bedroom and the office/workout room. 

Gone to Walmart. Not once- but twice.

Greg almost had to physically remove me from the baby girl's clothing section at Walmart. I was in there for ages looking around at all of the adorable outfits- daydreaming of our own baby girl. 

I have baby fever. BAD. We need to get rolling on this adoption...

Looked at paint samples at Home Depot.

Our cabinets in both bathrooms are in need of an update. 

 We've  I've decided on the bottom color {Bitter Chocolate- Behr Premium Plus}
If the bathroom cabinets turn out well, we may eventually paint the cabinets in the kitchen. 
Look for a DIY post in the coming months.

We also received quotes on Plank Flooring from both Home Deopt and Lowe's. 

This project will have to wait until next year when we get our tax return. 
But we were in the area and thought, "why not?" 

We hit up a few other locations as well. 
Target. LifeWay. McAlister's Deli. And Starbucks {duh!}
And when we weren't out and about, we were at home sitting on the couch, cheering on Team USA.

We have turned into an old married couple, Y'all.

So what to you do when you're kids are out of town?


Monday, July 30, 2012

Ultra Quirky Tot- Decorating the Unique in Every Child

As a Mother, navigating the toddler years can be a daunting task from time to time. 
While your child undergoes one of the greatest developmental stages in their lifetime, let the experts at  Ultra Quirky Tot  assist you in making the toddler years both easy and fun!  

Ultra Quirky Tot is your one-stop shop for all things toddler related. 

From toddler toys and bedding, to room decor and clothing, 
from unique and personalized gifts to back to school supplies-
  Ultra Quirky Tot has it all! 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Bunny Foo Foo tutu

Lil' Miss Ladybug Tutu Box Set

Aren't these tutus adorable?!
 I cannot wait until we have our adopted daughter in our arms because 
I plan to dress her in these precious outfits.

As for the boys, I couldn't help but fall in love with this personalized chalkboard placemat.

This would be perfect for keeping your little one entertained at restaurants or on a road trip. 

I also adore this personalized Time Out Rocking Chair.

It is equipped with a reminder to your child that 
Time Outs are to think about the things you do, but to remember that Mommy loves you.
Additionally, this rocking chair features a built-in timer that can be set for up to 15 minutes. 

So head on over to Ultra Quirky Tot and tell them Megan sent you!

*All images are courtesy of Ultra Quirky Tot.com 
** This is a sponsored post**

Friday, July 27, 2012

The {faith} filled life: Giveaway (Closed)

I will be out of town this weekend celebrating the marriage of my cousin Meghan! 

So instead of my usual inspirational posts for the blog hop, 
I have decided to offer my readers a CD Prize Pack provided by my super awesome hubby. 
As you know, my husband Greg works as a store manager for LifeWay Christian Resources. 
He often receives product from the company to be used for such purposes as this giveaway. 
Isn't he sweet?!

Here is what one lucky reader will win:

Retail Value: $9.99

Retail Value: $12.99

Retail value: $11.69

Retail Value: $9.99

Good Luck!
Have a fabulous weekend, Y'all!

*This giveaway is open to US residents only at this time

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The  purpose of this link up is to put the abundant goodness of God on display. It can come in any shape or form. Scripture. A devotional. A song. A poem that you wrote. A photograph that you took. A personal testimony of God's grace. It can be anything, so as long as it brings glory to God. 

If you are on Twitter or Instagram, use the #faithfilledlife hash tag to follow others who are joining us!                            

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Potty Training 2.0

I will be the first to acknowledge that my two sons are as different as they come. 

One has brown hair and brown eyes.
The other- blonde hair and blue eyes.
One is outgoing and makes friends with ease.
The other, though loud and rambunctious- an introvert.
One loves sports.
The other loves to entertain and make people laugh.
One loves to sit and read stories while the other couldn't sit still if his life depended on it.

. However, I figured there would be a few basic things, like potty training, that would be fairly similar for both of my boys. But I'm learning that that is not the case. I count myself lucky that both Hayden and Rylan were potty trained early (for boys). Each had mastered the skill of peeing in the toilet by the age of 2. But Rylan is still struggling with not needing a pull up at night and he is now 3 1/2. 

While I am not a novice in the potty training department, I have exhausted my resources and am now enlisting your help. What worked with Hayden is simply not working with Rylan.

