Time Well Spent

My blogging and work days usually get done with children in my arms. Sending proposals and contracts to clients, working on my book events and sharing daily life updates online all happen in between screams of “He hit me!” and cold sips of coffee. I often joke that I do my best work in the midst of chaos, but let’s be real… If I have the opportunity not to be distracted by crying kids and every day crazy for a few hours, I’ll take it! So today, when my mom came over for her weekly fun SheShe time with the kids, I was determined to head to my favorite coffee shop to get some work done in peace. We’ve been in a very busy season and my blogs have fallen by the wayside of life. Now, with this gift of a slow-moving morning, I made only one big goal; BLOG.

I ordered a Cinnamon Almond Milk Latte, and snagged my favorite corner seat. I pulled out my laptop, plugged in my headphones and excitedly logged in to my website to bust out what was sure to be an amazing blog. But literally nothing came out! My brain felt like there was a giant ‘closed for road work’ sign hanging in it. I sat there for 2 hours typing and deleting over and over. Nothing felt right and it seemed like after everything, I was only left with multiple unfinished blogs. I was feeling frustrated with myself. I looked at the clock and saw my alone time slipping away. My big goal I had for this time was suffocating me. It felt like the harder I tried to push for inspiration, the harder on myself I became.

Now, I don’t know about you all, but this whole, “ feeling down on myself” business is not my jam. I’ve spent so much of my childhood feeling less than for my shortcomings and issues in school and I’m not about to live my adult life that way, too. So, I removed myself from that head space.

I chugged the last bit of my cold Cinnamon Almond Milk Latte (catch the irony there?), and I stood up from my favorite corner seat, unplugged my headphones, logged out of my website with the multiple half-written blogs staring at me, and drove myself to Target!

I spent the next hour and a half walking up and down every aisle, grabbing a new mug and some greenery for our breakfast table, picking out new shoes in peace and snagging some adorable on-sale items for the kiddos. But more importantly than the few items I ended up checking out with, I left with a new feeling and an idea of what I could share with you all today.

It’s okay when things don’t go as planned. Goals can be adjusted. What started out as a need to accomplish, turned into a goal of taking time for myself and remembering it’s okay to step away.

And as my husband pointed out to me, if the only thing I got out of my desired productive alone time was a long trip Target by myself, that’s time well spent!

Raised on Life Quotes & love

My mom would say, “Chelsea, what’s integrity?” and I would roll my eyes and reply, “Integrity is what you do when you think no one is watching.” My mom said this to me daily. Before every party I would leave for, before most days at school, and always when she thought I was up to something… (and I usually was)

I was raised on love and life quotes. Gems like, “It’s okay to be sad today, but tomorrow, you’ve got to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and keep going.” and one that was always most important in our home, “We stand united.”

Through these (and many other) life quotes and all the love I was raised on, I stand as an adult today knowing a few important things; 1. That integrity matters. Always. Not only in the ways I act when no one is watching, but how I speak to- and- of others. 2. That it’s okay to be sad and experience ALL the feelings, but to always remember, life is bigger than that moment and so am I. And most importantly, 3. I understand and believe with my whole-heart, that my family is an unbreakable unit filled with chaos and crazy but it’s the realest love there is.

Now that i’m raising children (specifically a daughter) of my very own, I’ve started to reflect a lot on the life lessons I was taught and how they’ve shaped me. Values so precious that it almost feels like a burden to teach them. It’s scary to think I could completely miss the mark and do this whole thing wrong. Now, I do not stress on most things when it comes to my kids. but I have to be honest and say, It’s been daunting to consider that I could say these -Now appreciated- “mom phrases” wrong or that they’ll never sink in. I don’t want to think of a world in which, I wasn’t taught these lessons… Or to even be grateful or brave or to stand up for others.

I sit and I stress. The room starts to spin. Where’s Sam with my paper bag?!

Will my kids know these things? Will they hear me and believe me?

SIDE NOTE- Shout-out to all you moms of teens and preteens. I have toddlers and this is already a thing I worry about.

Then it hits me.

Although all the life quotes were spoken to me daily… What made the lessons stick, was seeing them in action. Each day, watching as my parents were always honest, hard working (the hardest working) watching as each action they proceeded with, was draped in integrity (even when they thought we weren’t looking) , fiercely loving those around them and without ceasing, always fighting for us.

Raising kids is not easy. Little eyes watching your every move and the fear they may not carry on the important lessons you work so hard to teach them is scary. I know I sure-as-heck don’t have half the answers on it… in fact, being a mom has made me call my own mom almost daily to apologize for something I probably or definitely did when I was growing up! But, one thing I feel pretty certain of, is if you just do your best to insert the lessons, life quotes and actions of the people that came before you, everything just may work out. I’m so thankful for the example that was set in my life and continues each day.

My parents believe in the importance of a legacy. The way we think of who they are and what we’ve learned. I know, and will never question, that their legacy is and will always be one of life quotes, love and ACTIONS.

Anyone Have an Umbrella?

Vivian Greene once said; “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

This is a beautiful statement filled with hope and truth; one that we can proudly add to a stock image of a cloudy day to share with our friends on Instagram. And I mean no offense by this. Truly. I fully endorse this message and I am no stranger to posting a vague and (hopefully) inspirational social media post myself!

But let’s keep it real. (I mean, that is what we’re here to do anyways) it can be hard to “dance in the rain” sometimes or to find all joy in the storm and to not long for your idea of that ‘sunny day’ even just a little bit.

Let’s say it together… Waiting. Is. Hard!

The truth is, The Untidy Tribe is in a big season of waiting. Checking our emails 10 (okay 30) times a day. Holding our breath when the phone rings and a number pops up that we don’t recognize. Daily walking past a bedroom, set up with bunk beds and dressers, waiting to be decked out in the coolest styles and finally… waiting to hear if we’ve been chosen.

Please do not confuse our heart’s longing to grow our family as us being unsatisfied with the life and babies we’re already so blessed to have. I know that some of you may not believe I even needed to preface with that statement, but I want to leave no room for question or call-out. I want to tell you, and I want you to hear me… (Honestly, I need to hear me too.) You are allowed to find joy in what you have - or even in what some would call the “storm”- but still have hurt in your heart for what your’e longing for.

We are four months out from the one-year mark of when we started our adoption journey. Jumping through all the hoops lit on fire, while balancing on one foot, rubbing our tummies and patting our heads at the same time…with gusto, I might add.

I’m not sure if we misunderstood in the beginning, or maybe we were wearing those noise-canceling headphones we got for Christmas…. but, man. We did not expect or realize the waiting would be so hard and at times, quite heart-breaking. I mean, how could we know? It’s like any new experience. You don’t know what you don’t know, and you really don’t know until you’ve lived it. Try saying that five times fast!

Waiting. Has. Been. Hard.

I wish I had some happy wrap-it-all-up-in-a-nice-red-ribbon type of end for my rant… like; well, our waiting is finally over, Y’all.

But at this moment, the truth is we’re still waiting. And that’s okay. We would do it again and again. At this time you’re probably thinking “This girl’s crazy. She just took an entire page to type up her waiting-woes all to say she would do it again?!”

First of all, you’re right, I am crazy. But second, I wouldn’t do it all again because I have found some magical desire to dance in this rain-of-a-process. But we would do it again because I can look back at our lives. All the many storms. The unsurety and.. All. The. Waiting. All of those moments brought us here, humbly and better for it. Not to mention (and I think you can all level with me here) we would do anything for our kids.

So for now, we will continue to wait out the storm, excited for sunnier days that are sure to be sprinkled in with some new type of storm we’ll need to pack an umbrella for, because, life and people aren’t perfect.

We have faith the right kids are waiting for us. Lord knows we are waiting for them right back.

Thankful

I feel so often throughout the year, It’s easy to lose sight of that thankfulness that we find and spread during the holiday season. Maybe we spend more time than we’d like to admit worrying about things that aren’t important or maybe overshadow the good in our lives. Now, I don’t do this because I’m not thankful for my husband, career, kids and life but because, sometimes, when I go through the day to day it’s easy to get swept up in the wants, schedules or the daily chaos of our Untidy Tribe.

But then, there are moments like today. Moments brought on by little activities that don’t seem like a big deal and yet bring so much clarity to the thought that I’m too busy to stop and be thankful.

You guys know I LOVE, taking time to color, paint, play & pretend with my kids, but I’m super honest about the fact that I’m not much of a “crafter mom”.

HOWEVER, with a week off of school and chilly weather outside, I knew I needed to bite the proverbial glue stick bullet and stockpile up on some crafts… Or at the very least enough DIYs to be able to say we took a little break here and there from watching movies all day…

So, last week I set out on a craft mission! On which, we found a DIY Thankful wreath. The instructions stated this craft required no glue, scissors and brought on minimal mess. Hot dog! That’s my kind of activity.

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This DIY Thankful Wreath came with a wooden circle, paper leaves and a paper banner. Sage & I started talking about what we’re thankful for, writing each thing out, peeling off the stickers on the back of each leaf and setting them on the wooden circle.

I asked, what are you thankful for, Sagey? “Um… SheShe, Popo?” She asked as if she wasn’t sure if that’s the answer I was looking for… I respond big and proud “Yes! What else are you thankful for?” I listened as she shouted out all the things she’s she loves, big and small. Just a few of them were, “Pizza, Elsa & Ana, outside, Cheese, babies, movies, Daddy’s face (which is a favorite of mine too), Target, music, my piano & oranges!” I asked her if she’s thankful for Titus. She continued, “Yes! Titus, and Mabel, and Carly and Camy & Kiki!”

-Oh, how I love this girl!-

I was all about this activity for a few reasons;

  1. It gives me a little insight into my daughters beautiful & busy two-year-old mind.

  2. Even though I was the one actually writing down the things she was thankful for, we still did this activity together, as she was able to have her own pile of leaves that she could “write” on with me.

