The LOVE Challenge

^^^ earrings and necklace c/o Lavish Leathers ^^^

Are you feeling the love this month of February?  Or are you like me and still recovering from last month?  #truth

Coming off a ridiculously busy January (of which I mentioned over on Instagram), I feel almost a little traumatized.  Yes, I know how dramatic that sounds.  But really...I feel like I want to do NOTHING.  I don't want ANY commitments, I don't want ANY responsibilities, and I don't want ANY more time-intensive, laborious school projects!  Okay that last one is a whole other story, but still.   Clearly, I have January PTSD.

But life goes on and before we know it, February will come and go...heck who am I kidding?  It's going to flat-out fly by.  And then March is busy...blah, blah, blah.  Life is so short, and so very fast my friends.  How can I keep from waking up tomorrow with Bennett leaving me for kindergarten!?!  (7 months and counting---true story)  I don't have the answers, but I sure wish I did.  I think ultimately it comes down to putting your big girl panties on and doing your best, because there isn't a one answer for everyone to slow down the "busy".  Two things, however, that we are trying to do to help focus more on the time we DO have is spend more "fun" time together and taking on a "LOVE" challenge this month.

I got the idea from the 14 Day Love One Another challenge on  Ideally, it started on February 1 and goes until Valentine's Day...but in truth, these "challenges" can and should be incorporated into our everyday lives, right?  Those busy everyday lives of ours.  Being intentional about showing love for others sometimes can take effort, but awareness is what we're striving for.  Hopefully our kids can be influenced and affected for the better as a result of this challenge...and hopefully develop more Christlike love in the process.  It surely can't hurt...and who knows, maybe the conversations it brings about will help slow down our busy lives and allow for February to mosey on by at its leisure.

If you'd like to jump on board, here's run-down of the challenge, or you can read its entirety here.  

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Making Time for Family Fun

Have you ever thought of WHY certain families want to be together?....Want to spend time together and often would rather be with each other than with friends?

I'm currently reading a book titled "Power Parenting" and it devotes an entire chapter to the importance of having fun as a family.  This is something, until recently, we haven't consciously done.  Sure we go on family trips and do the bigger things that are fun and bonding for our family...but this suggests it should be a common, everyday occurrence or general feeling within our families.  That's a pretty tall order, isn't it?  I mean, with the daily stresses of work, school, activities, keeping an orderly house, crankiness, sibling conflict, etc...It can be quite the challenge to make "fun" a priority.  But as I've been reading this book, we've decided to give it our committed best shot.

This past weekend after the stock show sale, we headed out for a little hike in San Marcos....on a clear, bright, 80 degree Texas winter day. (insert major eye roll)  Blake and I had agreed beforehand that we were going to make it as fun (and as pleasant) as we could...meaning overlooking things the kids said/did that we'd normally get onto them for.  And we were SURE there'd be some complaining.  But thankfully, all went well and the only major issue was full bladders needing a place to go.  ;)

My hope (and plan) is that we can make time to incorporate these "little" things more often to create a fun vibe for our kids.  We want our kids to want to be around us...and want them to know how to have fun doing wholesome activities.  As I've learned from "Power Parenting", having fun together creates a sense of security, fosters humor, relieves tension, and can have a healing effect when those outside forces wear us down....Which really is something we all innately know, am I right?  Most of us don't need a book to tell us about our basic human need for fun, belonging, and family...We know it because we've felt it ourselves.  Fun brings happiness, and happiness is one of our main goals in life!

"Men are, that they might have joy."
(2 Nephi 2:25)

>>>What ways does your family have fun together???

