Monday, March 5, 2018

St. Patrick's Day Word Search - Printable

Hey yall! March is here, which means St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner. Today I've got a fun little activity from that you can download, print and enjoy with your little ones. What a fun way to help them recognize letters and words!

Luck will be on your side as you use your spelling skills to find those fun St. Patrick's Day words. Like this spelling activity? Head over to for more learning printables like this. 

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Coffee Talk Confessions - February 2018

Happy Monday! David and I just got back from the most relaxing weekend in the Smoky Mountains and now it's time to gear up for a busy next couple of weeks. This morning I got to take the girls to a group play date with some friends at the church and it was just what we needed to start the week on this dreary Monday morning. We've got several things on our To-Do list but sometimes getting out of the house is better for my sanity than staying in.

I've just got a few things that have been rolling around in my head lately that I thought I'd share today.

//I've been a bit MIA lately on the blog, but honestly, I just haven't been super inspired to write on anything in particular. I love blogging, and it's a wonderful outlet for me, but it doesn't come as naturally to me as it does for other people. So I appreciate you guys sticking around!

//I may be the only weirdo out there who is NOT ready for Spring. I've heard so many people say they're over the cold...I say KEEP IT COMING! I'm not ready in the slightest for warmer weather. 40's-50's is perfect! The next week's forecast is actually bumming me out pretty bad (rain all week and highs in the 60's and 70's - yuck!)

//I get unreasonably agitated when my children take their shoes off in the car when I tell them every. single. day. that it is a no-no. For some reason it just drives the stew out of me and is admittedly one of the reasons why I may never have another baby. (insert shrugging shoulder emoji here)

//Something else that aggravates me in the car is when people honk the second the light turns green. I just think honking in general is rude, but seriously man, give me a second to take my foot of the brake and press the gas pedal!

//I have this bad habit (can you call it a habit?) of letting my mind wander way out of control until I've imagined the worst possible scenario of  a situation. For instance, if a car cuts me off and comes close to hitting me, I start thinking about what if it did hit me? Which way would my car go  and where would the majority of the impact be? What if I was knocked unconscious and my kids were in the car? What would happen to them? How would the police know who to call? What if I was conscious but my kids were hurt? Which one would I help first? Then I play out an entire phone call to 911 and this whole scenario of doing CPR on my kid and calling David and telling him what happened while turns into a whole big thing in my head until I snap out of it and bring myself back to reality. Then I usually say a prayer thanking God for watching over us and keeping us safe.
It's not only while driving though. It's any time a ball rolls into the street (what if they run in the road and get hit by a car?), any time we're at a pool or the beach (what if they go under and I don't see/hear?), any time we're at the park (what if they fall off the big slide and break their neck?). I get these detailed flashes of the accident in my mind and it just continues to spiral from there. Is this weird? Does anyone else do this? When I told David about this he thought it was so strange. I guess these are the things you have to worry about when you have kids, and I hear it doesn't get any better! (Lord help us when they start driving!)

Got any confessions to make me feel a little better about myself? (ha!) Feel free to share!
Have a great rest of the week!

For more confessions, visit the Coffee Talk Confessions Archive!

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Friday, February 2, 2018

Grace to the Humble

Yall probably already know I'm crazy about my planners. Just before Christmas I decided to buy my first Happy Planner so I started following several #plannerbabes on Instagram for inspiration (I had no idea what an extensive and supportive group this planner community is, BTW).

Through one of the ladies I follow I found out about a community bible study that several people from the planner community were doing and they were inviting anyone to join in who was interested. It is a study through the book of Ephesians via the book "By His Wounds You Are Healed" by Wendy Horger Alsup. People are able to share their thoughts with others, and follow other people, through the hashtag #faithplanningtogether. 

What I think is so incredible about social media is that a bible study that started with 30 people grew to over 100 (200?) people, just by sharing the study on Instagram. It's still unknown how many people are actually participating but Angie (@colourmeblessed), the person who first initiated the study, mentioned that some people who contacted her said that this will be their first time reading the bible. To think that people could be brought to Christ through social media is a powerful thought! Sometimes I hate social media because I feel like we get too wrapped up in it (I know I'm guilty of spending too much time on my phone) but it some ways it can be a very good tool.