  3. It made me slow down & consider what I was thankful for.

  4. It was a great way to start the “thankful” conversation. She may not fully understand what it means to be thankful yet. But, activities like this start to open the door for it.

  5. Maybe most importantly… It was easy! It was an effortless & fairly easy activity that we had fun doing together.

We had so much fun doing this craft. We would love to give one away! Visit our Facebook page The Untidy Tribe for details!



Pumpkin Carving with Toddlers; Expectations VS. Realities

Growing up, my mom always did her very best to make holidays and celebrations a big deal! I remember she was always on theme and could be counted on for any fun idea to help us celebrate. Now that I'm adult and have children of my own, I want to do all of the same fun things for them.

Looking back, I appreciate all that she did even more, because I’ve come to realize she did it all, despite her children…being children.

I'm sure we've all been there in some form or another. The place where unmet expectations can be a real bummer. Even when the expectations have the best of intentions.

A prime example of this came to us last night. With all that being said, I present to you a well-meant list of expectations I had about carving pumpkins with my toddlers;

1. We would pick out the perfect pumpkin/carving kit
2. We would watch The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown while we carved
3. We would draw on the cutest face for said perfect pumpkin
4. The kids would pull out the seeds and guts without making a mess
5 The kids would then sit and watch Charlie brown while my husband  and I finished carving the cute pumpkin face 
6. Finally we would all smile for an Instagram worthy picture with our perfect pumpkin with the cutest face.

Let's all take a moment and laugh together.

In reality however, I had an incredibly full plate for the week leading up to Halloween-Eve and completely forgot about pumpkin carving until the day of. So, I loaded up the kids and went to HEB where we picked out the best of the leftover pumpkins and truthfully, for being the day before Halloween I think we got a pretty good one.  Sure, it didn't stand up straight and it had a few soft spots… But it was also very tall and pretty heavy. It also had a great flat side for carving! Which is pretty important when picking out a good Halloween Pumpkin.

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So, there I was with 2 kids, 1 giant pumpkin and a basket full of topo Chico, wine, and pasta for dinner, headed to the check out when it hit me that I forgot are carving tools. I proceeded to the Halloween section and much to my dismay, they were completely out of the tools! Not really sure how that's possible.. But it's the risk you take when waiting until the day before Halloween. I decided to improvise and just make use of what we had at home.

Later that night I laid paper towels on the floor and set the pumpkin on top. The moment I walked away, my 13 month old son came over and rips the paper towels to shreds. Now, I will take ownership of this moment, that was a total rookie mistake on my part.

I begin to clean up the paper towels trying to  rearrange them underneath the pumpkin, when my husband proceeds to tell me we forgot to get The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.  I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty bummed, but we decide to go ahead and begin drawing out our pumpkin anyways.  During this process, there were time outs, the ‘don't touch that’s’ and the ‘Oh buddy, please don't lean on the pumpkin while daddy's cutting’ moments, But through it all I was able to find the fun.

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A little bit later, I was able to get The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown on my phone and before we knew it was time for the kids to pull out the pumpkin seeds. We all sat on the floor while the kids pulled out the guts of our Pumpkin.

By the end of it, we were surrounded by torn up paper towels and pumpkin pieces EVERYWHERE...It was a mess.

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Sage decided to name the pumpkin Susan and was adorably sad when she realized Susan had to ‘sleep’ outside and not in bed with her.

-Man, that girl is the sweetest-


Despite the fact that we didn't have the right tools, so, the nose and eyes of our pumpkin looked wonky and we accidentally cut off a tooth on one side, our floors were a mess, and the kids didn’t act exactly as planned.

Once we remembered to embrace life’s chaos and let go of expectations, it became a lot more fun, with or without that perfect picture at the end of the night. And despite all the chaos, our night and our Pumpkin turned out pretty great


















Leading Ladies: Tracy Dunn

I'm happy to present Interview 4 in a series of interviews entitled: Leading Ladies. Through this, I will have the opportunity to get to know and share the stories of strong & inspiring women. Women who are building dreams and families all while crushing goals and -sometimes- without even realizing it, inspiring those around them. I am so excited to be able to share their stories with you all. I can only pray that I do this with all of the honor their testimonies deserve.  NOW, with all that being said...

Recently, I had to privilege of sitting down via video chat with Tracy Dunn. Tracy is a wife, mama of three - NO JOKE- AMAZING kids, home-schooling boss extraordinaire and 1/4 of the awesome team who supports and owns Brooks Creek Ranch in Fernie, Canada. As you all know, I only get to share a piece of her story here. So, if you ever have to chance to visit Brooks Creek Ranch, I would definitely recommend hearing her full story for yourself.

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Tell me about your family. “Well, there wasn’t a lot of me on my own. My husband, Kevin, and I actually met in high school, living in Calgary. We had a mutual group of friends, which Kevin loves to tell because I was dating a friend of his, which is why we were IN the mutual group of friends to begin with.” She laughed and continued. “So, basically at the end of our graduating year {in 1995,} the guy and I broke up and not long after, Kevin started asking to see me. I was totally clueless! I mean, we have always hung out as friends. One evening after we graduated he called me to see if I wanted to go to a movie, and I said ‘ well, who’s all going?’ and he said…. ‘well, just me.’ So, later on he came and picked me up and we went to A&W {restaurant} then watched a movie. As the night went on there were a few red flags where I started to finally realize it was an actual date. I felt bad when I realized this because I spent a lot of time complaining about how I wanted to get back together with the other guy I was dating… but he spent a lot of time telling me why I did not want that!”

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She laughed and continued, “We weren’t dating long at the time, when one night he was driving me home and said ‘IF we get married- No, actually WHEN we get married…’ and I said ‘whoa, whoa, whoa! When?’ We were young, and I was surprised on the one hand, but at the same time, I didn’t want to turn and run. He proposed my senior year of University and we ended up getting married right after I graduated in 1999. We had our five year plan then, we had our son, Liam, in July 2004. Caleb, 2006; and Olivia in 2008.”

What did you study in college? How did it help to shape your future? {University and college are different in Canada} Tracy replied, “Education.” Tracy laughed, “Education was actually the last thing I wanted to do! I actually remember saying I didn’t want to be a teacher! Not that anyone told me I should be a teacher, except maybe God’s Spirit speaking to me and I was like... ‘NOOO!’ I went to a small private school and my parents where very involved and on the board so I knew a lot about the going’s on of school and I remember we would drive past the school sometimes and I would see lights on at night and I thought, I don’t wanna be a teacher… You never leave your job!” Tracy continued. “I just kept resisting that. So, I went into University straight after high school and I went into the Faculty of Fine Arts. I was taking all art classes but I didn’t know what I was gonna do with that. But the way the program was set up was that you had to take something out of your faculty and It just so happend that an education course fit my schedule, so I thought maybe I could teach art. Then after my first year in the education course, I loved it and the following year I switched my faculty and ended up with my Bachelor of Education.

Looking back, I see that it was wired into me. Thinking back to when I was a kid, I was always explaining things, always doing teacher-y type things like making crossword puzzles and games for my friends. It was natural. I couldn’t not do that.”

So, during Kevin’s and my first year of marriage I actually had my first teaching job as a substitute and towards the end of that first year I was offered a temporary teaching position. Over that time I taught everything from kindergarten to grade 10. Then the following year, I was working part time as a teacher’s aide. Then I taught as a full-time teacher the following year of grade 2 before we had our first son, Liam.

Was home-schooling always the goal? Honestly, home-schooling wasn’t always in my mind, especially as a teacher, I knew there was a place for home-schooling, but I didn’t think it would ever be something our family would do. When we lived in Calgary at the time our son, Liam, attended a Private Christian school for kindergarten and grade 1, then we moved to Sugar Land and we put our kids in a traditional full-time Christian School. It wasn’t a very good fit. It was a little bit of a culture shock in the school system. We were not used to the large amounts of homework and the competitiveness at such a young age. Then we switched to Logos School where I got to experience the part-time-at-home side of things. And oh my goodness, it was a nightmare sometimes, but I thought, at least we can fight all day if we needed to, then we'd be done and have family time instead of homework and no time for each other in the evenings. We really enjoyed the balance.”

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So what brought you to the decisions home-schooling full time? “When it was time to move back to Canada, we had to make a decision between full-time school or full-time home-school, there was no in between. I was very nervous because I really like my time alone. I’m much more of an introvert. So, to switch to full time- home-school it means I wouldn’t be alone or have time to get things done that I would in that alone time. But, once we started looking at what we wanted to do with our business and where we were going to be living with the remoteness and how we would live in a ski town, so there is obviously a lot of snow and we would have to plow through an unpaved road/snow and drive more than 3o minutes to get out to school in the morning; then they’re at school all day, and thinking about our business as best we could we considered how busy we would be on the weekends and evenings… I knew I couldn’t run a family that way.” Tracy went on to explain that even though she knew that full-time public schooling wasn’t the best option for her family. She was nervous at the idea of home-schooling full time. “I was terrified. And this may sound funny since I actually was a teacher and taught literacy… But the idea of teaching someone to read terrified me! In our other programs all I had to do was know what the teacher was teaching and emphasize, reiterate, and find a new way to explain it.” She laughed “ It was by God’s grace that all my kids could already read by the time we started homeschooling!”