He'll do well for a couple of days nights and then all of a sudden begins to have accidents again. I *think* that he is just so groggy when he first wakes up in the morning that it doesn't register that he needs to go to the potty, and that is when he wets the bed. I'm trying to wean him from the pulls up, but I cannot afford to wash his sheets and bed cover every single day until he gets the hang of it. 
{He's fine during the day. It's just at night that we are having issues}

Do you have any advice? 
What techniques did you use when potty training your child?


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Middle

I love this song. 
It came up on my iPod while I was running and I thought I would share it with all of you.

Hope that y'all are having a fantastic week so far! 

Don't forget to get your posts ready for Friday's the {faith} filled life blog hop! We had some excellent posts from some new friends all the way from the UK!! 
So take a moment and head on over to their blogs and give them some love :)

(their posts can be found listed at the bottom)

Monday, July 23, 2012

DIY: Homemade All Purpose Cleaner

Now that we are a one income family, I feel that it is my responsibility to find ways to cut costs and lighten the burden that my husband carries when it comes to providing for our family. One of the areas that I have taken a particular interest in as of late, is making my own household cleaning products. 

I've perused the internet and Pinterest in search for recipes with ingredients I currently had around the house. I did not necessarily want to go out and buy a bunch of stuff at the grocery store, make the product, test it out, and then hate it, because then I would have felt like I wasted money. And we are on such a tight budget that I cannot afford to waste a single penny. I finally stumbled across this recipe  and gave it a try over the weekend. 

Wow! This stuff is incredible!

Here is all you need:

1 spray bottle (I used a Shout Stain Remover bottle that I had recently finished off)
1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap (I used Dawn in the original scent)
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
2 tablespoons of vinegar
2 cups of water

Mix the dish soap, baking soda, and water in your spray bottle. Let the baking soda dissolve fully before adding in the vinegar (You want to avoid a reaction with the baking soda and vinegar. Otherwise you will have a nice science project for your kids to observe on your hands!) Once you have added the vinegar, screw on the lid to the spray bottle (be sure the nozzle is in the OFF position) and shake lightly. 

*Tip- If you notice that your spray bottle has pressure building inside it, unscrew the nozzle slightly to allow some of the pressure to release and then screw it back on.

I thought I would test my new cleaning product on the shower in the master bathroom because it is my most troublesome spot in the entire house to clean. I have used every product under the sun to get rid of the soap scum build up to no avail. I figured that if this homemade cleaner passed the test in the master bathroom, it can clean just about anything. 

I sprayed a generous amount of cleaner in the shower and on the shower door, then waited an hour for it to do it's thing. 

Here is a picture of the shower before I sprayed on the homemade cleaner:

I did not edit these images other than to provide the text

Embarrassing... I know. I promise, I DO clean our shower regularly. Twice a week in fact. It's just that the soap scum would NOT come off no matter how hard I scrubbed.

And here is a picture of the shower after I used the homemade cleaner:

Again, I did not edit these photos other than to provide the text

HUGE difference! And this was after only one application. I'm sure I can get my shower completely soap scum free now. I could not be happier with the results. In my opinion, this stuff works better than a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I am never buying brand name again.

My next project will be to attempt homemade laundry detergent. But that will have to wait until pay day because I will have to go and purchase a few items from the store. So stayed tuned everyone!

Bye Bye expensive brand name cleaners. I'll miss you. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bringing Sexy Back: Week 2 Recap

Some of you are new to the blog and may have absolutely NO idea what I am talking about when I am referring to the Sexy Back Challenge that Carlos Whittaker has instituted on his blog, Ragamuffin Soul. Read the following blog posts and you will be caught up to speed :)

Sexy Back Challenge

Bringing Sexy Back: Week 1 Recap

Now, some of you may have thought that I had already fallen off the band wagon when I did not post a recap for week 2 last week. An email was sent out to those who wanted to participate, extending week 1 another week so that people could catch up. Which explains why I did not post a recap last Saturday :)

Anywho, I wanted to let y'all know that I have made some slight adjustments to my physical goal  (completing a round of P90X) for the 12 week challenge. I am now going to strictly stick to my half marathon training, and add in a few P90X as a supplemental workout when my body feels up to the challenge. (I'll post my running schedule in a separate page located at the top of the blog for those of you who are interested.)

Here's why:

* My half marathon is coming up in October and I am already running more miles than I have ever run in my entire life. My body needs to adjust to running 15+ miles every week. Because training is my priority right now, P90X will just have to sit on the back burner for a bit. I cannot afford to injure myself because I am working out too hard. Once my half marathon is finished, I plan to work P90X back into my workout routines.