But anyway, the point of today's post is to share with you a few thoughts from this week's study. It was too much to write in my faith planner and is a short message I would like to share with anyone who is willing to hear it. This is not me preaching a sermon, I just want to share a few thoughts because they hit me right in the heart, and maybe, just maybe, there's someone out there who could benefit from them too.

The recurring theme that stuck out to me this week is humility. So many times we see Christians being boastful and proud, judging and even condemning others for their sins. We see people holding signs, screaming hateful words in protest of gay marriage or abortion or transexuals being allowed in Target bathrooms. But it's not always this overt. Many of us do the same thing to people in much more passive ways. Unfortunately, the Church of Christ has a bad reputation for just this. I've had conversations with different people on several occasions about church and religion and often times when I tell them I worship at the Church of Christ, they are put off by it. They've had a bad experience with either individual members of a Church of Christ or the congregation as a whole. They then they feel like they have to tip-toe around me, or be on their best behavior, because I may judge them as well, and I just think this is such a shame

*Sidenote: I  realize that this is not something that only happens within the Church of Christ, but throughout all denominations. Later in Ephesians Paul talks about the church as one body and Christ as the head. He calls us to pursue unity with this body and what we must realize is that the body of Christ is every single person who has ever been reconciled to him. Not just people in the Church of Christ. Not just Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or any other singular denomination, but every single person. When I've read about ONE body and ONE church in the past, I tend to think of my own congregation, but I have to remember that it is so much bigger than that. 

Something I've been reminded of through this study is that we were ALL dead in our sins, completely hopeless, but God saved us by his grace. God is rich in mercy and saw us worthy of the gift of salvation, not because of anything we did on our own, but because he loves us. (Eph 2:1-10)

It's easy to become self-righteous when we see others living in sin. We must remember that we cannot boast because we are all human and we all sin. The author of the book states "If we really understand the juxtaposition between what we were inherently in our nature and what God did for us solely by his own love and  mercy, we know we have nothing on anyone." We are no better than any other person on this earth. Our sin is no less than theirs. 

Paul acts as an example of being humble and confident. In Ephesians 3:8 he calls himself "the very least of all the saints," but just a few verses later in v. 11-12 he says " Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him." We can be confident in the good news we are spreading and the manner in which we demonstrate Christ through our actions IF we understand God's great sacrifice and know it to be truth. However, this is the very reason we must stay humble. God's mercy, love and grace is for everyone and we are not superior to anyone.

This concept took me a little while to wrap my head around. What drove this point home for me (and actually brought tears to my eyes) is the example of humility that Christ demonstrated. Philippians 2:5-8 sums this up:

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!"

Christ lowered himself to be born in a stable, to wash the feet of disciples, to be mocked and scorned and to die in such a shameful way by the hands of the very people he came to save. Wow. Jesus Christ, God the Son, did all of that for me?! He did all of that for each and every one of us. 

It is written several times that "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble."(Proverbs 3:34, 1 Peter 5:5, James 4:6) Alsup states in this book - "humility and pride are key responses that indicate you either do or do not get the gospel and that we either are or are not being conformed to the image of Christ. May we be a humble people, not with simple politeness and sham diplomacy that masquerades as authentic humility, but with a genuine heart of a servant, esteeming others better than ourselves and letting go of our rights for the cause of Christ. May we be like Jesus."

My takeaway from this week is that God saved us by his grace and mercy and if we truly understand what He has done for us, we must show love, mercy and grace toward others with a humble heart. To judge with righteous indignation tramples on the grace that God has shown us. 

I'm going to add photos of my notes pages from the book because there really is SO much  more to this study than what I can transcribe here. I'm only three weeks into this study and I already feel like I've gained a better understanding of what God has done for me, where I stand, and why all of this is so meaningful. I look forward to learning throughout the rest of the study what God expects from me, how to interact with others, and gain a better understanding of my heavenly reality to be better equipped to endure in peace my earthly situation (this one is the hardest for me to grasp.)

I highly recommend this study to anyone. The title is specific to women, but so far it has not been a gender specific study. David is reading it with me and has enjoyed it so far. It has sparked a few deep conversations between us that we wouldn't have had otherwise. (The book is just $9.99 on Amazon and eligible for Prime.)

