Links I Loved This Week


(Love this picture!  Click HERE to see how it was made!)

Mom Has Biggest Impact on Girls’ Body Image ::  USA Today

10 Year Old Boy With Autism Sings Open the Eyes of My Heart :: Godvine

Cat in a Shark Costume Riding a Roomba Vacuum :: Laughing Squid

The Dirty Little Secret Behind “Pure Squeezed” Orange Juice ::  Body Unburdened

Why “Did You Have Fun?” is the Wrong Question ::  Laura Parker

Enjoy your weekend!

Make it great!


What I Know For Sure


-I am a child of God

-Jesus is real

-my family is precious

-my husband is one of the most loving people to walk this earth

-my girls are amazing and unique human beings that have so much to offer this world

-Skylar gives great hugs

-Hailey gives more compliments than anyone I’ve ever met (except for maybe my nephew, Ben)

-I have learned more by being a parent of a child with special needs than I EVER learned in college

-I understood my parents and some of their choices so much more when I became a parent

-I love to SnapChat with my niece, Rebecca

-hearing my nieces & nephew yell “JuJu’s here” is awesome

-a solid marriage takes work

-my dad always encourages me

-my mom is always good for a laugh when she is telling a story

-I need to have time out of the house with just my husband every week

-I am a fiercely loyal friend

-I am a better wife & mom if I have a regular girl’s night out

-I find great joy in documenting our family’s story

-Sonic has the best ice

-cheese crackers have an addictive ingredient that make it impossible to eat just a few

-sugar is my biggest downfall

-I do better during the week when I meal-plan

-exercising always makes me feel better

-reading a good book is one of the greatest escapes there is

-honesty is always the best policy

-crossing items off my to-do list brings joy to my soul

-giving grace to people can often be difficult, but I never regret it

-life isn’t always a bed of roses, but I am blessed for sure!

Make it great!


Links I Loved This Week


I love to share great articles, stories, and visuals that I find online.  I often share the links through my Facebook account,  but then I realized that many of my readers don’t use Facebook and I also don’t want to bombard my personal feed with links.  It is my hope to share some of these great links I find through the week with you on Saturdays.  Some of the links are funny, some are thought-provoking, but all of them are things I saw this week that I loved.  So without further ado, here are some links that I loved this week.

When You are Broken:  The Now-Traumatic Disorder of Everyday Life :: A Holy Experience

40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World :: Twisted Sifter

Impressionist Sings ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ as 19 Divas :: Gawker

On Releasing Perfection ::  Simple Homeschool

Could You Buy a Toy for the Least of These? ::  Chubby Baby Designs (This is a sweet friend of mine from Ohio.  I love her passion for orphans & adoption!)

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Make it great!


New Beginnings

IMG_6080-1Today is Hailey’s first day of the 7th grade.  After a lot of prayer and discussion, we decided to place Hailey in a private Christian school this year.   We truly feel that it is going to be a great fit for her.

We started praying about our school options for Hailey’s 7th grade year in January. We discussed homeschooling her another year, private schools, and placing her in our local public school.  Hailey was 1 of 30 students in her 5th grade class and she struggled tremendously with focus and staying on task, and that was with only having 1 teacher who was very aware of Hailey’s strengths and weaknesses.  So, it only took us about 2 minutes to eliminate the public middle school here due to the large class sizes.

I really enjoyed having Hailey at home last year, but I knew that she desired to be back in a classroom setting.  This is where knowing your child really comes into play. Although she learned well at home, I know that she loves the classroom.  She loves a more rigid schedule and she desires to be with other kids.  Hailey spent a day in May shadowing and absolutely loved it.  When she came out at the end of the day she said “Mom, I LOVED it!  I totally want to go here next year.  The teachers prayed, it was awesome!”

I could go on and on about this subject, but I won’t.  I know that this is an exciting new chapter for Hailey.  This morning when we dropped her off, I did so with both excitement and a bit of sadness.  The sadness is for me.  I will miss having her here at home with me every day.  I will miss hearing her whistle and hum throughout the day.  I will miss those days when she decided to speak in a British accent because we were studying the Revolutionary War.  But I am also excited!  I am excited to see how Hailey grows this year.  I am excited that she will attend a daily Bible class.  I am excited that her classes will start with prayer and that her teachers desire for her not only to grow in her knowledge of math, science, history, and language arts, but also to grow in her faith and her knowledge of Jesus Christ.  For that, I am excited and tremendously grateful!

