28 May 2015

Kitchen & Breakfast Nook | #SimplyFreeHomeTour

The home tour returns! Welcome to one of the places we spend most of our time - the kitchen! This was one of the things we loved most when we first saw this house - the open floor plan from the kitchen into the living room. We LOVE to entertain, and being able to have a large space like this has been perfect for that because it adds a lot of extra seating, and the island is perfect for serving appetizers & such.

Since these pictures were taken, our fridge died & the one we got is just perfect for this space - french doors withe freezer on the bottom & a water dispenser inside the fridge. Y'all, I'm so obsessed with it I may just do an entire post on how incredible & spacious it is. It was well worth the obnoxiously long wait we had for it to arrive.

 breakfast nook area - the crosses are from around the world & many have been gifts

 the bar area & home to bubbles junior

drink station: coke machine & whiskey cart leading into living room

One of the random elements in this space is that above the fridge is home to the champagne bottle from the night of our wedding & my bouquet is in a vase as well. A lot of our decor may seem random, but the majority of it has sentimental meaning to us which I love. Another example are all the items on the cabinets - they are my mom's from when I was growing up, as are the bar stools.

view into the living room - which will be the next featured room in the home tour!

1940s antique coke machine | estate sale
antique butter churn | great grandmother's
whiskey cart | Target
command center organization | Target
mixer | KitchenAid
over-sized fork & spoon | Hobby Lobby
wine glass holder | old rake

read more "Kitchen & Breakfast Nook | #SimplyFreeHomeTour"

21 May 2015

FREE Drink from Starbucks? Yes Please!

As you well know my obsession for coffee, my affinity for Starbucks is almost as equal. Ever since my days in high school working at the mall, fappucinos & macchiatos have been my love language. So naturally when their new rewards program including the gold cards rolled out in 2009, I got my shiny card in the mail almost immediately and have been happily reloading it ever since. Between the birthday drinks, free drinks from stars, and bonus stars for different "tasks", it's safe to say while I've no doubt funded a poor college student's wages, I have also gotten my fair share of free beverages as well. SO naturally I enjoy sharing something I love, but now they've made it even more intriguing -

When your friends joins Starbucks' My Rewards Program, they'll get a free drink (as per usual) however now, YOU get bonus stars when you sign up through your link. Pretty nifty, eh?

 Get a free drink from Starbucks when you join the rewards! Plus, you know you want to try the adorable mini frapp so why not get some points towards another free drink along the way? 

To qualify for free drink and bonus stars your friends must sign up for My Starbucks Rewards using your link, register a card, and opt-in to emails.

So why join the rewards program? Here's a few reasons:

More than great drinks. Great rewards.

Enjoy all this and more with your membership to our Loyalty Program:
  • Free drink or food rewards (some restrictions apply)
  • Custom offers on items you enjoy when you opt in to receive for My Starbucks Rewards® email
  • Early access to new products
  • Easy payment with our mobile app
Here’s how it worksTo enjoy free drink and food rewards, you’ll need to earn Stars. Get one Star when you pay with your registered Starbucks, Teavana or La Boulange Card or the mobile app at a participating store or from specially marked Starbucks® products where you buy groceries. Collect more Stars, earn more rewards.
...and more!

So why not? Join in for your free drink now  and start earning rewards :) It's a win win situation!

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19 May 2015

Why Just Survive When You Can Thrive?

Yesterday was an exciting day for blogging friend Keri as she launched her first eBookWhy Just Survive When You Can Thrive: Tips for Thriving This Summer With Your Kids.  I can't wait to pass this along to all the mamas in my life and keep it handy for when that day comes for Elliott littles :)
She wrote out of her passion to see moms thriving in life.  Read what she has to say about her experiences that lead to this ebook:
Personally, I have had seasons of being in survival mode and I know how draining it can be. I also know that it is possible to thrive as a mom. This eBook is filled with simple tips to help you begin your journey to thriving. There is also a resources section full of different activities for kids. I have tried to make this eBook available in as many forms as possible and you can see below the different options for purchase. If you have any problems or questions please email me at kerisnyder@gmail.com and I will respond as soon as possible.
Today, she is kicking off AFFILIATES for her e-book. Affiliates make 50% of every sale (go HERE to become an affiliate). Make sure to stop by her blog as well, Living In This Season - you won't be disappointed!  You can purchase her eBook for the kindle or download a copy -   Click here to visit Living In This Season. and get your copy today!

