Monday, March 30, 2015

Gender Reveal Party

One of my dearest friends had the most adorable gender reveal party last weekend and I am so excited to share the pictures from it. She and her mom came up with the cutest ideas and it all turned out just perfectly! 

When you first came in, they had a cute little pink & blue table all set up. A chalkboard where you could place your vote, pictures of them both as newborns, mustaches and lips on a stick, pink and blue candy, ultrasound pictures, and a jar to place name suggestions. Our family was split 50/50 on the gender so that was fun! 



Of course they had adorable gender themed refreshments...




They came up with a cute little game where we split into teams based on our gender vote and had nerf gun wars. 

Obviously we needed a group photo! It was pretty split as far as guesses! I was on team blue, just in case you were wondering ;) 

And for the big reveal! They had their moms come to the ultrasound with them and the tech told their moms who went shopping to get something gender appropriate for the reveal. It was so much fun to watch their faces when they found out! Both of them were guessing a girl! 
Megan's mom handed them both a box and told them they had to open them at the exact same time to find out! Brett was super excited to fling the lid off of his! And it's a.....
"Wait, I'm confused...what's in yours?" 
The moms got everyone pretty good with a bunch of yellow! 
Ok now onto the REAL reveal...
I think the parents-to-be were more than ready to find out! 






Don't you just love those happy smiles?! It was so much fun capturing the progression of Dad's face as he realized he is going to have a SON! I think they were both very surprised which made it even more fun! 

The happy parents and excited cousin!

Aren't they adorable?! Love you guys! 

Have you been to any gender reveals lately?! What were they having? 

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Another Whole 30 + PinCrazy

Well, I am eating my words and doing something that I said I would never, ever do again. Another Whole 30. Starting next week! I said I would never do another one for a lot of reasons, but the biggest is because I felt like after I was finished with it, I just went crazy eating everything that I couldn't have while on it and completely un did my progress. I felt too deprived so it didn't feel like it worked. I know it is not supposed to be sustainable for a life time, but it has a lot of benefits to doing it for a month, 45 days or 2 months. I am excited to jump on it again and see what kind of progress I can make. I decided to do it again because my eating has been out of control lately. I have a major sugar addiction that is hard for me to break unless I just go cold turkey and fast! So I am doing it. I always feel way better when I eat this way and I really want to reintroduce food slowly at the end of my whole 30 this time to see what I react to. Last time, I didn't reintroduce but I felt SO bad every time I ate food that wasn't whole 30 for about a month afterwards so I am anxious to see what the culprit is! I am planning to do a lot of things differently this time around, which I plan to write about assuming it goes well this time! The biggest change is that this time I am doing it alone. My husband and I both did it last time but he is sitting this one out, so it'll be interesting to see how my will power holds up! I'm sure I will be updating my progress here and there on Instagram!


It's Thursday so that means another PINCRAZY party!
Living In This Season

Meet your hosts:
Each week, your pins get seen on all four of our blogs! I highly recommend following these sweet ladies if you aren't already!
All Kinds of Things
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter


Almond Place
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter



She Builds Her Home
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter
Living In This Season

Party Rules:
1. Link up your PIN (Not your post)!
2. Hop around and pin at least 2 other pins!
That's it!
This Week's Feature!
Nicolette from Powerful Mothering shared 4 downloadable Easter printable activities for preschool age kiddos! They are so cute and perfect for the upcoming holiday! Thanks for sharing, Nicolette!





