$10 @ Target: Halloween, Pens and A Mousepad, Oh My!

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$10 @ Target: Each month I take the challenge to spend just $10 at Target.  See what I got and join the challenge!
It's been a couple of months since I shared my $10 at Target finds (since we did a giveaway last month), but I am excited to share what I found this month!  When I first started co-hosting this link up, I thought that spending $10 or less at Target was going to be so hard.  But you know what I've found?  That there are tons of great finds at Target (and not just in the Dollar Spot) and you don't have a spend a lot to bring them home.  Don't believe me?  See what I found this month!
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Blueberry Peach Cobbler Cake

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Blueberries and peaches are a winning combination in this cobbler cake where each bite is a burst of flavor.  Try other flavor combinations as well!
The week started out warm enough but today it's been cloudy and windy and rainy.  Fall is shoving its way in which means that's my cue to start wearing hoodies every day and feeling like I can bake more often since my house won't turn into a giant oven. *wink*  Truthfully, it's been a while since I shared a recipe and it's about darn time, wouldn't you say?  I've been keeping this one hidden up my sleeve until this time of year because it uses peaches, which are in season right now, and blueberries, which are delicious in desserts and especially with peaches.  I got this recipe from my sister in law who passed it along to me.  Every time I make it, I am never disappointed in the flavor and texture.  It's sweet without being overbearing and the fruit adds a nice burst with each bite.
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Easy Fall Burlap Sign

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This is a fun and easy DIY burlap sign for fall.  Easy to personalize and make your own!
As I've walked my daughter out to the bus the last couple of mornings, the weather has definitely taken on a cooler edge.  Fall is coming and while I love summer, I'm excited for a new season.  (Not to mention hoodie weather, amiright?)  I've packed away my summer decor and started pulling out all the fun fall decorations that bring a smile to my face.  A couple years ago I spotted a cute framed burlap sign at a local store and considered buying it until I saw the price.  I knew I could make something similar without spending a lot and I'm happy with how it turned out!
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A Letter To My Daughter: Share Your Light

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My sweet girl,

Two weeks ago you started kindergarten.  Somehow, in those two weeks, you've gotten bigger and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I'm torn between being excited for and proud of you as you grow and learn and experience new things, and wanting to turn back time to the days when you still needed my help to pull your shirt over your head or do the zipper on your jacket. 
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5 Ways To Be More Mindful

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With all of the things that occupy my mind day to day, it can be so hard to find the time to step back and be mindful of ourselves.  As a mom and wife, the needs of others are constantly coming first.  A lot of the time I don't mind this, especially since I recognize that my kids literally could not survive without someone to take care of them.  And my husband obviously could survive without me, but serving him by maintaining a clean home and having dinner on the table are ways that I show my love.  But after a long day of demands on my time and energy, I often don't feel like I have a lot left in me for myself.
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$3 Back To School Wreath + $100 Target Gift Card Giveaway

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Easy $3 back to school wreath using dollar store supplies!
One week.  That's how long I have left until my oldest child starts kindergarten.  I'm feeling conflicted between trying to to happy for her and not to think about it, but it's hard NOT to think about it when I'm being reminded by her every. single. day. because she's so excited.  I was one of those kids who actually really loved school (including college) so I'm glad to see her feeling positive about this new part of her life.  And with all the school supplies on sale, I decided to grab a few things and turn them into something fun: a $3 back to school wreath.
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Make Your Own Cards Using Paper Scraps

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Summer is coming to an end but that doesn't mean that you have to put away those bright colors yet!  I love wearing neon pink, yellow, coral and blue all spring and summer long and it makes me a little sad when I have to pack my clothes away for the fall.  (Neon doesn't go well with pale winter skin...)  Even if wearing bright colors isn't your thing, you can still make up some of these fun cards to have on hand when you just want to write a quick note to a friend or to include with a gift.
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How To Convert An Old Crate Into A Bathroom Shelf

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An old crate and a little chalk paint can transform into a fun and functional shelf for your bathroom!
In the six years since we moved into our current home, my design style and preferences have evolved and room by room, I've been making changes: towels, sheets, lampshades, pillows and so on.  Last month when I was at the thrift store picking up a piece to makeover for our Inspire My Creativity challenge, I also found an old crate that was sturdy and big, but it had dowels running through it and it was half painted.  I picked it up for $4 and brought it home with the desire to transform it into a shelf for our main bathroom.  I thought it would be pretty straightforward, but I ran into a few snags on the way.  See how I converted an old crate to a fun and functional bathroom shelf.
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July In Numbers