Also, Becky is hosting a giveaway for a baby onesie HERE– such excitement this week for all you mamas or friends of mamas!

Don't forget to link up with us & hop around to find some new faces!
Becky from BYBMG | Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls | Whitney from Polka Dot Place
Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things | Tara from Mrs.Coach Sims | Keri from Living In This Season 
Sarah from Abiding In Grace | Lauren from Simply Free | Emily from Morning Motivated Mom 
Jessica & Katie from Sweet Little Ones |  Mandy from Almond Place | Teressa from Teressa Jane 

read more "Why Just Survive When You Can Thrive?"

13 May 2015


Do you know that every day you clean your face without using water, you save up to 5 gallons of water from going down the drain? This Earth Month, Neutrogena® Naturals is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to save water. Get involved and join #WipeForWater. Pledge to clean your face without using water, and instead exclusively clean with Neutrogena® Naturals Purifying Makeup Removing Cleansing Wipes. For each pledge, Neutrogena® Naturals will contribute $1 to The Nature Conservancy to support water conservation, up to $50,000!
Now if you know me, I'm all about the products we purchase having value & helping with a cause at the same time. So when I got these Neutrogena face wipes, I was pumped. I don't wear a great deal of makeup, and my skin isn't excessively sensitive, however I've always had a hard time finding face wipes that were strong enough to remove my mascara, but gentle enough to not to make my eyes burn. Then of course there's the issue of potentially getting my hair wet in the face washing process, and y'all all know how much I love to avoid washing my hair. 
That's why I love these wipes. I can bring them anywhere which is huge when you are involved with a lot of activities. Aside form convenience, the fact that I don't have to use water to rinse off soapy residue is fantastic. I am certainly minimalist when it comes to morning & evening beauty routines, so these make it quick and easy to remove the dirt & grim without all the fuss. My face already feels cleaner, smoother, and healthier from using these wipes for the past few weeks. Not to mention that these fun facts:
  • Wipes made from 100% renewable fibers 
  • Free of harsh chemical sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, dyes and phthalates 
  • Dermatologist tested  

And the best part is that I know I am doing something to help conserve our precious water. And that's something I can get on board with! Try them out for yourself & take the #WipeForWater challenge!

#Neutrogena #WipeForWater #Influenster

Disclosure: I received these products complimentary from Influenster. All thoughts and opinions are my own, however, and are solely based on my experience with these companies and their products. Subsequent social media posts are also considered entries for various #contest opportunities.
read more "#WipeForWater"

12 May 2015

Abundant Joy

Sometimes in life you need to hear the words of wisdom that only others can provide to you. In this season of busyness it's often easy to neglect spending time pouring into the Word. It's often easy to put aside your prayer time in lieu of much needed sleep. However, this morning as I tried to embrace my new routine of early mornings, I was reminded that even in this times of chaos, He is right beside me, speaking to me, gentle nudging me with the people he has placed in my life and with the beauty of nature that surrounds me. With the sermons I listen to, the friends I share coffee with, and the family I walk through life with daily. Despite "not having the time" to give Him everything, He meets me where I am, and draws me closer to him, imperfections and all.

In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. —Romans 8:37
Paul was speaking here of the things that might seem likely to separate a saint from the love of God. But the remarkable thing is that nothing can come between the love of God and a saint. The things Paul mentioned in this passage can and do disrupt the close fellowship of our soul with God and separate our natural life from Him. But none of them is able to come between the love of God and the soul of a saint on the spiritual level. The underlying foundation of the Christian faith is the undeserved, limitless miracle of the love of God that was exhibited on the Cross of Calvary; a love that is not earned and can never be. Paul said this is the reason that “in all these things we are more than conquerors.” We are super-victors with a joy that comes from experiencing the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.

Huge waves that would frighten an ordinary swimmer produce a tremendous thrill for the surfer who has ridden them. Let’s apply that to our own circumstances. The things we try to avoid and fight against— tribulation, suffering, and persecution— are the very things that produce abundant joy in us. “We are more than conquerors through Him” “in all these things”; not in spite of them, but in the midst of them. A saint doesn’t know the joy of the Lord in spite of tribulation, but because of it. Paul said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4).

The undiminished radiance, which is the result of abundant joy, is not built on anything passing, but on the love of God that nothing can change. And the experiences of life, whether they are everyday events or terrifying ones, are powerless to “separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

[The previous was an except from the daily devotional book My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers]

I have never ceased to be amazed at His timing as He continually speaks much needed truth into my life. How truly blessed am I indeed. I am yearning to be a conqueror more with each day & craving His abundant joy.