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The road to Fernie - Did you guys always want to open a Bed & Breakfast? How is it going for you all? Tracy said, “ In a sort of far-off type of way. Over the years we had visited many bed & breakfast places and Kevin would say ‘we should own a Bed & Breakfast one day.’ I initially thought of it as a far-off- retirement-type-thing. But Kevin had this vision that was planted in him. And for a while it was put in the back, we went on to careers and family, doing what we were doing. We moved to Texas in 2011 for Kevin’s job. But after a few years Kevin parted ways with the company he was in and we had to think about what we wanted to do next. In 2013, we partnered with our very good friends, Joy and Stacy, and bought the land for the Bed & Breakfast. Originally, we thought we would be breaking ground that Spring. We really learned just how much we didn’t know. It felt like we hit road block after road block for a while. But eventually we were able to get the Bed & Breakfast built and up and running. We had a soft opening in June and July by having some friends and family come up first. Then, we were officially open August 1, 2018.” Tracy went on to share the first morning hosting at Brooks Creek Ranch. “The first morning, Joy, Kevin, and I were all in the kitchen and it took us two hours to get breakfast out! Since then, we’ve gotten it figured out pretty well. It feels like there is always something to do around here. There have definitely been a few learning curves and some bumps in the road, but we’re working on it and it’s continuously becoming smoother. Stacy handles the property maintenance and his wife, Joy, comes up and cooks breakfast for the guests with Kevin. When you live, work, and do school in the same area, it takes a lot of communication and teamwork from everyone to keep us all in a good place. The business itself is doing very well- we’ve even had some return guests already!”

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“During the Summer, I was a lot more involved in the business and I help where it’s needed, but my main role each day is to home-school the kids. I’ve been blessed with a pretty great school room! It’s like a mini-school where we live!”

When you do have free time, how do you like to spend it? “Um, I like to read. Reading is one of the things I’m trying to get back in my life more. We went camping this Summer and I basically read as much as I could! You know, I don’t really like cold weather! She laughs. “I always say God gave me a few years of eternal Summer to store up during the cold. But even in the cold on the mornings where I just go walk the dog, I’m alone, and that half-hour walk may not be something I would do if I didn’t have to walk the dog. But I know I need it. It’s good for me to do that. I would also like to take more time to be creative.”

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I know you, your husband and your partners are growing something really awesome with Brooks Creek Ranch, all while you are spending your days running the home-school full time for your kids. How do you balance family and work when they are both full-time jobs? “You’re right. You’re always at work. Kevin is very passionate about the business and business development and it’s hard to shut that off. Honestly, having our business partners is a huge key. We often talk about that among the four of us. We all have different skill sets, talents and perspectives. We all help to keep accountability in stepping away from the business side of things, both with running the Bed & Breakfast and with home-schooling. It’s tough when it feels like all your communication is about work. We have to be very intentional to have different conversations.”

What do you attribute to your success with your family, and your phenomenal kids, your home-schooling and your family business? “Well, as far as parenting, I have always been really focused on training my kids. I never expected that they would just naturally fall into place and turn out fine. I’m not the closest with my siblings and I wanted something different than that for my kids. I’ve always told them I’ve always wanted their relationship and bond to be strong. They will always have each other. I wanted to teach them the importance of how to treat each other and how to communicate and that all of that is the basis of how you treat, interact with, and respect other people. As far as the business success, there are a number of things, but over all, I would say our teamwork. The four of us together and the skills and balance we all bring. It’s a relationship God has really blessed us with.”

What do you love most about home-schooling and where you get to live while you do it? “As far as teaching specifically, I love when I see my kids get excited about something and grow and develop and watching them discover. I love that where we are living in Fernie, we’re giving our kids a different picture of life than every day society; where family is close and we work together to get things done and we get to enjoy the beauty of where we live physically.

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What is something you would say to someone who is afraid to take a leap outside of their comfort zone to follow what they feel called to do? “There is a quote that helped me to feel like everything was going to be okay. ‘God will not call you to something that he has not equipped you for’ -Joyce Meyer said it, and I know not everybody likes her but I loved the quote. But it was during the time when we were going back and forth on the public vs. home-schooling and it really helped me to make my decision even though I had some nervousness. It doesn’t mean it’s always easy.”

Do you have any goals for the year? “I’m terrible at goals, especially when you consider a goal takes measurable steps. But I do desire to read more and to invest in relationships more. At this moment those are desires and I’m in the process of figuring out how to make it happen, because I realize these are things I can do to help take care of me and to not get burned out.”

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Who inspires you? The very first person that always comes to mind is our business partner and my very good friend, Joy. She inspires me in all the years. It’s one of those things where in so many ways our personalities are so different and I love that. She has also always inspired me to be intentional- especially in my spiritual life- not by saying what to do but because she just lives it. Aside from that, I feel like I’ve gotten pieces of inspiration from all my relationships. My mom and my mother-in-law have inspired me in my marriage. When so many people are calling it quits, I see how they are staying strong through the ups-and-downs.”


Tracy is a woman that strives to follow what God calls her to do, even when it’s outside of her comfort zone or she is unsure of the outcome. She is a devoted wife and mother who supports her husband’s dreams and spends her days investing in her children and their futures. Over the years, I have had the privilege to see first hand the amount of love and hard work she puts into all aspects of her life and I have been continuously inspired! Tracy Dunn is a fantastic example of a Leading Lady just by living her day-to-day life, which I intend to learn from and aspire to!

A French Bakery Moment

Can we just talk about the little things for a second? The little things that matter quite a lot. The little things that bring back great memories and make you think of simpler days in the midst of your chaos.

More specifically a little thing like a Thursday morning spent in a french Bakery (sans-babies) eating an AMAZING croissant, sipping a hot cappuccino slowly, and since I love a good theme, also listening to French Bistro music on headphones. Let’s face it, I’m so deep in this moment that if I close my eyes and stop typing, I would be transported back to the beautiful streets of Paris where Sam and I didn’t have a care in the world. We would walk from morning until night, only stopping to eat and drink the day away. (Oh man! Take me back!)

That’s the level of relaxed I am currently. #Winning

In recent blog posts, I have written about moving, adopting, running my businesses and the crazy days with our babies. There is always something to do and if I’m being honest, my blog’s tagline of “ I’m just trying to do the best I can, one cup of coffee & crazy day at a time!” is more than just a catchy and relatable joke that we can all bond over... It’s a proclamation!

There are some days (probably more days than I care to admit, sometimes) where my goal is to simply survive. The days where I count the minutes until my knight in shinning armor will bust through the door and rescue me from the fiery keep of the dragon that is my day! Can I get an Amen?

We have all experienced life’s unexpected changes and challenges. Everything from the little annoyances, to the big stuff and hard days that are going to happen. In fact, you may be in the thick of one now! Maybe it’s not your shiniest week, month, or even year.

A day or even a stolen moment of peace can change your outlook and recharge you. Speaking as someone who has felt stuck in the thick of life’s chaos myself, I encourage you all to find your “sitting in a French Bakery moment” this week in whatever way that looks like for you.

Now let’s be real, that moment of peace may not solve all of your to-do’s and the to-don’t-want-to’s, you have on your plate, but maybe, JUST MAYBE, it will change your perspective.

A Party for Poppy One Year Anniversary

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the release of my first children's book, A Party for Poppy! I feel like I've come so far from the young girl ( and sometimes the adult) who struggled with dyslexia and insecurities of reading aloud.

When my daughter was born, It became Sam's part of bedtime to read to her. Even though she was just a baby at the time, I didn't want her to see me have some struggle over basic words, or for her to lose interest because of how slowly I would read. One evening when Sam wasn't home, therefore unable to do bedtime story-  I picked up a random book and just made up a story as I went along. For the first time, I found myself making funny voices for each character and for the first time, I wasn't in my head about reading to her. After I laid her down to bed. I went downstairs and talk-texted my story onto my phone and after a few days of tweaking - reading and a little memorizing. A Party for Poppy quickly became a favorite of Sage's favorite stories before bed. Fun fact; Back then I called it, Poppy's Birthday-- (I know, not nearly as catchy!) Thank goodness for that change too! 

Fast forward a little to the day I read it to my mom & brother, who were encouraging that this story could be something special. So, I partnered with my incredibly talented sister-in-law, who runs The Captivated Canvas, and she brought my vision of simple but sweet illustrations and the characters to life.

And the rest was history...

Now, here we are a year after A Party for Poppy's official release date. It has been an amazing year of growth! I can't believe how successful our book has become. 

A Party for Poppy would not be the success it is, without the support of my readers, followers and FRIENDS! Thank you all for being apart of this journey with me. For purchasing my book, for joining me at countless book signings/ readings and for allowing Poppy to join your family and hearts! 

**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT I have partnered with Amazon to put A Party for Poppy on sale for the one year anniversary! Click here to get your copy (copies) TODAY! 

And stay tuned for more Poppy adventures and updates coming soon! 

Lip sync friendship goals and a 30 year old.

When you look back, you will find many blog posts where I mention how thankful we are for our friends, our people we do life with. But sometimes, there are moments... Extra special moments where we are reminded just how blessed we are to do life with these people. 

If you know Sam, you will most likely know he is not the type that asks for gifts. He's (almost too) easy going, and most of the time wants for nothing. So, when Valentines, Anniversary, Christmas and his Birthday rolls around getting him a gift is never easy!

But. Not. This. Time! 

The month before Sam's 30th Birthday, I reached out to a few of our friends to put together a surprise video for Sam. Not only was everyone so excited to be apart of it, but even some of our friends who may or may not be usual dancers, or lip sync-ers totally went with it. And if you ask me, that's real friendship right there! 

Sam's favorite song of all time is Africa by Toto. I sent over instructions & gave everyone a part, but the rest was up to them!

The results that followed were mind-blowing, to say the least. 

 

Then, I thought to push this surprise a step further and throw him a super surprise Dirty 30 Birthday Party! As you can imagine, keeping a secret like this from your spouse isn't easy. But it was so worth it! With more help from friends and family, we got Sam out of the house on a Saturday afternoon. We were able to set up and throw him a great party complete with a big banner and cutouts of his face courtesy of a super crafty friend, his favorite food, -Tacos- and his favorite drink as his signature cocktail courtesy of some other fabulous friends - An Old Fashioned - and filled the room with everyone who was apart of the video. It was a great night complete with the feature presentation of Toto's Africa, The Sam's Birthday Edition. We danced, ate good food, laughed and celebrated the evening away. 