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July In Numbers | A monthly review using only numbers!
Hello, hello!  It seems like it's been forever since my last post.  I decided to take a couple weeks off from my blog and just hang out with my family but I'm back and I'm excited to share how my July was.  It was one of those months were we did a lot, but most of it was in single digits so no crazy made-up numbers this month. *wink*  Let's take a look!
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30 Minute Shoulder Tie Dress

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Only 1/2 yard of fabric and some ribbon make this cute shoulder tie dress a summertime staple! You can whip this out in about 30 minutes.
Happy Fri-yay!  I've been looking forward to this weekend all week because we've got some fun family activities planned, including a local rodeo.  The rodeo is actually what inspired today's post: a simple girls dress that ties at the shoulders.  This dress took me about an hour but I think I could have done it in about 30 minutes if I hadn't had my little "helpers" with me. *wink*
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$10 at Target: Summer Fun Edition

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$10 at Target: Summer Fun Edition  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month to see what we got for $10 at Target!
Is it just me, or is anyone else in disbelief about how quickly summer seems to be passing by?  School starts next month and with my first child going into kindergarten, I'm not sure that I'm ready for summer to be over.  However, I'm trying to embrace each day as it comes and that includes coming up with fun activities, wearing bright colors and eating lots of popsicles.  I took my daughter with me this last weekend when I went to Target and we found plenty that caught our eye.  I am a co-host for this challenge and it's been fun to see if I can stay right around the $10 limit.  Do you think you could do it?  See what we got below as part of this month's edition of $10 at Target!
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Thrift Store Makeover: Message Board

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Turn a thrift store find into a fun message board makeover!
I walked into the thrift store with a purpose: find a piece I could makeover into something practical for our family.  At any given moment I have 3 or 4 projects in progress, but that doesn't stop me from looking out for future projects, especially when I go to the thrift store. *wink*  I picked up one piece in particular that I thought was kind of ugly, but looked a little closer and found that it had some really great features and I knew what I wanted to do with it: a mini message board.
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How To Make Disneyland Affordable For Your Family

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Going to the happiest place on earth doesn't have to be expensive!  Learn more about a Get Away Today's Layaway Lock-In Program to help you save money and make going to Disneyland a reality for your family!
One of the biggest problems I run into when it comes to planning and booking a vacation is how I'm going to pay for it all upfront and still get the best deal.  How many times have you been browsing deal sites or get an email about a great vacation package only to realize that you have to put down a huge deposit or pay in full in order to lock in the price?  In most cases, this isn't a realistic or affordable option.  If you're anything like me, I like to research the heck out of everything when it comes to planning and booking a vacation, but in the search for the best deal, sometimes I actually miss out on it thinking there might be something better along the way.  BUT, I've got some great news for you and it's called the Layaway Lock-In Program by Get Away Today.  My friend Lexi works there and has offered to share the details on this amazing program.  Read below to find out more!
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June In Numbers

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A fun month in reivew post about what we did in June using only numbers!
Okay, seriously the summer needs to stop going by so quickly!  I thought May went by fast, but June felt even faster.  It was so much fun and I'm excited to see what July brings.  (Besides fireworks, that is.)
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What To Avoid If You Want To Raise A Problem Solver

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3 important behaviors parents should avoid if you want to raise a child who is a creative problem solver.
I was first introduced to Mariah a couple of months ago when I saw her post in a Facebook group about a free webinar she was doing on helping our kids become creative problem solvers.  The idea intrigued me and as I listened to the call I knew I wanted Mariah to come on my blog and share her amazing insights.  She does a great job of sharing real life examples and empowering parents and caregivers to teach their kids that they can be creative problem solvers.  But first, there are some things we really should be avoiding if we want to raise problem solvers.  I'll let her take it from here!
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15 Ways To Play With Glow Sticks