Becky from BYBMG | Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls | Whitney from Polka Dot Place
Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things | Tara from Mrs.Coach Sims | Keri from Living In This Season 
Sarah from Abiding In Grace | Lauren from Simply Free | Andrea from Mitchael Journey 
Jessica & Katie from Sweet Little Ones |  Mandy from Almond Place | Teressa from Teressa Jane 

read more "Abundant Joy"

05 May 2015

Cinco de Mayo | Recipe Roundup

It's Cinco de Mayo! Which means lots of guac & margs in my world - likely the reason I anticipate this holiday most eagerly each year. So today I wanted to share of a few of my favorite dishes with a Mexican flare. Enjoy :)

What are your go to recipes for Cinco de Mayo?

Becky from BYBMG | Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls | Whitney from Polka Dot Place
Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things | Tara from Mrs.Coach Sims | Keri from Living In This Season 
Sarah from Abiding In Grace | Lauren from Simply Free | Andrea from Mitchael Journey 
Jessica & Katie from Sweet Little Ones |  Mandy from Almond Place | Teressa from Teressa Jane 

read more "Cinco de Mayo | Recipe Roundup"

28 April 2015


I've been thinking a lot lately about numbers. We seem to live in a world utterly consumed by them. Everywhere I turn, something is being measured by them. And while some of these numbers are useful and potentially lifesaving, the majority are not.  And those are the ones that inevitably take hold and rule our lives. Our happiness hanging on the ever desire to either increase or decrease these numbers in our lives. And sadly, too many times this has been all too true in my own life.

As women, the scale and the labels on our clothes take hold of our self worth. The lower the better. Always aiming to decrease whatever that number may be. And it never being low enough to satisfy. Dieting, exercise, starving ourselves. Doing whatever it takes to make that number lower. Just one more pound, just one more size. Then we will have the "right" look.

In school we long for the highest of numbers. The best test score. Extra credit on the next assignment. Governed by what grade it takes to increase your overall average. Obsessed with how many degrees you can earn. Studying, cramming, cutting corners. Doing whatever it takes to make that number higher.  Just one point higher, just one more degree. Then we will be the "best" student.

With the recent uprising of countless avenues of social media over the past few years, the highly innovative & very useful way to connect to people, comes new issues. We are consumed with the number of friends we have on Facebook. How many people have commented on or liked a post or picture. We boast of the number of followers on Instagram or how many tweets we shared. Updating statuses every minute, friending people you just met & will never see again, posting controversial topics just to get a rise. Doing whatever it takes to make that number higher. Just one more friend, just one more like. Then we will be the "most" popular.

What we seem to be striving for in all of these areas however is merely superficial quantities and not for substance and quality.  For so long I have struggled with confidence in such areas that the numbers have come to haunt me as well.  They have taken over my life in such a fashion that I have neglected the depths of what is important in these areas. That I have chased after the meaningless values that would make me "perfect" on the outside before showing the inward journey toward the One who is perfect. That false perception that no one will be ready to listen to what's going on inside the pages unless they can enjoy what's on the cover.

Yet I am reminded that no matter the number on the scale, or the size of my clothes, eating healthy and exercising often lead to the right body.  And that health is more than an xs shirt & zero jeans. I am inspired by the fact that yearning to learn is not merely defined by the amount of diplomas with your name on them. That a desire for higher and continuing education can stem from a desire to acquire intellect and not simply frames. I am encouraged that true friendships surpass more than the world of the internet, and that true meaning and depth in relationships can bloom in even the most unlikely of places as a blog.  And that a close and small circle is far superior to thousands of mere acquaintances.  While fighting for the heart of the King in this journey towards simplicity and a life of meaning, now more than ever I see that it is indeed more about quality than quantity in so many ways. Such a difficult but important lesson to hold on to.

What numbers are you clinging to? 

Join in for #TuesTalk & let us know what you have to say!

Becky from BYBMG | Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls | Whitney from Polka Dot Place
Elizabeth from All Kinds of Things | Tara from Mrs.Coach Sims | Keri from Living In This Season 
Sarah from Abiding In Grace | Lauren from Simply Free | Andrea from Mitchael Journey 
Jessica & Katie from Sweet Little Ones |  Mandy from Almond Place | Teressa from Teressa Jane 

read more "Numbers"