* I need to remain flexible. I'm still adjusting to life with fibromyalgia and I often revert back to what my body used to be able to do before the disorder came along. Outside factors, such as sleep pattern disruption and stress, have been known to throw my body into a full blown flare up (which is what I am experiencing right now).  So I need to allow my body rest when it requires rest.

*Time. It's already hard enough to block out 1 - 1 1/2 hours of my day to go for a run. It was even harder to add an addition 1 1/2 to that in order to complete my P90X workout as well. That's 3 hours a day on average of do nothing but working out. I have two young children, a husband, and a house that require my time and attention as well. So naturally, it wasn't a difficult decision to cut out the extra workouts.

As for my spiritual and mental goals, everything is right on schedule :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

The {faith} filled life: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Because I have not experienced pain at this level in quite a while, today's the {faith} filled life post will be brief. Yet, it is my prayer that even in the midst of my pain and suffering, that much glory will be given to the Lord and His Kingdom purposes. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 is a passage of Scripture that I immediately cling to when I am presently struggling with the pain associated with fibromyalgia. It reads:

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


Thank you for Your gift of grace. Though my body is weak, Your Word tells me that Your Strength and Your Power will radiate through me because Christ dwells in me.  Be my Comfort... my Shepherd... my Healer this day. And as always, may my life bring You glory. It is in the name of Jesus that I bring these requests to you. 


The  purpose of this link up is to put the abundant goodness of God on display. It can come in any shape or form. Scripture. A devotional. A song. A poem that you wrote. A photograph that you took. A personal testimony of God's grace. It can be anything, so as long as it brings glory to God. 

If you are on Twitter or Instagram, use the #faithfilledlife hash tag to follow others who are joining us!                            

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mason Jar Projects: Homemade Candle Edition

I'm not sure what has gotten into me, but I've been in a particularly crafty mood as of late. I blame the week and a half of rain... Regardless, I have been searching around my house for items to either re-purpose or update. It's amazing what a difference some scrapbook paper and some paint can do to boring, everyday objects.

Mason jars are all the rage right now. I've come across a plethora of ideas on Pinterest that I am itching to try out! But since I am on a budget, I figured that I would stick to supplies that I already had at home, so I figured that I would try my hand at candle making.

I have several candles that I purchased at Pier 1 Imports that have probably seen better days, but I just couldn't bear the thought of getting rid of them because I love the way that they smell. I have a bad habit of burning my candles for too long, so they end up looking like this:

Unsightly, isn't it? Not necessarily what you want to put on display in your home.

I had a few mason jars (I am SO thankful I held onto these) and thought I would  see what would happen if I  melted down my old candle to create a new one. And you know what, it worked! Here is what I did:


Mason jar
Candle wick
Cutting board
Sauce pan

Step 1: Wash your mason jar

Pretty self explanatory. You want to be sure that your mason jar is nice and clean before making your candle.

Step 2: Cut old candle into small pieces

Please excuse my ugly cutting board :)

I'm sorry that the picture is so dark. I miss my old camera!

Step 3: Melt wax in a sauce pan on low heat

Take extreme caution when melting the candle wax, as it is flammable. Even on a low setting, the wax will melt fairly quickly, so you want to stay close by during this process. While the wax is melting, prepare the candle wick per instructions located on the back of the package. (Don't forget to trim the wick 1/4 in)

I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby for $2.69. Since I already had the mason jar and the candle, the total cost for this project is a whopping $0.70! Even if you needed to purchase a mason jar, you can usually find some at your local craft store (like Hobby Lobby, Michael's or JoAnn's) for just a couple dollars. 

Step 4: Set the wick

Once the wax has completely melted, pour just enough wax to coat the bottom of the mason jar. 
Be careful! The wax is extremely hot! Use caution! 
Once you have coated the bottom of the jar, add the wick/wick tab. Be sure to hold the wick upright as the wax begins to harden so that the wick will stay in place. 

Not a great picture, but I hope you get the idea...


Place some wax paper underneath the mason jar while you are pouring the candle wax into the jar. It will make cleaning up much easier. I did not do this and ended up scrapping wax off of my kitchen counter with my fingernail. 

Step 5: Pour remaining wax into the jar

Once all of the wax has been poured into the jar, be sure to hold the wick upright so that it stays in place while the wax hardens. You won't have to hold it in place the entire time, just long enough to ensure that the wick is still centered.

Step 6: Let it cool

It should take about a half hour for your new candle to completely cool. If you plan to use your new updated mason jar candle as a gift (or if you are slightly OCD like I am), you will want to scrap some of the candle wax off of the side of the jar so that it is nice and uniformed looking once the wax has hardened. You can do this with your fingernail or a tooth pick. I also took a baby wipe and wiped off the top of the jar to get it nice and clean.