Make it great!


Nine Things You Might Not Know About Me!


Not long ago I was chatting with a friend of mine about some of my quirks.  We got to laughing and she said that she loved me even though I had some weird hangups!  I jokingly said “My quirks might make a good blog post!” to which she responded “Absolutely!  That would make for some funny reading!”

So tonight, on the way home from our weekly frozen yogurt date, I mentioned to Chris that I might share some of my quirks or things that freak me out.  He immediately started naming things that I could share.  Wow!  I truly do have issues!

So here we go!

1)  I have FREAKISH hearing!

I have had the most remarkable hearing for as long as I can remember.  I really struggle concentrating when I’m in a large group setting because I can hear so many different conversations going on at once.  Chris totally laughs at me because I can give him details about people (usually the kind that people don’t want you to know) after being together at some type of gathering.  My freakish hearing leads to my next item.

2)  I can’t stand loud eating or gum smacking!

Going to the movies has always been a complete stressor for me!  Hearing all those people chow down on their popcorn & nachos is seriously a nightmare.  We used to have to get to the movies at least 30 minutes early to ensure that I could get a seat in the very back of the theatre.  I could still hear people eating in front of me, but it wasn’t as bad as someone sitting directly behind me.

Last year we got to a movie late and the gentleman sitting behind me had to have been the LOUDEST eater I had ever encountered!  Chris was a doll & went out to the lobby to ask if they happened to have any earplugs.  They didn’t, but he came back with one of those headsets that plays the audio to the movie.  Amazingly, went I put the headset on, I couldn’t hear anything around me!  It. Was. AWESOME!  It has been a total lifechanger for me!

About the gum…that is pretty self-explanatory.  I especially can’t stand when someone pops and cracks their gum.  The worst is when they do it in church! Seriously people, don’t pop your gum in church!  I don’t think that’s a lot to ask!

3)  Clowns freak me out!

Not really sure when it started, but I remember having really bad dreams about clowns when I was a kid.  Anything clown related scares me!  Clown dolls, pictures, art, and especially actual clowns.  I have come face to face with people dressed as clowns and I literally freeze. I get heart palpitations & become sweaty.

I’ve never taken my kids to the circus.  I don’t feel guilty about it at all!  Chris took them once & said they weren’t all that thrilled anyway.

When I was pregnant with Hailey, I had an appointment with my OB on Halloween. I remember Chris coming around the corner & saying “Honey, stay where you are!” followed by “Excuse me Ma’am, can I ask you to step into that room while my wife comes down the hall?”  She laughed and made a joke and he quickly told her “I’m totally not kidding!  My wife is deathly afraid of clowns!”  She was nice enough to comply and I realized at that exact moment that Chris would do ANYTHING for me, even if it made me or him look like a total freak!  He’s my hero!

4)  I have been forbidden to read any novel written by Jodi Picoult!

In 2007 I read My Sister’s Keeper.  I was literally weeping as I read it.  In the days that followed, I was so depressed I almost couldn’t function.  This book just absolutely rocked me!  I was waking up in the middle of the night and crawling into bed with each of my girls.  I would hold them & rock them as tears fell onto their sleeping faces.

A couple of weeks later my sister finally said “What is wrong with you?  You have been in this major funk for a couple of weeks!”  As I told her about the book I started sobbing!  She said “Um, stop reading those kinds of books!”  Chris totally agreed, gathered all the rest of the Jodi Picoult books off my bookshelf & donated them to Goodwill the following day.

5)  I only like to eat scrambled eggs if Chris or my mom has made them!

Not exactly sure what it is about their eggs that make them so much better than anyone else’s, but I’m pretty sure that the fact that my mom uses an insane amout of butter is what draws me to her eggs & Chris uses lots of cheese.  When others offer to make me scrambled eggs, I politely decline or request them to be made a different way. Just a personal choice.  Some people in my family call me an “egg snob” and I can totally handle it!

6)  I really dislike coconut!

Love the smell, just really dislike the taste and especially the texture.  Seriously, it’s like eating grass.  No thanks!

My close friends and family know my aversion to coconut. A couple of years ago we were having a celebration at church and I went to grab a cookie that I thought looked like a butterscotch cookie and my friend, Ruthie, had this weird look on her face and she just blurted out “COCONUT! COCONUT!”  I immediately put the cookie down & then busted out laughing.  She started laughing and said “I couldn’t get the right words out, but I wanted to warn you.  All I could think to do was to start yelling ‘Coconut’!  I hugged her & thanked her for saving me from a total coconut disaster!  That’s true friendship!