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15 fun and unique ways to play with glow sticks year round!  So many great ideas!
When I think about the things that remind me of summer, I can't help but have glow sticks come to my mind.  What is it about glow sticks that make them so much fun?  Maybe it's that they glow in the dark.  Or it could be that just wearing them makes you smile.  Whatever the case, I really don't think you are ever too old to enjoy them with your family and friends, so today I'm sharing a round up of my favorite glow stick activities!
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Crock Pot BBQ Country Style Ribs

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My family loves these BBQ country style ribs!  They are so easy to throw in the crock pot for my family and work great for larger crowds too!
Using my crock pot in the summer is one of my favorite ways to save time, conserve energy and beat the heat.  A couple of years ago I found a recipe for BBQ crock pot country style ribs and after a couple of tweaks, it quickly made its way into our meal time rotation.  Country style ribs are a great meat alternative to chicken or beef/turkey and they are generally inexpensive and not very fatty so you get more meat for your money.  We've use this recipe for our own family, but it works equally as well when serving larger crowds.
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$10 at Target: Pretty Paper Edition

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$10 at Target: Pretty Paper Edition  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month and see what we got for $10 at Target!
Hello and happy Monday!  I hope you all enjoyed your Father's Day weekend!  Our family went to a local theme park on Saturday and wore the kids out, then spent Sunday relaxing with family.  Just before the weekend got started, I had a chance to visit Target all by myself and it was a lovely hour and a half.  I didn't have anything specific I was looking for, but knew I could only spend $10 for this month's $10 at Target challenge.  I am a co-host for this challenge along with a group of lovely ladies and it's been fun to see how close I can get to spending $10 or less at one of my favorite stores.  Do you think you could do it?  Let me show you what I found this month.
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3 Ways To Raise Happy Kids

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Sometimes I wish my kids came with a manual on how to raise them!  But thankfully these tried and true principles for ways to raise a happy kid are there as a guideline.
Before starting college, I had some ideas about what I'd like to study, but it wasn't until a couple years in that I found what I wanted to commit to: marriage and family studies.  I knew that what I was learning could be applied to both my current and my future relationships, especially my future family.  Growing up, I would say that I was generally a happy kid.  I got along with my parents, I had good friends, did well in school, was involved in extracurricular activities and active in church.  But if you had asked me then how I became that way--happy--I don't know that I would have been able to nail it down.  However, through my coursework, and now through practical application (aka parenting), I've seen three ways parents can raise happy kids: building connections, setting limits and encouraging independence.
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15 Minute Patriotic Wreath

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I love this easy 15 minute patriotic wreath!  I can use it for Memorial Day and the 4th of July.
My husband always groans when I come home with supplies to make a new wreath, but I love how easily they can update a room or brighten our front door.  With Memorial Day just a couple of weeks ago and the 4th of July coming up soon, I decided to pick up a few simple supplies from JoAnn's to make a patriotic wreath that I can use in my decor.  One of my favorite wreath forms to use are grapevine wreaths because the wreath itself is part of the decor and you don't have to do a lot to add a little extra something to it to make it your own.  The best part is that it only took 15 minutes to put together from start to finish!
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Hiking In Pioneer Park In St. George, UT

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Pioneer Park in St. George, UT is the perfect family friendly hiking spot for all ages.
Last summer, my family and I did a big family vacation with my husband's parents and all his siblings and their kids to St. George, Utah.  With kids ranging in age from 17 to 2, finding an activity that everyone would enjoy was a bit of a challenge, but ultimately we decided on hiking.  St. George and the surrounding area is famous for its beautiful and unique red rock formations.  I've visited St. George more times than I can count, but hadn't spent much time hiking the trails found all around the city.  However, we did find an awesome little place called Pioneer Park.  We had so much fun that we visited two days in a row and it was a real hit with everyone in the family.
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May In Numbers

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May in Numbers | A fun monthly review using only numbers!
Whoosh!  Did you hear that?  It was the sound of May rushing past! *wink*  But seriously, I feel like I just wrote last months summary.  A lot of fun things happened in May, but most of them happened in single digits.
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7 Tips for Hiking with Kids

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Hiking with kids doesn't have to be a hard thing if you follow these 7 simple tips!
This last week we went hiking as part of our Memorial Day activities.  We live close to the mountains and there are a lot of canyons and hiking trails to choose from, so we are always finding fun new places to explore.  My kids especially love hiking and it is one of mine and my husband's favorite activities as well so we do a lot of it.  With this being the case, I've learned a few tips along the way that have helped make hiking a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
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Recognizing Joy in the Small Moments