So Thankful for friends, family and my hubby that turned 30! 

Leading Ladies: Roxy Hagy

I'm happy to present interview 3 in a series of Interviews entitled: Leading Ladies. Through this, I will have the opportunity to get to know and share the stories of strong & inspiring women. Women who are building their dreams and families all while crushing goals and -sometimes- without even realizing it, inspiring those around them. I am so excited to be able to share their stories with you all. I can only pray that I do this with all of the honor their testimonies deserve.  NOW, with all that being said...

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Roxy Hagy at one of her favorite spots, Republic Roots Pressed Juice & Coffee Bar. I couldn't think of a more appropriate location for this wellness-minded mama. We ate our "Republic Bowls" while the music played in the background and I got to learn so much about this fabulous lady!  Roxy Hagy is a wife, mom, independent trainer, homeschooling mama, and fitness boss. I only get to share a piece of her testimony here. So, if you ever have to chance to hear her full story yourself, I would seriously recommend it.

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Tell me about your family. She lit up almost instantly as she told me about her sweet family of 5. She went right into her love story with her husband Dave... "I was working at a temp agency one summer during my college break. Ironically, I was supposed to be working at a different company, but because of scheduling issues I wasn't able to take this other job. So, there I was on my second day making copies when Dave walked by... and I was like, who is this man?!" she laughed and continued. "We would flirt in the hallways here and there, and then one day, as luck would have it... my computer broke and everyone on his team was out to lunch, so he came to look at it himself. So, while he was fixing my computer I asked how old he was and he jokingly replied.. 'oh, I'm old. I just turned 30'. At that moment, I instantly assumed he wouldn't be into me anymore because I was 20 and for a while, nothing came of it except some more flirting in the hallway. He wasn't asking me out...So, one day, I walked up to him and just asked, 'Do you eat lunch?' He replied with, 'Well, you know I was about to ask you out... '. Needless to say, we went on our lunch date. Then a couple more lunch dates. Two months later, he proposed." She continued "I knew it had only been a few months and so I asked him, 'Did you ask my dad if this was okay?' and he replied very matter-of-factly. 'I got the blessing'. And at that moment, I knew it was all going to be okay because my dad is an army guy, who doesn't mess around and I knew my dad must have seen something in him and I trusted everything was going to be okay."

Roxy and Dave were married less than a year from their first date in the summer of 1998. -Talk about a whirlwind romantic relationship! 

When did you guys decide to have kids? "After we were married I continued college and working at the company part-time. We lived in a cool garage apartment that was $400 a month and we were just living the life. Then, just before our one year anniversary, I got really sick with what I thought was the stomach bug and at the time I was volunteering for my college hours at the Crisis Pregnancy Center and one of the ladies there was like.... 'So, you're tired? Throwing up? Wanna take a pregnancy test?' I instantly said 'No', that's not whats going on here. But she made me take the test anyway... zero time went by and the test said pregnant. I didn't believe it. At this place, we had a million pregnancy tests... I'm pretty sure I took them all! So, there we were a year later, pregnant with Isa. I graduated college in December of 99' and Isa was born in March of 2000." 

She went on to explain how that was not the plan. But, she loves being a young mom with young adult children. Two years after Isa was born she had her daughter, Jada, then in February of 2007 three weeks before her 30th birthday, she had her son, Roman. Roxy said, "Honestly, its such a story of redemption. It felt like Dave and I were doing all the wrong things before we were married, although our hearts were in the right place, we kept making decisions that weren't honoring to God. It's amazing everything worked out the way it did with how our kids got here."

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How did you make it through all the whirlwind? "We definitely struggled a little bit when we first got married. I had baggage, and Dave had been on his own since he was 14, so we had to work through a lot of hurt together. Now, we're 20 years in and stronger than we've ever been; not only in our marriage but as a whole, because we let God lead us and we decided early on to be vulnerable with each other and honest about our struggles with our children as they've grown up." 

Roxy shared that sometimes they will look back, and think "how did we make it?"  Because they were married after less than a year of knowing one another and having kids right away. "Everything could have been so different." She explained how her and Dave's different life perspectives helped to shape their success.   "I had a firm foundation of marriage set by the example of my parents, who have been married for 50 years. Meanwhile,  Dave came from such a broken home, without even enough pieces of people to make up a family. But it made him so determined to make it work, and have a successful marriage and family." She got teary-eyed as she explained divorce was never in their vocabulary. 

"We've come so far."

One of the (many) reasons I chose Roxy to be a Leading Lady is the way she "moms so hard" Not only has she raised some seriously well-rounded and successful young adults (who I hope my kids turn out to be like) but, on multiple occasions I've had the pleasure to just be able to be around as she does real life with them. I admire the relationship she has with her teens. It's the type of relationship you don't hear of often. It's honest, fun and a true friendship. They are a family who truly enjoys each other's time. As I tell Roxy all of this, she looks overwhelmed with emotion. I could see she was so taken aback by my observations. She explains that she wants to always be 'that safe place' for her kids- whether she agrees with them in the moment or not. She wants to show them that they can make mistakes, and receive forgiveness. She says she couldn't do it without Jesus and her husband.

I couldn't agree more, and this makes her very inspiring to me. 

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Another reason I look at Roxy as a Leading Lady is her ability to push past some of the health problems she has faced daily over the years, and still gets up to lead a healthy lifestyle for herself, her family, and inspires others to do the same. Roxy goes on to share an example of this. "A month into Dave & I dating I had appendicitis. It was a very routine surgery. Everything went fine. A month after that, I woke up screaming in excruciating pain so they took me to the hospital where I had exploratory surgery. It turned out that I had a build up of scar tissue that was cutting off my intestines. I recovered, and then less than a year later it happened again only worse.....I went back into surgery to have the scar tissue removed again, and this time the doctors put on a covering so it wouldn't happen again. Then we got pregnant so quickly and had to have a C-section, then turned around and got pregnant right away again. Another C-section. Throughout all of this, I started to gain weight. 50 lbs with Isa... then gained 40 more lbs with Jada. I had never been overweight. I had no idea how to lose it. Then I got pregnant with my son, Roman where I gained 60 lbs."

Roxy goes on to explain how she was almost 200 lbs after she had her son. One day she went back to her OB and family friend for a check up and he really explained the dangerous path she was on if she didn't change her habits. After making some changes to her diet, and the commitment to workout, it was 14 months later and she lost the weight and found a passion.  She already had her degree in Health Education and became certified to be a trainer. She says "I want to train people, especially women. Cause I get it. I've been there."  Still to this day, Roxy deals with daily pain from her scar tissue but she pushes through it and still manages to run her business and home like a boss.

Roxy is an Independent Contractor and Trainer, who has partnered with Snap Fitness during her personal and group training sessions. Roxy said " It's the best situation. It gives me a sense of helping people, building relationships and training. I get the flexibility to make my schedule all while being there for my family." She is growing her clientele everyday with her personal story of perseverance, accountability, passion & love of what she does.

Leading Ladies Q&A

Between homeschooling,  your career and the many other things on your plate, how do you balance it all? "Um, an amazing husband to start with. When you take on the idea of homeschooling you have to have a husband who can take on the role of principal. Honestly, there are days when I'm out and done and I say, 'You're up, Dave!' It's also being able to say no sometimes. That's when the flexible schedule for my job helps so much, too." 

What do you do in your free time? "I love to read. So I always make time to try sit and open the Bible or a good book. Also, working out. It is not only what I do for my career, but it's a big part of my relaxation time. In a world where life feels so crazy and busy, my fitness gives me a healthy outlet to release the stress and actually feel somewhat in control. My family jokes. They can tell the days I haven't worked out cause I can be crabby." She laughed and continued. "I also need time with my husband and/or kids. I just love being with my family both together an one-on-one."  

What's an example of a day-in-the-life of Roxy? "I'll give an example of a day this Summer. I got up early because I always have early morning clients (Although I meet clients early all year long.) Once I'm done with my first clients, I work out myself. Then I'll see a few more clients and then I'll come home around 10 am, do some stuff around the house, and since it's Summer I will usually load everyone up and do something fun as a family or run kids around town for appointments. We will do a couple of homeschooling items to keep up and then I will usually have a few more clients in the afternoon and we finish off the day with dinner as a family. I'm so sad it's August and Summer is almost over. It's about to be busy and school every day again." 

What is a piece of advice you would give to someone who feels overwhelmed or doesn't know where to start? " I'm such a list-maker! I will sit down and say, 'This is what I have going on in my life. This is what I need to do. What can I take off of the list that's not honoring God and my family?' Make time for yourself, too. And if you're feeling scared, have the confidence that if you're doing what you are truly supposed to be doing, you're never alone in that."

To what do you attribute your success? "Being authentic first and foremost. For example, I'm not going to be the trainer who says give up carbs and alcohol.  I think it's about working out and eating less. I say, 'Here's my story. Here's why working out sucks sometimes.' But I'm here for them. I let them in my world and I'm honest and let them see my flaws. Then, with my children it's very similar. I think I apologize more than anything. I'm not afraid to be real with them and tell them there is no formula for perfection but I'm always open to a respectful conversation with them and to learn from them. Out of everything I do, I don't do fake."

How do you approach the unknown? Roxy laughs "Not well. I'm such a list-maker and planner. That's something I'm constantly working on - to trust and let go of the things I can't control. We're all growing every day. This is an area I'm definitely growing in now."

