Simple + Classy Baby Shower

12:44:00 PM

This past weekend a girlfriend and I threw the sweetest baby shower for one of our dearest friends who is expecting her third baby. She has two girls already and is expecting a little boy this time around. We wanted to do something small and intimate, especially amidst Covid still causing fear and anxiety throughout our community and country.

It was the perfect afternoon. Simple. Classy. And full of so much love.

The color pallet we wanted to keep very neutral with pops of greenery and some floral patterns. Not too boy, but not super girly either. This would have been perfect for a gender neutral shower or even a bridal shower.

balloon arch kit : Amazon  "OH BABY" balloon banner : Target

These sugar stir sticks were the perfect addition for our "Mom-osa" Bar. Who doesn't love a little extra sugar?

floral plates : Amazon - "oh baby" plates : Amazon - flatware : Homegoods

The sweetest personalized cookies : Etsy

We are so over the moon and excited to welcome this new little baby into our circle. He is already so loved!

And I hope this gave you a little inspiration for your next baby shower, sprinkle, or bridal shower.


Thriving During a Pandemic

1:40:00 PM

Let's face it, life has been completely turned upside down for every single one of us. In the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic our world has been flipped on it's head. This is why I wanted to take some time to write my thoughts on how I, a mom of three (6, 4, and 2), am getting through this time and how I am choosing to find joy even in these really hard times.

Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment, whether you are on the front lines and fighting to save hundreds of thousands of lives right now, grieving the loss of a loved one or are healthy, but just trying to do your part by staying home and quarantining yourself and your family to protect others around you, it is not easy being anyone right now. We each are suffering in our own ways. We are each facing our own trials each and every day.

Here are some tips as a mom of three that I have found helpful during this time of digital learning and staying home to help us get through the days and thrive instead of just survive the times.

One thing that I swear by is having a schedule in our house. I made a little board that hangs on the wall in our dining room for the kids to see. I tried to make it as much like a school schedule as possible and because my kids are little, I have basically every 15-30 minutes planned to change activities. That is about all they can handle.

Here is how our day (during the school week) generally looks:

WAKE UP                               7:00AM
BREAKFAST                          7:00 - 7:30 AM
DEVOTIONS                          7:30 - 7:45 AM
MAKE BEDS/CHANGE         7:45 - 8:00 AM
FREE PLAY                            8:00 - 8:30 AM (this is when I get breakfast cleaned up and everything we need for school organized)
MORNING WORK                  8:30 - 8:45 AM
MATH                                     8:45 - 9:15 AM
MUSIC                                    9:15 - 9:30 AM
SNACK                                   10:00 - 10:30 AM
WRITING                                10:30 - 11:00 AM
ART                                         11:00 - 11:30 AM
LUNCH                                    11:30 - 12:00PM
NAP/QUIET TIME                  12:00 - 2:00 PM (sometimes this goes a little longer depending on naps)
OUTSIDE PLAY/P.E.                2:00 - 3:00 PM
FREE TIME                              3:00 - 5:00 PM 

Here is a visual of our daily schedule. These are all velcroed so I can move them around and play with the schedule each day.
This schedule usually gets me to dinner time. We try very hard to get all school work done in the beginning of the day so that after nap/quiet time the kids are just free to play the rest of the day. Obviously we move subjects around to change the days up and the schedule is flexible depending on how the kids are doing each day. Some days are really good, others are a struggle, but I can tell you 100% our days would be much harder if we didn't have a schedule. My kids definitely thrive in structure and I think it helps them to know what their day is going to look like. I mean, we have calendars to help us stay organized, why would our kiddos brains work any differently? 

Whew! So now that you have a little look into our school day I hope this can help you organize your kids and your family as we continue digital learning for the remainder of this school year. I know that it is a lot and takes some planning, but I promise you, it is worth it. You will find your days will run just a little bit smoother when there is some sort of schedule.

One thing that has been really helpful during this stay at home order is to find something that helps fill me up with joy. Sometimes that is finding a few minutes to sit quietly in scripture while the kids are napping. Maybe a quick workout. Or a bike ride around the neighborhood with the family. Sometimes it is when my husband takes the kids outside to play so I can cook dinner by myself. Whatever that looks like for you, find it and work it into your schedule somehow. Even just 15 or 20 minutes can be really helpful to recenter yourself.

I know you can think of at least one thing that has happened to you during this stay at home order that has brought you fear, anxiety or frustration. What was it? (Other than your kids having a temper tantrum over something silly). If you can't eliminate it completely, is there a way for you to at least limit it?

For me it comes down to media, negative people/posts, and social media. All of these things are not all bad, I just found that too much time with any of these were bringing me down and effecting my mood and overall mental health. We do not have regular cable, which is helpful to filter the media. I do however give myself about a 10-15 minutes window a day to catch up on local and global news. That way I am not completely out of the loop, but also that I am not bombarded with it all day long. And then I can choose the sources that I want to receive my information from. Not all are created equally.

The negative people or posts and social media really just come down to setting boundaries. If it is a person that is bringing you down, try to limit your time with that person (if possible). If it is social media, try to unplug for parts of the day and substitute that time with one of the things that bring you joy instead. Instead of scrolling through TikTok for 3 hours, go on a bike ride and bake some bread. Or watch a movie with a loved one. If you are alone, Zoom somebody that you love and play a game of cards. I mean, we have to get super creative here, but it can be done. 