7)  I truly believe that Miracle Whip is evil!

Ok, so maybe not evil, but truly disgusting!  I grew up in a household that only used Miracle Whip.  It wasn’t until I was in high school that one of my friends introduced me to actual mayo.  Oh my word!  I had no idea what I was missing out on.

My parents still razz me when they come to visit that I only keep mayo in our fridge. I always like to tease my dad when he tells me how good the sandwiches are that I make him while he’s here.  I usually say “You know dad, the reason that sandwich is so good is that I used mayo & not Miracle Whip.  Miracle Whip ruins everything!”

8)  I have to fall asleep with the TV on!

I know, I know!  I’ve read the studies that say it is so much better to not do that. Believe me, I don’t need you to send me any newspaper clippings or foward me any articles because my mom already does that!  I know it isn’t ideal, but it is what helps me to fall asleep.  It totally helps me to decompress.  I set the sleeper and I’m totally happy!

9) I am fascinated by both the Royals and the Amish!

I know, totally weird combination!  Many years ago my folks took me on a trip to Lancaster, PA to visit Amish country.  I love their minimalist lifestyle, their total devotion to hard work, & their cute buggies!  I love to watch movies & read books about them.

I’ve always enjoyed reading about the royal family.  It started young.  Yes, I know that they are just regular people, but the concept of royalty has always intrigued me.  And yes, I’ve been super happy the past few days with all the royal baby stuff.

Well there you have it!  Hopefully this post has given you a deeper glimpse into what makes me tick and what ticks me off! I’d love to know that I am not alone, so please share any of your silly quirks or odd things that might bring you joy in the comments below!

Hope you are having a fantastic week!

Make it great!


Project Life 2013: Weeks 24 & 26 and Updated Organization

Welcome to Project Life Tuesday!  I have two weeks to share with you today.  I really enjoyed my time in my craft space this week printing out my pictures & putting my pages together.  I used a mix of the Honey, Blush, Seafoam, & Jade editions.  Yes, I know, I have an issue.  If you have any specific questions on my layouts, please leave them in the comments.  Also, at the end of this post, I’m sharing how I store all my Project Life editions together.

Week 24




This was the week we attended the 60’s themed dance for our local special needs program.  We had such a great time.  You can read more about the dance & see the rest of our pictures HERE.  I also continue to love using tidbits from Finding Nana’s shop on my pages.


Week 26


Week 26 covers the first part of trip to New Mexico to see my folks.  We took 2 of my sister’s kids with us so we had a car full.



Many of you might remember this post that I did where I shared how I organize my Project Life cards.  That box was a great way to organize & I still utililize it for other tidbits.  However, with the introduction of so many great kits & my overwhelming desire to own multiple kits, I needed a bigger box to keep all my core kits together.  I already had the cherry & turqouise kits and last year I purchased & primarily used the Clementine kit.  This year I bought the Seafoam edition, the Jade edition through HSN & then recently picked up the Honey and Blush editions at Hobby Lobby.  I know, overkill!  HOWEVER….I love having so many options.

Last month I picked up a couple of bamboo silverware drawer organizers from Costco.  When I bought them I didn’t even realize that they slid out to provide an even bigger box.  I used one in my actual silverware drawer & I love it.  This past weekend I realized that I was struggling with sifting through the individual kit boxes while trying to work on my pages.  I decided to put all the kits together & organize them in my new tray.


With the help of my Brother P-touch labeler that I have had for 12 years, I was able to organize & label all the individual kits.  I’m really pleased with how it turned out!


Putting all the kits right here at my fingertips has made me realize how much many of the kits mix & match really well!  I’m currently working on a visual way to see what cards are in each kit.  I will share that as soon as I’m done.  I tend to share on Instagram first, so feel free to follow me on Instagram HERE.  You can also follow me on Pinterest HERE.

Thanks for stopping by, I am also linking up with The Mom Creative.  Check out all the other great Project Life pages shared.

You can see my previous project life posts here.

Make it great!


Project Life was created by Becky Higgins as a simple solution to documenting your memories.  You can learn more about project life here.