This blog series, Leading Ladies, spotlights a few women who inspire me. Who inspires you? "My best friend, Kathleen Land. She's the kind of person that no matter what you're going through she'll say, 'Let me tell you what Jesus says about that.' I love my friends, I need my people that I lean on. My Grandmother also inspires me a lot. My grandparents came to this country with nothing. No English and yet, they worked hard and made an amazing life. She was so selfless, and of course my Mom. I have watched all through my life as she has served tirelessly for her church and community. It really taught me early on about serving and loving others."

There is no doubt about it, Roxy is a hard-working, devoted wife and mom who is out to be a helper to those she comes in contact with. I have learned how she has set and killed big goals in her life and how she's had to overcome physical setbacks she's faced to get to where God was calling her to be. But most importantly, I was reminded once again why Roxy Hagy is DEFINITELY a Leading Lady! 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnolia Market- Like a Boss

I've been to those gorgeous Silos at Magnolia Market a few times now. Both with and without kids.

Through my visits, I have discovered a few tips that I want to share that will hopefully help to make your future trip to Magnolia Market easier and even more fun.

This is a line for the Bakery a little after 9 

This is a line for the Bakery a little after 9 

Get there early -  The Silos open at 9 but the Bakery opens at 7:30 and the line wraps around the bakery fast and just gets longer as the day goes on. Also, it's important to note, that once the bakery is out of something. They're out for the day! In the past when I've gone, my goal has been to arrive right at 9. I live about 2 hours away and I'm not sure that I could wake up earlier if I tried! Even arriving at 9 the line starts to build up, so I recommend making it your first stop. 

-Inside the Silos Bakery during a Girl's trip-

-Inside the Silos Bakery during a Girl's trip-

Once you're in line, one of the employees usually walk around with a paper menu and a cute little pencil for you to order and to help the line move faster. Even though it's the morning, get yourself some breakfast and go ahead and stock up on those uh-mazing cupcakes (My fav is the Shiplap)  There is no line to get into the Silos, so once you've got the goodies, you have time to store them in your car so you don't have to carry them all day. 

 

On that note...

Parking Gold - Magnolia Market has a small free lot with the entrance located on 8th street. It's a gravel lot and it fills up quickly, which is another reason to get there early. However, if you cannot get there early enough to catch that parking lot, there are many places to park near the Market - some free/ some not. They also offer a Free Trolley. Personally, I've never taken the Trolley because I've always snagged bomb parking close by. However, I've heard good things! 

Hit the Shop- At this point, the stores will be busy but most-likely not shoulder-to-shoulder just yet. You guys may think I'm crazy, but once Sam and I took the double stroller through the Silos store. I don't know if I would recommend that for others. It made it a little more stressful to move around and caused me to not want to not spend as much time in the store as I would have liked. Everything in the store is great, don't get me wrong. But if you get nothing else, try to grab some swag! They have the best shirts and hats. I've also gotten my very favorite mug from there!  The checkout line does move pretty quick, which is nice. They have a great sale section by the checkout as well. They also offer military discounts, and if you're at the Silos for your Birthday or Anniversary, tell them at checkout & you'll get a free cupcake! 

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Garden- Make sure to hit up the Garden and the Garden Shop, not only does it serve major home-garden goals both floral and vegetable. There are also so many awesome photo ops with different setups for the seasons! Inside the Garden Store, they offer some seriously cute outdoor items to make your garden (and life) better. They also offer some pretty inexpensive packs of seeds! 

 

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Lunch & Snacks - The Silos offer a ton of food truck meal and snack options; they interchange some of the food trucks. But everything is always good! A few of my favorites are Cheddar Box, 900 Degrees Wood-Fired pizza, and Co- Town Crepes for a sweet snack. I also love Luna Juice bar. They have the best fresh pressed lemonade! 

When they have their coffee truck, Common Grounds, I love to stop in and grab an iced coffee for the trip back home. 

 

The Green - The Silos have this amazing green area with lawn games for both kids and adults, bean bag chairs, covered picnic tables and snack options close by to enjoy while you relax and hangout with friends and family. 

I love my trips up to Magnolia Market. Even writting this blog now, I'm looking forward to my next trip!  I hope some of my tips and favorites are helpful to anyone planning a fun trip for themselves and if you have any tips or favorite spots on the Magnolia grounds, please share in the comments! 

* The Magnolia Market Silos are located in Waco Tx @ 601 WEBSTER AVE. They are open Monday- Saturday from 9 am - 6 pm *

 

 

A Rose Colored Recap

I'm so thankful for my great friends. All my keep it real. Funny, crazy & "lean on me" type of people. 

Sometimes one of those great, Keep it real, funny- type friends will meet me at Target on a Friday night, to walk & shop with Prosecco-filled tumblers in hand. Then, during this Friday night turn up, we talk about changing the world. Or at least make our worlds more fun... 

We finished our Target run and checked out with our miscellaneous and/or unnecessary Target Items and pushed our carts outside where we continued to plan out our course of action to make our dream a reality.

One kick- butt name, tagline, a few days and some exciting details later, our adventure as Social Media stars (in training) began! 

A Rose Colored Recap! "Changing the world one bachelor episode recap at a time.
Will you accept this rose?" Catchy right?? 

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So, we had our name. But let's face it, if you want to be a real social media star, You obviously need a Photoshoot! So, a week before episode 1 of this season of the Bachelorette (and a week and a day before our recap) aired we had a very professional photo shoot. We took Inspiration from the fashion of our newest Bachelorette and dressed up in our most sparkly discounted gowns.  We stood in the hallway of Carly's home and all of our kids played and yelled in the background while Carly's husband Jon took pictures on his phone and my husband Sam made it rain roses. I know, we totally hit the supportive hubby jackpot! We ended the evening with a celebratory Mexican restaurant feast with our crazy crew & toasted many times to our new adventure! 

It was a little slice of crazy perfection. 

Fast forward to night one; We Put our sparkly gowns back on, grabbed our notes & props, checked our lighting and went live... Que the amazingly- awkward dancing in silence.

Even though that first live episode confirmed our feelings that the people of the world needed our Bachelorette recap in their lives, It didn't completely go off without a hitch and we may or may not have spent the first 10-15 minutes sideways... But, We like to say, when A Rose Colored Recap is famous, we will need a funny story to look back on! 

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Seven -ALMOST EIGHT- Tuesday night live recaps later, this has definitely become one of the favorite parts of my week. Is there such a thing as laughing too much?? We sure don't think so! 

Cheers to love, friendship, fun and Bachelor Nation! 

 

If you're someone who already follows us, then you know what I'm talking about and if you're not... YOU COULD BE! Like and follow our page here so you can join in all the fun with us! 

Growing our Untidy Tribe.

I sat on my kitchen counter holding my phone, pretending not to be staring out the window at our driveway every 5 seconds. The sound of a car going by has never made me quite this anxious before. I looked at the microwave clock for the 500th time. 12:50

Years of thought, months of prayer and weeks of gathering paperwork and taking classes has brought us to our first home study/inspection. I spent my morning rushing around the house cleaning and picking up after my kids to hopefully convince anyone who walked through the front door that our house was always that put together. Sure, no one set that wild expectation but me... but in my head, that morning, it seemed to matter a lot. 

After what seemed like a lifetime, the doorbell rang.

We walked into the living room as our guest was polite but did not smile and began her line of questioning very quickly. Sam and I proceeded to nervously answer every question. 

 (well, maybe I was the nervous one) That's the thing I love most and also drives me nuts about this man. Always level-headed. Always confident. Me, on the other hand. Not so much.

Needless to say, after each answer, you could see me staring at her waiting for some indication of a question-well-answered type of nod or a smile.  Nothing. Just a lot of writing.

We walked her through our home pointing out rooms, testing fire alarms, and the overall safety. During this time, I found myself talking probably too much about the future, eventual things I wanted to do with the kid's bedrooms and my overall excitement. Honestly, looking back, I was probably talking to myself more than anyone. She just kept walking, looking and writing. 

We get to our bedroom and she asks Sam to show her something specific in our closet. Sam hands me Sage who has been clinging to his arms the entire inspection as to not be left behind or miss a thing. (FOMO is a real thing) Sage proceeds to scream, whine, and cry for her Daddy. Now, I may or may not have purposely channeled my inner Mary Poppins and sang the "Mad Song" from Daniel Tiger. I held Sage tight and sang...

" When you feel so mad, that you wanna ROAR, take a deep breath- pause- And count to 4! I. 2. 3. 4!

Sage counted with me and calmed down. I side eyed over at the social worker to see if she noticed my award-winning mom-moment. She, in fact, was looking.  She smiled for the first time, jotted something in her notebook and proceeded to keep talking with Sam. (Score one for mama and for Daniel Tiger.) 

Once we were done with the visit, she gave us a list of items to be completed, shook our hands and said she looked forward to working with us on our journey. She smiled again and left. 

The Ericksons are excited to be on this journey. Please be praying with us as we walk the necessary steps to grow our family through adoption. We can't wait to share this process with you all. 

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Leading Ladies: Holly Bollinger

 I'm happy to present interview 2 in a series of Interviews entitled: Leading Ladies. Through this, I will have the opportunity to get to know and share the stories of strong & inspiring women. Women who are building their dreams and families all while crushing goals and -sometimes- without even realizing it, inspiring those around them. I am so excited to be able to share their stories with you all. I can only pray that I do this with all of the honor their testimonies deserve.  NOW, with all that being said...

Last week I was able to sit down with Holly Bollinger. Wife, Mama, Business owner, Graphic Designer, incredible Photographer, Missionary, Church planter, Homeschooling Teacher, and all around Superhero. Trust me, the list just goes on! During our time together, not only did I get the opportunity to chat about her sweet family of five but, I got to hear her story. It's amazing to see how God has used her triumphs and struggles to grow the kingdom. Obviously, I only get to share pieces of her testimony here. So, if you ever have to chance to hear her full story yourself, I would seriously recommend it. 

Holly met her husband Jason in the late 90's. She described it as the era of DC Talk & the start of all the other Christian Rappers. She jokingly said she & Jason even fell in love to the soundtrack of DC Talk, specifically. 