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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

5 Things I've Learned from Having an Adopted Sibling

My beautiful sister was adopted from China when I was 15 years old and she was 15 months old. She changed all of our lives in tons of amazing ways, and I have learned so much about adoption and love from having an adopted sister. Just to be clear, I never refer to her as my "adopted sister" because she is just my sister, but for the purpose of clarity in this post, she is my sister and she is adopted. Maybe you are a parent who is considering adoption but wondering how it will affect your biological children. Maybe you are someone with an adopted sibling yourself and you can relate. Or maybe you are just someone who wants to learn more about adoption and families. Whatever brought you here, I hope you will take one thing away from this post: adopted or not, they're all the same. Which brings me to my first point...
1. There is literally no difference between a bio and adopted sibling. 
I have a full bio brother who is about 2 1/2 years older than me, and a half (same dad, different moms) adopted sister who is 14 years younger than me. In terms of relationship, closeness, etc. there is absolutely no difference between my brother and sister. I love them both, I am close with them both, there's just no difference. With my own kids, they talk all the time about adopting kids and are so excited to have more siblings to play with. They don't care in the slightest if they share DNA or not. 
2. Love is color blind. 
I hear and read people asking all the time if it is hard to form a bond with someone of a different ethnicity. Or if it is hard to feel like they are family when they look so different than you. I am here to tell you that the answer is absolutely not. I think it may be one of those things that you can't understand until you have been through it, but honestly, I forget that my sister is Asian. It sounds so silly. I can be looking right at her and she is very obviously Asian, and it's like I just literally don't even think about it ever. She's just my sister. We have even had people tell us that we look alike and that we share certain physical characteristics. I just can't imagine that I would feel any differently about her if she looked just like me. 
3. There's always more room in your heart. 
One of my daughters changes the number of siblings that she wants daily. It ranges anywhere from 5-20+ at any given time. I hear of other people's kids asking for brothers and sisters as well, but I wasn't one of those kids. I don't remember ever asking for or hoping for more siblings. I had my brother and I remember when my dad and step mom first started talking about more kids I was really excited about it, but besides that I was never aching for more sibs. Then I met my sister, and it was like I couldn't remember life before her and I still can't. Our family just wasn't complete until her and my heart had so much more space. I know this will be true of any adopted or bio kids that we add to our family in the future. There is always more room. 
4. Neither kid is "less" or "more" than the other. 
I've heard of parents worrying about the dynamic between adopted and bio siblings in terms of one feeling like the other is more important. I can't speak for my brother or sister, but I honestly never felt this. We know our place. We are part of the same family and all belong in the same ways. I'm not more special because I share genetics and she is not more special because she was adopted and prayed and waited for. We both matter. 
I really love this picture because it depicts how our family loves not because of genetics but because we just love! My step mom doesn't share DNA with my kids, but she loves them just the same. My kids don't share DNA with their Auntie but they love her just the same. The only two people who share genetic material in this photo are my two daughters, but is that not still a lovely picture of a precious family? Family is way bigger than people who just look alike. 
5. Love is instantaneous.
I don't want to say that this is the end all be all for every adoptive family, but it was for me, and I think for my parents. I remember walking out of the building where my sister was placed in our arms, my dad carrying my sister, and me yelling into the camera "I HAVE A SISTER!" And that was that. Just like that, we walked in without a baby and we walked out with one and from that second on, she was my sister. It was instant. I never felt like she wasn't and we have always shared a special sisterly bond. From the moment we met her she was our family just as if she had been born into it. Love is instantaneous. 
This photo is the first picture taken with my sister, on the day we met her, before we left that building with a new family member. See? Instantaneous. 
If you have an adopted sibling or are the parent of bio/adopted children, what would you add? 
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Signs of Spring

We've been seeing a lot more sunshine and it has certainly been feeling like Spring is here! I am very thankful. Honestly, I have never been much of a Spring girl. I feel like oftentimes it is just a tease. It gets warm, or even hot, only to dump one last snow on you again. Everything is brown and dead and muddy. But this year, I am thankful to be playing outside! I'm glad to have lunch at the picnic table, and let my kids play with chalk for hours. Spring this year feels better than ever! I am excited to start seeing more green, more leaves and more things blooming soon! Here are some of my favorite signs of spring lately: 

A chalk covered booty. I mean. 



t-ball and sunshine. 
burgers on the grill. amIright?
bubbles. so many bubbles. 
pulling out the egg wreath. every year when I pull this thing out of storage I am pretty sure it actually screams SPRING at me! 