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County Stock Show 2016

Our county stock show has come and gone and was busy!  This year, my two oldest girls entered projects in home skills and rabbits.  No pigs this year.  Rabbits were a learning experience being our first year, but were fairly easy as we kept them in our garage (shhhh, don't tell anyone) and we only had them a month prior.  And thankfully, the girls didn't get attached to them like they did with the pigs last year.  The key is to not name ;)

With the homeskills projects, they both submitted a baked good each and several photography projects.  Tyler Bree took home grand champion junior photography, which we were super excited for her...2 years in a row!  Riley's photos did really well too.  Here are some of theirs below...
(and here's a recap of last year's show)

I think we'll definitely try out rabbits again next year, as well as more submissions with home skills.  It's a great learning experience for the kids and they truly worked hard this year on each of their projects!  We are proud of them both!

p.s.  I tried doing a Periscope during the sale auction titled "What Texans Do For Fun" but I didn't have a good connection.  Anyways, it always gives me the giggles to think what non-Texas think of us...this was a pretty great example of country-folk at its core.  ;)

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Christmas Day Recap

Yes, I'm still catching up from Christmas.  I took at LOOOONG break from blogging in December and I'm slowing easing my way back into it.  2015 was such a remarkable year, I'll have to devote an entire blog post to what all happened over the last 12 months, but today, I'm sharing some of my favorite photos from Christmas Day.

We decided, in an effort to take the focus OFF the gifts on Christmas morning, we would let the kids see what Santa brought them and then save the rest for later.  Instead, we acted out the nativity, watched a special devotional on Christ, and read the Christmas story in the Bible on Christmas morning.  Then we ate a nice, yummy Christmas breakfast and went on a bike ride as a family.  This was the first year we've done something like this as a family, and I definitely want to continue the tradition in years to come.  It's all too easy for the kids to get wrapped up in the presents (pun unintended), that without conscious and intentional effort, the true meaning can become a 2nd focus rather than the entire reason for the holiday.  It was such a special day for us and I hope we can keep the spirit of Christmas with us throughout the entire year!

What ways did your family bring more focus to Christ this Christmas?

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Trail of Lights | Austin, TX

Living in Austin most of my life, I've been to the Zilker Trail of Light less than a handful of times.  In the last decade, it's become more of a hassle to attend that what we, as a family of 6, are willing to handle on a regular night.  BUT, I was honored to be given ZIP and parking passes by the awesome people at SkinnyPop, which made attending the iconic trail of lights a total game changer and totally convenient!

We ended up having a blast, with the ferris wheel being the highlight!  It was such a great way start off our holiday break with the kids and get in the Christmas spirit!

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Holiday Outfit Style // Tulle Skirt

It's holiday-wear time!  Yesterday we had family photos, tonight is Blake's work party, and tomorrow is a friend Christmas holiday outfits are front and center and definitely on my mind right now!  This outfit was yesterday's family picture outfit, but I love the look for parties too.  Tulle skirts can be worn all sorts of ways, but my favorite way to wear it is dressed up for a festive affair.  Something about a frilly skirt exudes femininity and style.  I feel every woman can rock a tulle skirt and so they should! ;)  Black and cream are the safest and most versatile options, but some of the pastels are super fun too!

(Check out some options below...)

TOP // Banana Republic, SKIRT // Shabby Apple, // SHOES // Target, NECKLACE // c/o Avon

Shop Tulle Skirts:

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Holiday Gift Guide: What Moms Want, But Won't Buy For Themselves

Happy Thanksgiving WEEK friends!!!!  Today is the last of my holiday gift guides...and in my opinion, I saved the BEST for last! Sometimes us mommas don't always get what we really want for Christmas.  Sometimes, we have to buy it for ourselves, wrap it, and put it under the tree for a "surprise" come Christmas morning.  It's just the reality, as moms usually are the ones making holiday purchases for everyone I right, ladies?

So in putting together this gift guide for mommas, I polled some of my closest friends asking what was on their wish list this year.  Answers ranged from high end, to low end, to simple gift cards, to vintage collectables.  Really all over the board.  I've included many of their "wish lists" on this gift guide to both help those certain "Santas" doing the gift buying for momma this year, AND to give inspiration that just might spark a different gift idea that will suite her perfectly!

*And mommas, feel free to pass this onto Mr. Santa...I'm sure he'll appreciate it. ;)

{Shop the gift guide by clicking on each image, or use the links below}

// High End //

// MakeUp Palettes //
-NAKED '2' PALETTE // $54

// Plush // 

// Photos //

// Vintage // 

// Gift Card ideas >> Hobby Lobby // Target // Amazon // Spa // Panera // Nails

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