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Would you believe that a journal and a phone app have helped bring so much joy to my life?  It's the small things that make the biggest difference.
My day to day life is pretty ordinary and often consists of fixing food, cleaning up the house, running errands, playing with my kids and other household tasks.  At a glance, it doesn't feel very glamorous and there are days when I can't wait for my husband to get home from work so I can turn the kids over to him while I escape to the bathroom by myself or go for a short walk around the block.  A break from everything I have to manage and be responsible for.  Does anyone else hear themselves in my words?
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7 Creative Father's Day Gift Ideas

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If you're tired of giving the same old gifts for Father's Day, click through to find 7 creative ideas he's sure to love.
Father's Day is coming up in a few weeks and I've had gift ideas on the brain.  While giving my dad or husband a new shirt or tools is nice and useful, sometimes I like to try and be a little more creative and unique.  So I've done some thinking and asking and have put together a list of eight gifts you might not have considered or even known about until this post.  I hope they give you some ideas or at least a jumping off point for a gift for the guys in your life.
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A Letter To My College Self

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If you could go back and give your college self advice, what would you say?  See what I would say and tell me if you agree!
With the end of another school year, I keep seeing high school and college graduation pictures popping up all over my social media and can't help but think about my own time in college.  I graduated in 2010 with a BS in Marriage and Family Studies after changing my major a few times.  It took me six years to graduate rather than four but then again, if it had only taken four, then I wouldn't have met my husband.  Funny how things work out, huh?  So in remembrance of my college years (pre-marriage), I'm sharing with you a letter to my college self.
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Summer 2017 Reading List

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Check out this diverse list of books to reading during the summer (or any time of year)!
If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I regularly post reviews of all types of books: children's, young adult, biography, self-help and the list goes on.  I love reading and I always tend to read more books during the summertime.  Last year, I put together a summer reading list and I loved the challenge of reading new books and discovering new genres and subjects.  With summer coming up so soon, I decided to create a summer 2017 reading list.
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$10 at Target: Gearing Up For Summer

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$10 at Target: Gearing Up for Summer  |  Join us for our monthly link up party on the third Monday of each month and see what we got for $10 at Target!
Hey friends!  Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed Mother's Day.  Today, I'm super excited to share a new series I am co-hosting called $10 at Target.  It is a monthly challenge where you have to try and spend...you guessed it: only $10 at Target.  Now, as we all know, Target is a wonderful lovely place where we go in for one thing and come out with 20 things way more items than we planned. *wink*  So spending $10 or less can be a real challenge!  Are you ready?
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Best Snacks to Pack for Disney Parks

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Disney parks allow you to bring outside food and drink in, but what should you take?  Click here for the ultimate list of snacks to pack for your next Disney trip.
School's getting out soon and that means vacations for a lot of families.  Time to get away from the stresses of life and spend time together creating memories.  Of course, some of the most popular places to vacation are theme parks, such as Disneyland and Disney World.  Everyone wants to know the cheapest place to buy tickets, the best place to stay, which rides to go on first, and the list goes on.  About a year and a half ago, my family went to Disneyland for the first time and it was so fun!  I learned a lot about planning and what I wish I'd known before going and the next time we go, I will be even more prepared!  However, one question that I see asked all the time in groups and on Facebook is "what food can I bring into the park?"
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Mother's Day Dinner Menu 2017

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I've made planning your next Mother's Day dinner easy with this menu of tried and true recipes that you can adapt to feed any size crowd.
Ever since my husband and I got married, we spend at least half of our Sunday evening meals each month at a family member's home.  The family hosting plans the meal and then asks those who are coming to pitch in and bring something to share.  It's been a great way to both save on the cost of food and enjoy time with family.  With Mother's Day coming up, I know many people, including my family, are going to be getting together to celebrate mothers, wives, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and other special women in their life.  This year, my husband and I will be hosting Mother's Day dinner at our house, which means we get to plan the meal. 
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One Pot Taco Pasta