Step 7: Enjoy your "new" candle! 

I'm very pleased with the way this project turned out. If you are a friend or a family member of mine, don't be surprised if you wind up getting one of these as a Birthday/Christmas gift this year! 

Now that I have successfully made my first homemade candle, I want to try my hand at making one from scratch. 

So, what do you think? 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

5 Easy Steps to Updating a Boring Glass Vase

From this...

to this....

5 Easy Steps to Update a Boring Glass Vase

I received a lot of compliments on this DIY project and was asked by many if I would post a tutorial on how I created it. So, here you go! I hope this helps!


Acrylic paint (2 fl oz works well)
-I used Folk Art's Aqua for the vase and Martha Stewart Crafts Pollen for the accent around the "C." 
Glass vase
Scrapbook paper
Mod Podge or DIY version (which is what I used)

Step 1: Paint the inside of the vase

Pour paint roughly the size of a half dollar into your glass vase and begin painting the inside using a medium sized paintbrush. I bought a variety pack from Hobby Lobby and chose a paintbrush that would work well with acrylic paint and glass. (The package came with a description of which brushes to use with various paints and surfaces. I have never taken an art lesson in my life, so I apologize if I am not much help in describing the type of brushes I use.)

It will look something like this during your first coat of paint:

Let the paint dry for at least 1 hour between each coat of paint. I did 2 coats of paint for this project, but depending on the brand of paint you use and the color, you may do more or less. 

Step 2: Paint the outside of the vase

I used 2 coats of paint for this step as well. Again, let it dry for at least an hour before applying the next coat. 

Here is what mine looked like after the first coat of paint:

Step 3: Apply Mod Podge

Once your second coat of paint has completely dried, apply a light layer of mod podge to seal the paint. I used a homemade version because it was less expensive. I've used it on several projects so far and I have not been disappointed with the results. It leaves a nice matte finish when it has dried. 

Step 4: Create Scrapbook Paper Initial

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures during this step of the project. Please forgive me. It's pretty straight forward, but feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you struggle with the step and I will do my best to walk you through it.

Choose  a piece of scrapbook paper that you like (I would recommend one in a contrasting color scheme) and cut it down to fit a letter size piece of printer paper.

Next, using Microsoft Publisher (I am sure you could do this next step with various programs, this is just what I had on my computer to work with.) open up a new blank publication. Select the font of your choice (I used Birmingham Bold, font size 350) and type in the initial of your choosing. 

Once you have found a font/ font size that works well for you, go up to file--> page setup--> printer & paper --> properties--> finishing --> and select the mirror image option.  

Then print on a standard piece of printer paper to be sure that it prints correctly. (You will need to use the mirror image option so that once you cut it out on the scrapbook paper, the design will be on the correct side when you flip it over.) Once you have practiced on a piece of printer paper and establish the look you want, replace the printer paper with your piece of scrapbook paper. (For my printer, I put the design on top so that the ink would be printed on the white side of the paper. The ink will act as a guide for you once you begin to cut.)

Using a pair of scissors, cut the initial out of your scrapbook paper. Then, using your mod podge, glue the initial onto the vase and allow to dry.

Step 5: Paint the Outline of the Initial

You could totally skip this step if you wanted to. I just did it because it really made the yellow "C" stand out against the aqua vase. Using a small paint brush, simply outline the initial with your second paint color. Allow 1 hour to dry and apply another coat of paint if needed.

Finished Product:

TaDa! You're finished!! 
Now enjoy your new creation!


If I could go back and do it all over again, I would have selected another brand of paint for the Aqua (I used Folk Art). While I absolutely LOVE the color and it stated on the back of the bottle that it could be used on all paint-able surfaces, it did not do well on the glass. The paint chipped several times and I had to apply extra coats of paint in various spots. I'm glad that this project was for personal use and that I wasn't planning to give it as a gift. (I painted another vase for a family member and used Martha Stewart Crafts paint in Green Olive and did not have the problems that I did with the Folk Art paint.)

***These opinions are my own. Neither company (Folk Art nor Martha Stewart Crafts) know who I am. This is NOT a sponsored project.***

I Was Featured On: It's a Hodepodge Friday

I'm Fine...

{Courtesy of Google Images}

"I'm fine."

It's my typical response when someone asks me how I am doing. 

And sometimes... it couldn't be further from the truth. Especially since March of 2011. 