We hope you are enjoying Spring as much as we are this year <3


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Bucket List + Pin Crazy

So, SO happy Spring is here! The weather has been so amazing and we have been loving spending time outside every day since it started warming up! The first few days it was only 40-50 degrees but we were out there in t-shirts and it felt so warm in the sun! Amazing what our bodies get used to in the frigid winter weather! We are looking forward to continuing to enjoy Spring and cross some things off of our Spring bucket list! 

It's Thursday so that means another PINCRAZY party!
Living In This Season

Meet your hosts:
Each week, your pins get seen on all four of our blogs! I highly recommend following these sweet ladies if you aren't already! All Kinds of Things
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter


Almond Place
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter



She Builds Her Home
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter
Living In This Season
Blog // Facebook // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

Party Rules:
1. Link up your PIN (Not your post)!
2. Hop around and pin at least 2 other pins!
That's it!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chemical Free Diaper Rash Cream {With Essential Oils}

My oldest daughter has really sensitive skin and lots of allergies, so ever since she was a baby, we have had to be careful about what we put on her skin. After talking with the dermatologist we switched to all fragrance free and really gentle cleansers, soaps, lotions, detergents...everything. But the more I've educated myself on chemicals, the more I have realized that those "gentle" products still have harmful and harsh chemicals in them! She is long since potty trained, but my youngest daughter came down with a bad diaper rash a couple of weeks ago out of the blue. This was the perfect opportunity for me to whip up some all natural diaper rash cream and try it out! I had these little jars from the Target dollar spot waiting in my bathroom closet and wasn't sure what to do with them, and when this happened, I knew exactly how to use one! 

What you'll need:
Glass container of some sort
Coconut oil
Essential oils (I used Young Living brand for this cream)
   *Lavender
   *Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea tree oil)
Spoon for scooping and mixing 
First, take about 1/2 cup of organic, unrefined coconut oil and scoop it into your glass container. 
Microwave the oil for about 30 seconds-1 minute until it is a liquid.
Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil, and 5-7 drops of melaleuca essential oil and stir to combine with coconut oil. 
Pop in the freezer for about 10 minutes to solidify the cream again.
That's it! It took me 2 minutes and I had everything I needed on hand. 
So, the biggest question is does it work? I waited to write this blog post until I knew for sure. The answer is yes! 
This was the kind of rash that was angry red (no bumps or anything) and my daughter was crying out in pain with real tears when I would change her diaper. Saddest thing ever. I made up this cream and put it on her before bed that night (just a small scoop on my fingers-probably about a quarter sized amount). The next morning when she woke up, she still had some redness, but she didn't complain or cry out AT ALL when I changed her. I continued to use it each time I changed her diaper that day and by the end of the day it was completely gone and back to normal! I'll never use desitin again! 
Why does it work?! 
Lavender essential oil is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. It is also very soothing and gentle on the skin. (Smells great, too!) 
Melaleuca is also anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-septic and has potent healing properties. 
Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that is also an antimicrobial agent. Put all 3 together and you have yourself a powerful, all natural healing cream! 
Luckily for me, my daughter has been potty training for the last few weeks and so we are out of diapers for now! I guess I will save the rest for when the new baby comes! 
Cost for making this yourself: 
$1.43 for 1/2 cup of coconut oil (I use Aldi brand) 
.90 for lavender oil (Young Living) 
.50 for melaleuca oil (Young Living )


-----
$2.83 for 4 oz. of homemade, all natural diaper cream 
(This is a 48% savings from Desitin and would be even more for "all natural" ointments!) 
A little bit goes a long way so I expect this ONE batch would probably last throughout the diaper era for a kiddo! 
Have you tried a DIY diaper cream before? 
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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Free Easter Printables

Easter is coming in a hurry this year! I love Easter. Probably for all the obvious reasons. It is the greatest day in history, after all! If Christ had not followed God's plan and died only to rise again, I wouldn't be the person I am today or have the life that I do. That is something to celebrate! Here are some fun spring-y Easter printables, free for the taking! These print 8.5x11
Enjoy! 
{Right click to save, or click on the link to print from Google docs}



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