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Quick, easy and delicious!  This one pot taco pasta only takes 30 minutes to make and your family will love it!
One day I was browsing through my saved recipes on Pinterest and found one that looked promising.  It was a one pot dish that only took 30 minutes to make.  If you've been following me for long, you know that those two things are like magic words.  I love cooking, but don't usually have a lot of time to devote to it so the majority of meals I make take about 30 minutes or less to prep and then leave all day in the crock pot or take 30 minutes from prep to table.  This new one pot taco pasta I'm sharing today will have you jumping for joy because it's quick, easy and delicious.  Plus it uses basic ingredients that I always have on hand.
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9 Lessons Learned In 9 Years of Marriage

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9 lessons about love, parenting, marriage and life after 9 years of marriage
9.5 years ago: It was a Monday morning and I was heading into work at my on campus job when I made a quick detour into the bathroom to put on some mascara.  Another girl from a different department was in there doing the same thing and we chatted briefly before she asked me a question that would literally change my life, "Do you ever go on blind dates?"  I was a little taken aback since we'd only been talking for about two minutes, but answered with a "yes" before she explained that she wanted to set me up with her younger brother.  Three days later he called (after much pestering from his sister) and we set up a date for that weekend.  To make a long story short: our first date was a huge success, we started dating exclusively a week later, got engaged two months later and married four months after that.  Today, we are celebrating our nine year wedding anniversary (yay!) and I wanted to share some of the lessons I've learned during our time together.  (Plus you get to see cute pictures of me and my hubby. *wink*)
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April In Numbers

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April in Review (by the numbers)
Happy May!  May has always been one of my favorite months because the weather finally (hopefully) starts becoming a little more consistent and a little warmer, which makes me a much happier person.  It's also the month my husband and I got married, so I'm a little biased. *wink*  But before we can get into May, I want to share my April month in numbers with you.
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DIY Laundry Room Sign

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Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign
The summer after my husband and I got married, we drove out to Buffalo, NY, where he sold security systems.  Towards the end of the summer, his office got moved to Philadelphia, PA.  Thankfully, there were many wives who were out with their husbands so we became good friends and did some sightseeing here and there.  While in Philadelphia, we decided to drive out to a little amish town and do some exploring.  In one of the little shops we visited, I found a laundry room sign.  This sign has been with us for almost 9 years and when I first bought it, I thought it was the cutest thing, but as I've grown into my own personal style of decorating, I found that it just wasn't working anymore.  So I decided to do a little DIY laundry room sign makeover and share this easy tutorial with you!
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5 Reasons I Didn't Say Anything About My Miscarriage

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Why I didn't tell anyone about my miscarriages for so long and how you can help those who have had one feel love and support.
A few months ago, I wrote about my experience with miscarriage.  It was a hard post to write, as I felt like I was reliving each one of my three miscarriages all over again.  I cried.  I was mad.  I doubted.  I felt hope.  And then, healing begin to happen.  I received text messages, phone calls, messages on Facebook, comments on my post and notes from both friends and people I've never actually met in real life.  It was truly amazing how sharing something so personal and vulnerable made me feel so much love.  Since my most recent miscarriage in January of this year, I've talked to a lot of women about it.  Some expressed their sympathy but couldn't relate having never gone through it.  Others opened up to me about their own experience.  We've hugged, cried and bonded over our losses.  And almost everyone I talked to about it asked me the same question: Why didn't you say something?
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Parenting Lessons From Moana's Mother

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Moana's mother teaches important lessons on how to love, teach and let our children grow
If you have kids, you've probably watched the movie Moana, seen clips or heard the music.  I took my daughter to see it in the theaters not long after it came out and I loved it.  We've watched it a few times since then and it's a movie that we can all enjoy together as a family.  Soon after the movie came out, I started seeing different people post about their favorite scenes or lessons from the movie.  And each one I read never mentioned the one thing that struck me most as a parent: Moana's mom.
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Why You Should Start A Joy Journal

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Why should you start a joy journal?  Joy and gratitude are connected and our focus on one will always bring the other.
Lately, I've been feeling like I'm caught in a rut.  The day to day routine of life has been getting to me.  My kids have been driving me up the wall and I find myself annoyed by my own voice some days.  By the time my husband comes home, all I want to do is push the kids towards him and lock myself in a room.  Little things the kids do that might have been funny if I were in a better mood just come across as irritating.  I haven't liked the grumpy person that's been taking over my life and I came to the realization the other day that I needed to do something to stop the cycle.  No one else was going to be able to change my attitude.
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8 Colorful Hands On Activities for Kids