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"We met Singing in the church Choir, (go figure) One night some friends of ours invited us all out to dinner, they somehow got me to ride with Jason because they wanted to go change clothes or something...three hours later my friends still weren't there. It was a total setup blind date without being a blind date. So, when three hours later they finally showed up Jason and I were like, we know what you're doing, you're not fooling anyone...but, we sat there and talked during that time and had chips and salsa. It was nice. We talked pretty much about everything. Then, about a month later I just knew I was gonna marry him."

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How long were you dating before you got married?  laughing she replied, "A long time. I do not recommend it to anyone reading this blog! We got engaged in '96. We were both still in college and I just wanted to be more sure of myself and be further in my education, so we got married during my last year in college before I did my student-teaching. -Actually, next week will be 20 years of marriage for Jason and me."

When did you guys decide to have kids/ adopt? " I was told at an early age that I was unable to have kids. So we always talked about adoption being an option for us. We knew we would have a family in any way God saw fit. Having biological kids was not a decision we made, but the Lord made it for us four years into our marriage. It was a total surprise. I had felt off for a couple of weeks. So I took a test. Surprise! It was positive. When Jason got home I showed him and he didn't believe me, he seriously dug the box out of the trash to make sure the test was real! I mean, neither of us thought this could happen. But, we were excited and nine months later Jacob was born."

5 years after Jacob was born Holly became pregnant again. However her HCG numbers weren't climbing, even still the Doctor called it a viable pregnancy. Then the following week she went back and found out her numbers had dropped once again and she was officially going to experience a miscarriage...

"That's when my body just freaked out, My muscles tightened up and I literally couldn't walk for 3 months. It was just one of those things God needed me to go through. Looking back, I know why now, but at the time it was a crazy whirlwind emotionally and physically. It didn't help that nobody really talked about this type of thing when I was going through it. It was so hard."  Holly continued, "Then, in 2009 after a year of recovery, physical therapy and praying, we revisited our calling to adopt. We felt international was what we were being led to. We knew that adoption for us wasn't just filling a hole in our family. It was about rescuing.

Their first attempt at adoption was from China, but the wait for a child in China would take 5-7 years. So they started praying for God to lead them where they needed to adopt from. 

"In 2009, while we were going through the adoption process I woke up one day and I couldn't see. I literally had double vision and it was blurry. I was rushed to get an MRI. My screenings were all completely clean...at the time this had all began I remember thinking, that I had just started my first contract business doing graphics, designing and I was doing a lot more computer work so I thought, maybe that's what caused it. But there was no way.”  

“This turned into 6 months of testing. During this time, I couldn't drive or work. My left eye was completely blurry. It got so bad my eye started changing positions. I didn't look like myself. I had every blood test, I met with neurologists, and oncologists and still, no one could figure out what was going on."

Later a group of the Bollinger's Pastor friends in their area asked if they could come over and pray for her. One of couples who came to pray with them brought a young girl who they were adopting from the Ukraine. Person after person prayed, then this young girl, in a room full of grown-ups, began to pray over Holly in Ukrainian. Holly and Jason both said, they heard God tell them that their daughter would speak this language. (Talk about goosebumps) Even though Holly wasn't healed that night, her normal sight did begin to return in the short months following, and The Bollingers had their answer as to where they would adopt from. Holly said, "I feel that I had to lose my sight to see what God was leading us to." Then, by October 2010 they had a completed family with their son Jacob and their two daughters, Olivia & Natalia.

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From the beginning of Holly's career & family life, one thing has stayed constant. Her desire to follow the Lord's calling for her life.  Through the years Holly has honed her creative skills as a photographer and Graphic designer and continues to consult both individuals and companies on bringing their brand and ideas to life. Holly has a unique talent of being able to draw out any vision and turn it into reality. On a personal level, I have experienced first hand her abilities as a graphic designer and I have been blown away by the results. I mean hello...have you seen my new logo?? 

Leading Ladies Q&A

What inspired you to head down this creative path? Holly "Before our first company or our first church plant, Jason was a youth pastor & honestly it was out of necessity and desperation. I had to learn to code, make graphics and flyers for students. You don't always have a budget for someone else to do it. From there I was hired by others and started our first business, Gamma Graphics." I bought a nice camera and started doing headshots and ads for company's and taught myself Photoshop, DSLR, and Adobe and it launched into Holly Bollinger Photography and Design."

What do you do in your free time? Do you have free time? Is that a silly question?? Holly "Ha. I'm not gonna lie, homeschooling the kids has given me that extra flexibility to run my businesses and still take some time for me. Don't get me wrong it's a lot of work. But there are a lot of rewards. I also know the value in taking trips with Jason or getting out with my friends. That makes all the difference."

What do you love most about what you do? Like, all-encompassing? Holly "Everything I do, I do to help other people. I'm married to the "Upfront guy, because I like to be the behind-the-scenes girl. I find joy in helping others fulfill their dreams. I love it!"

What do you attribute to your success? Holly "Hmm, I don't think I've ever thought of it that way. I don't really think of anything I do in comparison to failure or success. It's all Jesus. It's a ministry for me, not a job. I don't feel necessarily successful but I feel so fulfilled and happy." 

What's a piece of advice would you give someone afraid to take the first step? Holly "You be you. We all approach life differently. We can all bring something to the table - even if you fail. It's not really a failure because you tried. I never thought I would be someone to start a business. But I've started about 5 or 6 businesses and ministries and I've helped other people start businesses. If I can do it, anyone can."

How do you plan for the unknown? Holly "You don't. You can make all the plans you want a year, or 6 months in advance. But you have to remember to be flexible. Life doesn't always go as planned." 

This blog series, Leading Ladies spotlights a few women who inspire me, Who inspires you? Holly "It's not any one specific person that has inspired me. Thankfully, I've had many women come into my life that have been inspirational. They're the ones who give things up for the Lord, or their families, ministry or adoption. It's the women I watch do the hard things. Those women inspire me." 

Yes, Holly Bollinger is a creative superstar in every sense of the word. She is a devoted wife and mom who is out to be a helper to those she comes in contact with. I learned how she had to fight past the physical and emotional setbacks she faced to get to where God was calling her to be. And I was reminded once again why Holly Bollinger is DEFINITELY a Leading Lady! 

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As of now, Holly is partnering with her husband on a new and exciting creative venture coming soon! Like and Follow her here for now, Capella Creative. 

 

 

 

With a little help from my friends...

The last 3 weeks have been filled with moving boxes, unexpected situations and you guessed it.. Chaos. (what else is new for the Untidy Tribe) We definitely have a lot to catch up on. However I thought I would start my regular blogging again with a short move-in story.

You may remember from previous blog posts that selling our home was arduous to say the least. So, when It was the long awaited move-in day I pictured the clouds parting, the birds singing and everything going according to plan. (That's a good joke, right?)

We were supposed to close at noon, but the sellers had to push back their closing. Which is inconvenient, yes... But, not the worst problem to have. Sam went ahead to meet the movers at our storage unit -and i'm so glad he did, since the moving company we hired moved slower than slow-  

About an hour into the movers loading our belongings, Sam calls me. " All our stuff is ruined" I, being unable to process his statement said, "what do you mean our stuff is ruined??" He went on to explain that there was a leak in the storage unit we rented and all of our furniture was covered in MOLD! And not the -its okay, you can deep clean it and move on with your life type-of-mold...  more like the kind that was multiple colors, scary and most importantly, ALL OVER OUR FURNITURE... He informed the manager who came out to look at the unit as they continued load the rest of our stuff. By the time Sam and the movers got to our new home, it was late in the day. The movers were paid by the hour and we truly believe they were going slow on purpose. So slow in fact, I started to help them pull boxes off the truck to improve their pace. - It's like, yeah, I have two kids to take care of and a million other things to do... but here, let me help you do your job...- But, I digress. 

No joke, It was after 8 pm by the time they were done unloading one storage unit and we were not about to pay them to take another 5 hours to drive back, pack up and unload the other unit. So we sent them home. 

Feeling defeated, I walked into the house, sat on the living room floor surrounded by stacks of boxes, I was exhausted from the day. I was trying to figure out how we were going to replace all of our stuff that was ruined. Processing how ridiculous I felt for paying those terrible movers and trying to decide how we would be able to pick up the rest of our stuff from storage without a truck...

I just sat there and cried. Like, ugly cried.

Most of you know, I am not the girl who crumbles easily. I like to figure things out and push past difficult situations. Sometimes this also makes me the kind of girl who (often to a fault) will not ask for help. There may or may not have been actual times where I have told friends somewhat jokingly, that I would rather drown than ask for help. 

So, there I was,  the mess on the floor, formerly known as Chelsea.  Covered in ugly-cry tears... 

knock. knock. knock. 

Sam answers the door and my dear and lovely friend Sarah walks in. She says, she knew I wouldn't ask for help, so she just decided to show up... Man, was I glad she did. I proceeded to sit, cry and tell her everything that happened that day.... and after a few minutes of her expressing how sorry she is that this happened to us. She looks at me and said, "Okay, well you can sit there and cry if you want, but I'm going to go unpack boxes now." So, I snapped out of my funk, pulled myself together and we got to work.

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As if it wasn't enough for her to show up, and help and get me over myself... She proceeded to make calls to our other friend's who got together (just because they love us) to go unload and bring over the rest of our stuff from the storage unit... mind you, at this point, it was late in the evening. I watched through my kitchen window with less-ugly, happy tears as our friends rallied around us. Before I knew it, It was 11. All our stuff was home, my kitchen was almost completely unpacked. we were posing for a "Thankful-for-our-friends- selfie"  in our laundry room.

That day reminded me of a few things.

1. Don't hire movers by the hour.  2. It's okay to ask for help.

and  3...