You see, that is when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  And from that moment on, everything in my life changed. 


These are just a few of the words that immediately come to mind when I think back on the last year and a half. It could easily be described as the darkest season of my life. There were days when the pain was so severe that I literally could not get out of bed. Even laying there under my sheets, being as still as I could be, brought upon waves of pain so horrendous, that only another fibromyalgia sufferer would truly understand. There were days that, if I am brutally honest, I wanted God to end my life. I didn't know how I could live the remainder of my days in that kind of pain. And don't even get me started on the emotional pain... Those are the kind of scars that will take far longer to heal.

Yet... as strange as this may sound... I wouldn't go back and change it for anything in the world, because it has been through this season, that Jesus has been the most present in my life. 


All I had left was Jesus.
And He was more than enough. 
More than anything I could have ever hoped for.

He has been my Comforter.
He has been my Counselor.
He has been my Defender.
He has been my Shepherd.
He has been my Strength.
He has been my Healer.
He has been my Refuge.
He has been my Rock.
He has been my Hiding Place.
He has been more than a friend to me... He has been the very air that I breathe. 

If there were ever a song that fully captured the emotions that I battle on a regular basis, it would be this one:
The Hurt and The Healer by Mercy Me.

Even though I may not always be fine... I take comfort in that one day, I will be. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

{faith} filled life: Faith Like a Child

"Mom- I dug a hole in the backyard!" shouted Hayden as he opened the back door. "I hope that's okay. I wanted God to have a place where He could grow flowers for you."

At first I was tempted to be angry with him. I thought to myself, "Why on earth would you tear up my flower bed like that? That's a really big hole and now I'm going to have to go out there and fill it in." Luckily the Holy Spirit interrupted my thoughts before I could speak them out loud to my son, because my words would have inevitably crushed his spirit. Instead, He gently whispered these words: "Hayden has more faith in Me than you do."  

That one hurt.

But He was right. Of course He was right. Because Hayden's words alone showed that he fully and confidently believed that God would create beautiful flowers out of nothing, just for me to enjoy. And he actively lived out his faith by digging the hole.

And why shouldn't he? After all, we teach him that God created the heavens and the earth. We teach him that God made all of the living creatures on land, in the air, and in the sea. We teach him that each and every delicate flower and plant that he sees comes from the Lord. So why wouldn't he believe that God could fill that great big hole with flowers? It makes sense. Simple, even.

So you know what we're going to do? We're believing with Hayden that God will fill that hole with flowers. And not flowers purchased from Lowe's or Home Depot either. Flowers that the Lord Himself will provide. I know that this whole story may sound crazy to you, and that's okay. But this simple act of child-like faith has taught me so much  this week.

It has shown me that faith is more than just believing in something. It is confident. Unwavering. Simple. Active. Fearless. Beautiful. Loyal. Complete. Satisfied. All- embracing. Secure. Effective. Committed. Devoted. Trusting.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

5 Movies I Could Watch Over And Over Again {Listable Life}

I'm linking up once again with the fabulous Nicole over at Moments that Define Life, for her {Listable Life} series. This week's prompts to choose from are light hearted in nature, which suit me just fine right now. Between summer vacations, the boys being out of school {keeping them thoroughly entertained}, and training for a half marathon... it's been difficult keeping up with a somewhat consistent blog schedule. So I'm incredibly thankful for Nicole and her weekly prompts!

So without further ado, here are 5 movies that I could literally watch over and over and over again. They are not necessarily my top 5 favorite movies of all time, but they are ones that Greg and I will often put on once the little ones are in bed.

1. The Harry Potter Series

{Courtesy of Google Images}

I know... that's technically 8 movies... but I just couldn't pick one, alright. 

2. Beauty and the Beast

My favorite Disney movie of all time.
I think of all the Disney princesses, I relate to Bell the most.
I almost always have my nose stuck in a book.
Even though I am well liked by others and have a fair number of friends, I often feel like I don't quite belong.
I am a hopeless romantic at heart.
And if I could, I would have a gigantic library in my house.

3. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

C.S. Lewis is by far my favorite author and I especially love the Chronicles of Narnia series.
It will always hold a special place in my heart.
I love everything about this movie.
The symbolism.
The imagery.
The British accents...

4. A Walk To Remember

This one brings me to tears. 
Even though I know what's coming, I just can't help it. I bawl like a baby.
And I must admit... I wish I could sing like Mandy Moore.

5. The Notebook

I told you.
Sappy romantic, right here.
I just can't help it!

So, what are some of your favorite movies to watch?!