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Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!
If your kids are anything like mine, they are very hands-on.  They love to do whatever I'm doing, whether it's gardening, baking, crafting, building, etc.  This is why I try to come up with activities that they can do most, or all of it, by themselves.  It's exciting for them to create something and it builds autonomy which is an important skill as they get older and need to figure out problems for themselves.  Over the last couple of years since my kids were old enough to appreciate and enjoy it, I've done a handful of really fun and colorful activities.  These are tried and true and my kids ask to do them over and over again.
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Font Friday: 10 {Free} Spring Fonts

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Font Friday: Spring and Easter fonts (all free!)
Happy Friday!  I hope the end of the week finds you well and ready for Easter weekend.  I always look forward to spring and Easter and what it represents to me.  Easter is easily one of my favorite holidays and having kids to celebrate it with makes it even more special.  And springtime is always a wonderful time of year, even if the weather is a bit fickle.  At least there's no snow, right? *wink*
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Planning a Day at Disney's Hollywood Studios

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Tips for planning a great day at Disney Hollywood Studios (plus the top 5 best attractions)
When my husband and I were planning our trip to Orlando, almost everyone we talked to asked us the same question, "Which park are you going to?"  I would have loved to hit up all of them, but time didn't allow for that so we had to choose just one park.  If you didn't know the title of this post, you might guess that we went to Magic Kingdom or Universal Studios. *wink*  But instead, we chose Disney's Hollywood Studios.
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DIY Disney Shirt: Dinglehopper Hair, Don't Care

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Make this DIY mermaid shirt for your next trip to Disney or for the Disney lover in your life!
One of my favorite parts of going to any Disney park is wearing Disney themed clothing.  It makes me feel like I am part of Disney in some small way and it's just a lot of fun.  When I was planning my trip to Orlando and I found out that a friend of mine and her family were going to be able to come down at the same time as us, the wheels in my brain started spinning.  I knew I wanted to make some kind of a t-shirt for the two of us so we could match.  (Yes, we're those people.)  I started browsing ideas online of cute Disney quotes, made a list and sent it over to her to see what she thought.  We both picked the same two as our favorites and so I got started planning the designs.
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What I'm Reading: 3 Books in 3 Weeks

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What I'm Reading: 3 books in 3 weeks
I've always been a reader.  According to my mom, I learned to read before I went into kindergarten and before that I was memorizing books so I could read them to myself.  In 7th grade, I was reading at a 12th grade level.  But it wasn't until I hit my junior and senior year of high school when I really started getting interested in books other than fantasy (like Harry Potter) or sweet and clean romance novels.  When I was in high school, I took an AP Literature and Composition class, which introduced me to different genres and I found that I actually liked a lot of them.  Since then, I've branched out and read YA fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, classic literature, sci-fi, distopic and others.  My brain gets bored if I read too much of any one genre so I try to pick up a variety of books when I stop by the library.  In the last three weeks, I've read three different books and all were about different topics.
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March In Numbers: Orlando Edition

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March In Numbers: Orlando Edition
The month of March was full of anticipation for our trip to Orlando.  It felt like it took forever until it was time to leave and then the entire vacation went by way too fast!  But that's pretty normal I think.  Last month I participated in a February In Numbers post and shared my month that way.  I had so much fun with that I decided to do the same thing for March, but kept it specific to our Orlando trip.  So here's March In Numbers: Orlando Edition.
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Character Dining at the Garden Grove Restaurant

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Experience the magic of Disney by going to a character dining restaurant at the Garden Grove restaurant at the WDW Swan and Dolphin Resort in FL.
I have been a Disney fan for as long as I can remember.  I have so many happy memories of watching Disney movies with my sisters, my first trip to Disneyland as a kid and our first trip as a family to Disneyland with our own kids.  One thing I remember clearly from my first trip to Disneyland was standing in line to get the autographs and pictures of the different characters all over the park.  My sisters and I loved this almost as much as the rides because it made the experience so much more real to us.  So when we were booking our trip to Orlando at the Swan and Dolphin Resort and I found out they had a character dining experience, I knew I wanted to go.
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My Stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