Thanks for enduring my babbling, but these things really touched my heart this week and I wanted to share. I hope you all have a really great weekend! 

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Bedtime Struggle: Update

Back in August I shared about our "Bedtime Struggle" with Raley. I was so surprised by the overwhelming amount of support that you guys showed me during this time and I found that many of you are going through the same thing. While I don't wish these sleeping issues on anybody, it did make me feel so much better to know that this is not something out of the ordinary.

Within the last month we have turned a complete 180 when it comes to bedtime so I wanted to share with you what we've been doing and maybe provide some encouragement for those of you struggling with the same issues.

We had been trying to avoid any sort of sleep aid because we didn't want her to end up dependent on medication to fall asleep. When we talked to her pediatrician about her sleeping issues back in October she mentioned that it would be OK for her to take Melatonin if we felt like she needed it. In December she had a persistent cold that was keeping her up at night and the night time cough and cold medicine wasn't helping her sleep so I finally broke down and bought the Zarbee's children's melatonin tablets. They, of course, worked like a charm, but you're not supposed to give them to kids for prolonged periods of time (the bottle says no more than 14 days in a row.) We gave them to her for about a week hoping that it would stimulate her natural melatonin to kick in when it was supposed to each night. Although, after we stopped giving her the melatonin, she started getting out of bed again, just like she was before. We thought well that didn't work, but it was nice while it lasted.

Then we decided to try something different that we hadn't tried yet. We realized one night that alot of times we threaten to punish her for getting out of bed but then don't follow through. We will hear her starting to creep down the stairs and we'll loudly say to each other "I hope Raley isn't out of bed, I sure would hate to give her a spanking tonight," and she would run back up to her room and jump in bed. We realized we were just being lazy and not following through with her punishment was not solving the problem. It was allowing her to test our boundaries and get away with it.

Another thing we realized after months and months of dealing with this is that typically spankings and taking away treats for disobeying didn't work for her. We would tell her "if you stay in bed you'll get a treat in the morning, but if you get out of bed you lose your treat." She didn't care about the treat.

So finally one night we sat her down and had a talk about "consequences" (our buzz word lately). We told her that she needed to stay in bed and go right to sleep and if she didn't there would be consequences and we explained what the word meant. Then we told her clearly what those consequences were - the first time she got out of bed she would lose her favorite baby doll for the night and the second time she got out of bed she would lose her "sock monkey." These were her two favorite toys at the time and she did not like the idea of not getting to sleep with them in her bed.

We watched her closely on the monitor and when she got out of bed we took her baby doll away. No second chances. She cried for a few minutes, but we talked about consequences and how she knew before laying down what those consequences would be. We reiterated that if she got out of bed again that she would lose sock monkey. She didn't get out of bed again that night and ended up falling asleep pretty quickly.

So we stuck with it and this has been going on for about a month now. Each night at bed time and during the day at "rest time" we talk about consequences. We clearly state what will happen if she gets out of bed and, if she does, we follow through with those consequences. Since we started doing this I can count on one hand the number of times she has gotten out of bed for a reason other than to use the bathroom (which she knows is always OK.) She doesn't always fall right to sleep, but she rarely gets out of bed anymore.
The orange monkey she's holding is what she calls "sock monkey"
She even stays in bed at "rest time." She has to stay in her room and rest for 2 hours each day (she knows it's time to get up when her clock turns green). She actually falls asleep and naps 2 or 3 days out of the week, but the rest of the days she has been very good about sitting in her bed and playing with dolls or looking at books, which I am totally ok with.

I'm almost hesitant to post this because I don't want to jinx the progress we've made. Honestly, I'm not 100% sure what has caused this drastic change in her behavior. Maybe her natural melatonin is kicking in when it should after taking the supplement. Maybe it's talking about consequences and following through. Maybe it's a maturity thing and she has simply grown out of that phase. I think it's probably a combination of all of it, but whatever it is, I hope it stays that way!

Are any of yall still having the same sleep issues? If you've had these issues in the past, but they are resolved, what worked for you?