I get by with a little help from my friends...
— The Beatles

Not photographed, all these awesome guys' amazing wives for loaning their hubbies without question, to help! We love our people! 

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Leading Ladies: Laura Abraham

 I'm happy to present my first interview in a series of Interviews entitled: Leading Ladies. Through this, I will have the opportunity to get to know and share the stories of strong & inspiring women. Women who are building their dreams and families all while crushing goals and -sometimes- without even realizing it, inspiring those around them. I am so excited to be able to share their stories with you all. I can only pray that I do this with all of the honor their testimonies deserve.  NOW, with all that being said...

I had the privilege of sitting down with Laura Abraham a local business owner of Cul-de-sac cooking, entrepreneur, wife to her husband Tom and a rock star mom to four really great kiddos, to chat about her life and success. One of the coolest parts of this interview was that we got to sit in her soon-to-be-open restaurant; Texas Biergarten, and yes, it is as cool as it sounds!

Family;

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Laura and her husband Tom have been married for Ten years and share four kids. Laura was a teacher when they met. I wanted to share a favorite story that was told to me in our time together. This story speaks to her love of cooking and her love for her husband. She pointed to a recipe entitled; X4 Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf.  And said "Before we were dating, Tom would come over once in a while for a church study at my good friend Jenny's house. One day after church we were just talking and I mentioned I needed help with my computer, he offered to come over and help me, so to thank him, I invited him to come back for dinner that Friday, I was so nervous about what I would make him. So I made him Bacon wrapped meatloaf, and apple crisp. She jokingly followed this story with "He was hooked..." Talk about sweetness! She and Tom started dating when her second son Jacob was about 8 months old. She said in the interview "he was nervous but brave." Then, before Jacob was two he was diagnosed with Autism. Tom's support and knowledge of Autism through his job where he listened to Doctors speak on the subject, helped so much. His connections paired with consistent therapy, and a change in Jacob's diet where they cut out gluten and Kasin resulted in him speaking for the first time and shortly after teaching himself to read!  - I literally got goosebumps! This spoke to me tremendously about who they are as a couple and as a family. Close, strong and supportive. 

How It all got started; 

In 2012 Laura began staying home after she and Tom had their son Luke. Laura Said, "It felt strange to be at home and not working. I am not very good at sitting still. My whole life I've had at least one job since I was 14. I had to start doing something, I thought, I could be making money right now! So, In 2014 I started watching my friend Kate's  triplets after they would get home from school. Each day when Kate would pick up her kids after work, I would be cooking dinner and she would make comments about how she would have to go home and think of dinner. Then, one day I said, Kate, why don't I just cook for you? You can just pay me for the ingredients.” Laura continued. “I loved her and wanted to be a blessing to her, and since I was already cooking for my family, it wouldn't be more work. That's how Cul-de-sac cooking Started. It all started with her. She encouraged me to tell my friends and turn this into a business. I was so shy, and I am not good at asking for things. Later, I turned to a few teacher friends who were my first customers for the family style meal orders. They would then bring their leftovers from me to the school and people would start asking about it and it just exploded from there. That's when I started living at HEB, I was there all the time with my two youngest in tote. As Cul-de-sac Cooking grew I needed help. That's when my friend Jenny joined in to help me all the time. Soon after that I went and got my Food Managers certificate and started filling up my fridges.- Yes, I have three.-”

 “Later through a mutual friend, I met Chef (James), who originally just came in to consult. But, we hit it off and he started working with us officially a month later. Once Chef joined us, our production quadrupled! Instead of me selling out at 6 meals because that's all I could do, we started selling out at 26 meals. All from my kitchen."

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She explained how starting small was such a blessing and pulled out this giant AMAZING recipe book full of printed recipes and showed me the different notes and measurements for each recipe and multiplications of each meal as her business grew. I felt that I could see her business growth through the recipes full of scratched out notes and I could see and feel her heart on each page. Laura went on to share the story of how she and Tom officially decided to pursue the restaurant, saying this had been a dream and conversation for years. Then, after Tom lost his job, they decided to put it all into Gods hands. Laura said, "Tom started looking and interviewing at different companies all over the U.S. and we had decided we were open to moving anywhere and even though he was more than qualified for every job he interviewed for,  it felt that God kept shutting those doors for us.  One day Tom said, ‘let's do this!'  Cul-de-sac cooking is doing so well, let's focus on growing this.’ Laura continued "We had been talking about opening a Biergarten for years and took it very seriously. This was the style of food I grew up eating. Both sides of my family have German heritage. I grew up in the hill country and Biergartens where very common. They were always family friendly. We looked around for something like that here. There wasn't.  It felt like the right time to go all in and we were. Once we made the decision, it seemed like everything started falling into place there was never a need that went unmet. With everything including the friends and family in our lives who were always there to help.  Once the location was chosen they got right to work renovating this space into their dream restaurant. What started out with yellow painted walls, a neglected kitchen and many interesting choices in decor turned into their vision. Texas Biergarten. 

(Fun fact) Laura's cousin built those tables and bench seating! 

 

Leading Ladies Q&A

What do you do in your free time? Do you have free time? Is that a silly question?? LAURA "I don't really get free time. In my free time, I like to cook, try new recipes. I actually like to grill! Sometimes my free time is my time spent grilling at 4 am. It's quite. No one needs anything from you at 4 am!"

What are your goals for the next year? LAURA "To be able to find a balance for our family with the restaurant. To be able to build a staff so we can spend evenings at home with our kids. Also to partner with the community and non-profits. It's very apparent to Tom and me that God has had his hand in this business and we want to use it to bless others and our staff and people in the community."

What advice would you give someone looking to start their business/ follow a dream? LAURA "I would say, to start small. I made my little baby business plan.  a good business advice resource is SBDC. (Small business development Center) -Which is free- That would be my biggest advice to give, you're going to be told no, but keep going. be resourceful.”

How do you deal with the worries of tomorrow? How do you balance it all? LAURA "Like I said, we're all in. So, it can be scary. I'm not going to lie, sometimes I wake up at 3 Am with the feeling like I'm going down a roller coaster and worry about how we're going to get it all done. Sometimes I can't go back to sleep. But, I've taught myself you can only do so much in a day. I don't have all the answers for things, we're figuring it out as we go. I'm just so glad Tom and I are in this together, I don't know how I would get it all done without him.” 

Obviously, this Interview series is going to be focusing on women who inspire me in the community. I have to ask, who inspires you? LAURA "My friend Kate, I could not have done this without her, My mom, my grandmother and your mom! That woman makes me feel like I can do anything. I am surrounded by a lot of great ladies who inspire me."

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During my time with Laura, she shared stories of her resiliency and resourcefulness. From studying a giant engine book at 11 years old to convince her parents to let her fix up and refinish her dad's old 1949 Chevy,. which she did by the way or how one day, while she was cooking, a fire started in her oven. She lost the whole meal she was cooking for a client and instead of calling it quits or giving up. She got her camping gear out and cooked the meal in entirety. She was only unable to make the cake. You know... since there was no oven. Laura Abraham is truly a force. 

I gained so much from my interview with Laura. How to work hard. How to overcome fears, find your passion and push through what makes you uncomfortable in order to be successful. 

 

--Texas Biergarten is located on Highway 6 in Missouri City, Texas and is open for dinner strting tonight but they will have its official grand opening in two weeks!!! Trust me when I tell you, Its ALL GOOD! we had the opportunity to attend their soft-opening and try it out. Delicious!  I will say, no matter what you end up ordering... Add a pretzel appetizer to your order! You won't regret it. 

Also, If you're looking to order a family style meal contact Cul-de-sac Cooking and enjoy that time not ordering a pizza and not cooking but with your family. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Motivational quote

Here's a little fun fact about myself and judge me if you must BUT.. I love cheesy motivational quotes. There, I said it! I Love em. They are life-giving to me.

I read a quote the other day that said;

"Once in a while. Blow your own mind!" -unknown

The quote definitely blew mine & It got me thinking about my life. How cool it feels to get to do what I love. How I have fought so hard to make it happen and how I realized just how much I had to grow to get here.

If you know me, you know I am not a vulnerable person by nature. I have a suck it up, keep it in and move along view, naturally. I like to say, I am an open book.... (Sort of) and I am extremely extroverted... (Sometimes) like I said, I've had to really learn what it means to unapologetically be myself. To share my struggles and triumphs authentically and to (sometimes reluctantly) share my story openly. Hopefully, all of this sharing inspires others or at least gives them something to laugh with and not feel so alone in their own chaos. Because remember, we share real struggles and triumphs around here! 

  You've probably heard my story before if not just some bits and pieces. Today, I will be speaking to another specific piece of my story. My Self-doubt.

Growing up I struggled with dyslexia and many learning disabilities. I struggled to read and to this day, I still struggle to read out loud. (Maybe that's somewhat due to my self-doubt)  I also struggled with math & the pressures of test-taking. 

I have this one specific memory of sitting in my math class Sophmore year, my eyes welling up with tears because once again, the numbers on the board just didn't make sense. I didn't understand why I couldn't comprehend the answer, why I couldn't ONCE AGAIN connect the dots on what my teacher was explaining. I often remember having to move to a different room sometimes to take a test because I couldn't concentrate or I would get overwhelmed...More than all of that However,  I remember feeling stupid. I remember the Self-doubt feeling consuming me constantly. Obviously, looking back, I know I wasn't stupid. I learned differently. But, as a kid- more importantly- as a teenager, who struggled consistently, who had to be in remedial classes and couldn't understand some basic topics. How could I have felt differently back then?  I had to work twice as hard as everyone else to succeed. So, there were many times it felt difficult to imagine a life of success. 


Sometimes, I wish I could go back and tell that 15-year-old girl, eyes welling up with tears, insecurities and a stress headache, to stop doubting herself. Then again. I wouldn't be who I am today. 