Currently: On My Playlist


picture source

10,000 Reasons~Matt Redman

Give Me Words to Speak~Aaron Shust

Can’t Get Over You~Anthem Lights

All I Am~Phil Wickham

Better Than a Hallelujah~Amy Grant

One Thing Remains~Kristian Stanfill

All Around Me~Flywheel

It’s Your Life~Francesca Battistelli

Beautiful Things~Gungor

Lay Me Down~Chris Tomlin

Forever Reign~Hillsong Live

Cornerstone~Hillsong Live

Stronger~Hillsong Live

Love Came Down~Jeremy Riddle

White Flag~Chris Tomlin

Lord, I Need You~Matt Maher

Always~Kristian Stanfill

This is Not the End~Gungor

All of these songs are not only on my iPhone playlist, but I burned them onto a CD as well for our car.  Some of the songs we are currently singing during worship at our church, some are songs I sang at our previous church in New Mexico, and some are songs that people who know my love of good worship music shared with me.  I tend to make a new CD every couple of weeks.  I always ask the girls what songs they would like carried over & if there are any new songs they’d like to add.  Hailey loves to share new songs with us that she has learned at youth group, which I love!

We primarily listen to Christian music.  Why?  Well, the simple answer is I believe that what we put into our minds is what we get out.  I prefer to listen to music that is uplifting, positive, & sets my mind & spirit where it needs to be.  I strive to be a fully devoted follower of Christ.  I don’t want to go to church on Sundays and then be bombarded by worldy garbage the other 6 days of the week.

I also have 2 daughters who have amazing memories!  I don’t want them listening to songs about sex, power, and materialism.  Our kids are impressionable.  I love driving around town listening to them singing words like:

“Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me!”

instead of words like:

“I’m bringing sexy back!” or “If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it!”

I’m not judging if that is the type of music you listen to, as that is obviously not my place.  I just wanted to share why we have decided to remove music that we once listened to & to primarily listen to Christian music. If the song is not a song that I want my children to hear, I don’t need to be listening to it either.   We are called to pour into the lives of our children, to teach them truth.  I want to show my children how to live, not just tell them. Personally, for me, it comes down to:  Is what I am doing bringing me closer to God or pushing me further from Him?

There are two scriptures that remind me what it is I need to focus on & that I am not of this world.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.  Philippians 4:8

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Collosians 3:2

Please know that I am not trying to stir up debate on whether or not we, as Christians, should or should not listen to secular music. Each and every one of you is entitled to your own opinion on this matter.  This is a personal decision that I came to after seeking God’s will for me on this matter.

I’d love to hear any of your favorite worship songs!

Make it a great week!


A Sweet Bond

Skylar and my niece, Sam have a really sweet bond!  They love to be together and no matter where we are, they love to watch Skylar’s iPad together.  

On our recent trip to New Mexico, my sister caught a great series of photos of Skylar and Sam while they were watching something on her iPad.  I loved how they turned out & was thrilled that she caught the genuine joy and love between them.











So very thankful for this sweet relationship!  It makes this mamma’s heart very happy!

Make it a great day!






Project Life 2013: Week 25

It is so nice to be back sharing my Project Life pages with all of you!  I took quite a long break from blogging and Project Life.  The release of the new editions through Hobby Lobby really got me excited again to work on my weekly pages.  I’m not sure yet how I will be sharing my pages, but decided this week to just jump in with the current week.  It was quite the week with a forrest fire that started 5 miles from our house, Hailey’s interview for private school, and a trip to Bearizona and Flagstaff.

I used the Honey edition this week along with multiple journaling cards and accents from Finding Nana!  My love for all of Leena’s goodies did not diminish one bit while I was on hiatus.


Chris and I started taking guitar lessons together this week.  This has been something we have talked about doing since we first got married in 1997.  Better late than never!  I also put a picture of the fire from our back deck.  It was so eery to see all that smoke and the flames that close to our house.


Last Thursday we made arrangements to go see my friend, Heather in Flagstaff on her way through town.  We decided to stop at a drive-thru wildlife park, Bearizona, on our way up.  You can read all about our visit HERE.


Like I mentioned above, all the little accent pieces (smile, the memo circle, the remember tag, and 3 of the journal cards) came from Finding Nana’s shop.  I have all 3 sets of labels (Take Note, Daily Memory, and On the Road Labels).


I took quite a few pictures at Bearizona, so I included a flip-up protector in order to add the additional pictures.  This was definitely a picture heavy week with all we had going on and I had already scaled back on the dozens of pictures I took.