The last thing that has been so helpful to me right now is prayer. There is power in prayer. Prayer doesn't have to be this ritualistic, well thought out, thing. Literally it is simply a conversation between you and God. Pour your heart out to him. Write it in a journal. Whatever way feels right, but I promise you, this is so healing.

Your time with God can also simply be time reading and studying scripture. Letting the holy spirit work in your heart and soul. Here are some of my absolute favorite scriptures right now:

"Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Revelation 21:4

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Romans 12:12

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33b

Spend some time today in God's word and in prayer. Spend some time today appreciating every single moment you have been given with your loved ones. For every single breath in your lungs, the sun shining through the window or the rain that produces new life. Do not let these hard times destroy you or make you become bitter, because that is how Satan wins. And all I have to say to that is, "NOT TODAY SATAN! NOT TODAY!"

We are all in this together and we will come out of this stronger and more connected as a community of people if we allow this time to heal us and grow us rather than destroy us. ❤


Travel Diaries :: Banff + Lake Louise, Canada

12:52:00 PM

It's not often that my husband and I get to get away just the two of us, sans kiddos. I LOVE traveling with our kids, but there is something so nice about the freedom you experience as just adults. Not being confound by naps or schedules and getting to just let your guard down.

That being said, the hubs and I just recently took a very short, but amazing trip up to the great white north. As native Floridians it is pretty nice to experience a different climate and I don't think it could get much prettier than Banff and Lake Louise, Canada. I've wanted to travel here for some time, but honestly only thought of doing it in the Summer time (which we will also have to do some day). However, when this long weekend presented itself we just decided to make it happen. And I am SO glad we did! It was truly a dreamy winter wonderland.

We stayed at the famous Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, right on the shores of the breathtaking Lake Louise inside the Banff National Park. In the summers you can rent canoes and find many people out on the waters of this pristine lake. But in the winter, you can trade those canoes for a pair of ice skates or snow shoes. As the lake freezes over in the winter time, guests can ice skate right out on the lake. What an amazing experience that was! For one, I haven't ice skated in probably 20 years. And two, never on a real lake!! If ice skating isn't your speed, you can rent snow shoes and take a peaceful hike through some of the trails found right on the hotel grounds. We didn't get around to snowshoeing this trip, but we will definitely be back for more Lake Louise adventures.

After ice skating we found our way to the ice bar to warm up with a spiked hot chocolate and cider. Now that is just what you need when temperatures are starting to dip below -10 degrees Celcius (14 degrees Fahrenheit), let me tell you, it was COLD for us native Floridians. Oh, and one of the most tasty treats, roasted apples. Not from the oven, but over an open fire!! OH. MY. GOODNESS. Talk about delicious! We will definitely be bringing this tastiness home with us. 

The next morning took us on a very fun, off the beaten path adventure. As the sun rises a little later in the mountains we hit the road around 6:30AM to try to meet the sunrise on iconic Abraham Lake, along the Icefields Parkway. This was definitely my favorite part of the trip. I always find myself feeling more at peace when I am isolated out in nature, with nothing but the sound of your breath. And if you are ever needing just that (as long as you can handle some bitterly cold winds) Abraham Lake in winter, at sunrise, is just what you need. 

What makes Abraham lake so impressive is because of it's location in the mountains, wind whips through the valley, blowing most of the snow off of the frozen lake. Leaving its pristine glass-like form for onlookers to enjoy. Also, if you look closely, methane bubbles coming up from the bottom have frozen upon their rise to the top. Definitely one of the coolest natural phenomenons I think I have seen.

Just driving along the Icefields Parkway is almost too much beauty to take in. Around every corner the majesty of the glaciers tucked into the Candian Rockies points to the beauty and glory of our Creator.

As our time was short we jam packed this day in with another hike down to Johnston Canyon. In the Summer the waterfalls here are flowing majestically and you can find tons of wildlife all around. But winter, brings a new beauty in that the waterfalls literally have been frozen mid-flow and other beautiful ice formations have been pushed straight out of the canyon. Definitely a sight to see if you ever make it up this way.

And if you are super adventurous and have a little climbing experience, you can even climb these gorgeous ice structures...see if you can spot the climber towards the top there...mad props!! Maybe next time...

Last night of our trip we made our way up to the top of the Banff gondola to take in the sunset and just the vastness of where we had been exploring the past few days. Surrounded on all sides by snow-covered peaks while the pink and purple clouds danced in the sky is a sight I don't think I can easily forget.

As there is a restaurant on the top of the gondola we were able to get seats in the bar area last minute (definitely would recommend making a reservation if you can, especially if you have a larger group. We just took a chance and they were able to squeeze us in) and enjoy the view a little longer while we ate dinner. And if I knew how to photograph stars (on my list of things I would like to learn) I would have shown you just how beautiful the night sky was from this lookout point once it was completely dark. I have never seen so many stars in my entire life.

As a girl who has always lived in a city, we don't typically get to see too many stars because of the city lights. It was beyond humbling to witness the vastness of the universe from the top of a mountain. I can't even put into words the emotions that flooded me as I stood there looking up at the night sky witnessing too many stars to count. What a beautiful God we serve who would give us such a glimpse into who He is as the creator of those stars.

"Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."
Isaiah 40:26

Needless to say, this was another check off of the bucket list for us. A short, but very sweet trip. I have come home filled up with MUCH needed alone time with my husband and our time spent out in the quiet of nature, just drinking in this beautiful planet we are so honored to call home.

If you don't already have this on your list of places to visit, I would highly recommend adding it. You will not be disappointed.

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