To make a-very long story short... After High School, I attended an Esthetics Institute, where (you guessed it) I still struggled. I still had to work twice as hard and I still self-doubted. A Lot. BUT, with a lot of hard work and the support of my husband I crushed it. I went on to start my own beauty business where I've had the opportunity to work with some talented & awesome photographers, models & clients through my Makeup and Esthetics business. I blew my own mind...

Fast forward a few years later. We had our first daughter. Sage Ellie. All of the self-doubts came flooding back. Not necessarily about being a mom. However, I understand that's a very real worry for some ladies. I was ready to rock that part!  For me, It was "Will I be able to teach her?" "Will she wonder if her mommy was smart?" "Will I be able to read to her?" or "to one day, help her with homework." So, to help ease some of those fears and knowing I have a flair for story-telling, the theatrics, (go figure) Sam encouraged me to make up my own stories to tell Sage. I created this little girl named Poppy. Poppy was a little bit of me, a little bit of who I wanted to be and a lot of who I wanted Sage to be as she grew up. Then, I pulled some joy from my childhood & I wrote and memorized these stories in order to really sell the characters...and so I wouldn't stumble. Now, even though Sagey was just a baby, I knew she loved them. Mothers intuition maybe? Ha. Or maybe it was just a lack of self-doubt...

One day I shared the stories with my mom who encouraged me to do something big. To seek out a publisher and become an Author. 

Oh, hey self-doubt. 

I somehow managed to push through some of my fears and snag my incredibly talented Sister-in-law to draw up some illustrations to go with my book. She brought my vision to life and after a lot of "Maybe I'll submit this next week." and a little bit of anxiety but a lot of encouragement from my family. I was finally accepted by a publisher and my first book, "A Party for Poppy" came to be! Once again I blew my own mind! 

 Let me tell you, when you spend so much time doubting what you can do or hiding your struggles you tend to stop believing how great your life has the possibility to be. 

I hope to continue to grow in both my confidence and my abilities. I hope and pray my personal story and My Children's books will bring people joy to remind them and more importantly remind my own daughter, there is no label big or small that can hold them (her) back. 

My mind-blowing thing may be different than yours. It could be as random as a total win type of day in motherhood (Which we all know is priceless) It could be meeting some personal goal or maybe it's your future dreams you've been holding back on taking action. I don't know. But, I do know, whatever it may be...

I hope you all take the opportunity to blow your own minds! 

Serendipity

Have you ever stumbled onto something great accidentally? 

For example, You go to your usual favorite restaurant, ready to order your usual favorite meal, only to discover they don't have it... Through this happening, you end up trying something new. Loving it. And now, you have a NEW favorite meal! Serendipitous. 

If you're like me, you don't like to cook dinner every night. I am a cook a few times a week and then we do leftovers in between type of mama. Not really because I hate cooking. Cooking is fine. It's the CLEANING part I hate. Especially because, my husband has lovingly and appropriately nick-named me "The Destroyer of Kitchens" So, for me, cleaning after I cook is a whole situation.  

One night when prepping dinner, I looked up a recipe for a quick & healthy chicken meal.  I obviously didn't meal plan well that week - sometimes most weeks. (I mean, nobody's perfect.)

Skimming through google, I don't remember the original recipe I found. But I do remember thinking how it was something different than what I usually would make AND how, more importantly, I had almost all of the ingredients in my kitchen already. (the things I didn't have, I would just wing) So I skimmed the recipe, mentally preparing to make some of it up as I went along. Then, I crossed my fingers & got to work. 

This dinner accidentally (thankfully) turned out great and was minimal mess, which as you guessed it, was a total bonus for me!  So, the next time I made it, (which wasn't long after the first time, since Sam loved it so much) I played around with the recipe again. Somewhat because I winged it quite a bit the first time. But, it allowed me to tweak it, and learn what we did and didn't like. 

Since my accidental discovery, I've made this meal dozens of times and it has become one of Sam's favorite meals I've ever made. It's ridiculously easy AND BONUS, my two-year-old loves it too! We've come to call this meal:  My version of a Coconut Curry Chicken.

This week, Sam asked for his Coconut curry chicken again. So, I thought I would pull a Sheila Garcia (She-GarC) & share it with you all! 

Pardon the "little hands" in most pictures. Sage is my most insistent helper! 


What you'll need;

Chicken (I use thighs) 

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Cilantro

Coconut Milk and Coconut oil

Lime

Curry Powder

Peppers

Garlic

Onion powder (Save on tears) 

Basmati Rice (Or whatever rice)

Broth


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Start heating your pot. I  like to use a dutch oven. I feel like it cooks the food super fast. I add coconut oil and add the chicken to cook. While that's cooking chop your Peppers, Cilantro, and lemons in half. 

 

 


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Once the chicken is halfway cooked add all of the peppers, half the chopped cilantro, coconut milk and juice from one lime squeezed.  Season to taste with Salt, pepper. Then, add your onion and Garlic powder and of course the Curry powder. (Sam likes a lot)  Then, let everything cook together. 

So. Easy! 

 


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While everything is cooking together, I start the Basmati Rice in the rice cooker. Personally, when making rice, I never use Water. I only use broth and a splash of oil when I cook. It adds great flavor. 

 

 

About 10 minutes before I serve the Coconut curry chicken I add the rest of the Cilantro and the second lime and let everything keep simmering. 

I like to serve it in a bowl. Starting with a bed of rice then I load on the curry Chicken adding extra broth for Sam. That boy loves him some broth. 

This meal is not only incredibly easy, but its easy to make a large portions of it and its perfect for rainy days or Any days for that matter! 

Hope you enjoy it & something Serendipitous happens for you! 

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Naturally Egg-cellent

Let's do something EGG-stra together!

The last few years when dying eggs My Untidy Tribe has used the store bought kits, you know, the ones with the fizzy tablets. But, I decided that this year we would TRY to dye eggs the way my family grew up doing it. The Egg-tremely natural way.  Mind you, my mom would usually make the dyes. So this was my first time doing it on my own.  This way does take a little more time, but it's pretty cool and easy to do! 

What you'll need; 

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Eggs - of course

Vinager

Beets

Purple Cabbage

Coffee Grounds

Tumeric

Onion skins (I didn't like the way it turned out)

Blueberries (I forgot to buy those... Oh well)

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Take a cup of water two tablespoons of vinegar and add dyeing agent of choice. (EX. Chopped cabbage or Beets) and let them boil. Once you notice the color of the water has changed. Strain the water into a bowl. (Cup)

 

 

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Once you've strained the water into the bowls, add your eggs and let them soak. 

I remembered later in this process, the dying works better in a deeper container. It covers the egg better during soaking.

 Oh, wells. Learn from my mistakes, people. 

 

Another *Learn from me moment*  I don't think I soaked my eggs nearly as long as I should have. So the colors could have been much brighter.  SO, if you try this at home, remember the amount of time soaking does change the depth of the color of the egg.

All in All, I was pretty happy with the way the eggs turned out and I was definitely glad I tried something new this year! 

I've learned a lot from my mom over the years, besides dying eggs naturally, of course.  I've also learned it's okay to make mistakes and try new things. However, with that being said I'll probs pick up some fizzy packs next year and leave the natural egg dying to my mom! 

For more on my family's Easter Traditions and making mistakes, see Egg on my face by Life as She Does it.  

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Two Legit to Quit

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I love Birthday parties!

Attending them, planning them AND hosting them. Any reason to celebrate. I'm like, "Let's par-tay!"  So, when it came time for Sage Ellie's Second Birthday extravaganza, I couldn't wait to get creative. 

Sage (and myself) love 90's Hip Hop music.. Not sure if that makes me a cool mom or a bad mom. But, either way. The love is real and deep.

I started searching the internet to find ways to theme a 90's hip hop party for a two year old, then the title hit me (not invented by me originally, but i'm totally gonna own it) TWO. LEGIT. TO. QUIT                  We messaged all of Sagey's friends and told them to get their best Parachute pants on and get ready to party. 

 I was stoked to say  the least!

To kick off the festivities and set the mood, we did with a super fun and in my opinion super gangster outfit and photo shoot downtown, courtesy of our ultra talented- personal photog, Sagey's PoPo!  *SIDE NOTE* (Insert the mom-cry face as I realize my baby doesn't look like a baby!)

We picked out and planned the best 90's party snacks. Stuff like; Chips, Dips, Bagel/Pizza Bites, ring pops AND HOMEMADE DUNKAROOS (I know ya'll remember those!) Then, like any good kid's party would have, booze for the adults! 

Oh, and YES, that is Notorious BIG garland you saw!  I tell ya, Etsy has it all! 

We put out some awesome framed rap lyrics and chain link to the tables around the yard and blew up a bunch of yellow and black beach balls, a photo backdrop and a Graffiti wall for the kids! It was SUPER easy! 

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Finally, I made a fun playlist of fun 90's hip Hip music... with a couple Disney songs thrown in...  You know...  This is a party for two year olds after all. -------------------------------------------------->>>>>>>

This playlist also kept the parents rapping, breaking out their best 90's moves and feeling nostalgic. It was a good time for everyone! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Party was so fun! Even with a rough start caused by crazy amounts wind blowing our signs around and the "will it rain?" question that loomed over us all morning during set up. Yeah... Sage definitely woke up from her nap a little crabby (nothing endless junk food couldn't fix) and yes, My friend's and I were definitely still setting up as the first few guests arrived... But hey, to quote Biggie Smalls, "It's all good Baby Bay-Bay!"   When it was all said and done the party turned out way to awesome for all the little stuff at the beginning to matter. All the fun that followed the crazy is the reason I love the parties so much!  Seeing an exhausted but happy, Birthday girl, little party goers and spending time with our friends made it worth it!

"It was a Good Day" -Ice Cube  

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