Well there you have it!  It felt so great to be back in my craft space, printing out pictures, journaling about our week, and telling our story!

Thanks for stopping by!  If you want to see some more project life pages, head over to The Mom Creative and check out all the other project lifers!

If you have any questions about project life or the products I used, please leave them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them!

You can see my previous project life posts here.

Make it great!


Project Life was created by Becky Higgins as a simple solution to documenting your memories.  You can learn more about project life here.

Totally Groovy


This past Saturday we had the opportunity to attend a 60’s themed dance being held by a local program that puts on activities and events for individuals with special needs.  The program is called SNAP (special needs activity program).  It is really neat how the Lord orchestrated our learning about SNAP through the free swim at the Y and one of Chris’ cadets.  

Skylar was really excited to go and after I was asked to help serve dinner to the attendees, we decided to make it a family event.  Skylar actually went online and googled different 60’s themed outfits to get an idea of what to wear.  We got a suede vest at Goodwill and I made the headband out of some brown cord that I picked up at Hobby Lobby and a sunflower I had in my craft stash.  I knew that it would be important for Skylar to be comfortable or she wouldn’t want to stay long.  


Before we left for the dance we took a bunch of portraits on the front porch.  The picture below was my absolute favorite!  It is a great picture of what it is like in our home.  Just complete silliness!  I told Chris that his glasses looked a bit more like Elton John than John Lennon!


Oh how I love this crazy man!  

When we got to the dance, Skylar immediately got into line to get her food.  I loved having the opportunity to serve dinner to the other attendees.  It gave me a chance to say hello to everyone.  So many smiles, so many thanks!


This was pretty much all Skylar cared about!  The food!  One of the guys she had met the week prior at bingo asked her if she wanted to dance and I heard her say “Nope!  I’m eating! I’ll dance later.”  


It was fun to watch Hailey and Chris eat dinner and chat.  They truly enjoy each other’s company.  

Not long after dinner, people started making their way on to the dance floor.   As I watched them start dancing, some by themselves and some as couples, I remarked to Chris that I loved how there was no pretense.  No one looked worried about what other people were thinking.  There wasn’t anybody in the corner whispering about anyone dancing.  There were only smiles, complete joy!  My heart was overwhelmed as I watched everyone dancing and saw all the caregivers just beaming.  These were truly our people!


Chris, Hailey, and I danced together for well over an hour.  Skylar didn’t want to be anywhere near us.  Total teenager!  While we were dancing, a sweet lady came up to me and shouted:

“Would you like to dance with me?  I am a FANTASTIC dancer!”

Well, how can you say no to that?

We danced for 3 or 4 songs and she sang her heart out the entire time.  It was awesome!  I loved hearing her sing all the 60’s music.  

One of my favorite parts of the night was watching Chris dance!  It was so funny. He had a blast.  He was definitely the guy all the ladies wanted to dance with.  He treated them all like princesses and they giggled with delight!  And just when I thought I couldn’t love this man any more than I already do, I watched as a lady in a wheelchair who was non-verbal reached out and grabbed his hand.  He took her hand, danced around her and just talked to her the whole time.  I fell more in love right there on the dancefloor!

The entire crowd errupted in cheering when the DJ played YMCA!  I told Chris that I was pretty sure that this was a 70’s song (it actually came out in 1978).  We figured that they must be playing a mix of 60’s and 70’s music.  That was until they played the Cha Cha slide, Celine Dion, and Taylor Swift.  That gave us a good laugh!  Not long after that, Skylar said her feet were tired and that she was hot!  These were both signals that she was done and ready to go home.

As we walked out to the car, both Hailey and Skylar remarked how much fun they had.  Chris and I definitely agreed that it was the most fun we’d had as a family in a long time.  One of the best comments of the evening came from Hailey. She said “I am so glad that I am a 21st century kid!  I could not have handled the clothes and the music of the 60’s!”  She is looking forward to the next dance, which is cowboy themed! (Can’t wait to see what Chris decides to wear to that one!)

We finished the night with a stop at our favorite frozen yogurt place and when Skylar walked out she said “This was the best night ever!”  I have to agree that it was pretty great!

And just to give you a little bit more of a glimpse into the silliness that is my family, I asked Chris and Skylar to look serious for a couple of pictures and this is what I got.





Heaven help me!

Make it a great week!