In case you missed it:
The Bedtime Struggle - if you'd like to catch up on Raley's sleep issues that had us pulling our hair out for nearly a year.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Audrey's Pancakes and Pajamas 2nd Birthday Party

First of all, let me say ROLL TIDE!! 17-time National Champions - I'm pretty proud to be a Crimson Tide Alum. When my sister was picking which school she was going to go to I told her that if she went to Alabama she would be proud of where she went to school, and not just because of our football dynasty. When someone asks me where I went to school, I feel my heart puff up a little bit and a smile cross my face when I say "I went to The University of Alabama!"

But anyway, on to the real topic of the day: Audrey's 2nd birthday! This birthday feels different from any other birthday I've experienced with either of my children (we've celebrated 6 between the two of them.) I couldn't figure out why it felt so different, but then it hit me. She acts so much bigger than she is. I've thought of her as 2 for probably about 6 months now. When I look back at just a year ago it amazes me the things that she learned so quickly. Last Christmas she was just learning to walk, but it feels like she's been walking for much longer. Last year between the time she turned a year old to 13 months old I remember being amazed at how many more words she had started to say. I look back in my journal from last year and it really is incredible how quickly she picks up on things and how she remembers things. She wants to be just like her big sister and I think that is probably 90% of the reason she was able to pick up on things so quickly. Because she talks as much as she does, is so independent and has such a quick and hilarious sense of humor, she has felt like she's 2 for a while now. Oh, and lets not forget the temper. She is SO strong-willed and definitely has a 2-year-old temper! Most of the time she's as sweet as can be, but she knows exactly what she wants and when she doesn't get it, the temper comes out. We'll just have to see what "terrible two's" bring us!

On to her party! This year I decided to do a Pancakes and Pajamas Party. I came across the idea a few years ago and loved it! The party was at 10 am and we served breakfast foods. I have never done a party that early (we usually do 12 or 2) but I loved having it at 10 in the morning because we were able to have the party done and still have the rest of the day to play with new toys, rest, and go out for a birthday dinner. Also, 2:00 is our nap time, so when we wait until the afternoon they sometimes end up over-tired and fussy. Those of you who have been guests at morning parties, do you like having them early or do you prefer the afternoon?

Everyone was encouraged to wear pajamas (even adults!) and I loved seeing all the little ones in their jammies!
This picture cracks me up!
The theme was pancakes and pajamas but you will see lots and lots of sprinkles and polka dots! I didn't intend for it to be that way initially, but that's just the way it turned out. I LOVE all the bright colors, especially the hot pink and blue.

The menu included:
- Mini pancakes with whipped cream
- Chocolate dipped donut holes
- Sausage and cream cheese casserole bites
- Donut tower (Daylight Donuts)
- Fruit and yogurt parfaits
- "Pancake" cake
- Chocolate, strawberry and white milk
- Orange juice
- Coffee
- Juice boxes for the kids

I was worried about how this cake would turn out, but it actually turned out pretty great! I used 2 boxes of Funfetti cake mix and scooped about 2/3 cup of batter into round cake pans. This didn't seem like enough at first, but if you put much more the layers will be too thick and won't have that pancake look.

Favors were simply a box of cereal and a spoon! 
The monogram is from Audrey's nursery. The colors matched perfectly!

I think she enjoyed her cupcake!

It was nearly impossible to get a picture of the birthday girl. She is such a stinker...when she sees the camera she purposefully looks away from the camera. Half the time we have to trick her to get her to look up and smile. We ended up with a couple of good ones though.

I'd also like to share Audrey's birthday pictures by Elles Photography! She did a great job, as usual! And Audrey loved "jumping on the bed" at her photo session. 

THANK YOU to everyone who made Audrey's birthday so special! She had a great day.


Audrey's PJ's - Cozy Kids Embroidery (Gwendolyn was great to work with! The font I originally picked out for her name wasn't going to fit right so she sent me pictures of other options to see what I liked instead of just fulfilling or changing the order. I was very appreciative of this.)
Raley's PJ's - Sweet JJ Designs
Favor Tags - Aniet Illustration (This shop was great to work with as well. Her shop was on break but she was willing to correspond via email and Paypal to be sure I got the files I loved!)

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Or visit my Party Planning page for more!

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