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An overview of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Buena Vista, FL
A little less than two months ago, my husband sent me a message that he'd been invited to go to a training event in Orlando.  Jokingly I replied, "Can I come?"  His response: "I can ask."  As it turned out, I could come and the minute I heard 'yes', I was searching online for the best flights, calling family members to ask if they could watch our kids and dreaming of sunny Florida.  (I'm a planner, remember?)  Midway through the day I asked my husband if he knew the name of the hotel they were putting everyone up at: "Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort".  Um, what?!  That's right my friends.  We were going to be staying at a WDW hotel and I was doing a happy dance in my living room.
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Mommy Style Monday: Favorite Things Box (Spring Edition)

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These are a few of my favorite (Spring) things!  See what I received in a surprise Springtime box!
As of last Monday, Spring has officially sprung!  I always look forward to this time of year.  I am definitely not a cold weather person and the minute it's warm enough for me to sit outside without a jacket, I am throwing open windows and letting the fresh air in.  We just got our garden boxes ready to plant some vegetables and I love the smell of dirt and the joy that comes from planting, growing and eating that food.  My kids get so excited when we start seeing "popcorn trees" (ie. white flowering trees) blooming all over the neighborhood and the life springing up all around makes me smile.
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{Free} Printable Packing List

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Print out a copy for each member in your family to help everyone get packed up for your next trip!
A couple of weeks ago, I shared that I would be going to Orlando this month for a much needed vacation with my husband.  This will be the first vacation he and I have taken together that is more than an overnight since our first child was born over 5 years ago.  As you can imagine, we're pretty dang excited!  My goal at the beginning of this week is to get all packed up and ready to go.  I am a list maker and so it should be no surprise that I have made a packing list for myself to make sure that I don't forget anything I need to take with me.  Some people have the attitude that if they forget something, they can just pick it up wherever they are going.  If that is you, then awesome!  But I am totally a planner and that kind of stresses me out.  So, lists.
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Book Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows {Plus Book Club Discussion/Questions}

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Book Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (Plus Book Club Discussion/Questions) 
If you've been around my blog for long, you'll notice that most of the books I do reviews on are young adult fiction.  Most recently, I finished The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (who also happens to be a co-author of one of my favorite books, My Lady Jane--read the review HERE.)  Books have always been one of my favorite ways to escape from the world.  My husband often teases me that when I'm reading a book that I can literally shut everything else out and not be aware of what's going on around me.  I love a book that pulls you into its world and makes you feel like the characters are real people, leaving you wondering what happened to them after the book ends.  I love finding a book that I want to read over and over again, until the book is smudged with fingerprints and can't stay all the way closed because the spine is so broken in.  These are the things I look for in a book.
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Rainbow String Art Tutorial

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Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!
When it comes to crafting, I like to try everything.  I have an entire craft room full of all sorts of supplies for everything from vinyl, embroidery, scrapbooking, acrylic paints, a million brads, felt, adhesives...phew!  And that's not even close to everything.  Something I've been wanting to try my hand at is string art.  I've seen it all over and there are so many shops that sell it.  My friend Sarah over at Making Joy and Pretty Things recently did a cute string art heart for her daughter's nursery.  I commented on her post and told her I'd been wanting to try it out myself and she suggested I do one for St. Patrick's Day.  So I did.  *wink*
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St. Patrick's Day Books for Kids (Ages: 3-10)

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15+ books for kids ages 3-10 about leprechauns, St. Patrick's Day and being lucky.
One year when I was about 9 or 10, I decided not to wear any green on St. Patrick's Day.  The truth is, my eyes are green and I wanted to play a trick on my friends so that when they pinched me for not wearing green, I could turn around and pinch them back 10 times.  (That's the rule, isn't it?)  I remember other years trying to be sneaky about where I placed my item of green: underwear, socks, a hair elastic, a bracelet or earrings.  Now that I'm older, I still think it's fun to celebrate this tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick's Day and my kids have loved it the last couple of years as well now that they are old enough to correlate green with the holiday.  And ever since having kids, I try to find a book or two that goes along with the holiday that we're celebrating, including the one about leprechauns and pots of gold.
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