Friday Favorite: Thriving Family Magazine



A little less than a year ago, my sister Ashley gave Drew and I a subscription to Thriving Family Magazine. It was such a sweet gesture for us newbies, and it has since become my favorite magazine to receive and read. It is published by Focus On The Family, which some of you might be familiar with. It covers a wide range of topics including marriage tips, age specific parenting advice, seasonal family activities, book and movie reviews, healthy lifestyle tips and recipes and so much more. All content is faith based, encouraging and uplifting. The articles are short and sweet but rich and relevant in substance. Subscribe today or get their new iPad version, you won’t regret it!








Let’s Get Forreals

Forreals: an emotional way to agree with something. (According to Urban Dictionary)

My Mom calls me on FaceTime each morning so that she can see Little Man, and yesterday morning was no exception. I waited for the call as I was scraping Eli’s breakfast remains off the floor, contemplating pulling out my new Awesome Carpet Cleaner to remove the fresh stains. I decided to leave them. A 6:15 wake up call + leaky diaper + fussy baby + refusal of breakfast + refusal of toys + husband out of town + inspection guys coming at who knows what hour today + I’m starving and haven’t had breakfast, or coffee, or gone to the bathroom, or brushed my teeth yet, sent me ¬†into a breakdown. I sat on the phone, crying like an emotional basket case, describing my morning to my Mom. She gave me encouragement then did what she knew I needed, let my sister know.

Later, my sweet sister called to check on me. They just moved to Oklahoma for her husband’s medical school residency, and I miss her terribly. Almost every week prior to the move, we got together with our kids and were able to catch up, and encourage each other. Um, did I say I miss her?

Being a wiser, more experienced mother of two precious girls, she was able to relate to what I was going through. This thing called motherhood is tough. It is a job in which you give every bit of yourself, and get little in return. It is a perfect picture of servanthood and selflessness.

We decided to make a pact to encourage one another, and to encourage other mothers through our blogs. We both have blogs that we check everyday, that we really love reading. But, sometimes after we get finished reading them, we feel worse about ourselves. I’m not creative enough, my house isn’t pretty enough, I don’t cook as well as her, my kids aren’t as well behaved, how does she look that good? how does she have time for all of that?

Blogs are wonderful because they inspire us. But often times the blogger only shares the “good” parts of his/her life. I am guilty of this too. It is almost as if a blog is a blissful diary with perfect snapshots and entries of our lives. But we are forgetting one important part: the ugly. The tough spots are what help us grow and allow us to become relatable to others. Don’t we all, deep down inside, just want to know that we aren’t alone? That we aren’t the only ones who don’t have it all figured out?

I want a make a promise to you all, whoever is reading out there, that I am going to be much more intentional about sharing the “nitty gritty” bits of my life, along with the good. Hopefully in doing this, I can encourage and uplift you even more!








Thrifty Shopping

Last week I decided it was time to clean out Eli’s dresser. For some reason, every three months I fall into a sense of denial about Little Man growing out of his clothes. For days, I stretched and tugged his outfits like they were an old pair of skinny jeans I wanted to fit back into, but I was still unable to comfortably button him up. I knew it was time. He needed to go up a size.

I sat him on the floor with me, gave him a bucket of toys, and got to work. My current organization strategy is simply to label garbage bags with sizes, fill them up, and toss them in the closet for our next child. One ambitious day in the future, I will revisit the bags, and put them in more attractive, organized bins.

Fifteen minutes later, I had all of his outfits folded and categorized in piles, ready to be bagged. I stepped out of the room for one minute to grab a sharpie and garbage bags, only to come back to find Eli…in a pile of clothes, squealing with delight as he pulled one article of clothing at a time from my neat piles, tossing them left and right. The combination of the clothes and toys sprawled across the floor made his nursery look like a baby bomb had just gone off. I smiled at him, stuffed the clothes in the bags, and called it a day.

Revisiting the multitude of clothes we had crammed in his dresser helped me realize just how many clothes went months without being worn. I had my “go-to” outfits that were easy to take on and off, were soft, and cute. He wore these the most, and little else. I plan on using these clothes again when we have more children, but I still felt guilty spending all that money on clothes that we really didn’t need.

A gracious family friend had given us two full bags of clothes that her son had outgrown when Eli was first born. I had already washed and sized these, so I pulled them out to see what else we needed. I thought about what Eli had actually worn the past three months, and made a minimal list of the basic essentials he would need this summer.

Instead of heading to the mall, or hopping on my computer to order brand new clothes, we packed up and went to Once Upon A Child. This store buys and sells gently used clothing, among other things, for a fraction of the retail cost. Yes, they are used. Yes, some of you might be cringing right now. But I don’t mind. There are things that I believe are worth buying new, but other things that I think are a much better value and investment to buy used. I know now just how little infant clothes get worn, because they can only fit in them for short periods of time. This, combined with a good wash, and a reliable brand name is all I need for convincing.



I purchased:

3 button down shirts

2 rompers

3 pair of overalls

3 polos

3 pair of shorts

For only $50! That’s an average of $3.57 per item!¬†



I was really excited to count up the savings and we didn’t have to compromise on style or quality. All of the clothes were originally from Gap, Gymboree, Children’s Place, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, and Ralph Lauren. Win, Win!

So if you are in need of some new seasonal clothes for your little one, consider buying used! It really is fun hunting down deals and seeing what you can find.

Happy saving!








Friday Favorite: Good Reads

I wish I liked to read novels. Sitting around a book club circle discussing character growth and plot dynamics sounds so appealing to me. But, the truth is I get more engrossed in nonfiction, books that teach me something. Design books are always in my reading rotation, here are two of my favorites.



The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well by Deborah Needleman is one of my all time favorite design books. This past week, I read it for the third time, and was just as inspired as during my previous reads. The book is filled with beautiful watercolor drawings and practical, thoughtful design ideas for each room. Some of her chapters include topics such as: “Glamifications,” “Pillow Recipe” for the perfectly made bed, and “A Well Stocked Pantry”. In short-essay form, she wittily explains how to personalize your home so that it reflects your lifestyle. I love the rawness of this book, and how it speaks to the everyday woman who wants a beautiful, functional home that her family can comfortably and happily dwell in.

Inspired You by Miss Mustard Seed is a wonderful summer read. This blogger is known for her easy DIY projects, and more famously, her furniture refinishing techniques and tutorials. I love her thrifty suggestions, and the underlying spiritual roots of the book.

Our homes are never going to be perfect; they are a continual work in progress, much like ourselves. They are structures that should welcome us, serve us, and provide us with a place to make memories. They should make us feel comfortable and, for a time, relieve us of the pressures and business that happens outside their walls. These two books will dive even deeper into this notion, and provide ways to make your home reach it’s full potential! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, happy reading!







101 in 1001

Happy New Year Everybody! I am so excited to share what I am planning for this New Year. Instead of a resolution, I am going to participate in completing a 101 in 1001 goals challenge. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this challenge, let me explain. This challenge takes place over the course of about 2.75 years, or 1001 days. In that time, I will attempt to complete 101 tasks, or goals. Some of these goals are small, and others large. All of them, however, are attainable, and measurable. The idea is to give myself a longer stretch of time (multiple seasons) to grow in various ways. I am so excited to begin, and cannot wait to see what I can accomplish!

Here are the logistics: Below, I have inserted a link to the document containing my list of 101 tasks. To see my progress, visit the “Gumptions” tab and click on the document. I will continue to update it as time passes. I will most likely blog my progress and share about goals that I reach. In 1001 days, we will see how far along I get!


101 in 1001 Goals Challenge